Thursday, September 28, 2006

brian mclaren session 3: spiritual formation in practice

e~mergent kiwi: brian mclaren session 3: spiritual formation in practice

Found this today whilst procrastinating from real work that needs doing, but its useful, so meh, what do ya do?

Watching Movies

A few weeks ago at church we watched V for Vendetta, one of my favourite movies of the past few years, and discussed some of the spiritual/religious themes we saw come out of it, and I feel it was an altogether worthwhile couple of nights.

Similar to my last post, I was thinking a lot about why we do it. If its just so that we can say we're cool and watch movies at church, then i think we've missed the point.

For me the point is that God can speak to us through movies, through secular songs, through all what manner of popular culture, if only we're switched on enough to hear Him. We need to get better at opening our ears, eyes and hearts-and those of others, for God to speak to us through these medium.

Why do we do what we do?

A while back we (the Huddle) were discussing some ideas for our future meetings, and one of the ideas floated around was that we should have church at the pub-an idea which i'm totally up for-if we have a good reason.

See i think its easy when rethinking church stuff to just be attracted to something because it looks cooler and funkier, because its better than meeting in a 'church building', because people would tell us how much more in tune with culture we are if we're in a pub, or all these other crappy superficial reasons.

I reckon meeting in a pub would be an awesome thing to do, if we were going to connect with the pub crowd, or if that was where we all naturally hung out, or some similar good missional reason.

Somebody suggested once that we as the huddle should meet in our footy club rooms, which has some merit, but I'm not totally keen on, for one, WE ARE NOT A FOOTY CHURCH, a lot of people still seem to ask me about how the footy church is going, but thats not our only focus, its one, but not our only. But mainly because the motivation of the person suggesting it thought it would be a 'cool' thing to do, which don't impress me much.

We need to get over our desire to be cool, and just get on with the business of connecting with people, and living the way we reckon Jesus would if he were in our shoes.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Steer clear of Exclusive Brethren

Before i start this, please be aware I'm talking about Exclusive Brethren, not the normal kind. Some of my best friends are Brethos, and I don't want to tar them all with the same brush.

I was watching some show the other night on the ABC about the Exclusive Bretheren, and man, those dudes are such a cult-in the worst kind of way. And don't worry, I feel safe that they're not gonna chase me down for writing this, as they're not allowed computers (actually, they are now, but only if they buy them from their leader, the 'Man of God'... but even still they're probably not allowed to read non-EB blogs.)

Those guys are seriously whack, people aren't allowed to smoke, drink, wear shorts, associate with those outside the fellowship, vote, go to uni, have pets, question their leadership in any way.

From their leaders there's the usual tonnes of money given illegally, alcoholism, adulterous sex with members etc (well, that was two leaders anyway, perhaps I shouldn't generalise)

But the worst thing about it all, other than the massive distortions of the Christian faith and the teachings of Jesus, was the way they ripped families apart. Not letting wives see their dying husbands, stealing kids away during the night from parents thathave been ex-communicated, making this young autistic kid write hate mail to his dad, not letting husband and wives sleep with each other if one of them has been ex-communicated.

It's an absolute bloody shambles!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Australian Entry Test

I got emailed this today, then found it on this blog, which i was stoked with, cos I was struggling on how to blog it in pdf form. Funny stuff.

"Australian Entry Test
Australian Government Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Application for Grant of Australian Citizenship
You must answer 75% (28 or more out of 37) of these questions correctly in order to qualify for Australian Citizenship

1. How many slabs can you fit in the back of a Falcon Ute while also allowing room for your cattle dog?

2. When packing an Esky do you put the ice, or the beer, in first?

3. Is the traditional Aussie Christmas dinner:
a) At least two roasted meats with roast vegetables,followed by a pudding you could use as a cannonball. Alsoham. In 40C heat.
b) A seafood buffet followed by a barbie, with rather a lot ofbooze. And ham. In 40C heat.
c) Both of the above, one at lunchtime and one at dinnertime.Weather continues fine.

