Thursday, December 29, 2005

Off to the Pyramid Rock!

No posts for a couple of days as I'm off to the Pyramid Rock music festival over NYE. Got a decent crew of mates going down, so should be an awesome weekend of hanging out and listening to some flippin sweet music!

If you see a dude with a shaved head and massive beard that'll be me!

GOLD DIGGER Lyrics-Kanye West

For all who happen to come here looking for the Lyrics to Gold Digger by Kanye West, then here they are! I apologise to all my regular readers who couldn't give a rats about Kanye-shame on all of you, but Google keep sending me people looking for the Lyrics-so here they are!

[Jamie Foxx]
She take my money
when I'm in need
Yea she's a trifflin friend indeed
Oh she's a gold digga way over town
That dig's on me

[Chorus:]
(She did me wrong
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm Need)
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(She did me wrong)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm need)
but she aint messin wit no broke niggaz
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head

[Verse 1:]Cutie the bomb
Met her at a beauty salon
With a baby louis vuitton
Under her underarm
She said I can tell you ROC
I can tell by ya charm
Far as girls you got a flock
I can tell by ya charm and ya arm
but I'm lookin for the one
have you seen her
My psychic told me she have a ass like Serena
Trina, Jennifer Lopez, four kids
An i gotta take all they bad ass to show-biz
Ok get ya kids but then they got their friends
I Pulled up in the Benz, they all got up In
We all went to Den and then I had to pay
If you f**kin with this girl then you betta be payed
You know why
It take too much to touch her>
From what I heard she got a baby by Busta
My best friend say she use to fuck wit Usher
I dont care what none of yall say I still love her

[Chorus:]
(She did me wrong)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm Need)
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(She did me wrong)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm need)
but she aint messin wit no broke niggaz
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head

[Verse 2:]
18 years, 18 years
She got one of yo kids got you for 18 years
I know somebody payin child support for one of his kids
His baby momma's car and crib is bigger than his
You will see him on TV Any Given Sunday
Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai
She was spose to buy ya shorty TYCO with ya money
She went to the doctor got lypo with ya money
She walkin around lookin like Micheal with ya money
Should of got that insured got GEICO for ya moneeey
If you aint no punk holla
We Want Prenup
WE WANT PRENUP!,
YeaahIt's something that you need to have
Cause when she leave yo ass she gone leave with half
18 years, 18 years
And on her 18th birthday he found out it wasn't his

[Chorus:]
(She did me wrong)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm Need)
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(She did me wrong)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm need)
but she aint messin wit no broke niggaz
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head

[Verse 3:]
Now I aint sayin you a gold digger you got needs
You dont want ya dude to smoke but he can't buy weed
You got out to eat and he cant pay yall cant leave
There's dishes in the back, he gotta roll up his sleeves
But why yall washin watch him
He gone make it into a Benz out of that Datson
He got that ambition baby look in his eyes
This week he moppin floorz next week it's the fries
So, stick by his sideI know his dude's ballin but yea thats nice
And they gone keep callin and tryin
But you stay right girl
But when you get on he leave yo a** for a white girl

Get down girl go head get down
Get down girl go head get down
get down girl go head get down
get down girl go head

Saturday, December 24, 2005

More Jesus in the paper

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � Happy Clappy Christmas
I couldn't be bothered linking these two articles individually, so just go to Hamo's blog and follow the links from there if you want to read some more of what secular Australia is reading about churches and Jesus.

If you haven't seen it yet, check out this link I made the other day, and Melburnians would do well to read todays (Saturday) article in the A2 section about how everybody has faith-but that doesn't necessarily make them believers... Fascinating stuff.

More Christmas Reflections

planet telex � Blog Archive � Christmas Letter 05

I liked what Darren's on about here with his Christmas reflections, quality stuff. Give it a read if you're lacking inspiration for the Christmas season.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Idea for Christmas Church service


Those of you who organise Christmas church services may find this an interesting ideas stimulator, but considering Christmas is in 2 days it might need to be filed away for next year.

My Christmas thoughts

Don't want to rant and rave on, but just thought I'd quickly share my thoughts on the reason for the season.

My christmas thoughts this year are very heavily focussed on the Incarnation; the act of God-becoming-man. the story of a God who was so moved with compassion, whose heart was so wretched with pain at the plight of humanity, that He came and lived amongst us.

He made Himself open and vulnerable to the pain and suffering of humanity, and came to live out right relationship with the Father that we might see and understand.

So Chritmas this year for me is about mission, about 'As the Father has Sent me, so I send you' (John 20:21).

Whatever your reflections on Christmas are this year, I hope its a good one.

Jesus in the paper

This is one of the best newspaper articles on Jesus I've read in a long time. It's a couple of pages long, but well worth the break in the Christmas craziness. When I can afford a print cartridge I'll definitely print it out and store it somewhere-cos I'll no doubt lose it in the back blocks of my computer if I try store it there!

I also like it because it starts out with the lyrics to that sweet as 'Jesus was way cool' song!

THE problem is not all church leaders agree with others' interpretations of who Jesus is. Several men of the cloth are concerned that Jesus has become acceptable because He is viewed as a soft touch, who will not judge and who seeks only to love.
Cardinal George Pell is increasingly worried that Jesus is portrayed as undemanding. "Sometimes people talk about Christ and you wonder if they have ever read the Gospels. [They talk] as though Christ were totally inclusive, so it doesn't matter if you are a terrorist, a robber or rapist, you are quite welcome, with no call to repentance."


So true, we all love to focus on the loving accepting Jesus, but forget he did actually call us to stop, turn our lives around and repent. So much harder to preach than the lovey-dovey bits!

Jensen believes the boomer generation, which so vehemently rejected religion, is passing, leaving the next generation free to rediscover the story of Jesus. "Younger people might not be attracted to the church, but I think they could be attracted to Jesus if they knew Him."
At the same time, the danger of ignorance is that "the word Jesus will become a good word that we can pour all the words we want to into". This usually leads, says Jensen, to a tree-hugging-hippy kind of Jesus, who represents humanistic values such as tolerance and compassion. But this view of Jesus dilutes the power of His message. "We can't look at Him detached from the kingdom He proclaimed … repent and believe in the gospel - that was the message of Jesus."


Australians, he says, "have always appreciated Jesus' subversive streak - the way He overturned human traditions, criticised the religious and financial elite and mixed with the sinners and outcasts. There is a Mambo T-shirt that has Jesus at the cricket, turning water into beer. That says it all."
One key to His appeal in this country, he says, is "Australia's long love affair with the figure of the institutional rebel, and Jesus was certainly that.


I think this, amongst other reasons, is why I find the Jesus kicking over tables as my favourite Gospel story, and the one I most often preach on when talking outside church circles.

thinks that instead of going to church, Jesus might go to the beach or a mosque, and "try to engage people's imagination through storytelling about sand, surf and seagulls".
Peter Jensen's first reaction is to say Jesus would "join in the local festivities because He likes parties".


A great read, check it out.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Our Quest for answers...

the Weary Pilgrim: Obsession...our quest for answers Absloutely fascinating post!

Why oh why do I keep finding these cool things when I don't have anywhere near the time needed to even think about processing them!

Definitely a thought-provoker though! 'Jesus is asked 183 questions directly or indirectly in the four Gospels. Do you know that he only answered 3 of them forthrightly?

The others he either ignored, kept silent about, asked them a question in return, changed the subject, told a story or gave an audio visual aid to make his point, told them it was the wrong question, revealed their insincerity or hypocrisy, made the exactly opposite point, or redirected the question elsewhere!'

He himself asks 307 questions, which would seem to set a pattern for imitation. Considering this, it is really rather amazing that the church became an official answering machine and a very self assured program for “sin management. Raises some very interesting questions...

Looks like a decent blog too, might have to check it out.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas and the marginalised

Had some great discussion Tuesday night about a whole range of topics, what is church,worship, Christian living, and also a bit that sprung from my link the other day about big churches closing down for Christmas.

I'm not a fan of the idea, but one of the guys made a couple good points about why he liked it-in terms of people being at homes with their families, volunteers not spending too much time at church etc. Valid points but I'm still not a fan.

I went on to talk about how one of my main issues was the people who don't have a great family Christmas, for whatever reason-loneliness, lack of money, tough family relations, an unwillingness to put the Christ in Christmas or whatever, and how by not having a church service we're depriving those people of the oppurtunity for Christian community, to connect with God, reflect on the true meaning of Christmas etc.

Then he threw back that perhaps just inviting some of these people, particularly the poor/marginalised, to church was a soft option, that in fact if we really cared about them we'd invite them into our homes and lives, invite them to be a part of our family's Christian community...

I know that's challenged me all week...

Kanye West and U2!!

OK I realise I've probably posted a little too much latey about U2, but last night I heard rumours, just confirmed by a quick google search, that Kanye West will be supporting U2 next year! I'm full stoked as-thats gonna be so awesome! The only problem now is gonna be how long I'll have 2 line up to get a good spot-as we decided 2 get general admin tickets! Gonna be a quality night!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Nonviolent Protests

Many of you yesterday may have received text messages (many sent out by my good self) advertising a nonviolent protest against racism in Australia. 5pm today in Bourke St Mall if you're interested.

