Saturday, June 30, 2007

Worship Unplugged # 46 Setting Up the Space

More an entire approach than a single aspect...
This post is inspired by an interesting interview on ABC radio yesterday!!
'The Conversation Hour' on 702 is frustrating and informative.
It breaks up the morning radio shifts at weird times to accomodate the 11-12 time slot, is run by Richard Fidler [former Doug Anthony All Star and race Around the Word host] in Sydney
and should be the standard practice for interesting interviews!!
Given all this it still manages to let interesting people shine through...

On Friday the Interview was with Greg Whitby the Head of Catholic Schools for the Parramatta region in Sydney who has brought some brilliant planning to new and refurbished schools in the area. He was named by the Bulletin magazine as Australia's smartest most creative person...
Check out the basics here:

Why it struck me is that Greg was talking about how and why traditional schools are built and shaped the way they are and how subject division and timetables and rooms etc all suit a particular model of 'School'

Oak Flat School might be worth a visit.

The kind of concepts they explore are whole of life and subject scenario based learning with teaching teams across flexible time periods and based around group work.

The philosophy has been to encourage teachers to contribute according to their gifts, to teach subjects in real life as part of broader questions and problem solving, to use day to day stuff and to do so without the period bell, 40 min lessons etc.

So the learner drives the process.

The buildings, technology [wireless network and laptops etc] and equipment are all tools for the learning. The way they do things has been developed collaboratively by the staff to meet the requirements of the curriculum through this basic method.

The only arguments against were based in 'this is how we've always taught and it was good enough for us' basket...

He talked about how when you enter the Smithsonians Space Museum in Washington you see shuttles and lunar craft... this is about space.... he wants people to walk into a school and know their serious about learning... libraries to be open spaces, learning environments to be hands on and comfortable etc etc...

YOU CAN SEE how straight away it resonated for me with fresh expressions of church and indeed the reinvention of church....

It's about what our ethos is, our hopes and goals and then structuring our spaces and experiences to match... not being restricted by decade and century old buildings from a different time, context and place!!

More specifics next post...


Let me try and be a little clearer...
What struck me about the approach to Schools was that it began by asking...
what are we wanting to do here? whats the goal? what are we hoping for?

It relation to the School it was about learning,
We might talk about community, spirituality, worship experiences
and eventually get closer to talking about experiences and spaces that foster discipleship,
that encourage people to explore faith,
and invite them to do so individually and together!!

Symbols, windows, furniture, walls, temperature, technology and the way the space is used would all contribute.

How would church's be different... well, another thing they spoke about was a building designed for flexible use... e.g. 7 days a week

I picture an entry foyer with contemporary art about faith, hope and love...
Flat screen tv's with looped av's that kick in when you fire up the power, lights and air con...
Its comfortably warm, skylights provide heaps of natural light.
On one side you look through smoked glass into a commercially operated cafe that's accessed one night a week by a spirituality book club and one night a week by a social justice and action artspace.

There is stained glass but its in panels that jut out from the wall and make small group spaces out of the large foyer if you all huddle at the edges.

A kitchen has three sides as serveries to different other rooms.

The main worship space has three different focal aspects each with different kinds of seating.
The whole space can be transformed into any one of those three or the three maintained. e.g. giant bean bag lounges, seats in small group with some tables and theatrette styled seating.

Though I really shouldn't be focused on that its just that as my mind imagines the activity its easier to describe what the outcome is in terms of the space required!!

There are meeting rooms, an open plan ministry office and a leased shop space at the side of the building with three retail outlets.

The car park will cater for an uncomfortably full building.

The community who express belonging here are actively engaged in being a force for change in the community they are part of... globally, locally, individually...

Worship reflects the culture and context and there are different groupings encouraged to do what the students were encouraged to do in the schools i.e. be be co-developers of the learning.

Its not about one expert upfront but people with access to knowledge like never before... constructing responses, questions, liturgy and action out of their understanding of who God is calling them to be...

