Brain in Gear…

I haven’t been to a conference for about 4 years now… and the last few conferences I went to were ones I was speaking at or one’s where I was familiar with the subject matter, so the last couple of days have been refreshing and stimulating.

I studied at Vose Seminary back in the 90s when it was the Baptist Theological College and while I very much appreciated the input from my lecturers I get the feeling I was 15 years too early. As one who is somewhat out of the denominational loop these days I was really impressed with the conference Vose put on, both the quality of lecturer but also the genuinely daring and provocative content. It was not a ‘safe’ conference and for that I am thankful. It would have been so easy to invite a well known and completely ‘safe’ evangelical teacher, but these guys invited Scot McKnight – no heretic by any stretch – but someone who is within the evangelical camp, yet also very able to push the boundaries of thought.

He certainly pushed my boundaries, but more because I found myself unable to keep up with his content and input rather than necessarily his theological framing. Scot’s lecture on the nature of the gospel was sensational and I am hoping it makes waves across our state for many years to come. The way in which he delineated the difference between the gospel and the plan of salvation was brilliant. If you want to get a summary then check it out here.

Brian Harris offered an excellent paper on how the trinitarian nature of God ought to give shape to our churches and then there were a heap of other great presenters. As I said, its been a while since I have had my brain stretched so I actually found myself disturbingly out of shape. I can dig a trench, or move a wheelbarrow as fast as anyone these days. but my theological mind has become flabby. That said, the last couple of days reminded me of how much I enjoy these experiences and even provoked me to reconsider study. I mentioned it to Danelle and she asked ‘for what purpose?’ All I could offer was ‘pleasure and enjoyment…’ Not really enough to drop everything for…

Living in the distant parts of the city I feel pretty separated from the rest of the crew and moving further out to Yanchep has increased that sense of distance, so it was really good to see some of my mates again – other blokes (and women) leading churches and doing similar stuff. Mental note to self – I should do that more often…

I noticed that comment was made of the fact that Vose has staff who are both academic and pastoral and that was affirmed because the academic staff would understand what the pastors are grappling with. True. But after 4 years of blue collar work I wonder if it possible to push harder on that and suggest that we need lecturers who are both academic, pastoral and engaged in the secular workforce. I realise that’s a big ask, but my own learnings over the last 4 years have re-shaped who I have become as a Christian leader and would undoubtedly influence how I would teach if I were a theology lecturer. I don’t know how practical that is, but I’d be curious to see how a regular engagement in ordinary working life might impact on content and approach to theological education.

There weren’t many low points in the conference however I did find one lecture rather infuriating. It endeavoured to compare two ‘Baptist’ ecclesiologies – one of Nigel Wright and the other Mike Frost/Al Hirsch (assuming Hirschy was a Baptist!) and argued that from the ‘silence’ of Hirsch/Frost on the sacraments of baptism and communion they clearly did not hold them as an essential part of their ecclesiology. As a friend commented, it was a classic example of why we shouldn’t argue from silence… Even more bizarre was the fact that the lecturer knew Frost personally, had worked at the same college as him, but had never bothered to ask him about the apparent ‘silence’. I mean seriously, if you’re curious then why not just walk across the corridor and ask the question?!!… I certainly hope this blog doesn’t get critiqued on what I don’t say… but then again there is probably enough in what I have already said to keep a critic busy for a while.

So – well done to Vose for a fantastic conference. I was glad that I wasn’t able to keep up theologically and that it wasn’t pitched at the slowest moving brain in the room. It was stretching, inspiring and enjoyable. Maybe next year I’ll absorb a bit more… or perhaps things will go from bad to worse and I’ll lose focus altogether!

In Jesus Love has won.

Jarrod McKenna

Jarrod McKenna’s Wednesday’s with Gandhi:

 “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.” Mohandas Gandhi

I’m off to Indonesia this Friday (forgive me my carbon debts) to the Historic Peace Church Gathering on behalf of AAANZ and Quakers (It will be a bunch of very respectable, intelegent and impressive people from around the world… and this dreadlocked kid from Perth!).  So this will be my last ‘Wednesday with Gandhi’ for the year.  It’s funny I set out to write about a bunch of stuff that I didn’t get round to but I trust the Spirit will take what I have done and use it to invite and inspire people to know in deeper ways for themselves this Jesus that Gandhi said was the greatest practitioner of nonviolence in history, central to his revolution in India, and the one through whom, I believe, God’s dream for creation has broken into history.

