Wednesday, March 28, 2007

(coffee and) food for risen bodies

While sherry was spending time with her reading group this morning i had the honor of enjoying coffee with three great blokes engaged in important work in the city of footscray.  greg (pastor of the multi-ethnic church where mum and dad worship and serve), john (transplanted californian missionary with forge, red, and a re-imagined church of christ), and marcus (urban seed worker and educator) were fantastic company and the conversation was most stimulating.  looking forward to spending more time with these guys.

towards the end of our time together marcus showed us the promo handout for his community's easter sunday celebration (see it here in a flickr pic).  he is using an amazing poem to frame a reflection on our hopes and expectations in a risen Jesus.  below is the beautifully visceral description of "food for risen bodies."  (ps: the poem comes in 6 parts and this is part 2)


Food for Risen Bodies
Michael Symmons Roberts

On that final night, his meal was formal:
lamb with bitter leaves of endive, chervil,
bread with olive oil and jars of wine.

Now on Tiberias' shores he grills
a carp and catfish breakfast on a charcoal fire.
This is not hunger, this is resurrection:

he eats because he can, and wants to
taste the scales, the moist flakes of the sea,
to rub the salt into his wounds.

the quotes keep coming

the music of johnny cash has inspired more quotes in our child than anyone else.  yesterday isaac whacked his head on a corner and a sizable bump arose.  later, as we were taking a walk, he said "i banged my head and cried, just like johnny cash."  of course this is a slight misquote from "folsom prison blues " and he's modified it for his circumstances.  he just loves johnny.

emergent manifesto of hope

as this book is released, the first emergent book for 2007, the publishers have created a blog for the contributors of the book to post new and additional thoughts.  in this collection of different perspectives on the emerging church, our community - communality - has three chapters, written by will samson, randy woodley and the two of us.  on this new blog, there is a post from geoff (he wrote it so i take no credit) that he submitted three months ago, before we left for oz.  it addresses issues of the envirnoment, which seem all the more relevant just a few months later.  here's the link.  have a look.  (sherry)

the book blog

Sunday, March 25, 2007

a new season

last friday we experienced the hottest day of march in 60 years.  and it wasn't just a hot day, it was apocalyptic.   it's a bit hyperbolic, but i hadn't seen anything like it.  nature was groaning under the long stretch without rain and the drought was rearing it's ugly head one last time (at least we hope as they predict autumn rain).  we were driving up from geelong and there were dust clouds 100 feet up in the air, blowing across the highway.  everything was beyond parched.

in melbourne there is a regular weather event called a "cool change."  i just love reminds me of the song from an aussie band - lrb - in the seventies.   i find it delightful because we don't have anything like it in the states - the seasons are fairly steady in kentucky, when it's hot it stays hot.  here, however, the temperature can drop dramatically in a matter of hours, bringing rain and days of pleasant temperatures.  friday, we were panting at the beach.  saturday, i wore a wool jumper.

so we had a cool change that ushered in a new season.  being from the northern hemisphere, i've stay completely turned around as i continue to think april brings flowers and linen instead of footy season and shorter days. 

i have to say though that the climate/weather/drought here have brought home the reality of global warming in a way that i don't think i would experience at home.  the water shortage is real and present daily in the news.  the landscape is burdened and burnt and dusty.  whatever detrimental influence we've had on creation, it has become an inescapable and indisputable reality in my mind that things aren't the same.  and i am looking for grace everywhere, especially in the rain.

heronswood gardens

heronswood house

yesterday mum and dad took us down the mornington penisula to a town called dromana, about 1.5hrs drive from melbourne.  we visited a historic home called heronswood.  this home was built in 1871 from locally quarried bluestone.  the home is beautiful but the gardens around are stunning.  they have an incredible variety of plants..from banana trees and figs to ferns and herbs.  we wandered around the gardens and enjoyed a coffee at the cafe behind the house before stopping for some fish and chips by the beach on the way home.  a memorable saturday with the family.

heronswood cafe


Saturday, March 24, 2007



sherry and i were blessed to spend a few days last week down the coast.  we stayed in a town called point lonsdale at a bed and breakfast cottage that belongs to some friends of friends.  the owners create a space for couples to retreat and reflect on their marriages or just get away for a few days.  from the living space you can walk over some sand dunes to the beach and you are a short drive from some of the most beautiful fishing villages and coastal towns. 

we were greatly refreshed.  we basked in the sun, the time together and the incredible scenery. as often with retreats, somehow we were completely mindless and clearly mindful at the same time.  we are grateful to dear friends who gave us money to do something "extravagant" such as this during our stay in australia.

the light was particularly beautiful and, despite forgetting to charge the batteries in my camera, i managed to take a few snaps of the surrounds.




