Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tubemantravels has MOVED! 

After 4 1/2 years
445 posts
.....and lots of other things
tubemantravels has moved to another site. 
This is primarily due to formatting issues with blogger.
Head here for the continued thoughts re. That God Should Be a Poet

Monday, August 18, 2008

That God Should be a Poet part II

What do the Psalms tell us about God?

(What’s their theology?)

We must take a broad approach when considering the theological message of the Psalms. This is due in part to the context from which this biblical book is written. The Psalms are primarily expressions of praise and lament from individuals and on behalf of communities who share relationship with Yahweh. 

Dumbrell notes that traditional approaches to the Psalms have fallen short for being “too theological andconceptual”[1]. The Psalter is not written simply as a doctrinal handbook in isolation. At its very core is an understanding of God written out of an intimate relationship with him and as expression of this. Thus, “the psalmists are covenant writers”[2], expressing the life lived in relationship with the one true God who reaches out to his people in covenantal relationship. 
As such “we expect the Psalms to reflect theology, but hardly to initiate it[3] 

And reflect theology it certainly does! 

There is not a single Old Testament theology that is not touched upon by the Psalter.  
God as creator (Ps 8), redeemer (Ps 130), judge (Ps 1), king (Ps 97) and covenant giver (Ps 77), are constantly reflected upon and declared. 
God’s characteristics are repeatedly appealed to; His holiness (Ps 29), love (Ps 136) and justice (Ps 9). 
Yet the Psalms do far more than simply ‘list’ the attributes and nature of God. The depth that we are constantly drawn to is one that goes beyond a simple expression of these theologies to a personal account of what it looks like to know, be known by and to relate to such a God. It is from this depth of theology that we will see the real significance of the poetic form as the only literature capable of achieving such a task.

[1] William Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Michigan: Baker 2002), 252

[2] Peter Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 19 (Texas :Word Books 1983), 40

[3] Dumbrell, 252

Friday, August 15, 2008

That God Should be a Poet part I

The Journey

Some time ago I blogged about a journey I had started that involved looking at the role of poetry in the Psalms. Over the pas few months I've read and thought much about this.

To get back into blogging I thought I'd share some thoughts over the next week from my time spent reading and thinking and praying in the Psalms. 

The Conclusion

Sometimes, although I must admit, not usually, it can be helpful to start with the end. So here is the basic one sentence conclusion I came to:

The significance of the poetic form for the theological message of the psalms is its ability to both express the transcendent nature of God whilst plumbing the depths of a covenant relationship with Him. 

The next few days I'll throw up a few thoughts that give this some flesh and bones by thinking through;

1.   What do the Psalms tell us about God?

2.   How does Poetry help this description of God?

3.     What else can poetry do for a worshipping community?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Today’s Good Weekend

Ok, so every Sydney Anglican blogger in existence is going to post some thoughts about today’s Good Weekend article re. the split in the Anglican church.

On one side are the ‘tolerant homosexual clergy’ on the other, the ‘radical bible believers’.

I don’t have time to throw up thoughts right this second. But I just wanted to get in early so I didn’t join the bandwagon in 3 days time.


Craig ‘wanting to be first’ Tubman

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making Bianca Real

A few weeks back I went and saw the movie “Lars and the Real Girl”. It was a good flick in the sense that it was unique, quirky and relational. If I was Michael Adams from the Movie Show (SBS) I would have only given in 3 stars because there were too many avenues it opened for us but never walked down.

None the less, that is for another post…and I’m not Michael Adams.

 What I found interesting was the dynamic between the towns folk and Bianca. Bianca was the blow-up doll that the lead character (Lars) started dating in response to some deep repressed emotional issues. 

He totally thinks she is real, but she isn’t…..

she is just a plastic life size doll……

he purchased from some dodgy internet site.

Anyway, to assist in his therapy the town agrees to treat Bianca as a real person.

It got me thinking about the power of community in shaping identity. For all intense and purposes Bianca was a real person, because the community treated her that way.

So my thoughts drifted - do our identities come from within us? Or from outside us?

From within us would mean people observe us and then reflect that observation by comments such as;

    “You are a very funny guy”

    “You are such a smart girl”

    “You are a wanker”

OR Do the comments and impressions of those around us create our identity? From outside us would look something like this;

You may have once told a very funny joke that made everyone laugh and so you get the reputation of being funny. Now at this point on onwards, whether you are funny or not is not the issue – you now live up to the expectation that you are ‘a funny guy’ because that is what everyone says you are.

Identity from outside.

It’s a bit ‘chicken and egg’ I realize.

But still, are you who you are because that is the real ‘you’?

Or is it because that is how your ‘community’ has told you to be? 

I'm thinking it could be more of the second than we would comfortably want to admit. 

For a while that has kind of freaked me out a bit. 

But I am starting to settle down and unexpectedly finding some clarity. You see, I have a hunch that God knows this as well, which is why he has called ‘a people to Himself’, not just individuals.

 …more to come.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What it takes to be a man.

In today’s issue of ‘Sunday Life’ the Sun Herald published it’s ‘Men’s Issue’. The feature article was in interview with comedians Hamish Blake and Shaun Micallef on ‘What it takes to be a Man’.

Now, whenever you get two comedians in the same room talking about anything there is going to be childish banter. But what was interesting in this article was that it never moved beyond the childish banter. At no point could either man articulate what masculinity actually was. The closest they got was a quote from Hamish,

“The whole trick to being a guy is finding out who you are and being comfortable with who you are – actually, that’s not gender specific.”

In the end a broad secular humanistic comment sweeping the entire gambit of humanity was the only thing that could be mustered. Neither had any clue, outside of the preset ‘male stereotypes’ – which they had fun mocking, as to what it is to be a man.

