Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!


We wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

funding update

Last week we received news that the Gospel Partners Trust, a UK organisation, has agreed to give us £4,000 for 2008-9, having already given us £4,000 for 2007-8. This is great news, and we are very pleased that GPT find our vision worth supporting.

However, our most recent calculations envisage that we will be $20,000 AUD short for the year 2008-9. This is, of course, a concern. We are pursuing a number of things to try to fill that gap: We have booked ourselves in for a funding seminar in January; we are beginning the process of applying for funding from another UK Christian organisation; we have enlisted the help of a friend at church who has some useful ideas; we have information about applying for at least one new scholarship for the 2009-10 period; and we are actively looking into other possibilities that might help.

We are very grateful to those who are making this venture possible, and ask that if you can think of any other ways in which we might be able to make sure the money doesn't run out, you let us know. We also continue to value your prayers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back from Australia

Well, we're back in Nottingham. Back to uni, pre-school, playgroup and all the other events that were in recess when we left. Back to increasingly cold temperatures and central heating. And back to colds and various other sicknesses. But it's been good to be back and settled into normal life again (and good to know that we don't have to do those loooong plane trips again for quite a while).

But it was also good being in Perth. Here are a few pictures to tell the story of our time in Perth:

The Wedding...

The Happy Couple, Andrew and Breony, Bec's parents (Richard and Rosemary) and ourselves. It was a lovely day and great to be able to celebrate with Andrew and Bre. The kids loved blowing bubbles at the reception and playing with Bre's nephews. Cara keeps saying "Like Aunty Bre!" whenever we see a bride or a photo of a wedding. Thanks for giving us an excuse to come back guys ;-).

Matt's Lecture...
Matt (he's the one behind the lecturn!) gave a lecture as a part of Trinity Theological College's "Works in Progress" series. The talk was about the 'textual history' of 1 Corinthians, exploring the way that this letter was first published and used as Christian Scripture.

Catching up...
We really enjoyed catching up with friends from church, uni days, Trinity Theol and other areas. We feel like we spent a lot of time catching up with people and, in the process, eating...it is a good thing that airlines weigh your baggage when you check in rather than you because we ate so much it's almost certain we were heavier when we left Perth than we were upon arrival.

It was good to be able to spend time letting supporters know a bit about the last year in person and catching up with other people's news.

Of course, we spent most of our catch-up time with family. The kids enjoyed spending time with Granny and Grandpa and Nanna and Pa, being spoilt. We enjoyed the opportunity to go out on a couple of 'dates' too. The other highlight for them was playing with their cousins - Ethan (below, with Luke), Doyle and Holly (below, with Cara).
For those who are interested and on Facebook, Bec will post some more photos from our trip on her profile (eventually).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles... (Or Perth, Here We Come!)

Twenty-eight hours. That's about how long it will take us to get from our house in Beeston, to Perth. Six separate transport steps: taxi, then train, then another taxi, then another train, then the first plane (Heathrow-Singapore), and then a second plane (Singapore-Perth). Seven steps if you count the car trip to our lodgings in Perth. But the torture of the travel will be worth it!

We're coming to Perth mainly for Andrew (Bec's brother) and Breony's (his fiancee) wedding. We'll be there for a couple of weeks. Some other good things on our agenda:

  • Catching up with family and friends (of course!).
  • Cara is VERY excited to be seeing Kasey, our cat
  • Meeting our neice, Holly, for the first time
  • Matt will be giving a paper at Trinity Theological College
  • He will also be preaching at our old church (Bedford Community Church)
  • We'll be having an afternoon tea on Sunday 14th Sept at 2:30 at Bedford Community Church (come along if you're free!)
  • Going out for a meal without the kids while there are grandparents to babysit (hint, hint!)
We leave on Thursday. If you're one of our praying readers, please pray for us as we travel.
See you soon!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Long time no blog!

It's been a long time since we've blogged! A lot has happened, including...

Summer's here!... apparently... Above you can see our summer holiday destination: We spent a week in Wales with Bec's mum and dad. While we were there we visited Castles, got rained on, went to a petting zoo (where Cara fell in love with the lambs), took a trip on a little steam engine (the inspiration for Thomas the Tank Engine), and sang lots of songs to keep the kids happy in the hire car. Below you can see some holiday snaps...