4. How many beers in a slab?

5. You call that a knife, this is a knife.True or False?

6. Does “yeah-nah” mean
a) “Yes and no”
b) “Maybe”
c) “Yes I understand but No I don’t agree”?

7. The phrases “strewth” and “flamin’ dingo” can be attributed to which TV character?
a) Toadie from Neighbours
b) Alf from Home & Away
c) Agro from Agro’s Cartoon Connection
d) Sgt. Tom Croydon from Blue Heelers?

8. When cooking a barbecue do you turn the sausages
a) Once or twice
b) As often as necessary to cook
c) After each stubbyd) Until charcoal?

9. Name three of the Daddo brothers.

10. Who was the original lead singer of AC/DC?

11. Which option describes your ideal summer afternoon:
a) Drinking beer at a mate’s place
b) Drinki"

Friday, September 22, 2006

God is already there, already working

Was chatting with aforementioned wise mate today, pulling out weeds is also a great tool for conversation, as well as earning money.

We were chatting about our different areas and passions for mission, and I was really stoked to hear him getting his head around the concept that it wasn't him going to a place to take God there, but it was God who was there first, already working, and it was just his job to join in what God is already going.

I've found this to be a really helpful missiological principle, so thought I'd share it with the rest of the blog world! Stop asking God to bless your ideas and what you're doing, but jump on board with what he's doing, and hopefully the two will soon become one!

Who's gonna get Satan out?

Was chatting with a mate today, and he was telling me about what he'd said when some clown had said 'you can't go to the pub, cos thats where Satan is'.

Sometimes I don't even bother engaging with people like that, very lazy and poor form I know, but I really liked his response 'well if I don't go, who's gonna get him out?' Gold. I'm stealing that!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two ways that money can control us.

I've been thinking a lot lately about money, often due to my lack of it (well for the society I live in anyway, not really on a worldwide scale) and the influence it can have on our lives.

I hear a lot of Christians trout on about how we all have too much money (agreed) and that we should all be poor (not so sure).

It's easy to see how having too much money can really easily consume our life, its all we live for, we work too hard and too long at the expense of other more important matters, and we just get greedy, always wanting more.

But the flipside of that is that when you don't have any money, it can very easily consume all of our time and efforts worrying about it, stressing about how we'll be able to pay the bills etc etc.

My only financial goal in life is to be in a position where I'm financially stable, just so that worrying about money isn't my main concern, that it doesn't fill my life. But I think to get there I need to stop doing so much volunteer work!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Meeting Minutes

Had one of our monthly 'planning meetings' with the Huddle last night, which went really well, got plenty done, tightened a couple things up, changed a couple things, so was all good.

It's nothing profound but I was thinking about how useful minutes are when having meetings like that. We hadn't purposely not done them, but I think in the back of my mind at least I was like 'na, we don't wanna do minutes for meetings, thats too formal, we're more relaxed and casual than that' but at the end of the day, they're just really helpful, particularly when not everybody can make it, as is invariably the case.

So yeah, beware of ditching things that may seem too formal or 'churchy' cos often, not always, but often, there's a good reason why they're their!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I can see why people get attached to church buildings

Was at a meeting the other night regarding my denomination (Church of Christ)s decision to sell our last campsite-Camp Acacia, a decision I wasn't massively impressed with, now understand a little better, but still don't think was the best idea. But thats another story for another day.

As many of you may know, for a quite a while I haven't been a massive fan of church buildings, for a number of reasons, mainly to do with the huge part that they play in determining many people's understanding of church-way way too much.

Too often we mistake the church as that building, or what we do there on a Sunday. We can view it as some special holy place where God is more present, when Jesus came and tore down the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies, and told us about God being everywhere and accessible wherever we are. Too often we can spend way too much money on a place that only serves to make us more comfortable.