Whilst I think it is a fine ans noble idea, I have decided not to go for a couple of reasons, I couldn't justify the petrol money when I actually don't think they will have any effect. I say that because all the racist criminals in Sydney are unlikely to hear about the protests, let alone change their behaviour because of them.

For me, the reason I go to protest rallies is because I actually believe that a person's presence there, can make a difference on a larger scale. Sure me-only one person, being at a peace protest may not make the difference, but if everybody took that attitude...

I wish them well, and pray there will not only be no violence this weekend, but a change in hearts and attitudes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jon's Life: Short-Term Mission Trips: When are they Worth it & When are they Sinful?

Jon's Life: Short-Term Mission Trips: When are they Worth it & When are they Sinful?

This is by no means an exhaustive discussion of the issues around short term mission trips, but it is a good thought starter for people considering doing any sort of short-term overseas mission. I'm thinking about doing something similar after footy season next year with a mate from there-but it obviously wouldn't be a Christian thing (as he's not a Christian) so no doubt the issues would be quite different.

Conversations with Brian McLaren AUSTRALIA FEB 2006

planet telex � Blog Archive � Conversations with Brian McLaren AUSTRALIA FEB 2006

Brian McLaren is an author, thinker and pastor who has become one of the most respected voices of the “emerging church movement”. He will be leading conversations about the emerging shape of mission, the church and Christianity itself in our rapidly changing context.

Brian’s books have been significant for many in and on the fringes of the church.

MELBOURNE EVENTS
A project of URBAN SEED CHURCH www.urbanseed.org

TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY

2.30-4pm: Tabor College Seminar 1.
To Register PH: 03 9844 8800 Cost $10
WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY

9.30am -1pm: Rev Up: Whitley Baptist College.
To Register contact Simone Rickerby PH: 03 9340 8100
srickerby@whitley.unimelb.edu.au Cost $25
THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY

10.30am-12pm: Tabor College Seminar 2.
To Register PH: 03 9844 8800 Cost: $10

2.30pm-4pm: Tabor College Seminar 3.
To Register PH: 03 9844 8800 Cost: $10

7.30pm: Postcards From the Edge.
To Register Must RSVP: kim@forge.org.au Cost: $15/10

I must say I am totally stoked to hear that Brian McLaren is finally coming to Australia! I can't wait! Some of his books, particularly A New Kind of Christian have been incredibly helpful to me and my faith, and helped me to navigate some of the big challenges I've put my faith through.

They helped me to understand a whole heap more about postmodernism, and how it has affected my worldview and our faith.

Anyway, lets just say I'm stoked he's coming out, and will most definitely be there next year. And I'm particularly looking forward to his new book on the Kingdom of God-totally my favourite topic at the moment!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Racist Australians

Anybody who says that Australia is any more open and accepting than any other country in the world needs to have a decent think.

I was ashamed to be Australian when my blearly sllep-deprived eyes read the paper this morning. What I saw and read was basically just the epitome of redneck Australia, as 'men of Middle Eastern appearance' were bashed and attacked by gangs of Idiot Australians. Apparently there's been bashings and rioting from both groups involved.

I think we as a country are kicking goals in many ways with racial recognition and acceptance and what not, but there's still so so far to go.

I dunno who started it, and I don't really care. (Answering that question is frivolous anyway, nobody ever really knows)

I just pray that the churches and mosques up that way are doing their bit for racial and religious harmony in their local area.

I got a golden ticket!

Although I am a little hesitant to post this after Matt G's stinging rebuke of all us U2 ticket buyers, I am pretty stoked to have finally got a ticket.

Lining up 4 12 hours was a bit of fun, many good times had by all, and something I can now say I've done. In a similar vein to what Matt was talking about-I did reflect last night on how much easier it was to get people to sleep out 4 this compared to when I used to run Winter Sleepout's with my old youth group.

Check out what he's got to say either way.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sorry, but we are closed for Christmas - World - theage.com.au

Sorry, but we are closed for Christmas - World - theage.com.au
Found this little article today via Signposts, basically a whole bunch of American megachurches are closing down for Christmas, which this year also happens to fall on a Sunday.

I know for us at Frankston, it's one of the few times of year we always get a whole bunch of randoms walk in, as well as get to see members of other congregations and people who may not regularly come to services.

To shut down for the day would be stupidity for us, but perhaps their situation is different to ours, so it's not my place to let my experiences judge their decisions, but it does seem a little strange.

They comment that they want a more decentralized experience, with lots more little Christmas' going on in people's homes. Sounds like a good idea for every week to me ;)

Also, where does it leave those from non-Christian homes and families, who now will not have the oppurtunity to connect with God in Christian community on what is a pretty important day in the Christian year.

Just something that got me thinking.

Sleep Out!

Thats it! We've had enough of this shambles ticket buying system called the internet and phones-so we're doing it the old fashioned way and lining up for U2 tickets Sunday night before they go on sale bright and early Monday morning. There's no way I'm missing tickets this time!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bono n Alicia Keys

alternativehymnal.digitalorthodoxy.com

This is a great post about a new version of an old song that Bono and Alicia Keys have put together. I can't download the video due to the extreme oldness of my computer, but just reading the lyrics and the interview with Bono are enough for me. I always love what he has to say on world poverty stuff, very articulate and on the ball. Now if only I can get tickets to the second show in Melbourne...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Servanthood

Tonight at the Huddle we were reflecting on Mark 10:42-45:

Jesus got them together to settle things down. "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around," he said, "and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. 43It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. 44Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. 45That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served--and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage."

Great passage, one I'd kinda been thinking about a bit, and one that came up a bit over the weekend at Forge. The weekend was on Pioneering Leadership, and as usual there was some really good solid reflection on Jesus and his leadership and servanthood. People that just think Forge is all about new and funky churches really have got no idea-they are some of the most committed disciples of Jesus I know. Will hopefully blog more reflections later.

Anywho, we were discussing what that passage meant for us, both personally and collectively. Out of that, and as a bit of a follow on from other conversations we've been having, we've decided that once a month we're going to do some kind of service focussed gathering-whether that be for people or groups in our community, each other, people overseas or whatever.

Kinda like what we've been doing at Frankston with clean up Australia Day and the service service I organised a while back, only a little more regularly. Pretty exciting stuff I reckon.

No paid people=more money 4 others

The cool thing about being in a small church with no paid ministers is that we don't have any restrictions as to what we contribute our money towards. We didn't have any massive discussion over tithing, giving our money to God/church/people or anything like that, we just decided that as we're Christians, and as Christians we're called to help and serve those less fortunate than ourselves, so we're gonna sponsor a child from Africa.

Shouldn't be too hard to do with a few of us contributing, and we will need to have some more decent discussion about how we use our money, but its a great start I reckon. I just love the simplicity of it all. There's nothing new or emerging about sponsoring children-it's just a simple thing we can do to help.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Alt worship Digger

Put together my first 'alt worship' kinda dealio last night as part of the VETAMORPHUS final retreat-which went brilliantly-yet another testament to God just totally working in ways we never expect.

No time to sit and really blog up my reflections, as I'm heading off soon to our last Forge intensive (sorry about the crap resolution on the picture-will try fix that) which will no doubt fill my mind with plenty new ideas!

It was basically a whole lot of candles, ambient music, a slideshow on computer, and a whole bunch of interactive prayer-type activities. Started off with a guided meditation I wrote, then let em chill, then headed down to the beach and mucked around with glow-sticks (note: from past experience candles do not work at the beach!).

I think the main thing I love about these type of worship events is that often I find them to be a whole lot more real for me in terms of where I'm at in my journey with God, they don't suppose that things with God and I are at a stage where me singing happy lovey songs to Him is appropriate. It enables me to quiten down and listen to what is going on in me, and what God's doing in all of that.

Will try and post up some of the stations I used later.

A new Jerusalem/London/Melbourne

Stumbled across this today, and thought it was an interesting re-write and interpretation of Revelations 21, a great vision of what God's Kingdom would look like if it came more fully to London-just change a few place names and details and it could easily apply to Melbourne.

I love it, a great exercise to do. I saw a vision – it was last tuesday at 11pm at night.

I was standing at the top of the london eyeoverlooking the whole of london. The sun was rising and the city bathed in gold light.

The Spirit of God came upon me and breathed on my eyes,and my eyes were opened. I saw london the holy city coming down out of heaven;radiant, glinting like a diamond in the morning sun;and all were welcome in the city.

There were no more beggars or homeless people,and fear from 7/7 had gone from peoples minds and hearts. There was no longer any difference between Peckham and Knightsbridge.

Through the centre of the city the Thames ran with the water of life,crystal clear, not polluted,and all the children of london swam in it. And the Spirit showed me the tree of lifegrowing in Leicester Square.

I looked out and the streets were clean,women no longer worked the streets of Soho,the drug addicts were gone from Kings Crossthey had been welcomed into The Priory and treated for free,given the water of life and leaves that healed their bodies and minds.

