Welcome to my new blog.  It’s third time around after the long-running MissioninAction.com and the short-lived Fishionary.net (loved that title tho). StephenMcAlpine.com has a certain ring to it despite the fact that only my mother calls me Stephen (and occasionally his wife – Ed).

This blog focuses on writing – theological, cultural and creative. Along the way I will highlight how all three of these inform the work I am involved in in church planting in Midland.

So we begin…

Being the fairly frustrated writer I am, I revel in the few occasions when I make something of it.  The biennial Nature Conservancy Australia Landscape Essay Competition is open again, and it’s a great comp with a significant prize stumped up by the McLean Foundation, it garners a good deal of media interest, and the judges are some of Australia’s better known literary critics.  I was shortlisted to the final five for the 2010 award and spent an enjoyable day in Sydney in early 2011 being wined and dined with the other finalists.  A great experience all round, and a competition that I felt brought out the best in my writing.

Landscape writing – or Sense of Place as it is often called – gives you the chance to write not only about the terrain, but the way that terrain has shaped you.  There is a history of such writing in the US, but this budding competition is aimed at uncovering an Australian voice.  The land in Australia has been invested with significant spiritual overtones, but primarily indigenous spirituality.  As a Christian I was keen to infuse my essay with a sense of the Creator/Saviour God of the Bible. I wondered how that would come across in our fairly post-Christian context, but it was actually highlighted as the strength of my essay.

Incidentally my essay is here, if you want to read it. Feedback welcomed!