Monday, January 31, 2005

Uncertain but exciting

I love being able to say I've just come away from an exciting Elders meeting (which, to be honest, is not always!)
Tonight we were discussing, amongst other things, what I'll be doing this year, which is:
Running my VETAMORPHUS peer group, which is gonna be really cool.
Doing a subject or two at college, maybe Greek-which might be...interesting
Doing Forge which I'm really excited about.
Working at Flinders(their website is boring, so I won't bother linking to it) doing youth a work stuff there, which is looking awesome this year
And, planting a new congregation from Frankston! Which I'm heaps excited about!

Its so cool going to a church where the Elders and leadership are just heaps supportive and up for doing new forms of ministry.

My heart has for a long time been for people who aren't particularly interested in the normal models of church that are most commonly offered. Particulalrly those who play footy, and for whom, coming to a normal church would be far too large a cultural leap.

What this new church will look like, where and when we'll meet, what we'll do, who'll come, is still all being shaped, but its slowly in the process.

I'm pretty excited about it all. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Idiot Christians

First of all I hear about James Dobson or some clown from the Religious Right in America sprouting off about SpongeBob Squarepants should be banned cos he's a gay icon or something, and then this.

I was talking to my friend who just recently went on YWAM, she had a really positive experience apart from this one day.

They were down at the beach painting kids faces and hanging out with the locals, great mission stuff i have no problem with. There was also a band invited along to play, who none of them knew. Things were all going fine until the dude with the microphone started preaching at everybody. Appaprently he was just walking up to families, interrupting their lunch and asking them if they wanted to be saved. He was then literally following people around with the microphone, trying to harass them into following Jesus.

I HATE that approach to mission! Its shits me up the wall like you wouldn't believe! Its just so demeaning, so intrusive, rude and just so wrong in so many ways that I cn't even think of words for. It gives Christians a bad name, and just reinforces the stereotypes I try and break down.

I was so proud of her for walking away in disgust and letting the rest of the team know-that no doubt took a lot of courage-good stuff tiger.

Apparently they explained to the dude that wasn't on, and he apologised, but went out walking the streets of Frankston the next day witha dude dressed as Jesus, just preaching at people.

It honestly makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian sometimes.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

How do we reach subcultures?

Just got home from a day helping out the footy club run the local once a year Rodeo, its quite a big fundraiser for the club and it was great to help out and spend a day with the boys down there. Its funny, because I think its becoming more and more common knowledge that I'm a minister, so getting heaps of comments about it these days.

But I was sitting on the hill looking out over these 2000 rodeo spectators, and just reflecting on how much of a massive subculture it is. Utes covered in bundy stickers, big hats, singlets and standing around talking shit with a drink in hand, they're in their own little world.

It made me think of a story Frosty tells in Shaping of Things to Come(an awesome book if you haven't read it) about how you would go about sharing the life of Jesus with these model car enthusiasts he saw.

Traditionally we'd try and put on aservice with a rodeo theme, have a speaker from their circuit, and try and get them to a church service. Now that approach isn't totally bad, but its still that attractional mindset. He would prob suggest that people go and incarnate into that culture, live amongst them etc-an approach that totally resonates with me a whole lot more.

I struggle with the integrity of joining that group just to tell them about Jesus-but thats another post.

I wonder what other good or bad approaches to reaching different subcultures people out there have seen?

Friday, January 21, 2005

A great success

Another year of fun and shenanigans has passed by with another successful trip to the tennis. The actual matches weren't much chop, but we did our best to keep the crowd entertained! Our best new gag was probably holding (with fishing rods) a sign out above a ball boys head that said "When I grow up I want to be a ball man" Very funny when you're there!

Captain Australia was as popular as ever, as was his new sidekick-Disproportionate Head Boy. way too funny to even try and explain on my blog. If anybody was watching the tennis on Thursday and saw about 200 people all wearing yellow shirts, with faces painted, possibly holding up signs with our names, then that was the Heard!

Check out the sight for some of our media appearances!

Monday, January 17, 2005

So good to be back

Man it was so good to get back into footy training tonight! Totally unfit, but thats pretty standard for me, whether I've had a couple of months off or not!

So good to catch up with all the boys too, haven't seen most of them for ages, was awesome fun to have a laugh and have a kick with them!

Bring on 2005!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Rings of Rememberance

Went out for a surf today (which I don't do often-as evidenced by the dodgy $20 wetty I bought today!) down at Pt Leo, a nice little spot near me.

I was stoked when the dude on the gate told me they'd be doing the Rings of Rememberance at three. This was something I'd only heard of the day before, but sounded really cool.

