The Unmade Podcast

I’ve recently launched The Unmade Podcast with my friend Brady Haran. In each episode we discuss ideas for new podcasts that we will never make. It’s a lot of fun, and also quite… Continue reading

Nick Cave – Man or Myth?

Following the disintegration of The Birthday Party in 1983, but prior to the formation of The Bad Seeds, Nick Cave briefly performed under the stage name ‘Nick Cave – Man or Myth?‘ Two… Continue reading

Five Ethical Principles to Guide Putting Together a Church Planting Team

Church planting at its best may be the most strategic dimension of mission. At its worst it can be an expression of selfish ambition and turf war. The energy and excitement of a new… Continue reading

An Australian Republic? Facts and Sentiment

In considering the question of whether Australia should move to become a republic, I think its helpful to consider both fact and sentiment. Currently, in the Commonwealth of Australia, executive power is constitutionally vested in the Queen of… Continue reading

Beyond Sunday: Intro to Faith, Life & Work

I’ve just finished lecturing through a new topic Beyond Sunday: Introduction to Faith, Life and Work. The unit was introduced in response to reflection on how much of ministry is focused on the gathered church;… Continue reading

Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Christian Biography on Young People

This week I picked up Eric Metaxas’ latest book 7 Women and the Secrets of their Greatness, which provides an introductory overview of the lives of Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint… Continue reading

Is this what Mad Men was actually about?

Three years ago I wrote of my fascination with Mad Men. Tomorrow the series comes to an end. It’s been a masterpiece of television, a set piece of sharp cultural analysis. Various plots are climaxing. Last… Continue reading

The Lie of the Luxury Cruise (according to David Foster Wallace)

The current fanaticism for luxury cruises invites some analysis. I considered some thoughts on this strange aquatic holiday hyperreality, because it’s quite obviously – perhaps too obviously – a meaty motif through which to make… Continue reading

Debra Hirsch’s new book: Redeeming Sex

I must recommend Debra Hirsch’s new book Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations about Sexuality & Spirituality. This is the book Debra was destined to write, drawing on decades of ministry in this area. Typical of Debra’s… Continue reading

The History of ANZAC Day

I was intrigued to read a paper by Rev. Prof. John A. Moses, Professorial Associate in History, Charles Sturt University, on the history of this annual commemoration. Moses, along with George Davis, is the author… Continue reading

Essential Reading: Charles Taylor on Secularism

The influence of Charles Taylor’s magisterial book A Secular Age continues to permeate. For those uninitiated, this important (and huge) text seeks to explain how exclusive humanism came to be, to answer the question “Why was… Continue reading

Seeking: Money, Status & Life Overflowing

I was recently in the US speaking at a few churches. The talk below is Seeking: Money, Status & Life Overflowing from Grace Snellville in Atlanta. It’s about how Jesus confronts the modern quest for identity through… Continue reading

Best & Worst Books on Political Campaigns

I’ve just finished Double Down: The Explosive Inside Account of the 2012 Presidential Election by John Helleman and Mark Halperin. It’s the sequel to their magnificent Game Change: Obama & the Clintons, McCain… Continue reading

‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ by Richard Flanagan

I must recommend Richard Flanagan’s newest novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It’s a staggeringly good novel, incredibly moving and compelling. I found myself aching to get back to it. It tells… Continue reading

Uniting College Induction Service

Last Friday night was my formal induction service onto the Faculty at Uniting College. The service was led by the Moderator, Dr Deidre Palmer along with Principal, Rev Dr Steve Taylor. The liturgy… Continue reading

Governance Principles for Church Councils

I was recently asked to give a presentation on how general governance principles might assist Church Councils. The forum was the Urban Mission Network, focusing quite specifically on Congregations of the Uniting Church.… Continue reading

Uniting Church in SA Strategic Plan

For several months last year I had the privilege of convening a committee which steered the development of the Strategic Plan process for the South Australian Synod of my denomination, the Uniting Church in… Continue reading

Springsteen, Steinbeck & The Grapes of Wrath

Bruce Springsteen has been in Australia this month, playing epic shows around the country, all the while his latest album High Hopes, hit No 1 in the US and several other countries. At… Continue reading

Tim Keller in Australia

The reach of Tim Keller continues. In March he’s in Sydney for a conference for Church Planters and Pastors, in a week that also involved events for Young Adult Ministry, Women’s Ministry, and… Continue reading

Bono on the death of Lou Reed

I was planning to post something on the recent death of Lou Reed. A friend at school, Honi, first introduced me to the Velvet Underground, but don’t think I really knew Lou until… Continue reading

Radiohead & the Crucifixion of Jesus

The penultimate song on Radiohead’s last album, The King of Limbs, is entitled ‘Give up the Ghost’. It’s a tender song, a sparse hymn atop a simply strummed guitar riff, undergirded by a sampled… Continue reading

Radical Axioms for Modern Life

I’ve been reflecting recently on each of the quite radical statements of Jesus at the beginning of the famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 1-12, which read like radical axioms for… Continue reading

Documentary Film about Rev John Smith

There’s growing support for grass-roots funding towards the making of a documentary film about the life of Rev John Smith. John is one of the defining figures of Christian mission and ministry in… Continue reading

Do Entrepreneurs Feel Closer To God?

