Monday, December 26, 2005

Version of the Lord's prayer

Here's a version of the Lord's prayer - which I got from jonnybakers site:
O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here.
Imagine your possibilities now.
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment's bread and wisdom.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others' faults.
Help us not forget our Source,
Yet free us from not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision, Power and Song
from gathering to gathering.
Amen -
May our future actions grow from here!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Grief and Relief

A co-worker resigned and left this week. I'm really grieving he's going. But there are other ways in which I'm relieved too. These last few months have been a hard journey for all of us - and I'm glad that at one level some of that is over. There is too a sense of relief over now being sure of some of the details of the role that we shared. Those things are all deeply true and real.

But tonight I am feeling the grief:

You'll be missed,
You're not there
Across the table
Knowing what I'll be thinking.

You'll be missed
You're not there
To take a walk, down the park
To sort through those thoughts.

You'll be missed
You're not there
with the shared understanding of organisations
and the depth of theological thinking.

You'll be missed
You're not there
To seep those values
into the culture.

You'll be missed
You're not there
To sort through what is happening
and work out ways forward.

You'll be missed
You're not there
To cringe together
to sigh together.

You'll be missed,
You're not there
to dream of the future for which we long,
to create that future together.

You'll be missed
You're not there
For those breakfasts
and other events.

You'll be missed
You're not there
with your icons,
with your broader spirituality.

You're not there
But your impact lingers on
Things are different because of you
You'll be missed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I've just had an evening that it's been a real privelge to participate in. It was a night of sharing dreams that are on our hearts - a group of us met, shared dreams, listened to dreams and looked for and found amazing connections in all of that. It was a good night - in the strongest sense of the word; a "sacred" night.
Yet I've come away somewhat frustrated (as well as delighting in an amazing night). While some of that has nothing to do with the evening and a stack to do with tiredness and other factors in my life I can isolate two factors of connected with the evening that I'm aware of:
Firstly, a bizarre thing to be frustrated by - people that I'm around seem to be spun out by times like tonight. I certainly am! But people around me also seem to think it's "unique" - whereas my life is full of times like tonight. Now I reckon I should feel like that's a real privelge - and I do really believe that as the truth - but tonight I'm grumpy that somehow others see that as special and don't see that I experience that on a very regular basis.
Secondly, I have various dreams, some very much of my own, some of which are shared with others. Some of those dreams get excitement and energy from others in this environment, some really don't. I came away reflecting on my dream of establishing an "intentional discipleship missional community" and how those dreams just seem too "Christian" for the comfort of many people I'm around whereas my dreams around op shops, community development, spirituality more broadly are much more accessible to people in some of my contexts.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I've been conscious recently of a range of situations where I know I've joined with the Spirit ... but where I feel some level of guilt afterwards. I know deeply this guilt is not that of conviction but comes from what it means to be inviting people into what the Spirit is doing doesn't always fit the "nice formula" that we as Christians have often been taught. This has often been the case in these situations and the guilt comes from going against what have been held and taught formulas of sorts. But the freedom that joining with the Spirit's work brings to me and to others is sure better than any outcomes of formulas - so I think I'll keep at it!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Question of the Week

A question that I'm adding to my Examen questions that came up in a conversation with someone yesterday:
"How have I stifled what God is doing in someone?"

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Question of the Weekend

A great weekend filled with many amazing moments - I must share some of them!
But the one I wanted to share right now was a question that a 14 year old friend asked me on Saturday night:
"So what is it about Christianity that draws you at the moment?"

Ace question, from an ace bloke! And great conversation followed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Being Seen

The next step in my journey of questions from God:
after: "Being squashed by the body of Christ or not letting yourself be seen by the body of Christ?" and living a bit in the call to live in a way that let's myself be seen and finding myself in the place of "but people don't see me even when I'm living in a way that let's myself be seen".
And the question is: "What does it matter whether people see you or not".
Ouch but good and freeing.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Slave nor free

Over the last while I've been increasingly aware of the way in which I "classify" people. A whole range of categories: age, class, stage of life ... I could go on. In many ways it doesn't mean I relate to them less but it does make a very real difference. Some stuff has been happening in me that has caused me to reflect on "there is no Greek nor Jew, slave nor free" (Gal. 3:28)and this has cut to the core. In so many ways I don't distinguish between people, yet in so many ways I do and in ways that mean that identity speaks stronger to me about them than their identity as people made in the image of God, people who are "one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28 again). My perceptions definately mean that I often don't relate to people in the freedom that God would long for me to and not in ways that offer the life in me to them (and receive from life in them).

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Threads of my Week

It's been a tiring week but one full of life in many ways. One full of strands coming together too. There are many strands, let me share a few.

A few days ago I sahred about getting to a point of saying "squashed by the body of Chirst" - the next question that rose inside me (I reckon by the Spirit) was: "squashed by the body of Christ or not letting yourself be seen by the body of Christ?" Ouch! I think both are true but it's very obvious to me that the invitation to me is to let myself be seen, no matter how people respond. It's a hard call for me, definately a call for me to move from "communinity for myself" to "myself for the community", definately a "death to self" kind of invitation. One that has been tested this week too. And one that I also know has much life.

Last Sunday night at our gospel reflection in the Communion service I participate in as I thought about what the reading of the day was inviting me to for the coming week I said: I think the invitation for me is to let God silence my questions.

Over the last week I have read Job in two sittings with some others. It's so powerful and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been interesting to do that in the context of the above statement about questions and to go "that is so what happens in that story". The thing that has lasted with me is part of Job's answer to God (in The Message): "I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand - from my own eyes and ears! I'm sorry - forgive me. I'll never do that again, I promise! I'll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor." It's being met by God that we all need and this is the place we need to live out of, it's the only place of life and it's only when we let God silence us that we are able to be fully in that place, able to live fully out of that place.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Henri Nouwen Reading of yesterday!

Meeting Christ in the Church

Loving the Church does not require romantic emotions. It requires the will to see the living Christ among his people and to love them as we want to love Christ himself. This is true not only for the "little" people - the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten - but also for the "big" people who exercise authority in the Church.

To love the Church means to be willing to meet Jesus wherever we go in the Church. This love doesn't mean agreeing with or approving of everyone's ideas or behavior. On the contrary, it can call us to confront those who hide Christ from us. But whether we confront or affirm, criticize or praise, we can only become fruitful when our words and actions come from hearts that love the Church.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Quote of the Day

"I don’t have a voice in your life until I have a stake in your life, cultivated and genuine."

From this post via Julie

Monday, October 24, 2005


Had a very mixed day and as I arrived at "Remaking", our spiritual formations night I was quite excited. I'd been over at a friends telling her about some stuff that God is bringing together - that is spinning both of us out - I'm sure you'll hear more of that in due course. But tonight we were doing some stuff around contemplation - great stuff, centering prayer. As we were discussing afterwards I was reflecting on how so often when I'm excited and celebrating I end up in a situation where it's reflective and I feel like that excited and celebrating part of me is "squashed" - someone in the group commented "squashed by God" and as I've reflected on it I have thought no - it feels like I'm "squashed by the body of Christ". That's a very normal experience for me - the lack of ability to be myself around "the church".

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Over the last day or so I've had a great story of reconciliation. Again can't really talk about it in detail - but it's made me think about how I've learnt lots this year about reconciliation and about some processes of it that I haven't really known before.

I'm such a "let's figure this out" kind of person (anyone who knows me well will be going "really! how surprising to hear that - NOT!") but I've been learning lots about letting God figure it and me and others out. Not about withdrawing (although stepping back or letting others step back is often the thing I might need to do) but rather staying in the relationship at whatever level the Spirit seems to be leading me too and seems helpful and do-able and in that letting God do the work in me and in the other/s that needs to be done for true reconciliation. That may mean stuff needs to be verbalised, often way less than I might have thought was necessary (or than I might have used to in actual fact avoid the work God might be wanting to do in me or in another). It may mean leaving some space (sometimes minutes/sometimes years) for healing to occur deep within each person. It may mean relating through the tension, trusting that God will work deeply in each person; letting him do that in me and making choices along the way which offer healing and love to others. It is most likely about simple choices of love, relationship and actions which are true to both yourself and others and these are the things that speak volumes.
Finally, and most importantly, I'm learning that true reconciliation is definately a gift of grace and something that goes way deeper than anything that we could manufacture or strive for. It is always about choosing love over being right and choosing for relationship and for the things that matter over things that seem to matter but really just distract from the things that matter. It is about staying true to who you are and letting someone else stay true to who they are but about letting something far greater than any differences that raises to have the final say.
True reconciliation is a deep, precious, wonderful gift and I'm thankful both for the gift of that in many places in my life and also for the growth in a deep lived experience and knowledge of this precious, mysterious gift of grace.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hard Stuff

