Tuesday, May 30, 2006

e~mergent kiwi: Prayer for financial times

e~mergent kiwi: Prayer for financial times

A pretty cool little prayer for the weekly offering that this guy wrote up.

God, you took a risk,In giving Jesus as a baby.
What if he was misunderstood, misquoted, mistreated?

God, you took a riskIn giving us dreams and visions
What if we deny our gifts, hoard our gifts, compound our private interest?

God, you took a riskIn giving us this earth
What if we pollute it, exploit it, attack each other?

God with this offering we say Yes.
Yes, we participate in your risk
Yes, we give ourselves - our time, our talents - away,
Yes, we care for our people, planet and place.

We pray, we hope, In the name of the one who took the first risk,

Diggerrandle : You Are Lame!

Diggerrandle : You Are Lame!

Haha, this is an easy cheap laugh, just insert your own name in the brackets and this site will tell you just what it thinks of you. I really need better things to do with my time!

Pope asks where was God at Auschwitz - World - theage.com.au

Pope asks where was God at Auschwitz - World - theage.com.au

Found this article from yesterdays Age, I don't know much about this new Pope, but from this he sounds like a pretty switched on unit.

"In a place like this, words fail. In the end, there can only be a dread silence, a silence which is a heartfelt cry to God -- Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?"

"Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?"

I actually respect people who give that kind of answer, rather than trying to justify or rationalise such atrocities, they admit that there are some mysteries of God we'll just never understand.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Does it matter if Jesus was married?

Last week at Frankston I got the oppurtunity to preach, which i haven't done for ages, on the Da Vinci Code, which was a bit of fun. I loved the book, and thought the movie was OK, but nothing special. When I find the time I'm hoiping to post up a rough transcript of what i talked about, save me emailing it multiple times to people that have asked to check it out.

Last night as the Huddle we went to see the movie then went out to dinner afterwards for a bit of discussion, which was really good.

One of the issues that came up was obviously that of the claim the book makes that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus, and had little girl Sarah, who moved off to France with Mary, and was the start of a long line of French kings-the Merovingians.

The thing is, i really don't know if I have a problem with that idea. I've thought about it a lot, and can't see any reason why it should be a problem. I don't believe he did, as I'd think it would probably be mentioned in the Gospels, but thats not the point. The point is-would the fact that he was married make him any less divine, any less able to be the man who loved the poor and the outcasts, healed people, died and rose again?

One of the guys recalled a conversation he'd had with a mate who said he really struggled with the concept, because the marriage union is supposed to join together two people, and how could a member of the Trinity be in community with another? Would that take away from his divinity? One of our other crew mentioned that if Jesus could not marry then it would be harder for him to understand the idea that Jesus was actaully fully human, quite a good point methinks.

So, in the end, for me, if Jesus was married and had kids is irrelevant, he's a top bloke either way.

Friday, May 26, 2006

XXXchurch.com - #1 Christian Porn Site

XXXchurch.com - #1 Christian Porn Site

I dunno if I've linked to this site before, but these guys do some pretty important stuff in terms of dealing with people struggling with porn addictions and helping people to leave the industry if they want to.

Check out their Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bible-I just ordered a couple myself, looks pretty sweet!

Hearing from God through the Bible

Was going back today doing a bit of re-reading of some chapters I'd skimmed over when rushing my VETAMORPHUS readings, and it was just one of those awesome experiences where God totally just speaks to you through the Bible, there was a few things that totally stuck out to me, and were really encouraging, and a couple that really made me think.

Sometimes (but definitely not always) its just as simple as slowing yourself down to read something, and being open to what God may say to you through it. Love it.

Of course thats not always the case, sometimes we struggle with reading our Bible at all, sometimes it seems dry and boring, sometimes it seems like it has nothing to say, but more often than not, if our attitude is right, God can speak to us through the Bible.

Thats not anything really profound, just a simple thing that encouraged me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor

Robert Bruce American Poet � Blog Archive � Love Thy Neighbor�
This is just a pretty cool little poem I found the other day, via LivingRoom, check it out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Went and saw Ben Harper last week, was absolutely unbelievavble! Without a doubt the best gig I've ever been to! Posted by Picasa

He played for like two and a half hours, played pretty much all his good songs except Blessed to be a Witness, totally went nuts to Black Rain and My Own Two Hands/War then finished it off beautifully with Better Way, which is definitely up there with my favourite songs of his.