Racist attacks were a thing of the past,Muslims freely walked the streets in their traditional dressand were welcomed by all. There was no more gay bashing,no more council estates in a run down state,neighbours spoke with one another,all could afford housing not just the rich,there was no more advertising,and women no longer had a bad body imageor felt the need to diet to be like the 'stars'for all were equal in each others eyes.

Elite education was gone,good schools were for all, young and old,universities were full of students from all over london,those who were rich and those who were poor,all could go.

Women walked the streets safe at night,men were full of passion and gentleness,no children were ever beaten or abused,and peoples sex was full of justice and joy.

An old man and women laughed for joy,as they chatted with the students in Hyde Park. I saw the church as one,where there was no longer any evangelicals, charismatics,catholics or protestants,all were one in Christ Jesus.
All worshipped together celebrating their differences.

This is what I saw looking over london;a city transformed,a city resurrected,and I believe it is possible.

Amen and yes, a loud, loud yes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Anybody in Melbourne I seriously encourage you to get along to this, Mark and John are both brilliant speakers, and always have great stuff to say.
Hopefully you can read what it says, if not just click on it to enlarge or something. Anyways, great stuff on leadership from the Forge crew. Check it out.
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Good angle on the prodigal son story

Blogger: Post a Comment

Mim writes some good stuff, really like this take on the well-known prodigal son. I love looking at these kind of Bible stories, which i've heard tons of times before, and seeing them through new eyes. Great stuff

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Dog a Saint!

You beauty! Yesterdays national draft has the whole of Tyabb buzzing! Thats right, our boy, the Sweene-Dog (Justin Sweeney), got drafted yesterday by the Sainters!

I was at cricket when we all heard, and everybody was absolutely stoked-phone's were going crazy ringing everybody else, all standing around the radio listening in to our mate stumble his way through his very first (of many by the looks of the publicity he's generating) interview.

And what's more there he is on the front page, and then again on page 3 of the Herald Sun! He even got an article in the Age!

The funny thing about it for me is that I was only talking to him Wednesday night, and there he was telling me he wasn't training at all, when in fact he'd been training away with the Sainters. Some sort of secrecy thing apparently!

No doubt you'll be hearing more about the Dog, and of course the fine breeding ground that is the Yabbie Pond, in the future. Good luck big fella!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Experiential Prayer Exercises

Experiential Prayer Exercises
Stumbled across this today I was wandering around the internet looking for ideas and inspirations for a bit of a worship time I'm organising. Surprisingly enough we won't do heaps of singing, so I always love different ideas like these.

The site itself doesn't give much explanation of the theology or understanding behind this type of prayer/worship, but thats cool. I know I'll steal some of their ideas

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Australian Volleyball Champions of the World!!!

Woo-hoo! After three seasons of trying, we finally got our hands on the Holy Grail of Mornington Volleyball Leauge-the B Grade premiership!

We only lost one game all season, when we mucked around a bit too much and lsot to the team that we played in the granny.

It was an epic battle, we took out the first set comfortably, faltered slightly and lost the second, then well and truly lost our way in the third. Tensions were high, everybody seemed to have an opinion as to what the problem was, but we just needed to put our hands up and say we just weren't playing well.

The reason we play so well together is because we piss-fart around so much, and we started to lose that in the 2nd and 3rd sets. I did my best captain's motivational speech, gave them the 'this is what we've played all year for' and said we should go out, go back to mucking around and we'd win the game.

Like any champion team, we rose to the challenge presented us, and came out and blitzed the 4th set. With a few lucky tip ins and Mark Schwarzer like diving saves from yours truly, we were headed to a tie-breaking 5th!

Both teams were tiring, but the strength and inner determination, the ANZAC spirit, the true grit that personifies Australian sport carried us through to a massive win! I was particularly stoked as on Championship point I was able to do what I pretty much haven't done the entire three seasons I've played volleyball-win a point with a big spike!

The ten person crowd went wild, and despite being dacked mid way through my victors speech, the night ended up a beauty! Now we've conquered B-grade volleyball, we need another obscure sport to take on next year-I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Titles of Jesus

The last two weeks at church (Huddle) we've been discussing the various different titles given to Jesus-and exploring how, if at all, they change, challenge, confirm, call into question any of our previous perceptions and understandings of Jesus. The 7 we looked at-which I think is reasonably definitive, but don't know, as it was given to me in class were: Messiah (Christ), Son of God, Son of Man, Word, Lord, Son of David and Lamb of God. Now I think of it, there's the Lion of Judah and some other OT ones that I know are floating in the back of my mind.

Anyway, we were discussing the relevance and meaning of each to us today. One that raised a bit of discussion was the title Son of David. First because its not actually true, in that Jesus does not actually have any direct ancestral heritage to David. The ancestral line is traced back through Joseph, who if we believe what the very next part of the Bible says, wasn't actually Jesus' father.

Despite this, it would have probably still been important for many Jewish listeners to hear that Jesus was here to fulfill that Kingly role of David, to continue on, but also fulfill that Jewish ancestry. But is it OK for the Bible writers/us to call him that if its not actually literally true? Are we OK with it just being a figure of speech?

The other issue we discussed was the relevance to us of this title. We all admitted that we did not feel it was particularly relevant to us right now-that it placed no real bearing on our understanding or experience of Jesus. Is it OK to almost ignore that title of Jesus? Or are we missing out on some profound theological insight by not engaging with it more fully?

U2 are coming to Melbourne!!

I'm fully stoked and will be doing whatever it takes to get myself some tickets to this gig! They are No 1 on my list of bands to see live, and if Ben Harper will get off his arse and get out here again I'll be a very happy man. I'm already knocking Xavier Rudd and John Butler Trio off the list at Pyramid Rock over New Years, where the might Grinners will also be playing. Then the White Stripes will be knocked from the list-providing funda allow for Big Day Out tickets! If only Antiskeptic were playing, I'd be satisfied to never see another band play live. That is until Live, Metallica and Fatboy Slim tour here next...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Speaking in Tongues

I can't believe I haven't even got around to posting about this show yet! I'm a massive fan of John Safran, and have been ever since the days of Not-the Sunscreen song and blowing cigarette smoke under Warnie's door to try and get him to lose his nicotine patch sponsorship. Then came John Safran vs God-one of my favourite TV shows for a long time.

Not sure if this one will be up to that standard, but its definitely got potential. Its basically just John and Father Bob, the most contankerous old priest I've ever seen-sitting around discussing the weeks news, with a spiritual twist, and getting various bizzaro guests in. Last week there was a hooker who had a Muslim dude marry her for half an hour so they could have sex, then divorce her. Kinda misses the point of the whole no-sex-before-marriage thing...

One of the funnier segments is where they get people from small cults/sects in to try and hook them up with single people from their same religion.

Anywho, check it out, its well worth a look. He always makes ya think, thats for sure!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Very cool illusion

Very cool illusion
This is indeed a very cool illusion! Check it out!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Movember

Movember
Hehe, Movember-such a funny word and such a great concept! I wish it could be Beardvember and I'd be kicking arse!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pointing to Jesus...

Have finally finished Tabor for the year!! Woo-hoo! And whats even better-I've got all of my essays in on time. One was about postmodernism and preaching, and the other was critiquing the Christology (stuff about Jesus) in the Da Vinci Code. I wanted to do Jesus Walks by Kanye West-but didn't think I'd easily be able to find other references so went for Da Vinci.

My closing paragraph, which again came up when discussing contemporary portrayals of Jesus and Jesus-related themes, was basically about what I'm calling 'pointing to Jesus'.

There is a paragraph in the middle of Da Vinci, when Teabing and Langdon are revealing to Sophie the 'truth' about Mary, Jesus and the Holy Grail etc. Sophie says that she has never heard any of these stories about Mary-that the ideas are all new to her. Teabing replies 'Magdalene's story has been shouted from the rooftops for centuries in all kinds of metaphors and languages. Her story is everywhere once you open your eyes'

See I think its kinda similar with Jesus. Jesus is absolutely everywhere in our society, in movies, music, TV-all over popular culture. His story is told everyday through nature, through the loving care of a nurse who cares for old people in a home, through anybody when they stop and reach out to the poor, who talks to the loner kid at school, anybody thats unconditionally loves and puts the needs of others first-through people all the time-in an absolutely myriad ways.

So perhaps it is our job as Christians to point out to people the Jesus they meet everyday, to open their eyes to see Jesus through movies like Fight Club, Unleashed, the Matrix, Remember the Titans or whatever, to open their eyes to the Jesus they meet in the poor and marginalised, to encourage them to name the Jesus they inherently connect with in nature. Instead of trying to tell people about Jesus-we just need to open their eyes to the Jesus they can already see.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Belonging to God?

Recently I got pointed to the Princeton Theological Seminary for Youth Ministry website, and particularly their free audio journal CD they send out to interested parties.

I'm always up for free stuff, and this looked pretty quality, so I thought I'd give it a look. Particularly good stuff that will make the many hours i spend in the car a little more useful.

