Friday, July 28, 2006

The Mexican Parable

emergingBlurb: The Mexican Parable#links#links#links

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village.
An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them."Not very long," answered the Mexican.
"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?"
asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a Siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.

"The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can Help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.

You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."
"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican."Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American."And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well, my friend, that's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"
"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

And the moral is: Know where you're going in life. You may already be there.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jesus, Are You Serious?

Was making my way though Luke yesterday, and found I really couldn't make it past Luke 6. It was just messing with my head far too much, I couldn't just move on.

I loved the bit about Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath, how love is more important than regulations, that even David went into the temple to eat the 'don't touch this' bread when he was hungry. Encouraging, affirming, good. Same again with the healing of the dudes hand in the temple.

Jesus spends some time praying, thats always a good thing.

Then its on to Luke's version of the Beatitudes, which may or may not have been an account of the similar message given in Matt 5-7. Some very interesting concepts there, but ok.

I like the idea in verse 27, love your enemies (liking the idea isn't the same as saying I'm that good at it-still working on that one!) I get the concept behind turning the other cheek, buIt then Jesus comes out witht his:

'Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not ask for it back'.

That stopped me, how seriously do we take that? Like, do we literally, every time somebody asks us for money, give it to them? Do we actually just not worry about it when somebody steals our car? Do we, as a friend once termed it, commit financial suicide?

Similarly, when Jesus asks us 'sell everything you have and give it to the poor' are we actually meant to do that? Even the most hardline 'I take everything in the Bible to be literally true' people I know don't do that! Why not??

I dunno, what do we do with this? Do we just put it in the too hard basket, and keep reading until we find something that fits nicely with our middle class Western worldview? Why have I never heard this preached on in church?

Is it one of those ones where Jesus is clearly over-exagerating a statement-ala 'ripping your eye out if it causes you to sin', so as to illustrate a point he's really passionate about? Haven't had the chance to look up too many commentaries/study guides yet, but I wanna let this one roll around in my head for a while longer, so I'll stick with it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another casual job, no dilemmas this time

It's a pretty sweet one this time, just encouraging people to recycle their old mobile phones through the MobileMuster program. Basically, there are like 16 million old phones lying around in Australia, and when 90% of a phone can be recycled, why not? If they go into landfill its definitely no good for the enviroment.

It was funny, cos I didn't actually have to approach people about it, but I wanted to, cos its actually a worthwhile cause, and wanted to get the message out there.

No crazy jobs next week, doing my chaplaincy gig for the Victorian Christian Schools Basketball Squad, should be good fun.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Toy demonstrating madness!

Had my first day of the toy demonstrating job today-it was pretty sweet! Although I seriously could not believe how many people were there before 8-literally hundreds! People were full commando rolling under the doors as they opened-it was seriously like Boxing Day!

I didn't have to do any selling, only demonstrating, just showing the kids how to play with the toys etc, all pretty cruisey. A lot of people knew what toys they wanted, so sometimes I just helped them find it.

At the end of the day, I kinda look at it this way, I'm in no position to be challenging randoms on the street about their lifestyles and how much crap they buy. So the best thing I can do in that situation is to help them as to what toys will best suit the kids they're buying for.

So if their kid wasn't the right age for a certain toy, I told them that, and helped them look for something better. If they had no idea about a decent present for a boy/girl of whatever age, I helped them find stuff in their price range. I dunno, i felt I approached a less than ideal situation in the best possible manner.

A prayer on losing faith

Found this today, thought it was an interesting one, via this site

it’s easy to jump straight to writing a prayer for peace
but i need to live for a moment with the reality
that i am terrified

struck dumb by knowing there is no prayer I have the faith to pray
that will help those
who watch rockets go overhead
(waiting for the moment one will hit, when they will live in fear no more).

i read the newspaper stories
until the words of ‘revenge’, ‘retaliation’, ‘provocation’, ‘fierce response’all jumble into one
blurred against the heartbreaking photos of those whose lives are destroyed(it seems grief looks the same in any religion)

and until i can no longer look, full face, at anger this fierce.

so I turn the page, story unfinished,aching, but immobilised
knowing I have the luxury of being able to turn the page,to pour another cup of coffee and talk of the day’s meals
(to say ‘amen’ at the end of the prayer, and move on to the final hymn),
and yet, somehow, the responsibility not to.

All the while, you, God of Abraham,
must be weeping for love of your children.
each one of them.
i fear my faith that peace and justice will win this waris deserting me,
(i pray someone else will hold that faith for me)

and the only act of faith I have left
is to honour the grief and the terror of those living it,alongside you.

