Mandy's Musings

Monday, June 26, 2006


Deep theological reflection is off the agenda at the moment as I enjoy being on holidays. I got my Oak Hill results yesterday and passed both my subjects, so now I can really relax and enjoy the next few weeks before I head home.

I spent last week in Oxford and Cambridge. I refuse to enter into debate about which of the university towns is better – I didn’t study at either so my care factor is zero!

In Oxford I caught up with the Jensen's and enjoyed wandering around the university parks. It was lovely and relaxing, not having to be anywhere at any particular time.

The rest of the week was in Cambridge - lots of fun but a bit less relaxing as I spent 3 days/2 nights caring for 3 children (3,6 and 8) while David and Amelia had a break in London. I have a whole new respect for parents - it is just so constant. I think I got a bit of an insight into what it means to pray continually - I so often felt a little bit out of my depth that I did a whole lot more praying than normal (perhaps something that should change). I did enjoy it - managed not to kill anyone and haven't been put off the whole idea of parenthood, but would definitely not choose to start with 3 at once! Was nice to have David and Amelia back on Friday night and relax for the rest of the weekend.

Tonight is my last night in London - off to have dinner at Parliament with Libby and if the rain clears, a trip on the London eye.

Revive '06 - the photos

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Revive '06

Spent the weekend at Revive '06 - the Co-mission churches weekend away. TBT Mayfair (where I've been going to church in London) is part of a co-mission of church plants within the Church of England, and every year they have a weekend away with all of the churches together. Fantastic to be away with almost 400 adults plus close to 100 children and being taught from God's word and pray about the work both here in London and with Co-mission partners throughout the world. We went to sunny Portsmouth, where I stayed on the 10th floor of the tower block with a view over the water (stunning) and spent some time with brothers and sisters in Christ reflecting on 2 Thes and the end times.

It was really challenging to be reminded of the grim nature of hell and the eternal punishment that awaits those who reject Jesus, but greatly encouraging to be exhorted to continue in prayerful evangelism and obedience to the word of God as we await the return of Jesus and the ushering in of his Kingdom. It was sad to say more goodbye-for-nows, but a fantastic and challenging weekend.

Photos will follow, but at an internet cafe at the moment so can't make it happen.

I did go for a swim on Saturday afternoon. Only the Aussie girls were game enough to brave the cold, but it was actually lovely once you were in the water - although I still can't get used to a beach that you need to wear your thongs/flip flops down to the waters edge because the pebbles hurt your feet too much otherwise. Watching Towner and Big-Pete on the bucking bronco on Saturday night was also quite amusing. And the pub lunch with Libs, Annie and Anne on the way home was delightful.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Goodbye Oak Hill

Today is my last day at Oak Hill.

Where has the semester gone? I handed in my Australian Church History essay yesterday (one day before the deadline - how organised am I?) and now apart from trying to put together a few words to show I have done some work on my project this semester, I am on holidays.

So many things I have enjoyed about my time here. I was quickly made to feel really welcome, people didn't laugh too much at the way I spoke or the words I used and were really generous about inviting me to dinner and things to help me settle in. Christian family is really something special. Lectures were fantastic. I'm glad I did the hard work of two taught subjects while I was here - making the most of the opportunity to learn from people like Garry Williams and Mike Ovey. Theological discussions over coffee, much laughter with the gigling gaggle of girls, running early in the morning - so much to be thankful for about my time here.

I don't like endings very much - and for many I've had the pleasure of studying alongside this semester or getting to know at church, we will not meet again until Jesus returns in glory. While it can sound really trite, it is great that because we are in Christ, leaving is an ending of sorts but it is not final, because we will have the privledge of spending all eternity together in the presence of our great and glorious Father. In the meantime, let me encourage you to press on with the good work in his name. Continue to learn more and be better equipped to share with this dark and dying world the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and life in His name. Live such honourable lives that the word of God is made attractive to those living in darkness. And by the power of the Spirit, continue to grow in godliness, living out the hope that we have.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Extracts from Johnson and Marsden, Australia's first and second chaplains

I spent most of today in Lambeth Palace Library reading room after an unsuccessful visit to the British Library doing some more reading for my Australian church history essay on the Eclectic society and its role in sending ministers and missionaries to Australia

It was great to sit and read letters that Johnson and Marsden wrote to Archbishop Moore about their early experiences in Australia.