This from Harvard Business Review: A new study by academics at Baylor University found that entrepreneurs prayed more frequently than other people and were more likely to believe that God was personally responsive to… Continue reading

Jonathan Franzen on Modern Life

Novelist Jonathan Franzen writes an interesting article in today’s Guardian on several elements of increased technoconsumerism in modern life. It focuses on German author Karl Krauss, whose soon-to-be published essays he has recently translated. I’m not… Continue reading

Tim Keller’s New City Catechism

Last year, Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC launched the New City Catechism, with its own free accessible app. For those not familiar, catechisms are uniquely structured clear set of teachings on Christian doctrine. They are… Continue reading

The Australian (economic) Moment

Those interested in how the economy has reflected and shaped the Australian psyche should check out George Megalogenis’s latest, The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for these Times. Megalogenis is one of my… Continue reading

Atlanta in July

In July I’m looking forward to speaking at a couple of churches in Atlanta for the first time. On 20th I’m at Grace Midtown, then over the next three days teaching with an… Continue reading

Facts on the Separation of Church & State

I am an ordained Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia. I am also the elected member for The Park Ward on Mitcham Council. I was asked recently how I… Continue reading

New Book on the Struggle to Have Children

On Friday I read a new book well worth recommending to those struggling to have children. It’s Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey. My wife and I having walked part of this journey, I found… Continue reading

Dad’s Green Mission Tin

We’ve been unpacking in our new place, and this week my wife  stumbled upon this old green tin. I recognised it straight away – it had belonged to my Dad, who coincidently passed… Continue reading

ANZAC Day & How we Hope for Meaning

I’ve just returned from the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial. In Australia, this annual ritual commemorates those soldiers who lost their lives in war. It was, as usual, a… Continue reading

A Tribute to Adrian Mole

UPDATE: I’ve just heard the news that author Sue Townsend has passed away. Coincidentally, it was the death of Margaret Thatcher almost exactly one year ago that prompted me to think of Townsend greatest… Continue reading

A Short & Helpful Ecclesiology

Recent conversations with Christian leaders (from various denominations) highlights a desire for a way of articulating the nature and purpose of the church, with a greater emphasis of the broader context of the… Continue reading

Darth Vader reads the Bible

A friend recently requested a recommended audio version of the Bible. I actually love listening to scripture, being swept into the whole grand narrative; and hearing verses afresh brings thoughts to mind which… Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on Paul’s Overlooked Ministry as ‘Herald’

A while ago, a friend text me a verse: 2 Timothy 1:11, For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I… Continue reading

What Gen Y Say They Need To Live Life More Fully.

Last week in preparation for a talk with a non-profit, I conducted an online survey with questions related to values, life-pressures, identity, regrets and hopes. I was keen to see if it confirmed… Continue reading

Davis McCaughey

I’ve just finished Sarah Martin’s recent biography on Davis McCaughey. For those unfamiliar, McCaughey was a defining figure in the formation of the Uniting Church, personally drafting much of the Uniting Church’s foundational… Continue reading

New Weekly Series on Christian Spirituality, north & south of Adelaide

Starting in late April, I’m doing a weeknightly lecture series ‘Spirituality for 21st Century Disciples‘  at two locations, north and south of Adelaide. It’s a unique opportunity for people to engage in some… Continue reading

Alain De Botton’s Borrowed Virtues

Yesterday popular philosopher Alain De Botton released his ‘Manifesto for Atheists’, a supposed ten new virtues, in response to his feeling that being virtuous had become ” a strange and depressing notion”. He says… Continue reading

Mitcham Council: Election Result

Last week I blogged on why I was standing as a candidate in the supplementary election for Mitcham Council in The Park Ward. You can read that here. Well, the ballot count is in,… Continue reading

What could a Church Learn from Savile Row?

When I was in London last year, I made a visit to Savile Row. This is the famous street where the best and oldest fine bespoke suit tailors are. Shops like Anderson &… Continue reading

Why I’m Standing for Local Council

Several folk have asked my why I’m standing in the current election for Mitcham Council here in South Australia. It’s actually a supplementary election for The Park Ward due to the passing Cr… Continue reading

The Photography of Dorothea Lange

I’ve recently discovered the photography of Dorothea Lange, whose powerful images captured the stark poverty and deprivation of rural areas during the Great Depression in America.

Green Team Hindley St Project

As we start a new year, I strongly encourage you to consider volunteering in an great program serving one of the most complex and critical issues in our city. The Green Team Hindley St Project… Continue reading

One of the Greats: Dave Graney

I’ve just read Dave Graney‘s memoir 1001 Australian Nights. It’s a fascinating tumble of stories, tour diary and musings on music and culture, which I really enjoyed and read quickly. I’ve been a huge… Continue reading

Read the Bible With Me

I’m participating in the Bible Society‘s ‘Read the Bible with..’ campaign. I was asked, along with a bunch of people, to reflect briefly on seven passages of scripture. You can check out my short reflections,… Continue reading

Top 3 Books of 2012 (fiction)

Like most people, I read fiction from across the years, rather than – with some exceptions – as they are released. Thus, these are essentially the best books I read in 2012. Another… Continue reading

Top 3 Films for 2012

Ok, this year I’ve gone with a Top 3. I figure anyone can pick five good films in a year, but three (and in order) enforces some hard clear thinking: 3. Hugo I… Continue reading

Orwell & Dangerous Stories

It was a pleasure to speak twice at The Journey Uniting Church on Sunday, on ‘The Foundations of Belief in a Postmodern World”. We explored the consequences of living within a culture that… Continue reading

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