Travel Trivia

We are coming up for 8 weeks on the road now – a decent length of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We have done 8700kms since March 31st, and we are averaging a spend of about $1000/wk – broken up as $230/wk – diesel, $170 eating out, $160 groceries, $130 campsites and then the rest is the more random stuff of life, such as dead car batteries, running repairs to caravan, chemist scripts and the like.

So far the big cost has been fuel because we have done so many kms so quickly. I don’t think this will change as we go forwards. The car gets about 16-17l/100kms – less on flat stretches and much more in Tasmania. We do eat out a bit and that is a bit of our ‘fun’ so I doubt that will change! We free camp where we can and its probably been 2/3 free and 1/3 paid for – which is a good saving. I’m sure we could do it cheaper, but we want to have decent time – not just a cheap time 🙂

I have tried a few new products and tools while on the road so if you’re a traveller too then this might interest you.

San Hima Towing Mirrors – I didn’t want to spend the $900 or so on Clearview mirrors so we went with this option. Same idea – you extend it to tow and other times push it back in. I knew that attaching towing mirrors every few days was gonna get old fast, so I fitted these before leaving. They are great for towing, easy to slot in and out and just as easy to fit in place of the old ones. The down side is that the bottom mirror is useless for pretty much anything and there are some serious blind spots with these that I didn’t have with my stock Holdens. I will be changing back to my old mirrors when I get home as its just too hard driving with these. But for travelling – yeah they’re good. (They do fold in – if you are prepared to exert some real grunt!)

Bluetooth Tyre Pressure Sensors – I have tried two different types and both have failed. I had the TPMS kind on the car for a while until one of them failed. They sent me a whole new kit straight away which was good, but in 8 weeks 3 have failed again. Not sure why but I can’t be bothered messing around with them. The idea is good and would be even better if they worked. The sensor sends a message to your phone / app with the tyre pressure, but as you can see below, I am only hearing from one tyre. I don’t think it’s a battery issue as I have changed batteries before.

Then there are the OBD2 variety which I am using in the car. These were great until one by one they stopped registering on the screen, then the monitor itself died. They lasted 7 weeks. A new monitor is being sent now so I’m hoping these will do the job. I value the info, but can’t be bothered with items that are so fickle. When it comes to these, I can’t recommend either brand yet, but we will see what happens with the new monitor…

BEST Water Filters – I don’t drink that much water – prefer coffee – but Danelle is a big water drinker and notices when the water is ‘ichy’. So I saw these in a Youtube clip and figured we would gamble the $120 or so to try and get decent water. Apparently these are the duck’s nuts and the water tastes great. So it seems it’s money well spent – and very easy to use too.

Companion 2.0 Kva Generator – I never thought I would be a generator owner… but on the back of some very cloudy days where our solar just couldn’t generate enough power, we relented and bought a gennie. I had scouted for a second hand Honda, but finished up getting a ‘Companion’ from BCF, $900 on special (looks like they were clearing them out) and 2 yrs warranty. I may sell it when we get home but for now it gets us out of a bind. It does have some cool features that some others dont: a) you can travel with lying down as per the pic – just gotta close off the fuel b) you can control it via an app which means you don’t have to keep running in and out of the caravan if its cold and wet. The trick with this is that the battery isn’t connected when it is sold so you have to remove a panel and do the connect up. Not hard, but I wasn’t aware of that issue. So far it has run well and been reasonably quiet. We can also make a coffee off it so that is pretty cool.

Ecosa Inverter 2000W – This was a $200 ebBay gamble and in short it has been ok… I don’t think it will ever come close to 2000W output, but I bought it in preference to our other one because you can wire up a ‘remote’ switch to the side of the bed rather than having to lift the bed every time. I also connected up an RCD protected double powerpoint to run from the inverter. So while I don’t think the inverter is anything special it is adequate for what we need. When I get home – or even somewhere warm – I may look at wiring into the mains of the van and making every powerpoint potentially inverter fed.

Falken Wildpeak All Terrain Tyres – I fitted these the day before we left and so far they seem to have worn fine and given us no noise issues. I rotated and balanced them again this week and all is good. They feel fine in the wet and with the van on the back, so other than that they just seem like a ok tyre.

Ok – so that’s it for now!