The theme of this issue is Belonging to God, which sounded interesting. So obviously it came up a few times amongst the little sermons and interviews, that we do indeed belong to God. The phrase 'the question is not who are we, but whose are we, is whats important to young people' came up a number of times.

I don't know if its just me, or if I'm thinking about it the wrong way-but I really don't like the idea of 'belonging' to God, as if God owns me or something? I would like to think that I am in some way every day giving my life over to God, surrendering my life to His will (something I am still learning so so much about) but I still don't like the idea of being owned by God. Maybe its just a semantics (words) issue?

They make some good points about encouraging young people to not define themselves by what they wear, who they hang out with, how much money they have etc (stuff that totally applies to adults as well) but to define themselves by the fact they are a child of God-made in God's image. That is a metaphor I'm a lot more comfortable with, but still need to unpack a bit.

I dunno, do we belong to God? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Why men hate church

Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox
The fact that I even followed a link to this site indicates that I am wasting time I do not have, so I'll read into this one a little more and respond after all my essays are in-which will hopefully be soon!

Seems like a pretty decent read. Its funny cos at the moment the Huddle has the oposite problem-we don't have any chicks! But we're working on it!

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Waiters' Union

The Spirit of Things: 25 September� 2005� - The Waiters' Union

I haven't read enough about these guys, from what I have heard and read, I'm a massive fan of what they do. Sounds like a very similar concept to the UNOH crew-some more people i can not speak highly enough of.

This is a transcript of an interview with the people who run it-Dave and Ange Andrews on a show called the Spirit of Things-which I think is similar to Compass in its approach of looking at all sorts of spiritual and religious traditions.

Great stuff, give it a read.

The Panacea?

I'm not normally into using big words that nobody understands on my blog, but this one has come up in conversation a couple of times lately, and fits what I'm talking about.

It basically means any sort of cure-all, the answer to all of one's problem, the medicine that will fix any disease.

I do a lot of reading and talking to people about the various issues that churches face, why it is that churches aren't growing (even the larger Pentecostal ones-whose growth rate is often very transference based, and is still less than the overal rate of population growth anyway), and how we might go about rectifying these problems.

It seems that everybody thinks there's an answer, but nobody can agree as to what it is...

Byt he way, these are all gross over-generalisations too.

The Emergent types think that if we can translate our faith around our postmodern culture, faith will make sense again for so many more people and we'll be right. The Forge crew reckon we just need to be more missional, that if we make mission our driving priority-faith and church will sort itself out. The Pentecostals think that we just need more of the Holy Spirit. The liberals will say our view of God, church and the Bible is too restrictive, that our views need to be expanded and be more inclusive, and we'll be right.

The Restorationist movement (out of which Churches of Christ came) reckon we just need to get back to the New Testament church. House church people say if we all know each other, and have closer community, then people won't feel isolated and leave church. The seeker-sensitive people say we need to make our worship services more friendly to outsiders, and back people will come. Some alt.worship people will say we need to broaden our expressions of what worship and church look like.

Fundamentalists will say that our doctrine needs to be tighter, that if we believe exactly the right things, people will be attracted to the Truth we have. Some evangelicals will say that we need more evangelistic rallies, whilst the social justice crew will say that we just need to feed the poor, look after those less fortunate than ourselves.

See I think they're all right to a degree, and all miss the point somewhere along the way. Is there one answer, or is in fact the answer a combination of all of these?

Friday, October 28, 2005

{neurotribe.net}: ::Theology - A Kingdom Competition

{neurotribe.net}: ::Theology - A Kingdom Competition

A couple of days ago, Steve Said had some great discussion going on over the relevance, impact and power of the term the 'Kingdom' of God-the concept behind which has been taking up a lot of my thinking for a fair while now.

Some of the others he suggests are:
The Lifestyle of God (thanks to Troy Arnott at New Community Ringwood) (Trying to pick up on the "lifestyle" marketing package deal offered by consumer society)
The Dream of God.
God's dream for His creation.
God's transforming agenda.
God's Kingdom agenda.
God's transforming vision.
God's transforming dream.
God's kingdom dream.
The transforming Kingdom agenda.
The reign of God.
The rule of God.

Check it out, some great discussion and comments too.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jesus and Superman

Adam Duckworth: Interesting thought that I had last night...

This is quite an interesting lil read by a dude from America about the similarities between Jesus and Superman. The analogy is far from perfect, but he does make a couple of good points, as does one of the dudes in the comments.

Anywho, check it out.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Just more like Jesus

Had a thoroughly enjoyable Forge get-together with my fellow interns last Friday night. The once-a-month gatherings are always a totally invaluable time, just hearing each other's stories, journeying together and all those other nice words and phrases we like to use.

It was so good though on Friday to really get re-inforced something that I've totally always known, but realised afresh again on Friday night. We were discussing the worth of theological education, and other various things that we all 'do', things that often make us in no way more or less Christian. A friend just said it so simply, if it doesn't help us to become more like Jesus, then whats the point?

Now I mean how simple is that? Everybody knows that all crap aside, the whole aim and purpose of being a Christian is to be more and more like Jesus. Now I've preached on that many a time before, and brought it up in many a conversation, but I just couldn't get the sheer simplicity of that message out of my head for the next couple of days. It was that splinter in the back of my mind...

I get together regularly with some good mates to hold each other accountable in life stuff, and we're currently reading through The Shaping of Things to Come, the best book on mission, evangelism, missional church I've read. If you haven't read it, get onto it. Anywho, I was thinking about how we're all about talking about mission, and wanting to see what we can learn from this book and such, but really, if we truly learnt what it was to live like Jesus (about which most of us really have little idea) then, and only then, would we learn what it is to be missional.

Reading books, writing and reading blogs, going to church, going to conferences and all that stuff we do, is meaningless unless it helps us to become more like Jesus.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

RollingStone.com: U2 : Bono : News

RollingStone.com: U2 : Bono : News
Great article and interview from Rolling Stone with Bono, one of the best musicians/social activists in the world. Here's a sample

What is your religious belief today? What is your concept of God?

If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.

How does it make sense?

As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It's so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian. Although I don't use the label, because it is so very hard to live up to. I feel like I'm the worst example of it, so I just kinda keep my mouth shut.

Do you pray or have any religious practices?

I try to take time out of every day, in prayer and meditation. I feel as at home in a Catholic cathedral as in a revival tent. I also have enormous respect for my friends who are atheists, most of whom are, and the courage it takes not to believe.

How big an influence is the Bible on your songwriting? How much do you draw on its imagery, its ideas?

It sustains me.


Great stuff, great read, and a great bloke.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spirituality Smorgasboard

Whilst I'm in the mood for plugging events, here's another that looks really cool.

Recently a few Churches of Christ people got together to work out some ways to pull together the various young adults ministries around the place, and have come up with the basic concept of putting on a different themed night every two months or so at various locations, to try and draw on the experience and skills of lots of different churches, rather than one church trying to do it all. So I' a big fan of the concept, and particularly this event.


Spirituality Smorgasboard

“Experience diverse, practical ways to deepen your connection with God”

Alternative Prayer
Images of God
Stages of Faith
Art
God in the Everyday
Dream Interpretation
Our Personal Stories
Silence & Contemplation

Saturday October 29th
2pm – 5pm
Southern Church of Christ
2-12 Chesterville Road Cheltenham


To find out more, check out the hyperlinked title of this post.

Upcoming Forge event

My picture uploading skills are somewgat lacking, so unfortunately I am not able to directly post the little picture that should go up here to advertise to everybody the most excellent upcoming Forge post-cards event. These events are basically just little insights into different aspects of what it means to live missionally in todays world.

The speaker is an awesome dude by the name of Mick Duncan, a man who really knows how to cut away the froth and bubble of Christianity, and get down to what it means to follow Jesus. I've heard him speak at the UNOH conference and read his latest book, and it is most excellent stuff.

I highly recommend all that can attend, to do so. The link up the top will take you to some info.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Prayer letter and updates

If there is anybody who would like to go on my semi-regular/pretty irregular prayer and updates list, then that would be most appreciated. Nothing too massive, just afew prayer points related to my schools work and church planting stuff, plus afew updates to keep those who are interested informed. Just drop me an email, which you can find up in the corner under the my details bit, and I'll put you on there.

Cheers

The celebrity sell-out - People - Entertainment - theage.com.au

The celebrity sell-out - People - Entertainment - theage.com.au
This kind of thing, the whole celebrity endorsement culture, pisses me off enormously. It really just irritates me massively that our culture is so shallow that we buy so much stuff just because a celebrity gets paid to appear in their ads.

I particularly like the little Tim Costello bit at the bottom.

Whats in a name?

I'm pretty over all the different little titles and names that people try and give to new churches, it's like the whole music genre thing. In the past people pretty much just made music in the style they wanted, whatever they thought sounded good. It wasn't until music journalists started to try and describe the music to people that were reading about it in the paper, that people really got into classifying their music as a certain genre.