But anyway, whilst I still have issues with church buildings, I can now understand a little more why people hold them so dear, because for so many people, so so many of their experiences of drawing nearer to God, of learning of his love, of experiencing the power of the community of His people, are associated with that building. And there is something special about coming to that place every week, of every week being reminded of those times of felt closeness to God.

For me, and more so the tons of kids I've lead on camps, particular campsites often hold real spiritual significance. They will look back on their times at a particular campsite, and remember them as times of intense Chistian community, and intense spiritual growth. So, for these reasons, the building, the place, are really special, and their worth can not be measured in monetary terms.

Of course, with campsites and camps, we can face the same problems as we do with churches, that people often go back home and struggle finding God in their everyday, they struggle when they don't feel as close to God as when they were on camp, and so the assumption is that camp is really the only place where God speaks to you etc.

So, although I still think we spend too much time, energy and money on church buildings, I can see where those who think those buildings are worth the time, energy and money are coming from.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Does God want you to be rich?

CNN.com - Does God want you to be rich? - Sep 10, 2006

Massive, massive question, one thats becoming increasingly asked these days.

One of my VET students-one of the most mature young people I know, has also written up her reflections on the issue here, which is well worth checking out.

Wife Joke

My insistence on repeating and now posting on the internet these jokes will probably not help me in the process of finding a wife, but ah well, such is life!

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation to Jerusalem.
While they were there, the wife passed away.
The undertaker told the husband, "Youcan have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here, in theHoly Land, for $150."
The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your wife home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $150?"

The man replied, "Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What do normal people do on Saturdays??

No footy, no cricket-I'm a lost man!! :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

You can only change an organisation from within

I've been thinking about this a whole lot lately, and there's been a fair few situations over the years where I reckon this principle has been applicable.

A few years ago I was asked to be on the steering committee for a local Youth Alive-with which I think my issues are reasonably well-documented on here. I spoke to the guy who asked me and I voiced some of my concerns, some of which he agreed with, others he didn't, which was cool.

But he said to me something along the lines of "Well if you just stay on the outer where you are, the people who are running it will never change it will they? They'll just keep doing the same thing, and you'll just stay pissed off with it all, and nobody benefits. They need to hear what you have to say, and you need to hear where they're coming from and why they do what they do."

That really made a lot of sense to me, and still does.

Circumstances didn't work out with me being involved, but that principle has really stuck with me.

When looking at planting the Huddle, one of the reasons I wanted to stay connected with the Frankston Church of Christ was so that I could keep encouraging and challenging the church there about being missional, about connecting with the community etc etc. Not that I'm by any means the only person on that bandwagon, which is sweet, but I felt if I was to help the church there change, it wouldn't be done by me just heading out and doing my own thing and not being a part of the church family at all.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Churchless Faith: Creating a new worship service 2

A Churchless Faith: Creating a new worship service 2

I remember reading this ages n ages ago, and it just struck me as a really simple model of creating a new or different worship gathering. Nothing that out there or crazy, or particularly hard to organise, but just a decent simple model.

But then again, I say that now, maybe ask me again when I've tried it out!

My aim is to create a quite reflective worship space where people at differing stages of faith commitment can connect with God, where all are comfortable to explore (play with) spirituality.

Reflect is to be similar to Godly play in that worship will be about discovering God, rather than being told about God. "In most religious education children are told who God is. In 'Godly Play' children discover who God is." From http://www.godlyplay.org.uk/.

The Basic structure…
Meet and gather, chat say hello for 10 min
1) Move into the Sacred Space (with journal)
2) Light Candle and say opening prayer (based around Psalm for the day)
3) Watch a Presentation of the Reading(s) for the day (Done in some kind of intersesting way like cafe church flash presentations)
4) Reflect on the reading
5) Connect – using journal, stations (different art, prayer and other stations people go to) and wondering questions (projected on a screen) – ambient music in the background
6) Offer our thoughts, work (artwork or journal work) and money to God
7) Close – using prayer of St Francis
8) Move out of the spaceGet together chat, have coffee, hear any announcements.