In one, Johnson recounts his agreeing to come as chaplain:
In the evening of the 23rd of September, 1786, I was asked by a Friend if I had got the spirit of a Missionary or if I wished to go abroad - I smiled, and replied - no - I had no inclination or thought of leaving my native country.

Yet as history reveals, Johnson did indeed have a missionary heart and accompanied the convicts and military as military chaplain to the First Fleet. His evangelical commitments meant that he was motivated to preach the gospel to all:

Convicts, as well as others, are possessors of souls that are immortal and that they must 'afor long appear before the solemn tribunal of God, thereafter then to answer for their actions.

Yet his assessment of the people under his care just 5 years after the arrival at Botany Bay was not positive. They are: 'poor abandoned people lost to all sense of virtue, religion and even common morality'. Indeed, 'That this is the case, I shall only instance as to the manner in which the Sabbath is observed (or rather profaned) amongst us.'

Samuel Marsden likewise faced a difficult time. As he writes to Archbishop Moore of of his arrival and harrowing journey he says:
'These trials no doubt were permitted for some real good or we shd(sic) not have met with them. They did not make my mind uneasy so as to cause me to wish I had never come, but rather tended to confirm me in the persuasion that I was in the line of Duty ... I am fully convinced that a faithful minister will and must have many difficulties to contend with, and at the same time can obtain no remedy but patience, till lenght of time and the divine providence shall make a material change in the present circumstances of the colony.'

How encouraging that in the face of difficulties and hardship, not least from the governing officials, these men continued to preach the gospel. They sought to establish the gospel in Australia, recognising that only through the gospel could reform of society take place, a legacy that we are privleged to inherit.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Strategy in 1786

Did you know that in 1786 a group of men who who made up the Eclectic Society discussed how to evangelise the colony of Botany Bay? These men, including Hymn writer John Newton were influential in the appointment of Richard Johnson as military chaplain to the First Fleet. Unfortunately, records of this meeting are no longer extant, although letters do provide some of the background information. We do know that Newton wrote a Hymn for Johnson entitled 'Going to Botany Bay'
The Lord, who sends thee hence, will be thine aid;
In vain at the lion, Danger, roars;
His arm and love shall keep thee undismayed
On tempest-tossed seas, and savage shores.

Go, bear the Saviour's name to lands unknown,
Tell to the Southern world His wondrous grace;
An energy Divine thy words shall own,
And draw their untaught hearts to seek his face.

Many in quest of gold or empty fame
Would compass earth, or venture near the poles;
But how much nobler thy reward and aim-
To spread His praise, and win immortal souls!

This missionary zeal did not stop at having Johnson appointed. In records of the Eclectic Society from March 18, 1799 they discussed 'What methods can we use most effectually to promote the knoweldge of the gospel among the heathen?'. This meeting was directly responsible for the formation of the Church Missionary Society.

Under God, these men prayerfully and with consideration planned - they thought strategically about how and where to preach the gospel and then got on with the task of doing it.

Isn't it good to be reminded that we in the 21st century west didn't invent strategic thinking!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Delightful Derby

I've just returned from a lovely weekend in Derby with the Cox Family. I was in first year when Liz did B&M in 2003 and David finished 3rd Year. They moved to Derby with Rachel, Olivia and Jordan in Jan 04 so that Liz could work as the Women's and Children's worker at St Giles - an Evanglical Anglican Church in Derby.

It was lovely to catch up and here how ministry is going and how they are enjoying living in Derby. The weather was beautiful - 28 degrees both Saturday and Sunday, clear blue sky and a light wind to take the edge off (pity about that torrential rain in Sydney at the moment). I do believe I am sporting a slight suntan!

On Saturday Liz and I drove up to Chatsworth House (Pemberley in the new P&P movie). The house and gardens are exquisite. The dining room in the photo is where Queen Victoria had her first grown up dinner!