In many ways it's been a hard week. It's not stuff that I can really talk about but it is wearing and demanding at every level. The thing though that I've been enjoying the experience of is that it's not consuming. There's a level that I am really experiencing a difference between now and the past in a tricky, hard situation. I'm very thankful for being able to sense the work that God has done in me that means that I'm in a different place to how I previously have been.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Heart wrenching Truth

There are times when great, amazing words are spoken - that are very wise and true and truth far deeper than any words that are spoken is spoken into your heart. This truth is beyond words - it is a meeting with The Truth himself.
That was my experience of yesterday.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Festival Weekend

Well I'm having a bit of a struggle getting into my day today - am way tireder than I thought I would be.
It's been a good weekend. The first of the Solace festivals - a weekend away in Woodend ... some of you will know that it's a place that brings back lots of memories! Even spent quite a bit of the weekend in a pub that I have had dinner numerous times - so loads of interesting trips down memory lane to quite a different time.
The weekend itself had nurerous sacred moments, as we shared life together in many ways. We stayed in various places and came together for a number of "festival wide" events. About 12 of us stayed in a caravan park nearby in Macedon, while others stayed in B & B's in the area and other accomadation. It was a good time of such "being" together and of building stronger relationships with people you know well and see a bit as well as people you don't know very well at all.
A group of us read thru the second half of Job together on Saturday morning - a great experience, continuing on from a tiem a few weeks ago. Someone keeps saying we should make a musical of it - only half jokingly. Great discussion and powerful time of reading.
Saturday night was a powerful time of sharing from who we are. People sang songs, shared stories, discussed some art work. I spoke about some "art" I'd done - with the word Allegiance in the centre and some words from a book called Community and Growth all around the canvas. I'll try and take a photo of it soon and put it up. The art had a coffee background - an idea taken from a Sydney friend and symbolising the way that there are many people beyond the Solace community who feed me and feed into what I bring into Solace ... you reading this are probably one of them!
God was definately honoured through the sharing of ourselves and the honouring of each other that happened over the weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Just went to see one of my favourite bands, that is the band of some mates of mine, Mayfly. I love those guys!
Afterwards, I was chatting to the person in the band who I know the best (an amazingly enriching conversation)who happens to be the drummer. Now this is a bloke who I've shared a house with in the past so I've seen him play lots - guitar, drums, various other things - but I never get tired of it (maybe there was the odd occasion when I was living with him and I was trying to have an afternoon nap!). Tonight I looked at him and said "you know watching you play drums is a spiritual experience". There was a slight pause and he said "I'm glad because playing is a spiritual experience for me".
That was one of the extremely profound moments in our relatively brief but nourishing conversation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Why does it so regularly come between 4 and 6 am!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why were you not Barb?

I read this quote this morning on Odyssey - a story I've heard before but which I love - and a good reminder to us all!

There is a Hasidic tale that reveals, with amazing brevity, both the universal tendency to want to be someone else and the ultimate importance of becoming one’s self: Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”
Parker Palmer Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Monday, September 26, 2005

Being Real

There is much that I love about the community of faith that I am part of. One of those things is the ability and great permission for people to doubt and just generally be in places of complexity. I love the permission and encouragement there is for people to be able to say and be real about those things.
BUT unfortunately I don't feel that there is the same free and easy space to be real about the times and way that things are just great and when complexity is not the experience. The times when it really is true to say "God is good" and when it is really easy to see God at work in your life and the world around you.
I've had heaps of times of complexity and darkness and anyone who I've been close to and who I've had the privelge of journeying with will tell you that I certainly encourage people to be honest and real with God and the community of faith in all the intensity and anger that can sometimes mean. However, if that is true it's also true that we want to encourage a space where people are equally encouraged to be real and true with God and each other when it's way easier to say "God is good", as a Matt Redman song says "When alls as it should be", or even better put, when life with God is one of ease and contentment.
This is where I am at the moment - not at all in a space where there are no issues, not at all in a place where "all is as it should be" necessarily - but definately at a point where there is much contentment in my relationship with God. I certainly know complexity, I certainly have known times of deep distress and anger at God but that is not where I am currently - and I long for more of a sense of freedom in my faith community to be able to not only be real about that stuff, but also for others to celebrate and enjoy it with me.
I'm not really sure how much I just perceive the lack of freedom to be real about being in a "content" place with God ... I suspect that there is freedom to be real about it, but that because many people are in a quite different place people don't resonate emotionally with it, which is so vital for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One answer

There are many things I could (and will) answer to my question below but one of them is to help people be asking two questions:
What is God doing?
How can I join him?

Sharing Faith

Just had a great conversation with one of my colleagues about a training sessions he's running tomorrow night.
One of the things that we notice across the movement that I work for is that, generally speaking, people are either so keen to share the "gospel" with people that they ae so focused on it and lose sight of many other factors in the relationship (and often only know how to do it in a programmed way anyway) or they are just so on about relationships that they never share their faith with the people they meet. I think that there are so many factors involved in both ends of the spectrum especially fear and also a lack of "confidence, love and reliance upon Jesus" to use the words of Dallas Willard. I reckon that it gives us all away (yep I'm not always where I would want to be on that spectrum!) as people who are only babes in the dynamics of what living in the kingdom of God is about.
These opposed points on spectrums are around me everywhere I look - I certainly don't think it's an issue that is only prevalent within our movement.

I get excited by people living naturally and really with God and in life - with no division or false split between those things, loving God and loving people, knowing more of what it means to be "in Christ" and to live life to the full, knowing that by who they are a light to the world, an aroma, and being ready and prepared to give a reason for the hope that they profess. That's what I dream of - how do you train for that?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


After I wrote that post yesterday Tracy and I went to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - great movie. Must go back and read the book now. Some really funny spots and great effects but also I was shocked at the depth in it that I hadn't remembered.

Then we headed back to the campsite - the it was party at the campsite last night so we sat around a fire (well pot of heat beads!) drinking and chatting. Fun night - group of us also went for a night stroll down to the beach. Since we had everyone in our camping area there - there could be no requests to turn down the music - there was no-one to disturb!
But the thing I wanted to write about was to further my coffee analogy. One of the people there last night we haven't met before - she's camping with her mum in a different part of the caravan park. She's a girl I imagine about 20 - quite a young 20 I think. She said to Tracy and I - she was sun baking near the camp kitchen with her mum the other day and watching us in obviously a deep conversation and that it was beautiful ... who knows what we were talking about, could have been anything, could have been praying, who knows - but it did remind me of the aroma.
Also, while we sitting there last night one of the blokes from next door asked Tracy what she was drawing yesterday - and she described how she'd drawn lines around a page to represent the things she's thinking about around being free and analogies of dancing in freedom and that it was called "the Unforced Rhythms of Grace". The guy went from there to talk about how important it was to be happy in your own skin and how he'd give anything to be that. He then looked at me and said - you seem pretty happy in your own skin - and I just went "yep". Another place where I was reminded of the aroma ... it's amazing how much gets noticed. It also made me conscious of how much God's grown me in all of that over the last few years.

This morning the guys cooked all of us breakfast - bacon and eggs, onion, tomato etc etc. Yum. A group of about 10 of us ... and tonight it's spit roast - we're not sure if we'll be around or not though. Amazing how much community develops so quickly under certain conditions. The young couple who are travelling Australia for 3 months were meant to move on today but are staying because "where else are you going to find this kind of group of people and location etc again". I'm glad. I imagine they and the guys next to us will try and find a caravan park in Surfers together for the rest of the week and the weekend.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Perculator Coffee

This morning over breakfast we were talking about coffee (those of you who know me will know that's not that unusual!) and the guy who I was drinking coffee with was saying that he's normally satisfied with instant - you can imagine where the conversation went.
Soon after, I was in my tent reading "The Story we find ourselves in" and the conversation got to using coffee as an analogy for the God's work in us. There were many analogies drawn but I was particularly struck by the discussion of God's work in us like a good coffee perculating and then our aroma as God's people being unmistakable to the world.
Thinking more about this - I've been thinking about how someone who doesn't know coffee isn't likely to miss "that's a distinctive aroma" even if they don't know what it is. Similar with people who don't know the work of the Spirit - "that's a distinctive aroma" - even if they don't know what that is.
The conversation in the book also talks about how the person's experience of most churches is like weak instant coffee - how true and how sad.
The guy in the tent next doors coment combined with that made me think about how much we get satisfied with instant coffee when in fact we are designed for the perculated variety with deep and rich aromas that bring blessing to the world.
And as I lay there thinking I prayed for those guys that they would know that deep aroma of God's spririt and that would replace the satisfaction for the instant stuff that doesn't bring real life. And prayed that I would live deeply in that place too!