Now people have just gone overboard, with say house music-which is in itself a type of dance music, being further classified into another 10 or 12 styles. Now people pick up on the latest genre, then try and play that style of music, and so the name and style of the music dictates how the music will sound, instead of the main thing-the music, dictating terms.

I reckon it's the same with the emerging/postmodern/alternative worship/missional/house church thing. Just do whats most relevant to your people and who gives a crap what other people call it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Look out Sean Eadie!

I think there's only room for one bearded cyclist in Australia, and thats me! After knocking off the Around the Bay in a Day (well half of it anyway!) I think the stage is set for me to take my cycling career to greater heights...

If anybody feels they would like to sponsor me with a new bike for this assault on the title, then that would be great. The $20 job I'm on at the moment is OK, but some gears that actually change would be awesome!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wild Ones: A Green Christian . . . what the? JIm Reiher, Melbourne

Wild Ones: A Green Christian . . . what the? JIm Reiher, Melbourne

This is one of many interesting posts on what I can see fast becoming one of my favourite. With contributors like Ash n Anji Barker, Steve Barro, Jim Reiher, Mick Duncan and Darryl Gardiner I reckon it totally deserves the title of Wild Ones. No doubt I'll be linking to it again.

I'm totally not into politics and don't have the time of day to think about or debate it, but I like Jim's reasoning behind why he as a Christian is a member of the Green Party.

The only other political comment I'll make is that I read an article in the Good Weekend about the Family First guy Steve Fielding, and he seems pretty cool, and his wife is a good lecturer.

MattGlover.com

MattGlover.com
Matt Glover, a good friend of mine from Forge, has started up a blog and is posting up some really good honest reflections on the book Manhood by Steve Biddulph, who I think is an Australian guy who writes a lot about men's issues. I read this book a while ago, and whilst it had some really good stuff, I held a few reservations. Anywho, check it out.

A rich school Christian club?

I was chatting with a student at school the other day about a few life issues, and things, as they sometimes do, turned to matters of God and Christianity.

For those of you who don't know much about my context, the school where I work two days a week as a Chaplain/Youth Worker is a low-fee non-denominational Christian school on the very Anglo Mornington Peninsula.

Basically, she was talking about al these Christian words that people at the school used that she didn't understand-stuff about accepting Jesus and if you didn't do that you'd go to hell. She said this really messed with her view of God-she had thought He was all good and nice, but this God seemed a little bit mean and exclusive.

She understood that because she'd heard about Jesus and God, she could make an informed decision. But her big gripe with this God she's learnt about at school was that he seemed to discriminate against all of her friends, who are from a slightly poorer area, and don't go to our school. And the only reason he seemed to discriminate against them was because they were too poor to come to our school where they could learn about God. She stressed repeatedly that her friends knew absolutely nothing about God or Jesus, so why should they be sent to hell by this supposedly loving God, just because they've never had the oppurtunity. And all this from a Year 10 I didn't think was that 'deep'. Goes to show how much more kids think about these things than we often expect.

I talked a little about some of my understandings on all of this, and brought up some other things that Jesus said. I had to be honest with her and share some of my questions and struggles about these kind of issues, about the wrestles I've encountered. I could have just 'answered her questions with the things that all the popular books say I should say, but where would the integrity be in those answers if they were not truly my own?

I went on to talk about what it meant for me to have faith in spite of all the things I don't know, in spite of all the negative experiences of Christians I've had, in spite of all of my doubts. I shared a little about John 10:10, and what it would look like if God's Kingdom came to her area, what it could look like if people weren't judged by which people they were friends with, if it wasn't just all about the different crew people are with.

It ended up going well, but has still left me asking some really massive questions all over again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Who needs the money

Found another great post from Christop on his experiences at the Urban Seed city walk. As I said before, I love these walks, but have never really got around to blogging on them. Anywho, check out here for their take on the story of the poor woman who gives all her money to the Temple, and how that relates to our casino.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Goths and significance

Have been doing a little bit of theological reflection on the whole dressing as a goth experience from Saturday night.

It probably goes without saying that people look at you heaps more, but I think there's a tremendous power in the looks of fear that you get from people, and the effort that they go to to avoid getting in your way. I've never really understood the Goth culture, but I think I got a bit of an insight into it the other night.

For many people, particularly teenagers, life is often one big story of powerlessness, rejection and fear. People feel insignificant, that nobody cares about or notices them, and so turn to subcultures to try and validate their sgnificance in life. This is not only true in goth culture as well as sports clubs, bands, computer gamers etc.

From what I've heard the goth culture is just really accepting, they don't care if you're any good at sports, are smart, good looking or what background you're from. I think in that culture we see a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, and a bit of an idea what churches should be like...

I reckon people get an enormous sense of power through looking all black and scary, they get to put on a persona that is maybe not all them and forget about the troubles beneath the makeup (which is very similar to a lot of friends of mine in the clubbing scene actually), they feel like they are the tough and scary ones for once.

People want to be seen and heard-even the shy ones, they want people to notice when they enter the room- and you should have seen the reaction I got when I walked over to the cricket club later that night!

I could be totally wrong about all of this, as I'm totally not part of the goth scene, so if I have any goth readers please feel free to correct me.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Blogoversary!

Well today is the first birthday of my blog! Woo-hoo! Happy Birthday to me!

I'm pretty amazed to be honest to look back over how much drivel, with some occasional helpful stuff, that I've written. All that after starting a blog by accident, after wanting to comment on Cutlers blog-which he wrote on three times! Looks like I'm the one that got sucked in!

People ask me why I blog, and there's a number of different reasons really. One, I just really enjoy it, there's something about the vulnerability of putting your thoughts out there, opening up some of your biggest questions to all and sundry-and sometimes getting some replies.

I find it a great tool for theological reflection, for disciplining myself to sit down and process certain events, to try and find where God is already at work in my life, and to work out how to respond accordingly. Often my understandings have been challenged and deepened, and sometimes reassuringly confirmed. Sometimes its good just to know you're not the only one out there facing certain questions and coming to different answers.

I also find it helpful in forcing me to articulate what I'm thinking, to actually try and put it down in a form others will understand. One of my biggest mantras is that new information is worthless unless you pass it on to somebody else, and often blogging gives me a forum to try and do that.

I absolutely love reading, commenting on and interacting with other bloggers. I've made some new friends, meet some great people, and learnt SO much that otherwise would have slipped underneath my radar. There's so many smarter people in the world than me, and blogging gives me the opputunity to hear some of what they have to say. The same reason I read lots of books, but blogs are often heaps easier to read and digest.

There have been times when blogging has taken up way too much of my time, but really thats just me using blogging as an excuse for procrastination! I try not and read too many blogs these days, as you can only take in so much information, but its hard when you keep discovering new and different ones.

I would like to read a little more widely outside the Christian circles I move in, but once again, you can only read so much. I do have a couple that I make sure I read, people that I know see the world differently to myself. One of my big things is that everybody should try and read at least one book a year they know they will probably disgree with. If our faith can't stand up to challenges like that, then its hardly a faith worth having I reckon.

I do like to link out to others often, anything that I've read that has stimulated my thinking will likely do the same for others, which is why I'm always linking to stuff all over the place.

It is easy to get caught up in it all, to make sure you're posting regularly, seeing how many people comment, how many people visit each day (it does constantly amaze me how many people read this-but its far too easy for that to become an ego thing, and luckily I'm over that. But it does still give you a kick when you know people are interested in, or have had their thinking stimulated by, something you've written.

Anywho, its been a fun first year-who knows if I'll still be here a year from now!

� observing v�s participation � � Blog Archive � Signposts

� observing v�s participation � � Blog Archive � Signposts

Phil has made some interesting points here about the level to which people can observe or participate in church, particularly in relation to more discussion-based smaller churches and the more traditional SSS model (Sermons, Songs, Sitting in rows) with some good discussion in the comments too.

My thoughts are pretty much all in the comments there, so check it out there-saves me rewriting everything here!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Who's the addict?

Layer that May Be Described as Emergent: Who's the addict?
Christop has just posted up some short reflections on one of my favourite things to do in the city-the Urban Seed City Walks. If you don't know much about them they're well worth checking out.

One of the things they talk about really well is asking the question: Who's the addict? They take you past their back laneway where a quarter of the citys drugs are done, whereas out the front people addicted to shopping spend thousands on shirts and ties. Raises some interesting questions as to who our culture see's as the ones with the problem...

Anywho, check out his site, check out Urban Seed and go and on one of their walks the next oppurtunity you have.

Switchfoot's Band Page

Switchfoot's Band Page
Last week I was lucky enough to score myself a few free tickets to a Switchfoot gig in the city at the HiFi bar and ballroom, a quality venue right in the heart of the city.

Managed to squueze my way into the second front row, which afforded me a pretty good view. And man did they put on a good show. You could tell they were really tight, sounded awesome, even had all the jumping around and off stuff in time with the music and that. Got to shake the lead singers hand, as well as make him laugh and have to delay starting a song due to a gag about airline socks-ya had to be there.