I thought I’d end by letting you in on a little of the life of our community. Us Peace Tree mob can say with our hero Dorothy Day “We have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” As a community we seek to ‘serve in silence’ and not make a big deal of what we do but since the gang fights and the subsequent killing in the street behind ours was so public and made the news overseas, we thought we’d let our light shine in the hope that it doesn’t glorify us but the God who is transforming our world not through force but through a love seen fully in Jesus.

As Eastern Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware writes (I love this quote);

“The Cross, understood as victory, sets before us the paradox of love’s omnipotence.  Dostoevsky comes near to the true meaning of Christ’s victory in some statements which he puts into the mouth of Starets Zosmia:

“At some thoughts a man stands perplexed, above all at the sight of human sin, and he wonders whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide: “I will combat it by humble love.” If you resolve on that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world.  Loving humility is a terrible force: it is the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.” “

We witnessed something of this humble love and healing on Saturday with our ‘Peace and Pizza’ event in response to the gang killing in our streets. As Nick Cave might put it “God was in the house” (well… garden). The family of the 18 year old kid who was killed bravely join us as well as many indigenous people and white fellas like me. We had yummy wood fired pizzas, great music, and Maori, Noogar and Wajalla (as well as  people from Malaysia, Iran, Indonesia, Kenya and elsewhere) came together for a time of silence to honour the life of John[ston] the young man who was killed and tree planting and prayer for an end to violence in our neighbourhood and our world. Thanks for all who have supported us Peace Tree crew over this time. Please keep the families involved, and our neighbourhood in your prayers. 

These photos were taken by our good friend and brother Tom Day who is an amazing photographer now in Perth. (his website is worth bookmarking: )


 the guy with the dog in this photo is classic 🙂

Prayer with the family that have lost their loved one on our streets.


This was one of the most moving parts of the day when Noogar elders, parents and children helped to plant a tree to honour the life of a Maori boy killed by a Noogar gang.  It was truly beautiful and touched the family and the community gathered deeply.


Youth Worker, Community gardener, co-chaplain at Hampton High and Peace Tree brother Josh Hobby, helps plant the tree with one of the family members.




Thanks to all who have journeyed with me and Gandhi this year. I can still be found at Thanks more so to all who don’t put out PR releases but quietly go about living the decision “I will combat it by humble love.”   

You inspire me to know Christ more, to walk in the resurrection more. You witness to the reality that in Jesus love has won… and not even violence’s ultimate threat of death can stop resurrection power.

Grace and peace of the new world breaking in be with you,


Hard Soil

No… Its not a post on suburban mission…

Its a bit more literal than that. I have started the retic business I mentioned previously and today was digging in very hard soil. After a 40 degree day yesterday where I was outside and installing a couple of systems I decided to leave today’s job until after lunch. Of course the morning was cool and cloudy but as I rolled up to start the clouds rolled back and the breeze died off… Bugger…

What do you do in hard soil – crusty soil?

Chip away… chip away… chip away… and don’t give up.

Ok, so this is turning into a post on suburban mission…

Seriously the retic business has actually been one of the best ‘missionary’ ventures I have initiated since being here and it was somewhat accidental. In the last 2 weeks I have been in 15 different homes and met a whole bunch of people I never would have before. I’ve learnt a heap about a whole new area and I’ve started a business that I reckon could sustain us financially on 2 days a week. Most people who know me well know that my motto in life has always been ‘why do yourself what you can pay someone else to do’. I haven’t enjoyed home handyman stuff since my teens and have avoided it.

But in a world of loose ends and intangible results it is nice to do something that is finished when I walk away.

I have also been drinking more beer (which is always good for suburban mission)

Plans for Sunday arvo?

If people in Perth were looking for ways to make peace and praise practical this Sunday you’re welcome to join us Peace Tree crew for the Gulu Walk.

“Every morning and every night the children of Northern Uganda walk for their LIVES. We’re walking to tell their story.

Not sure what that is? Please click here to view the video about what you can do for the “Invisible Children”.

Date – 23rd September 2007 (Sunday)


sleepy hollow download

– 2.30pm with a 3pm start

Where – We are meeting at Beaufort Park in Bedford. It is on the corner of Beaufort St and Drummond St.

