Shot cafe, Mosman

Shot cafe, Mosman

Allpress espresso. 1100 Middle Head Rd, Mosman. From the outside, this looks like an old school canteen building, but it’s much more than that. outdoor and indoor seating, and a space (labelled “bark park”) for dogs to grab a drink of water.

where the magic happens - Shot cafe, Mosman

It’s a beautiful place to spend some time (especially outdoors, with a great view of the water). The Sunday afternoon crowd seems to be choosing tea more often than coffee, which seems ominous, but perhaps just reflects the preferences of a crowd who are – in part – from later in life than your average cafe clientele.

Shot cafe, Mosman

Coffee (there’s no decaf grinder in sight) is really nice – the milkwork is good, and the coffee is slightly sweet. There are a few problems with the rest of the takeaway service – seems that the communication amongst the staff could be better. Overall, though, this is a place that’s worth searching out and experiencing.

Joe Black, Surry Hills

Joe Black, Surry Hills

Five Senses coffee. 27 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills. Still setting up – they’ve been open a couple of weeks now and are still running on a reduced menu, mostly sandwiches for lunchtime.

It’s a great-looking space, though easy to miss from the street. They’re clearly serious about their coffee – it’s a siphon bar and has a serious line-up of grinders.

where the magic happens - Joe Black, Surry Hills

My decaf latte doesn’t disappoint. Great milk-work, a good level of complexity, looks like it will be a real contender.

Deus Ex Machina Bike Shop and Cafe, Surry Hills

deus ex machina, surry hills

Little Marionette coffee. 344 Bourke St, Surry Hills. Come for the pushbikes, stay for the coffee and the service. This place, with seating for around 20 people, adjoins a beautiful bike shop that – if you have the cash on you – may convince you to embrace the lifestyle of the cyclist.

where the magic happens - deus ex machina, surry hills

Coffee – ground to order – is really good. Staff are friendly, and the service is prompt.

JP’s Espresso Bar, Revesby

espresso bar, revesby

Coffee Rosso. Shop 4, 19 Marco Ave Revesby. This stretch of shops hasn’t been the site for good coffee over the years and so this new appearance is a welcome one. Look further inside and you’ll see a great range of pastries, including some macaroons that can compete with offerings from more likely suburbs.

Coffee is quite pleasant. There’s no decaf grinder to be seen, but they do the best they can with their setup, and it’s the best in its neighbourhood.

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movie: cowboys and aliens

Cowboys and Aliens

I’ve long been a fan of Jon Favreau movies (Swingers, Iron Man and to a lesser extent Made and Iron Man 2), and so was looking forward to this one. The “blonde Bond” – Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde (13 from House, and the only female character in Tron 2) are starring, with Sam Rockwell (Moon, Charlie’s Angels, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) in a supporting role.

Unfortunately, it’s let down by an over-developed screenplay that moves from one action set-piece to the next with precious little in the way of character development. It’s hard to care about any of the characters, and there’s no attempt made at all to provide the aliens with any redeeming features.

Part of the problem is the memory-loss plot device, which removes a lot of the empathy for the main character until (perhaps) the final reel.

The visuals are brilliant: the combination of sci-fi special effects with a great-looking Western set is handled solidly, and there are a few Harrison Ford moments that remind you why he’s such a great screen presence, but this isn’t enough to redeem a film that had a really promising trailer.

book: keep your greek

Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People

One of the challenges with part-time theological study is to try and hang onto the language learning that you’ve been doing. Having lost a lot of the Hebrew that I studied last year, I thought that this book was worth picking up.

It’s a very short book, adapted from a series of blog posts that I read while author Con Campbell (who I saw yesterday in a video promoting the HCSB of the bible) was still blogging his way through the book. I have yet to make the time to implement its recommendations, but if you’ve ever had a chance to study the language in which the New Testament was written, and you’d like to keep your language skills sharp, this is worth grabbing, reading and applying.

If you’ve never studied Koine Greek, but you know someone who has, you might like to grab a copy for them, to encourage them to keep up-to-speed with this useful skill.

Books: N.T. Wright on Justification

The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright and Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision

I’ve just spent a week at college listening to lectures on the apostle Paul’s doctrine of justification by Douglas Moo. I’m still thinking through the things that I’ve learned, but thought I’d mention the two books we needed to read in preparation for the course.

These two books, one written by John Piper in response to N.T. Wright, and the other written by Wright in response to Piper’s book. The two books have very different levels of civility about them (Piper trying to be careful to give Wright’s scholarship and influence full credit, and Wright comparing people who disagree with him to universe-heliocentricity deniers), and they’re written at different levels of scholarship (Piper has Greek words in the text, Wright transliterates them).

If you’re not familiar with the Christian term “justification”, then – briefly – it describes the way that Christians are made right with God. In the Bible, there is a word (dikaiosune) that means “right with God”, and then in Christian theology there is an idea of “righteousness” that goes beyond the use of that particular word.

N.T. Wright’s thesis on justification is different to that of Piper, and Piper writes a book that explains how they disagree, and where he thinks Wright has it wrong. Wright comes back and explains that Piper has misunderstood what he was saying, and spells it out in a little more detail.

If you’re trying to wrap your head around how Christians understand salvation, and what will be argued about in the years to come, these are a couple of important books to interact with, but ultimately, you’ll be left wanting to hear from each of these authors again on the subject, to try and clarify who is saying what.