We are hoping to get out of Tasmania on June 6th and enter Vic. If its still in lockdown then I think we will be heading straight for the northern NSW border and getting out of the state before we get out of the car! I’m hopeful it won’t be in lockdown, but my hunch is we will have to bypass Vic altogether…

A Fight Worth Having

The last time I picked a fight with someone was Oct 23rd 2018, the day after Eugene Petersen died. I don’t normally ‘pick fights’ and this one wasn’t a physical one. I opened my Facebook feed to see the words ‘RIP Eugene Petersen – should have called it ‘the mess”. I saw red. Partly because of the incredible value The Message has been to so many in making sense of a book they might otherwise never read, partly because of the timing and partly because I had observed this person slam others on social media now for some time and I had kept my mouth shut. It began with a ‘shove in the chest’, graduated to a few short sharp blows and ended with the post being deleted and me being ‘unfriended’, which was probably a good thing as we certainly weren’t ‘friends’ in any sense.

I am not a pastor in the mould of Petersen – he is genuinely ‘pastorally’ gifted – but over the years I have found his pastoral/prophetic voice to be so incredibly valuable to the church, calling us back to the core business of ministry rather than the distractions that so easily bring us immediate gratification. Petersen was big on Christlikeness as our one pursuit – and he was very low on success as a measure of a life. I needed to hear his voice in my ear often as I walked my own path in Christian leadership. He said things like this:

“The ink on my ordination papers wasn’t even dry before I was being told by experts, so-called, in the field of church that my main task was to run a church after the manner of my brother and sister Christians who run service stations, grocery stores, corporations, banks, hospitals, and financial services.”

Eugene Petersen in ‘A Burning in My Bones’ by Winn Collier

It was so blatantly true that it was laughable – but also tragic – because we kept on running our corporations regardless. We still do.

Danelle and I have just finished Winn Collier’s biography of Petersen’s life, 9 3/4 hrs of audio book! I have never been a big fan of the audio-book form, always feeling like I was gonna miss something. And I did – for sure – we listened over the last 3 weeks as we drove around Tassie and the concentration it takes to drive a car and caravan around the winding hills of this state meant I couldn’t give it my full attention. That said it was a genuinely inspirational story of a man who sought to be a ‘saint’, but who also struggled with the same stuff all of us encounter – pride, ego, lust and booze.

Early in the book we hear the story of Petersen’s first ‘convert’ – the school bully who picked on him relentlessly until one day Petersen cracked, turned around and jumped on him, pinning his arms to the ground with his knees. He tells of pounding him with his fists and insisting he say ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour’ before he let him go. As the bully refused the bloodletting went on until Eugene got his way. He beat his first convert into submission… new missional methods?… Although we tried that with the crusades and it wasn’t such a great success was it?…

The story traced Petersen’s life from his Montana childhood, with an absent father right thru to the dementia years, the bitter end to a beautiful life.

It was intriguing to hear the inner workings of Petersen’s mind – the ongoing struggle to be what he called ‘a saint’, his dedication to the spiritual disciplines and his oh so vast love for people and his ability to sit them with and welcome them into his presence. While his writing is outstanding and we get to hear plenty of his struggle to become a writer, it seems it is his pastoral heart that came thru most powerfully in the story. He sought to love people and listen to people and to point them to Christ as the answer to their questions. When I say I am not a pastor in the mould of Petersen, I mean I simply don’t have the depth of heart that he cultivated, or the patience, or even the willingness to persist with people the way he did. I don’t say that to be self-deprecating – it’s just a reality – my gifts are in other areas. But it did depict someone with a genuine pastoral inclination living out a genuinely pastoral life. Danelle resonated with much of what he had to say as pastoring is her native language.

I appreciated Collier’s willingness to let us into some of Petersen’s vices – his ongoing battle with bourbon – a ‘distraction’ that he never seemed to fully master. There was a complicated relationship with another woman who came to him for counselling but whose energy and presence he began to enjoy a little too much. While it was ‘all above board’ sexually, it was clear that he had lost his way for a time and needed to re-connect with Jan, his wife. His deep ‘interior world’ that allowed him to produce such excellent writing also meant that at times he was hard to reach emotionally, or just absent from his marriage and his children. This was an ongoing tussle for him, Jan and his sons – a reminder that everything comes at a cost.

