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Hello! My name is Dani.
There’s been a bunch of new subscribers here over the last week. Hey guys, welcome! To those who have been hanging around for a while now, well you can all feel just a little smug that you were the early adopters ;)
But in all seriousness, my subscriber stats have jumped quite a lot over the last few days (no doubt I’ve got my interview on the Theology in the Raw podcast to thank for that!). And so I began to feel I needed to publish something quickly in order to justify all the interest. The only problem is that I’m technically on vacation (or what we Aussies call holidays) this week. I say “technically” because, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to entirely switch off my brain, my inbox or my phone this week. But, still, I’m at least pretending to have a proper break after what has been a crazy busy period.
So, what to do? Or rather, what to write?
I spent a morning idly contemplating this question in between catching up on the latest episodes of the new Aussie courtroom drama The Twelve (the jury is still out on whether it’s going to have been worth my time. See what I did there?) and finishing a completely fluffy chic-lit novel (in which, the predictability of the miscommunication and angst between the protagonists was only beaten by the predictability of the male protagonist’s grand gesture, which predictably resulted in his female counterpart’s effusive forgiveness and the predictable happily-ever-after. Look, don’t judge me OK? I’m on vacation).
In the end, I decided the only way to end the inertia was to take myself down to a beachside café, grab some lunch (baked camembert, caramelised onions and sourdough, in case you were wondering), and just start writing. And so here I sit (and eat) having decided to just say “Hi” and tell you all a little more about myself.
So far you know that I like baked cheese, courtroom dramas (let’s face it, the British genre is always best), and am completely unapologetic about reading fluffy rom-com fiction while on holiday. Oh, and you also know that I’m somewhere near a beach. What you don’t know is that I legit can’t remember the last time I actually swum at the beach. It’s a tragic tale. I’m extremely short-sighted and wear non-disposable and non-waveproof contact lenses. So unless I want to end up in New Zealand, ocean swimming is pretty much a no-go for me.
What else to tell you?
Well, I’m a Sydney girl born and bred. As a child, I grew up going to the same Anglican church that my mum grew up going to. Every Sunday she, my sister and my grandmother and I would head off to that church together. It’s what the women in our family did. I’ll be forever thankful to God that, though it was a small congregation, the minister of that church consistently served us faithfully, not the least by consistently teaching the Bible faithfully. (Fun fact, the minister’s wife was also my school librarian). And so, I never knew a time when I hadn’t heard about Jesus, his death, and his resurrection. That is, I don’t have a “conversion story”. However, it was really my teenage youth group years that proved particularly formative for my personal relationship with Jesus. That’s when I really came to understand (and see demonstrated) what it meant for him to not just be Saviour and Lord but my Saviour and Lord.
Fast forward a few years of me wandering fairly aimlessly through a Bachelor of Arts at university (I’m sure my parents thought their academically driven, over-achieving daughter had been body snatched and replaced with someone who had no idea what she was doing with her life), and I found myself working in administration and communications for a para-church ministry organisation. This proved to be another one of those seasons of intense spiritual growth. I was working alongside committed, faithful wise, servant-hearted people in ministry who were seeking to raise up the next generation of committed, faithful, wise, servant-hearted people in ministry. And somehow, in the midst of that, I became one of that next generation.
(For the record, I just finished the camembert. It was delicious. Though, if I’m honest, it could have been a tad bit warmer)
Long story short, I ended up studying a four-year Bachelor of Divinity at Moore Theological College and popping out the other side as an ordained Anglican deacon and with a job as a women’s minister at a church here in Sydney. Ok. Sure. It was a bit more complicated than that. There were years spent learning New Testament Greek, writing countless essays, cramming for too many exams, living and studying in awesome community, enduring a nagging sense of impostor syndrome (“when are they all finally going to work out that I don’t belong here?!)”, and being blessed with what I fully intend to ensure are a number of life-long and life-sustaining friendships.