He's a brilliant musician, great showman, and yet so much more deep than just a normal bloke singing songs. Some stuff that really does connect with you on so many different levels. Will definitely see him next time. Quality stuff!

The Yabbs in a Nailbiter!

As I know most of my readers are avid followers of the Tyabb Footy Club, so it would be remiss of me not to mention our amazing come-from-behind, kicked-a-goal after the siren win on Saturday over Nepean League Reserves powerhouses Crib Point.

Now pretty much all of that was a lie apart from the bit about us winning with a goal kicked after the siren! It was absoultely awesome! We'd been playing absolutely horrendously all day, but so had they, they kicked something like 8 goals 20! So that was the only thing that really kept us in the game!

So in the dying seconds Calamari took a great grab and slotted it after the siren. No doubt the song was sung with great gusto, and much celebrations were had. This was all topped with a massive pumping of the Cats by the Pies! Life's good!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When and How do we use the Bible?

Was at school the other day when a youth ministry compatriot, and friend of mine, from a large church up the road, came to speak at Chapel (every second week, which the school basically runs like a youth service, upbeat music, youth speakers, its generally not too bad for the students)

Anyway, he was talking on the topic of drinking, always a good one to discuss with teenagers. Other than my constant issues with the one sided nature of preaching, I was keen to hear what he had to say.

He started off with some really interesting statistics about the levels of drinking in Australia (so much higher than even i thought!) and went on to discuss a whole bunch of Biblical perspectives on drinking, which all seemed really valid, apart from that one where i think its Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach condition-which is totally not relevant to us, but anyway.

So he went on about all the different Biblical stuff, and quite clearly made the point that for Christians, drinking is OK, but getting drunk isn't. Which I have no problem with, other than the fact that most kids aren't Christians, so not massively relevant...

The thing that really got me thinking afterwards was the amount the Bible was used, which to be honest I think was way too much. Not before burning me as some Bible-hating liberal, hear me out.

See I really don't see the point in using the Bible heaps to prove a point to people that don't actually believe in the Bible. It's like trying to convince me of something by quoting the Koran, i may have regard for it as a holy book, but its not mine, so why would I listen to it? I reckon its the same with kids and the Bible.

If people don't already view the Bible as authoratative then don't try use it to prove stuff to them, because I really don't think its that effective.

See the way I look at it, pretty much everything thats in the Bible actually makes sense (when read in the right context etc) and should be able to be explained with common logic and reason that isn't necessarily from the Bible.

So in this case I would have just talked about why I don't think getting blind is a smart choice, told some stories from my own life and from others, talked about some stats maybe, and mentioned that this is all in line with the Bible, and how this is just another example of why God's guidelines actually make sense in real life.

I really did think it was a good message, just wasn't pitched to the right audience. Bible-believing Christians Yes, skeptical not really into the Bible non-Christians No. But thats just my opinion...

NT Wright on the Church

Haven't read heaps of this NT Wright dude's stuff, but what I have he seems pretty switched on, has done some good scholarly stuff on Jesus. Good kid.

“According to the early Christians, the church doesn’t exist in order to provide a place where people can pursue their private spiritual agendas and develop their own spiritual potential. Nor does it exist in order to provide a safe haven in which people can hide from the wicked world and ensure that they themselves arrive safely at an otherworldly destination. Private spiritual growth and ultimate salvation come rather as the byproducts of the main, central, overarching purpose for which God has called and is calling us. The purpose is clearly stated in various places in the New Testament: that through the church God will announce to the wider world that he is indeed its wise, loving, and just creator: that through Jesus he has defeated the powers that corrupt and enslave it; and that by his Spirit he is at work to heal and renew it.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is Kingdom the right word?

Found in Translation, Sojourners Magazine/March 2006

Brilliant article here about the lost power of the metaphor of the Kingdom of God, and a couple other suggested metaphors for what Jesus always talked about.