My bus stopped in Birmingham on the way home - so I went to the most unusual shopping centre I've ever seen, called the bullring - check it out. Space age or what?

I had a great time. The weekend was a lovely distraction from study. I did my last exam on Friday, so all of my exams are over for the semester. Now I just have to write a church history essay and put some words together on my project. The end is in sight.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Recipe for fun - Photos

Here are the photos of our fun night ...

what is an evangelical?

I've been studying for my Australian church history 4 exam. Before I have any more silly comments from the English, yes, there is such a thing as Australian history. Today I was trying to get my head around the study of history and definitions of evangelicalism, and was reading an article by Moore's own Rev Dr Mark Thompson (Is there any point being 'evangelical'? By Mark D. Thompson from Briefing #313).

Here are just 3 paragraphs that really struck me as I was reading:

'It is possible, after all, to define evangelicalism in such a way as to exclude some of those with whom we might wish to associate ourselves. Was Martin Luther an evangelical? Yet he believed in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. Was John Wesley an evangelical? Yet he was self-consciously Arminian rather than Reformed in his understanding of the way human responsibility and divine sovereignty operate in our salvation. Does it make sense to speak of an evangelicalism that would exclude Billy Graham because of his willingness to work with those outside of evangelical circles for the proclamation of the gospel or John Stott because in debate with David Edwards he once pondered the strengths of the case for annihilation rather than eternal punishment? Is there room for concluding that someone might be wrong—perhaps profoundly wrong—without disenfranchising them? Is all error heretical?'

'Yet alternative ideas rarely, if ever, come to us in a disembodied form. Real people espouse them, men and women for whom Christ came and died. There is a generosity that is appropriate: The same Scriptures which speak of contending for the faith and resisting false teaching call on us to avoid a quarrelsome spirit (2 Tim 2:24–25) and a predilection for controversy (1 Tim 6:3–5). There may well come a point when a person must be condemned as a false teacher who stubbornly resists correction by the Scriptures and who is injuring God’s people. Such people do exist today as Jesus and the apostles warned us they would. Yet in such cases concern for the person is every bit as important as the repudiation of their error. As Paul told the Thessalonians about one who would not obey his words, “Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother” (2 Thess 3:15). Standing together before Christ on the last day is much more important than winning the argument today. How much more then when we are not talking about those who deliberately refuse the word of God but rather those who differ from us in how they understand it?

In other words, love and faithfulness are not rivals but the most intimate of companions. It is our faithfulness to the apostolic gospel that drives us to love in much more than a superficial way, to seek a unity that is profoundly more than mere show. True orthodoxy is generous, but not in the sense of blurring boundaries between truth and error or between what is essential and what is secondary. It is generous in its recognition that all of us are prone to error and sin and all of us need a saviour. A disagreement with my brother or sister should drive me back to the pages of the Bible, not to the trenches to dig in for the battle. Respecting one another’s opinions should never be an excuse to avoid testing those opinions by the word of God.'

If you'd like to read the whole article, it is available online at

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Recipe for fun

Take 5 girls, recently finished exams; 3 having finished their studies; 2 about to leave the country. Shower those leaving with appropriately tacky London memorabilia.

Board the tube at Southgate and entertain the other passengers with your tales and giggling, even if it does raise eyebrows when one of your number announces that she would like to have a baby in the next 4 years. Entertain with the 3 treacherous buzzards song, but never quite make it all the way through.

Arrive at Waterloo and wander to the Southbank, delighted that it is after 7pm and the sun is still shining. Take in the view for a few minutes before settling down at Wagamama’s for dinner. Amaze the waiter with the diversity of the group, with 3 of you ordering a number 41! Laugh your way through the entire meal, including a rendition of my God is so big and discover that the Australian version and the English version are different.

Decide to take in the delights of the Southbank while walking off your meal. Rue having decided to wear the high heals, but soldier on valiantly anyway. Keep loosing members of the group as they stop to take photos of the gorgeous surroundings.

Arrive at the Tate modern and go up to the Bar and Restaurant on level 6. Keep one member of the group away from the window for fear she will pass out, while the others drink in the amazing view of St Paul’s Cathedral. Be seated far enough away from the window that you can all enjoy the view from the safety of the middle of the room and watch as the sun sets and the city begins to light up.

