Blog Archive

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Stealers of Sound"

"Stealers of Sound" sounds like a copyright issue over a pop song or illegal pirating of music.

Well the birds have been doing this for centuries apparently.

"Stealers of Sound" is a chapter in a book by the late A H(Alec) Chisholm , one of Australia's best earlier writers on birds and natural history.

The book is called "Bird Wonders" of Australia.

I have two editions.  1953(second edition), and 1952(fifth edition).

I am sure you can still pick these up in used book shops.

The chapter on this topic is talking about birds who mimic the calls of other birds.

The most well known in Australia is the Lyre Bird but many others do the same.

Chisholm wrote a wonderful book called "The Romance of the Lyrebird" where the habits and details of this bird are brilliantly written,.

Also I have written on this blog about "The Lore of the Lyrebird" by Ambrose Pratt.

The Mocking Bird overseas is famous for it's mimicry also and many other overseas birds do the same.

So here are some "stealers" that Chisholm talks about.

At the time of writing his 5th edition he claims that there were no fewer than 52 species in Australia that do this.

Below are some he mentions in the book.

The Lyrebird
The Spotted Bower Bird
The Golden Bower Bird and he says 8 species that construct bowers or "playing places" have the gift of mimicry.
The Toothbilled Catbird
Male Mistetoebird
Brown Thornbill
Yellow Throated Scrubwren
Rufous Scrub-bird
Olive-backed Oriole
Pied Butcher Bird
Starling(not a native bird)

I googled the subject of "Australian Birds that mimic others" and came up with the link below which also aludes to Chisholm's work.

Some more information can be found there.

For me, I like trying to imitate bird calls, my favourite being the Kookaburra.

I was photographing one in a park recently and I decided to do a mock call so he would turn his head and I would get a better shot.

It worked!

Alec Chisholm says the Kookaburra, in the early days of Australian settlement was called the "Giant Kingfisher" and then became the "Laughing Jackass" and the "Settlers Clock".  "Kookaburra" became its widely accepted name from an Aboriginal language.
Chisholm gives 45 other Aboriginal names used by different tribes for the same bird.
He says that is not an exhaustive list.

If you want to just listen to beautiful sounds of Australian Birds go to "Listening Earth"

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Old Film Bonanza- What to do!

I have just today received from my friend Terry a couple of plastic bags full of film and film containers.
Some years ago he used to do portraits of kids, pictures of show jumping horses amongst other things.
He told me he got interested in photography while still at school.
He set up a home darkroom and used to sell prints he developed and printed himself.
He specialised in black and white and used to also buy film in bulk and load it himself into whatever length he wanted.
His cameras of choice were an Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya TLR.
Some of these films are more than 30 years old.
They have been refrigerated until 4 days ago.
So my challenge now is WHAT TO DO WITH THEM!
So looks like a project coming on.
I can see  me loading them up and trying a variety of stuff.
But all my projects have a slow time span so you might see some results here when I have done something with them.

Watch this space.

If anyone can think of a good project for me let me know.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whatever happened to Evangelism? A challenge for young Christians and not so young.

A Churches of Christ Tent Mission from way back. I think these were conducted by E C Henriksen.Note the blackboard at the front with clear instructions on salvation

I became a Christian in 1974.

My wife and I were a product of the "Jesus" revolution of the 1970's.

The signature symbol  of the movement was the one way logo with the hand with index finger pointed to the sky.
My wife became a Christian about 3 years before I did.

There was a world wide movement of God's Holy Spirit reaching out to young people fresh from the 60's cultural revolution.

There was a lot of rebellion in that time world wide. Check the stuff online.

There started to be a revival around the world that was complemented by a thriving Christian Music Industry and dynamic Preachers and Evangelists and testimonies of many people, some pop celebrities, telling how they had found Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

The paraphrased "Living Bible", which put the Bible in today's language, was a major tool in this movement.
I still find it my main "go to" Bible.

The Gospel was very enticing and  proposed without fear or favour.

