There’s this few-hundred year old maxim that goes thus: “Beauty is only skin-deep”. 

What an ugly little saying.

Some things are only skin-deep.
Decoration is skin-deep.
Ornamentation is skin-deep.
Air-brushing and photo-shopping and cosmetic surgery is skin-deep.

These are photographs of my Mum and I, taken around 5 years before she died.

Cancer, if you're wondering.

Mum was a teacher, a chaplain, a gifted writer, and a bibliophile. Though she died when I was very young, her influence on me is evidenced in my appreciation for literature and all of my less-feeble-than-usual attempts at writing.

I sat down with the fine chaps from the NYMC Podcast to talk about depression, leadership, ministry, family, therapy, poetry, and... contemplating suicide.

The interview got pretty real. If you find discussions like these unsettling or unhelpful, maybe give this one a miss.

"In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." - C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Don’t believe the hype, the church in Australia doesn’t lack for masculine leaders. It doesn’t. The tribes that I belong to are (if you’ll pardon the vulgar metaphor) veritably dripping with testosterone. 

I guess it's my own fault for not doing things by the book. The Prayer Book, that is.

At the church I pastor, Caroline Springs Anglican, we share the Lord's Supper every week, but every week we do it a bit differently. 

Do you like serving one another rather than lining up to receive the elements? Yeah, we do that, from time to time. 

Christmas has arrived again, as it is wont to do, and just like that, everybody loses his mind.

In it's purist form Christmas is a religious holiday during which followers of Christ celebrate his incarnation, the entering of God into human history - the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. In latter days, however, it's come to mean something entirely different, as if, somewhere along the way, the original celebration crawled into a chrysalis and emerged a completely different animal.

We have this precarious arrangement with our kids that we will never lie to them when they ask us a question. And by 'lie' I mean all of them, the white ones, the grey ones, all of the hues that are available to us in these opaque times.

The upside is that they are learning to trust us when we tell them, well, anything really. They've got no reason to look at us out of the corner of their eye, "right, Daddy, whatever you saaay...".

It's 2015 and I'm the oldest and fattest I've ever been.

Oldest, for all the usual reasons. Fattest, because when I turned 34 my body switched to one of those new low-flow metabolisms.

Which is completely unfair because I was never trained in the art of food avoidance for the sake of figure retention.

I'm the Prodigal Jon.

In 1981 I was born into a loving Christian family. It took me years to emancipate myself from all the nurture and nourishment I received as a child, but after 19 of them, I finally broke free. Over to the US of A I went to be rid of my Past and to find my Self.