arthur and tamie

Coffee for Tanzania… almost done

I’ve got just over a kilo of this Tanzanian coffee left (well, only the Clouds of August stuff actually).

But we’ve raised enough to cover a day of Arthur, Tamie, and Elliot’s life in Tanzania. If you want to know more about Tanzania, and Arthur and Tamie’s plans to work with student ministries in Dodoma, Tanzania, then you should check out

If you wanted to order some Tanzanian coffee – but haven’t yet – shoot me an email. I’d be happy to order and roast some more if the demand is there.

Buy coffee, help Tanzanians meet Jesus at uni

Pairing up coffee with good causes is something I like to do from time to time. A few years ago we used Indian coffee to help Dave raise money for clean Indian drinking water, last year we used coffee to buy beehives and grain through Tear’s Really Useful Gift catalogue, and now, you can buy some delicious Tanzanian coffee – a premium kind of coffee (it’s more expensive) – to help partner with Arthur, Tamie and Elliot as they head to Tanzania.

You’ll even get a magnet!

I have about 12kg of Tanzanian coffee up my sleeve, and would love to roast it all as part of this little initiative. So keep reading – and then buy up at the end – you can use Paypal, or, if you’d prefer, contact me by email to order some and pay via bank deposit.

I will be mailing this coffee out a little differently – I’m planning to send it on Mondays or Fridays (my days off) – so order close to one of those days if you want it fresh.

Here’s some more about the project – you’ll find this content duplicated on a dedicated page – and the Tanzanian coffee order form will sit where the old fashioned order form sits in the sidebar for as long as I’ve got coffee left to sell.

Help Tanzania Meet Jesus

The Davises

Arthur, Tamie, and Elliot, are heading to Tanzania next year aiming to introduce a generation of Tanzanian leaders to Jesus. You can purchase some delicious coffee to help them out, and to get better informed about what’s going down in Tanzania, and what they plan to do there.

They’ve renamed their blog, what was Cyberpunk + Blue Twin is now, and they have a Facebook page that I highly encourage you to like so that you can follow along on their exodus (most people would use the word journey here. But that’s so cliched).

They’re raising support – and I’d encourage you to get on board, especially if you’ve benefited from the wisdom they’ve shared via their blog over the years.

Here’s a little video, because lets face it, at 25 frames per second, a 3 minute picture is worth 4.5 million words (that’s 180x25x1000).

So. That’s all well and good. But I’ve lured you here using coffee, and now you’re wondering what’s the go with that.

Let me tell you.

Tanzania is home to some pretty special coffees – especially from the Blackburn Estate (here’s Cup Coffee’s tasting notes for Clouds) – we’ve got 10kg of Tanzanian coffee from this estate – in two lots – “Clouds of August” and “Pick of the Harvest” that we’re going to offer as a way to support Arthur, Tamie, and Elliot. We’re not looking to raise a huge amount of money – probably just enough to cover their postage costs for a year, or something like that. But here’s the deal. This coffee is a premium variety. It costs about double what I’d normally pay for green beans. So that’s why this little project is a bit more in line with the prices you’d normally pay for small batches of roasted coffee.

When you buy these beans you’ll get a little bit more info on Tanzania, some tasting notes, and a magnet to remind you to pray for Arthur, Tamie and Elliot as they prepare for life in Africa.

Here are some tasting notes for each lot (from Ministry Grounds).

Clouds of August

A bright, sugary and lively coffee with nice peach acidity, notes of red apple and cocoa. A beautiful mandarin balance.

Pick of the Harvest

A complex and layered coffee with a buttery mouthfeel and notes of plums and red fruit.

Here’s the Order Form – which you’ll also find in the sidebar of the home page.

Amount and Delivery Method

I don’t know why the spaces are so big in this order form. Sorry about that.

Fun times in Batmania

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 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.

The League of Honest Coffee – our first Cafe stop

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.

Mad Skillz: How to run a debate at a theological college

Weird. Apologies to Arthur and Tamie. Just found this post in my “pending pile” thinking I’d posted it on the 24th of May. So, here you go. An extension to Mad Skillz for 2011.

Arthur and Tamie are pretty cool. I can tell that just by looking at their blog. And when you read it you’ll see that sometimes you can judge a blog by its cover. Or design. Anyway. I met Arthur once. At NTE. He was starting a Christian forum that I enjoyed participating in for a while back in ’05. Fast forward a few years and Arthur and Tamie are in Melbourne, studying at Ridley, ready to head to Africa to teach people about Jesus.

So anyway, Arthur and Tamie have a mad skill. They can run debates. At college. That are interesting. Here’s how.

Here’s how Arthur and Tamie ran debates at Ridley Melbourne.

Rationale (what and why?)

1. Make it engaging. The debate is for exploring issues together, not for being settled and definitive.

2. Make it fun. The debate is serious but it must not be dour. Be sure to create levity: compering that is warm and amusing, and speakers who love to laugh.

3. Make it irenic. The debate must be winsome and bridge-building, tactful and wise from top to bottom. Kill off potential antagonism and division.

4. Make it polemical. The debate must actively challenge people’s thinking. To that end, it’s useful to phrase the topic in terms of an artificial dichotomy: “Will the real Mars Hill please stand up?” “Mission: stay or go?”

5. Make it practical. The debate topic must relate directly to ministry and mission. A poor topic: “NT Wright’s understanding of justification is more accurate than that of John Piper.” A more useful topic: “New justification = better mission.”

6. Make it public. Although the debate is an in-house event, make sure it’s good enough to be published. Conduct it as if you will put it online—and then do so!

Procedure (when and how?)

1. Run one debate each semester. It’s quite easy to organise and is fantastic for building community.

2. Hand-pick the speakers. They need to be people with a good level of charisma and people-skills: people who can truly engage with the audience, acquit themselves well, and bring a positive light to both the issue and the college community. The speakers should also represent the whole college community, including both students and faculty, women and men.

3. Use an appropriate format. A traditional debating format may be fine, but be ready to vary this in service of the topic.

4. Prepare the teams. Gear up the speakers to interact directly with the topic, giving them guidelines and appropriate scaffolding, then leave them to prepare on their own.

5. Promote it effectively. Advertise with posters two weeks before the debate, and promote it creatively and casually.

6. Keep it short. 45 minutes is plenty of time for the entire debate.

7. Present it creatively. Pay close attention to the craft of the whole event. For example, introduce the debate using video clips, music, or infographics.

8. Announce a winner. This is not to pronounce a judgement on the issue at hand, but to promote reflection. Presenting a winner helps move the audience from being passive observers towards being proactive thinkers. Get an adjudicator who can do this aptly and wisely.

9. Provide a way forward. The topic isn’t abstract, so conclude the debate with recommendations for the audience, such as books to read or conversations to have.

Rectifying a sin of omission

I have been somewhat remiss in not including a link to Arthur and Tamie’s most excellent blog in my footer. That has been fixed today. If you don’t already check it out from time to time you really should. They’re from South Australia but they live in Melbourne. Arthur is famous for once running a particularly awesome Christian forum called Logos that sprung out of the murky waters of AFES.

Here are a few recent posts that I think make a compelling case, on their lonesome, for reading regularly.

Check them out.

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