It’s a long way from Chicago to Perth, and it took us about 30 hours each way, but the opportunity and the experience are incalculable for us. Today I want to say a few things about Vose Seminary in Perth, Michael O’Neil and Brian Harris, and I’m posting a few pictures of Perth. I’ll have other posts in the days to come. But we have to declare our appreciation to Monica and Michael and Rosemary and Brian for being such wonderful hosts … they kept an eye on us with enough distance for us to adjust to the time zone changes and relax, but they were always near enough to help us with all we needed.

I was invited by Vose, via Michael and Brian, to give some keynote addresses at their annual conference for pastors: Beyond Four Walls, An Exploration of Being the Church. So I put together a lecture on the gospel, one on what it means to be “relevant,” and then a final one on atonement. Each of these was shaped in the direction of church and mission, and I think each will be published by Vose in the coming year. Kris and I attended a few other presentations, including one on ministry to Muslims and one by Michael on Jonah and prayer. Other keynote papers were by Brian (on trinity and church life, and Brian’s research has been on Grenz and evangelicalism) and by Stephen Garner, from Auckland, on cultural exegesis. We learned a bundle about Australian and New Zealand TV culture — and the theology at work! Papers by Karen Siggins, Bernie Power, and Margaret Wesley … all such great work and helpful ideas for the church.

I really do like giving these kinds of lectures, but the audience’s stimulation made the delivery and interaction so much better. Thanks to Michael and Brian for such an audience.

The internet makes for a smaller world, and I met a host of pastors and professors and readers of this blog and our books. Not the least of whom are Jarrod McKenna and Andrew Hamilton, and I’ll stop right there with names. Each day involved a great pace, including stopping twice for Devonshire tea!

What struck me about Vose was how intimately tied it was to the church. It is both a reality and complaint that seminaries have become too much like an academic institution and not enough like the place where folks enter leadership in the church, but this isn’t the case at Vose. Every professor, and I had more conversations with Michael and Brian about this, is not only connected to a church but seems to be either a pastor (or was a pastor) or very close to a pastor. This changes everything about the seminary, and I’m confident about the capacity for Vose to become a leading seminary.

Speaking of Perth … what a place to walk and gawk! Kris and I got to walk numerous times along the Swan River, and the walkways alongside the river are manicured, beautiful, and lined with (some palm) trees and — yes indeedy — full of great birds. This is my picture of the Rainbow Lorikeet.

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  • Dave Groenenboom

    Glad you enjoyed it here. Just moved from Brisbane 4 weeks ago. Sorry I missed you’re coming here. You post has given me a few things to pursue. Blessings, DG

  • Michael

    Hey Scot & Kris, so, so glad you were able to come visit. We really enjoyed your presentations, but much more than that, really enjoyed meeting you both and spending a little time with you. We felt very privileged, and hope to meet up again sometime, either here or there…

    Grace to you both,

  • Brian Harris

    It was fantastic to have you and Kris in Perth. Thanks for the HUGE contribution you made to the conference. We’re all hoping that you will come back often!

    Grace and peace


  • Deborah

    Our oldest son spent a semester at Murdoch University and sent us lovely pictures of Perth and surrounding areas. He also took his first skydive there and loved it. What a beautiful place and a great experience for him!

  • Ana Mullan

    Glad to hear you got to go to Perth, it is a lovely place, we have relatives there and enjoyed visiting them. I am sure that you two were a really blessing to them as you were to us here in Dublin.

  • Great to have you over Scot. I wrote a post about some Anabaptist themes in your talks, which I hope I reported accurately.