Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sleepless night so I'll write about Coffee!

Can't sleep - so I thought i might as well do something I've been meaning to do for ages - ie. start writing about coffee. I will write about some of the conversations and times that I have over coffee (and tea, other drinks and food too) but I figure telling the stories of my coffees might be an interesting way of discussing my life. So let me think back ... On Saturday, I grabbed a latte at Alfio's, the cafe where I am most a "regular" - they definately know my order and by the time and how I come in and can tell whether I am there for take away or sitting down ... they can't yet tell whether I'm there alone or expecting to meet someone though. Went to work for a bit (love the office with no-one in it) and then went and had a late lunch and a latte with Tim and Tracy after they'd been in the op shop for the morning. Great lunch and coffee at Organic Gertrude, another place on Station St in Fairfield. Sunday - let me see if I can remember ... ah yes ... brunch with a girl who I mentor at Qube on Station St - Pancakes and yep you guessed it a latte. Then home and I had a cup of T2 French Earl Gray Tea with my neighbours who popped over for a chat. Then off to work and we had our opening of new office building - I got so busy talking to people that I really didn't get near food or drink of any kind. Then church and pizza for dinner with one of the other people from St Paul's. So we are up to Monday. It's the day I'm in the op shop and I grab a take away latte from Degani's on Station St before going into the chruch building where our op shop is and having a few moments of quiet reflection before the day begins. Mid afternoon when I'm beginning to fade I pop next door and get a latte from the Greek cafe to one side of our church building. Monday night - yum food and a glass of wine and dinner with Tracy & Tim, Chris, Sally & Abby, and Jeff and Virginia. Lovely night. So we come to Tuesday. (yes we begin to see a life where coffee and food are important) Having left the car at work on Monday night, I walk to work and drop by Alfio's and get a latte as I walk. A bit later I'm back at Alfio's for a meeting with Stu from Solace - planning some things for the next couple of Sunday's and varous other things. Tuesday night girls over last night - and I cooked a roast and finished off a bottle of wine with Rach. So we are up to today - my Wednesday morning coffee ritual was broken as the MacLean's were out of coffee and Tracy, Liv and I pray together on Wednesday morning - so tea for me this morning. Mid morning I was a bit brain foggy so I popped out for a coffee and some food - went to a great cafe on Heidelberg Road called Apte an had Mueseli (best I've had in a long time) and a latte - and got my head around where life and work was up to. Back to work and then at the end of the day at quite a frustrated moment went back to Alfio's, got my laptop out on one of the outside tables ordered a latte and had a very productive 30 minutes writing most of an email to mission directors.

For those of you who want a glimpse of my life - that's not a bad one - as I said my life around coffee and food!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Multi stage of life relating ...

I view myself as extremely privelged - I am close to people across various age ranges and stages of life, something which I'm soooo thankful for and appreciate the richness of daily. Soemone once called me "ageless" describing how I can relate naturally and as myself to people across the spectrum of life.

Yesterday a friend and I spoke about a situation where a single person very obviously stated that they wouldn't be bringing anything to a function. The friend is a mum of a 2 year old and was quite taken aback by the single person's statement. Now there's more in that situation (which explains stuff on both sides) but it got me thinking and led to me having a conversation last night with a close friend who is also a mum of a 3yr old and 1 yr old.

In the situation I mentioned the mum was commenting on "we're managing something and we have a kid" and I could easily imagine the single person thinking "it's just me, I'm just one extra". Last night my friend and I were talking about how hard it is for us to see outside of the situation in life that we are currently in. I also think that for most of us in the kind of circles I'm in whatever the stage of life we are so time poor that we often think it must be easier for someone else at a different life stage or life situation to do something. In reality, I think this is rarely true.

This also led onto another conversation I had during the week about a single person relating to families. Relating about this again last night, it struck us how often we resent things in each others lives because it means that we "get" less of what we want from the other person: might be a partner, might be kids, might be work, might be a hobby - but whatever it is it's not about the "thing" whatever it might be but rather about us not getting what we want and feel is rightfully ours.

How hard it is for us to really understand each others lives, to trully live ours fully, to accept and celebrate where we are and where others are and look for the creative opportunities and invitation for connection across them.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Whinge about Whinges!

