Pics & Kids Blog

If you’re a friend and interested in keeping in seeing a more visual take on our trip then you might want to check out my facebook site where I will regularly upload photos.

Its one of the beauties of the Iphone – that anywhere with 3G access means the Facebook application works and we can keep things up to date.

For those who aren’t facebookers it would mean that you would have to join… Maybe not something you want to do I know…

But that’s where the pics will be… so if you’re interested then click on the facebook image to the left.

Our kids have also started a blog here

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Eyes Up

What I love about holidays is that you can be gone just 5 days and feel completely free from all the constraints of normal life. I won’t say I don’t think about things back home – because I do – but I do with it with a different emphasis.

Holidays become times for dreaming rather than problem solving and in that I find great energy. Already I have had one fresh and unexpected ‘idea’ that I reckon could be a real winner when we get home and those ideas flow so much more readily when I am not in the mess of everyday life.

Because we have had some ongoing conflicts over the last 6 months at Quinns, I feel like I have had my eyes ‘down’ focusing on solving the issues at hand rather than my eyes ‘up’ looking to the horizon and envisaging what could be. I can’t live for long in an ‘eyes down’ posture, so it’s either ‘change the situation’ or ‘get out’ of the situation. As you may guess the conflict has come because we have chosen to run strongly with ‘change’.

While I can acknowledge that some of the conflict has been important, (someone’s got to do it sooner or later) it is not where I find my greatest joy and where I feel most alive so being in a place without conflict – on holidays – is a beautiful space to allow the dreamer to come alive again.

More than likely I will arrive back home with a bagful of wacky ideas, half of which will have any real currency and a quarter of which will actually ‘fly’, but then that’s ok isn’t it?

OMCGs and Barbarian Faith – Part 1

The first 3 books I have read while on holidays have been Dead Man Running, No Angel and The Barbarian Way. The first two are stories relating to Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMCGs) while the last was a call to a wild and untamed life of faith. There has been some interesting and unexpected overlap between the two types of books. More about that later…

Dead Man Running is the story of an Aussie Bandido who eventually got to a place where he couldn’t tolerate the violence and thuggery of the OMCGs and who chose to become a police informant in exchange for a new identity in the US. It’s a chilling tale about the inner workings of the gangs and the brutal manner in which people get treated, especially those who ever choose to leave.

It was given to me by my friend ‘D’ who has recently came to faith and left his own OMCG after 23 years of involvement. While he has chosen to follow Jesus he is genuinely worried for his life and for the possible repercussions from his decision.

What was equally disturbing was the incompetence of the ACC who threw him in the deep end and then gave him hopeless support, as well as the completely lame beauracratic systems that prevented any actual convictions from his work. ‘Steven Utah’ was no model citizen, but the story was as much a tale of police blundering (and corruption) as bikie thuggery.

The other book I am halfway thru is No Angel, about an undercover cop in the US who took on the job of infiltrating the Hells Angels. He is a hard nosed bloke who lives on adrenalin – why else would you do it?! What is interesting in this book is how many cops are working undercover as bikers. It seems they have ‘chapters’ everywhere and their job is simply to gather evidence that will ultimately convict these guys of the criminal activity they are involved in.

I really enjoyed the OMCG books and the insights they gave into a slice of life that isn’t normally seen by ordinary garden variety folks. An interesting reflection from both books is that many ‘outlaws’ have started as ‘outcasts’. Those who were rejected by society – for whatever reason – have subsequently chosen to live outside of society and not play by its rules. More than that they have chosen to live in revolt against the values and mores of conventional life.

The most hard core of these are known as the ‘one percenters’. If the stories I just read have validity then these are people you don’t want to mess with or get on the wrong side of.

When I get a chance to blog again I’ll offer some thoughts on Erwin McManus brilliant book ‘The Barbarian Way’ and the places of overlap between OMCGs and disciples of Jesus… No really…

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Random Camping Observations…

1. 5 months and 27 days to go… How good it is to hear those words!

2. A Jayco Eagle is a very small space to spend the next 5 months and 27 days in… I already have ‘camper envy’ as I look around at people with bigger, better and more lavish accommodation than our little shed on wheels. We did consider a larger option ie caravan or similar, but decided that we would rather save the cost of towing a larger beast. The big advantage to a larger unit would be more space and less pack up/set up, but a with most things in life its all about compromise and choosing what you will forego.

3. On compromise… we were tossing up between taking a chemical toilet or a coffee machine…The decision to take a Breville aroma espresso machine and my Sunbeam grinder has already been a winner. Good coffee in remote areas is worth way more than a walk to the dunny. However because the toilets are still a bit of a hike from our campspot we have created a temporary toilet in the form of a yellow bucket to be used at night by those with weak bladders.

4. The more people at a campsite the less interaction. I reckon if you pull up at a roadside stop with just two other families the chances are you will get to know each other quite well, but in a larger campsite people tend to keep to themselves a bit more. We are funny beings aren’t we?…

5. The Lighthouse Resort in Exmouth is ok, but their primary water supply is very salty bore water. It gets pumped to all washing facilities and drinking water is on tap in the middle of the campsite. Not ideal – just try and wash yourself in the shower and you can’t get any kind of lather up with the soap!

6. I am looking forward to the end of school holidays. Kids everywhere on bikes and scooters… I imagine the poor old grey nomads will feel similar when they see us coming.

