Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Graffiti – an Art or a Crime?

Graffiti is a pretty big thing in New Zealand. Under every bridge, in every hard to get to place, It’s everywhere! But the question that keeps coming up: Is it art? There isn’t a clear yes or no answer to that question, but there are many different opinions and theories on the subject. What I am going to say is that there isn't a clear yes or no answer because the answer is yes and yes.

Now many snobby classical artist and those who appreciate their art, would usually say that it is not art. They would say the same things about graffiti that they said about Impressionism, Abstract and Cubism. They would say that it is not art, and that only their way of doing things is really art. In fact art doesn’t have rules, you can’t have rules. If art had rules it would be a science. The only reason art ever does have rules, is so people can break them. So, that means that graffiti is therefore art, not necessarily art in the way we think of it, but still art.

So that isn’t the problem then. The problem people have with graffiti (or the only problem reasonable people should have with graffiti), is that it can be destructive. The fact that people create their art on other people’s private property is the problem. This is the vandalism part of it, this is the crime part of it. This big argument that is going on, hasn’t reached a solution because the people on “opposing sides” of the argument, aren’t actually on the same argument. They are arguing different things. One side is argueing that graffiti is an art form, and others are arguing that it is vandalism. They are bot right, but they are taking about different things. In reality, both these groups are extremely narrow minded.

Neither of them is looking at the big picture. Those who are saying it is art, are overlooking the fact, that usually where they do their art is on people public property. And those people generally don’t want that art on their fence. However, the people complaining that graffiti isn’t art,are overlooking the fact that is still art. Even if it is somewhere it shouldn't be. If Leonardo da Vinchi painted the Mona Lisa on their fence, they would complain calling it vandalism. But because the Mona Lisa was painted on a canvas it is considered one of the greatest painting in history. Now I am not saying that people should go inside and do their graffiti on a big canvas. That would no longer be graffiti (or street art if you prefer the term). So how do we fix this problem? It’s simple really.

Many city's in Australia have attempted to stop vandalism by providing specific walls, dedicated to street art, where graffiti artists can go and do their work without breaking the law, or damaging property. By doing that, street art can continue in its age old traditions.

So, this argument is ludicrous and narrow-minded, Graffiti is art. But it is art in the wrong place. If both the ‘artists’ and the ‘victims’ opened their eyes a little they could see that. If we made specific environments to channel these artists talent and passion, we could solve the problem very quickly.

However, knowing bureaucracy I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Dan Brunskill

P.S This is an essay that I had to write for school, not what I usually have in the way of my blog.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Teaching We Have Neglected

Some of you may have heard that I started a course on Teaching the Bible, at East West College of Intercultural Studies, recently. The course is taught by Gerald Chee, who is wonderful.
But throughout the last two weeks a few interesting things have come up. Things, I think, are worth a mention. It basically sums up into saying, we don't teach the bible properly. Or we don't teach the bible enough, in many cases. Let me talk about this some more.

"The written word defines and introduces the living word."
Many churches don't focus on the Word. Sermons often feel like motivational speeches. I've heard many sermons about "being on fire for Christ, and living life for him". But they rarely go deeper into the Word of God, but without the word of God we can't "live life for him", because the word is what tells us how to live life for him. So they are telling us to do things, they haven't quipped us for.

"The word of God is sufficient for the work of God."
Another thing churches and Christians often spend a lot of their energy on, is miracles. Everyone wants to see miracles. People go around hopping from church to church trying to find the "anointing", but miracles are nothing compared to the word. Sure they're great when they happen, but that's not what our faith should be built on. Our faith should be build on the Word of God.