Nobbys Beach Surf Cam

Keep an eye on the Pasha Bulker [not] moving at Nobbys in Newcastle care of Coast Watch

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Beds are Burning" Midnight Oil

Best I can do while I watch and listen to the Howard Government's planned response to abuse in Aboriginal Communities!! Though I am a fan of the work and ethic of Noel Pearson so any plan based on his vision [albeit needing to only apply to recalcitrants] must have hope and reality as its basis!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


As the heat rises about the Jluy 21 release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" the rumours abound and are worth ignoring totally BUT the funniest is this story about hacker GABRIEL puting a virus in the Bloomsbury system and getting hands on the ending of the book.
Somehow Gabriel is motivated by a Pope Benedict edict about HP corrupting the worlds youth...

Read about it all here... warning, despite the brocken english you never know...

Also do not look up anytime near July 21 as they will undoubtedly issue a "Let me save you time XXX dies on Page XXX of Harry Potter" very funny!!

The Across the Divide Tour

"Powderfinger and Silverchair Divide The Nation" from

Not sure I had ALL these details before!!
AND ESPECIALLY its worth noting that RECONCILIATION is the focus of the reasons behind the Tour!!
In the biggest and most shocking music news since Anthony Callea came out of the closet, Powderfinger and Silverchair have announced their co-headlining Australian tour.

The Across The Divide tour will hit every capital city (yes, even Hobart and Darwin), as well as fourteen regional gigs in one of the biggest major tours ever to cross the nation.

The tour kicks off in Silverchair's hometown, Newcastle on August 29, followed by Powderfinger's hometown, Brisbane on August 31, then it's off around the country for the next near two months.

When visiting those towns where a suitably large indoor venue is not present, they'll have following them around a custom designed tent to build their own venue and take it with them the next day.

Both bands have released albums recently, and both band's albums went to number one. Both bands recently completed incredibly successful tours, through intimate venues across the country which sold out almost instantly and both bands have in the past played the biggest indoor stadiums across the country (just like they will this time). Both bands formed around the same time (in the first half of the 90s) and both bands have dedicated fans in Australia.

For those of you who want to attend one of the biggest all-Australian tours in this country's history… and you have a Visa card… you can get your tickets from 9am Monday, July 2 through

The rest of us have to wait until 9am Monday July 9.

You can check these bands at:

29 – Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle
31 – Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

2 – Convention Centre, Gold Coast
4 – Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre, Tamworth
6 – Showgrounds, Coffs Harbour
8 – ACER Arena, Sydney
11 – John Dunmore Lang Place, Canberra
12 – Gateway Island, Lincolm Causeway, Wodonga
14 – Ornamental Gardens, Mildura
15 – Venue TBA, Bendigo
16 – Showgrounds, Ballarat
18 – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
22 – Claremont Oval, Perth
26 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
29 – Derwent Entertainment Centre, Hobart

5 – Showgrounds, Darwin
7 – Showgrounds, Cairns
8 – Townsville Entertainment Centre, Townsville
11 – Showgrounds, Mackay
12 – Rockhampton Bowl, Rockhampton
14 – USQ University Oval, Toowoomba
23 – Wollongong Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Here's the Problem

I have no problem stating on the record that as a person interested in politics [with latent ambition to stand for preselection in my mid twenties] my personal standpoint has radically changed over the years!! I was once a radical capitalist based on the premise of reward for effort, small government and the market forces being enough to provide for a country so isolated as Oz!!

Only after my teens did my ethics, faith and life experience convince me of the need for social action, siding with the poor. We need leaders with long term vision. Since Keating floated the dollar we have not been in danger of real decline and our attention should turn to how we spend the huge tax windfalls coming the way of Federal and State Governments!!

Here's my dilemma....
I cannot vote Liberal/National because of:
My commitment to reconciliation
A belief that work choices is based on the wrong assumptions and goals
University funding cuts
Privatisation of key public utilities
Our dreadful treatment of asylum seekers

neither do I particularly like what I see and hear from Kevin Rudd!!
I'm with Dame Edna... do we really want a Prime Minister called "Kevin"... no offence!!