Not only am I into their music, but I really dig their outlook on life too. They're more your Christians-in-a-band than a Christian band kinda group, which I tend to get into more, and their songs just ask some really good questions and have a lot of themes that really connect with where I'm at.

Thanks to Mase for pointing me to this page on their site, kinda relates to my previous music post. Some really wise words from some pretty switched on dudes.

It was interesting looking around at the crowd and seeing how much they really got into the music, and seemed to really connect with the band and the lyrics of their songs. Definitely a very spiritual connection point for a lot of people, what Steve Taylor would call a peg community . Thats a topic I'd need to learn alittle more about myself, but sounds like an interesting idea.

Anyway, check out their site, and see them in concert if at possible.

Monday, October 03, 2005

And another Posted by Picasa
Trying again Posted by Picasa

My Goth photos!

Had a mates 21st on the other night so decided to goth it up-and I was pretty happy with the results I must say. Managed to freak a few people out. Had a lot of fun walking up to random people, tapping them on the shoulder and just staring at them with my best death-stare! Will definitely use that costume again!

Church planting books

I'm pretty sure I've linked to Steve Addisons blog before, but its a good one. If I only I could work out how to permanently put links and stuff on my page. I really suck at this computer code stuff!

Anywho, he's got a list of his top eleven books about church planting for those for whom that topic tickles your fancy. He then goes on in another post about character traits, and personal spiritual life too! And I thought all I had to do was read the right books!

No wonder church planting is hard work for me-I've only read one of the books!!

When good music goes bad

I was shattered today to learn that one of the most terrible songs on radio, (apart of course from the freaking crazy frog)My Humps is by the same crew who sung one of my favourite songs, Where Is The Love-the Black Eyed Peas.

I just lose so much respect for bands that sing crappy meaningless pop songs, particularly chick singers who just sing about their tits and arse, and having sex with lots of men-as Fergie does in this song. I just feel it demeans them as artists, and reduces them to sex objects. Many people, including the artists themselves, may disagree, but hey.

I think its an interesting insight into our culture, that one minute bands can be singing about world peace and asking big questions about life and our existence, then the next minute talking about their humps (who calls them that anyway?!). We seem to be being told that we can just pick and choose which morals we adhere to, and which don't suit us. Very postmodern and pluralistic.

Another good example would be Kanye West's quality album College Dropout. One minute he's got one of the most open and honest songs about Jesus I've heard in a long time-Jesus Walks, and the next its your standard bitches and hoes. Some very interesting cultural juxtapositions.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Ripping down the leggies

After much persuasion and realisation of the need to stay active, I've decided to don the whites again and come out of cricketing retirement!

Been rolling the arm over a few times down at training, and scored myself a game for tomorrow, in the fourths, which is C2, which will mean something to probably two of my readers! That comp will suit me well, as its all one-dayers, and weekends are notoriously hard to find at this time of year and leading up to Christmas.

Annoying thing is the rev only picked up a cricket ball six months ago and is already in the thirds! I reckon he must have threatened to punch them if he didn't get a game! Or he could just be a more naturally talented sportsperson than me-which isn't hard!

Should be fun though.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Life: A Gift

Found this cool little quote here. I thought it was a good one.

As we pray and come to know Jesus we discover that life is not a possession to defend, but a gift to give..

The world needs people who

Found this from Mim, who got it from a mate of mine Jono Broadbent-good kid. I thought it was pretty cool, would work well as a close to a talk or some such thing. And I would broaden it to all people-I think we could all benefit from a few of these qualities.

The world needs young people
-who cannot be bought;-whose word is their promise;
-who put character above wealth;
-who possess opinions and a will;-who are larger than their work;
-who do not hesitate to take chances;
-who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
-who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
-who will make no compromise with wrong;
-whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
-who will not say they do it "because everybody else does it";
-who are ture to their friends through good times and bad times, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
-who do not believe that shrewdness, sneakiness and hard-headedness are the best qualities for winning success;
-who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpoplular;
-who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says "yes".

Charles Swindoll, 'Living above the level of mediocrity, p.1078.

Monday, September 26, 2005

So are you a cult??

This was the question posed to me the other day when I was explaining to one of the boys down at cricket about our lil church plant project! I think he was half-joking half-serious too which makes it even funnier, and its now our running joke. He's always asking for updates on the cult, how many goats we've sacrificed etc!

It's funny the amount of people that, when I tell them I'm leading a team thats planting a church, they ask in astonishment 'Are you allowed to do that?!' I dunno what it is, but it seems some people just have this perception that you're not allowed to do that.

Particularly when I tell them its at my house, that just seems to be too much for many people's ideas. I guess we have enough trouble convincing the people in church that church is not a building, that church is people in community, so I probably shouldn't be surprised that others struggle to get their heads around it.

Float like a ox, sting like a butterfly

I'm beginning to think my co-ordination skills are most definitely not in the area of boxing. I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now down at the footy club as a bit of fitness until pre-season starts in a couple of months, and I've still got heaps to learn! Ducking when I should be weaving, jabbing when I should uppercut, its definitely not easy. But I'm loving the fitness, and its heaps of fun. Cinderella Man here I come hey!

'Alt Worship' at Franga

Heaps of exciting stuff going on at Franga (my abbreviation for Frankston Church of Christ for the uninitiated) at the moment. One of which is something which I guess you would call an 'alternative worship' night at our evening congregation.

On most Sunday nights we have the ol Sermons-Singing-Sitting in Rows kinda gathering, so this was pretty different for us.

It was set up in our chapel, which is a relatively small circular room, which we don't normally use for our worship gatherings. We turned off all the lights, lit a fair few candles all over the place and had a bit of ambient music going in the background. All pretty standard for this type of affair.

Then we had a few stations set up around the room. One was a wall where you could write down some prayers and stick them on the wall, another was a reading space where you could-surprise surprise-read some stuff, another where you could light a candle as a way of praying for a person or situation.

In the middle we had a table where you could draw or create some reflections based on the service or where God's at in your life etc, another where we just had some projected images scrolling through on the PowerPoint you could reflect on. We had a section where you could just sit and listen to various parts of the Bible being read out.

Communion was a little more elongated, being spead over three different spaces. First there was a table with a few verses about communion, and some small slips of paper where we were asked to write down a sin or something which was holding us back from God. We then went out into the hallway and nailed it to a cross, symbolising that we were giving it over to God, that we didn't want to hold onto it anymore. We then progressed to another room where we tok the bread and the wine. Quite a powerful experience.

A few people found it a little weird, which was to be expected, but I think it generally got some pretty positive feedback. This kinda thing is probably not for everbody, but then neither is the 'three Ss'.

I absolutely loved it though, I am beginning to discover that the more contemplative approaches to spirituality are much more my thing, which is kinda strange for me as a pretty active ocker kinda bloke. Most people when they think this kinda stuff think women dancing around, or looking endlessly upon flowers and all wearing purple, which was definitely not what this was!

The site I linked to before has plenty of resources to explain this kinda thing much better than I have, as does Worship Tricks, part of a guy called Jonny Bakers blog. Should have taken some photos, but not to worry.

Definitely something I'd like to keep exploring in the future, whether that be with our night congregation or the Huddle crew.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Australian: The atheist who's Selling Jesus

The Australian: The atheist who's Selling Jesus [September 20, 2005]
I found this fascinating story via Steve Addison's blog, which also has a lil write up. His is a great blog to do with all things church planting, and is a great read.

Basically the article is about how a whole bunch of churches have hired some marketing guru to help them advertise, and I guess in the end increase people following Jesus. It's just in Adelaide at the moment, but can be found here.

I am a little dubious about this, but it could have some good outcomes. I've seen the ad, and i like their approach. Basically capitalising on the whole 'Jesus=Cool, Church=Crap' thing that is predominant these days.

That's all well and good, but at the end of the day, Jesus does call us to live out our faith in community with other Christians. Which means, whatever form it takes, we're called to be a part of a church and the Church.

I do like what one of the dudes said 'We're just trying to trigger thoughts and conversations', which is definitely a response that resonates with me. If that is backed up by faithful Christians living out their lives missionally with those around them, then it might have some effect.

But I do wonder if that's the approach that Jesus would take? One part of me says no it's not, that the way Jesus did his ministry was through relationship with people, rubbing through onto them so that they would then do the same. I think of the Kingdom of God being like yeast in some flour, a small insignificant looking part, that infiltrates society subversively.

But then the other part of me says that Jesus did preach to crowds occasionally, that he was an excellent storyteller, and that maybe He would use the medium of the day-TV and radio advertising to tell the story of the Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What is the emerging church, anyway?

Spero News | What is the emerging church, anyway?

There are a few people/groups out there that have tried to succinctly define/explain the emerging church movement. This is another one.

Quietness of the blog

I've seen other people write that they are sorry for not having blogged for a while, but I am not presumptious enough to presume that the absence of me blogging has in any way adversely affected your life, so no apology needed.

I've just come back from playing volleyball at the State Teachers Games in Wodonga, and am off to Phillip Island in the morning to deliver an as-yet-unwritten talk/message at Youth Vision VCE camp. On why service to others is an integral part of our spiritual formation. Should be a good one.

