Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goodbye Dougy..

Well sad news over the weekend that Dougy was found dead early Sat morning (circumstances presently unknown). It took a couple of days for the emotion to hit, but it did, and I spent today wandering around town. I found a full packet of cigarettes and a ten dollar note on the ground, which would have made Dougy very happy.

I hadn't spoken to Dougy this year. In fact the last time we spoke was about October last year, after I sat with him in court, with his social worker and celebrity lawyer (someone I didn't know from Big Brother). He had a long list of serious charges that should have seen him put away but the Judge took a different tact.. deciding the best chance for Doug, and perhaps society, was for him to report daily to the Salvation Army 'Oasis Program' for down and out men in need of intensive personal care. As we left the building he shook my hand and thanked me for my support. Then nothing until I spotted him two weeks ago on the ground, out drunk cold, being picked up by an ambulance crew..

He was probably Melbourne's most alcoholic, hospitalized, troublesome, arrested homeless man. When confronted about God, he always replied "he loves me.. he does" and when confronted about his alcoholism, he always replied "I can't help it.. that's the way I am"; a statement of his own submission to the hopelessness in his mind born from the pains and struggles of his heart. And yet in the time I knew him I saw him sober up, commit his life to God, and a few times struggle to free himself from the demon of the bottle. A freedom he now enjoys, at the cost of his own mortality, in a place where hope is reborn. Resting in the arms of Abraham.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Homelessness.. The Answer:

Homelessness ESS Derivatives: Brokenness, lonlyness, pointless, unhappiness, drunkenness, faithless, helpless, penniless, relationship less..

Relationship less:
Specifically: without relationship with a healthy Christian person(s).
Specifically: a 'healthy Christian' who is not in a paid role relationship or organized limited mission role.

The Balance:
The Homeless in Melbourne are far outnumbered by regular working Church attending Christian people.

Statistically a Homeless persons friendship group should be made up of many Christian friends; Christians that have no other Homeless friend other than that one person.

Of Course that is based on the PREMISE that all/most Christians follow God's direct instructions through the Bible and Jesus to make time and develop a meaningful relationship with the lost, poor and homeless of the city they live in.

We are an massive army camped on one side of a river, year after year, while the village on the other side is constantly attacked and raided, the people maimed and murdered.

Occasionally some soldiers or small patrols head across the river and return with a message that more help is needed..

Someone's reply: "I know the King has asked us to go across and fight, but I am busy with camp logistics and also my sword is not yet sharp enough."

Another: "I know the King is due back to the camp soon, when that happens he will lead us across the river and we shall crush the enemy under our heel.. how great and glorious will that day be!"

Where to now?
As a single person I have been able to make the time to build relationships with some of the poor and homeless of Melbourne.

As a married person (with a baby on the way) my challenge is to find some time (an hour a week, a day a month?) to continue to build on those relationships and witness God.

What's your challenge?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Heading Home

After a honeymoon in New Zealand (starting in Christ Church because Nella liked the name) we returned home to Nella's house in Werribee (where she has a mortgage, and I guess by proxy, I now do too.. I can't claim to be homeless anymore!).

On the plane flight back I sat between Nella and an elderly lady who was reading a christian book of some sort. Leaning towards Nella I whispered 'I'll make contact..' and pulled out my Bible and started to read it. Reading your Bible next to a stranger Christian is usually guaranteed to draw a comment from them (something about safe zones) but in this case the lady lent back and fell asleep. I noticed on the page she had open the heading 'Rest in the Lord'. So when she awoke a bit latter I commented to her that she was taking the 'Rest in the Lord' section literally.. We chatted a bit and I asked er what church she went to and she said she didn't attend any church; she was a 'Christadelphian'.

I had heard the name but knew nothing about them. She explained a few things and I realized they were very similar to Jehovah's Witnesses [in fact I looked them up later and it seems the Jehovah's Witnesses founders drew many of their secting doctrines from the Christadelphians..] Well I had recently boned up on that area of theology and so we discussed the nature of Jesus and what the 'Word become flesh' was all about. While the conversation was civil, I didn't feel she was discussing as much as she was teaching; or at least stating a definitive position.

I have noticed over time some Pharisaical trends with believers from more radical sectarian belief systems. When I set out to discuss theological topics with them, I find they do not discuss them back, rather they tend to centre themselves from a teaching position, addressing your questions and probes intelligently, but never questioning or probing my positions back. In short they are happy to be questioned, as an opening to give their information and ideas, but they are not interested in receiving any back, a fore mark to fundamentalism.

