Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Submission on Supplementary Order Paper 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill

Last week I gave my first ever oral submission, which I'm pretty sure was awful given how nervous I was! I'm not going to attempt digging up the recording and subject you to that, but I will share the "notes" I made in preparation, which I had intended to use as a basis and build around. I stayed up pretty late writing them though and ended up just reading directly from them, so what you see here is almost verbatim. With more time I would've liked to smooth it out a bit and improve the ending, but this is what I managed with the short timeframe.


Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns about Supplementary Order Paper 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill today.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs website, "A New Zealand Birth Certificate is an official document containing registered information about a person's birth as at the date of issue." (emphasis mine)

As an official, legal document, a Birth Certificate should contain the facts of a person's birth, and if we allow people to change details as they choose, we render the document untrustworthy, and ultimately meaningless. Whatever choices we make later in life do not and cannot change the details of our births.

For many of my childhood years, I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a big, mid-summer barbecue. Unfortunately for me, I was born right in the middle of winter! Perhaps I should apply to change my birthdate?!

As crazy as that would be, claiming that I am six months older or younger than I actually am would be a much smaller thing than claiming my sex is different than identified at birth. 

I loved studying genetics during my high school years and it fascinates me that our XX or XY chromosomes are found in every cell throughout our bodies -- except for a very small portion of the population who are intersex. Many cells behave differently based on these chromosomes, and no amount of adding or removing body parts changes our DNA.

We've had a few male cats castrated over the years and although their reproductive tendencies were curbed, they never stopped acting like boys. I guess the vet left their DNA intact!

Of course, allowing people to choose and change their identified sex at will opens the door wide for pedophiles and other sex offenders to create more victims. This proposed change would allow boys and men into girls' and women's schools, sports teams, prisons, and bathrooms. If an offender is sentenced for rape he needs to be locked safely away from women where he can't make any more victims, not to change his birth certificate so he can be sent to a women's prison, as this proposal would seem to allow.

Regarding parental information on Birth Certificates, biology is very clear that there are two parents, a father and a mother. Birth Certificates should be equally clear; there's no need to introduce ambiguity with the neutral term "parent" replacing the more specific terms "father" and "mother".

For these reasons I am deeply concerned about Supplementary Order Paper 59. Please, throw it out.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, October 11, 2021


All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

As my family sung this together, there were a couple of main things that stood out to me strongly (although there are plenty more things to reflect on as well!). Firstly, "to Jesus". It is to Jesus that we surrender. Have we done this? Do we continue to do this? And what other people or things are we inclined to render our submission to instead of Jesus? Perhaps we are inclined to break away from submitting to Jesus claims about truth or right and wrong when it's unpopular, and instead render that submission to our society through political correctness or "tolerance." Maybe we brush aside Jesus' call to follow Him, choosing rather to follow Hollywood or sports celebrities. 

Secondly, "all." If we have indeed surrendered to Jesus, have we surrendered all, or are we withholding some things? Which areas of our lives do we resist handing over to Him? If we're single, maybe we aren't willing to give up our desire for marriage. Perhaps its our finances we're holding onto. Or we give up Bible reading and prayer to keep our TV time when life gets busier. Complete the phrase: "All I need is Jesus and _______." Whatever you filled the blank with is something not surrendered to Jesus.

Perhaps we surrender an hour and a half of our Sunday to Jesus (when Aunty Cindy says we're allowed to attend church and worship our Creator), but when COVID came along we surrendered to it our jobs, churches, Bible studies, holidays, education, thoughts, speech, bodily autonomy, family, finances, and even the New Zealand Bill of Rights. If we surrendered to Jesus even half of what we have surrendered "to COVID," what would our lives look like? [Give me a few moments as I reflect on my own conviction.]

Our Savior is infinitely loving and infinitely trustworthy. He'll never let us down or harm us. We can hand Him everything without reservation. All to Jesus I surrender.

I Surrender All by Joey & Rory

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021



"We've been so concerned about being cool, relevant, and fun that we have forgotten to be bread, light, and life to a hungry, dark, and dying world."
~Eric Ludy

Monday, September 20, 2021


On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

Are you feeling scared? Hopeless? Lost? You don't have to be. There's another option. But you won't find it on TV, in the news, the government, or even your doctor. The only Saviour available to humanity throughout all of time and eternity hung on the old rugged cross two thousand years ago. Jesus died so that sinners like you and I can be saved from our sin, fear, despair, and death. Will you cherish the old rugged cross with me?