Walk – The walk will begin at Beaufort Park in Bedford, go along Beaufort St through Bedford, Inglewood, Mt Lawley, Northbridge and then back up to Mt lawley again. The walk will conclude at the ASeTTS building near the corner of Beaufort St and Brisbane St. There is a map of the walk with distance times located on our website.

Walk Length – the walk is approximately 7kms. Depending on your walking speed, the walk will take roughly 1.5 – 2 hours.

Cost – The event is FREE

Registation – Please register at The number of attendees in the subject line of an email is fine..

EntertainmentAt both the beginning and the end of the walk there will be various forms of entertainment. At 2.30pm we have Afrotonics, a drum and dance group, performing at Bedford Park. Speeches, photo displays and the screening of the film Invisible Children feature at the end of the walk at the ASSeTTs building. (or the link to the page is in the ‘our friends’ section)

I’ll see ya there with my wheels 🙂

Kevin Rudd & Muscular Discipleship

If anyone knew about muscular discipleship it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but maybe Kevin Rudd does too… We share a common hero:

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, pastor and peace activist is, without doubt, the man I admire most in the history of the twentieth century.”

Thanks to Jarrod McKenna for the tip off about this article written by the new leader of the opposition Kevin Rudd.

When read it in that light it is a very interesting article and that one would make promising reading to any thinking Jesus follower…

A couple of quotes:

“Bonhoeffer’s was a muscular Christianity. He became the Thomas More of European Protestantism because he understood the cost of discipleship, and lived it.”

“But there are signs of Christianity seeing itself, and being seen by others, as a counterculture operating within what some have called a post-Christian world. In some respects, therefore, Christianity, at least within the West, may be returning to the minority position it occupied in the earliest centuries of its existence.”

“I argue that a core, continuing principle shaping this engagement should be that Christianity, consistent with Bonhoeffer’s critique in the ’30s, must always take the side of the marginalised, the vulnerable and the oppressed.”

“In the fifth approach, the Gospel is both a spiritual Gospel and a social Gospel, and if it is a social Gospel then it is in part a political Gospel, because politics is the means by which society chooses to exercise its collective power. In other words, the Gospel is as much concerned with the decisions I make about my own life as it is with the way I act in society.”

If Kevin Rudd means what he says in this article then he could have my vote tomorrow.

The challenge of course is for Rudd to lead his party in this direction and that of course is another issue entirely!

There is always hope.

Danelle Hamilton is Brighton Estate Citizen of the Year

Woohoo! Its true.

What a fantastic surprise!

Danelle got a phone call this afternoon from the local community development crew advising her that a bunch of people had nominated her for the Citizen of The Year award (unbeknownst to her) and that she had won. Of course she didn’t even know she had been nominated, but it seems some of the girls she hangs out with deemed her a worthy recipient.

The spiel on our local website says this:

The Individual category is open to all residents who live in Butler or are actively working towards a positive culture within the community at Brighton Estate. The selection criteria will be based on the following:

– The nominees contribution to the Brighton Community

– Any individual actions to instil positive change and add value to the community

– Inspirational qualities as a role model for the Brighton Community

So what did she do to win it?… We are yet to hear the ‘official’ version, but it seems that small acts of kindness, wonderful hospitality and genuinely loving people actually counts for a lot with the folks round here. I haven’t seen Danelle so excited for quite a while – she is quite overwhelmed that people would think so highly of her. Those of us who know her aren’t surprised at all – and yet at the same time we are quite amazed that the community has valued Danelle’s contribution so highly.

It is a fantastic affirmation of the ‘under the radar’ stuff that Danelle does every day – and really significant to know that other people notice this stuff. What we see is that people have affirmed the Jesus like qualities of Danelle as the kind of qualities they want to see more of around here.

Nice hey?!

I am a ridiculously proud husband.

Boycott Bali for Schapelle?

Its been an interesting day on in the streets of Brighton.

This morning some stickers appeared in the local cafe saying ‘Boycott Indonesia Support Schapelle‘. The conversations in our street have been interesting this afternoon as people have marked their positions on this one and been very willing to engage in debate.

A sunny winter’s day has seen us hanging around, chatting, drinking and sharing our points of view. Its been engaging conversation and has been great for chewing thru some of our big questions.