Tuesday, March 20, 2007

nana's nearby

we celebrate nana's safe and secure arrival to melbourne.  thank you to many of you who prayed for her.   kev and kath settled her in a new, beautiful, state-of-the-art care facility a few days ago.  she will be nearby in footscray, where we shop, go to church and kath works.  on monday, we were able to visit and she observed isaac's curls with delight.  she seems to be on the mend and quite sharp - she even remembered the exact date of our wedding anniversary in may.  time with her will become an important part of each week for us.  we cherish this snapshot of four generations of maddocks.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

a week in review

tuesday – we arrived from the crazy, full-on five days with forge and we were over-eager to see isaac and k & k. it was good to be home.

wednesday – thanks to skype and technological accessories like webcams, we had an encouraging conversation with the cell group in marietta, georgia. this small community of people study books and scripture, learn together and love one another. for years, they have supported and prayed for our work with communality. they were meeting at the tillman’s, my parent’s neighbors and dear friends, and everyone took turns looking into the camera and greeting us. the faces and voices rippled across some cosmic, unseen pathway and blessed us deeply – a comforting connection from home.

later, on our way to pick kath up from work (she’s a chaplain at a cancer hospital in footscray, a few blocks from their church), we stopped at the footscray market to buy produce for dinner. This place is “summink else!" as we’ve been saying from little britain. it is similar to quarters in cities all over the world where there is a concentrated representation of a culture/ethnicity. here you find vietnamese, thai, chinese and a small group of ethiopians and sudanese. it is filled with vendors selling fish and seafood of all kinds and you can imagine how it smells (pregnant women wouldn’t survive). but the produce is cheap and very interesting, and at one end there is a middle eastern supermarket that is delightful – the ordinary and exotic, side-by-side on the shelves.

in the evening, our friend’s scotty, dan and their son, jonathan, came to dinner. since we will never make a roast like kath or any other popular australian fare, we went with quesadillas – our personal favorite – sweet potato quesadillas. this is a treat because aussies don’t get Mexican food, in whatever form, very often. again, it was lovely to be with them as they are wonderful company.

thursday – in the morning, as a weekly event, geoff dropped isaac and me at a women’s study group. we are reading dave andrew’s book, “not religion but love.” i really appreciate this time because the women are close in age to me and all have children. the children play together at that time and see one another at church on sundays. isaac is now making friends.

in the afternoon, we worked on what we would share with the church on sunday. we tried to catch up on piled up email correspondence and letter writing. we also took Isaac down to the beach for a late afternoon swim. the weather is cooling off as fall approaches so we are enjoying every chance we get. the water was full of jellyfish.


friday – i’m up to my fifth sewing class now and i’m truly beginning to enjoy it. geoff dropped me off and took the two hours to work on a book review and an article for the australian christian. i bought some fabric for trousers and began a new project. as I wandered around the shop, ithought of all the possibilities that come with a learned craft and i thought of laura and how much she has created in the years i’ve known her. i wished she was walking along side me – i was too embarrassed to know so little and to ask how to look at patterns. it was a good class and i cherish the time. isaac spent the afternoon with grandma.

in the evening, a group of about 15 people came over for dinner. kath hosted several couples from the church to allow us a chance to get to know them. the food was delicious – marinated lamb cooked over coals, grilled sausages and lots of salads. the kids rampaged the house while we sat outside under the veranda and enjoyed the evening.

saturday – kath flew to adelaide and back in a day to escort nana from the hospital there to her new home in Melbourne. nana spent six weeks in hospital with a broken hip and now she is living in a beautiful care facility nearby in footscray.

geoff and isaac spent the morning together while i worked on my part of our sunday message. later, in the afternoon, the three of us went for a long bike ride and to the park. every time we are at a park, isaac attempts to make a friend as he introduces himself to anyone who will listen. we stopped by the bottle shop on the way home and bought big kev some guinness for st. patty’s day.

sunday – after a morning full of kerfuffles, we arrived at the church ready to go. kath lead the morning worship, kev offered communion, and we shared about our community in lexington and from the lectionary passages – the parable of the prodigal son.


after a nap, k & k headed off to see nana and we took iaac down to williamstown (scenic port town). we found an artist’s market underway and families spread out on blankets in every direction. it was a gorgeous afternoon – almost too cool – and isaac played and we watched boats come in. k & k joined us for a dinner of fish and chips on the lawn, which we ended up sharing with aggressive seagulls. kath bought us all ice-cream, the mmm-mmm italian kind and we ended the weekend, relaxed and relieved, with a walk out on the williamstown pier.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

mark twain's thoughts on australia

geoff and i are both enjoying reading the travels of m. twain, "the wayward tourist."  it offers an historical perspective of the country (1890s), an american view on things, and some humor that is typical of twain.  i thought i'd share a few bits.  this first quote begins to capture what i cannot describe about this place - 