I find myself increasingly tired of peoples whinges about church. It's not that I don't care - i profoundly do. It's not that I think they are not legitimate, and often true - they often are. It's just that I really do reckon there are bigger things in life for us as God's people to be giving our attention to then whether others are talking to us! I'm just somewhat over how inwardly focused we as God's people are - when there is just so much need in the world, AND so much about God and each other for us to enjoy too!
So I guess that means that I'm over myself sometimes too - I'm not immune from the whinging about church bug :) But gosh I long for us as God's people to be deeply the people we are called to be.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Future of God Amongst the People of God

Great post by Paul Fromont about what it means for the future of God to be amongst the People of God and how we as congregations/communities shape our lives for transformation.
Excellent stuff.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Benedict continued

I'm really enjoying Joan Chittister's commentary on The Rule of Benedict.

Here's one of the gems:
"it is up to the monastic to let the practices of the community and the rhythm of prayer life work their way until the piercing good of God rises in them like yeast in bread"


There are so many good things in life at the moment. And so many tiring things. And quite a number of things that suck energy. Had a few days away last week on retreat which was really centering and refreshing. Last weekend was our community weekend away - some really good things, some really average things. We are in the process of architects tendering for the initial stages of the redevelopment of our church building - so exciting. People are people - amazing potential both for good and bad, and this week I've seen and experienced both of those in others and in myself.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Benedict's Rule

I've just started reading Joan Chittister's commentary on the The Rule of Benedict, after hearing/reading about it 3 times within one day a few weeks ago I ordered this book in.

So expect to hear some stuff from it over the coming weeks.

p20 "Obedience, Benedict says - the willingness to listen for the voice of God in life - is what will wrench us out of the limitations of our own landscape. We are being called to something outside of ourselves, something greater than ourselves, something beyond ourselves."

p22 "Benedict is begging us here to realize that God is the only lifeline that life guarantees us."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dying well

A friend is in her last days at the moment and of course that raises all sorts of questions.

In particular, I've been asking: what does it mean to die well? And what does it mean to let go?

I'm sure these are related to: what does it mean to live well?

Which reminds me of the balence I've been thinking about recently: I've been really conscious of how building the Kingdom of God is God's business, yet what we do really does matter. How hard is for us to live in a healthy, balenced place with regard to that - not thinking that it is our job or business to build the kingdom in our own strength and effort BUT knowing and acting as if what we do really does matter.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Virtual hugs and sighs

Some of the community remembering Paul today write, here, here, and here

Sighs in Memory

2 years.
Not long.
Yet so long.
Grief still real.
Pondering, wondering, wishing,
mixed feelings, if onlys, unknowns -
just as real as ever.

Time heals they say,
yes in some ways that's true,
but from many a grief I know so well
that some grief, sadness and pain remains.
I don't want it be different -
it honours the person, honours my pain,
honours the creator of life.

Words come slowly and hard;
in many ways they don't matter,
but a sense of loss has been the phrase for me today.
However, it's more being present with myself,
present with the community around the world
who grieves together on this day - especially the closest ones,
and from that place arises a deep, deep sigh.

I felt the pain of aloneness,
of the world around not knowing how to acknowledge;
people not understanding the significance,
not knowing the reality,
of people not knowing how to be present in grief
that is past but oh so present, especially on this day.

And the day draws to a close,
and I'm content within,
and I know that I am part of a community around the world,
for whom this day remains a day to remember,
the life of Paul Hughes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sustainability or Self-Protection

Had a really helpful conversation with a good long-term friend on Friday night. This friend (Sonja, for those of you who know her) has lived in community for a number of years now and it's been fun to watch how God has taken us along similar but different paths and how lovely it is to be able to share with each other from our quite similar, yet different, contexts.

Almost out of no-where, we got to talking about the fine line between sustainability and self-protection in community. When you are in community for the long haul you need to act in ways today that are going to allow this way of life to be sustainable for the next year, 5 or 20. How easy is it though for that to slip over into self-protection - I'm going to protect myself so that I can be here tomorrow ... or more honestly, I'm not going to be honest with you, open with you, present with you, I'm going to withdraw myself and desperately protect myself, time, energy, emotions etc.

As I've thought more about it, I think it's about open or closed hearted-ness. Sustainability really is about more than yourself, in a really healthy way, it's a way of life, it feels open, it's a strong choice for the community. Self-protection, on the other hand, is closed, it's reactive (I need this), it's about closing yourself off, it's a choice away from community.
The actions we take from these places might be exactly the same but they are such different motivations and lead us towards life-giving places or death-gripping places. The choice I make today to be open, vulnerable and honest makes it easier to be open tomorrow.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A concert or dinner party?

Here's an email from a member of our community (Ian) to our faith community email list: What do you reckon?

