spinal-cord injury

Diary of a day: 11:45 AM

Woken by my phone. It is a call from a bloke who contacted me out of the blue by e-mail on the weekend. He has the most fantastic voice. It is a deep and broad Aussie accent with the super-cool drawl of a surfer. Nic Gilmour lives in Coffs Harbour and heads up Christian surfers in the region. He also has an interest in theology and is completing a DMin with Gordon Conwell in the US. He wants to talk to me about his thesis, about my own books and articles as well as those from other Pentecostal/charismatic sources. We really have a lot in common and I enjoy the conversation. It brings to mind the e-mail correspondence from the weekend, which gave my wife and I are great laugh. Here is an extract from the second e-mail:


i feel a bit of a nong. just after emailing you i read your blog – including the post you linked below[I had sent him my post on the spirituality of surfing]. stupid of me to think you know something about a bloke when all you’ve seen is him standing there talking out of the TV [he had watched some theology lectures of mine preaccident].

i’m bummed that we won’t get to surf together – this side of the line. truly. i’d guessed you surfed (the O&E shirt gave you away – laughed at the irony – what’s your religion!?), and i thought to myself at the time something like ‘halle-frikkin-lujah, at last! someone who seems like a good bloke who’s a surfer and a not-half-shoddy theolog and an Aussie and a penti and probably isn’t a paid member of the Fred Nile party”. i know you’re still the above. maybe surfing is like alcoholism eh – you’re never cured from it. anyhow, i felt like Manni from IceAge who finds that other mammoth.

and then you selfishly went and broke your neck. bloody hell!

ok, embarrassment dealt with. you probably get that kind of thing a lot eh. if i was you i’d play on it – it offers untold comedic material.

anyhow – regarding the other stuff – epic. i’ll follow it up over the weekend. and thanks for your thesis.

This seriously is one of the best e-mails I’ve ever received. Chatted for a while but I had to go – class in the afternoon.

Needed to get from Alphacrucis College in Parramatta to Hillsong in Baulkham Hills. While Hillsong runs a substantive vocational level training program, Alphacrucis teaches it its degree programme on this site – taking students who want to continue the studies begun with Hills. To get there I had to ride up to the Parramatta bus interchange. The T 62 is a bright yellow bus. As the driver pulls up the entire left side of the bus is lowered on some type of air filled suspension system (actually, I have no idea how it works, but that is how it sounds). A ramp is lowered and I scoot onto the bus to the handicapped section. I am required to face backwards (safety reasons) and so I have the opportunity to look at the faces of all the passengers. Immediately in front of me is a young girl (sadly, early 20s now seems young to me) wearing a deep purple flowered lace top. Unusual but pretty. She gives me a smile which is better then the more common averting of eyes. And who can complain of a smile from a young woman, even if I know it is not my hunky looks that have attracted her attention. After that, however, it is a bit uncomfortable. It really is easier to stare at the back of people’s heads, rather than being forced to lock eye contact with complete strangers. As I am writing this diary enty my wife suggests that I should have looked out the window but my ability to turn my neck and body to the side is limited. Instead I tilt my chair back a little and pretend to sleep (another nifty advantage of a chair). Trip takes about 35 min.

About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • nicgilmour
    February 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    crikey – dangerous thing emailing you Shane!

    i got a text from one of my mates on the South coast (Rosco) telling me that i had shown up on your blog. i think he knows your brother Kurt. he’s the one in the family who got all the looks i think Rosco said.

    anyhow, given you’ve outed me politically i may have the pitchfork brigade knocking down my door presently.

    i’ll just have to give them your address mate =)


    ps talking with you made me simultaneously want to give up pursuing my doctorate, and yet somehow intrigued in theology even further. any existential crisis my wife has to put up with is thus squarely your fault. just warning you mate that may mean yet another pitchfork at your door!

    • Shane Clifton
      February 22, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Haha, sorry mate but I couldn’t help myself. Your email was priceless.

  • Tanya Riches
    February 23, 2012 at 4:29 am

    probably isn’t a paid member of the Fred Nile party!!!!! Nico I think you’re awesome


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