I could say many things.
I was born in adverse circumstances
– i.e I pooped in the womb (being “distressed”) and entered the world with the umbilical chord around my neck. Luckily I was a red-head so all the nurses wanted to steal me.
During the next 3 years, my parents report (because i can’t remember anything) that I was bitten by a toxic spider, fell down and broke my leg, ripped my knee open on a rusty nail, had almost all of my back covered in third degree burns and got the amazing gift of Asthma. (Ask me why it was a gift)
My parents even speak of sitting at the dinner table in tears discussing my funeral – as was the nihilism of my early years.
Taking it to a left field extent, one could argue that Satan wanted me out of the picture early and tried his hardest to take me out. Others could surmise that I was just stupid or was such a kinesthetic learner that I needed pain to learn. I am still on the planet and I believe it’s for good reasons.
I didn’t start speaking english until late, i would just walk around making noises that mating whales probably make. When i finally did start talking i took on the job of welcomer. At church every sunday you would find me attempting to say hello to everyone in the room. In my mid teens this would turn into attempting to high-five everyone in my 800 person high school (successfully).
Born into a family of 4 children, second boy, middle child (3rd) i shared an imaginative world with my elder sister, a penchant for getting used as a wrestling dummy with my elder brother and a strange hatred and then an amazing friendship with my younger sister.
I have been known as the musical one even when my elder sister Claire played flute and guitar before me, I’ve been known as the funnier one even tho both my mother, sister and brother could out do me in presenting stand up routines or writing sit coms. I’ve been Stephens son, Peters brother, Lydias brother and Lydias sister.
I grew up a preachers kid or pastors kid (depending where you are from) but all PK’s share:
– That strange at home-ness with complete strangers sleeping in the guest room or office for weeks at a time.
– The ability to get to church earlier and leave later then anyone else.
– The skills of holding a conversation longer then others
– cook for larger groups
– and come up with cheesy church camp skits in record time.
I was involved with youth group and dungeons and dragons role-playing game groups (before WOW), i went to easter camp and summer camp, street BBQ’s and school fetes. We sang at singing nights, gardened for older people, sung on street corners, knocked on strangers doors and handed them literature. We were taught about God through the glasses worn by the Alexander Campbell “restoration” movement and everything that came with that.
Amongst the angst that only a 19-year-old petrol station attendant can muster i decided to cut ties with my second family. I decided that i had seen enough and i wanted to see the world. So i wrote a carefully worded letter and went on a church shopping adventure that has now equipped me with the tools needed (in my opinion and others) to begin a positive dialogue on and with the Church (in all its multi denominational glory).
The believers. The salt.
I’ve been a baptist, a uniting, a reformer, a presbo, an anglican, a house churcher, a church of christer (both non denominational and the other type) and a member of the christian missionary alliance.
At 23 i left my birth place of Canberra to join Youth With a Mission which has taken me to worship and work with churches in South East Asia, Ukraine, India, Uganda, South Africa, East Timor, The Netherlands and most recently Sweden. Although i have lived less than 30 years God has shown me much. I have this imagination that sees the Church different to how it is, and so i want to build roads to that place.
We need to build roads to each other.
We need to build roads to the places God has planned for our wheels and we need to build them TOGETHER.