When 3pm is Shower time

That's a description of holidays! Often we've been up and dressed and been out and about before we have a shower at (coincidently) 3pm. But today - I hadn't done anything but thrown some clothes on to go to the next tent where we'd had breakfast cooked for us (yes, how hard is life!) and then been back in bed re-reading one of my favourite books - The Story we Find Ourselves In ... get's me so excited about life and the story that we all find ourselves in.
In such a relaxed mode that it's actually quite hard to remember what we have done the last few days - been both low key and quite busy. Saturday was a lazy day ... and Friday night just at the end of washing up after dinner I had a migrane so went to bed. Vicki - Tracy's sister - came to visit on Saturday and I hung with them a bit but mostly just read, walked the streets of Byron, had chai in the place we love chai from ... and ate ice-cream with Vicki and Tracy. Saturday night - we went to a few of the places around, went out to a gourmet fish and chips place for dinner, then went to a few different places and had a bit of a dance at one, hung out with the guys from New Earth Tribe who give out free Chai, fire-twirl etc on the main street on Saturday night and then finished the night with a hot chocolate at The Balcony bar/cafe.
Sunday - up and too the market - how hard is it when a market you would normally love, you look at and go "this is a bit ho hum" because you've been seeing that kind of stuff all week. But we got over that fairly fast and ended up spending 5 hours there! I bought a hacky sack, a pair of purple fisherman's pants, a couple of purple tops, a cushion cover, and a wooden chopping board. And we had coffee, chai, vege curry, and bought some fudge. The best thing about the market is the drumming circle at the end of the day - amazing. I love watching people drumming - putting all of themselves into the beat - reminds me deeply to the invitation to throw ourselves into life. Been thinking (feeling might be a better word) lots about that while I've been up here - and watching lots of people on drums.
Then it was time for church - which was awesome again. don't really have words for that.
Then we went home and cooked dinner (salmon - yum) ... talked and prayed for each other - then went out to celebrate life, God, relationships ... went to The Balcony and had a "grasshopper" cocktail - yum ... then went up to the Beach hotel, danced a bit and caught up with our tent neighbours - two lots actually, had a drink and then the pub shut - it's very rude indeed - we wanted to continue partying and there was no where else to go in Byron Bay at 12.30pm on Sunday night!!! So it was back to the caravan park and continued chatting there for a while with the 6 of us ... then bedtime at 2am. Then this morning the guys next door cooked breakfast for all 6 of us, I did the coffee, and the young couple in the other tent did the dishes - all quite fun.
Life is indeed very good!

Friday, September 02, 2005

What was that?

What was that? seems to be the best way to title todays post - both Tracy and I have thoroughly found ourselves in holiday mode. We're exhausted today. Some of that might be to do with the amount we walked yesterday - when we added it up it was around 10km! After I blogged, we got stuff for dinner and drank some tea in a cafe after wandering around some more - then had a rest before dinner. Dinner - yum ... salmon cooked on the bbq and veges ... and then strawberries we'd bought at the farmers market yesterday morning with ice cream .... all a bit of a treat really. Then we decided to go out and walked to a bar we hadn't been too - seemed fun but was reggae and we didn't feel like it, so continued to check out each place in town - and none of them suited our mood, so we headed home about 10.30pm, having had a lvoely walk around Byron checking out the Thursday night scene. Was a fun, relaxed night. Sat around for a bit and then headed to sleep.
This morning I was awake from about 4.30am to 6am, just thinking and enjoying the sounds of the sea and the dawn ... lovely experience in the tent - also some good time with God. I think I was also awake at other points as people came home at various points in the night (it's got busy around here for the weekend). Slept til about 9.30 ... then up and slowly decided to go to Nimbin for the day - fun day and very interesting place.
But we are most definately exhausted and feeling ourselves in holiday mode very definately. We've had several conversations about the need of our bodies to stop and just how wierd the process your body goes through as you stop is. But it's all fun and we don't have any need to do much so we're just doing what we feel like it when we feel like it. We're preparing ourselves a bit for the onslaught of busy-ness in Byron for the weekend and looking forward to the market on Sunday. Tracy is also going to do an African dancing class tomorrow morning and we'll potentially do a fire twirling workshop on Tuesday. We're also looking forward to going to the Sunday gathering of New Earth Tribe again.
It's been good to have a bit of a chance to stop and reflect on some things and get some perspective ... which is both making me go "whatever" (ie. it sort of doesn't matter) and be even more convinced about things, often about the same things - if you can understand that at all. Have also been refelcting once again about things being God's and him needing to look after some stuff ... it's good to have constant reminders about that. I'm extremely thankful for the gorgeousness of creation, the beauty of life in many respects, the breeze of the wind and the spirit, the warmth of the sun (literally and figuaratively), the exoticness of life, the simple things that make up life ... mmm ... breath deep the breath of God!
My boss rang today and after a few minutes stopped the conversation saying he was concerned that I was starting to talk shop too much (after having said how relaxed I sounded) ... I knew he had nothing much to fear ... I'm in such holiday mode - I knew that I could turn off again fairly quickly, although of course I go in and out of thinking and praying about work stuff and also stuff to do wiht other parts of my life like Solace. But yes for both Tracy and I an apt description of the day is "what was that again?" - that speaks of our vagueness. (and for those of you who know Australia - no it doesn't have to do with where we have been today, as my boss accused - jokingly - it being!!!)
And now I must go and get some gnocci from the supermarket for our dinner - since Tracy has just rang to say that she is awake - so time for dinner and then we will see what the night has in store.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Byron Bay - Where every day is a Sunday!

"Every day is a Sunday" was Tracy's quote as we were eating lunch (or was it breakfast?) at 3pm in a cafe in Bangalow yesterday ... was really lunch honestly, although you'd be fooled by the fact that we were eating Bacon and eggs ... some of the most yummy bacon and eggs I have ever had. Yesterday we went out to the Arts and Industry Estate just out of Byron and wandered around there - very fun. Gallery stuff, seconds of clothes, some food stores ... I bought two pairs of shoes :) Then we went to a town called Bangalow which I really like and wandered the shops and had "lunch". Very fun and relaxed. Then I went for a walk and got some stuff for dinner .. and then lazed for a while, cooked dinner and lazed some more ... and then slept.
This morning we got up and went to the farmers market and bought veges for the week, then went through lots of fun shops in Byron, sat drinking chai in a cafe and went back to the caravan park for lunch and then for a long walk along the beach. Now can I just make everyone jealous - our caravan park where we are camping is just on the edge of the shops AND just on the edge of the beach.
Feeling very blessed and quite relaxed. Very aware of the goodness of God ... and very thankful for life. Blue skies are important for me - and as I look out now - it's blue sky everywhere.
Yep - Byron Bay - where every day is a Sunday.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Another Beautiful Day

Sitting in the internet cafe in Byron Bay - well one of them!!!!
Yesterday morning was NOT a beautiful day weather wise ... pouring rain all the way to the Gold Coast, where I dropped Tracy ... and then continued up to Brisbane because my friend who was going to come down and meet me at the Gold Coast had a sick 4 year old daughter (who ended up going to kinder after all but it was looking questionable for a while and we weren't convinced that she wouldn't need to be picked up - a bit problematic if mum is an hours drive away). So I got to see their house, see the kids school and kinder respectively, got to have dinner with them ... and got to have a rave and spend time with a friend who is incredibly important to me (they moved to Brisbane at the beginning of last year). It's funny - I didn't realise how much I missed her (and the kids) until I burst into tears on the way home to Byron last night. They are good friends, it was great to see them, but it did open up just how much I miss them. It was a good day.

On Monday we went to Brunsick Heads (a beach up the road a bit) - had dinner there at a place called Hotel Brunswick and stood on a dark, isolated beach for ages ... was very gorgeous. We also had coffee with someone we'd met at church the day before - also quite fun.