Paul Stukey of Peter Paul and Mary became a Christian when a young "Jesus Freak" aproached him backstage at a concert and boldy presented him with the Gospel. Apparently Paul had been searching for answers prior to this happening.
Barry Maguire the famous singer of the Protest Era anthem ,"The Eve of Destruction" became a Christian.
He this day seems to still be a Christian but like many  he has changed his views on some things along the way.

He featured in a very popular Gospel Musical  called "the Witness".
My wife sang in the choir in an Adelaide production of this.

Keith Green, Christian Musician and Evangelist, a little bit further along the continuum, became a huge influence.
He made his albums of Gospel music free if you couldn't afford the price and his concerts had huge attendances and a strong challenge for Christian Commitment.
He met an untimely death aged 28 in a plane crash. 

To "witness", to tell of your faith and what Jesus had done for you and what was possible for your "witnessee" was the norm for new Christians in the evangelical tradition.
We were trained in how to do this and the booklet "The Four Spiritual Laws" produced by Campus Crusade for Christ was widely used.
In fact when I became a Christian my Pastor used it to help summarise for me what I was doing the night I responded to the Gospel invitation after an evening service.

I have seen many people both "famous" and "nobodies" along the journey profess Jesus as their saviour.
Sadly some fall by the wayside which is a "normal" happening when you take into consideration the parable of the sower.

These days, in the city of Adelaide,South Australia, I see little evidence of a vibrant Christian movement in our Churches.

Perhaps I don't get out much.

There have been many great revivals over the years but there seems to be a lack of anything like revival in these times.

People seem to have lost sight of the Power of The Cross of Christ and instead water the Gospel down with all sorts of promises of experiences and "connecting " with God.

We hardly connect with each other let alone God.

My wife and I and others were fortunate to be exposed to some very balanced and Biblical teaching.

What seems to be lacking today is for example:

1.  a spirit of discernment. The whole idea of if you stand for nothing you fall for anything seems to be well and truly operating.

2. A thorough Biblical understanding of the Christian conversion process and progression from there.

3. An accurate theology on the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.

4. The recognition of who the Christian's enemy is and the weapons God has given us to combat the enemy.

5. The need to preach the Cross only and to recognise that when you do that people are confronted with Jesus.

6. An understanding of the three most important things. The Book, The Blood and The Blessed Hope.

I have been going back through some of the writings of some of my predecessors in the denomination in which I have hung my hat.

One of our mottos was we are not the only Christians but Christians only.

A good motto I think.

About 130 or more years ago Adelaide people had a hunger for the Gospel.

Gospel Meetings were attended by large crowds.

See this written account by HS Earl who was a visiting Evangelist from America called to Australia by the Churches of Christ.

this was in 1866.

Editors of British Harbinger.--
      The past month has been one of unusual interest; indeed it stands without a parallel in the history of the cause we plead, or any other religious body, in Australia. Our audiences have been overwhelming, the interest most solemn and profound, and the results most soul-inspiring. Last Lord's day, August 26, I preached in the New Town Hall to the largest audience ever congregated for religious purposes in South Australia. It is estimated by the press and others, that upwards of 2,200 were present, and more than 500 were unable to gain admittance. All available space was occupied, and hundreds stood during the whole service. The most marked attention was given by this vast assemblage, and a profound interest prevailed. All classes and creeds were represented--The Mayor of the city, Councilors, Members of Parliament, Ministers, Lawyers, Doctors, Merchants, Artisans, and Mechanics--Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, &c. At the close of the discourse several persons confessed their faith in Christ. Last week I baptized the largest number of persons ever baptized at one time in South Australia, and the meeting was one of intense interest. During the past month no less than forty-three persons "have been baptized into Christ" and added to the Church of Christ, and several others have confessed their faith in Christ, and will be "buried with him in baptism" to-night, (D.V.) Thus the cause of "Pure Christianity" is advancing most gloriously in South Australia, and would soon occupy the foremost rank in power and influence, if we could only get several able and devoted Evangelists in the field. The Brethren are very anxious to hear that the Evangelist sent for from America is on his way hither. We sincerely hope there will be no delay. Now is the time he is specially needed here, as also the one sent for for Victoria. "The harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few.
H. S. EARL,  "

People waiting to hear the Gospel

Indeed the labourers are few.