While Bec's parents were here, we also enjoyed the opportunity to have live-in babysitters, and went out a couple of times to experience dinner for two! We've also had a visit from Bec's brother Andrew and his fiancee Bre. It was great to get to know Bre, and we look forward to their wedding in September.

Matt's study has been going well: He recently spent two weeks in London with another Nottingham theology student, doing an intensive German course, which should help with his reading of academic texts. Last month, the university decided to upgrade Matt's research from M.Phil (Masters) to Ph.D (Doctorate). His supervisor, Anthony Thiselton, continues to be pleased with Matt's progress, and has been warm and constructive in his supervision.

We are now officially members of Beeston Free Church, and have continued to enjoy our involvement there. Lately this has included Matt leading a service, Bec helping run an evangelistic Bible study, and the kids taking part in Sunday School and the Summer children's outreach programme. Over the holidays, some of the church activities have wound down, but Bec and the kids have enjoyed regularly catching up with other mums and kids.

Luke is now walking, and is saying about ten words. He had his first haircut a few weeks ago, and he is now looking like a little boy, rather than a baby.

Cara has really enjoyed going to Nursery (pre-school) and settled in well. She can now write her name, somewhat legibly. She had a trip to the emergency department of the local hospital recently, with a "bent arm" (her words). It wasn't broken, and she spent the next few weeks at prayer time wanting to say "Thank you, God!" that her arm was better!

In amongst all this, our computer completely died, and so we are writing this blog post on a new computer. We lost a number of photos, documents, and - unfortunately - the diaries that Bec has been keeping about the children growing up. All of Matt's university work is well backed up, so there was no problem there - but other things have unfortunately gone for good.

But God has been blessing us... and yes, there has actually been some sun! We've been enjoying BBQs, picnics, and time playing in the back yard.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Luke is 1 year old!





On the 15th April, Luke turned one year old! For his birthday celebrations, we enjoyed chocolate cake, plenty of playing on his birthday-present-slide, making a mess with party food, playing with friends, opening presents from far-away family, and general birthday-related frivolities. Now that Luke is one, he has developed a more mature personality, and has a particular interest in philosophy: Just yesterday he pondered, "Hey mum and dad - what do you think Hegel means by insisting that 'being' is actually 'nothing' and 'nothing' is actually 'being'?" We scolded him for being precocious, but all is now forgiven. Feel free to wish Luke a happy birthday in the comments!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Israel: Some Pictures

"Not one stone will be left upon another." The pile of stones above is still a reminder of the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70CE.
This is a cave at Qumran, where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
The Sea of Galilee, at Capurnaum, where Jesus lived.... and where I had a swim!
The Wailing Wall is in the foreground, with the Dome of the Rock on top of the Temple Mount.
This is the "hot" part of a Roman bath in Bet' She'an. A furnace outside provided the heat, which was passed through these pillars, on top of which was the floor of the bath.
This is what is left of a huge man-made harbour, constructed by King Herod in Caesarea. It is this construction that enabled Caesarea to become an important port... The ruins in Caesarea are possibly the most impressive in Israel - alongside Bet' She'an and Jerusalem.
This is one of the "high places" made famous in the Old Testament - you can see the altar in between the two pillars.
"Holy holy holy" - An ancient symbol of the trinity, here appearing as a mosaic on the floor of a church at the traditional location of the Last Supper.
Palestinian territory is poorer than Israeli territory, and is blocked off by a massive Berlin-style wall. This was a taxi we took in Palestinian Bethlehem, complete with home-made license plate!
This very happy looking mound is Armageddon - that is the "mount" overlooking the plains of Megiddo.
This is the view from the top of Masada, looking out to the Dead Sea. Masada was the final stronghold of the Jews before the Romans finally achieved victory... Josephus reports that the Jews there committed mass suicide rather than fall into the hands of their oppressors. I walked all the way up and all the way down.... never again.
The springs of En Gedi - where David spared Saul's life.
In the distance is Jerusalem, viewed from the Garden of Gethsemane.
This piece of rock is directly underneath the traditional (and fairly reliably so) site of Golgotha... you may see that there is a crack that extends down the rock: According to tradition, the blood of Jesus dripped down the cross, seeped through the crack, and made its way to the buried bones of Adam in the ground below... Thus the blood of the Second Adam flowed down to cover the First Adam.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Family visit, Research, Travel

Family Visit
We've recently had a visit from Matt's cousin Bree and her husband Kenan, along with their two chill'un Abigail and Hannah. The kids (and adults!) all got along really well...
Cara and Abigail...