His vocational challenges were of particular interest to me. The call to pastor – to write – to teach – and in all of that to be husband, father and a decent human being. He wrestled with the machine that so much of institutional Christianity has become and tried to dance within it, sometimes winning and other times feeling like a square peg being bashed into a round hole. He voiced loudly his disaffection with the term ‘evangelical’, which he believed had become too combative to be of ongoing use. (No kidding…) He operated at the fringes in so many ways – which is to be expected of a prophet – and yet he also appeared to be so at home in his own church of so many years where he was able to express his pastoral vocation so strongly.

Prophet and pastor – a curious combination.

The final chapters of the book recount Petersen’s ongoing tussle with the issue of same sex marriage and his rather short, blunt ‘yes’ when asked in an interview if he would conduct such a marriage for people in his church. Collier lets us in to the fact that during this time Petersen was in the early stages of dementia and his ‘yes’ and then subsequent retraction brought him untold pain and grief. In the bio it is recounted as a very sad end to his public engagements. While it seems Petersen may have said ‘yes’ anyway he wasn’t able to nuance his answer the way he did in later reflections.

There is much to love and enjoy in this story of one of our 20/21st C Christian greats. He was a gifted writer, one whose works were written without a thought to their potential dollar value or ‘marketability’, and he was also a genuine pastor who loved people and made time for them. He and Jan appear to have had a great gift of hospitality often having people in their home and spending vast amounts of time encouraging and helping guide.

In his writing of the Message he reflected that one of his ongoing motivations was to create the words of scripture in a way that the average blue collar worker could both read and make sense of them. He loved scripture and he spoke of it as inspired and reliable, but there was a short segment where he addressed the (what seems now strange) issue of inerrancy. This issue caused much grief both here and around the world in the 80’s and 90’s and I am guessing it continues to be ‘fight worth having’ for a certain section of the church, but Petersen ruminates thoughtfully on how we can ever speak of ‘inerrant literature’. Perhaps mathematics could be spoken of an inerrant, but when you are dealing with language (which changes over time), interpretation, and especially metaphor, which the Bible has in spades then it’s a word best left alone.

I could go on… but suffice to say it was much loved part of our trip around Tassie – listening to the life of Eugene Petersen. I don’t normally pick fights either online or in real life, but for this bloke I’d happily do it again if I had my time over.

We’ve Been Busy

So we are in Tasmania now and have been for around 2 weeks with 2 more to go.

Two words – beautiful and cold!

It’s very much as imagined – hilly, green and rugged. We have been really enjoying seeing the various parts of the island. I haven’t written much as we have been really busy trying to get around as much as we can in the month.

Last time I updated we were in Kingston SA, which actually feels like a lifetime ago! From Kingston we hit Victoria where we were really just passing through and waiting for a ferry to Tassie.

Along the way we enjoyed catching friends Gary & Ev as well as Jake in Torquay. I managed to sneak in a couple of surfs at Narrawomg and Port Fairy but weather was against us for most of that period so it was slim pickings.

We drove on the ferry late on May 6th and slept our way thru to Devonport where we arrived 6.30am the next morning. Fortunately we had gentle seas and Danelle who has crazy motion sickness slept thru the night with no trouble.

We spent the morning in cold and damp Devonport doing some shopping before setting up camp at the local berry farm – a free camp and really well set up. It seems a bunch of Tassie’s free camps close at the start of winter as the grassed areas becomes mud so our decision to bump the trip forward from August was probably a good one.

On day 2 we headed off to have lunch with old friends Greg and Rebecca who were also holidaying in Tassie and were nearby. It was wonderful to catch up and hear where life has taken them the last 15 years or so…Crazy how long you can go without seeing people…

Then we went for a drive up the coast and I happened to notice what looked like a left hand point break – small but possibly rideable… Sure enough the one guy in the water was getting up and going so I couldn’t drive past and miss the opportunity. As I suited up the other local on the beach let me know it was a once in 10-20 year occurrence that this spot actually broke so I celebrated my good fortune with a couple of hours in the water on a stunning day. Felt pretty blessed after that!

We cruised along the top where we visited Stanley – cool town – and then headed back to make our way to Cradle Mountain. On the journey there we managed to take a road with a sign like this one.

I usually bow to my ‘law abider’ wife and do as I am told, but the redirect was about an hour of extra driving. I was about to turn the van around when she said ‘That’s not like you!’ So upon the invitation to give a shot we checked with a local who reckoned we would be fine and then we made the descent. It was no big deal really, although the caravan brakes were pretty hot by the time we hit the bottom. Of more concern was the climb back up, as 6 tonnes of car and caravan lumbered its way to the top. I almost ran out of gears but we made it.