Maybe – faint hope – that will be enough
to provoke me to make peace with my neighbours
and to practise being gracious in my own life(even when I am attacked without provocation).
to recognise the loved-ness of the otheras easily as I recognise their other-ness.

and instead of saying, that will have to be enough,I should have the faith that
it is the only that which will be enough.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I love my local community!

Had a quite productive-as opposed to the many opposite, meeting with a community group that I'm a part of, a few council youth workers, school principals, and interested citizens.

It is at times long and drawn out, as we've done all these community surveys on needs of young people in the area, assessed possible solutions, worked out which are viable, started doing them etc.

Tonight it just felt like it really started to come together, for me anyway. Had a productive chat with the guy from the high school about doing some stuff to help out there, chatted to the cops about helping them with their road safety campaigns, started the ball rolling with a decent looking 'positive language' program to implement at local junior sports clubs.

So many of these things, and the connections I have, would not have come if I wasn't living long term in my local community. I just love it. Which is why I think i'm such a big fan of Hamo and what they're doing with Upstream, and crazy people like UNOH.

I love the Message translation of John 1:14 'The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood'

I dunno, just recently been really seeing the value of the whole local community thing lately, always known it, been seeing it more lately.


I've been trying to get this posted up for ages, so sorry about the late notice. You should all get onto it!

If you can't read it, it's a trivia/auction fundraiser for TEAR Australia, one of my favourite aid organisations. I think the rest is pretty clear. You can post a comment here, or email me if you wanna know more/book 8 tables.

The Fight.com.au 'A 30 DAY CHALLENGE FOR GUYS'

The Fight.com.au 'A 30 DAY CHALLENGE FOR GUYS'

Looks like a potentially very useful resource, a 30 day devotional type DVD for young guys dealing with pornography, and the devastating effects it can have on guys.

Create Your Own Beer, Wine and Water Online Now!

Create Your Own Beer, Wine and Water Online Now!

This site is wicked! You can fully design your own label, print on it whatever you want, and they send you out a slab of beer with your own print on it!

You can even do bottles of water or wine! So many possibilities...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Should I give a crap about politics?

Had an interesting discussion with a good friend the other day about something vaguely political, and I again voiced my opinion thatI really don't give a crap about politics, I really couldn't care a whole lot.

It's only in the last few months that I've been able to remember which parties John Howard and Steve Bracks were in! I definitely really have no voting preference, and often just pick whoever seems to have better policies on the day.

A couple of people in different church contexts have picked me up on this, saying that I, as a Christian, should be more aware of what's going on in Government, particularly as a leader, so I can help others make more informed choices in regard to the leadership of our country. And maybe I should?

Ha made the point that so much of what goes on in our country is as a result of government of some sort, so therefore, if i want to make some sort of a difference in the world, then one (not the only, but one) way I can do that is through influencing government, whether that be through my vote, or by speaking and or writing to them.

I agree with him in one way, and one of the things I've really enjoyed doing with the Huddle has been writing letters to our local MP about the Millenium Development Goals and other such issues that we feel are important.

But on the other hand, one of the main reasons for my dis-motivation is my feeling of powerlessness within the whole process, sure I can vote, and I do, but once my vote is cast I have minimal control over the whole Government process. And it annoys me when I can't try and influence a situation for the better in some way, so I generally avoid engaging with the whole political dealio.

Definitely got a lot more thinking to do about the whole issue, so we'll see...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ethical dilemmas of said new job...

It wasn't until after the training that I started to reflect on the nature of what I was being paid to, obviously to promote the product with the intention of getting more people to buy it...

It made me think a whole lot, how much am I just totally supporting the whole consumer culture around us, telling us we need the latest toy, the coolest gadget, just to stay up with the times. As cool as it is, the reality is that nobody really 'needs' this radar gun, so should I be promoting it???

You could argue that somebody will be getting the money, so it may as well be me, but you can use that argument to justify a whole lot of crazy crap. 'Well they're gonna get their crack from somewhere' 'somebody was gonna buy those 16 year olds booze, why shouldn't I take the profits' and so on...

In a world where 2 billion people don't have clean drinking water, how can I really justify encouraging kids and parents to spend their money on this toy? When many parents are struggling just to make ends meet, is it right that I encourage their kids to want, and consequently pester their parents for, this toy?

I'm signed up for this job now, but I think I'll think a little harder about it in the future...

How many EC Bloggers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

The Complex Christ: How many EC Bloggers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?