...and Hannah and Luke...

We all visited a large park in which deer roam free...


Research

Matt has recently finished a 37-page essay on the "unity of 1 Corinthians". A number of commentators claim that 1 Corinthians, among other Pauline letters, is best understood as actually being a crudely edited collection of previously-existing letters by Paul. This sort of approach is called "Redaction Criticism" (redaction meaning "editing"). In the paper, I argue that the way in which Redaction Criticism has been applied to 1 Corinthians is highly problematic, and ultimately unpersuasive. Professor Thiselton has given me some very encouraging feedback about the paper. I will speak on related issues at the University of Beer-Sheva (Israel - see below) in April, and at Trinity Theological College (Australia, Perth!) in September.

**This just in: Matthew now has a more "theological" blog that will deal more specifically with these sorts of issues: www.cryptotheology.blogspot.com **

Travel

From April 1, Matthew will be spending two weeks in Israel, with a group of theology students from the University. Besides delivering a discussion paper at Ben Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, there will be archaeological sites to visit, biblical locations to see, and Dead Seas to float in! The Department of Theology at the University of Nottingham has awarded me the "Rickards Travelling Scholarship" to go toward the cost of the trip. Please pray that this trip would go well, and that Bec, Cara and Luke would survive with health and sanity during Matt's absence!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Theology and Bible Talks

The other day I (Matthew) presented a paper at a little conference at Oxford University. It was hosted by the Society for Liturgical Studies, and held at Merton College, Oxford, part of which is pictured above. My paper was entitled: "Liturgy of Grace, Practice of Autonomy: Confusion in Corinth". I outlined my conception of Paul's message in 1 Corinthians, and used this as a basis to suggest that a liturgy of grace is honoured by a spirituality of dependent reception. Feel free to ask if you're interested in more detail. The talk seemed to be received well enough - and I was pleased that a number of people wanted to talk to me afterwards about my paper. Oxford is a beautiful place, although as an outsider, the university leaves you with a certain impression of its overall ethos... Perhaps it can best be encapsulated in the following picture:
Next week I will be giving a talk at Nottingham University, organised by the Christian Union as an evangelistic event for theology students. (Many people in the UK study theology for philosophical reasons or in order to have a well-rounded education, rather than because they have Christian convictions or ministry aspirations.) Again, as you might expect, I'll be working from 1 Corinthians, this time with the title "Theology With Your Eyes Shut." I'll be looking at the theme of Christ's present hiddenness - and the implications of this for living as a Christian.
Another talk I've been asked to give is at a Saturday men's breakfast at our church, in a couple of months. The theme will be "In Christ alone my hope is found"... I'm thinking of using 1 Corinthians!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Celebrations!

Late December and Early January are a time of great celebrating in the Malcolm houshold. Below are some photos from the various celebrations.


Firstly, Christmas...

Cara and her 'little piano'


Luke looking cheeky in his Christmas outfit. He hated the hat falling into his eyes, but would pull at it until it did!

All four of us after church.

Secondly, we celebrated our Tenth Wedding Anniversary on 27th December.

Cara and Luke played with Josiah and Grace while Mummy and Daddy had a nice afternoon tea together sans children.


Thirdly, Bec's Birthday. What a flattering pic as she blows out the candles! Can you guess how old she turned?


And finally, on 4th Janury, we celebrated Cara's third birthday.

Cara trying out her new laptop...thinking she's very clever having one just like Daddy and Mummy's.


After playing at a local play centre, we had birthday lunch. Here's Cara at her new table and chairs with friends, Kezia and Josiah.

The following day, Cara had a "Tweenies" birthday party which we held at the church.
Cara's birthday cake - Milo, from TV show "The Tweenies".


Tweenies party decorations, including our very own Tweenie clock

All the kids waiting for party food



Do you think Cara had fun at her party?