I can’t be the only person in the world who thinks that while Melbourne is a cool city, it would be cooler if the name Batmania had stuck…
We’ve been here since Friday. It has been cold. We’re staying with my friend Mika, which has been fun. We’ve been to a bunch of cafes (stay tuned for reviews on thebeanstalker.com). We’ve been to a wedding (the real reason we came down here), a wedding that featured a surprise opera performance during the toasts. We’ve caught trams. We’ve been to City on a Hill (the church run by Guy Mason, the guy who did that Sunrise interview)… and despite all that fun stuff, and the amazing coffees, probably my favourite part was meeting Arthur and Tamie of Cyberpunk + Blue Twin fame. First off, Tamie makes possibly the most amazing Baklava I’ve ever tasted (and I spend two weeks in Greece and Turkey trying to find amazing Baklava), secondly, the meeting of the minds and the warm and engaging conversations we shared yesterday are a reminder of the beauty of being part of the kingdom of God, and one of the tangible benefits of doing this blogging thing. People who read and participate in conversations online are real people, and it was nice to be reminded of that – it’s also nice when you meet people and the real life version of the person is pretty much what they display online only in three dimensions. So that was fun.
City on a Hill was interesting. I’ve never seen a church with such amazing branding and design, they meet in a cinema which offers the most comfortable church seats I’ve ever been in, they had a video Bible reading featuring cool shots from around the city with key parts of the text written in chalk. It was a really hip and happening deal. The two criticisms I have, and I’m not really in the business of taking shots at other people’s models of ministries (unless they don’t talk about Jesus) were that the cinema setting made conversation difficult – nobody really said hello to us until the end of the service, even though we were about five minutes early, and the music, while tight and enjoyable, featured the occasional repetition of line/verse that wasn’t indicated by the powerpoint, which made singing a long a little bit disjointed.
I loved how “on message” people were in up front stuff, it was clear that if you were new at the church your next step is to become part of a “connect group” (via a newcomers information evening), and it was clear that this is a church where the expectation is that you role up your sleeves and be on mission. So that was pretty cool too, in that it seemed to recognise the limitations of doing welcoming/connecting with new people in the venue that they’re in, while conveying the church’s desire to incorporate new people into the flock, and move people into the process of serving one another.
The sermon was on 1 Corinthians 14, on Spiritual gifts, tongues and prophecy – so there was plenty of interesting mental fodder. Guy managed to hold and nicely articulate the tension between skeptical cessassionists and tongues-loving reformed charismatics nicely, while pointing out that spiritual gifts are only spiritual gifts if they point people towards Jesus. So that was nice.