Barneys blessed by beatific blaze

St. Barnabas, Broadway, has gone up in smoke.

Maybe it was God's wrath for their wretched preoccupation with all things N.T. Wright?

In actual fact, it was a blessing from God.

Take this true story told to me by Archie Poulos in 1994 or 1995:

I was on a train one day and I was sitting next to a guy who looked a bit like a crim. Despite this, I felt it was important to speak to him and see if I could have a gospel conversation with him.

Fairly quickly into the conversation the guy told me that he had recently been in jail for arson. When I asked him what he had done, he admitted to me that he had burned down a church!

I thought about the totally impractical architecture and design of the historic St Matthias church in Centennial park: the dusty flags, the ageing roof, the echoey expanse under the ceiling. Surely the building had been designed without Gospel ministry in mind.

I turned to the guy and asked "Do you have a business card?"

(This was the general gist of the conversation, not a verbatim record)