Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What do we call the building where the church meets?

Have been chatting a bit with a few people at Franga CoC about what we should call the building where some of our congregations meet as a church.

Obviously the church is the people gathered together, nott he building, but so often I catch myself, and others, calling the building the church.

It's a force of habit I think we need to change. It may seem like only a small issue, but is probably more important than we think.

It's not a problem with the Huddle as meet in homes, but for our Sunday morning and evening congregations and others involved in the life of the church, these little things do make a difference.

So far we've been tossing around ideas like'The Resource Centre" "Community Resource Centre" "Red Brick Building" "130" but clearly none of those are going to do the job. Let me know if you've got any ideas.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cool Oscar Romero Poem

Prophets Of A Future Not Our Own (Oscar Romero)

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fractionof the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.Nothing we do is complete, which is another way ofsaying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.No set of goals an objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that oneday will grow. We water the seeds already plantedknowing that they hold future promise.We lay foundations that will need further development.We provide yeast that produces effectsfar beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense ofliberation in realizing this.This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’sgrace to enter and do the rest.We may never see the end results, but that is thedifference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
— Archbishop Oscar Romero (martyred on March 24th 1980)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Finally! A new easier to swallow Bible version!

Excellent! Finally somebody has gone to the effort of taking out all the parts of the Bible that are too hard, or place too many demands on us! Perfect for todays consumer church!

Here is what the editors and others are saying:

According to Chairman Mr. De Rijke the foundation has reacted to a growing wish of many churches to be market-oriented and more attractive. "Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don't need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn't study economics, obviously."

no serious Christian takes these texts literally. "What if all Christians stopped being anxious, for example, and started expecting everything from God? Or gave their possessions to the poor, for that matter. Our economy would be lost. The truth is quite the contrary: a strong economy and a healthy work ethic is a gift from God."

“We don't use them anyway! There's no single Christian selling his possessions and giving them to the poor."

Good stuff!

Everybody should do Kids Hope

For the past few weeks I've been 'mentoring' (really we just hang out, read his books, do somehomework, and play games-nothing revolutionary really!) a 6 year old kid from a local primary school behind our church building at Franga Church of Christ.

Its seriously so cool, and such an easy way to make a difference in a kids life. All you do is go down there and hang out for an hour a week, muck around a bit, help them with some work, and it rocks their world! If you've got a spare hour during school time you should definitely do it!

Good Tree

I just found out about this website, looks pretty simple really. All you have to do is search using their search engine, and it donates a cent to some charity or cause you pick out. Uses the combined searches of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, so should be pretty good.

Terrible name, but an easy way to raise money for a charity that otherwise just goes to big business n stuff. Get on it I say.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The peloton of God

Went for a bit of a ride on the weekend, sort of did half of Round The Bay In a Day, did 110 kms, but it wasn't really official-me and a mate just went for a ride on the same day the big ride was on. More packs to slipstream behind that way!

I got to thinking, as one does whilst riding a bike for an excessive period of time, (and it was an excessive period of time going the pace we were!) about the Kingdom of God and cycling.

See the phrase 'the Kingdom of God' is one that I love-as its my favourite topic at the moment, but is also one that I think we slightly lose the meaning of, seeing as how we don't live in a culture where Kings and Kingdoms really mean anything. To use, the King-or Queen as it is now, to us is just a far off monarch who doesn't really do much. Not the idea Jesus was trying to present I think.

See I think if Jesus were around today, he might use very different words to describe His Kingdom (which in a nutshell is 'wherever God reigns') than He did back in the day.

A metaphor I thought up was 'The Peloton of God'. (Basically a Peloton is a big pack of cyclists, usually the lead group in a race) See a peloton is ultimately about being in community, you can't form a peloton with only one person.

It's about helping each other out, about lightening each other's load, making the journey easier. Sometimes some are called to be out the front of the peloton, doing the hard slog, but they can't stay out there or they'll get burnt out.

In a peloton sometimes you get people who just hang on, who are struggling along, but are kept going by being part of the group. There are some that could push harder, but instead choose just to coast, which is Ok-but they aren't getting the most out of themselves as a cyclist.

Sometimes people will drop off the back because its all too hard, which sucks for them, and the rest of the peloton, but is just a reality of riding. The offer to join is always there, but not everybody is always up for it. Sometimes a stronger rider can drop back to the struggling rider and help pull them back in, sometimes this offer is accepted, sometimes rejected.

The peloton doesn't force anybody to join, people can always take their own journey. Sometimes people on different journeys will help out the peloton, any rider can be out the front if they choose. Even thought that person may be travelling a different path, sometimes their journey will overlap with that of the peloton of God.

So there you, its not a perfect analogy, I don't think any are, but its my attempt.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Radish churches

Was chatting with my Mum this week, and we were talking about a little seed planting exercise I'd used when I spoke at our church gathering at Franga CoC last Sunday night (I do hope to post more on that at some stage too) and she was saying how I should have chucked some radish seeds in with the other ones.

When I asked why, she simply said, because they're the ones that shoot up first, and break the soil, which makes it easier for the other seeds to break on through. Gold.

My prayer is that the Huddle will be a radish church, breaking through new church planting soil, that by doing so, we can make it easier for others in our area to rise up and impact their own communities.

I can't believe we traded Taz!

Chris Tarrant, 5 time leading goal kicker, All Australian, for Paul MEdhurst and the No.8 pick in the draft! What a shambles!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Airport Ancecdote - Strip!

