Local café, North Sydney

Giancarlo coffee. Cnr walker and mount st, north sydney. Recently refurbished, this place is going after the suits: wineglasses on the table, and a lot of specials on the menu.

Coffee – the decaf is ground to order – is hot, and there’s a lot of air in the milk – it feels unusually light. Once it’s cooled down, it’s the standard grinders cup: a solid, but unremarkable coffee.

two weekends in bullet point form

friday night 1
teppanyaki (caringbah)

saturday 1
early morning flight
gold coast growers’ markets
visit friends
stand in an empty swimming pool
regret not photographing it, as it would have helped explain john the baptist for next weeks’ sunday school
mexican food in the gold coast hinterland
flown home
reconnected with an old friend

sunday 1
early wake up
breakfast at grind
sunday school
lunch at bowen island bakery
walked the bay run
coffee in balmain
youtube juggling
church at feva
helped with a computer problem
petrol station closed – couldn’t buy petrol

friday night 2
race to katoomba
mkc friday night
listen to talk
chat to men from church
sleep in leura

saturday 2
breakfast in leura
decaf coffee from coffee box, katoomba (best coffee in katoomba)
catch up with friends
listen to talks
talk to al stewart!
wait for mp3-cds to be copied
walk to dinner
passenge back to sydney
get stove fixed

sunday 2
eat toast in the car
arrive at sunday school room
disaster – no furniture!
find furniture
teach sunday school
drive to cafe #1: closed
drive to cafe #2: closed
drive to cafe #3 – cordial at newtown
lunch with friend
drive to grind in cronulla
drink decaf
go home
play piano at night church
watch the west wing

Book: Whose Word Is It? The Story Behind Who Changed the New Testament and Why

Book: Whose Word is it? The Story Behind Who Changed the New Testament and Why

(US Title: Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the bible and why)

I’ve been meaning to read this for a long while, so I was happy that it appeared in a list of books that I can read for college.

Bart D. Ehrman is a scholar of some renown, and his field is textual criticism. This is the study of how an ancient text can be put together from all the fragments that remain, and how certain we can be that we have words that are as close to the originals as possible.

Though Ehrman has moved away from his evangelical background (as he details in an autobiographical introduction to the book), his book remains optimistic, rather than sensationalist as it looks at the reasons that different scribes and copyists had for making changes as they made copies of the original new testament documents, and then copies of those copies.

His conclusion is that while there are a few places where the modern bibles have strayed from the “best” reading of the text, the vast majority of the bible we have today is about as good as it can get.

Written in a lively, not-too-scholarly style, this is a book that even made the New York Times’ bestseller list. If you’re curious about how the new testament made it from the original documents to the modern bible, this is a useful introduction.

Giotto art caffe, east sydney

Café de colombia. 78 stanley st, east sydney. Art for sale lines the walls; high-backed couches sit below the picture line, providing a worthy backdrop to the well-dressed eat-in clientele.

The silence is broken only by the sound of orders being placed, and the occasional sound of plates and cutlery in the kitchen: there’s no background music to speak of.

Coffee is made fast, but the grinding was done long ago: this comes out in the milk-dominated flavour of my decaf latte, which has a hint of butter about its flavour: drinkable, but not overly enjoyable.

Mountain harvest café, Katoomba

Nirvana coffee. Katoomba st, Katoomba. Wooden floors, dark-painted wooden furniture; a sleepy vibe, friendly service, but not rushed. Paintings for sale line the walls, soft music is playing. High ceilings, with standard-issue office panels and air-conditioning vents, yet there’s a sense of space. The scent of coffee drifts across the room when a cup is made.

Coffee, when it comes out after about ten minutes, is okay. It has the taste of a chemical decaf: some kind of additive, but it’s a drinkable temperature and has a good texture.

A good spot to stop and do some writing.

things I’ve learned about high schoolers

When I signed up to do Sunday school teaching, I thought that I would simply be able to project my own high school experience on the high schoolers of today.

To some extent, this is true: the experience of going to high school is much the same, even if the class sizes, timetables, and schools are different after many years.

The people in my class, though, are different from me in important ways.

While I would have happily scoffed down an entire bag of Minties in a single sitting, many of these guys either don’t like Minties, or can’t eat them because of braces (I don’t even really notice if people have braces, though I suspect that if I had to pay for the braces, I would notice more readily).

If I was asked the question “what is your favourite TV show”, then I would have been spoiled for choice – I spent no small amount of time watching TV, and I can barely recall any of the shows that I was watching back then. Most of the people in my class don’t watch TV during the week: does anyone else find that a bit of a culture shock?

Stir café, balmain

Allpress espresso coffee. 354 darling st, balmain. A green colourbond fence surrounds a paved courtyard with its funky wooden chairs, and black-painted wooden tables.

Staf are friendly, they even come to the table and pour your water for you, with a slice of lemon in the glass: above the call of duty.

The decaf is good – $5 gets you a bowl latte with four shots of coffee: it’s a monster, but it’s good drinking.

Book: Escape from Reason

Book: Escape from Reason

I read this book in a single day, which should give you a feel for its length. Nonetheless, Francis Schaeffer covers some significant ground in just a few pages.

If you’ve ever wondered about the evolution of philosophy over the last 8 centuries or so, this seems a tight summary. This isn’t a subject I have much familiarity with, so I can’t speak to its accuracy (though Schaeffer is highly respected in this area).

The main way that this process is presented is by considering – for each significant period of time – what was considered knowable, and what was in the realm of faith. This division makes all the difference to the way that the world is understood.

It’s a little sad to watch the idea of God move from the realm of the un-knowable to the realm of the knowable; for people to then decide that there is no God, and then ultimately to decide that believing in the idea of God is important for a person’s well-being, while at the same time knowing that there can’t be a God.

Schaeffer has an easy to read style given the subject matter: I would think that anyone who’s reading at an undergraduate level would have no problem with this book: it might be beyond the reach of high schoolers.