Today - not sure what it's in store - we'll see. I'm in quite an adventuring mood, shocking Tracy and I, we were expecting that she would be the one who wanted to go exploring and I would want to sit in the tent and read al day - seems to be the opposite, I'm wanting to explore and she's wanting to sit on the beach. We're quite amused and interested in what's happening in both of us.
All fun!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Byron Bay - 1

Sitting in an internet cafe in Byron Bay. Gosh it's nice to be in a t-shirt and it be warm enough to not ned a jumper :)
Tracy and I drove up in 2 days, stopping overnight in Dubbo. We had dinner the first day in Grenfell, the town where my mum grew up and has a significant amount of family history attached to it (both my grandparents on mum's side are buried there) - and it all renewed the passion in me about family history. On the next day we stopped in Tamworth for lunch and then Grafton for dinner. It was all a fun drive and way more than just "driving to get somewhere" - it really was the beginning of our holiday. Tracy and I were commenting that by about lunchtime on the first day I was in another world and the world of work and Melbourne life was thoroughly left behind - I've been finding that while I work hard and live quite an involved with people life I'm more able than ever to leave stuff aside and live in the present of my day - whatever that happens to be. It's quite fun - and means that each day is quite an adventure, whatever it has in store.
We arrived in Byron Bay in the midst of busy partying Saturday night and were both quite stunned at just how big and busy it was. We wandered around a bit before collapsing for the night after 2 quite full days of driving. Then yesterday the task of the day was to put up the tent, which we did ... then went to Bangalow to the market for a little and to grab some lunch (at 2.30pm) ... then came back in time to go hang with the church community we thought we'd check out at 4pm ... that was ace and we ended up there til 8.30 ... too late for the supermarket so we had dinner out and then went to a pub and danced a bit (continuing on from having danced at church!) and headed back to the tent at 11.30pm.

This morning we did make it to the supermarket ... for food for breakfast ... and then had breakfast at 11.30am ... now I'm sitting in an internet cafe at 1.30pm. Life's great ... we're quite relaxed ... our goal for the day is getting some shopping done and we are having coffee this arvo with someone we met yesterday. Loads of stuff to do, and we're both thinking about lots ... I expected to be in a crash and read mood - but instead I find myself in an explore, excited mood. As I was saying to Tracy this morning, I think it's saying good stuff about the amount that I have been letting myself stop in normal life ... so while I'm am very tired and needed to get away from the everyday life stuff (people, tasks etc) because of my Sabbaths etc I don't have the same need to crash as I often do.

Life is good. And I'm very aware of the amazingness of God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Grace and Dignity

A quote from Stephanie of Just Etchings:

Grace and legalism cannot exist together. Legalism will squeeze grace out, but grace will invite legalism to shed it's coat and begin to find true life.

Shame and dignity cannot exist together in our story. Shame holds us in bondage. Dignity gives shame a kick in the butt and invites us to wear dignity and honor our story with the co-author of it - God.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sick - but alive

I've been wanting to post various things but just don't get around to it. Right now I've got the flu and like it almost always does - it's gone straight to my ears. I'm trying very hard to take it easy and rest up.
We've got 5 days and then I'm on holidays for two weeks - yay!!! My friend Tracy and I are driving up to Byron Bay and camping there for two weeks ... I'm just longing to collapse, drink coffee, think, journal, pray, read, relax, sleep, go for long walk on the beach ... Tracy and I are very good friends and have holidayed together several times now - so it should be fun. As much as I love people, I really do need space, and lots of it ... so I am loking forward to this chance for some space ... from people, from responsibility, from to do lists, from all the "necessities" of life ... and get to some bare basics for a while.
Before then - I have loads to do ... lots to get done and in order before I go ... so quite a few meetings, lots of emails, lots to organise, lots to make sure is in process for while I'm away. The ncie thing is that I'm better at putting things down then I have been so I have very little concern that I'll be able to.
But first - I'm running church (Solace) tomorrow morning.

And I do need to say which church at the moment because I seem to be somewhere different most weeks, last week I was running the Sunday morning time at Reservoir Salvos, the week before that I ran the evening time at St Paul's Fairfield ... all so different, yet so fun and all of those are places which in different ways are "my people", so none of those ones are "visiting speaking", although those do happen.

There is so much going on in my brain - that I don't know where to start ... so right now I won't ... except to say that life is very good and I'm very content ... although I wish my ear would unblock!

Friday, August 12, 2005


For a range of reasons I've been thinking about what it means to give dignity to others ... or what it means not to, for that matter. What are the things that we do, or don't do, that give those we have contact with dignity - and what takes away their dignity. For most of us our belief in our own dignity is quite fragile - we don't need help in lessening it more.
I've been really aware of the ways in which I have not treated others with dignity, sometimes through actually thinking I was helping them or loving them ... as well as aware of the ways in which I haven't been treated with dignity, often because of the persons own issues.
I've also been knowing the invitation to inceasingly enter the space of treating all who I'm in contact with in ways that give them dignity. I wonder what ways of relating you are conscious of that increase or decrease dignity?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I've been writing a Chapter today on the Way of Learning and Understanding for the Spiritual Traditions Course (called Remaking) that my community runs. And once again I've got excited about the Bible and the way that God's spirit meets us in our reading of the Bible ... and the way find ourselves in the story ... and the encouragement for God's people to be a story-formed community ... and our invitation to be actors in the story of the remaking of the world. Get a feeling I'm excited?

Friday, July 29, 2005


Another occurance on Wednesday - yes quite a significant day for lots of reasons! On Tuesday night I had eaten out with a friend at a place just up the road from my house and had a glass of wine - and since our work cars are insured with a company that you can't have any alcohol and drive them, my friend dropped me home (lovely night, by the way). What that meant was that I walked to Fairfield to catch up with my old housemate ... then walked to Westgarth Bapts for lunch - between those two places I saw someone who has been coming to St Paul's on a Sunday night and managed to have an excellent conversation with him about his work and life as a single dad ... then on my way to Westgarth saw and spoke a bit with one of the people who comes for lunch who goes for walks during the mornings - and that was quite significant relationally. Then as I walked home I smiled at a neighbour who was going up to the corner shop, and then a little later as I walked up to get the work car from where I had left it the night before I met her in the street and had a conversation - the first we've had where we introduced ourselves etc.

All very interesting - one of the many reasons I've decided not to have a car is exactly these reasons but I've so often needed the work car for work related things and when it's sitting there it's so hard not to use it just to drive to the shops etc. But this kind of episode just shows the neighbourhood, community, incarnational value of walking (not to mention fitness!).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

27th July

I hadn't planned how I would spend yesterday - like I hadn't thought out clearly "what do I need to do on the anniversary of Paul's death". This is something I will often do with "big" days - both ones of celebration and grief/sadness/commemoration. Days of this sought are quite significant to me - both consciously and unconsciously; I've come to discover that often without realising it I'm conscious of the day my grandmother died (who died before I was born!). So dates like this are significant - which is why it is interesting that I didn't "plan" for what to do on this one, that is very significant. I hadn't planned but God had.
I realised sometime in the last few days that it was quite a full day, looking at the diary. I was quite sad about that, knowing that for such things I do need space - but given the things in the day and other peoples lives I really couldn't move anything.
So the day started with a coffee and breakfast with Gina, a friend who I lived with for 3 years. We don't see each other heaps now - there's no natural connections so we only see each other when we make a time to do that, but she is still a close friend, we know each other well and accept each other as we are, having changed lots over the time we lived together and since; we've walked many journeys together and there are some agonies of our heart that only we (and God) understand well because we experienced them together. We did touch on those agonies yesterday but I also talked about Paul a bit, as well as us talking about many other things. I just knew that that time was a God arranged thing ... not planned by me for that date, but couldn't have been better planned.
Then it was time for me to go to the lunch for people in supported accomodation that I'm involved in on a Wednesday. I really didn't feel like going but felt I should given the fact that I hadn't made it the last two weeks. I went and it was so good. Had a great chat to an elderly lady who is quite lonely, then fed two people who need assistance with eating. They were both great - but especially the second, Linda. Linda is ace, I love her. She is 45 and has had a stroke so each movement is pretty hard; she's in a wheelchair and she can speak but it's a drawn out process and her memory is pretty shaky at times but spot on at other times. I was feeding her lunch and as I was she asked me why she hadn't seen me around the last few weeks and I explained ... one reason was that I was prepraring for a camp to which she said "if I'd known you were going on a camp I would have come" - that made me smile. Then she asked me about what was in my day yesterday. Didn't talk about Paul but it was just lovely to be serving her and be so deeply served and cared for in the process. Again a very God arranged thing that I could never have planned for.
Then meetings in the afternooon 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm - all good and useful discussions and times ... then a couple of hours staring at a computer screen last night, trying to get soem work done, but really just having some space - again I hadn't planned nothing on last night, but that was what my diary said. Another arranged by God thing.
Came home quite late - I think mostly because I needed to be by myself (as much as I love my housemate), then quite a sleepless night.
So I've been very conscious all day and had some conversations, emails, sms's with others who are also grieving and people who care for me in it - it was lovely a week ago someone who isn't "personally involved" at all said "I'm very conscious of the 27th coming up soon - how are you and how is Julie?" That was very special.
This morning I feel good ... ready to deal with the world ... ready to write the articles that were due yesterday for our organisations newspaper thing and a few other things and then to join the rest of the staff at the zoo ...

