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.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Availability

Last week I was wandering past one of the blocks of class rooms at school when i noticed a particularly rowdy bunch of Year 8s running around in their classroom. I avoided the temptation to go in there and run amuck with them, and decided to do the responsible thing and ask where their teacher was. I ran off to the office to get them to sort something out, then went back to hang out with the kids.

As I'm currently running a few classes on sex and sexuality, what it means to be a guy, they told me they wanted me to answer some of the questions from the question box I had left in the class. After getting through the usual bunch of immature questions, we ended up having some really good discussion, with they boys being a little less haha-look-how-funny-I-am-cos-I-said-the-word-breast, due to the girls being there.

But it did make me reflect on the nature of ministry, and particularly living missionally-both in my job at school and living in my local area. If my day at the school had been completely booked out doing stuff, then i would have missed this golden oppurtunity. In the same way, if we live our lives so busy full of work, sport, family, or church commitments, we so often can miss oppurtunities to engage meaningfully in the lives of those around us. Although those things are all very important in their own right, they can consume our lives.

So many people are just stupidly busy, that somebody actually being available is a precious gift.

For me this means no working nights or weekends, my back pocket suffers as a result, but thats the way it goes sometimes...

The colours of worship

Check out this post, a really cool lil creative way of praying as a congregation. Will definitely use it at some stage.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Reality church

This post is quite an interesting one, looking at stages of church that people sometimes go through. Brings a smile to my face, see a fair bit of some of these stages in the 'emerging church' community. It's got a bit of truth to it, and is a little bit light hearted too-would be a good discussion starter.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

God's Beer Brewers

Interesting post, courtesy of John.

Particularly liked one of the comments:

It seems that Christians gave up drinking alcohol as the church reacted (or over reacted) to the growing problem of alcoholism in society. Most alcoholics that I have known or read about drank in order to deaden their emotional pain, yet the church rarely addressed this issue. The church, it seems try to alter people's eternal behaviour without internal healing, whereas Jesus operated by healing people from the inside, and then their external behaviour would follow. The unfortunate consequence of all this is that Christians not only gave up drinking alcohol but they also gave up going to places where alcohol is served.

Funny as Youth Ministry site

If anybody else is sick of youth ministry sites that try to tell you the answers to solve your youth ministry problems just by buying their devotional books and program ideas-check out yoofwork-its a ripper!

Magick and true faith

One of the other things Ash talked about, which i have heard before, and totally dig-is the difference between magick and true faith. Don't ask me why its got a k, it just does.

You see magick is trying to manipulate God/the gods to do what you want, whereas true faith is submitting your will and life to God for God to do with it as God pleases..

A pretty simple little statement, but it has massive implications for how we live our lives, what prayer looks like etc.

Challenges and Complacency

Ash Barker spoke wonderfully on Sunday night at Franga, opened up a lot of people's eyes to some of the issues facing the urban poor and those living in slums, and had some great insights about incarnational mission. It was really spot on for where Frankston is heading, and totally awesome stuff. It was also cool as to hear of his early work as a missionary to the Pines, which little did he know is being carried on by members of our church today.

I think the challenge for me when I hear people like Ash speak, and Steve Said from TEAR who spoke at Tabor yesterday, is not to get complacent about the issues to do with the poor and marganalisewd in our society. I've heard much of it before, and understand the theology and where they're coming from, but its way too easy to just switch off because 'I've heard it all before'. I think the moment we stop letting ourselves be challenged by Jesus's radical call to care for the poor, the minute we stop feeling uncomfortable about how much stuff we have-and how little we give away; that is when we start to lose what it is to follow Jesus.

Monday, August 08, 2005

ICE-Not a bad idea

I C E In Case of Emergency.

The following is a very good idea, and was actually used in the disaster in London recently, I gather it's being going for a while. It can be used in any kind of emergency, and enables loved ones not to worry unnecessarily. East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency ( ICE )" campaign. The idea is that you store the word " I C E " in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency". In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able toquickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It's so simple that everyone can do it.

The Question

Thanks to Mim for this one.

The Question

Our lives as we live them seem like lives that anticipate questions that never will be asked. It seems as if we are getting ourselves ready for the question "How much did you earn during your lifetime?" or "How many friends did you make?" or "How much progress did you make in your career?" or "How much influence did you have on people?" or "How many conversions did you make?"

Were any of these to be the question Christ will ask when he comes again in glory, many of us could approach the judgment day with great confidence. But nobody is going to hear any of these questions. The question we all are going to face is the question we are least prepared for. It is: "What have you done for the least of mine?"