Hi All,

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about how we view “church” (by which I mean all the activities Solace people do together as Solace people). What kind of a thing do we think Solace is? I suspect that this is important, because whatever kind of thing we decide that church is, will affect the way we choose to engage with each other through this thing we call church. We are likely to behave in ways that would be typical/acceptable in that kind of gathering.

So what is Solace? Is it club like a sports club? Is it like a professional association? Is it like going to a concert or a regular live music gig? Is it like an invitation to dinner or a barbeque with old friends? Is it like kindergarten, school, or work? Is it like a book club? What do you think?

I want to argue that for us to succeed in building a self-sustaining network of friends in Jesus spirituality; we need to think of Solace as more like an invitation to dinner or a barbeque than like a concert. By self-sustaining, I mean that there is a critical mass of people involved; that they stay for long enough to be formed and to form others; and that their kids find life in this.

If Solace is like a concert then it (whatever Solace activity we might be thinking of) is an event that we can go to if we wish. Our attendance or non-attendance at the event doesn’t alter the event. We see ourselves as observers and not central to the concert and it won’t be diminished or cancelled if we don’t go. Also, it isn’t affected by whether we choose to talk to anyone while we’re there. And over time, as our tastes change we can stop attending one band’s concerts and move on to another band without causing any pain.

If Solace is like an invitation to dinner with old friends, then it (whatever Solace activity we might be thinking of) is a gathering that only exists because of those who attend. Our decision to attend or not to attend will alter the gathering. We are not observers, we are central to making the gathering what it will be. It will be diminished and in some cases cancelled if we don’t go, and the gathering would be significantly affected if we chose not to talk to anyone while we were there. If we decide to leave this group of friends behind and move on to another group of friends there will be pain.

And there’s more. If a Solace gathering is like a dinner party or barbeque with old friends, then other guests (including their kids) will be disappointed if we are not there. The host will be disappointed and might be annoyed if we did not call ahead to indicate that we had to cancel.

I think the dinner gathering model more closely reflects what Solace is than the concert event model does. And thinking of Solace as a series of gatherings is more likely to generate the outcomes we want than thinking of Solace a series of events.

We don’t go to Solace, we are Solace. Our decisions about whether we choose to attend things and how we interact with each other when we do will make Solace what it is, or is not to become. What ever we want Solace to be is what we have to become in order to participate in making it happen.

Do we want to feel welcome? We have to welcome people.

Do we want our friends to be there when we attend? We have to commit to being at the gatherings we’re committed to, and share these commitments with our friends so they know when to expect us. And if we can’t make it, we need to call significant friends to let them know we won’t be there and perhaps make other arrangements to meet. We also have to commit to being open to forming new friends as people join us, so that they can become part of the gathering too.

Do we want the experience of worshiping with and growing with the same group of good friends over many years? Then we have to commit with Solace (or somewhere else) to be a long-term engaged member, and to put a high priority on gathering as Jesus' friends.

Our response to this is that we want Solace to feel welcoming, we want to worship with our friends and we want to keep doing so for many years. So we’re making the commitment to welcome, to befriend, and to stick around.

What do you want? What metaphor for Solace works for you? What behaviours does it call for from you? What’s your response?


Here's my response:

Certainly more of a dinner party than a concert in my view (and how I live) …

But probably less “gathering” focused (although that too) and more of an ongoing dinner party … mmm, maybe for me more of a life being a party (you know the kind where people come and go at whatever time) with specific times for speeches which is the time everyone tries to make sure they are around for (which in our case are the various “gatherings”)

But I like.

AND the focus on committing to the journey together too.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Are we really?

One of my favourite quotes is from Dallas Willard:
"You are safely more than what you do".

In the shower this morning (where all good quotes come!), I was reflecting on this quote and a thought popped into my head "But are you safely more than what you haven't done".

My thoughts led me onto how other people demand stuff of us nd that for some people - just in the way that they weigh us by what we do, those same people, or others, wiegh us by what we have not done - those things define who we are, at least at that time, for them.

Now I'm not justifying what I haven't done (seriously!) - but I do reckon that it's a good line of thought for a Sabbath. How do we define people by what they haven't done? (generally because we are ourselves so desperate to have it done!) AND, without being slack or justifying our non-action how do we encourage those people do not define by those things.

Thankfully, I know deeply (most of the time) that as far as God is concerned I am safely more than both what I do and what I don't do!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Three words

Three words that have meaning for me right now:
Posture, Decision, Present

Posture - living in a posture that is submissive to God

Decision - making real, emotional decisions which follow from that posture

Present - being really present with whover/whatever/wherever I am, having made good decisions then and previously and trusting in my posture before God.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Here is a working definition of conversion that Mike Todd is working with:

Conversion:The transference of allegiance from theindividual world to the collective reality of the Kingdom of God.