"To my mind the exterior aspects and character of Australia are fascinating things to look at and think about, they are so strange, so weird, so new, so uncommonplace, such a startling and interesting contrast to the other sections of the planet, the sections that are known to us all, familiar to us all."

more specifically about melbourne, twain writes -

"Melbourne spreads around over an immense area of ground.  It is a stately city architecturally as well as in magnitude.  It has an elaborate system of cable-car service; it has museums, and colleges, and schools, and public gardens, and electricity, and gas, and libraries, and theaters, and mining centers, and wool centers, and centers of the arts and sciences, and boards of trade, and ships, and railroads, and a harbor, and social clubs, and journalistic clubs, and racing clubs, and a squatter club sumptuously housed and appointed, and as many churches and banks as can make a living.  In a word, it is equipped with everything that goes to make the modern great city.  It is the largest of Australasia, and fills the post with honor and credit."

dangerous stories 2 - pictures

i finally uploaded some pics from the australian emerging-missional church summit. 

here are some highlights and pictures to match...

highlight #1  spending time with Mary we are getting things ready on the friday.  Mary stayed with us at John and Glena Smith's place...the Smith's were away over the weekend but graciously allowed us to stay in their home as it was close to the conference.


highlight #2  seeing old friends/mentors...a very formative person in my life has been this man, Dave Fuller.  Other important hero's for the journey who were there included Shirl Osborne, Steve Barrington, and Dave Andrews.


highlight #3  hanging out with and learning from the Forge the foreground ( left to right) are Kim, Phil, and Al, all remarkable servants and missionaries.


highlight #4  spending a some time with wolfgang simson (author of 'houses that changed the world').  i picked him up from the airport at 1.30am friday night...he's a real character.


highlight #5  the usual, the best bits of a large gathering like this are the wonderful conversations that happen between the official parts.  here are a couple of panoramas that show the 600+ people just before they stood up, walked around, and talked to one another. 



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

keeping in touch

here are sherry and isaac talking to sherry's mom and dad (mimi and papa).  we have enjoyed keeping in touch with one another via skype and webcams.


Monday, March 12, 2007

last day of forge I

we are heading out this morning for the final day of a two-part event - dangerous stories conference and the first of the forge intensives.  we arrived home last night after four days in the eastern suburbs, staying at the smith's with mary.  we were so happy to see isaac paul and kev and kath. 

they had a delightful holiday weekend down the coast as isaac played on the beach and was surrounded with love from k & k and  cousins, jo and alistair.  when we got home, isaac was doning buzzlight year pajamas and thomas the tank engine shoes with his superman cape as mixed-in accessory.  jo had given him these beloved items and he hadn't taken them off for days - kath said he wore it to the beach and the pub for dinner.

today is the second day of the intensive (smaller group, classroom interaction) and we are looking forward to ramping down from five full days of interesting discussions, challenging speakers, and lots and lots of people.  our time with mary fisher can only be described as a cherished gift from god and we'll be unpacking our 47 hours of conversation for weeks.  thanks for your prayers, by the way, our small ( eight of us) workshop on sustainability and faith went quite well and we finished the time alloted to us full of practical application and hope for change that can still come.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

dangerous stories II

we're off this weekend to attend and help with forge's major, national conference. they expect up to 600 people and will feature speakers such as brian mclaren, wolfgang simson, deb and alan hirsch, michael frost and dave andrews (author of the book i'm studying at the moment). the list of workshops alone is phenomenal. at the last minute, we were asked to lead a two-part workshop on the environment, sustainability and faith (one hour saturday, one hour sunday - we'd appreciate prayers at this late date).

but the exciting news of the weekend is that we get to spend it with mary fisher. she is a friend and a much-respected professor of old-testament theology. she was significant to many of us during her time at asbury seminary, before she returned to australia. she contacted us from sydney about coming and she'll arrive tomorrow (friday). she'll stay with us at john and glena smith's.

kev and kath are taking isaac down the coast tomorrow to a lovely place called lorne, a part of the "great ocean road." it is a holiday weekend here (monday is labour day), so they will relax with some extended family and enjoy isaac to the fullest without us around. we are deeply grateful for this providential timing as it allows us to be on the other side of the city until tuesday.

when the conference ends sunday we will participate in the first of three intensives for forge on monday and tuesday. we will meet students for the first time and begin our journey with them and the team into a new academic year. again, we are amazed by the grace and the gift of this learning experience and the chance to work together.


first sewing project

DSC_8306well, after overcoming my own cluelessness and clumsiness in front of a sewing machine, and rising above cultural gaps and language differences in class (something like "just pop that in, sew at 5 millimeters with a twin needle double stitch), i've made a shirt.  i can't believe i've managed to make something i can actually wear - it only took three classes.  until i got home and showed kath and geoff, i was convinced it would need to be tossed out.  but they reassured me that it's quite nice and worth wearing.  now i'm on to my first pair of pants.