"The Focus on the Immediacy of Salvation"
We were given an article to read for class, it was by Joseph T. Bayly (I included the link at the bottom of the page), basically he asked Canon T.C Hammond's opinion on Christianity in America. And he said that he was impressed by our shallow treatment of the doctrines of sin and law. And he also said that we introduced children and adults to salvation, without first giving them a foundation in the knowledge of personal rebellion and sin. And he said that by offering this immediate salvation it gave a the result of people having a low view of Christ, grace and righteousness. What Canon Hammonds was trying to say was that we were, and still are, giving people immediate salvation before explaining the full deal (Gerald Chee likened it to insurance salesmen). We need to teach people the whole bible (which, by the way, doesn't have to take years, you can give an overview of the bible in 20 minutes) before offering them salvation.

Well there's something to think about. Maybe I'm wrong, or have completely misunderstood what Gerald has been saying, but I thought that was interesting.
Have a look at the link I have provided below, its an interesting little article, and it not very long (A page and a half).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

50 posts and they're still rubbish.

This (if I get around to publishing it), will be my 50th post. An event that should be worth commemorating. But to be honest, its not.
The only really good blogs I have written I could count on Von Stauffenbergs fingers. And the reason: I let myself write about anything anytime. That doesn't work.
So I need direction, I need a subject. I need something to inspire me.
I watched the movie Julie and Julia recently, it was basically about some lady called Julie who was madly obsessed with an old celebrity chef named Julia, and she did a blog where she cooked her way through Julia's cook book, in a year (365 days, 500 and something recipes). And wrote a blog about it. Along the way she had several meltdowns, nearly got fired and almost got a divorce. No need to say I won't be doing Julia Child blog! But that sort of challenge is exactly what I need.
So, I want your ideas (all three readers that is)! What should this blog become? It needs to be completely remodeled and renamed (away from the stupidly bland "Dans Articles").
So, suggestions please!

P.S The only things I have considered so far is a review type thing, books or music or something. And believe it or not, cooking was also considered. A sort of documentation of all the meals I make. But I'm not sure.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The world isn't getting any better.

Who's seem the news recently? I haven't, so I'm writing about something I thought up a while ago.
A few months back, I was having a conversation with a friend about what I would do if I was the Prime Minister. And since I'm treating this blog like a column in a newspaper, I am acting like a columnist, which means I know exactly how to run the country and the politicians don't. But that said, I feel like the world isn't getting any better. In fact it is getting worse. There have been three riots in different country's within the last month! More children are dieing in Africa, not less. Murder is a common thing, every week on the news. The only good thing that has happened recently, is that we have managed to pull ourselves out of a recession. But, we must be doing something wrong. And everything comes down to people, I think New Zealand, and the world, needs a bit of a sorting out. So I will be starting a little series on how to fix the world, one New Zealand law at a time....

Monday, June 7, 2010

The world isn't getting any better. Part one: poverty.

Poverty. It is everywhere. But the sort I am talking about is third world poverty. According to UNICEF, 24000 die each day due to poverty. So I've come up with a solution....
Pay more tax. This is the exact opposite of what we want. On the last election we spent our vote on whoever promised us the biggest tax cut (of course we never got a tax cut really, and the little one we did get will soon be destroyed by the raising of G.S.T). But we shouldn't be a selfish nation. What would this extra tax go toward? Some of it would go to the normal things, roads, prisons, the poor, hospitals, ect ect but with more money they could do a better job (who likes waiting for three hours in a hospital waiting room, with blood poring out your head, which you hurt when you crashed your car on a bad road? nobody!). But a large chunk of this tax would go toward poverty. In September 2000, the 189 countries of the United Nations agreed to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty,” specifically hunger and the “major diseases that afflict humanity.” This was going to be achieved by a program in which twenty-two countries promised to donate 0.7% of their country's total income (this apparently will generate $195 billion). But New Zealand still hasn't achieved this, in fact we haven't even set a goal. You think that in ten years we could have got close, surely? We currently donate 0.29% which is quite a way from the ideal 0.70%. But, even if we did make it to that goal, I don't think it is enough. It should be at least : 1%. But, we could do 10%. If we really were going to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty,” specifically hunger and the “major diseases that afflict humanity.” then we would donate 10%, or at least 2%. And we would sort out poverty very quickly. However, if New Zealand did that on its own it wouldn't save the world. But imagine if America did it? Or if all twenty-two countries did it? What would happen then? There wouldn't be a child dieing every second. Thats what would happen. Children would have food to eat. Thats what would happen. Children would have schooling. Thats what would happen. Those children would grow up, and know how to get decent jobs. Thats what would happen. And after one generation the world would be a better place. Thats what would happen. But it would cost a lot. And we would have to be prepared to accept this. But if we really were going to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty,” specifically hunger and the “major diseases that afflict humanity” we would.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Maybe Churches Need to Grow Smaller