Turn the other cheek?

Been reading Brian McLaren's latest book-Secret Message of Jesus (absolute gold, potentially his best yet, but I'm not finished it yet...) and he was talking about some of the deeper meanings behind the teaching where Jesus says "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

he goes on to explain the symbolism of turning your left cheek to somebody, because if somebody has hit you on the right cheek, it would be a backhander-which is the way a master would hit a slave or servant, or any superior would hit somebody below them. In that culture it was a very strong sign of disrespect-something lost on us today, to hit somebody with a backhander.

So, by turning to them your other cheek, you are ina sense raising yourself to their level, asking them to hit you 'man-to-man' so to speak, rather than 'superior-to-inferior' and also proving their cowardice in needing to hit you twice without you even responding. So in that way, you are switching the power balance away from them. If that makes any sense at all?

So it got me thinking, is this story totally about passive, nonviolent resistance, as many have interpreted it? Or is it more about the subversion of power? Is it more about not letting others try and control you with force, but actually undermining that force by showing it for what it is-power achieved through force rather than real leadership...

I don't even fully know what I mean by all this, or if it even makes any sense, but I'm just chucking it out there...

I got an A+ in Life...

I got this a while back on a MySpace bulletin from a friend of mine, and on one level its just a stupis survey thing done to fill a bit of time, but I also think there's something more to it.

This is the stuff by which people these days judge success in life. The title of the post is, I got a ... in life. These are the kind of young people that youth leaders, pastors and chaplians will be dealing with over the next few years.

We live in a world where this is the stuff that dreams are made of, where having all the right stuff and having all the right friends, particularly on mySpace, is where its at. This is not a generation that sees Jesus as a viable option, if you're seemingly kicking goals with both feet in life, why would you sacrifice your life for others, why would you put others first, when putting yourself first is seemingly going so well?

A tough time to be making disciples...

[ ] You have a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/ husband/wife
[ ] You have your own room.
[ ] You own a cell phone.
[ ] You have an mp3 player or ipod.
[ ] Your parents are still married.
[ ] You have more than 2 best friends.
[ ] There is a pool/spa in your backyard
T 0 T A L :

[ ] You dress how you want to.
[ ] You hang out with friends more than once a week.
[ ] There is a computer/ laptop in your room.
[ ] You have never been beaten up
[ ] You are allowed to listen to the music you want to.
[ ] Your room is big enough for you
[ ] People don't use you for something you have.
[ ] You have been to a concert.
T 0 T A L:

[ ] You have over 50 friends on myspace
[ ] You have pictures on myspace.
[ ] Your parents let you have a myspace
[ ] You get allowance/loan.
[ ] You collect something normal.
[ ] You look forward to going to Uni
[ ] You don't wish you were someone else.
[ ] You play a sport.
[ ] You do something after school
T 0 T A L:

[ ] You own a car/truck.
[ ] You usually don't fight with your parent(s).
[ ] You are happy with your appearance
[ ] You have never got a failing grade on a report card in your life
[ ] You have friends.
T 0 T A L:

[ ] you know what is going on in the world.
[ ] You care about many people.
[ ] You are happy with your life
[ ] You usually aren't sick.
[ ] You know more than one language
[ ] You have a screen name.
[ ] You own a pet.
[ ] You know the words to more than 5 songs.
[ ] You don't have any enemies
[ ] You are happy where you're living.

T O T A L:

Total over all: times it by 3=

90%101%+: A+
100-90%: A
89-80%: B
79-70%: C
69-60%: D
59-00%: E

Some people just don't get it

It's funny, as much as you think people by now would have got the whole deal with house churches and that, its amazing the amount of people I meet who still just don't get it.

"Oh, so its just a cell group really"
"Yeah, but are you going to a real church"
"So, why don't you sings songs at church? Thats a bit weird isn't it?"

Sometimes its worth engaging with people on the issue, sometimes you just know its gonna take a whole lot more than one conversation to get them to see beyond their current experience.