Monday, March 5, 2007

UNOH discipleship camp

the weekend with folks from UNOH was fantastic.  we showed up weary from a busy day with meetings and travel across the city in several directions by train, but we were welcomed so warmly.  the evening was underway when we arrived and we sat to the side (there were maybe 60 people) and enjoyed the music.  DSC_8234the stunning woman who performed is named Shobie Owen and her music was powerfully prophetic and pierced with lyrics of biblical justice.  she lives in community and works with asylum seekers in melbourne.  we bought her cd, which was launched that night, and all the proceeds go to assist burmese refugees and indigenous australians.  we plan to send her music home.

next, the guest speaker for the weekend - mick duncan, a kiwi - shared from the story of rahab, "two hebrew boys in a brothel."  it was a good missionary message about the people across the water.  he and his family worked with the organization "servants in asia" (viv grigg connection) in the slums of the phillipines.  the crowd listening was a mix of UNOH community members working in melbourne, thailand, and indonesia and people from local churches and organizations (most things seem to be ecumenical here) .  what permeated the room was a rugged passion for mission to the poorest of the poor in whatever context.  (maybe comparable to the "word made flesh" organization out of asbury college in wilmore).  we stayed up late meeting people and talking of shared interests in mission work in the west and issues of sustainability.

saturday we woke to the amplified sounds of the bush - a loud kookabura, cockatoos, parrots and magpies.  we were at the top of a mountain in the middle of groves and groves of eucalyptus.  it was a mesmerizing sound to these foreign ears.  we had breakfast with a lovely couple training to be missionaries in indonesia.  we listen to mick duncan share again, this time on sexual sin among missionaries.  it was direct and full of wisdom.  late morning, kath arrived with isaac and he cut loose for the rest of the day with a boy that could have been his twin.


in the afternoon, we lead a workshop on mission in the u.s. and our life with communality.  to my surprise, people were very interested in the state of the church in the states and the new monastic movement - it seems like everyone is reading shane's book.  as we shared about communality and the formation of a missional church, people asked thoughtful, practical questions about the "how to's" of life together.  we loved being able to brag about our communality family.

finally, we sat on panel with mick duncan, ash barker (the director/founder of UNOH), and two women in ministry in melbourne.  we were asked to share about "the cost of following jesus" and what were non-negotiables in our life in mission.  the crowd asked some insightful questions and we learned a lot from the answers from other panel members.  the entire time we felt honored as special guests and friends, as people genuinely wanted to hear what we had to say and understand our perspective.

we're looking forward to more time with the UNOH mob during our stay, especially at their major conference, Surrender 07 (in July)...see this link for info.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

a picnic a pony

yesterday (sunday) we attended a 4th birthday party.  it was a special day of a new friend of isaac's, and the party was held at a park beside st kilda beach.  it was gorgeous weather and the highlight for isaac was his first ride on a horse...well, pony.  plodding along at a pedestrian pace on a stump-legged stead didn't quell isaac's adventurous spirit (and imagination).  there were cries of "giddyup, yooo-hoooo, i'm a cowboy!", and "ride'm cowboy, come on nugget!"  isaac also managed to make several new friendships with complete strangers at the park.  in public places he tends to operate with the assumption that every single person is a potential new friend.  "outgoing" doesn't begin to describe it.












here's isaac, sherry and the wild-at-heart pony called 'nugget'.  in the background you can see the parched grass (still a severe drought here), palm trees, and the beach.  and here he is enjoying some birthday cake...minus utensils.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

weekend away with UNOH

we are heading out to a forge meeting this afternoon (friday), then we'll catch the train to the mountain suburbs in the east to meet up with the UNOH folks.  they kindly invited us to lead a workshop (0ne of many during the weekend) on mission in the u.s. - the occasion is thier annual discipleship camp.  we are thinking of everyone at home and missing you all.  we appreciate your prayers.


we made a mistake when we left kentucky.  we failed to pack one of isaac's favorite toys - his precious k2 (short for koala 2).

DSC_8216thankfully laura cared for k2 and then posted him over this week.  yesterday we rode our bikes down to the post office to collect him and what a happy reunion it was.  here they are, the reunited couple brought together across ocean and land.