If you read a few 'Emerging Church' blogs and all the good and crap that go along with them, then this will appeal to you! If not, don't bother!

Another cool job!

One of the great things about only being employed part-time, is that you can wind up getting some very cool part-time/casual jobs, well I do anyway.

Probably up there with 'getting-paid-to-stand-on-a-boat-while-somebody-else-drives-it' is my new job, working as a toy demonstrator! Basically my job is to walk around a certain department store, playing with one of the coolest toys in history (a fully working radar gun!!) and talking to people about how cool it is!

It's just a casual job, so only a couple days work, but will hopefully lead to a few more down the track!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jobs and the Kingdom of God

Due to my own lack of permanent work, other than the school where I'm a youth worker, I've been thinking a lot about jobs, not only how I can get one, but what God has to say about the whole area of vocation and work.

It's something that is perhaps not always talked about in church, but I've just been realising lately how much of a big deal it is for so many people. That probably sounds a bit stupid, but having studied all the time since school, its never massively come up for me.

But when families are out on there own, single parents trying to bring up kids, or two parents in low paid jobs, its a big issue. For me, I'm young, there's a few jobs I'm able to do, I've got a car, I still live at home, really the situation isn't too bad. But for some, its so much more serious.

People often ask questions about here is God in natural disasters and sickness, but I wondered the other day-where is God in the injustice of 300 workers losing their jobs in a factory, in people getting used and abused by their jobs, being fired for no reason, working so hard they never see the family they're supporting? And what should our response as Christians be?

Should we be taking more notice of these new IR laws (something I really know bugger all about), should we be doing more about sweatshops in China, should we be writing letters about people losing their jobs-not just overseas poverty? Is there anything we can do to change the 'system' or should we just make the best of it as it is?

Should we all, as Ash Barker once mused, work and survive on four days a week, so as to create more jobs?

What would the Kingdom of God look like if it came more fully for the jobless, for those stuck in mind and soul-draining jobs, for those working three jobs and no home life? What does Jesus have to say to them?

Problems shared are problems halved

I dunno if that is exactly a Biblical idea, but if not, it should be!! Had a pretty cruisey night at the Huddle tonight, just sharing what was going on, good and bad, in our lives and the lives of others, and praying for each other. It's so simple yet so powerful, and we do ourselves no favours by forgetting that.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite Week!

This is probably one of the few times in my life where I've really wished I was American! How cool would that be-a freaking Napoleon Dynamite Week!

Preston, Idaho, home of the loveable hero from "Napoleon Dynamite," is putting on the second annual festival in honor of Napoleon's most memorable quirks. Take the Napoleon Tour with a "sweet map" of movie locales. Watch the Happy Hands Club perform some gloved routines. Join the tetherball game, stop by Rex Kwon Do Dojo for some karate or prove yourself in the Tot Eating Contest, Sweet Bike-Roller Blade contest, Football Throwing Contest, Moonboot Dance contest or FFA Milk Tasting Contest.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

10.02 Prayer and 4.03 Prayer

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � 10.02 Prayer and 4.03 Prayer

More stuff stolen from Hamo's site. Some good ideas, I might jump on it.

In Organic Chuch he writes of spreading the ‘Luke 10:2 virus’. That’s the passage where Jesus says ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ He writes that he has made it a practice to set the alarm on his watch to go off each day at 10.02 AM at which point he will drop what he is doing and take some time to ask God for new missionaries / workers.

Its such a simple idea you could pass over it.

But the beauty of simple ideas is often that they are doable and they don’t require any great skills. So for the last month or so I have been practicing this prayer, at 10.02 each day, just asking God for more people with missionary passion to come and serve with us here in Brighton, as well as praying for more people generally to get off their butts and engage in a missionary life wherever that may be.

Go forth and make a buck but for God's sake don't keep it, faithful told

Go forth and make a buck but for God's sake don't keep it, faithful told

The annual Hillsong conference is on again, and as always, it gets plenty of press. Always makes for interesting reading.

I actually don't reckon I mind the sounds of what Rick Warren is saying here about making lots of money so you can give it all away, but I'm pretty knackered so couldn't be bothered thinking it through! Will be worth watching the papers this week.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � Fuzzy Theo-Logic?

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � Fuzzy Theo-Logic?

Interesting post and discussion here about the use of church buildings by different groups in the community, who we do and don't let use them etc.