As beautiful as Tassie is the winding roads are a strain for caravan drivers. You really have to stay on the ball and I found an hour of driving Tassie roads felt like half a day of driving back home. We camped in a beautiful spot near Cradle Mountain and parked up for two nights. We managed to get in to walk around Dove lake on the first day – it was icy! And then Danelle did some walking on day 2 while I did some writing. From there we had planned to head west to Strahan but the ‘100% chance of snow’ meant that the roads weren’t gonna be fun at all – and that’s if we could even drive on them.

So plan B was to head for Launceston and then the east coast. Launceston is another pretty city and we hung there for two nights and enjoyed sunny days again. We did a couple of touristy things – Cataract gorge and the board walk and then started the journey east.

Before leaving Launceston we did something we never thought we would do – we bought a generator… Now we are ‘those people!’… The shame… Unfortunately our one solar panel and one 120ah lithium battery just couldn’t keep up with the lack of sunlight so we bit the bullet and bought the gennie. The up side is now I can crank the coffee machine anywhere we go! And because it has bluetooth operation we can kick it into gear , or shut it down without having to leave the van.

Anyway we left Launceston and decided to mosey slowly along stopping at whatever took our interest. The highlight of that jaunt was an overnighter in Pyengana where we had lunch at the cheese factory. Amazing!! Being a sucker for sweet stuff (and it being my birthday) I had scones and cream followed by cheesecake and cream – and real heavy duty cream made on site, not that tinned sugary air that get sprayed on the side of your plate in most cafes. We woke to frost one morning here – it was chilly!

From there the next day we headed for St Helens – cool place. We did the caravan park thing that night as there was washing to be done and we needed to have access to enough water for that. While there we drove up the headland to Beer Barrel beach and discovered waves, something I didn’t expect… We checked one other spot and then I hit the water for an hour or so and enjoyed some really glassy lefthand beachies. Another surprising but welcome surf. And the water was cold but not crazy. I managed 90 minutes before the toes started to freeze up.

We headed further up the Bay of Fires on the next day – again equally beautiful – and these free camp sites are awesome! It’s been 2 months now and our accommodation spend is around $700 as we have managed to camp free or low cost for about 80% of it.

We cruised down the east coast looking for waves, but the swell seemed to drop the further south we went. Scamander was our hope and it was tiny, then on to our campsite in the ‘chain of lagoons’. We walked over the sand dune where we were camped to find some tiny waves, but the seabreeze blew in before I could even consider it.

I have surfed 6 times in 7 weeks so its not an outstanding effort. By contrast I have done a lot of bushwalking – Danelle’s passion. We moved from the east coast down to Freycinet National Park where the famous ‘Wineglass Bay’ is. The weather has been very kind to us with sunshine for most of our trip and the two days here were magic. We did the Wineglass bay walk and the extra part of the loop to make it an 11km journey. Wineglass Bay is nice and the view from the top is pretty speccy, but I still think Little Beach in Albany is more stunning, as well as Wharton in Esperance. Maybe I’ve been spoilt…

Walking with Danelle is interesting because we walk differently. I walk as exercise and with the purpose of getting to where we are going. I stop infrequently and only briefly, while she likes to linger and suck up the vibe. Having once been a runner, walking just feels kinda lame. I’d rather be running… I’ve done a lot of walking now though so maybe my opinion will change over this holiday. It is something we can do together, even if we don’t do it with quite the same spirit. Funny story – we decided to buy some shoes for walking / hiking while here so we went to Anaconda in Devonport on day 1 and bought two pairs. Did you know that ladies shoes are $60 cheaper than mens and I can fit into them?… So I am now the proud owner of ladies hiking shoes identical to my wife’s. We really are those people!

While Freycinet we bumped into Greg and Bec again so we enjoyed coffee with the most spectacular view of the mountains. While Wineglass Bay didn’t knock me dead these mountains certainly did. Spectacular!

We left Freycinet bound for Port Arthur and spent one night in Sorrell. The high point was a great budget RV site, but the rest was fairly forgettable. The drive to Port Arthur was like every other drive we have done – steep hills and winding roads meaning we struggled to get over 80kph for most of it. I know – there is no rush – such is the price of enjoying beauty.