As the aeroplane landed in Melbourne she handed me a piece of paper with her phone number and said I was welcome to contact her further. When we got back to our place in Werribee I switched on the Christian Channel and playing was a program explaining, verse by verse, the basis for the theology of the Trinity. It was God was confirming in more detail, the ideas I had just been trying to express.. later I looked at her phone number again, and wondered what I would say if I ever called.. "Hello, I just called to let you know God has confirmed to me that you are wrong. I'd like to tell you.... " I'm not sure that's the best thing to do. I put the number away for the time being.

Monday, May 05, 2008


The wedding was wonderful, much better than we both expected. Three months of pressure cooker planning resulting in a dreamy day which all enjoyed. The ceremony was at the Lutheran Church, the service was led by our Church of Hope (AoG) pastors and the vows were led by our Baptist minister (Also our Anglican Vicar in the congregation).. who said we all(denominations) can't all get along. We had the cross carried into the Church first, to symbolise the priority in our lives, and we made our vows on our knees, before God. Afterwards, outside, we released some doves, which everyone enjoyed.

We wanted the day's experience to have some important Biblical themes, and so we invited as many people as we could, choosing to have a cheaper buffet meal so we could invite more guests (200 people). Of course many of those were friends from the street. But as in the Bible story.. many were unable to come to the banquet, some deliberately because they were annoyed with us or other attendees. Some probably didn't feel they would be comfortable there, in a crowd at a special occasion with many others around. What ever the reason it was a surprise who came and who stayed away, will it be similar at the rapture?

We also followed Jesus's suggestion to invite some strangers to your meal, and boy are we glad we did. The strangers were exceptionally grateful and happy for the invite and the best thing of all happened.. A couple from Malaysia (parents of a guest we said to come along) gave their hearts to God at the reception! We think that is the best wedding present.. our marriage bringing others into the kingdom.. hopefully symbolic of our future with God and each other :) There was one person who came to the reception un-invited, but we chose not to tie him up and throw him outside. LOL.

Friday, February 08, 2008


"The seventy-two returned with joy.."
St Francis followed Jesus's instructions for heading out on a Faith Walk, yet unlike the twelve and the seventy two, he never returned from his walk back to his cultural normality.. yet those Jesus sent out as a part of his discipleship training did return, and they returned with Joy.

Where am I? Why haven't I been around? Is it over? yes/no..

I had initially intended to only work part time at World Vision for a month, to earn some money towards the cost of my impending marriage, and I planned to continue with the streets on my off days. But getting married is very much like starting a Faith Walk. Your not really sure what lies ahead, and you don't understand all the implications of what your getting involved with, and you just have to trust in God that it will all work out. Many things change.

The biggest impacting decision we(my fiance and I) made was the wedding date: March 8th 2008. Once that was decided all discussion and focus other than the wedding was pretty much set aside. I was moving around between house sitting, overnighting at my fiance's parent's place, visiting her at her place and trying to get in some streets in as well. The problem was she lives in Werribee and World Vision is in Burwood, which are the opposite sides of the city, and I was traveling back and forth for about 5hrs each day and only getting 6hrs sleep a night. It wore me out pretty quick.

I had been balancing streets and relationship pretty well, but as time became more valuable I studied the Bible and listened to sermons that became pretty clear that you need to prioritize a marriage above mission, when they are at odds. So streets got reduced down to a few hours a week, as I focused on the new direction God had set for my life.

A wedding is also much more expensive than I realized, which helps me understand why some street couples are yet to make their partnerships a wedded one.. So when World Vision invited me to stay on longer than a month. I agreed and ended up staying there for 3 months and decided to leave at the end of January, just last week. For February I am focused on getting the final wedding plans in place and hoping to get back around the streets for a month, re-connecting and building on my experience there last year.

So it's finally dawning on me that my Homeless Faith Walk Journey is over. But hang on.. am I giving up? is it biblical? Well yes and no.

No I am not giving up. I plan to be involved and around the streets of Melbourne for the rest of my life, but in a different way. I am going to try and get backing to do paid street ministry around Melbourne, else I will work to support my family and do as much as I can around that.

Yes it is Biblical. The disciples returned, Jesus returned to Heaven, and each has his own path to be drawn to God, and you need to be true to God's plan for your life above all others expectations. As the disciples did, I have Joy about how I have walked with God and I also have great Joy about where my future with God is heading.

Jesus went ahead to prepare a feast to those he has invited to the banquet. I am excited about inviting many of my friends from the streets to share in my wedding banquet next month. My hope is that I can continue to help them (and others) find Joy with God.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Broken Door..

I returned to the Shed late November 07, after I house sat a friends place for a week, and found the door broken (actually it had been kicked in by an angry guy while high on drugs, upset as he was getting evicted from the main house). I saw it as a sign that the time of the Shed(Poustinia) was over. A sign of an end of a covenant, perhaps like a curtain that was torn in two; the end of my homelessness? the end of the Faith Walk?