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you?!
(the favourite song around the office at the moment!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Twelve months ago

This time twelve months ago I had no idea what was about to happen - none of us did. Paul had been at Search for Life and come home ... we imagine he was watching Six Feet Under ... none of us had an incling of what was going to happen in a few hours time. None of us knew the numbness, pain, agony, tears that was coming, none of us knew the way that God would hold us and bring us to a deeper trust in him and contentment, despite and even through what really is still a tragedy. But these things, and much more, have been some of our experience as we have experienced much grief over Paul's death.
It is twelve months on. As Julie and i were saying today - on one level it feels like yesterday, on another it feels like a lifetime ago. It seems like I should be watching Six Feet Under right now ...
Numbness is real tonight, words certainly don't cut it.
I remember well the phone call from Julie during the night after I heard about Paul's death. The phone was by my bed, expecting her call. It had been a restless night ... words didn't cut it then, they don't cut it now.
The week following that rates as one of the most agonising and growing in my life.
Being present with, physically and in spirit, in word and silence, in joy and sadness, in laughter and tears, at wineries and on the beach - have all found new meaning as I have walked with others who have also grieved (and are grieving), as I've let myself grieve and as I've had the privelge of having others be present with me in various ways as I've grieved ... and as I've known God's presence deeply in it all.
The feelings are still mixed ... grief is still real ... I'm more convinced than ever of the tragedy that it is ... I know myself more deeply than ever ... I value life more deeply than ever ... I know some people more deeply and intimately because of it all ...
I know and trust that God is good more than ever before.

A deep, anguished but contented sigh ... with tears running down my face ...

And I remember Julian of Norwich's prayer:
All is well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Taking the Role

One of the things we discussed last weekend at the Directors Weekend for SU Missions and Camps was the importance of taking the role that you are in. We find that many directors really struggle with the fact that often they are leading people who are there friends and often the same age or sometimes older than them. We were encouraging them to think through lots of things related to that but one of them was how important it is to assume and live in the role that you have. Good stuff - and I think helpful for some directors.
So ... I've come back and several times this week been put in situations where I've been challenged in exactly that myself - sometimes doing very well, sometimes very badly. It most definately has been one of the challenges of my week - be the leader you are made to be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So many thoughts, so little time

Life has been and continues to be incredibly full. It is very good and in many ways very fulfilling but I am extremely aware that it is too full in many ways - and that I'm increasingly desperate for space and to stop. Some of my rhythms of days and weeks have slipped in the last week (and months) and I know that it is very important to regain them. But in general, life is very good. This last weekend was the Directors Weekend for SU Victoria which I had the prime responsibility for (with other staff also involved). I'm thrilled with how it went. But I am exhausted and a whole range of things in my life have me thinking and processing.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A few thoughts from the Forge Nation Summit

Last weekend I was part of the Forge Nation Summit. Lots of thoughts and hopefully actions prompted for myself and others I went with and spoke to. I get stunned by God's timing and ability to work things into just what is needed for a person at a given time - that was the case for me and others.

Went to Hamo's workshop on Apostolic Leadership - great stuff and helpful to think through. He has listed what he walked about here.
Went to some workshops on The Theology of the Emerging Church. We talked about lots but the thing that I've really been left with is the thought from the story of the Prodigal Son that the Prodigal and the Older Brother don't talk. Has me thinking about lots of things.
I went to a panel on "what we can learn from ministry to the poor about ministry to the middle class" - great session but didn't really hit on that in the session because everyone on the panel are so passionate about ministry on the margins (could have benefitted from more of a range on the panel). I got lots out of it though. Here's some quote that I don't really know who said or wrote all of:
"If you have come to help me then you are wasting your time, but if you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let's work together."
"Margins always has a message for the centre"
"It's the things/people that you can't do anything about, that do something with you" - Richard Rohr
Also went to a workshop which inpired me no end about being present in and loving the community.

I've long since decided that the key at this kind of thing is to be inspired to keep on in the stuff I'm commited to, hopefully picking up some tools along the way and also hopefully being God's person in the right time and place to walk with what God's doing in another - all of these were parts of last weekend for me.

Dan and Hamo have written some good reflections on Women in Emerging Church/Apostolic Leadership coming out of the Summit. The people I was with certainly noted the absense of a woman as a "plenery session" speaker. I also would echo the "blokey feel" of the summit - although it didn't bother me. Although I did hear one female leader saying how nice it is to be in a situation where there are more blokes (obviously obviously in situations more frequently which is the opposite). Mmmm ... interesting stuff for us to journey with.

Phil has also listed some other quotes he heard around the place here.

Good on you Forge guys for a great time of encouraging the missional church in Australia.

Book meme

My goodness life has been full, busy and largely good. I've got lots to write, only some of which will get written I suspect but firstly I've been tagged by Trav for a book meme so here goes:

Total books owned, ever: There are 447 books of mine that I can currently count in my house (plus my housemates books, plus the books we have on our shelves of a friend who is currently overseas, plus the 20 or so books I have from the library or friends). I also probably have 20 or so books at work of mine and another 20 or so books of mine out on loan to other people. Then there are heaps of books that I have owned that have been given away/sold/walked over the years (I remember 30 or so Trixie Belden's being given away when we left one house) - so maybe 200 of those. So we are up around 700.
(yes I do take after my father!!! But he has got rid of some of his!)

Last book I bought: 3 copies of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I read Julie's copy of this book when she lent it to me a couple of months ago and loved it - so I bought it for a friend who is going overseas on Saturday, bought one copy for myself and there was a 3 for 3 deal on so I bought another one - they have all already been boorowed (in one night!).

5 books that mean something to me: gosh this is hard and there are so many I could list, I'll try and choose a bit of a range.

1. Bold Love by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
A book that quite literally turned my life upside down in a whole range of ways: what does it really mean to love, not the kind of love we often think and talk about as Christians but gutsy love that really has the other persons growth and the relationship at heart. Read it for the first time 6 or so years ago and I'm so continually trying to live out the stuff I learnt.
(Could also in this category have said Inside Out by Larry Crabb that completely turned my life upside down when I was 16 or 17 and still largely shapes me: the quote "it's not until you realise the life is profoundly disappointing that you learn to love" sent me into a spin for months)

2. Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
A book about Jesus, what really living in the kingdom is about, what transforming grace is and how to be an apprentice of Jesus. Great stuff that excites me about the adventure of life.
(could also have said The Spirit of the Disciplines also by Dallas Willard)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (especially The Last Battle)
I've always loved the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but over the last few years on retreats I've been reading some of the other books in the Narnia Chronicles - and they spin me out. God has so often used them to help me see more (and know way more deeply) about him, myself and the world.

4. Community and Growth by Jean Vanier
At one time someone could have said that this was my second Bible - I don't quote it as much anymore but it still has a profound influence on me. Jean Vanier started the L'arche communities where people with intellectually disabilities live with assistants. It's a book of much wisdom coming from much experience and a deep spirituality. (I could also have put many things by Henri Nouwen - also connected with L'arche communities)

5. Open Minds: 21st Century business lessons and innovations from St Luke's by Andy Law
Over the last few years, I've done alot of reading about and thing about leadership and organisations. This is proving extremely useful for my role at SU Victoria. Lots of the stuff I've read and thought about challenges heavily the model of leadership that has been more traditional particularly in Christian orgnaisations. You might say that stuff I've been reading is based on chaos theory or living systems. I've picked this one to list because it tells the story of an organisation learning to work differently - something that is a living metaphor for me at the moment.

I tag Trish, Julie, Dave and Anj (if she hasn't done it already - I don't remember her having done it).

Monday, June 20, 2005

Fainting for a Cause

I've just been over to some of mission directors place for dinner - yummy pumpkin soup and very yummy chocolate pudding ... just right for a cold winter night. They are a couple who I have heaps of respect for - as I do for many of our directors. It is a real privilege to walk beside the people who direct, and are involved in, the missions that I'm responsible for; so many of them are such ace people and I really do have the utmost respect for them on many levels.

Tonight these guys told me what at one level is most definately not a funny story - but on another level is quite funny. They were sharing about Scripture Union and about mission at their church earlier in the year and just as they started sharing someone in the congregation fainted. What do you do? Keep going? Draw even more peoples attention to the person? Quite an awkward situation really. Makes you think what they said to cause someone to faint!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

A lovely weekend of many delights - and some sadness and grief too.