So we are currently in Port Arthur , where we have ‘done the stuff’ – visited the historic site and taken it all in. It really is pretty cool to see the extent to which the site has been preserved and accentuated to help you get an understanding of what took place there. Yes – it is a really sad commentary on both who we were as a society (that 9 year old boys could be transported across the world for a minor offence), but also how religion – more particularly Christianity has been abused in trying to use it as a tool of reform. I sense another post will come on that subject, but if you weren’t aware ‘church’ was compulsory for all in the Port Arthur Penal Colony so Tasmania’s first megachurch started right there with 1100 people every week. Of course forcing people to attend church comes with its own issues…

This morning Danelle convinced me to go on a hike with her. ‘Want to go to Shipstern’s Bluff?’ she asked, not knowing of its fearsome reputation as one of the world’s most terrifying big waves. ‘I’m in’, I said not knowing much of what it involved. Turned out to be a lot of very steep hills!… But it was pretty spectacular again and now I can say I have been there. I can’t imagine anyone would ever hike in with a surfboard though – it took us 70 minutes and the terrain was hard going.

From here we are headed to Hobart for a bit to catch friends and sniff around there for a few days, followed by… not sure… weather will determine. Maybe a trip to Bruny island if it stays fine, otherwise up thru the middle and back to Devonport. The plan is to hop on the ferry on the Sunday night. drive off at 6.30am and then I will have two hours of surfing at Urbnsurf wave pool in Melbourne – where good waves are a guarantee!

Tassie has been awesome – and we are only half way thru 🙂

Not Good Enough – Try Again

It’s been a long time since I have heard those words. I remember at school and university there was the very odd assignment that got sent back for a second attempt, but it was a rarity. I’ve always been pretty good at putting things into words, or even fudging when I had to. So to hear them a couple of months ago was a bit of a kick in the guts.

As you may be know I have been writing a book on bivocational mission and ministry, sharing some of my learning over the last 30 years or so. I haven’t been able to find a publisher easily. It’s a niche subject and there really isn’t any commercial worth in a book of this kind. That’s ok – I understand.

Then I was introduced to a ‘Hybrid’ publisher, someone you contract to do all the hack work right up to actually producing the book. Of course you pay for it. And it isn’t cheap. But as I spoke with Danelle we decided together that the money spent would be an investment in learning and the first step in what I hope will be the writing of another 4 or 5 books. I want to pursue writing and make it a focus in life over the next 20 years. It’s more than a simple ‘hobby’ or new goal. Rather I feel it’s something God is birthing in me.

So we agreed together to this plan and I sent the book off for approval by their oversight team. I knew it was going to need some editing, and I was aware that it was a first draft, but when the reply came that ‘you really need to do a fair bit of work before we can even consider approving’ I must admit I was a bit sunk. There was some encouraging critique as well, but I heard the ‘not up to scratch’ message loud and clear. And to be honest I was bewildered. I thought it was pretty good.

I’ve now started writing 4 different books and the reason the first 3 floundered was mainly because I got some negative feedback and I allowed self doubt to push me out of the game. As the email came in this time I felt the same inner response. Disappointment and self doubt. Perhaps I’m kidding myself. Perhaps I am a poor writer and I need to forget about any future in writing.

Those first visceral responses are so powerful, but this time I have consciously pushed back on them and said ‘no’. I think I can do this, but I am on a learning curve. I have never written a book before so it’s kind of like being good with tools and trying to build a house. There is a lot I don’t know. It’s humbling to have to resumer a learner posture in a skill I feel quite accomplished at. But I’m guessing that writing a blog, or a few articles is very different to something more substantial.

The publisher offered the option of a paid critique, showing me where I needed to change things. Again it seemed like money well spent, so I gave someone permission to teach me what I don’t know and sent off the $$. It was definitely money well spent as she did a really diligent job of helping me see how I could improve things. I needed to reduce the word count significantly. Of the 80K words around 20K needed to be cut. She went thru and highlighted various sections with the word ‘cut’ – some were whole chapters, now deleted. Where arguments needed tightening she noted ‘weak argument’. Where I was repeating the same idea, again the word ‘cut’. The first few felt brutal and then I started to breathe again.

I was ready for it this time. I hadn’t paid someone money to rub my tummy and tell me nice things. I wanted someone to speak straight and show me where I was missing the mark, as well as where I was on target. (There was a bit of that thankfully!)

So I have spent the last few months editing as I have been able while we travel and now it feels like a trimmed down and more readable version than the first attempt. I am going to send it off again and see if this time I am closer to what is required.