Here's a couple of snippets, but read the full article(not really that long) to get a better idea of these ideas and to read them in context.

The dream of God. I frequently try to put the prayer of the kingdom (what we often call “The Lord’s Prayer”) into my own words so that I don’t just recite it on autopilot. But I often struggle with how to paraphrase the clause “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Since the language of “will” can take us down a trail of control, domination, and coercion, and since I don’t believe those ideas are in Jesus’ mind, I have looked for other words.

The revolution of God. For people like Martin Luther King Jr., attuned to fighting injustice, corruption, oppression, racism, and other forms of social evil, the “revolution” or “revolutionary movement” of God naturally flows from the metaphor of the dream of God for creation.

The mission of God. The Latin term missio dei has long been used to describe God’s work in the world. Its etymology (the root miss means “send”) reminds us that God sends us into the world to be agents of change: We have a task to do for God. True, there is more to the kingdom than mission; being in relationship is essential to life in the kingdom, so kingdom life is not just doing work. But this metaphor still has great value, as long as we complement it with more relational language.

The party of God. Jesus often compared the kingdom to parties, feasts, and banquets. Today we could say that God is inviting people to leave their gang fights, workaholism, loneliness, and isolation and join the party, to leave their exclusive parties (political ones, for example, which win elections by dividing electorates) and join one inclusive party of a different sort, to stop fighting, complaining, hating, or competing and instead start partying and celebrating the goodness and love of God.

The network of God. A promising new metaphor works with the idea of a network or system. God is inviting people into a life-giving network. First, God wants people to be connected, plugged in, in communication with God, so God can transfer to them what they need—not just information but also virus-debugging software, along with love, hope, empowerment, purpose, and wisdom. As well, each person who is connected to God must become integrally connected to all others in the network. In this way, the network of God breaks down the walls of smaller, exclusive networks (like networks of racism, nationalism, and the like) and invites them into the only truly worldwide web of love. The network becomes a resource for people outside the network as well, and of course, people are always invited to enter the connectivity themselves.

The metaphor of an ecosystem could work in a similar way: We are currently living in an imbalanced, self-destructive ecosystem, but God is inviting us to live in a new network of relationships that will produce balance, harmony, and health. The metaphor of a community works along similar lines. One thinks of theologian Stanley Grenz speaking in terms of “the community of God,” or Dr. King’s preferred phrases, “the beloved community” or “the inescapable network of mutuality.”

The dance of God. In the early church, one of the most powerful images used for the Trinity was the image of a dance of mutual indwelling. The Father, Son, and Spirit live in an eternal, joyful, vibrant dance of love and honor, rhythm and harmony, grace and beauty, giving and receiving. The universe was created to be an expression and extension of the dance of God—so all creatures share in the dynamic joy of movement, love, vitality, harmony, and celebration. But we humans broke with the dance. We stamped on the toes of other dancers, ignored the rhythm, rejected the grace, and generally made a mess of things. But God sent Jesus into the world to model for us a way of living in the rhythm of God’s music of love, and ever since, people have been attracted to the beauty of his steps and have begun rejoining the dance.

Fascinating, some top ideas for sure.

I've now got a MySpace

Find me on MySpace and be my friend!

I've been resisting getting one of these for ages cos I know how easily I'd get sucked into wasting way too much time on, this blog is bad enough. The main reason I got it was to further monopolise all blog/space things around with the hotdiggityblog username, just because it'd be funny to say I had heaps that were all 'somethingoranother / hotdiggityblog'. So there we have it, possibly the most boring MySpace ever!

Brian McLaren�s Inferno: the provocative church leader explains his view of hell

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Brian McLaren�s Inferno: the provocative church leader explains his view of hell

Surprise surprise, I'm linking to a few more Brian McLaren articles. This one isn't anything really groundbreaking for those who may have read some of his stuff before, or asked a few questions about heaven and hell. Also, a little quote from Tony Campolo, whose ideas on this are a little more new to me

Here's a couple snippets:
No, I am not embracing a traditional universalist position, but I am trying to raise the question, When God created the universe, did he have two purposes in mind—one being to create some people who would forever enjoy blessing and mercy, and another to create a group who would forever suffer torment, torture, and punishment? What is our view of God? A God who plans torture? A God who has an essential, eternal quality of hatred? Is God love, or is God love and hate?