Got a few blog posts brewing but they'll have to wait till later.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Importance of Prayer

Had my last class for a couple of weeks the other day-woohoo! No real break though, as I normally have to work a fair bit over the holidays to make up for my lack of money made during the school term.

In my public communication skills class the lecturer was talking about personailty type and how that relates to small group leadership, which was stuff I've covered before but still interesting. She then went onto talk about a study this guy in America had done that dealt with small group growth and multiplication.

The study was done with over 700 leaders of small groups whose explicit purpose it was to grow and multiply, so we can be pretty sure they were on about the same thing. He asked them 30 questions and discovered some interesting facts to do with factors that do and don't affect the health of the small groups.

Some factors that didn't affect the health and multiplication of the groups were:
The leader's gender, social class, age, marital status or education.
The leader's personality type.
The leader's spiritual giftings.

Factors that do affect multiplication:
The leader's devotional time. (He reckoned that leaders who spent 90 mins a day devotional time on average muliplied their groups twice as much as those who spent 30 mins)
The leader's intercession for group members. (How much they prayed for their group members.)
The leader actualy spending time with god to prepare a meeting.
Setting goals for the group.
Training.

Now if that doesn't challenge me as a Christian leader then I don't know what will. It does raise some interesting questions for me in terms of my understanding of prayer and how God works in all of that. I've got no problems asking those kinda questions, as long as my head understanding doesn't get in the way of the heart challenge that God is giving me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Contextualisation

Recently at our morning congregation I preached on the need to contextualise the Gospel-which is basically about explaining the message of Jesus in ways that are culturally relevant to particular groups of people. So taking the context, area, socio-economic status, nationality, culture seriously when trying to work out how to explain the mesage of Jesus to them. Of course there are certain elements of that message that remian timeless, but sometimes how we explain them has to change.

One of the classic Biblical examples of this (other than the fact that God became human in Jesus in order to restore right relationship with us) is Paul's message to the Athenians in Acts 17:16-28. You can find the full text here. He looked around him at the prevailing culture of his day, and used the messages, ideas and thoughts that were predominant for those people, to talk about God. I decided to have a bit of fun with it and re-wrote that passage as if Paul were talking to us here in Melbourne. Here goes:

'Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Mind Body Spirit festival, where they said to him "May we know this new teaching that you are presenting?

You are bringing some strange ideas to our minds, and we want to know what they mean." (For all the people of Melbourne, and all the foreigners whose internet forums and blogs they read, speant most of their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas from Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch and John Edward, amongst others).

Paul then stood up and said to the meeting of the Mind Body Spirit committe: My friends, I can see that in every way you are a very spiritual people. For I have wandered around you alternative spiritualities festivals, seen you interest in the Da Vinci Code, and watched all of your TV shows dealing with spiritual matters. I have been to your bookshops, and read through your internet chat-rooms.

You seem to be searching for something to connect with, something to worship, and I am here to tell you about the one true God.

I have seen your care and concern for creation, and the connection many of you seem to express in nature, the feeling of God that you describe when surfing or looking up at the stars. For the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

He is the giver and sustainer of life "The Source of life' that I hear you speak of. I see you searching for meaning, purpose and direction, well I am here to tell you that there is a divine path set out for each of us. I encourage you to keep searching for God, for God is never far away.

He is the Source, our Connector and through God we find our innermost being.

As your well-loved authors have said "We are all children of God".

Obviously we don't know, but thats what I reckon Paul might have said if he were here today.

Aussie Cricket

Go Matty Hayden! I always knew he'd come through with the goods! Now as long as that stupid bloody English weather doesn't keep stopping play, I reckon we're a hot chance to take out this last Test and retain the Ashes! Bring on sleepless nights!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

praise for peanut butter and where jesus is.

And that has made all the difference. : praise for peanut butter and where jesus is.

I have been disturbed by my own ability to so easily remove myself from the tragedy that has been Hurricane Katrina. I think when we stop feeling compassion for these people and the 12 000 people that die every day in the Two-Thirds World, we start to lose what it is to follow Jesus. This is a great little reminder of where Jesus is in all of this, follow the link up top.

This is a snippet:
jesus is there when a newsman puts down his microphone and starts to rescue people.

jesus is there when a man gives up his seat on a helicopter, so someone else can go.

jesus is there with the fireman who just worked his 23rd hour.

jesus is there with the woman who covers her baby with her own body, to shelter him.

jesus is there when a 5 year old holds onto the hand of a 105 year old woman, because she was scared.

Being poor

Read this

What the?

Can anybody tell me the deal is with that weird hymn they play to cricket highlights before they start a test? I've got no idea what it means? I'll try some English blogs for some tips, but if anybody can help me out that'd be awesome.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Welcome to the M.P.N.F.L. - The Home of the Mighty Sharks!

Welcome to the M.P.N.F.L. - The Home of the Mighty Sharks!
You beauty! For the first time in my illustrious footballing career, I have scored leauge votes! Even when I came third in our club B+F a couple years ago I didn't score any. It's a tough life being a fullback!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Serving the servants

I was driving home from a VETAMORPHUS info night tonight, and I saw the lights on, as they are every Monday night, at the CFA (Country Fire Authority) at the end of my street.

For a while now, particularly sparked by some of the ideas we were tossing around in our local area Mission Action Teams, of how cool it would be for us as the church to get out and thank all of the people in our local area for all that they do to serve our community.

So tonight I did just that. I think we as the church should be on about looking after the people in our community, and these guys definitely are, so in some way they're serving the Kingdom of God-whether or not they would say it as such.

I told them I was starting a church 200m down the road, and if there was anything we could do to be of service to them, to let me know.

Do we need to read the Bible?

This post follows on from the previous one, which in the comments of Mase pretty much made the point I'm going to.

That if we are to truly try and live that life that Jesus did, if his life is indeed to be the yardstick by which we gauge our lives, then its just massively important to be immersed in reading and conversing with the Bible-particularly the Gospels.

I think I've talked about this before, but for a while I felt people were enforcing reading the Bible on me, that I had to read it all the time to be a good Christian and that kind of rubbish, and for a while I reacted very strongly against that, and made it my mission to prove that you could in fact be a Christian without looking at the Bible. I still believe you can (but I reckon its important if we're to grow heaps-as I've just explained above), but luckily I've matured enough to get over other people's stupid comments and realise the value of it myself.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Because Jesus might do it

Got around to listening to some more of my tapes from Forge and have been inspired about many things once more.

Was listening to some stuff from Michael Frost and it was just brilliant. For anybody that hasn't heard him before-he's an extremely gifted communicator, and always leaves me more fired up to follow Jesus.

One of the things that has been playing in my head is this one saying 'because we can imagine Jesus might do it'. We shouldn't start new churches and try to live missionally in our areas because everybody else is, or just because people are leaving church at the moment, or because him and Al Hirsch, or any of the other Forge dudes said it makes sense, but for no other reason than the fact that its something we could imagine Jesus doing.

If we can imagine Jesus spending all his time developing programs to invite people to, then we should too, but if we can't, then don't. If we can imagine Jesus talking to his neighbours, then maybe we should. If we can imagine Jesus having a big house and a nice car, then maybe we should too...

I guess its just been a real time of revisting what has now beome a crappy corporate slogan-WWJD. As much as that pithy little acronym annoys me because of all the marketing and crap behind the bracelets/shirts/stickers, the moment we stop challenging ourselves with that question, I believe we start to lose what it is to follow Jesus into the world.

� mDNA - organic systems and communitas not community � � Blog Archive � Signposts

� mDNA - organic systems and communitas not community � � Blog Archive � Signposts
Phil and Dan are starting to put together some more thoughts on mDNA (missional DNA), the first few posts of which had some great stuff. Well worth checking out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Missional Bingo

Had a great night last night with Billy and a couple other friends. As a result of our Mission Action Teams which a fair majority of the church have just completed, there's been heaps of ideas flying around from different people as to different ways we can engage our communities.

One of the ideas that the Spirit sparked within some members of one of the groups was to start a mission project amongst the bingo community. Initially I thought it was a good idea, but upon checking it out last night I've realised its a brilliant idea!

To start with its just a whole heap of fun, and something you can really easily invite mates along to-anybody can play bingo. Another aspect of it is simply the enormous amount of really lonely people there, some people are there day in day out-what better place to bring the life and love of Jesus to! Even just last night it was really great to connect with a couple of different people there. Plus the old people there just love a few young ones around!


The other cool thing about it is that all money they've won-which last night was $120, goes to the poor and homeless in Frankston.

The other thing I like about the approach they've taken is simply starting with mission, and if some form of church springs out of that, then thats great, but if not then they've had some fun, built a bit of community and given money to the poor! That's surely a success in my books!

� The power of your love � � Blog Archive � Signposts

� The power of your love � � Blog Archive � Signposts
For those of you with an interest in hillsong and their brand of music, this post and a couple others on this site may interest you. Basically, Geoff bullock, who used to be a famous songwriter/musician at the church (before he left due to circumstances I have no idea about), has rewritten a few of his old songs that are more in line with his greater understanding of grace.