I think it is… but I really do feel like a ‘beginner’ again in a field I have little knowledge of, so time will tell. I may yet have to drag myself down the road of self publishing.

Arguing with Myself…

As you drive through the country towns on our East coast you can’t help but notice how many buildings previously designated as ‘churches’ have been converted either to private residences (see Churches for Sale on FB) or to art studios, cafes or shops. You can read about it in The Age even!

Many of these are beautiful old buildings and the transformations their new owners give them are often quite stunning also. Unlike in WA, there’s a market over here for ‘dead churches’ and I’m conflicted as to how I feel about it.

There’s a part of me that is sad – sad that a building once used for worship and nurturing of faith is now used as a café or an Air BNB. And yes – I know ‘it’s just a building’ but it still feels well… sad… I read about an Anglican building conversion where the building had to be ‘de-consecrated’ before it could be used as a martial arts studio. My own theology doesn’t involve the building itself being sacred in any way, but there is still an incongruous feeling of sadness for the loss.

A crazy part of me wants to buy all the church buildings that are for sale and plant new churches in them. But the sheer fact that they are for sale is communicating that the community saw no further need for their presence. Is it a rejection of the Christian faith itself or a rejection of the form of faith that the building seemed to cultivate?

And what is it that the buyers see as attractive in ‘ex-churches’?

Is it the sense of spirituality that goes with them or just the high ceilings and timber floors – the blank canvas for a funky architect designed home?…

A further question is ‘should we ever have built these buildings in the first place?’

If I suggested today that a church raise money to fund a building that was purpose designed for Christian worship and would be used once or twice a week, the project would be laughed off the table as a waste of a resource.

Today we immediately think in terms of dual use / multi-purpose – hire out to the public to fund the outlay, type projects. No evangelical church I know of wants to build a dedicated ‘sanctuary’ any more – a sacred special space where the believers come to gather.

We would tut tut at ‘wastefulness’, patter about the ‘need for good stewardship’ and then if we did anything, we would seek to fund a multi-purpose, generic ‘large room’ that could double as dance studio, awards night venue, neighbourhood watch gathering space.  Yeah it might be as ugly as a rusty shipping container, but it wouldn’t sit idle for 90% of the week…

I note that some aspects of the Anglo-catholic tradition still seeks to create dedicated spaces, but even these new modern ‘sanctuaries’ pale next to cathedrals in the centres of cities. They are clearly on a budget, constrained by local council guidelines and trying to reflect a more ‘suburban’ vibe.

The future for those in my tribe appears to be in the construction of concrete tilt up buildings with as few windows as possible to ensure the room is dark and can be lit with stage lights. I’m not sure of why we need to do this, but that may be either my age or my ornery nature showing.

To be fair there have been some genuinely creative, missional and inventive projects that have come about as churches have sought to meet both their own needs and those of their local community. Lakeside Baptist is one good example and Eight Day in Melbourne another.

Art Studio in Blyth SA

I also wonder if part of the reticence to build a dedicated worship space is still an outworking of the church needing to be ‘relevant’. In it’s best expression this is about meeting real needs in the community, whereas at its worst it is about trying to be down with ‘cool’ so that people might be willing to step foot in the door. I think for the most part ‘relevant’ has failed us – it actually stripped us of our beautiful and disturbing uniqueness and shaped us into self-help organisations with an unappealing religious veneer.

As we have been talking about a building up in Yanchep over the last couple of years there is a part of me that would like to build a space that ‘looks like a church’ – that has both the appearance and the vibe of one of those old country weatherboard buildings – so that when people look at it – even if they have to retrieve something from their cultural memory – they look and say ‘ah – a church!’


Just a hunch – but I wonder if in this time of increasingly secularity we don’t need to embrace our uniqueness somewhat more and set up a space that is undeniably ‘church’ as we once knew. Sure, it might become a local tourist attraction – a novelty to the unfamiliar – but perhaps if we were to create a building and a landscape with wonderful beauty – that was also sufficiently functional, then maybe we might just speak to our community of the creator who is awesome and beautiful too.

So as I drive through these towns a part of me would like to buy one of these sad defunct buildings, put it on a couple of low loaders and send it back home to WA for re-initiating into the community as a ‘church’.

But is that good stewardship?…

And if Winston Churchill was right with his statement that ‘we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us’, would we end up cultivating a form of faith that was archaic and past its use by date?

I’m still arguing with myself so feel free to join in…