Australia Creation Sport

Letter from Australia 23 – Cricket and Climate Crisis

Brothers and Sisters,

There are things on the Australia ‘bucket list’ that must be done; including the Sydney opera house, tasting Tasmanian whisky, the Barrier Reef and of course cricket. Last Friday I had the pleasure of going to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first day of the New Year Test against New Zealand. I realize that for some the idea of spending a whole day watching men play such a ‘boring ‘ game as cricket sounds as appealing to you as going shopping for an afternoon does to me – but bear with me….there were many lessons to be learnt.

The first is – never buy tickets from Viagogo. It’s a scam website that manages to get away with it because they use a legal loophole to resell tickets at extortionate prices. Once bitten, twice shy. Lesson one – Never underestimate the power of human greed and always go back to the original source.

IMG-7501_1The experience of the SCG was itself incredible. There were 36,000 people in a beautiful stadium with great views and incredible facilities. Being able to buy a variety of food and drink (including beer – unlike in Scottish football grounds they actually expect Aussie fans to be grown up and civilized enough to be able to drink alcohol without rioting!). It was quite a contrast with Dens Park.   Not least with the prices that were very reasonable. When I think how much a pie and Bovril costs at Dens!  Mind you there were a couple of ‘well built’ ladies in front of me for whom I suspect cricket was not the healthiest sport – they were clearly bored and relieved their boredom by snacking on an endless variety of goodies! It was also interesting to see that even Aussie cricket has gone halal!

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I also loved the fact that cricket in Australia has a much more sensible pricing policy than football in the UK.   I was able to watch a Test match with some of the best players in the world, for less than it would cost me to watch Dundee play Arbroath!

IMG-7495_1As for the game – it was a joy. Cricket is like sporting chess. It is a thinking man (or woman’s) sport. I loved the mind games that were played….none more so than in an engrossing 45 minutes in which Steve Smith took 31 balls before he scored one run. His battle with the brilliant New Zealand bowler, Neil Wagner was epic. The cheer when he finally scored was extraordinary (he went on to make 63).   It was the patience and discipline that really impressed me.  Likewise with Marnus Labuschagne – who scored a century (and went on to make it a double the next day).  I love the fact that this Reformed Christian has a verse from Isaiah engraved on his bat!

Other things that impressed me? The raucous but good natured Aussie crowd; the patience of the Kiwi player Raval in signing endless autographs for the many children who asked him; and the fact that this was the Pink Test – an annual occasion set up by Glen McGrath to honour his wife Jane and which provides millions to help those with breast cancer.

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Which brings me on to the negative.   There were those who complained loudly about the match going ahead at all. How can you play/watch cricket at a time like this? The ‘this’ of course referring to the ongoing bushfire crisis. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was even attacked for having the players pay a visit to his official residence. Why are you not out fighting the fires said the same commentators who attacked Tony Abbott when he was out literally fighting the fires?     What a joyless bunch! It seems as though the new Climate Change cult is creating a new kind of secular Puritan. Unlike the real Puritans (who were ecstatically joyful in comparison) these sober minded catastrophists would have us all wearing sackcloth and paying endless homage to Gaia, before we were ever allowed to crack a smile or actually enjoy something as diverting as cricket.

Yes – the cricket was a diversion. Thank God for such diversions. He gives us all things richly to enjoy.   I think it is good for people to relax and enjoy themselves. As long as ‘diversion’ does not replace the reality of life, it is harmless and indeed beneficial. For me it was great to sit for a few hours and not think about the bushfires, the end of the world, work, sickness, church and other more serious matters. What should our new ‘Progressive Puritans’ deprive ordinary people of that pleasure? There were the same people who moaned about Sydney’s New Year fireworks (but who will doubtless endorse the millions spent on this years Mardi Gras – some things are too sacred to touch!).

Of course the trouble in much of today’s world is that ‘diversion’ becomes life and real life becomes a diversion from the trivia that we obsess over. When sport becomes religion then it ceases to be sport and often ceases to be enjoyable. There is a balance.

Rather than the narrow joyless misery of the Progressives I prefer the Biblical puritanism….which knows how to take life seriously and how to enjoy it. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. I delight in the fact that whether it is watching cricket on Friday, or leading prayers on Sunday – all can be done to the glory of God. Rejoice in the Lord always….and again I say rejoice.

See you next week,

Yours in Christ

David

PS.  Please continue to pray for rain….so far today is looking good…!

Letter from Australia 22 – A Glorious New Year?

16 comments

  1. Minor correction: Marnus, not Marcus.

    How’s the praying for rain going?
    My brother who lives there doesn’t seem to think it is effective?

    1. I have a view (although I might be wrong), that the effectiveness of praying for rain depends on how many and who are doing it. If, for example, it was led by the Prime Minister and done by a large proportion of the population, God would grant the request. But if it’s just a relative handful of Christians and most of the population and the leadership are against God, why should He intervene? As a nation, we would effectively not even be asking.

      1. Why should he intervene?

        How about because people are dying, that seems like a pretty good reason – because towns are being destroyed, communities torn apart, houses and livelihoods destroyed.