Starting with the sadness and grief - George, a pretty special guy at the church I worked at for a few years died on Friday. He's had a good life - 95 years of it, but will be sadly missed and St Thomas' and Puckle St, Moonee Ponds won't be the same without him. He was one of the people that I missed the most when I left St Thomas' a year ago, I had tears in my eyes when he was saying farewell to me and the few occasions I have seen him since have been qutie special. Definately someone with a heart for God and who encouaraged me both in my walk with God and on the path of ordination. There were definately times when his and my difference in age and perspective showed but it was very obvious that we were on about the same thing and that expression was what the difference was. He has lived through times that I only know something of by story and has lived through, and be gracious towards, enormous changes around him. One of my strongest memories of George will be the times when after my preaching he commented on my use of "I reckon ..." or "I think ..." and tell me that I needed to present things more strongly in my sermons - we had a little joke going about that. Goodbye George ... indeed, as we prayed the prayers in the Anglican prayerbook last night at the communion service I am regularly part, I was very thankful for this faithful departed one.

There has been other grief in the lives of friends and people in my community this week - which I can't really talk about ... but let me just say that my heart aches for others pain.

Friends from interstate have been a part of this weekend. Chris O, who I used to live with and Paul, who is also a good friend have been down from Newcastle, and I got to spend Friday with them, lovely relaxed day and great to see them. Also, Dave and Kel were down from Sydney and I got to catch up with them this morning. Lovely to see people from that part of my world.

I have spent time with a range of Melbourne friends an family this weekend too. Friday night, Trish and I organised a dinner party with a 7 Solace people at Camille and my house - very fun. Saturday night was a 21st which I popped up to briefly - for someone who has been coming around to our fortnightly Tuesday dinners where we explore our spiritual journeys a bit more. Sunday was the normal Sunday olace gathering, then jazz in the St Paul's, Fairfield church building where I got hang with good friends and others, then Bible reading with Gail and Tracy, then St Paul's evening service, then out with Dad for dinner! And today, I got to hang out with Mark who I work with and his wife Yvonne and daughters Esther and Jasmine. Loads of people in all of that!

Food has also been a big part of the weekend. On Friday night, Trish, Camille and I cooked a vegetarian curry, and we had cookies and cream ce-cream with Strawberries for dessert. As well as that some great red and white wine was enjoyed, as well as a Red Hill Estate Boytritis (others also finished the night with a Baileys, I refrained!). On Saturday, my housemate decided to try making rice pudding which we both love and we have been eating it ever since - most satisfactory! She made two different recipes and we have decided that we like Stephanie Alexander's more than Jamie Oliver's! Yesterday, we had the cafe next to St Paul's, Alfio's cater for the jazz afternoon and I had a lovely rigatoni, and then last night Dad and I went to Vegetarian Orgasm for dinner and I had a lovely Thai Stir-Fry after having samosas and spring rolls for entree. And today ... I had yummy soup for lunch, with homemade sun-dired tomato and olive bread. So my taste buds and stomach have had a very satisfactory weekend ... although I think I must be getting used to it, as I type my stomach is letting me know it's presence and asking me what I'm going to give it for dinner. Having had my work dinner appointment cancelled, I now need to answer that question myself, rather than telling my stomach that it will get what it is given!

Alongside all of that , I have continued reading both a book on Postmodern Children's Ministry and Join Me - thoroughly enjoying them both and have been thinking/praying about/priocessing many things which I may or may not write about it in some other posts. But for now I will leave you with the prayers based from some of Julian of Norwich that I am praying with my Anglican Prayer Beads that we made at our latest spiritual traditions night, seem quite an appropriate way to end and bring together all that the last few days have been in action, thought and prayer:

God of all goodness, give me yourself
For you are enough for me,
And if I can't ask for anything less that is to your glory,
and if I ask for anything less, I shall still be in want, for only in you have I all.

All is well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Here is a poem that I have read in various places in Cyberspace ... but when I read it today on Jonny Baker's blog I was reminded of wanting to post it myself. Indeed, risks and freedom are intricately related.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd, is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But the risk must be taken, because the
greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing,
has nothing and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he
simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave,
he has forfeited freedom.

Parable of the Sower

This morning at Solace we looked at the Parable of the Sower - in fact we were invited to put all the sermons we'd ever heard about it out of heads and to read it for what it was and think about what it was about.

A few things fascinated me:

In Mark 4 - the passage we were looking at (haven't checked the others yet) - in the recording of the parable there is no mention in the Greek of seeds. It is just(kind of ... my tenses in Greek aren't necessarily up to scratch - but the idea is that seed is not mentioned) - The one who sows went out to sow. ... some feel among ... other fell among. Some listeners would have heard "seed" but those listening carefully would have heard that it wasn't there and wodnered about that.

Also - So often we think about what the sower sows as "the word" ... and think of that as "the message", "the news about Jesus" ... maybe the kingdom. And none of those are wrong necessarily. But it really hit me this morning that verse 14 in Mark 4 says: "The sowers sows the word" ... that word for "word" is the same word as in John 1 when Jesus is refered to as the Word. So have a think (and read) about the parable of the sower if the "word" that is sown is Jesus.
Interesting ...


Just want to say that I have finally finished my team budget for work - phew ... it's been a long process and no doubt will continue to be as the business manager comes back to me as he tries to do the same process with the whole organisations budget.

It's been a learning experience and one where I've really realised that actually once again it's one of those things that really you need to learn to do by doing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I've been meaning to send this poem to a friend for a few days ... but then decided that others might also enjoy it ... so I thought I'd post it here :)


by the wheel of the car
driving me to the next

by the tearing tensions
of demanding opposing
compartments of my life

by the fall
from the pedestal
on which I chose to stand

by disappointment
of those who thought me
strong and sure

by the impermeable silence
unseen waves of mute resistance
from life denying loss

by words of bitterness
and hatred
spewed from a dark
and unimagined
place within

by angry taunts
of those who would not hear
my fear full words

the glass-like
clarity of vision
into a thousand jagged
frosty fragments
splintering the ground

as bread is broken
broken to be shared
among us

to be healed

by Jean Clark
in “Be Our Freedom Lord”.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Losing your faith?

Here is a quote from Maggi Dawn's blog ... that sums up a truth that I know so deeply ... and one that I reckon we don't allow space for often enough:

"The experience of losing your faith, or of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least it can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this. I don't know how the kind of faith required of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience that you are having right now of unbelief. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith."
Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

That's right - you're here for dinner

You arrive at a house.
Ring the doorbell.
A face that you recognise opens the door.
You say hello and enter the house.
You then see someone else so you introduce yourself.
The person who just opened the door looks at you blankly ...
and then clicks onto something and tells you the x (his wife) is in the kitchen.

You go into the kitchen and someone else is standing there as well as x.
You assume that they decided to invite some other people over for dinner as well ...
Then x admits - they'd forgotten you were coming ...
Y who answered the door recognised my voice but not my face (it was a work dinner) ...

So you have a pleasant dinner with great people who you barely know,
don't know how much of what you came to talk about is appropriate to say in present company.
Eventually, y asks you whether there was more to your visit and gives you an in to talk about the stuff you specifically want to talk about ...

A great, useful night - and fun ....
but a wierd situation to walk into with people you barely know.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Revealing answers

"Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so."
Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller

Saturday, May 21, 2005

My book pile

Thought that it would be interesting to comment on books that I'm either reading, have read recently or want to read soon:
The other day my boss put a book on my desk that I have been wanting to read for ages: Join Me by Danny Wallace. Have heard alot about it from a number of people and looking forward to reading it.
I am reading Blue Light Jazz at the moment - a book that says it is "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality". I've heard lots about it from a friend and also on various blogs. It's good.
I'm dipping in and out of Liberation Management by Tom Peters - a book recommended by the person I work with. Very good, crazy read and I love it, but I can only take so much at a time.
I'm re-reading bits of Children Finding Faith, one of the best books I know on childrens ministry.
Also at times reading bits of The Singer Trilogy - gets me so excited about life, catches me up in the song!
A book that came into the Resource Centre at work recently was Meet Them Where They are At - really about youth work but actually a great book about mission and incarnational theology (that is, "meeting people where they are").
And of course, having written about it the other week - I finished Brian McLaren's latest book The Last Word and the Word after That a few weeks ago and it is slowly making it's way around my friends.
And I am waiting to get my hands on another book by Brian McLaren - A Generous Orthodoxy, I just need to get one friends copy off another friend.

There are some other books around - but they are some key ones! That's plenty!

Too much to say to say anything!

I've been planning on posting for days and days ... but it seems that every time I go to post I either don't have the energy ... but also like I go "which of the many, many things that I've been doing or thinking about do I post on" ... and then there's the good old things being too confidential, personal or tricky to write on a blog ... I imagine you bloggers out there will relate.

