Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Flatmate Cathy returned home to China this morning, and within hours had been replaced by our old flatmate, cockney Neil, back from the UK for a holiday daaan under.

In fact, it’s all change in my life at the moment.

A few months ago my friends at the Salvation Army Korean Corps on Queen Street asked me to run a regular kids’ Bible study group after their service on Sunday, in English.

Of course, I only had time to complete two weeks of these meetings, before I had to return to England, and having been back for over a month now, today I finally managed to run a third one for them…

However as I’m returning to England again for Christmas next week, today was once more the last time I would see these people for a while. Ironically, it’s also the first time I’ve seen them since I got back last month, so I was inevitably greeted by everyone with exclamations of “Steve – you’re back!” So much for dropping in to tell them goodbye.

In this entire trip, this was the closest I came to my old stomping ground of Auckland CBD...

But then, if the robot Santa is on the loose again, maybe it’s just as well.

On my way out of town I paused briefly at an internet café to print-out Jacob’s latest script for tonight’s Uncle Travelling Jesus sketch at my English speaking church Cession, which in the event went quite well as usual. The audience are quite quiet during these things, and I’ve no idea if the sketches make any sense to them whatsoever, but it’s good to be performing something a bit surreal without fear of complaints.

Dear Nephew Go-Bro.

This week, I was passing through Rome, in Italy, Outer Space, so I decided to drop by my second home, the Vatican, and catch up with your Uncle Joe, or…His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as they’re now calling him for some reason. Well nephew, we’re old friends so he calls me the J-Man and I’m now calling him the Pope-Diddy! I must say, he didn’t look terribly impressed when I called him that in front of a bunch of his Silly Creature friends though! Sometimes I think he takes himself a little too seriously – but then he always did, I suppose.

Anyway, after a few meetings we got sick of getting our rings kissed by the Silly Creatures, so we decided to pop out and get some air together. Your uncle Pope-Diddy told me he knew the perfect spot out the front of St Peter’s Basilica, and as you can see it’s a pretty top spot, with plenty of benches to grind and steps to ollie. Bet you didn’t know your old Uncle Travelling Jesus could pop a phat backside 360 did ya?! Well, I’ve still got it baby! Unfortunately your Uncle Joe (sorry, your Uncle Holiness! ;-P) didn’t quite have the skills on the day and ended up with a sprained ankle after his second attempt at grinding one of the parked cars, erghh. At least this meant I now had a photographer handy though to take some nice shots of me: like this one of me ‘talking with the birds’.

Well, I think I better go lay hands on His Popeness now so that he can get back into the serious meetings without limping. It was good to visit the old second homestead again, but I think I’ll be glad to get away from all the Poperazzi who keep trying to snap me at inappropriate moments. Anyway take care now and maybe I’ll let you have a go on my new board when I get back home for Christmas.

your Uncle Travelling Jesus.

Sketch #1 of 5 here.
Sketch #2 of 5 here.
Sketch #3 of 5 here.
Sketch #4 of 5 here.
Sketch #5 of 5 here.

Tonight’s service was all about joy (hence Uncle Travelling Jesus having fun above), so we finished-off by inviting everyone to let-off party-poppers to the 1812 overture.

Afterwards I didn’t much feel like hanging around to say more goodbyes though, so I got out of there quick to walk home. So much for joy.

I had a long cold uncomfortable walk home tonight, exacerbated at the end when I decided to pop up to the top of Stockade Hill for a pray.

I really hadn’t wanted to leave England to come here five weeks ago, and in order to manage it I’d cut myself the deal that I would go back home again for Christmas. I’d had certain words with God on wanting my life to work out too.

Now I was looking down at my darkening home-from-home town of Howick, wondering once more whether I would ever see it from this angle again. Had it all been for nothing? Was I about to lose my whole life here? Once again I was faced with my long-term deep-rooted impossible-to-shake conviction that God loves and has a life for everyone else but not me.

So as I stood there in the cold night air, once more I genuinely asked God to search me and see if my motivations weren’t honest and pure. Of course I’m a sinner, but I don’t wish to pay crowd-pleasing lip-service to that right now. No matter how much I get wrong, I do believe in God, and genuinely try to follow him. But when you’re 35, alone, on the far side of the world and looking down on hundreds of lit houses containing thousands of people God has given families to, to the extent where it’s so normal that more and more shocked people gasp the unintentionally hurtful question “How come you don’t have one?”, well, there’s a point where positive thinking simply becomes denial. And therefore wrong. God appears to have been quite determined about this for over 20 years now. “(smirk)Er, no Steve. Not you. I don’t think so.”

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