The Old Rugged Cross by Carrie Underwood

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Managing Technology So It Helps Not Hurts

Technology and smart devices have permeated our society today such that we take them for granted just about as much as the air we breathe. We reach for our iPhones before we've finished blinking the sleep away from our eyes in the morning. Apple Watch tracks steps, sleep, and heart rate. Have a question? Google it. Want to learn a new skill or develop a habit? There's an app for that. Many of these things are helpful and good, and I for one am grateful for the efficiency and ease, as well as abilities and opportunities I'm afforded by modern technology.

I think however that each one of us who uses these devices regularly knows that along with the convenience and desirable aspects, they also bring new challenges to our lives. Work, people, and demands follow us anywhere with cellphone reception. Notifications grab our attention at all hours of the day and night. Nothing ever really feels complete. It's difficult to focus or complete tasks with so many interruptions and distractions. We constantly feel pulled in all directions and stressed.

Thankfully, we don't have to resign ourselves to feeling stressed and frustrated for the rest of our lives! With discipline and a few helpful strategies we can enjoy the benefits technological devices bring to our lives, without they strain they often produce.

The following tips might provide a helpful starting point:

1. Turn off unimportant notifications. 

You don't need to hear the likes roll in on your latest Instagram photo every 2.5 seconds; you can check the activity the next time you open the app if you really want to know.

Every "ping" of a notification is an interruption distracting you from whatever task you're trying to work on. Each distraction means your actual task will take longer, and possibly reduce it's quality too. Turning off most of your notifications is similar to turning the TV on for a toddler: you'll get a lot fewer interruptions!

There are actually a few options when it comes to notifications. The default setting of course is every incoming message, comment, like, and a bunch of posts to announce their arrival with vibration, sound, and even flashing lights in some cases! To jump to the other extreme you can turn off all notifications, and leave comments and messages to be found whenever you open the app. The other option is to somewhere between, with a variation of these settings. For some things that are not important enough to interrupt me, but still important enough that I'd rather not have to wait until I actually go looking for them I've set notifications to appear -- but only when my phone is open. In other words, calls and text messages announce themselves anytime flight mode is disabled, and when I get past the lock screen and open my phone I will be notified of anything medium-priority. I will never see Instagram likes unless I open the app itself and view my notifications there or find a post specifically. This has dramatically reduced the number of disruptions my phone causes, and I don't think I've missed anything important either.

2. Activate flight mode when you go to bed. 

If you really think someone may need to contact you urgently then use the "Do Not Disturb" function instead.

Your device might not need sleep to remain healthy, but you do. Everything that happens in the meantime you'll be able to catch up on later; it won't go anywhere. So eliminate the distractions for a few hours and spend the time recharging, storing memories, and solidifying anything you've learned during the day. Yes, all of that is included in that one word "sleeping" that most of us neglect all too readily, myself included.

3. Leave your phone out of sight during social events. Better yet, out of reach.

Phones are great at bringing us near to people who are far from us, but they are just as effective at taking us far from the people who are right with us. Anyone worth spending time with is worth your full attention, so put your phone away and focus on the person in front of you. You can catch up with distant friends later, and you'll be happier and build more meaningful relationships in both cases.

Technology can be a valuable tool in our lives: helping us maintain long-distance friendships, enabling us to learn many new and useful skills, and making it easier to organise various aspects of our lives. If we fail to manage our usage of it, however, technology will trap is in a never-ending cycle of clicking, tapping, and scrolling. On the odd occasion when we do look away from that blue glow we will be discouraged by the reminder of everything that has been left undone and perhaps the realisation that we aren't doing things that we actually consider important. Of course, we could jump straight back onto our favourite social media and complain to our "friends" (who are also clicking, tapping, and scrolling) and collect their sympathy for our plight. Or, we could turn the screen off and make some changes. 

With considered management and deliberate usage we can enjoy the benefits of modern technology without falling into so many of the traps it presents. We can live a varied and fulfilling life, experiencing new things, making memories, and completing goals. We can build meaningful relationships with friends and family. We can reduce our stress and get the rest we need. We can stop feeling so distracted all the time. And we can make the time and be focused enough to complete the tasks God has for us and live the life He is calling us to.

I, for one, have bigger goals for the remainder of 2021 than scrolling Facebook, so I'll be carefully managing my technology usage, beginning with these tips and building on them. How about you?

Friday, September 10, 2021

10 on 10

    10 on 10 is a collection of 10 images posted on the 10th of the month, captured the day before. No "special" session, just taking my camera with me as I go about my day and capturing art in everyday life, training my creative eye.





: : Cousin's artwork : :





: : Unsure what species this is : :



: : Way too much work happening on this recently : :