mgpcpastor's blog


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Rhino – The Ryan Harris Biography

Getting into a holiday mindset takes a simple read or two.
Rhino by Ryan Harris is a perfect example: very readable and undemanding.
This sporting biography features not one, but two co-writers, but Harris’ story is interesting because of the mid-career recreation that he effected going from journeyman to spearhead in the midst of continuing struggles with injury.
The fact he experienced that season of success as part of the Queensland team makes it all the more engaging.
Sorry, South Australia.


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A Fearful Symmetry

It was Queensland’s victory in the 2011-2012 Sheffield Shield season that was instrumental in Darren Lehmann cement the coaching credentials that saw him assume the role of coach of the national team when Mickey Arthur fell foul of something of a player’s revolt.

Now with Queensland’s victory in the 2017-2018 Sheffield Shield Lehmann’s tenure looks terminal, and the player’s culture that brought him into the job has expressed its full flower with poisonous results.

The question remains about whether the answer to the cultural problem will be seen in a repudiation of the notion of identifying a line in order to justify yourself by never having crossed it, or the cultivation of a sense that if there’s a line what is needed is to be as far away from it as possible.

Oddly enough in a culture that really wants to embrace the ‘I didn’t cross the line’ self-justification, the greatest crime is being caught on the wrong side of it and showing up the toxic impact of that lie.

That’s why the response to these actions has expressed more outrage than empathy. Yet the nature of the crime is so banal, so inept and doomed to failure that it invites pity rather than anger. What frame of mind thought they would get away with it, what frame of mind thought that consequences would be slight?

If your self-image is formed teetering on the edge of a line, what happens when you lose sight of where the line should be?

I know in my heart that the temptation is strong to wilfully cross lines, let alone inadvertently wander over them. Truth be told I’m a natural denizen of the other side and pretending by my identifying the line that I’m not over it.

What I need is a grace that finds me on the false side of the line and renews and restores me to the true side. A grace that rather than reinforcing my line encroaching, recreates me into someone who hates the line, and not just the crossing of it. A grace that grows me love all the space on the best side of the line rather than the false promises of the other side.

A grace that helps me know that it’s not a line that I’m talking about but a relationship with my creator, who subdues my rebellion through the death and resurrection of his son, and brings me into his family.

I always need that grace, and in Jesus, God gives it abundantly and eternally.


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The View At The Sheffield Shield Cricket Final In Brisbane.

I realise no one wants to talk about cricket at the moment, so here’s a couple of pictures.

How likely is it that Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and/or George Bailey will be on a plane to South Africa tonight?


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Remembering David

On the first day of the Brisbane Cricket Test Match, I remember David Sabine.
David was a part of the eldership at Wynnum Presbyterian.
Before I moved away twenty years ago we’d taken to attending the first day of the Brisbane Test together.
The ground looks completely different now.
The grandstand we sat in has been replaced by the stadium seating.
David was a gracious encourager who was carefully thoughtful and considerate.
He didn’t take a lot of days off from his accountancy practice, but the first day of international cricket each summer was worth it.
It’s good to think of him each year.


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Holiday Reading – Resilient by Mitchell Johnson 

I’ve left Captain Cook floating around New Zealand (it’s okay, I already know where he’ll be arriving in a couple of weeks) to read Mitchell Johnson’s autobiography, Resilent.
There is much to admire about Johnson’s effort to come back from being written off as an international cricketer, a comeback that represented personal growth as much as physical recovery and skill development.


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The Worst Australian Test Batting Performance I’ve Ever Seen

I’ve watched Australia play Test Cricket for nearly forty years and I just saw the worst batting performance I’ve seen an Australian team offer up in that time.
And I watched them through the dark days of the mid to late eighties against rampant West Indian attacks.
Their performance is an exception that proves the rule about not judging a pitch before both teams have had turns both batting and bowling on the surface.
The conditions were not exceptional, the bowling was not overwhelming – though it was very good.
Anyway, for the purposes of posterity, here’s a scorecard.
Maybe they should promote extras up the order, maybe to about number four.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.38.31 pm


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The Death Of Phillip Hughes

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The Adelaide Oval Scoreboard

It’s hard to know why an event grips public consciousness.
Phillip Hughes, a professional cricketer died today of an injury sustained during a game.
Search the internet and you’ll find countless articles reporting the story.
One young man of undoubted talent who continued to strive to establish himself at the highest level of his sport.
A life’s ambition not completely realised, a talent and skill not fully developed.
There was something in the straightforward way in which he was seeking to overcome the various setbacks which his career encountered that endeared him many inside and outside the sport.
In cricket when a batsman is not dismissed before the close of the innings their score is denoted as ‘not out’.
Hughes’ incomplete final innings will be recorded as ‘retired hurt’, another way of indicating a turn at bat which was not completed, a marker to a career halted by interruption not by choice.
On a day when I celebrated the 28th birthday of my first-born, the death of a man who was three days short of his 26th birthday strikes a strange resonance.
Parents and siblings in loss, friends and comrades in sport, fans and the public all express loss.
Remembering life is precious, and there are times when words should be few, it is a good time to recall that we should number our days, not to jealously hoard them, but to make sure that each is lived to its fullest.