I could vote for someone with a genuine long term vision for sharing wealth with all
Usable public transport
Strategies against global warming
A policy about social capital and the ability of people to serve
An index measuring the health and well being of our community alongside our GDP
A 25 year plan and vision for the values we might espouse
to name just a few things...

Saw Kevin on TV today with his polling [so to speak] and it all seems a bit hollow to me!!
So I guess what I hear is a poll driven and safe campaign banging away at what research tells them makes the government vulnerable and no straying into potential minefields just in case your ideas don't gel!!

C- for me, can do better... and that includes the shackles currently attached to the Shadow Environment Minister...

How's this for a new Newcastle Postcard?

Monday, June 18, 2007

The News is at it Again

The News is at it Again

The news is at it again
Crashing into my world in uncomfortable and disempowering ways

Whatever people were doing at nightclubs, jogging to work or just passing by
Someone got belted, dragged by the hair, help is at hand, a gun is coldly used.
One lay dead and two in trouble.

Tonight I hear about helicopter inquiries, drag racing accidents
And the latest update in how the heiress is holding up in solitary.
Footballers public disgrace, overpaid and under prepared.

Angela is finally out of the house,
and babies are still turning up in cardboard boxes
blanketed and left on the church house steps.

I pray to you God because I can
I pray because I must,
because that is all I have left.

Who does this call us to be?
How am I to respond where I am?

Is it more than the innocent help? The baby progressing well?
Justice seems so illusive but then its not mine to decide.

Empty. Tired. Done with thinking about it.
You will call God. You will prompt.
I will be waiting.

Today that is the best I can do!

Today made me think about what song to listen to as I head off for some sleep!!

The following lyrics are subject to change upon finding the CD or the actual ones!!
It's late/I'm tired... great song...

"Love So High" Jim Moginie from Alas Folkloric

A Love so High.

Speak tell me what you say

And give your true game away

A love so high a sunburnt skyP

ain is your energy

And yeah I got empathy

A love so high a sunburnt sky

Love is all

Love is clear

Love has shaken down your fear

Sometimes grows, in your mind

Somehow grows beneath the pines

And I left it all behindI hear a rare old mountain tune

Got tools don’t know how to useA love so high so clear and wide

Sunshine smote the hill behind

The field where we buried you

We sing into the ether pouring tears above, beneath her

Words we’ve yet to find

A love so high a sunburnt sky

Nothing’s new nothing’s free

Nothing feeds itself

Nothing breeds

Standing still, too many broken parts

Drink your fill, and then play your heart

And I left it all behind.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Triple J Beat the Drum ???

Courtesy SMH Stay In Touch Column 14/6/07

Palestinian militants clash in Gaza City, images of masked gunmen are flooding the international wires. But when the latest pics arrived from Agence France-Presse, we couldn't help noticing a certain red drum grafittied on a city wall.

Is it mere coincidence that this scribble strongly resembles the Triple J logo, one that the radio station asked listeners to emblazon in wild and wacky places in an effort to win its "beat the drum" competitions? Triple J's station manager, Linda Bracken, says the last competition was in 2004 but the station regularly received reports of the drum popping up all over the globe. Bracken recalls sightings in the Canadian snowfields and at a restaurant in Beijing, but says: "Palestine would be a first. It's pretty remarkable."

Not only are the Palestinians (perhaps) making a bid to post the most far-flung Triple J logo on Gaza's grey walls, but beside the drum is the web address of Paul Castle Consultancy, "traffic data collection and presentation services". We're unsure of the synchronicity of the graf art, but if the "beat the drum" comp returns, it would be hard for the judges to ignore this.

Can you explain how the logo got into the world's latest war zone?

50 Most Significant Moments

LISTS are great!! They cause a huge debate about something not at all important in the grand scheme of things!! So it is with Australian Musician magazines 50 Most Significant Moments in Australian Pop/Rock History.... Most discussion has revolved around the lack of perspective on events since 1990 yet I think they only read the press release AND its hard to argue with number ONE....