CPT Airport Ancecdote - Strip! at morepraxis

I think this captures a little of what I was talking about a while back with the whole turn the other cheek/give your cloths to anyone who asks you thing. This link from the same site picks up a similar issue.

This summer, Israel denied entry to many travelers, so in Palestine conversations with overseas visitors often touched on “airport stories.” One former resident of the At-Tuwani area, a Palestinian who married a Swedish woman and has lived in Sweden for twenty-two years, told us of his exit experience at the airport.
“After they searched all my luggage, the officer said, ‘Now you need to strip.’ I said, ‘You want me to take my clothes off? Why?’ He said, ‘Normal security procedure.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll undress, but not here in this back room. I’ll go out into the lobby and strip there, in front of all the tourists, and tell everyone, “This is how they treat you when you leave after visiting here - the officer ordered me to take my clothes off.” You can strip-search me out there.’
“The officer asked, ‘You would do that?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I would do that.’ Then he said, ‘Never mind. Take your bags and go to your plane.’”

Should doubts be silenced?

Eclectic Itchings: Should doubts be silenced?

Found this today, liked what he had to say, interesting blog to check out from time to time too.

It saddens me that some churches encourage the silencing of doubts.

Every now and again I come across people who express anger at the ‘blind faith’ of churched Christians. I had one of those conversations today. At issue was the ‘hissing’ responses this guy had received in the face of his questions and dissenting opinions, and his conclusions about churches in general that he’d come to as a consequence of that. I had this to say on the issue of blind faith:

“…the fear reactions you have encountered in conversations with others speak to me of shaky faith. Deep faith is incompatible with fear. Deep faith can handle tough questions. Deep faith can weather doubt, and indeed come out stronger on the other side. How? Because it has faced many such crises before and seen God’s faithfulness! How can you know how deep your faith is until you have faced your doubts? Hiding from your own doubts and suppressing them is a recipe for eventual disaster. Doubt is the necessary state you must come to if you want to grow beyond your current limitations.

I came to faith when I began to doubt my doubts, having given doubt full reign. I don’t know all the answers. I cannot. But I’ve seen enough and learnt enough and experienced enough to take the risk of taking this path. I cannot give you ‘evidence that demands a verdict’. All I can offer is evidence that invites further exploration, to be open to being tested as you test things out. I identify most with churches (read: communities) that respect that.”

Friday, October 06, 2006

McLaren on Irwin

God's Politics - Jim Wallis blog, faith blog, religion, christian, christianity, politics, values

Once again, he's done it. Summarised everything I was thinking, and said a lot more clearly than I ever would have. I know I need to read some other stuff for a bit of diversity, but I'm loving most McLaren stuff at the moment. Here's a couple snippets:

I know this might sound strange, but I think the man was a kind of missionary. He knew why he was put here on this planet; he knew his mission, and he knew it was more than a job. It was a vocation, a truly spiritual calling, an invitation and solemn duty to join in the care of God’s sacred creation.
What characterized Steve’s mission? Saving love – and especially for the creatures that are often misunderstood, despised and hated - crocs, sharks, snakes, spiders, and their kin.

He had a zealot’s passion for saving wildlife, and he had a childlike freedom to let his passion show. Somehow, he managed to grow up without ever outgrowing the unabashed wonder and unedited enthusiasm that all of us probably had at one time.

I don’t recall Steve speaking of God much. But every time he said, “Isn’t that a little beauty!” I think he was speaking for God, the One who notices and loves the smallest goodness of every created thing. The look on his face when he sat with an orangutan or swam with a green sea turtle or let a lizard perch on his finger – that look in itself was a sign and a wonder. Sure, some people think he was over the top, but with millions of other fans, I miss him, and with them, I’m inspired to live life a little – no, a lot - louder and freer because of him … playing my own unique part in the sacred mission of saving love. Rest in peace, Steve-o. Well done.

Thanks to Garth at EmergingBlurb for this one.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Inspiring people

Man these people inspire me, I'd so love to be doing something similar in my area. I went to YITS with the older brother of the chick who leads all of this, who's like 21 now. She was the kind of 18 year old who would rock up to functions and parties with the 10 girls in her small group, just real life on life discipleship stuff. Amazing, inspiring woman of God. Check em out, be inspired, do something about it.

Love everybody stupid

Thought this to myself this arvo, as one of my neighbours dropped around to say, well, not much, cos she doesn't, she just kinda stands around whilst you uncomfortably make conversation.

Interrupted my other plans for the night completely, missed out on doing what I had planned, but judging by our conversation, God probably had something else in mind.

But just as I internally groaned when Mum yelled out that she was at the door, I was again reminded of Jesus telling us that anybody can love their friends, but it takes something special to love your enemies. Of course, she's not an enemy, just a socially awkward neighbour.

For me, the whole incarnational mission thing is predominantly about loving my friends, easy enough. It takes a whole other level of love to love these kind of people. God, help me, I've got a long way to go.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I have become everything I loathe!

I honestly can not believe how bad a person I am! I have turned into exactly the kind of minister I never wanted to! I'm almost ashamed to write that on Sunday, I preached for over 50 minutes!

I was really pumped about what I was talking about, and everybody said it was all good stuff, but that is no excuse! In my own defence, I did include a fair bit of interaction and getting people involved, but it was still way too long! When I realised how long I'd been going for, I wanted to finish, but couldn't, as my last bit was the strongest part!

Thinkin I'll be doing some slight modifications before I speak to the evening congregation this week!

(N.B. Don't take this post too seriously, surprisingly enough, the sarcasm was lost through the printed medium. I was annoyed at myself, but not that much!)