      2. So, John, are you suggesting that God should simply override our wish to be left to our own devices, and stop anything bad happening? After all, if He stopped people dying (other than “natural” causes perhaps), then getting severely injured would seem like the worst thing possible, so why shouldn’t He stop that also? But if He did that, then minor injuries would be the worst thing possible, and would seem terrible, so why not stop them also? And why not stop us getting sick too (actually the cause of “natural” deaths)? In fact, why not stop anything bad happening to us at all, even if we do dangerous things? So we could, say, safely jump off a cliff and not hurt ourselves? Or does He prevent us by hurting ourselves by stopping us jumping off that cliff? That sort of approach would take away our free will and turn us into robots.
        Of course, stopping disease would allow us to live forever, despite death being the consequence of us rejecting Him. And that is justice, so He’d be throwing justice out the door too.

        Sorry, but your suggesting doesn’t actually make sense when you really think about it.

      3. Of course, stopping disease would allow us to live forever, despite death being the consequence of us rejecting Him.
        Ah, yes, the old , create the ”disease” and provide the cure ….. with added conditions.
        Or … ”And that’s not all folks!”
        ”Hey, kids! Because I love you all so very much let me tell you about Heaven. But if you are naughty there’s Hell….. Mwahahahahh!’

        And that is justice, so He’d be throwing justice out the door too.

        No, Phillip, not justice, but rather the actions of a seriously unstable ”mind”.
        Thank goodness’ we know this is simply man-made and thus understand what sort of mind would create such a scenario.

        Regards
        John

      4. *Smile*
        Regards
        Ark … naturellement.
        Mustn’t put words in John’s mouth!

        Remember to drink coffee before commenting.

      5. Yes Phil I’ve heard that line of “reasoning” more than a few times before. From memory William Lane Craig suggested that a God who intervened in the world to stop something bad happening would create a situation where mankind found himself living in a sort of “haunted world” where whenever anything bad was going to happen God would step in and prevent it and if so, where should he stop?

        Do you really see these terrifying fires as a case of “our wish to be left to our own devices”?

        Can you explain why – in your first post – you apparently want everyone to pray for divine intervention to stop the fires as surely that would constitute God violating what you appear to think is a case of our freedom? Why even bother thinking of prayer at all?

      6. Ark,
        “Ah, yes, the old , create the ”disease” and provide the cure …”
        God didn’t create the disease. It was a natural consequence of God no longer fully sustaining His creation.

        “No, Phillip, not justice, but rather the actions of a seriously unstable ”mind”.”
        And yet you don’t explain why it’s not justice to punish wrongdoing.

      7. John,
        “Yes Phil I’ve heard that line of “reasoning” more than a few times before.”
        Typical atheist demonisation of something perfectly reasonable: put scare quotes around a word as though it’s not actually the case, but completely omit explaining why. You may not agree with the reasoning, or the premises of the reasoning, but to suggest that it’s not even reasoning is intellectually dishonest.

        “From memory William Lane Craig suggested … and if so, where should he stop?”
        Yes, I believe that he has also used that line of reasoning. But so what? I note that you haven’t pointed out any flaw in the reasoning.

        “Do you really see these terrifying fires as a case of “our wish to be left to our own devices”?”
        Yes. I see all bad things as being the result of the Fall. I’m not suggesting anything special in that regard with these fires, but like all bad things, they fall into that category.

        “Can you explain why – in your first post – you apparently want everyone to pray for divine intervention to stop the fires as surely that would constitute God violating what you appear to think is a case of our freedom?”
        I’m disappointed that you can’t see that for yourself. If we all pray for divine intervention, then clearly it is our will that God intervene, in which case God intervening is not violating anything.

  2. “Cricket is like sporting chess. It is a thinking man (or woman’s) sport.”

    I recently watched some of your Scottish game of curling on television, thinking it would be boring but, to my surprise, I started to see it in the same light as a tactical chess match. I was loving it by the end of the broadcast!

    I really don’t know if Morrison will survive this crisis. From the holiday in Hawaii, to being booed in that town, to dithering over payments for the volunteer firefighters, to the internet advertisement fiasco yesterday, Peter Dutton must be rubbing his hands with glee. The only saving grace for ScoMo is that it is a long time to the next election so perhaps he can restore his public standing by then.

    1. I think you will find that a lot of the ‘outrage’ is manufactured. I doubt his public standing has been much affected. Those who were opposed to him will continue to be so…that’s where the ‘outrage’ is coming from. Its pretty cheap politicing at a time of crisis.

  3. Ah Jean , I am so glad that you enjoyed the game of curling and agree with your comments. Like you , I also enjoy my “letters from Australia” which come regularly , are informative and often edifying to the soul ( and I think I’d even miss Ark were he away too long)
    I must inform you however that the writer of our “weekly fix” did not have a fully rounded education in his homeland . He seems to have been brought up just far enough away from Beauly or Kiltarlity , having failed to grasp the passion for the true sport of the highlander.
    ” Steve Smith took 31 balls before he scored one run”. nuff said !
    PS. A pinch of salt comes with this.

    1. and I think I’d even miss Ark were he away too long)

      Bless you!
      Dominoes, Spirits and Sanctions or whatever it is those heretical Catholics say.
      😉

  4. David, for your sojourn in Australia, come down to Melbourne to enjoy a game of Aussie Rules football at the MCG, nothing quite like it.
    Plenty of Presbyterian pulpits down here would welcome you.

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