I like it.
What do you reckon?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

He gives us Himself

Doing an essay on Job (his friends theological worldview to be exact) and came across this quote by Haddon Robinson:
"When we go to God and ask Him why bad things are happening, He doesn't give us an explanation; He gives us Himself."

(Quoted by Littleton in a book by Zuck)

Sunday, April 16, 2006


As I ponder the resurrection (interestingly while I continue to unpack/make sense of my newish bedroom!) today ... Steve's word have much meaning for me. Have a read.

Particularly these words:

"It struck me this week that the 4 gospel Resurrection stories are totally lacking in any Old Testament Jewish quotations. And that's in absolute contrast to the 4 gospel stories of Jesus crucifixion. They're packed full of Old Testament Jewish quotations.

Full of Old Testament Scripture: Empty of Old Testament Scripture."


"Which makes me wonder, when I meet people who reckon they've got Christianity all sorted, all nice and tidy, well wrapped and beautifully packaged,
makes we wonder if they’ve really met Jesus, this untidy disturber of people's lives."

Thanks Steve!

1 Peter

Reading through 1 Peter at the moment and these words from Chapter 3 really struck me this morning:
your beauty ... should be that of your inner spirit, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
... do not give way to fear.

How often as people, women particularly in our own way, do we give way to fear? And so often it gives way to something quite different to the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit".
I pray that I would grow, that we would grow, in our ability to not give way to fear so that we might grow in our being people who have the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Remaking Book

Talking of books - I've been re-miss!

The Solace community which I'm a part of have released a book called "Remaking". For several years now we have been exploring spiritual disciplines, originally based on Renovare material by Richard Foster, and shaped for us heavily too on the work of Dallas Willard. As we lived in the six traditions that Foster talks of, they became our own more and we began to speak of them as "Ways" of Remaking the World. So this book discusses what it means to be involved in the Remaking the World, Transforming Grace and then it has a chapter on each of the 7 Ways that shape our community (with two different perspectives on this way, a personal story and various ways to engage in that way all listed).

I reckon lots of people and communities would benefit from being shaped by this book - and we would love to see our it shapes you and how we can learn from the way that you engage with this material and how you are engaging with similar practices.

The book is $30 (Australian) and $3.50 for postage in Australia; $12 for postage to most other places. Let me know if you'd like a copy (comment or email me at or email Stu)


Sometime in the last week I came across something that lead me to investigate the book "Atonement for a 'Sinless' Society" by Alan Mann. I borrowed it from the library at college and I'm going to make my way through it a bit this week, in the midst of Holy Week.
It looks great - looking at the way that our understnading of self today is one around "shame" rather than "sin" and that the way we understand and talk about atonement needs to address the issues of shame.
I'll try and blog a bit as I read.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Running Passover on Thursday night with a friend from Solace. We've been working on the litrugy that we are going to use - we've done it together 3 years in a row now and we work on the liturgy every year; it's part of the enjoyment and discipline for us. If you want a copy of itlet me know: barbd at suvic dot org dot au.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Ages ago Dave tagged me and it's been sitting in my inbox to do ever since, since it can't leave my inbox until I act on it, now's the time!!!

Four Jobs I've had:
Telemarketer (yep I will admit it!)
Children and Families Worker
Assistant Librarian
Missions Co-ordinator

Four movies I can watch over and over:
(as people who know me, know there aren't that many!, a better question is movies I can go to sleep over and over in front of! and I'm doing a loose understanding of movies)
Pride and Prejudice (BBC or any other variety)
Brides of Christ
Dead Poets Society
I'm sure I'll be able to with Narnia

Four Places I've lived:

Four TV shows I love to watch:
(well TV, what's that? but have loved to watch)
A Country Practice
Mad About You
Six Feet Under

Four Places I've been:
Broken Hill

Four Favourite dishes:
Pad Thai
Fish ... and veges ... and chips
Spag Bog (need to say that 'cause my friend Tracy teases me about it frequently and then feeds it to me!)
Roasted Tomato Soup

Four Sites I visit daily:
SU Mail Site
... often google
... mmm bank

Four Favourite drinks:
ginger beer
mango lassi

Four Places I would rather be:
Byron Bay
Tidal River
Yarra Valley
Station Street, Fairfield (well I'm fairly close but not quite!)

various work cars: Ford, Magna Wagon, Getz

Four people I'm tagging:
I reckon I'm so late - if you've not done it and you'd like to - please consider yourself tagged.


