Sydney

Fun times in harbour town

Our weekend in Sydney is drawing to a close. We’ve had a great time, though only ticked off six of the seven things on my list of things to do, and only visiting three of the six cafes. Apparently Sydney still closes on a Sunday.

The wedding was fun, it was great to spend time with cousins who we’ve barely met. There’s something to be said for a family heritage that produces so many ministry minded people. I really love being part of the family I’m part of. What was even more fun was seeing people from Maclean (where I grew up), and Dalby (where Robyn grew up), at the wedding and having to explain why we were at this wedding of their friends. Fun times.

We skipped the Manly game, in favour of dinner with good friends. Which was great. I haven’t laughed as much as I have this weekend since I watched Four Lions two weeks ago.

Church By The Bridge on Sunday was a most enjoyable experience. So much singing. Never have I sung so much in an evangelical church service and enjoyed it. It was a refreshing change. And very friendly. Though it helped that I knew a bunch of people, including the guy on welcoming, from various AFES events and other bizarre quirks of Christianity’s two degrees of separation. It was fun meeting Ali in real life too. Meeting blog people is sometimes a little awkward because you know more about somebody than you should on first real life meeting. But this wasn’t.

I love the smells of Newtown, and we had two great dinners from the Sultan’s Table and Faheem’s Fast Food (a terrific sub-continental curry place).

You can read about our adventures in coffee on thebeanstalker.com.

Today: Coffee, Zoo, Greek Food, Gould Books

Ahh Sydney.

So, today, we walked down King St, visited Moore College (where we stood in a corner and people watched and my wife was shocked by how young and cool Con Campbell looked, she had pictured him as a 60 year old englishman), walked to Redfern, caught a train going in the wrong direction, so we caught a different train. Then, finally, we arrived at our destination – Mecca Espresso on King St in the CBD (not to be confused with the aforementioned King St).

I’ll be reviewing Mecca on thebeanstalker.com, but I tried my first ever Clover brew. The Clover, when released, was a $15,000 piece of technology. It’s the black box in the middle on this bench:

It was nice. Smelt like fruity tea. Tasted like coffee.

We spent the morning with my friend Paul. Which was tops. Then walked to Circular Quay, caught the ferry to Taronga, and walked around the zoo for the afternoon. Which Robyn loved and I enjoyed.

There were turtles.

And rabbit-eating dragons…

And primates.

And giraffes.

And other animals.

Though, some were missing…

Then it was a reversal of the morning, though we added dinner at a cheap Greek place, and about 45 minutes poring through the shelves at Gould Books.

A good day.

Seven Things I’m Looking Forward to in Sydney

In no particular order…

1. Catching up with friends (including Izaac and Sarah whose blogs I can’t be bothered linking to but you all read them anyway. Right.)
2. Taronga Zoo.
3. Manly play the Sharks on Saturday night
4. Church by the Bridge (5pm service on Sunday is my plan)
5. Coffee at AIR, Alchemy, Bean Drinking and Mecca. Those are my plans.
6. Gould Books..
7. The wedding we’re actually coming down for.

Sydney Calling

So peeps. We’re heading to Sydney for a wedding in a couple of weekends. And we’ve got a couple of days to kill either side of the wedding. Robyn wants to go to the zoo. I want to go to a bunch of awesome cafes, and Gould Books.

Manly are playing on the Saturday night in Cronulla. Which is a pain.

Does anybody have any recommendations for other things we should do? Churches we should check out? Amazing cafes?

I’ve been to Sydney before. I was born there. It’s not like this is my first time. But places change.

I’m really looking forward to the break too.

Jesus: All about life in Sydney

Interesting survey stats about the state of Christian belief in Sydney verses the rest of the country.

Note – this is not the Christians – this is all people in Sydney surveyed as part of the market research for the Jesus All About Life campaign.