 Another section of the paper ‘Extra” had an interview with actor Samuel Johnson (from The Secret Life of Us). Tomorrow night he appears in a candid interview on the ABC’s Australian Story discussing his depression, addictions and the hole he fell into after losing two very close girl friends to suicide in 2006. He says;

“Men would be rolling around at 40 still pissed and inconsiderate if it weren’t for the love and level headedness of woman.”

Mocking stereotypes, balancing manhood off womanhood (which, may I say has some merit).

 Does it matter that no one really knows what their gender means?

Any men out there want to hazard a comment re. what it means to be ‘male’?

What does it take to be a man?

Photos taken from

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.

Term 2 has begun and we are studying the Psalms. Ever since high school I have loved poetry – it has amazed and driven me.

I hope to place some posts up regarding the Psalms. But to kick us off here are some quotes from William Brown in his book Seeing the Psalms....just to whet the palet and remind us of the beauty and power of poetry.

“There is a dissonance or tension in a living metaphor whereby the term or the utterance used seem not strictly appropriate to the topic at hand. The metaphor, thus, is a master of surprise.”

 “A metaphor, in essence, works by violating language. It is a transgressor that builds bridges across the lexicographical divisions.”

 “Ancient Biblical poetry has a capacity both to stir our memories with things which are strangely familiar, and also to challenge our vision with its depiction of things which will always remain strangely unknown.

Owing to its expressive power, biblical poetry makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar.”

oh, and just for the romantics amongst us...and the teachers, here is a little classic for you. Click HERE

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

As far as opening lines go, I reckon this one from the Bible takes the cake.  Previously, my favorite opening line had come from Nick Hornby in his book ‘High Fidelity’. I liked it because he opens by listing his all-time, top 5 most memorable break-ups, in chronological order. That fact that his opening sentence involved girls and painful break-ups had me sucked in from the get go -because I’ve always liked girls, and hated break ups but have never been able to stop the two colliding. However, in recent times Hornby’s opening line has been replaced by the Bible’s as my number one, and in a strange twist it is precisely because the opening line of the Bible doesn’t seem to revolve around me.

As the Bible sets the stage off which life is played, it places God as the main character

 - in the spot light, front and centre; “In the beginning God”. That might seem pretty obvious, but for me this was a real shock. Growing up in a postmodern, humanistic culture, straddling the generations of X & Y, I’d always heard a different message. The message I had heard from advertisements, movies and sit-coms was “In the Beginning Craig.” That is, I had always been told that the main character in my life was me! I was the one standing front and centre of my own stage and if I danced well enough and sung in tune everyone would cheer and I’d be the hero.

But the problem is, I hate dancing.

I weigh 97kg’s and I look awkward when I move.

Photo from

Monday, March 24, 2008

I’m resisting the irresistible….

And so, Monday morning rolls around, and in my impulsive tenacity I got a lift out to Koorong and purchased ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ by Shane Claiborne.

I was so excited – here was a guy who lived out the Gospel life. He took up residence in a poor area of Philadelphia and with a small community known as ‘the simple way’, lived a much simpler life.

His community had an ‘open door’ policy in their house, people could come and hang out and be fed and experience the active love of Christ.

  • ·      They grew all their own veggies
  • ·      Made their own clothes
  • ·      Some (who were beauty therapists) would spend evenings massaging the tired feet of the homeless.
  • ·      Others visit old persons homes and sit and chat with those who have no family or friends left.
  • ·      The go in peace marches
  • ·      They would help under privileged kids with their weekly homework

Claiborne would often refer to the words of Mother Teresa (with whom he worked with for 4 months in Calcutta) “We can do no great things, just small things with great love.

All these things I agree with and I think we need a stern kick up the backside regarding our ‘loose’ care for the poor.

My Rant

But the book keeps calling us to be ‘God’s hands, feet and ears’ to the world. Somewhere along the way he forgets the ‘mouth’. There is a trend to call us to ‘live Jesus to the world’, which is great! Except, people often forget that a majority of Jesus life involved teaching and calling people to repentance.

I’m also unsure why Claiborne would write that it was not until he reached Calcutta and saw the Christians helping the poor that he saw ‘real Christians’. I’m still not sure what he means by this? It is as if a life of service to the poor was the prerequisite for Christianity. But I’m not sure if that’s the right approach?

My Rave

None the less, he has some great stuff to say to a Church world that has all but handed over the care for the poor to Gov’t institutions. He has a beautiful focus on community and the need to actively support each other in that community. Church is more than a distribution centre, where the rich dump stuff and the poor pick it up. For in this model, no one is transformed even though everyone is seemingly satisfied. Redistribution should come from community, not before community.

And it is clear that he has a freedom that comes from releasing our grip on materialism. “The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away”. He seeks neither a gospel of poverty, not a gospel of prosperity, but rather a “gospel of abundance rooted in a theology of enough’. That is we are generous with our possessions and we are acutely aware of what is ‘enough’ for us to live without hording or idolising.

It is a book that is worth a read, for it challenges our approach to life and culture.

Yet, I would not rush to call it irresistible. 

….Oh, I came to this church cause the worship is better….”

“There is a profound sense in which excellent worship cannot be attained merely by pursuing excellent worship. In the same way that, according to Jesus, you cannot find yourself until you lose yourself, so also you cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself… sometime’s wonders if we are beginning to worship worship rather than worship God.”

- D.A.Carson, Worship by the Book, p.31 


Do you think things would be helped by us thinking less about 'how we do worship'? Or is that just an excuse for mediocrity?