Thursday, April 06, 2006


Sorry about the lack of posting on this site - it's just felt like too much effort to post recently; not really sure why but I've just gone with it.

Life's quite good in general - it's been a busy year so far in many ways, but partly because I'm choosing to have time out to relax :)

Just recently been to Qld for an SU National Conference which was I enjoyed and was useful, and either side of that had some time off. Beforehand hung out with some other staff (and some other friends) and afterwards stayed with friends in Brisbane. Lovely, relaxing and very much what I needed.

Have come back to Melbourne, into the house I moved into half a week before I went away, and I've broken out in some mystery disease, that's unlikely to be chickenbox (which is what I was diagnosed with) and unlikely to be scabies (which is what one of my colleagues has been diagnosed with). 3 staff who all went to the same conference with the same symptoms, baffling all doctors we have seen, but in the end having three different diagnoses! I'm fine; at home, in the warm and quite amused really!

As I said, life's good, quite, quite good actually ... but I do need to stop procrastinating an essay for college!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lectionary Feed

Anyone know of a rss feed or daily email service for daily readings of the Revised Common Lectionary?

Blog Reading

I was talking today with a friend about some people who don't normally read blogs reaction to some stuff that another friend wrote on their blog. Brought us to a point in the convo where we wondered whether there was anything around to help some new to reading blogs understand blog etiquette. From my brief looking around there is stuff for people new to writing blogs and much on commenting etiquette but where would you send people to understand the subtleties of blog world and a grid to read through???

Saturday, February 11, 2006

6000 kms since Christmas

Just thought I'd write a little on what life has been for me over the last month and a half. Most of you will know that I am Missions Coordinator for Scripture Union Victoria - which means overseeing a range of mostly holiday programs that happen all over Victoria, most of which are in January. My goal for this year was to get to every program/team which I haven't seen in action previously, because actually having been part of the dynamics of the team and seeing where they run programs/where they connect with people makes a huge difference in how I can support and train directors, and help them in training their teams and the many other things involved in directing one of these teams. And I've almost made it! I've had two summers in the job and I've covered everything other than one of the youth/young adult mission teams (Theos) - as this part of my job was just added to me a couple of weeks before Christmas. I feel way more equipped for my role with these teams having been part of their life for a day or so. In each location too I tried to walk with God and have eyes to see what he might have for me specifically to do in that place - led to some ace stuff.
So I went to (in this order) Barwon Heads, Portarlington, Queenscliff, Mallacoota, Inverloch, Portland, Warrnambool, Cowes, McCrae and Tidal River. In some of those places we have more than one team.
After all that I went and spent a week (or so) at a campsite that Scripture Union owns down on the Gippsland lakes. The camps coordinator had had a serious accident a few weeks before that so I was down covering his role that week. It was a great time of understanding a bit more of the issues around our camps and the campsite, very useful since a restructure at work now means that camps are in the team that I head up in Scripture Union Victoria.
And now I've started meeting with directors to debrief their time over summer and talk about/vision together the coming year, as well as meeting with people doing stuff during the year and plan training for the year. My aim is to have met with the directors of each of the 24 teams before I go on holidays mid March!
I'm exhausted - and this weekend having a weekend collapsing at my mum's while she is away, but in myself I'm quite good and got goosebumps as to what God is doing in me ... there's some pretty amazing and deep stuff already happening and my sense is more to come.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Concern - Influence - Focus

Been thinking a bit over the last few days about a leadership / time usage / focus idea that I've heard lots times - not sure where from.
The idea is that there are three concentric circles - on the outside circle of concern, the next one in circle of influence, and the central one being circle of focus.
The circle of concern is all the things you are "concerned" about.
The circle of influence is all the things you are in a position to influence.
The circle of focus is the things you want to fucus on.

Make sense? Quite simple really but you wouldn't think so from how we live!!!
Historically when I have heard this, it's been useful in helping me concentrate my efforts in my circle of influence rather than my circle of concern - very important indeed.
But the reason it came to mind for me at the moment is that in many places in my life my circle of influence is so large I couldn't possibly influence it all and the effect of not being focused in that is that it is easy to go from influencing one thing over to influecing another thing over here - good things to influence, definately within my circle of concern and influence ... but actually distracting from where my circle of focus is being called to be.
So I've been thinking how important it is not to just influence wherever I can, but to choose what am I called to focus on within my circle of influence AND GET ON WITH IT!