It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for the CinemaGuy. When Mark Glenn – pastor of The Fields Church in Bowral, Australia – and I started dreaming about a Cinemagogue trip down under, I don’t think I truly believed it would happen. Two weeks later I’ve had the chance to speak seven times in various cities and locations with four more opportunities to go before hopping back to American soil. Adding in shark dives, bridge climbs, and some amazing food and drink have made this an unforgettable experience.
I keep praying I’m able to be a blessing even half as much as my wife and I’ve been blessed.
We got of the 17 hour flight to find ourselves greeted by Mark and some of the local Australian wildlife. Staying with the Glenn family instead of a hotel, out of the city and in a real Australian home in Moss Vale, NSW allowed us to experience a more normal rhythm of life versus a tourist’s drop-in, surreal experience. Visiting a church service, community group, local pub (and a day’s jaunt to the Canberra Zoo) also let us get our feet in the culture before my first presentation.
I was able to share with a Christian School staff and Minister’s Association about the idea of our 21st century being baptized in pop culture, how for many fiction is the new religion – or medication – and some ways in which we can speak to and through these things to the greatest story. Then it was off to the Acts 29 Australian Regional, to expand on that topic with a lecture on how we need to be Speaking the Gospel in the Language of the Culture. I was honored to share the speakers’ platform with great local pastors like Adam Witanowski and Guy Mason.
A teacher’s voice is his primary instrument, so when a nasty Australian cold put my throat down for the count, I thought I was in big trouble, being slated to speak at Adam’s White Horse Church on Father’s Day and host a Film & Theology Event the following day on Elysium. Thanks to some sound board talent and a lot of local cough medicine I was able to squeak my way through, and even squeeze in a radio interview Sunday night on Sydney’s 2CH station with Dominic Steele.
My wife Kat and I enjoyed a couple days to traverse and soak up the Sydney sights and night life, connect with some of the new friends we’d made, and then it was back to Bowral for another showing of Elysium and some discussion of our popular monomyth and its origin in our Master Storyteller and what C.S. Lewis would call “true myth”. It was especially cool to have such a different mix of audience members over the course of events: Christians and non-Christians, pastors and teachers, teenagers and grandparents, urbanites and country residents, visitors who drove hundreds of kilometers. It was truly humbling to receive feedback and encouragement from all sorts.
The final week will include a Family Film & Theology event on Wreck-it Ralph, followed by preaching Sunday at The Fields. After some more down(under)time, Kat and I will spin over to to Melbourne and speak at a Film & Theology event hosted by City on a Hill, then the all-day Focus Conference that will feature a lot of guys smarter than me zeroing in on specific areas of art and culture. I’ll just open up the day with some general direction and see them cut loose. Ten years ago if you’d told me this would be happening, I’d have rolled my eyes. Today? Well, I still roll my eyes and thank our sweet Lord for that pivotal verse in 1 Corinthians that aptly describes my life… i.e. using the foolish to get some of His work done.
And yes, I tried vegemite. And liked it. Cheers!