Other people have commented on Paul's absense at Lynda's 21st and on scattering his ashes on Eleoura Beach - I had a lovely few days with Julie last week, including one day where we went to the Yarra Valley, which was a favourite place to go with Paul and had a lovely lunch and scattered some of his ashes together. It was one of those times where words can never do justice to it - but definately something that was immensely special. One of my friends said that what she hoped and prayed for us was that it was "a time of love, joy, tears, fear and grief and that it was profound" ... yep that just about sums it up.
And by the way - Yering Station is a very very nice place to go for lunch - we sat watching the cows thinking that Paul would definately have enjoyed!
You move on and you never move on hey!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

My week

It's been one of my biggest rollercoaster weeks for years. There have been huge highs and low lows. Deeply in it all, I know God's goodness and sufficiency.
Two things that speak of some things in my week are:
- I had coffee with a friend and in the midst of talking about many things this person (who has known me for more than half my life) asked me what my name meant ("just something I've been meaning to ask you for ages"). I had no clue but came home and looked it up on the net: Barbara - stranger, foreigner, exotic, mysterious. I and the person I was talking to were both fairly blown away by that - as have other people who I have spoken to since about it.
- These words on a post by Anj speak volumes for me: "It is true that sin has caused your pain and sadness….but now all is well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Healthy Kind of Sadness

Today is a happy/sad day! Today a group of close friends/kindrid spirits farewelled some very close friends of mine - they are off to England "for a time". I am so excited to see them go, I have journeyed this decision with them every step of the way, and believe that it is so right. But that doesn't make the grief of parting easier, it does make it much more mixed but not easier. My relationship with these guys is some of the most close and healthy of my life and seeing them move to the other side of the world fills me with grief. But as I reflect on it, I reckon it's a healthy kind of sadness - we were made for the kind of relationships that I have with these guys and there is great sadness, that is appropriate, in parting locations for a time (at least). We were also made to be free with each other to enable us to go and be where God would have us be and this is also something that is very real in our relationship - that is what we most long for for each other and that freedom is deeply present ... and I am barracking for them the whole way to England. I know they will be warmly welcomed by the community they are going to and that God will take good care of them.
So deep grief and deep joy are both deeply present today.
Farewell from Australia Kate, Tri, Celia and the youngest one of the family.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Last Word and the Word After That

Firstly, I now have a new computer at home and all set up and on the internet (thanks Dad!) I imagine that will mean more posts than have happened in recent months.

But what I really wanted to write about was the book that I finished today: Brian McLaren's The Last Word and the Word After That. I found it a bit hard to get into: mostly because in many ways I couldn't be bothered with the discussion about hell that it discussed deeply. Not that I don't think that it's an important discussion (and done really well) - it's just that where I am meant that the discussion was a bit ho hum - but a vital one nevertheless and I'm sure that at other times it will of great significance and no doubt will be something I point many others toward. And I do love the way that the discussion, theology and thoughts are weaved through a very natural process of relating. Definately worth a read (although I suggest you read the two others first: A New Kind of Christian and The Story We Find Ourselves In).

But the second half of the book, what is known as Book Two: The Word After That, I loved. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you all from this section of the book.

Thought 1

Talking of the a group of people who are important to him, one character says to another (who he is inviting to join this group of people):
"Truth be told," he said to me one afternoon that June, "these are the people I know with."
"'Know with'?" I asked.
"Haven't you noticed how learning and knowing are ultimately communal experiences, social experiences?" he asked in reply.
"I can see how learning is communal - like learning in a class or small group", I replied. "But knowing?"
"Think of the word consciousness, whose components mean know with. I've found I can only know so much until I find a community that shares my knowing. If I begin growing very far beyond what my community allows me to know, I need to persuade my community to think with me or else find or form a new community. These people I'll be meeting with are the group that I've been knowing with for many years", Neil replied.
(page 129)

I loved these words, they gave me some words for some of what I've been grasping around for words for for the last while. I have some ace people who I "know" with (you know who you are!) and I love being with and having these "knowing" contexts and relationships, unfortunately though with many of them physical distance is great.
The fact that these guys met once a year though reminded me of how rare this kind of depth of "knowing" together really is and how much this "knowing" together, even at a distance of time and geography, can and does sustain us and this is so true for me.
So while I do long for more of this kind of "knowing", it actually helped me be really content and thankful for the fact that I have ace people who do "know" with me.
For that - thanks God and thanks to you guys too who I "know" with.

Thought 2

When these guys get together they have 5 "queries" they ask each other:

How is your soul?
How have you seen God at work in and through your life since we last met?
What have you been struggling with?
What are you grateful for?
What God-given dream are you nurturing?
(page 153)

Great questions, some of which mirror exactly the questions I've asked a group of people meeting in our house recently and most of which are the kind of things at the fore in many conversations I have with the people I "know" with. But I found the questions brought together like this really helpful - and thought that some readers of this blog might too.

Thought 3

I won't talk of the context in the book (will take too long and give too much away) but someone in discussing the different way they were beginning to understand the gospel writes:

In my way of telling the gospel, what you call the Western way, there were always thwo key questions:
1. If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you'd go to be with God in heaven?
2. If Jesus returned today, would you be ready to meet God?
Jesus is important because he paid for your sins when he died on the cross, so if you die tonight, or if Jesus returns today, you'll be forgiven and can enter heaven.
But in this new understanding of the gospel, two very different questions come to mind:
1. If you were to live for another fifty years, what kind of person would you like to become - and how will you become that kind of person?
2. If Jesus doesn't return for ten thousand or ten million years, what kind of world do we want to create?
Here Jesus is important because he leads you and forms you to become a better and better person, and the kind of people who truly follow his way will create a good and beautiful world.
I'm realizing that both sets of questions have their validity ..."
(page 171)

I got quite excited by these questions and find them really helpful.
So what kind of person would you like to become - and how will you become that kind of person? And what kind of world do you want to create and how are you taking part in that?

Partly from the book, but mostly just because of a range of different things, it's a very content night tonight.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Not "Serviing the Thing"

Anj has been writing about "serving the Work" over recent weeks and we have also talked a bit about it. So this morning when I was thinking about a range of things I thought of how important it is to "Serve the Work" and not "serve the thing" - whatever the "thing" might be.
So often we serve the "thing" rather than the "Work".

It is so about entering into what God has for us, living for and in the Kingdom, allowing God and that adventure shape and transform us.

If that all seems a bit jargony - have a look over Anj's blog of recent weeks.
For readers of that blog, and some others, this concept may well add to your thinking of what Anj has been blogging about.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cool Quote

I've had this quote in my diary for the last 6 months or so and was just cleaning it out and once again was hit by it:
"An individual without information cannot take responsibility, but an individual who is given information cannot but take responsibility"
(Jan Carlson - former head of Scandanavian Airlines; quoted in Wheatley "Leadership and the New Science")

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thursday morning in Melbourne

Just thought I'd give you an insight into two (or maybe a few more) aspects of my life this fine Melbourne Thursday morning.

Today is the day we are rearranging our office space - trying to place ourselves physically in the teams that we are now in and also create an atmosphere where we can continue ot relate more in the ways we are trying to. I do love the people I work with ... and love the way that God has and is shaping us into a team. (bit miraculous with the amount of us that are new)
I keep thinking of the quote (no idea where it's from originally): "We shape our buildings and our buildings shape us" ... I reckon it's true of spaces too.

Also been reading Galatians in the Message a bit as well. Especially Galatians 3: “The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.” Also have a look at Anj's post on the same thing.

And just 'cause I'm in a food mood at the moment - cooked some yummy salmon last night for dinner, with an amazing fish and oyster sauce marinade, with some coriander for good measure.

Galatians ... and office moving

Just thought I'd give you an insight into two (or maybe a few more) aspects of my life this fine Melbourne Thursday morning.

Today is the day we are rearranging our office space - trying to place ourselves physically in the teams that we are now in and also create an atmosphere where we can continue ot relate more in the ways we are trying to. I do love the people I work with ... and love the way that God has and is shaping us into a team. (bit miraculous with the amount of us that are new)
I keep thinking of the quote (no idea where it's from originally): "We shape our buildings and our buildings shape us" ... I reckon it's true of spaces too.

Also been reading Galatians in the Message a bit as well. Especially Galatians 3: “The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you.” Also have a look at Anj's post on the same thing.

And just 'cause I'm in a food mood at the moment - cooked some yummy salmon last night for dinner, with an amazing fish and oyster sauce marinade, with some coriander for good measure.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday

Another relaxing day ... and night last night.

Coffee this morning before church - which was fun even though the cafe that my friends wanted to take me to was shut ... we found another one which was nice, although we might just need to go back to the other one tomorrow ... and yes I think that not drinking coffee for lent has been a useful thing, both in terms of breaking an addiction (don't plan to let it get back to an addiction level - even though I'll now be free to drink it) and also in terms of thinking about what it means to choose life and live in freedom.