7. Saw some sensational surf just across the road from the campsite yesterday. It was about head high and bigger again on the sets, with not a single person out. With a light offshore, it was breaking over a pretty sharp reef and the paddle out looked challenging thru rocks and reef. It was a fast breaking left hander and closing out occasionally, but it still looked amazing. I had to wonder why no one was out… I was a little tempted, but in my current shape it could well have been a suicide journey, or at very least very embarrassing. I might wait a little longer before taking on those challenges… Instead I had a pretty cruisy surf at the ‘Dunes’ beach break in warm water with half a dozen other guys. The new 7’ 2” mini-mal did its job well. These days I struggle with feeling like a coward when I see dangerous surf and walk away…

8. Why did God make ants?

9. An icy cold car air con on a stinky humid day is a beautiful thing! So glad we got it fixed before leaving…

10. Best not to fart in a confined space (like a camper). You will only get in big trouble from the other 3 people in the confined space.

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We hit the road yesterday arvo and drove thru to a roadside stop south of Geraldton where we spent the night.

All good until 5km out of Geraldton I heard a flapping sound and stopped to see the camper tyre minus it’s steel belt! We managed to limp into Geraldton without blowing it completely. Of course if one tyre is stuffed…

So we are getting 2 new tyres and then we will roll on thru to Carnavonish area tonight.

The air con is good… But it would be nice if a few more servos in this area had some LPG!

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Holiday Essentials

We are cleaning and packing today as tomorrow we leave. I speak at church, we head down the beach and baptise two good friends who have just become Christians and then we hop in the car and head north. Its a great way to end this period.

Packing is not something I particularly enjoy, but the essentials need to be sorted.

Surfing and fishing gear – 1 x 7′ 2″ mini-mal with two wetsuits, wax and spare leggie, 2 rods and tackle box


– Breville aroma espresso machine, picked up for $40.00 in a local garage sale along with the Sunbeam grinder and 2 kg of home roast. I reckon it’ll last 5 weeks, but then you wouldn’t want to drink it after that anyway…

Wine – one carton of cab merlot – should last a week…

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– this is the tough one… They are weighty and once you’ve read them you can’t ‘use’ them again. I am starting off with these 7 and will probably post them home as I read them. They might not last me long as I am a rabid reader on holidays.

They are:

Dead Man Running & No Angel – both biographical accounts of outlaw biker culture supplied by a friend.

No Rusty Swords – a biography of Bonhoeffer – small print, but looks interesting…

The Gift of Speed – a novel by Steven Carroll – the second in the trilogy (I have read the other 2!)

The Barbarian Way and Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus – this two book set was on special for $10.00 the other day so I thought I’d give it a whirl

Transforming Mission by David Bosch – I have dipped into this book and read slabs of it, but would like to have time to really work thru it

The Heart of the Family by Adrian Plass – just for amusement

My Bible

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At last the air con bloke has got the air con to work as it is intended and we can go on holidays without having to worry about driving around in an oven.

It seems that the automatic thermostat was no longer doing what it needed to do automatically, so a manual thermo and a new TX valve where in order.

Frankly I’m just glad its over and we can move on!

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Travel Plans

We leave this coming Sunday or Monday (depending on how prepared we are on Sunday) and begin the journey around Oz.

At this stage it is a 6 month trip with plans to be back around early November, however our return is contingent on the Quinns Baptist Church inviting us back. There will be an official church meeting late June to ‘vote’ on us as leaders and we will know from there if need to make plans for November. At this stage I think there are more who want us to stay than want us to go, but there are a number who do not resonate with our way of thinking and will probably vote against us – so nothing is certain.

As we began the journey with QCBC we were very clear on who we are and also very clear that we are not negotiable on our core beliefs about church and mission. This has inspired a good number, but also worried others for whom our approach is unfamiliar and may even appear heretical.

We are very very ready to go…

At this stage we expect to have one overnight stop somewhere along the way before landing in Exmouth for 10 days. The new 7′ 2″ mini mal will get a work out there and hopefully we will just enjoy some peaceful, relaxing time. Its that period of the trip where we really want to veg and regather some strength. If we see you there don’t be offended if we don’t want to hang out…

From Exmouth we head to Port Hedland for the 1st-3rd of May to visit an Indian family we got to know here in Butler but who were shifted with their work. Given Port Hedland is the anus of the universe we don’t plan on staying too long, but it will be great to see them again.

We will spend 5 or 6 days at Barn Hill, a remote camping area just 100km south of Broome before heading into Broome between May 9-20. I have been given two preaching gigs at the Broome Baptist Church on May 10 & 17 and they will give us a house to live in for the time we are there. Nice deal I reckon and we’re looking forward to catching up with Mike & Heidi from our Upstream crew when we get there also.

From Broome it is all totally unpredictable. We will head thru Fitzroy Crossing where Danelle’s grandparents were missionaries and then up thru Kunnunrra and across to Darwin. We aren’t sure how long all this will take or how long we will hang around in the NT. Given there is no surf there it might be a short stop…

Seriously, I imagine we’ll take a week or two in NT as I haven’t been there before and it is a place we’d like to see. Danelle’s brother David is living in Tennant Creek now so he will be one of the people we will catch up with.

The rest of the trip will get made up as we go. We are looking forward to some fun family time, catching up with old friends and simply ‘being who we are’ as we travel.

I will be continuing to blog as long as we have internet access but I also have a novel brewing that I would like to get written while we travel. I’m not sure just how realistic that is, as good writing requires serious energy and I don’t know how much I have to give…

Now all that remains is to fix the air con!…

John Safran Crucified

Aussie comedian John Safran of ‘John Safran v God’ fame was crucified in Manila over the weekend. The Filipinos have an interesting tradition whereby real people actually undergo a form of crucifixion during the easter period. It is a mix of superstition and a catholic view of penance that leads people to either be whipped or nailed to a cross.

The longer article found says: “The crucifixions, although not formally endorsed by the Roman Catholic church, are carried out as part of religious vows in return for favours granted or in penance for sins.”

Safran has been quite the spiritual sojourner, so it will be interesting to listen to what was going on for him in this one…