Tony [Campolo] and I might disagree on the details, but I think we are both trying to find an alternative to both traditional Universalism and the narrow, exclusivist understanding of hell [that unless you explicitly accept and follow Jesus, you are excluded from eternal life with God and destined for hell].

Tony is presenting the inclusivist alternative. The fact is, many people who claim to be exclusivists are actually inclusivists and they don’t know it. For example, if you ask them if they believe all babies who die before or shortly after birth go to hell, they’ll say no, that children who die before the age of accountability are included in Christ’s saving work. They’ll say the same for people who are mentally incompetent, and so on. So really, strict exclusivists are rather rare.

We obsess on “who’s in” and “who’s out.” Jesus, however, seems to be asking the question, “How canthe kingdom of God more fully come on earth as it is in heaven, and how should disciples of the kingdom live to enter and welcome the kingdom?”

And from Campolo:
What I think we can say is, and this is where I get into trouble, I’m not so sure that when this life is over that all possibilities for salvation are over. I read in Ephesians 4:9-10 a passage that can be interpreted to describe a Jesus who descends into “the depths below the earth” to bring captives up to God. I read in 1 Peter 3:19 about a Jesus who goes to preach to those in the prison house of death, and I believe these Scriptures show Jesus doing something for people after they are dead, as we understand death. This reveals Jesus to be the “hound of heaven.”

Interesting stuff. The comments have drawn the usual amount of thanks and criticism.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Anybody from Iowa?

For the past couple of months I've had the pleasure of a couple of American student teachers living with me whilst doing rounds out here, and they've been great fun.

Before they left, i thought it'd be interesting to see if i happen to have any readers of this blog from their home state, Iowa?

So if you are from those parts, let us know, cos there's any chance you might be related to them ;)

Our Image of God?

Had some great discussion at church last night about how we understand/deal with God when our prayers aren't answered, when stuff in our life goes totally wrong and when God hasn't seemed to have come through for us.

So what kind of image/understanding of God do we need to help people discover, so that when life and faith seems to be totally up the duff, that their faith can survive. I'd like to be able to tell people about a God that will answer all their prayers the way they want, will give them the life they've always wanted, improve their life boundlessly in all areas and protect them from danger for the rest of their days, but first of all, that's not the God I believe in, and second, what will happen to that God when those things don't work out as planned?

How do we encourage people to form more healthy understandings of God that will not be torn down when life doesn't work out as planned?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ok so this is the final wedding photo, sorry to bore all of you who don't know anybody in these photos! If thats you, then I'm the guy just to the bride's left, second guy from the right of screen.  Posted by Picasa
Here's the lovely bridesmaids and the awesome dresses that Shaz designed and made for them. Posted by Picasa

What is the nature of forgiveness?

I've been thinking about this lately in light of some silly things I've done, just stuff that didn't really match up with my own expectations of myself, and not really up to what I feel are God's standards for my life.

I understand reasonably well, and can get my head around human forgiveness, but what does it all mean from God's end?

So when God says he forgives sin, does that mean that He forgets it, and doesn't judge us for it at the end of our time?

When people talk about Jesus washing away our sins does that include the guilt and shame associated with those actions? If so then why do so few people feel that freedom from guilt and shame?

What does it actually mean to 'give it all over to God' in terms of trying to move on and deal with sin?

If Jesus died to forgive our sins, why do we need to keep asking for that forgiveness?

got a few ideas on some of those, but they're just the questions rattling around for me, not only froma personal perspective, but just ona broader theological level.

signposts.org.au � Blog Archive � muslims on tape less scary

signposts.org.au � Blog Archive � muslims on tape less scary

Bit of an interesting discussion going on here about a particular church's objection to the Muslim call to prayer being played in their church building, worth checking out.
Here's Lucas with the slightly important other member of the bridal party. Posted by Picasa
Many of you may know one of my good mates Lucas Taylor, who is pictured here in one of his last moments as a single man before being married to his lovely bride Sharyn Mullens. This photo is obviously of the four most important people of the day! Posted by Picasa