But a highlight of the day was this morning at church and again relates to my 2 year old friend. We were up kneeling for communion (Anglican church) and after receiving a blessing she looked very seriously at the priest and said "no worries" (when she might be expected to say "Amen"). The priest, her parents and I all lost it laughing (although the priest pulled herself together to continue giving out the bread) ... and then at the end of the service when the priest went to do the blessing she told the congregation what my 2 year old friend had said and got us all to say "no worries" instead of "Amen" at the end of the blessing ... was very good and very fun. I often talk about how much a blessing that girl is - and she continues in that trend ... in many more ways than just this.

Also just enjoyed the service this morning - a slightly High Anglican Church that reminds me of how liturgy can be done well, relaxed and with meaning. Once again reminded me of my calling to Anglican church ministry (plenty of things put me off it - so it's nice to have good strong reminders of it!).

More reading ... journalling ... eating ... sleeping ... talking ... praying ... and watching Two Towers.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Well it keeps being ages ... and I keep planning on that being different ... but it hasn't changed. Hopefully, it really will this time.

Life has been quite crazy, both just by nature and also by my own choosing. There has been and is lots going on in pretty much every arena of life at the moment.
Today life is very good. Down at my friends place on the Mornington Peninsula and eaten very well the last two days (they practice Sabbath Friday night/Saturday which includes feasting!) - had yummy Vietnamese food after stopping in Springvale on my way down to get some much needed ingredients (and learnt what some particular herbs were for the first time!).
Lots of rest, and also good conversation and praying with some good friends ... and loads of 2 year old medicine.
Talking of two year olds - my two year old friend had Good Friday explained to her yesterday and since then has been at times (like when we prayed at dinner tonight) been saying "Jesus ouch" ... mmm ... be "nice" sometimes for it to be that fresh for us!

Also been looking up recipes in my friends Jewish cookbooks and have found a recipe for "Haman's ears" which I've been wanting for when I celebrate Purim - the Jewish festival where you read through Esther in a months time. Purim was actually yesterday and Jewish Passover this year is in a month, but due to the Christian calandar I've reversed them for myself this year. Had a Passover meal that a friends and I ran for Solace and others last week with 40 people - very fun, memorable, though exhausting.

Will write more soon ... back to reading, drinking tea and sleeping (going out for coffee - real coffee in the morning!)

Monday, February 28, 2005

General update on life

Just thought I would do a bit of a general update on life ... particularly since some people who read this blog are friends who aren't based in Melbourne, and even those of you who do, I haven't necessarily seen for a while.
This last weekend I was down at Anglesea (Great Ocean Road) speaking on a church camp - for Thornbury Church of Christ. Good weekend, and I think I encouraged them in some of their thinking. I got them to think about Jesus (always a good thing!), the kingdom of God, the church (got them reading Ephesians 1 ... using a thing called Lectio Divina, which a way of reading/praying the Bible), talked about centred set (for more on what this is have a look at this site - a great summary of what one of the people from Warrnambool SUFM did at their core weekend just this last weekend too), talked about incarnation and what it means to be follows of Jesus in entering into neighbourhoods ... I think God used what I said to encourage them as a group of his people to be his hands and feet in the world - I hope so.
It was a fun time too ... and I came back really quite relaxed for someone who had been working :)
I spent Saturday arvo at one of my favourite cafes across from the surf beach in Anglesea, reading a little book I picked up at the Ridley library last week about All-Age church rather than All-age worship ... and reading the Saturday paper. Very relaxing.
On Saturday night we watched a movie called Molokai, which is well worth a watch.

Last week I was at staff retreat at Belgrave Heights. Two quite relaxing days of spending time with the staff team. We did a few sessions together thinking about what the last year has been for us as individuals, for SU Victoria and for the world ... and some time thinking about our dreams too. It was a really fun and relaxing time and I came back mro relaxed than I have been in a long time. (yep that's work too!)

This coming week we have 3 days back up at Belgrave Heights with the SU Tasmania guys as well as the SU Vic guys - at an inservice training - should be a good time but certainly will be harder work than the last time we were there!

I've also been doing various Solace things - planning some times over the next few weeks, Sunday gatherings, various individual nights for various things etc etc.

On a personal front, I'm moving house. We take possession of our new house tomorrow but won't move in until probably the weekend after next. I'm still going to be living in Northcote but in a house with a friend. We are very much looking forward to it. I'm sure you will hear more over time.

Phew - and that's just a bit of what I've been doing ... packing is big on the agenda of the next few weeks, as well as getting settled, catching up with mission directors, and various other Solace and SU things.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Choosing Life

The question of "What does it mean to choose life?" has been one that I've been thinking a fair bit about over the last few weeks, particularly prompted by choosing to not drink caffeinated coffee during lent - that's definately a choice of life for me.

What does it mean for you to choose life?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Well it's almost a week into lent now. I'm sad that I missed out doing something for Shove Tuesday with anyone (other than attending a work meeting, I could have made that a pancake night - now that would have been good!). But I helped lead an Ash Wednesday gathering - which I think was good. But especially good was the time we spent the previous Sunday preparing it.

So often we have just seen lent as a time of giving up things ... but giving up for what?
It is also a time of focusing ... and for some a time of taking up or renewing commitment to some form of disciplines.

For me, I'm already implementing a number of disciplines in my life, things that I decided to do on a retreat last month ... but I have given up caffienated coffee for lent. Feeling the effects? Yep ... then thing I'm thinking about the most though is how good making " a choice for life" is. Mmm ... that could do with more thought.

While we are on the lent topic, you might want to have a look at these blogs for some different perspectives on the lent journey:
Lentus Whaticus
Grace Lent Blog

Friday, February 11, 2005

Crazy weeks!

The last few weeks have been crazy - partly because they have been, partly because I have somehow chosen for that. But today has been somewhat different - quit productive really in all sorts of ways, but a different pace and not dictated too by my diary - there was just one thing in there for today.

I am trying to have Friday as a day off, Sabbath type day. I have had days like these before but I'm trying to learn anew a bit of what is helpful for me on such days - and I know it will be a journey. One of the things that I struggle with is what does this look like when (as a friend of mine says about herself) "you don't so much have a job as a lifestyle". Some of the words that she has said to her community are "think twice before you ask anything of me on such days". Some other things I'm thinking are important for me is very little diaried stuff - so I can do what I want/need on that day. I've also been thinking that I need other set time in the week to do personal/house stuff so that it doesn't get relegated to this day.

Life has been very good in so many ways - just very full.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Story forming Community

For a long time (even though I have to confess I have never read it!) Watership Down has been a model book for so much of what I think about in terms of story forming what we are on about. Here's a piece written a number of years ago about it.

Children in the Emerging Church

This is an excellent article about children in the emerging church. I love it for a number of reasons and has some excellent stories in it, as well as some excellent underlying understandings about the place of children in the church.


I've added Olivia and Erika to my blog roll - welcome guys! People interested in Solace stuff and some of the thinking that goes on in my head might like to have a look at Olivia's blog in particular.
Erika is a friend who I have known for many many years ... mmm ... more than half my life I do believe! Welcome to the blog world Erika.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Over travelling around the countryside!

I'm finished travelling around the countryside - well for work anyway! I visited the last SUFM of the summer today. Gosh it's been a privelge to watch/support/pray for etc etc teams as they in various ways be present in the midst of communities around Victoria and try and be God's people and name him in those places. So many legends and so many stories of a great God at work in people's lives and the kingdom coming near in many ways.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Book worm comes out again

Many of you who have known me for a long time will know the book worm novel eating part of me. Those of you who have known me more recently know my love of reading - but not in the same reading anything in sight way and almost addictive way that people who have known me since high school know me for.

Today was one of those days when the extrovert very much became the introvert (it happens!) and I devoured The Da Vinci Code in a day. A most excellent read, the most gripped I've been in a novel for a long time - but I don't think I'll be bothering giving it too much thought.

These words echo much of my thoughts!

I love heaps of what Hamo says on his blog and admire the journey that he is on heaps. This particular post says echos much of what I think about as I long to live and help others live as passionate followers of Jesus. Have a read and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Traveling around the countryside!

That is what I have spent the last few weeks doing - travelling and spending lots of time in my car (well the work car really - much more fun!) and spending lots of time visiting missions, encouraging and observing them. Lots of fun and many other things ... but I really am exhausted ... gives me so much energy and takes energy at the same time.

Will write soon about some thoughts about what I've observed and some other things I've been thinking about in my travels ... but for now back down to the peninsula.