Churches seem to often be focused on increasing the size of their church. While having church growth is a good thing, and often means there are more Christians coming in all the time, I’m beginning to think these super-churches miss the point of church. I am currently staying on my Aunty and Uncles farm just outside of Dannevirke, and I had the pleasure of visiting their church, Hosanna Baptist. This church was planted in February last year, so it is only one year old, and has about thirty members. It was a really amazing experience; the pastor was a chap with a stomach the size of a small car, but his church had passion ten times that size. Maybe it was partially because the church is predominantly Maori and Pacific Islanders, who in my experience make some of the best Christians. But it seemed to me that much of the passion was due to the family like atmosphere. When I walked in the door I was greeted with a hug, by a lovely old lady who could have easily have been my Grandmother. We were running a little late so there was no time for more than a quick hello, before we made it to our seats for the worship. Which was fantastic, it was in the traditional Maori style, there was a cheap(ish) acoustic guitar, playing with a very loose, free hand style. A bass guitar, played fairly well by a chap who was obviously having a ball, the smile on his face was a mile wide. Then there were three singers (plus the guitarist who was singing) all quite good, the tone of their voices didn’t quite work brilliantly together, but that’s completely missing the point. And then the rest of the band was made up by two brothers who had been told (or maybe they offered) to learn instruments; a reasonable drummer and a talented but unconfident pianist. Now nothing I have mentioned there is amazing or fantastic, but the worship was. That’s because they were playing music with no other attempt than to worship God. They weren’t trying to make it sound “cool” or “hip”, which is good because if they had they would have crashed and burned, they weren’t caught up on excellence, they were just trying to worship, to the best of their abilities, which is what made it fantastic.
Half way through this worship session they stopped playing and told everyone to hug everyone else. But it wasn’t like in other churches I’ve been in where that type of thing has happened, and everyone turns and hugs the person next to them awkwardly. Everyone (except perhaps me) actually wanted and felt comfortable with this concept. But it seemed the entire church took this as an opportunity to meet and hug me. I met and hugged over 25 people that day, all of whom names I have since forgotten. Though I felt a little awkward hugging people who I’d never met in my life, and whose name I had forgotten, they seemed like they were welcoming a new member to the family, like my family would when one of my many siblings got married, or brought home a FiancĂ©e.
This family attitude, I believe, has added the amazing feel and atmosphere. I felt like this is what church should be like and it was a far cry from the flashing lights and guest speakers I have in the past been accustomed to. Maybe this is the direction the church needs to grow, maybe this family attitude is more like what the actual church should be. Church is about growing close to a family of fellow Christians, it’s not about numbers, music or fancy suits. It’s not about how comfy the suit is, how big the church buildings are or how flash the leaflet you are handed is. It’s about being greeted with a hug even if it’s your first time, a “Welcome Home Brother” hug. That is what the church is all about.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Driving Age.

