Daily Archives: December 26, 2007

How I became a pluralist

I remember almost exactly when it happened and even where. It was while walking from Cronulla Station across the park down towards the beach and the year was probably 1968. I was the same age The Rabbit is now and, like him, I was an English teacher though two or three years further down the track.

I had been a member of Sutherland Presbyterian Church — and more. In fact I was an Elder, a member of the Kirk Session, and Sunday School Superintendent. Sutherland then had in response to the first publication of the Draft Basis of Union of what was to be The Uniting Church (of which I am now a member) not only rejected that draft but had gone considerably further by opting out of the Presbyterian Church of NSW to start, along with a few others, a small Calvinist Presbyterian Church which still exists.* (Looking at their site I see a few names of people I knew then.) I had also been attending in more recent times, though not often by 1968, the more liberal Cronulla Presbyterian Church.

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Posted by on December 26, 2007 in Christianity, faith, inspiration, multiculturalism, pluralism, religion, reminiscences


Great new widget and (perhaps) a letter from the mystery spammer…


If you click that you will find a great real time tool for seeing who is reading what where. I have put the widget — it’s easy and works in a WordPress text widget — on all the WP blogs. The most recent visitors kind of flash at you, and the earlier visitors accumulate as you see on that map. It updates itself whenever someone new comes aboard. Great supplement to Sitemeter.

Remember the odd spam some of us got recently which I noted came from Indonesia? Thomas got it too, and so did a lot of people on WP according to the forum there. Could it be the person who sent me this email?

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Posted by on December 26, 2007 in blogging, climate change, environment, Indonesia, site news


Boxing Day Test Match

Well. Day One. Lunch. Australia 110/0…
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Posted by on December 26, 2007 in Australia, Cricket, events


Travis Holland, "The Archivist’s Story" (Bloomsbury 2007)


Image from the New York Times review.

Travis Holland’s first novel, “The Archivist’s Story,” concerns the fate of one of these writers, the Russian-Jewish short-story master Isaac Babel, author of the inimitable Red Cavalry tales, which were set among the Cossack units of the Red Army fighting in Poland in 1920. Holland stays close to the historical context of the period of Stalin’s purges, but imagines the nature and consequences of a man’s unexpected decision to save rather than destroy the manuscripts of a writer sentenced to death.

Babel’s last known words at the time of his arrest were “They didn’t let me finish.” The N.K.V.D. (the K.G.B.’s precursor) was highly conscientious when it came to collecting notes and manuscripts; many were methodically burned, many disappeared without a trace. In his remarkable book, “The K.G.B.’s Literary Archive: The Discovery of the Ultimate Fate of Russia’s Suppressed Writers,” Vitaly Shentalinsky delves into the surviving files from the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, exposing what was — and, in part, still remains — shrouded in secrecy. The chapter on Babel ends with a tantalizing question: “And the manuscripts, all 27 folders? On the day of Babel’s arrest they were packed up into seven parcels, each closed with a wax seal, and a certain Kutyrev, a junior lieutenant in the N.K.V.D., following somebody’s orders, removed them as documentary evidence from the file. From then on all trace of them disappeared.”

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Posted by on December 26, 2007 in Best read of 2008, Fiction, reading