(In case you are wondering what an Anglican deacon is, let alone how a self-confessed complementarian woman in an overwhelmingly evangelical and complementarian Anglican Diocese might be ordained as one, you might like to read this link and perhaps this one too).
For almost seven years I worked on a church ministry team here in Sydney, primarily but not exclusively as a women’s minister. Those were the best of times and the worst of times. Ok. That’s not true. The worst of times bit, I mean. The best of times bit definitely is true. Yes, there were difficult and complex and tiring times in there. But, gosh did God refine me through them. I worked with a great bunch of (mainly) men and had a boss (Hi Wazboss!) who truly valued the importance of women’s ministry, and of my ministry as a woman in particular. He invested in my training and equipping every bit as much as he did the men I worked with. I loved ministering to and alongside so many wonderful Christian brothers and sisters who I called my church family.
Eventually, after a particularly difficult, complex, and tiring year I finished up my role there in order to take 6 months to write a book on singleness in the Christian life. But almost before I knew it, that 6-month writing break had turned into a 4+ year full-time PhD study break. (There’s obviously another long story there. But to read it you’ll need to read my book, The Meaning of Singleness, coming out with IVP in 2023 #nospoilers). I submitted my thesis a week before Sydney went into our first Covid lockdown in 2020. A few months later I received notification that all three of my examiners had awarded it a pass. That notification came in the form of an email from my supervisor, that I happened to read during an ad break of Masterchef. It was a simultaneously momentous, surreal and anti-climatic moment! I was officially a (Rev’d) Dr, and unofficially a (Rev’d) Dr of Singleness.
In 2018 I pulled together and lead a team of single and married volunteers to run a conference on singleness. We spent far too long trying to come up with an original pun on the word single that we might be able to use as a conference name. In the end we determined there simply was no pun that hadn’t already been used in a book title or other resource, and so settled on the Single Minded Conference. The intention was that it would be a one-off conference. When we sold out of all available tickets in the early bird period we realised that we might just be onto something. So it was that the Single Minded Conference became the Single Minded Ministry—an evangelical initiative which seeks to resource Christian individuals and churches with positive and biblically faithful teaching about singleness. We make all of our talks and webinars (over 22 and counting, with more than 26 different speakers), totally free for personal use and edification via our website.
In 2022 we launched our big and bold vision:
Single Minded is prayerfully seeking to become the global go-to ministry for biblical teaching on Christian singleness.
We want single and married Christians from all around the world to know that they can and should come to us for biblically faithful, God-honouring, neighbour-loving resources on singleness in the Christian life and community. I’d love you to be a part of that by checking out our resources, getting in touch with us if you’d like to bring our ministry to your neck of the woods, and partnering with us financially to help make our vision a reality.
(FYI, I just shifted to the Starbucks next door. But not for a coffee. That’s something else you should know about me. Coffee. Yuk. I am, however, a chai connoisseur and I love Starbucks loose leaf tea variety – but only when it is made as a latte. Yes, it takes me 5 minutes to explain to every barista that I want a chai latte but made with actual tea and not the chai flavoured sugar powder)
What else to know about me? Well, I’ve recently started working part-time for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as the Diocesan Research Officer. This basically means I assist the work of a number of diocesan boards and committees by providing them with research capacity for projects and matters they are working on. I serve on a range of committees and councils myself, including the Archbishop’s Doctrine Commission and an Anglican school board. Beyond that, I spend most of my time writing, reading, speaking and continuing to educate myself about singleness, sexuality, relationships and Christian community (which includes leading and seeking to grow the ministry of Single Minded). You can read more of my work here.
Oh. And while doing my PhD I helped support myself financially by working as a Christmas decoration installation project manager in shopping centres. Yes. That’s a real job. No, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I mean there are scissors lifts involved, but also glitter. So. Much. Glitter.
Hi guys. My name is Dani. It’s nice to meet you.
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