At Frankston one of the aims behind the building that we have is for it to be at its heart a community centre, that the church happens to own, and use on various occasions. As far as I know its never come up at Frankston, but it would be interesting to see how different people responded. Some worthwhile thoughts either way.

The Abbey - ABC TV

The Abbey - ABC TV

Saw this advertised on Compass last night-looks pretty interesting! Basically they're looking for a few ladies to go and live like nuns for 33 days-should be a pretty interesting show!

Apparently they did a similar thing in Britain and it worked a treat. You've got till Friday to apply girls!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

SYG speaker 3

The Sunday night is the big important talk, the one where people get the chance to make a commitment-again an idea I'm quite a fan of-if done right.

So he tried to do the whole put myself down routine, try and connect with that part in every teenager that somewhere deep down doesn't like themself, but didn't do that that well either. I actually thought at times he made too much of a deal of it. Yes, recognise and acknowledge the crapness that can be a teenagers world, but don't harp on it..

He mentioned the story of the person who built their house on the sand, and the person who built their's on the rock, and the ensuing construction and stability hassles of the former. A great story, with a lot of potential to talk about standing your ground, basing your life on something solid, something worth building afoundation on etc. Good stuff.

But then he just went on to talk about Jesus' death on the cross, and how that deals with sin, and lets us be right with God, which is all well and good, and important stuff, but is really just focussed on Jesus and what he did, rather than our response to him-which is more the angle I'd take.

And so he got people to stand up for a couple of different reasons-which I actually thought was explained well in part. I didn't like a lot of his inferences that they were now accepted into the Christian community (I thought Christian community went on throughout the whole weekend?) and the usual, 'you've made this one decision which will now automatically change the rest of your life' which as we probably all know, does happen sometimes, but far from always.

There were no practical steps or suggestions offered for waht standing one's ground might look like when they get back to school and everybody wants to beat them up for even mentioning Jesus, or how to deal with their messed up family life, or anything like that.

There were a few other things I disagreed with, but thats all I can remember for now. So, in my opinion, a wonderful oppurtunity wasn't taken full advantage of, both in terms of the weekend and the theme of the week. But then, God moved in people's lives and did stuff, so who knows...

SYG speaker 2

So it seems my last attempt at actually writing up anything about the speaker himself were thwarted for some reason. So here I go, though the memories are starting to fade...

The speaker was Tim Hawkins, from some Sydney Anglican church (which should set off alarm bells for those who know anything about Sydney Anglicans,but I tried to ignore those) who's reasonably well known in Christian Youth Ministry circles, having written Fruit That Will Last, and Leaders That Will Last, neither of which i've read completely, but look like they cover some pretty good ground. So I had reasonably high hopes.

On the Saturday night, he came out and did a bit of an intro talk, just so people knew who he was, got to have a bit of a connection with the audience, so hopefully they'd be a bit more comfortable with him the next night. Quite a good idea I reckon.

But he didn't do it all that well. I love a bit of interstate banter-but he just flat out paid out on Victoria for ages, and it wasn't even that funny. I'm sorry, but if you're gonna be a decent speaker at events like this, and try be funny (which is helpful but not necessary) then be funny.

Plus he excessively plugged all his resources-books, DVDs, CDs, commemorative underwear etc.
That didn't impress me much, but I got over it. I was impressed that he came out the next night and apologised for harping on it too much. I actually don't mind people plugging their stuff, as long as its not excessive.

Church: Concert or Dinner Party

flyinginbluesky

I thought this was a good post, questions I've asked plenty of times before, but its always nice to hear somebody else saying it. (I actually think a lot of the stuff I link to is often just saying what I think, but said better. I need to link to, and read more, stuff I disagree with-its no good never being challenged and what not)

If Solace is like a concert then it (whatever Solace activity we might be thinking of) is an event that we can go to if we wish. Our attendance or non-attendance at the event doesn’t alter the event. We see ourselves as observers and not central to the concert and it won’t be diminished or cancelled if we don’t go. Also, it isn’t affected by whether we choose to talk to anyone while we’re there. And over time, as our tastes change we can stop attending one band’s concerts and move on to another band without causing any pain.

If Solace is like a concert then it (whatever Solace activity we might be thinking of) is an event that we can go to if we wish. Our attendance or non-attendance at the event doesn’t alter the event. We see ourselves as observers and not central to the concert and it won’t be diminished or cancelled if we don’t go. Also, it isn’t affected by whether we choose to talk to anyone while we’re there. And over time, as our tastes change we can stop attending one band’s concerts and move on to another band without causing any pain.

But read the rest of it to put these two little paragraphs in context.