Worry the waitress by your inability to order. Proceed to laugh even more when one of your number gets caught in an awkward position by a bathroom door that refuses to lock properly. Eventually decide that you will have 4 of the 5 different desserts on the menu – Walnut praline with almond biscotti and vin santo; chocolate and orange torte; champagne poached pear with vanilla brulee and strawberry and mint salad; pineapple skewers with basil grantita and raspberry coulis, which are all fabulous and even give a choice for the gluten free and sugar free dieters among you.

Consult, with some difficulty, the photograph of the underground map apron to work out the best way home, then discover that one of you has a proper tube map. Attempt to walk across the millennium bridge. Discover that one of your number really, really, really is not good with heights, but help her to overcome her fear. Discover that stiletto heels and holes in bridges are not a good combination as another of your members gets stuck in the middle of the bridge and almost needs to set up home there. Reach solid ground outside St Paul’s, thankful to have survived the experience.

Walk to the tube station, the long way of course, still regretting the shoe decision. Get on a tube to go home, still laughing.

So much fun.

I’ll miss you Dawn, Helen, Ros and Sarah.
But there is always the hope of Philly in Jan 07 and Aus in Feb 08 to look forward to!!!

the invigilator

Well, Oak Hill exams are now over (hooray!)

On another Moore College and Oak Hill comparison, how does exam period compare?

MTC v Oak Hill

  • Exam Supervisor v Invigilator
  • 10 minutes reading time v start writing straight away
  • 4/5 questions in 3 hours v 3 questions in 3 hours
  • assigned seats v sit wherever you'd like
  • year long subject until 4th year v semester long subjects for entire degree
  • 1 week revision and 6 exams over 2 weeks v 1 week revision and 2 exams over 1 week

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Running mates

I like to run. Lots. The further the better. I'm not very good, but I really enjoy it. A lifelong ambition has been to run an marathon. Not really sure why, but I always remember watching the marathon at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games on TV and thinking 'one day I'd like to do that'. I'd like to think I'm almost half-way there, having run 2 half-marathons in the last few years - all going well I'm aiming for another half in Sydney in September and then the Gold Coast Marathon in July 07.

One of the things I wondered about in coming to Oak Hill was who I would run with. I'd loved my running group from MTC (Hi Viv, Eric, Jon, Bill ...). Part of college life was the 6.15am meeting of runners on the corner of Campbell and Little Queen Sts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, trying to be quiet as we ran past Kara's room.

I did take some time to find some new running mates - I did some jogging on my own when I first arrived, and had the hope of some afternoon runs with the guys that never quite came off until one of them said: 'Dave & Tim's wives run nearly every day. They are pretty serious though and it is early in the morning.' And as they say, the rest is history. I got to meet Sarah and Jane and began to join them at 6am most mornings for our 3 miles 'around the block'. The first morning almost killed me - never being one for hills, the small hill at the park about half-way round was pretty tough. Then we got to the last section, and I realised it was pretty much straight up hill at about a 45 degree angle! It defeated me on the first go as I walked up the last 3 steps.

But that all seems like ages ago as I now chat as we run up that last hill (even if I have worked out that the best way to do it is to ask someone else a question as you start the climb!). On Saturday mornings we go for a longer run through Trent Park. I'm never quite sure exactly where we are as we trek through the woods, but take the chance to just enjoy the scenery - it is so green. Not quite the same as running alongside Sydney harbour, but pretty special in itself.

Here's a photo of Jane, Sarah and I taken at 6am this morning, just before we set off:

Being able to run is such a blessing. I was trying to work out if I could justify it biblically, but all I could think of was 1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV): 'for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come' which doesn't really help my point at all. But my morning runs have been something I am truly thankful to God for - the opportunity to get out and enjoy the cool crisp English mornings and to get to know Sarah and Jane. I've loved hearing about what they are doing and the fantastic opportunities they have at work with friends and collegues to share the gospel. I've even been able to test out essay plans and ideas on them (OK - I probably went too far when I was trying to explain perichoresis without losing my breath). Thanks God for giving me two new running mates!