You might say today's citizens of Adelaide are a lot more "sophisticated" than the people of that day.

Mores the pity.

We think we have made progress with our technology, out theories of evolution, our anything goes type of society.

Our so called "wisdom" is our downfall.

We have been caught like frogs in "the boiling frog" analogy.

As the Apostle Paul puts it.:

1 Corinthians 1

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Young person or older person will you become a "fool" for God?

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Listening Earth"-New Venture

"Listening Earth" is my favourite place to listen to and buy the sounds of nature.

Andrew Skeoch and Sara Koschak have now ventured into free online streaming.

This is a wonderful gesture by them in promoting wild life conservation.

I recommend you have a listen and purchase a few recordings to help the cause.

Geoff Thompson

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hair-Not the Musical. Not the soft stuff on top.

"Hair" was a popular musical back in the 70's.

It was groundbreaking with great music.

But this is not about that.

When our kids were young we used to pray with all three of them at bedtime.

They were all in the same room.

We were asking them to pray in particular giving thanks for something.

Our eldest son said he would give thanks for his hair.

We said why?

The answer: "Because some people don't have any"

Well this is not about Hair literally.

There are people in our lives who sometimes we wish would "get out of our hair".


Well Roland Brown wrote a wonderful little instruction for those of us who struggle with this.

Here it is.


1. See the sin in yourself.
Criticism. Faultfinding.Hardness.

Any wrong or un-Christian attitudes.

Confess.  Repent.  Ask for forgiveness.

2. List all their good points.

       See these when you think of them.

3. Don't ask for them to be changed.

       (inevitably we will ask them to be changed into what we want them to be.)

4. Set them free.      Don't bind their sin - or our feelings- or our judgements
                                 or our condemnations on to them.

5. Presume they too love Jesus.
     We have no right think otherwise.

      Pray three times a day:

         a.  Pray in love.

         b. Shoot flash prayers up to God for them.

         c. See them loving and responding to Jesus

6. Thank Jesus for them.

Do this for eight weeks and one of three things will happen:

    1. You will change.

    2. They will change

    3.  The situation will change.

There you have it.

A proposition to practice Christian love.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"The Seal of God" reprinted and now available

I received this email today from our friend Trish.
It is self explanatory.
This book,The Seal of God, is a locally authored,South Australian book that talks and teaches on the marvels of God's creation.

The late Eric Finck was an elder emeritus at our church in my formative Christian years.
A wonderful wise Christian. 

"As promised (a long time ago) we are now advising that we have “hot off the press” a new edition of The Seal of God, which has been unavailable for some time. I am so thankful to God for all of David’s help to my sister, Fran and I, in enabling the promise we made to our Dad (Eric Finck) to make sure it was once again reprinted. Please rejoice with us and pray that God opens door of opportunity to once again distribute it to His glory.

A quick update.  In 1945, Cyril Payne (FC Payne) wrote the book “The Seal of God in Creation and the Word”.  In 1972, he passed the baton to Eric Finck to continue to update and distribute it.  He revised the book keeping much of Cyril’s content and adding more.

Over 230,000 copies have been distributed worldwide from Australia. Further to that, others have published and distributed the book in specific regions. We have now released the latest revision of the book. This 2012 Edition is now available (with more new content) by contacting my son David Dennis by email: or me by phone. It costs $10 a single copy including postage and you can pay for the book through Paypal on his web site.

The focus of the book is to make it very clear, that there is a God and He has shown Himself and His purpose for us in everything around us.  We simply need to open our eyes to Him. We trust that through its distribution people will to come to know God.  If you would like to add this book to your collection, we would be pleased to hear from you.

For any further enquiries, please contact David or myself.

Trish Lear"

Below is a link to my post about Eric's passing and funeral service.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Overcoming Agrophobia-The Agrophobic traveller.

I have never suffered from Agrophobia but I have known some people who did.
Those particular people managed to negotiate around it in time.
Here is a link to a young woman who has a very interesting approach.

Jacqui Kenny speaks about it on this video clip which I found on F Stoppers..