The 50 Most Significant Moments in Australian Pop/Rock History.

Comments welcome at

Since the early sixties, Australia has produced some of the finest contemporary music in the world, and is often touted as being a testing ground for global music tastes and trends. But how did we get here? What were the events that shaped the Australian music industry as we know it today? We got together eight fairly music literate beings, placed them in a pub one night and wouldn't let them out until they decided upon the 50 MOST significant moments in Australian pop/rock history. Here are the results ... (Want to comment? Do so at

1 VANDA AND YOUNG Meet in migrant hostel
Had Harry Vanda and George Young not met in the Villawood migrant hostel in Sydney 1964, there would not have been an Easybeats as we know them, possibly no Stevie Wright solo career, certainly not the Albert productions that made AC/DC a huge success, and none of those classic Countdown songs by artists such as John Paul Young, William Shakespeare, Cheetah etc, as well as their own hits under the Flash and the Pan name.

2 COUNTDOWN Goes colour
3 MEN AT WORK Number one in USA and UK simultaneously
4 THE SAINTS I'm Stranded Record of the Week-UK Sounds magazine
5 MIDNIGHT OIL'S Sydney Olympics protest
6 SKYHOOKS Release Living in the 70s with 6 songs banned
7 LEE GORDON Arrives in Australia
8 MUSHROOM RECORDS The label legend begins
9 SILVERCHAIR All five albums go to number one
10 BIG DAY OUT Goes national
11 BEATLES Tour Australia and launch a thousand bands
12 TRIPLE J Goes National
13 BON SCOTT dies
14 CROWDED HOUSE Farewell concert
15 AC/DC It's A Long Way To The Top ... on the back of a truck
16 GO SET Our first real rock magazine
18 JOHN BUTLER first independent artist to top national chart
19 SLIM DUSTY releases 100th album
20 AUSTRALIAN IDOL The juggernaut begins
21 JET The band that launched a million ipods
22 JOHN FARNHAM Jack's back
23 JOK Our first national rock star
24 COLD CHISEL Khe Sahn-A legend begins
25 KYLIE dates MICHAEL HUTCHENCE and changes forever
26 INXS Sometimes you Kick!
27 FAIRLIGHT COMPUTER Beginning of sampling
28 SICK PUPPIES 13 million You Tube hits and US fame
29 NORMIE ROWE joins the army
30 YOTHU YINDI our first charting koori band
31 RATCAT redefine 'indie'
32 WAVE AID A nation reacts
33 OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN Grease is the word!
34 UP THERE CAZALY Music and Sport unite
35 LRB Reminiscing
36 THE BIRTHDAY PARTY Arrive in Berlin
38 SAVAGE GARDEN most played song for the year in USA for 2000
39 THE RECORD BAN ushers golden era of OZ music
40 STAN ROFE switches from 3KZ to 3UZ
41 BEE GEES return to England, sign to Stigwood.
42 ABBA mania in Australia
43 HOADLEY'S BATTLE OF BANDS shape changing event
44 HELEN REDDY Australia's first Grammy Award
45 DADDY COOL First #1 Album by Australian band
46 SEEKERS First Aussies to have UK number one
47 the WHITLAMS meet Whitlam
48 ROGER SAVAGE arrives in Australia
49 DELTA GOODREM breaks Jack's back
50 ARIA CHART our first official chart

Worship Unplugged # 45 The Work of the People

Craig reminds us this month of the excellent resources like video loops at Work of the People which is just the most empowering definition of the word 'liturgy' in helping groups recapture a sense of ownership and creativity in worship they curate!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Powderfinger Silverchair



After weeks of speculation, theorising and a bunch of hearsay, Australia’s two biggest rock bands – POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR - have today officially announced extensive plans to stage a major co-headline national concert tour.

ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE will bridge the gap between the country and the big smoke with a rock & roll tour on a scale unseen in Australian music for decades. POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR will roll into every capital city plus 14 regional centres right across the nation.

Months in the planning, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE kicks off at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in SILVERCHAIR’s hometown on August 29, and then moves to POWDERFINGER’s backyard, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on August 31.

