Monday, December 27, 2004

Rules of church

Found this really interesting post at a cool blog I've just discovered. I've been reading his music related blog for ages, and just found this site. Looks like he's got some good stuff to say. Check it out.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Spirituality of songs

As somebody who doesn't massively connect with God through singing in church-it has always interested me why people do. Particularly people who have no experience of church, always talk about how much they loved the singing. Even at our church, where i wouldn't say singing is a massive focus-people always talk about how they loved the music.

I really connect with God through 'normal' music-but I've never been able to work out why that is exactly. I remember one day just having a massive God-moment listening to Clocks, by Coldplay, when I was just at home. It just seemed to connect with me on a different level.

Stuff like U2, Ben Harper I also really connect with-but thats maybe because those songs often intentionally have spiritual themes.

I was talking to a bunch of Yr12s from school, and they just seemed to know what Iewas talking about when I talked about those moments when we just really connect with a song-when it just speaks of something completely different in our lives.

For many people, just driving around listening to their favourite music is a deeply spiritual experience. There'sjust something about music.

Maybe thats why so many people love Christmas Carols? They crave the shared experience of singing, free from the need to prescribe to the religiopus beliefs implied in the words...

Funny Lords Prayer

Man, this is hilarious! If anybody is offended, then sorry-but get over yourself!

As I said in my comment, i dream of a church that would not be offended by that!

Thats a really cool blog too, dunno who he is-but always writes really well thought-out, relevant stuff.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas

In melbourne there's been heaps in the papers over the last week or so about the over-commercialisation of Christmas and how people have lost the true meaning of Christmas etc. There was a fantastic article in mondays Age (thats a short version) which really sparked me to think.

It was saying a little about why it is that even secular people are mourning the commercialisation of Christmas and the fact that heaps of parents want to teach their kids the true meaning of Christmas-even if they don't follow Jesus as such.

One of the things I get most annoyed at it when schools won't let kids have Santa-let alone Jesus or the Nativity Scene. Whether you believe it or not, its a freaking Christian festival. To me, not letting people celebrate Christmas for what it is, is more narrow-minded and impinges on people's rights far more than letting people acknowlege the true meaning.

It'd be like telling Muslims that Ramadan is just a period of fasting to celebrate life, or giving, or family or whatever other soppy crap somebody decides the meaning is.

I'm not massively keen on using Christmas as a big evangelistic tool-in terms of saying 'Hey Jesus came to die for your sins, follow him etc etc' but I do think Christmas is a fantastic time to reflect on our own lives in terms of how well they reflect the life and mission of Jesus.

What part are we playing in Luke 4:18-19? Are we doing our best to live our lives in accordance with those principles?

Friday, December 17, 2004

A numbers backlash?

Anonymous (?) posted a comment recently along the lines 'since when was Christianity anything to do with bums in pews anyway?'

Now i totally agree with that-but I do sometimes get a little annoyed at the 'I've got a better understanding of the kingdom of God than people in a big church' attitude that I hear a lot.

People just seem to want to start bagging out big churches just cos they're big. I have major issues with big churches, but it frustrates me when people seem to be saying that big churches don't grow disciples, crap theology,too many spectators etc.

I know heaps of people in big churches who have an awesome, life-changing faith and are really making an impact on the world around them.

Basically, what I'm saying is: I do believe that Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all the earth, not just a couple of people. Of course we can't do it all ourselves, but the way we'll change the world is if a few disciples reproduce their lives into others, and those into others, and so on.

I remember a mate saying "I know its not about numbers, but hey, we've got 20 more kids here being a part of Christian community and hearing about Jesus than we did last year-and surely that can't be a bad thing?" Makes a fair amount of sense to me

Of course, the key is not kids in youth group or people at church, its disciples. But at the end of the day, the more disciples the merrier right?

(sorry if this is a bit non-sensical and rantish, I just needed to try and process these thoughts quickly!)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Influential moments-1

I decided I'd do a series of blogs on some of the big influential moments/experiences that have shaped the way I think about faith/mission/church/spirituality. they're in no particular order either-just as I remember them!

