Wrestlers Church

They meet in the Adelaide house of Brad and Stephanie Bessell, two long-time CA&H Voyagers. Two families make up thirteen people. A boyfriend, a guitarist and me make it sixteen. The afternoon and evening consist of five things: worship songs, charismatic prayer, Holy Communion presided over by someone in the apostolic succession (that's Brad), a meal, and wrestling in the park opposite.

Brad is a night club bouncer. Yesterday someone told me Pope Francis was once a bouncer - that bodes well for Brad. Brad told me he had got too fat to handle well the complex challenges of a bouncer. So he is currently training each week in four different kinds of martial arts as well as gym visits. That is a challenge to his thirteen year old son Maedoc whose name, they tell us means Aidan. Maedoc tries to wrestle his dad at the drop of a hat, and always ends up hugging him. His younger sister Arwen is brilliant at tai chi. Her kicks are awesome. I can see her in the Olympics. The other family have a love-hate attitude to wrestling. Noods was a professional wrestler, but because he is little his part in the shows was to get hurt. He was off wrestling with an injured neck for a year. His wife, who is taking time out of an Anglican ordination discernment process while she breastfeeds her latest baby, asked him to give up. But he joined in the Sunday free-for-all. With my temporary rheumatic affliction I could hardly lift an arm, so I stood with feet astride and shoulders back trying to look like a wrestling coach.

'You should add a wrestling arena to your diagram of a village of God' said Brad. 'this will draw the men to church.' 'What about the women?' I asked. 'They love it' he replied. Brad will soon complete his Masters dissertation on The Metal Scene and Its Relation to Christianity.

In case you think this emphasis on wrestling, and the fact that I watched highlights of the Asian Soccer World Cup, which Australia won for the first time, is simply not cricket, I end with this email my sister Sally sent:

Did you know that the first Australian cricket team were all aboriginals? In 1868 they spent 8 months in Britain, winning 14 matches, losing 14 matches and drawing 19 matches. There is to be an exhibition about it in the British Museum.

Posted at 00:34am on 3rd February 2015
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