Basically its a traditional hawaiian thing, where all the surfers go out in the water and form a ring to remember people who've died.

After much floundering about in the surf, nearly cutting my feet off on the rocks, I saw a large circle forming out behind me. I paddled out to join them.

Basically, we all sat (yes sat, on our boards) in a circle, then a local asked if we could all join hands in the circle and observe a minutes silence. A couple of people had flowers so they paddled into the middle to lay them in the middle of the circle. It was a beautiful moment of silence and solitude. No formal prayers were spoken, we all just sat and paid respects

It wasn't what I would call a massive spiritual 'moment' for me, but on some level (whether everybody would name it as such or not) it was a deeply meaningful spiritual time for all involved. There was a great article in the paper yesterday about the need for a day of mourning, and the power of rituals such as these. I think our society has lost the value of ritual, and people cry out for times of community such as these.

And a time of community it was, very peaceful and accepting, and very respectful. The article mentioned the rising interest in ANZAC day, and declared national days of mourning such as today.

Perhaps yet another example of people seeking spiritual meaning and understanding outside of the church?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Tennis!!

Any of you who know me know that apart from SYG the single event i get most excited over is the Tennis!

Now this isn't just any old trip to the Australian Open, this is one of the most exciting days on the social calendar! Not only do we get to see some great tennis action, usually including some Australians, but we ahve the most fun ever, chanting, singing, entertaining the crowd and cheering on any Aussie we can.

This year we're aiming for 300, which would almost double the size of our group from last year. We all hang out the night before to learn all the chants, then have a big barbie the night after to celebrate.

Even if you can't come, check out our website here. Thorpie says it'll be fully sick!

Friday, January 14, 2005

They pray a lot

Went yesterday to help my Mum with cooking for YWAM-an organisation that does a whole bunch of stuff, including what they call Impact Summer, where they basically go down into an area, in my case Frankston, and do a whole lot of little mission programs, kids programs, dancing and doing dramas in shopping centres, street evangelism etc.

Not really my cup of tea, and definitely not my preferred method of ministry or evangelism. They were also pretty full on, casting out demons out of little kids, laying hands on lawn mowers, praying for random people at the beach etc. So much stuff which makes me cringe about Christianity, but I'm doing my best not to get all into bagging them out-just that just helps nobody.

The thing that did strike me in the very short time I was hanging out with them was how much they pray, and just fully rely on God in all things. In my experience, their evangelical passion and of groups who are similar theologically means they pray a lot, read their Bibles heaps etc. Not that these things are the bees-knees in themself (in fact I'd be very wary of the spiritual expectations put on people in that kind of culture) but I think I've got a bit to learn from their approach.

Mature teenage spirituality

Just got back from Monbulk-Youth Vision Summer Teens Camp, and had an absolute blast! Hanging round with so many teenagers is just awesome.

One of the highlights for me was chatting to one of the guys, and we were doing an activity on what the ideal Christian bloke looks like. One of this guys defintions was 'The ability to pray for stuff outside of yourself'

Man that just blew me away-such a great idea. I so reckon thats a such a massive thing in the self-obsessed culture we live in.

Working with young people can be so satisfying sometimes.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I love my church

I've just been reflecting lately on how cool Franga is-I just love it.

Our Christmas service is always so laid back and funny, and its just great fun. I was selling snags to raise money for a camp and as I talked to all the various members of both congregations-Iwas just reflecting on how cool the people. The building is nothing special, the services aren't the flashiest, funkiest around-but I just love the community and the people.

Which made it even harder to informally announce to the evening congregation that I wouldn't be doing youth ministry and wouldn't be around as much this year. At the moment I'm in the process of getting a team together to start a new congregation in the Tyabb-Somerville area, with a bit of a focus at the footy club. But more on that later.

No real purpose for this post-just to say how much I love Frankston!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Where is God in the tsunami?

Luckily my faith is pretty resilient to massive questions like these, as I'm used to asking them, and being able to sit with not knowing the answers.

But I know for some people, particularly some of the young people I'm lucky enough to be able to hang out with-this will be a big question.

My insant reaction is to spout off something about how I don't think God really controls the weather (which I don't), but I know this won't satisfy a lot of people. Seemingly glib, simple answers that can be seen to be avoiding the question just won't cut it with a lot of postmodern people today-so how do I respond?

I would probably be more comfortable with just saying 'Man, I don't know-its just crap'

I love my local area

Last night I worked for a mate waiting tables at a local restaurant-which was actually quite a fun New Years, then went out to a party just up the road. I just love having lived in my area for a few years, to be able to know a good percentage of the local crowd of oldies, as well as a whole bunch of people my age.

Incarnational ministry and mission is so the only way for me.