From there, the two chart-topping bands will take their show on the road for over two months, performing in locations as distant and diverse as Darwin and Hobart, Cairns and Mildura, Toowoomba and Bendigo … across the Great Divide and beyond.

In those cities which don’t have sufficiently large indoor venues, the bands will erect a large custom designed tent in which to stage the shows.

The humongous Spring tour is an opportunity for literally hundreds of thousands of Aussie fans to partake in what will be a huge event in every location it visits. Most regional centres on the expansive itinerary won’t have seen a rock & roll show like this since tours by the likes of Midnight Oil and INXS in the 1980s.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 9am on July 9.

“Aside from our album launches, these will be our first shows for two-and-a-half years, and the first time we will return to a lot of the regional areas,” says POWDERFINGER’s Bernard Fanning. “We have been threatening to hit the rural places for ages and now we’re getting around to it we are grateful to have Silverchair with us to carry our gear!! Two on the in and two on the out thanks boys!”

“We haven’t done a truly national tour since the end of 1997 and there are actually some places on this tour where we’ve never even played before,” says SILVERCHAIR’s Ben Gillies. “It’ll be great to get right around Australia after all this time and if the tickets don’t sell, we can always blame Powderfinger!”

While most events at this level would have brought corporate sponsors on board as tour presenters, POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR have instead chosen to use the shows to draw attention to a cause which is close to the hearts of the members of both bands – is the website which fronts a campaign aimed at reducing the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. reaches across the historic divide in respect, trust and understanding to generate a national conversation about bridging the gap.

The site has been created as part of this year’s 40th anniversary of Australia's most successful referendum, where more than 90% of people said YES to equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens. It was a referendum unlike any other, driven by the Australian people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous, working side by side.

Reconciliation Australia director Shelley Reys says the tour represents an unprecedented opportunity to reach a new generation of Australians and introduce them to the work of reconciliation. “The story of reconciliation needs 20 million voices and having these two bands using theirs is an incredibly powerful call to action for young Australians”.

The full press release inclusing all tour dates, ticket purchase and other info. is available at

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Then it kept raining and blowing and the flooding started!!

Four Years since I gave up playing Rugby

So it's four years ago today that I got crunched in a tackle at Muswellbrook and completely ruptured the kneecap tendon in both knees. This was a painful and horrific injury which the surgeon had never done a double of... basketballers on prednisone for injuries, 80 year old blokes who fell down the stairs at the RSL but never both knees!! Thats another chapter in my book of quotes from mechanics, carpenters, odd job labourers, tax inspectors, teachers and friends...

Its summarised as "I have never seen........ before!!"

That aside I mention it here because I still miss it every Saturday!! I wish I had the choice to throw my stuff in a bag and head down to No2 for a run... although I have also taken a break from Coaching at the moment with the girls keeping us so busy and life generally hectic enough!!

I suppose I could run/train/prepare and trial things BUT the knees aren't quite right and the risks outweigh the potential fun!!

Not the point really... I still feel sorry for myself, its still different to go to the Test matched when its now not the game you played that afternoon yourself and I miss the camraderie, the sense of achievement, belting people, and winning premierships!!

Anyhow %$%^^#*&!!

I don't know that I've written much here about the RUGBY so far....
Mark it on your calendars!! The Wallabies can and will win the World Cup in France later this year!! I believe that especially if Kurtley Beale is selected in the squad [because that will mean reinvention and a willingness to chance our arm].

Beyond that we must learn to play the offload game we saw glimpses of against Wales last week.

I believ all the leading candidates for the squad were in heavy base conditioning during the Super 14... that and injuries led to our poor showing!! We ran dead like an untapered swimmer!!

Likwise the last two weeks and I think the timing is to peak towards the end of the Tri Nations and then hit the base fitness stuff again and taper for the Cup!!

I suppose we'll see the trip to the Somme and an obligatory rev up from someone of significance, we'll hear of accomodation antics and poor transport systems BUT overall I beleieve the best thing will be to get the squad away OS and do some really hard work on their aerobic fitness.

