Jesus Racing and More Coral

Posted in Mixed Nuts, Under the Sea on March 24th, 2010 by MadDog
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All of my friends here in Madang know that I am a Christian believer and they know that I make my living, or some of it anyway, working in a Christian mission that translates the Bible into the local languages. And, they all know that I don’t shove that in their faces. Most of them are simply not interested. I discuss matters of belief only when someone raises the topic. Therefore, “in your face” evangelism and pushy tactics make me uncomfortable. I don’t think that it’s nice and I don’t think that it’s effective.

So, I was disconcerted when my good friends Trevor Hattersley and Karen Simmons, whom I recently joined in wedlock, passed to me these images which they snapped on the highway during a pleasant visit to Oz. This is something that you don’t see every day:When I first saw JesusRacing, I rolled my eyes.

And then I remembered the days of my youth when I spent many Sunday mornings with my Austin-Healey Sprite at the local abandoned air strip with the Sports Car Club of America crowd enjoying the smell of burning rubber and castor oil (yes we put castor oil in the crankcases – weird, eh?). There was a very active and successful racer who held interdenominational church services every week on the circuit for those who cared to come. Many people attended who were obviously not part of the churchy crowd, but simply enjoyed the company of fellow racers and didn’t mind the religious falderal.

I asked him once if it bothered him that he never went to church on Sundays. He said something like, “I like racing the way Jesus liked parties.” Puzzled, I asked him to elucidate. He said, “Well, Jesus performed his first miracle by turning the water into wine at a wedding party.” The conversation went on and I soon had a rather different view than I previously held.The web site is interesting, primarily because there’s an honesty there which you often don’t see in “promotional” evangelism. For instance, Andrew “Fishtail” Fisher explains the difficulties of financing the expensive sport of motor racing while excluding commercial sponsorship. “Confusion of the message” is the problem, as he puts it.

I’m odly ambiguous about this. On one hand, it makes me squirm a little. Maybe a little too flash, eh? On the other hand if you can plaster ads for laundry detergent all over a top NASCAR bullet to sell your soap to women, why not write Jesus in bright red letters on your car if that is your message? Some will laugh and scoff. But, isn’t that slightly hypocritical? Which is the more profound message, soap or Jesus? Even if you think that they are both equally inane, my question is the same, “Then what’s your problem?”

As soon as I get over this sinus infection and I’m off the “antibiotic of last resort” I’m going to hoist a brew to the folks at JesusRacing. Or maybe a glass of red would be more appropriate.

Thanks, Trevor and Karen.

What would Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  be without something that smells like fish? I shall now deliver.

Here’s another something that you don’t see every day. It’s Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa):And yes, it does look exactly like bubbles. Under the bubbles are ridges that are as sharp as razors. I won’t say that I popped a bubble once to see how tough it was and got cut. No, I won’t say that. It would make me seem even more stupid than I am. The yellowish fingery looking stuff in the image above is Lobed Leather Coral, a species of Lobophytum.

This coral is a nasty customer. I’m talking about the gooey looking mass of macaroni like blobs in the centre. The things on the left are sponges. The coral is Euphyllia glabrescens:The operative word here is “ouch”. I once made the tragic mistake of draging my arm across a mass of this stuff while lining up for a shot. I had no wetsuit on that day. I will not  do that  again.

I call this stuff “underwater napalm”. It is very sticky and wherever it touches your skin it feels as if you’ve been sprayed with molten steel:What’s worse is that if your try to scrape it off the pain simply gets worse and the stuff spread like it’s alive. Well, it is  alive, for pity’s sake and it’s going to get even with you for disturbing its peace. It even looks evil. It reminds me of a heap of tiny ears.

Okay, I’m out of words now. I’ll be here tomorrow again to say Hello to you and spout the same old gibberish.

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