Last week, the government confirmed a change of the driving age (changing the learners age from 15 to 16, and increasing the learners period). When all this talk started about changing the driving age I was very strongly opposed, I even discussed possible protests. I believed I had the right to drive, and I was furious that someone was trying to take that away from me, I believed that 15 year olds were plenty mature enough to drive a car! But now, as I get closer and closer to receiving my learners licence, I'm beginning to rethink my beliefs. Although I believe I would be mature and responsible enough to drive a car (or maybe I'm just cocky), not everyone I've met recently would have been. Well its not really the people on the learners I'm worried about, most kids ten and up could drive okay, if supervised properly, its the fact that after only six months, they can get their Restricted. That is the part the worries me.
I met this guy at a camp I went to, he had just got his restricted and we were sitting around relaxing when all of a sudden this guy stands up and says: "Who here doesn't know how to drive?" I then said I didn't and he said: "Alright then, I'll teach you", and he pulled some car keys out of his pocket. When I said no he proceeded to appeal saying "Come on, I can do burnouts and everything!" I was just short of horrified that this guy was allowed to driving solo on the roads. I suppose that there will always be irresponsible drivers no matter what the age is. But it got me thinking, how many other 15-16 year olds plan to be "cool" and drive around doing wheel spins, attempting burnouts and driving way too fast. I reckon the would be masses of them, a good 60% of guys at least (I for some reason don't expect girls to drive like that at all). That means that there would be thousands of people hooning around, just trying to kill us. So maybe this driving age change is a good thing, maybe it will sting the responsible drivers, but are they the majority? Or are they the minority? It will be interesting to see if deaths/injury's actually decrease. Although, half of me still thinks that those who have been crashing have been breaking their driving conditions anyway, so they will just continue breaking the rules, even if they change. But I think that some good will come out of this change, but not heaps. I think the longer learners period and having to have a set amount of hours driving time before being allowed to get your licence, will be the things that make a difference.

Dan B

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recently I had a read of Jeremy Clarkson's book "The World According to Clarkson". Every thing he said was very, very amusing, but complete rubbish. Nothing I read was really true or relevant, he mostly spent the time being mean to politicians (though many deserve it), and celebrity's in the most hilarious way, but without a really good point.
I once read (in a Readers Digest): "Get a someone laughing, and then you can tell them anything"
Although you want a column (or in my case a blog) to be funny and easy to read, it is pointless unless you get a good point across. I want what I write about to have some type of purpose, not whether the Brits or the Russians look better in speedos.
Yesterday I had a chat with James Brunskill, whom I consider my Blogging mentor and is my only reader, he was talking about a podcast he had heard by somebody or somebody else who said that basically columnists usually end up just raving about whatever had happened to have happened to them that day, and finding one way or another to blame Facebook or the Internet for it. But what is a column\blog apart from a little rave? In the movie "You've got mail" the lead character is writing something on the Internet where she ponders life, she then continues to say: "I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void."
I would like to think a column is more than just a rave into a cosmic void, a column should be a opinion put carefully into writing, showing the reader your idea of things, but without forcing them into believing it. It should raise a good question about society and life. Whether or not it answers this question depends on the subject. But, in the end, it is just someone having a little rave. I looked up the meaning of rave in the dictionary, and I picked out a few of my favorite results; to talk or write with extravagant enthusiasm, an extravagantly enthusiastic appraisal or review of something, Relating to or being an extravagantly enthusiastic opinion or review.
A column is a review of something, currently I'm reviewing columns, and a review requires an opinion. And if your not passionate about writing, or what your writing about, then don't bother. To me a rant or a rave is enthusiastically, and passionately stating your opinion. And that will always be a good read, whether or not the reader agrees with you. Whether or not what you have written will be meaningful or true depends on what the rant was about. This rant, helped me understand what it is I'm doing (or should be doing) with this blog. And it will help me in the future, if this rough, smacked together blog ever becomes refined, and maybe turns into a column. I will always try to bring something new and fresh to the reader. Which shouldn't be to hard, I've lots of strong opinions.

Dan B

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Waihopai Terrorists.

About a year ago, three men, Otaki schoolteacher Adrian Leason, Auckland Catholic priest Peter Murnane and Hokianga farmer Sam Land, broke into the Waihopai spy base and cut down the domes that were protecting a reviver dish, set up to intercept international satellite communication. Within the last week, all of these men were acquitted of their charge and set free. No punishment whatsoever, after attacking a spy base! Surely it's a matter of National Security.