As long as there are strangers; hungry, naked, and sick people; prisoners, refugees, and slaves; people who are handicapped physically, mentally, or emotionally; people without work, a home, or a piece of land, there will be that haunting question from the throne of judgment: "What have you done for the least of mine?"
From Henri J.M. Nouwen, "Seeds of Hope", Bruderhof Daily Dig

Shattered

This would have to be the worst sportingweekend on record-ever! First of all the Aussies lose to the freaking Poms by two runs, then the Mighty Pies capitulate by a goal despite being up by 23 points with six minutes to go, then despite annihilating the Scummerville reserves by 80 points, the Yabbie reserves find out we'll miss out on finals by half a game!

The test was absolutely amazing though, the amount of times it swung back and forth, from them leading by 100 runs, to that ball from Warnie (don't worry Warnie-I still love ya) then 3 wickets in two overs from Brett Lee, then Flintoff takes 4 wickets in 9 balls, before Kaspa and Brett Lee put on 59 for the last wicket, only to fall two runs short! Thats why I love test cricket!

The Pies season is over, but it still would have been great to knock off the old shinboners.

The Yabb seniors will be making another finals appearance, which will be great to watch, providing I can shuffle it in around the VETAMORPHUS retreat, but I would have dearly loved to play finals footy-having never played finals in my life. But we'll be back to try again next year.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ash Barker from UNOH at Frankston

For all thos in the area, or not in the area even, I really urge you to come along and hear Ash Barker speat at Frankston Church of Christ tomorrow night at 6, 130 Cranbourne Rd.

Ash is the founder of UNOH, a totally inspiring group of urban missionaries working predominantly with the poor and marginalized in Springvale, and now have a branch in Bangkok. Their conference is on next weekend, but I'll post more on that later. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

R.I.P Nell Randle

Last Saturday morning my grandma on my Dad's side passed away, never recovering from a stroke she had ten days earlier. The funeral was today and I was asked to share the final blessing. The middle part is from Mother Theresa, which I found here. The rest I wrote myself.

Sometimes, it is only upon death that we stop to consider life.
Sometimes, we are so busy with life, that we forget about living.
We forget that in loving others, we learn to love ourselves.
We forget that what matters most is not how much we owned, but how much we gave away.
We forget that what matters most is not our success, but our servanthood.

Life is an oppurtunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realise it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

So go, go from here and live life to its fullest
Go, go from here and live a life that matters.

We must mourn death, but celebrate life.
Celebrate the life of those who've passed, and celebrate that life of yours to come.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

So many choices!

The hard thing about starting a new church/congregation is the amount of choices you have to make! I am so thankful I have a church that hasn't tried to make us import a certain model of church, but it just makes it so much harder-but in a totally good way.

It would be so much easier-but the church would be so much worse off, if we just copied what somebody else was doing.

When do we meet, how often, what do we do, who else will join us? As I said tonight, pretty much everything is up for grabs. The thing that I like about the approach we're taking at Frankston at the moment is that we're setting up a few non-negotiables, a few things that you have to do to be a part of our church, but then letting the people put their minds to work on how to make it most relevant to their people.

Hard choices, hard decisions, but good times.

Part One

I know I said i wouldn't poat anything for a while, but the episode of Australian Story was just fascinating, and I thought I'd link to the first part of the story I mentioned before, just in case you were a bit confused like Billy was!

Anyways, check it out.

Australian Story-Hillsong

Last night I watched an absolutely fascinating episode of Australian Story-based on the lives of Brian and Bobbie Houston-senior pastor's of Australia's largest church-Hillsong.

They talked a lot about money, as that seems to be a pretty big focus point for people both within and outside the church. They again re-iterated their 'its good to have more so you can give more' stance which I've heard a few times, which I have no doubt they're genuine about. I still have issues with his big fancy house and bondi apartment, but who am I to question how he spends his money.

Maybe him having that big house is no more extravagant than me having a half-decent car in terms of the proportion of our money spent? I have enough of an issue with the status symbol that my 2000 model Ford is, let alone a Harley Davidson, so I really think I'd struggle to be living that lifestyle.

I don't know what the situation is with how much he gets paid or whatever, so I'm not gonna try and pretend I do, but there's just this thought in the back of my mind that God wouldn't put him in such a position of leadership if he didn't have any intergrity. Of course that raises the whole question of who puts people in leadership in churches, what part God plays in the whole thing, what part God plays in church growth etc.

It ws an interesting little story, and if anybody around here wants to borrow it-just let me know.

More discussion going on over at Signposts