The first was a very short conversation I had with a kid from school who's family goes to Gateway-a big uber church up the road from Frankston. I asked him what he thought of the service, his simple reply "Oh its just like Gateway only smaller' really made me think.

I actually disagree for a lot of reasons, but at the end of the day-our basic form is the same: sermons, songs, sitting in rows. I'm not here to bag the format-it totally works for a lot of people-but not everybody, but I'll blog on that later.

Gateway do the 'attractional church' thing really well, they have slick sermons and songs, the services have a great fun atmosphere and are easy to bring people to. I don't have a problem with all of that per se.

My issue is when smaller churches look to those bigger, growing 'successful' churches and try and be like them. It just gives me the irrates. It just frustrates me as to the lack of variety that most churches offer. If people want slick sermons and songs let them go to Gateway or Hillsong or Willow Creek. But not everybody wants that, so why is that the only thing we offer them?

A lot of churches do the attractional thing well, but surely there is room for other, more varied expressions of church?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I'm very spiritual but not religious

I couldn't tell you how many times I've heard or read people say that, and its really starting to give me the irrates. It just seems like such a cool, post-modern thing to say, which I know many of the people who would say that, would actually have no idea what that means.

Its just become such a cliche, but what does it really mean.

Sure religion (and unfortunately deservedly so) has got a pretty bad rap over the years, but personally I still totally believe it has something to offer. I once heard the definition-your religion is whatever shapes your thoughts, morals and beliefs and helps determine your actions. Thats a defintion I really like. I reckon that whether or not people would outwardly recognise or express it as such, everybody has a religion. Whether that be their friends, movies, the radio, Jesus or John Edward.

The song "Personal Jesus" recently covered by Marilyn Manson says quite a lot to me. Heaps of people beilive in a God, some sort of 'other' the divine or whatever, but people just don't like being told what form that deity takes. Hence the explosion of the New Age and alternative spiritualities where you can basically pick whatever suits you. Far too consumeristic for my liking.

I guess at the end of the day we live in an age where taking up your cross, living for others and following a God that makes demands of us just isn't popular.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I don't like the Emerging Church

I have been talking to a lot of people recently who have been asking me about plans for next year, so I've been explaining a few of my plans to move away from traditional stuff at Frankston to try something new in the Tyabb/Somy area.

I hesitate when saying I want to create an 'emerging church'. I don't know why, but for some reason i just have this perception that people view the emerging church as the cool new bandwagon to be jumped on, and I react very strongly to doing stuff cos its cool. Its becoming so big now its getting put in a basket i don't necessarily want to jump into.

Its just that I really resonate with the people who call themselves 'emerging church' and the way that they think and approach stuff.

So I guess I'm an anti emerging church person who's into the emerging church...

Angry Christians

I was explaining a little more what I meant by my Black T-Shirts post to a guy at church the other day, and I said "I basically reckon that church has taught Christians to be passive, nice, lovey-dovey people, not enough Christians get angry any more" which was basically what I was trying to say in the post.

He responded by saying that that can also go totally the other way, when you get really angry judgemental Christians holding up placards saying that God hates gays or those who practice abortion.

He also mentioned that we can get in the mindset that its ok to get angry about the stuff that we do, but get annoyed at people who fire up over stuff we're less than keen on-a crime I've been guilty of!

I still totally reckon Christians need to get angrier about stuff, but need to be careful how that anger presents itself.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Jokes

Was just realising how serious my blog has become, so I thought I'd chuck in some funny stuff. But as usual, its interactive, so if you have any more jokes of this ilk, please post em up.

The standard format is "What do you call a guy who..."

Has a rabbit up his bum-Warren
With a shovel in his head-Doug
Without a shovel in his head-Douglas
Is in your pool with no arms and no legs-Bob
Is under your car-Jack
On your front door step-Matt
Lying in a pile of leaves-Russell

Or alternatively, a woman who...

Is standing in the middle of a tennis court-Annette
Has a steak on her head-Barbie
Has one leg shorter than the other-Eileen
A chinese woman with one leg shorter than the other-Irene

Any more out there...