The offload rugby is where players run in support of the ball carrier giving options and rather than rely on set piece perfection you slip a short pass that becomes a series of short passes to keep the ball alive!! Eventually someone will hit a line, straighten or make a half break and suddenly scoring is possible!!

Our scrum will need to be rock solid and isn't far off, our backs will need to chance their arm and will need to loose framework to base their experimentation on.... Larkham will still be a key player assuming he gets thru the Tri nations unharmed...

On the last 12 months rugby The All Blacks deserve strong favouritism BUT how do you back a choker?

Wouldn't it be great for us to have won 3 Cups to NZ 1 ?

The photos in this post are [I think] from 1984 when we won the Grand Final against a pretty good Waratahs side!! It might have been 9-6 where we were running with a howling gale in the first half and scored not enough points. I was lucky enough to receive a ball with just the 4 foot tall 5/8 infront of me and I dived over him to score near the posts!!

In the second half we were called on to defend and only made it out of our own half twice in 30 mins of football against the wind!! We held on to win and simply collapsed to the ground on the final whistle. It was the definition of being more relieved than excited at having achieved the goal!!

Its a special memory because 1/3 into the season our coach quit and the stand in coach Cooky took us to 11 wins from 11 to sqeek into 4th spot and then win thru to the GF and take it out!!

This was my first season with Wanderers!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Pictures coutrtesy of Simone's colleagues and friendly locals!!

Pasha Bulker Runs Aground!!

Check this out off Nobby's Beach Newcastle!! 30 years after the Signa hit Stockton Beach and snapped in half the Coal Carrier Sash Bulker seems to have struck a similar problem in our stormy seas. Potentially caught with little or no ballast the ship would find it hard to get the necessary drive to avoid being grounded!!

20-30 crew were winched to safety by the Westpac Rescue Chopper/s!!

Traffic into the one coastal ring road area is predictably gridlocked and one punter was even caught on the NBN news highlights grab creeping past at 5kms per hour, winding down the window and giving the 2 handed footy show that's gold sign to camera in an attempt to win one of the Chief's giveaway XBox 360's!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Worship Unplugged # 44 Photobook

Officeworks, Harvey Norman and I think also Bing Lee offer an online software download of a program for creating books of your digital photos. I used this to recently create a picture book of the first five years with our girls [over 100 pictures in one hardcover volume] and its a brilliant simple program and way of preserving memories!!

This got me thinking about other uses... there are various sizes, flip books and A3 collages all done on your computer and emailed for printing and either postal or pick up delivery from your nearest outlet!!

I could imagine a book of pictures being used as a Worship Station, for a permanent record of an annual camp, or a farewell or significant achievement gift to someone.... e.g a retiring leader!!

It's something you'd keep long term so its not something to change for weekly activity!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

June 30/July2 for Crowded House

Depends on whether your CD store stocks its new releases on Monday or the preceeeding Saturday/Sunday BUT "Time On Earth" will be out soon ahead of Live Earth and hopefully some more Oz performances by the reformed Crowded House!!

New Music from Powderfinger

"Dream Days at the Hotel Existence" is a solid and entertaining new album from the Brisbane boys but like many critics I was looking forward to those one or two standout tracks that take you in a different direction... didn't find them!! It's a very produced record and I liked what I heard. I will need to sit quietly with the lyrics in hand to find that track I'll put on repeat in the car!! I think its a sleeper that'll grow on me...

The album title comes from the 2005 book "The Brooklyn Follies" by Paul Auster, which Bernard Fanning was reading during recording.

It does also contain the song "Black Tears" with overt reference to the story of the controversial death in custody on Palm Island.

I bought the limited edition with a DVD some classic 'finger tracks.

Nobody will replace 'The Oils' as my 'go to' band for escapist enjoyment and loud music live BUT these blokes probably get the closest!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

'Dancing Cadet' Graduates from Military training

Once this video appeared on the net the usual 15mins fame followed for the young soldier in training!!