The three men claimed that what they were doing was a lawful protest, and that they believed that doing it would save lives in Iraq. It probably would save lives in Iraq, terrorists lives. Al Qaeda and the Teleban, who, by the way, are fighting some of our SAS troops. The more terrorists alive the more NZ/USA troops die. It is that simple, I consider what these men did, not to be a protest but an act of terrorism. I guess it would be hard to charge them with terrorism since there is no evidence that anyone was killed or injured as a result of their actions, But they should have at very least been fined enough to repair the dome.

This also made me wonder, is the idea of having twelve members of the public choosing who gos to prison, and who stays home, really a good idea? These twelve people let these men get away with a sever breach of national security. Maybe we need a new system, maybe focused completely around a trained judge?

But maybe not. I suppose that the prosecution and the defendant both get a good chance show the jury the law and help them decide on the right verdict. But is it really different from manipulation?

I don't really know, but what I do know is this: If you trespass on Government Property, and damage their Anti-Terrorism equipment, you should be charged, or fined, something.

Dan B

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Danger! Lawyers ahead!

Recently, while surfing the net, I came across a top ten list of worst drivers by profession. It went as follows:

1. Attorney/Judge

2. Financial Professionals

3. Government worker

4. Bartender or waiter

5. Business professionals

6. Dog groomer

7. Marketing/advertising professionals

8. Barber/stylist

9. Coach

10. Nurse

A few of these came as a surprise to me, for example Dog Groomer? There can't be more then twelve of them in the world, yet they have more accidents than the hundreds of people in Marketing. But, I think this can be explained logically. You have to look at the type of person who would do this job, the Dog Groomer, would be a young, blond female, who drives around to somebody's house to scrub their Chihuahua, and then, they would back straight out of their driveway and into their letter box. Or if you take the Government Worker, they are too busy trying to work out how to get a free trip to France to notice the car in front of them stopped. Or maybe they consider the stopped car to be the opinion of the New Zealand public, and therefore completely ignore it, just like they did with the smacking referendum.
This list also tells as a bit about what our employees might be up to behind our backs. The bartenders are number four, and with all that alcohol around them, we can only jump to one conclusion...
The marketing professionals, crash their company car as a publicity stunt. And the nurses are simply overtired, or just trying to bump up their work quota. As for the barbers, they have no excuse, they are just bad drivers.
And for all the other professions I haven't mentioned, I mustn't have a prejudice for them.
But maybe to prevent crashes, you should have in your back windscreen a sign, like the learners plates, saying your profession. Lawyers and Judges could have a red sign with a J in it representing a high risk profession, and nuns could have a green plate with a N in it representing a low risk profession. It's all about road safety.

Dan B

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Change of the flag?

See full size image b See full size image
New Zealand Flag Australian Flag

Over the last year or two there has been a debate going on about whether or not to change the New Zealand flag. They have been saying that as a independent country we should no longer bear the Union Jack, also they say that our flag often gets confused with the Australian flag, so we should change it.
The New Zealand Herald surveyed 18 of the 22 members of the Order of New Zealand and 11 of them said it was time to change the flag, five wanted to keep the same flag and two of them were unsure.
Our flag was officially adopted 24 March 1902, but was in restricted use since 1869. Before that the united tribes of Maori had chosen a flag, suggested by missionary Henry Williams.
The flag has seen us through a lot, two global depressions, many gold medals at Olympic events, but the biggest stand out, would be the two world wars. Thousands of New Zealanders died under that flag, and I don't think they would want it to change, well they are dead so they wouldn't really care so much, but at ANZAC day I want to fly the same flag that they flew in 1915. And why get rid of the union jack, it shows our roots, and we are still very closely associated with Briton, we would be the first to follow them into a war. And who cares if our flag looks similar to the Australian flag. We are even more closely related, an two hour plane trip away. I like our flag, it shows lots about New Zealand, and I don't want to change it, but I would be willing to, if somebody came with a really good design. Otherwise lets keep it old-school.

Dan B