One of my consumer weaknesses is new electronic toys. I am always impressed by new technology and better functions etc. I try not to be sucked in… but sometimes I just can’t resist.

As much as my old Nokia 6230i has been a great little phone, I was quite bored with it and wanted a change. I stopped by a Vodafone shop in my lunchbreak and the assistant there showed me the Nokia E65. Very nice! (Imagine Hamo doing Borat impression)


I spoke with Telstra to see what it would cost me to exit my contract with them – Virgin had the best deal – and they told me $217.00. That’s a lot of money just to have a new toy. I really couldn’t justify it. Then I had a thought… I rang Telstra and told them I was thinking of moving on and asked what they would give me to stay.

‘Hows $100.00 credit?’ he replied.


So I rang Virgin, told them Telstra’s offer and haggled a $100.00 credit on my first bill. I tried for more, but they weren’t moving.

Now its down to $117.00 to recoup. Hello Ebay… 6230is were selling for around $80.00 so I figured I could justify $40.00 changeover for a new phone and a better contract.

I had heard that the best way to get the bids going on your listing is to put your item on starting at $1.00 with no reserve. Its a gamble… but worth a shot I thought. Five days later and with $113.50 paid for the phone I didn’t feel too bad that all up the new phone deal had cost me $3.50.

One of the great things about the E65 is that it has wifi, and a great little web browser. The MP3 player is much better than the 6230i – one the things I hated about the old phone was that if you were listening to a sermon (as I often do) and someone rang then it sent your listening right back to the start… The camera is pretty dodgy, but otherwise its a great little phone.

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“Wot!? Every Week?!” A Missionary Concern

A few weeks back I went into Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital for a sleep study. That’s where they wire you up with about a thousand electrodes and then make observations on how you sleep during the night.

It was in response to this dilemma, which was particularly bad around this time last year. I still have ‘period leg movement disorder’ but its not as frequent. (For a couple of months Danelle and I slept in separate beds!)

Anyway, I arrived at 7.00pm with my copy of Simon’s book, God Next Door and a bottle of red. (I figured I might need a bit of anaesthetic to actually sleep with all those electrodes stuck to me…)


Fortunately I wasn’t the first one to get rigged up, because once you’re wired you can’t sit up or move around. I read thru to around 8pm when ‘Jill’ came in.

Now sometimes I just grunt politely thru these experiences, because I know I will probably never see the person again and I don’t have the energy for a genuine conversation, but tonight I felt like chatting and I was also aware it would take at least an hour to get wired, so I might as well get to know the person. Jill also seemed to want to talk…

And it was a much more interesting conversation than I had bargained for, partly because Jill was a Notre Dame Uni grad, had studied theology and was in a place in life where she was feeling the tug of God on her life. Jill was 23 years old, her mum had started attending church recently and had been ‘born again’. Now she was trying to get Jill to attend also – a large ‘Word of Faith’ church in Perth. Jill was intrigued by God, was curious about my book, was feeling she ought to go to church even though her partner wanted nothing to do with it all, but was struggling to come to terms with it all.

When I asked her what held her back do you know what it was?

“I am worried they might expect me to front up every week.’

Now get this – because its important – this is what some people feel – probably more than we know.

I might have to be there every week for the rest of my life!

Quite honestly, I would ask much more of Jill than a weekly meeting, but the sheer notion of somehow getting caught up in something she couldn’t get out of, worried her. The thought of a regular weekly commitment was disturbing a young 23 year old. I don’t think that would be abnormal for someone like her. Its a comment that is worth paying attention to, especially for those of us who have grown up believing weekly church attendance to be a fairly normal thing to do.

I don’t think there is anywhere in society where we make a weekly commitment and follow thru on it for the rest of our lives. (I realise that for many these days ‘regular church attendance’ is fortnightly or even every 3 weeks.)

When I say I would ask much more than a weekly meeting, I mean that I would be asking Jill to become committed to a community of people – to go way beyond fronting up once a week and to form significant give & take relationships. That is even harder and at times it makes me despair for the future of a faith that is inherently communal. (I really don’t believe you can live the life Jesus calls us to outside of a faith community.)

Jill explained that she probably would go to church with her mum (on her birthday) but her apprehension was clear. I wonder how many more are like her?

It makes me wonder how (if) we can re-calibrate community life so that there is genuine connectivity, authentic discipleship and significant relationships, but without the necessity of a weekly meeting…

In his book Liquid Church, Pete Ward argues for this kind of community, deeply committed, but also fluid. But then Ward also suggests we ‘play to’ consumerism and try and make the best of it rather than fight it…

I tend to feel that if we do away with a regular weekly gathering, then, because of the ridiculous busyness of the world we live and our own laziness and inbuilt disposition towards individualism, the chances are we would quickly fragment. In a perfect world we would all live close, hang out and have deep relationships, but in the real world of suburbia it just doesn’t happen like that.

So, I will continue to hold up a weekly gathering as a bare minimum for what we expect of people who call themselves a Christian community. But honestly if that’s all it amounts it to – if that is the best we can do – then I have lost all hope.

By the way my period leg movement has been defined as ‘idiopathic’, in other words – “we haven’t got a bloody clue what causes it…”

Relating to Strangers Keeps Society Strong

So reads the title of Hugh Mackay’s Saturday column in the West Australian (Click on the image below to read the full story)

In this short piece about the nature of community Mackay describes the fragmentation of western society and the loss we suffer because of our individualism, transience and busyness.


He goes on to say that ‘community’ is more than just developing friendships and looking out for others who are like us. He calls this ‘tribalism’. He suggests that caring for the stranger is more of a mark of real community and it raises the ‘moral’ quotient of society as we actually build bonds that are beyond simple friendship as good as that may be.

Its quite a counter-cultural message in a self centred world where most people find it hard enough to care for their friends!

Mum on Loan

If there is such a place as ‘Danelle Heaven’ then she is about to arrive there in 4 or 5 hours.

This morning we took Danelle to the airport where she got on board a flight to Bali so that she could do some work in orphanages with her sister. She left with 40 kilos of stuff (clothes, craft stuff etc) and a stash of $$$ to give away courtesy of many of our friends here in Brighton.

Danelle is a mum thru and thru, so while she will miss her own kids for the next 10 days, she will absolutely love being a mum to those kids who have lost their parents for whatever reason.

We all have our deep passions and this would be one of hers – to love people and give. So we have sent her off to have 10 days in ‘Danelle Heaven’.

Meanwhile I will stay back and balance life, work, kids and whatever else happens back here. I’ll let you know how it goes…

I have a feeling it could be pizza for dinner!

Forge Intensive II 2007

This was a wonderful weekend spent with a real quality bunch of people.

I love how we seem to be able blend both a laid back vibe with some serious theological rigour and a liberal dose of humour!

I have uploaded the recorded sessions to our forge website if you are interested in hearing them. Geoff also took a bunch of pics, a few of which are below.


Coffee in the garden


Coffee at the Merchant Subi


Liv & Stu teaching


The morning after walking in the dunes

It was good…

If you missed out this time then be sure to get to our October intensive!

On a much lighter note

TSK posted a whole series of images poking fun at emerging church folks, via our reformed friends. Very well done and quite funny.

I had thought of creating some fun in reply but it seems they have done it themselves!

I had an email come in today from someone I don’t know and when I checked the source it took me here. The banner for the site is below.


Now I am wondering if emerging folks are the only confused and lost ones… To my reformed friends – I hope this doesn’t offend, but which one is it?!