I had lunch with Alex again, and we read the Bible and prayed. Thankfully he appears to blog in German. (I say ‘appears’ because ich sprechen nur wenig Deutsch, so, for all I know, he could be writing Polish and discussing the latest fabbo shopping bargains at the Birkenstock shop. I say ‘thankfully’ because whatever language it is, it means we are reaching different audiences, and not competing with each other to blog first.)
Upon entering the lunch room today, I found a copy of my rather salubrious local rag, The Southern Courier. (Well actually, ‘salubrious’ is a bit of an overstatement; it is basically an excuse for real estate advertising.) On the front page I saw the little teaser for the article on page five: ‘Cemeteries fill up’. It’s not exactly a title designed to brighten up your day, but I couldn’t help reading. It ended up being, somewhat ironically, a piece about the difficulty of finding land in the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney—not for your house, but for your coffin. Apparently at the present rate of burial, cemeteries could well be full within 15 years. Mary Thorne, the President of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of NSW (I wonder how she introduces herself at parties?), stated, “It is a problem that has to be dealt with. It’s getting urgent.”
As part of the extended Driscoll post-mortem (well, he’s not dead, but you know what I mean!), I thought I’d contribute a few thoughts on one of the themes that came up again and again in almost every talk he gave, and usually several times in the same talk: his challenge to the ‘late-blooming’ young men of Sydney to grow up and take some responsibility. The basic formula was move out of home, get a job, buy a house, get married and plant a church—in that order.
This week, I have had the great privilege of editing a series of Bible studies on the book of Hebrews. On the way through, I was struck by a profound new thought—or, as one of my colleagues helpfully pointed out to me later in the day, actually I had just read the Bible more carefully! (Isn’t that where all the best thoughts come from?)
One of the quirks of being a Christian minister associated with an historic building like St Michael’s Wollongong is that I end up officiating a lot of weddings. But occasionally I also get to attend weddings which others officiate. Not long ago, I attended a wedding at another church. It was a great wedding, full of joy and wonderful testimonies to the grace and love of God through his Son Jesus. However, I did notice something that I thought was very strange: throughout the wedding, from the processional to the final speech at the reception, no mention was made of children at all. Not once.
Mark Driscoll recently came to Australia and shared 18 observations under the heading ‘Obstacles to evangelism in Australia today’. I was at that conference, and just before Driscoll stood up to speak, I had a brief and very encouraging conversation with Rowan Kemp (Sydney University Evangelical Union Staff member) about the recent ‘RE: JESUS’ mission held on campus. He shared with me four observations about helping evangelism in Australia today.
Recently I preached on 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:5, and I asked the following question: “Where do you see the power of God at work today in the world?”
It’s official, it’s appeared in the secular media, so it must be so! Australian Christians are struggling to read their Bibles. Linda Morris reported the findings from the National Church Life Survey in The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. Here are some of the less than encouraging statistics:
There is a venerable old put-down, attributed to Samuel Johnson: “Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” (more…)
Sometime today (Wednesday, Australian time) scientists will turn on the biggest atom smasher ever built. For those unschooled in the wonderful world of physics, atom smashers are very big rings (this new one is 27 km round) that are designed to throw very, very small pieces of stuff (so small, in fact, that you can’t see them) into each other at close to the speed of light. According to all reports, the results are pretty amazing. (So amazing, in fact, that at least one group of people are worried that the new particle smasher in Switzerland will actually end up destroying the world). It’s almost possible to hear the scientists salivating from my desk.