Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dandenong Ranges National Park

I grew up in the foothills of the Mt. Dandenong. For those who live in Melbourne or who have visited here, Mt Dandenong is where the television repeater towers are. Mt. Dandenong is in the Dandenong Ranges National Park which covers over 3000 hectares. There are great bushwalks and loads of picnic spots. The Dandenong Ranges National Park is one of the most popular tourist attrations in Victoria. Our family hosted four US students who are part of a group studying at Kingsley this semester. We spent half a day going from Belgrave to Mt.Dandenong. We drove up Mountain Hwy past my parent's property at The Basin and then headed along the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Rd to Kallista to feed birds at Grants Picnic Area. We drove to Olinda and had meat pies at Pie in the Sky for lunch. From there we drove to Sky High and and looked out over Melbourne. An enjoyable day out that concluded with a gathering of Mimos at our regular haunt - the Stolberg in Preston.

Spring is Almost Here

I love Spring. It's my favourite season. Our garden is starting to come alive. Buds are starting to burst, the daffodils are showing their smiling faces and the boronias are sharing their fragrance with the world.We have three boronia bushes near our clothes line and Annette loves the perfume as she hangs the clothes. Here's some pics of the front and back garden. I can't wait for the wisteria to start flowering over the swing set. Stay tuned for more spring garden photos

Monday, August 21, 2006

Young People with Old Names

I was listening to my favoutite radio program - at the moment - Hamish and Andy on Friday and their talkback topic was young people with old people's names.
They had a few callers with relatively old fashioned names but nothing completely out of the ordinary. Then Beryl called in - she is 21 and she has a 24 year old brother called Noel. What was more weird is that their parents are called Luke and Hannah. Hamish and Andy suggested that they should swap names with their parents.
Hamish and Andy are always good for a laugh on the way home from work!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Warranwood Primary School - Science Fair

Our two oldest children, Kate (Grade 2) and Matt Grade 1) participated in the Annual Warranwood Primary School Science fair. Our experiement (that we worked on as a whole family) was to test to see if plants grew better with plain water, soluble fertiliser or salt water. To our surprise the plain water won out over a 4 week period. It could be that the plants already contained fertiliser and that applying soluble fertiliser everyweek was too much. We measured height, number of flowers, number of buds and general condition. The picture on the left is the first week of our experiment with all plants looking reasonably healthy. The photo to the right is the results after four weeks. On Thursday this week the projects from the whole school were displayed in the school gym. Well done Kate and Matt - good job

Book Review - Emerging Churches - Gibbs and Bolger

Gibbs, Eddie and Ryan Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005

Emerging Churches is a follow on from Eddie Gibbs’ previous book called Church Next which was originally published in 2000 and republished in 2001 with additional information from Ian Coffey which added a UK perspective.
Emerging Churches has similarities to Chruch Next in the content it covers, however, the research methodology is markedly different. Gibbs recognised that he needed to engage face to face with Emerging church leaders across the world in order to define first hand the common characteristics of this movement. Ryan Bolger co-authored the book and used this research as part of his own doctoral studies.
Gibbs and Bolger limit their study to 50 communities in the US and UK and while recognising the existence of similar communities in Australia, New Zealand and continental Europe, they cite a lack of budget (p. 8) for excluding them from the study.
I hope that current doctoral research being undertaken by Darren Cronshaw and the pending releases of Mike Frost’s Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian World, and Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church will give us an up to date picture of the emerging (or as most prefer down-under – missional) church in Australia.
Gibbs and Bolger’s intention is to describe what an emerging-missional church is rather than providing a critique of the methodologies or practices. However, they conclude most chapters by identifying the challenges that are presented by these approaches.
Gibbs and Bolger analyse the data collected over a five year period from interviews, forums, discussions, and case studies to identify common characteristics of the emerging church in the US and UK. Nine common practices are identified as “missionally significant” (p.9) and from my perspective they reflect accurately the identified pratices of emerging missional churches in Australia from my own experience. Three core practices are identified as being characteristic of all emerging groups: (1) Identifying with the life of Jesus, (2) transforming secular space, and (3) living as community.
The remaining six practices “are derivitave of these three core practices” (p. 43) and many are evident in each community: (4) Welcoming the stranger, (5) serving with generosity, (6) participating as producers, (7) creating as created beings, (8) leading as a body, and (9) taking part in spiritual activities.
Gibbs and Bolger offer a succinct definition of the emerging (missional) church as “communities that practice the way of Jesus within postmodern cultures (p. 44).” While this may be true of the current movement, I see it more as a new way of being the church that reaches into culture. (fullstop) and while postmodernity is the prevailing mindset of our culture, that may change and I believe the missional approach to being the church is an essentially Biblical approach that can be adapted to any changes in culture.
Overall, a very helpful read. It will be most suitable for those who want an overview of what the ‘so-called’ emerging or missional church is all about. The vast collection of first hand stories from people involved in emerging communities gives confidence in the thorough research that has produced this comprehensive assessment.

My Throat is Poisoned

Not like the reference in Psalm 5:9 "their lungs breathe out poison gas. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides." I have tonsilitis. I know that by posting this I will only perpetuate the myth that every 30+ male is a raving hypochondriac but for the last four days I have been bedridden with some shocking symptoms. It started on Tuesday at Kingsley with headaches and bodyaches that I controlled with the trusted panadol but that night the headachess got worse and with every cough I thought my head was going to explode. The headaches, bodyaches, fever,and cough continued all day Wednesday and the sore throat started to come Wednesday night. The throat got worse on Thursday - and for some consolation the headaches disappeared. The sore throat unbearable on Thrusday night and after goiung to the doctor on Friday and starting antibiotics, it continued all day Friday and still this morning. It hurts constantly, but especialy when I eat, drink, cough or swallow. Did you know we involunrarily swallow every 15 seconds - I do now!! So hopefully I'll start to turn the corner soon