There's a few posts already there, and a few more to come, so it should be worth checking out.

planet telex � Blog Archive � Pictures of Jesus

planet telex � Blog Archive � Pictures of Jesus
The other day I linked to thealternativehymnal where the same author of this blog posted a good collection of jesus songs. This post is a bit more detail on how he created a worship space around that theme. Some brilliant ideas I reckon.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A society of fear

Read a fascinating story in this morning's Age-which for some reason is not available via their online version-so no link available. It's basically the story of a writer who was asked to turn his laptop off at the footy because he was, well, dark-skinned. Apparently some other members of the crowd had felt uncomfortable with him writing on his laptop-apparently more of a terrorist threat than speaking on his mobile phone. It's a well-written piece and a great little read.

I think it speaks absolutely volumes about the society of fear that we live in-I mean how much anti-terrorist propaganda do people have to take in before they start getting scared of a dark-skinned man typing on a laptop. The next thing you know dark-skinned people won't be able to walk down the street on their phone, take a photo of a prominent landmark or get on the train with a backpack without somebody calling the terrorist hotline? It's just bullshit.

I hate it that citizens of this supposedly free country can't feel safe-either because everybody thinks they're a terrorist or because they've been told to fear anybody who's dark-skinned or muslim. Fear is a powerful evil within our society.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rivett: Masculine spirituality

Rivett: Masculine spirituality

My mate Pete has blogged some interesting thoughts on a topic that has always played at the back of my mind-what does a masculine spirituality look like? Why does church so often feel like it's designed for women? Why don't men like church? Why are the ways we talk about Jesus always so lovey-dovey?

Pete is more specifically talking about the sit in a circle and reflect/candles/meditation thing, which I actually really get into-but know many other blokes struggle with. So what would a masculine spirituality look like? How do we better engage males with their own spiritual side?

In Search of the Spiritual - Newsweek Society

In Search of the Spiritual - Newsweek Society - MSNBC.com
Fascinating article from Newsweek, a secular American magazine on the rise in interest in all things spiritual-very much a part of our culture today. The fact that Christians need to be aware of this, and to work out our response, has been one of my big things for a while now.

Here's a bit of what it says:

reveals a breadth of tolerance and curiosity virtually across the religious spectrum. And everywhere we looked, a flowering of spirituality: in the hollering, swooning, foot-stomping services of the new wave of Pentecostals; in Catholic churches where worshipers pass the small hours of the night alone contemplating the eucharist, and among Jews who are seeking God in the mystical thickets of Kabbalah. Also, in the rebirth of Pagan religions that look for God in the wonders of the natural world; in Zen and innumerable other threads of Buddhism, whose followers seek enlightenment through meditation and prayer

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

alternativehymnal.com

alternativehymnal.com

Further to my Christological meanderings, this post is a great one, a good instant link to some pretty funky little Jesus tracks. Will definitely use them along with a few slideshows of pictures of Jesus for church one day, a great way to reflect on we say Jesus is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Good times all round

Had church again tonight, and it was just really refreshing to be able to share some good food and conversation with friends, have some intelligent discussion and spend a bit of time with God.

Having said that we covered so many topics I don't think we'll ever need to meet again! It went from trusting the Bible, who Jesus was, other religions and spiritualities, sex and money, the poor, evangelism to smoking dope! We pretty much had it all.

We managed to solve all of the questions, leaving nothing unanswered and everything black and white! So I think that's a pretty good track record, solving all the problems of the church and the world in only four weeks! I don't know why all these people say church planting is hard!

Christology 2

A good modern-day analogy he used to support the orthodox view was that light can have the characteristics of both waves and particles, so Jesus embodies noth humanity and divinity in his one person. Not a bad one.

Another idea the author talks about is that of the Ebionites, who proclaimed Jesus was a supremereligious genius who proclaims and embodies 'what is most divine in man'. this is something similar to what I tend to hear a lot of today, both in and outside the church that Jesus was the most perfect example of what it means to be divine, that the life he led will also lead us to discovering that which is of God within all of us.

This is a concept not too dissimilar to the Buddhist path to Enlightenment, of becoming all that we were created to be, connecting most wholly with the Source of Life etc. It would make for some interesting conversation to discuss these theories and where they agree and disagree with a practising Buddhist-but unfortunately I don't know any. It's also pretty similar to many theories that people who write in 'new spirituality/holistic living' type magazines would seem to hold to.

Another similar, more recent theory is that of some guy called Schleiermacher, who said "Jesus Christ is not a divine being who assumed human nature but a prophetic figure who fully realises the divine nature that is in all mortals.... He is not the Word made flesh but the exemplar of perfected human nature, the essence of elevated humanity. Jesus is not the arrival of something new in the sensible world but rather a clue to the diviny inherent in us all.... He saves by awakening the God-consciousness within us."

Not sure where I stand on all of this, but there's some fantastic stuff to chew on there for a while.

Fully Human-Fully Divine

Am absolutely loving Chistology this semester, although I've only been to class once due to changing of classes and other such delays. Am finally getting stuck into some good readings too, they've presented us with a wide range of views on the topics, which is very un-Tabor-as-I-remember-it, but am stoked with that.

Just catching up on last week's readings for class, which I had to miss due to being committed to running some welfare/life skills type classes with Shaz.

The topic is the whole fully human-fully divine debate, that is whether or not Jesus was both an actual person as well as being God. Sensational debate to have, and vital for our understanding of our faith.

He presents the classical orthodox view-basically that Jesus was fully human-fully divine, but also details some different views that Christians and scholars have had through the ages.

Fraser Gehrig + Religious Vilification

Awoke this morning to see a very interesting story, that Fraser Gehrig is under investigation from the AFL for religious vilification-the first case, although probably not instance, in our great game.

Word has it he called devout Christian Fremantle full-back Shane Parker a 'Bible-bashing c*$#'. Apparently he wasn't actually offended by it, but reported it to the umpires to try and put Fraser off his game, in what was a heated exchange between the two.

I'm glad he wasn't offended, because if he was I'd tel him to get over himself, but good on him for using a bit of gamesmanship I say.

I believe this is a first in AFL, and apart from a few instances in soccer, is very much not a part of Australian sporting culture. Can any of my international readers shed any light on the situation with this kind of thing in their country?

Monday, August 22, 2005

religion | moby.com

religion | moby.com

Some interesting thoughts from a modern day philosopher in Moby-a man who's music I really enjoy. I don't agree with everything he has to say about life, but he's certainly a dude who's asking some big questions about the world-and that I respect.

Here's a snippet of what he says:

we know things about our universe and about our world and about ourselves that make our previously held ideas about human significance utterly absurd. in order to move forward we need to accept that how we understand ourselves in the future has to be informed by what we know about ourselves from a quantum perspective.
and luckily, there's not a christian(or new testament)perspective that compels us to hold on to much of tradition.
many christians might disagree, but i would ask them to cite scripture to support their dissent.


Check the link above for the rest

Blog advertising

I have been contemplating putting advertising on my blog for quite a while, but have resisted due to my intense disdain for advertising of any description. But I have been unpacking a little more lately what is going on behind that hatred. I think a great deal of it is the manipulative nature of the advertising/marketing world, trying to make us feel that we're not good enough unless we have their product, fuelling our sense of loathing and self-pity; the only salvation from which is what they're selling you.

Marilyn Manson says it brilliantly in Bowling For Columbine, I can't quote it exactly, but he says something about 'they make you feel so bad about yourself so much, that they trick you into thinking the girls won't f*&$ you unless you look like they want you to'

But would advertising on my blog, which would just be a few written words-not pictures or slogans, really be that bad? Would it be a couple extra harmless dollars in the bank-or would I be selling out my morals for the sake of a few bucks? I'm still not sure...

The Mighty Yabbies roll on!

Despite my non-attendance at the game due to being at the VETAMORPHUS retreat, the Seniors absolutely romped Sorrento on the weekend and now play the early flag favourites Rye. Our big ruckman Stretch is back in after lengthy suspension, so we should be near full strength, other than the long term injuries of the coach-Chipper and PK who did his knee again a couple weeks back. Collingwood got pumped, but I'm over it-give me local footy any day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Jackie Pullinger

Went and saw Jackie Pullinger at the UNOH conference Friday night-and to be honest I wasn't completely impressed. She had some brilliant things to say, and I was totally challenged, but I just didn't think she presented that well. But as somebody who's said um 180 times in a sermon before-I had best remove the log from my own eye!

I did take umbrage to her comment 'try and reach the poor-they're the easiest'! I mean seriously, i always thought we cared for the poor because Jesus lives amongst us in the poor and the marginalised, and because they're God's peoplethat God loves-made in God's image, and because Jesus thought it would be a good idea; not because they're the 'easiest to reach'!

But I've probably said more theologically stuffed things in my time-so I'll leave that bit behind, and go home and try work out how I respond to the challenges, because that's what will make a difference to the Kingdom-not me getting on my high horse and complaining about theology.