Compared with all Australians, Sydneysiders are more likely to believe:

  • Jesus was born of a virgin (56% SYD and 44% AUS)
  • Jesus healed a blind man (60% SYD and 51% AUS)
  • Jesus turned water into wine (56% SYD and 44% AUS)
  • Jesus walked on water (53% SYD and 44% AUS)
  • Jesus was crucified and died on a cross (80% SYD and 76% AUS)
  • Jesus rose from the dead (58% SYD and 47% AUS)
  • Jesus ascended bodily into heaven (55% SYD and 44% AUS)
  • Jesus will return to Earth one day (46% SYD and 37% AUS)

Now tell me again why such a disproportionate rate of reformed evangelical workers are required for the harvest in Sydney?

My friend Mike is always keen to talk to people about ministry in regional Queensland – you can find his church website here.

The regional solution

I’ve ranted and raved a little bit previously about how Sydney is oversaturated with good, evangelical ministers. It’s not entirely true. Sydney needs good evangelical ministers. It’s the lifeblood of evangelical work in Australia. But it would be incredibly nice to have them donate some blood elsewhere occasionally.

I’d be really interested to see how a model like the one education departments around the country would work when applied to ministry – where graduates have to go out into rural and regional areas to serve and earn their stripes before heading to the city. I think the Anglican system precludes this a little – so it’s a great opportunity for the Pressies with our statewide system of governance.

Sam, from thefountainside, posted something yesterday about some of the unhelpful tactics us country people use when we’re trying to lure people away from the bright lights of Sydney. I can understand his frustration – and he suggests a much better way to appeal to people when it comes to serving God – the glorification of God. I’m with him on that.

What I’m not with him on is the idea that staying in Sydney is not the default position of most Sydney based students, particularly Sydney based students who are from Sydney. This is largely anecdotal and based purely on the handful of people I know – but looking at the people in ministry, that I know of, the vast majority of evangelical ministers serving outside of Sydney were not from Sydney originally. There must be a little bit to this. Because every country area I’ve lived in, and every country church I know of, feels this frustration to a degree.

Jesus called for his followers to go “to the world” with the gospel. The world includes, but is not limited to, Sydney.

I’ve said far more than I should, far more aggressively than I should, over at thefountainside (and I’ve apologised – this issue makes my blood boil like one of those berserkers who goes nuts at the first signs of battle) – and I should have posted this here much sooner. But here’s a little summary of my thinking.

  1. Sydney has an abundance of evangelical churches – I said there that they’re like 7/11. Almost on every corner. There’s even pseudo-emergent independent church plants catering for every cultural need. Sure, Sydney needs the gospel. But curious Sydneysiders have ample opportunity to wander down to their local Anglican church and be almost guaranteed to hear the Bible taught.
  2. Nobody argues that city ministry is not important. That’s why it’s the default. Because it is important. If you’re committed to urban ministry there are plenty of urban centres outside of Sydney with only a little, or no, evangelical ministry occurring. I used the word myopia to describe the Sydney focus – and I stand by that. Sure, Sydney is big. But there are other cities crying out for gospel workers without the existing base to produce them. For these cities to turn around they need workers to go and start things up.
  3. I like the idea of ministry graduates doing a country placement before moving to the city. I think both the country and the city benefit from that model. It’s also the model the Government chooses for education. It works pragmatically. Apparently pragmatism is on the nose a little bit though.
  4. It takes a special person, with special passion, and a special calling, to leave Sydney. In Sydney, or in any big city, the need is more obvious. There are myriad gospel opportunities literally at your doorstep. I can see how wanting to meet those needs would be a compelling calling. But all ministry glorifies Jesus.
  5. People won’t go to rural areas if they aren’t asked, shown the need and encouraged to glorify God by doing so. People should make these calls – and they should do so with whatever means are at their disposal.

YouTube Tuesday: Coffee culture

I know it’s not technically Tuesday. Well, not in Australia anyway. I’m a pretty inclusive kind of guy.

It’s been a long time since my last coffee post. I’d look it up, but that would take away valuable posting time and delay the wonder that is the Mona Lisa being recreated with coffee in Sydney. That’s right. This little video has gone all over the world, and it was created in our backyard. Impressive.

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