Australia Day Four – A Day Off

My hosts mercifully gave me a day off on Friday.  I needed it, since I was honestly tired of hearing myself talk.  Duncan, who has now blogged about my visit, and his wife, Ennis, drove me to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.  From there, we walked north along the gorgeous beach to Surfers Paradise and had a leisurely breakfast as we watched “nippers” being trained.

We arrived back at Duncan’s in time to hear Sarah Palin ramble incoherently about various topics and watch Gwen Ifill like a deer-in-headlights refuse to ask any follow-up questions.  Biden, I thought, was his usual knowledgeable self, if a bit dry.

(BTW, I think this is interesting to note: People in the States, and here in Australia, often talk to me about how the dominance of the U.S. is waning, how India and China are already the ascendant global powers, etc.  But, here in Australia, at 11 o’clock in the morning, the U.S. vice presidential debate was played in its entirety, both on television and radio.  And I imagine that also happened in most Western countries yesterday.  Do the Australians cover the Chinese financial markets with the same eye as the U.S. financial markets?  No.  Do they broadcast the parliament of India like they do the U.S. Congress?  No.

Globalization has surely relativized the dominance of the U.S. in world affairs, but from where I sit on the other side of the globe, the U.S. still captures the imagination of the world in a way that no other country does.  And, of course, the transparency of our political machinery aids in this.)

Duncan drove me to the airport and I had an eventless flight back to Sydney.  Fuzz retrieved me, and we made our way through rush hour traffic back to his place in The Hills.  Along the way, he told me many stories about his consulting work with youth ministry in Egypt, which sounds fascinating.

Carolyn and Fuzz then took me to dinner at their favorite seafood place and, as you can see below, ordered the seafood platter which means that we ate far too much food, complemented by a fine Australian white wine.

Like I said, it was good to have a day off.

Carolyn and Fuzz Kitto with the Seafood Platter

Australia Day Three – Brisbane to the Gold Coast

I awoke at about 4am on Thursday, which was unfortunate.  But I made some coffee and did some writing.  Dave awoke a bit later and, likewise, sat and wrote.  He’s written several books on community organizing and such, and I am even more impressed with his theological vision for his neightborhood…and the world.  The two of us are in many ways sympatico, and I plan to come back here to West End Brisbane for a longer stay sometime.

Around 7:30, we walked a few blocks over to Black Star Coffee, which is presently housed in a small warehouse.  I watched (and filmed) as Matt roasted a batch of beans


He’s already started a similar company (People’s Coffee) in New Zealand, and now he’s helping at Blackstar for a while.  Blackstar is a part of The Waiters Union, which is the community that Dave and Ange started when they moved back from India.  Their commitment to the community of West End is really astounding, and Blackstar is a part of that.  Matt joked about all of the emerging churches that have failed coffee houses in their pasts, and about how important it is to have a bigger vision than a cafe.  Well, these guys have a bigger vision.  They’re also true coffee connesiers, and they pull an amazing shot:


The rest of the morning consisted of a personal and interesting conversation with a group that is basically the emergent-esque cohort in Brisbane.  We talked about life and church and ministry and theology.  I really, really enjoyed my time with these folks.

After lunch, Duncan drove me to his home on the Gold Coast.  We went to his gym for an hour, then out to dinner with his family.  On the way across the parking lot to the restaurant, it seemed that a tree was coming alive with birds.  Duncan explained they were rainbow lorikeets, which make a racket for about 90 minutes each evening:


After dinner, another conversation with church leaders and others from the Gold Coast, then off to bed.  All in all, a long and gratifying day.  I get Friday basically off, so I’m looking forward to the down time.