Friday, March 30, 2007

Well that was a little strange

Very surreal day yesterday, was buying some chicken from the chicken shop when a couple of the girls working there were like 'were you on TV this week?' which was kinda funny that they recognised me, cos I was only on at the end, and have really different hair and stuff. So I talked to them for a bit which was pretty funny.

Then whilst watching the Footy Show I saw the ad promoting 1vs100 this week and saw myself dancing around like a tool, hugging Eddie and the voice over guy say something about 'this contestant taking the game further than anyone ever has before' very weird! Funny times though!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Daisy Duck!

I'm gonna cut everybody off at the pass and declare how stupid I looked-but obviously I really don't care! I had an absolute ball filming it, and even more fun laughing at myself! Good times all round!

Also thought it would be helpful to provide an appropriate space for people to leave comments and bag me out!

Wife Swap USA

Although I was absolutely knackered after baking biscuits for prisoners with the Huddle and then laughing immensely at my own stupidity on tele, I was intrigued by the ads for Wife Swap USA. I honestly hope I was the only person who saw it, I really do.

The 'Christians' epitomised every bad stereotype that exists out there, it was woeful. They were sexist, unbelievably judgemental and condescending, didn't look after their health (I'm becoming increasingly convinced about the spiritual nature of looking after yourself-not being awesomely fit and that, just looking after yourself well) were terribly bigoted, narrow-minded, and worst of all, unhospitable.

The straight dude seriously wouldn't the gay guy stay in his house! That is the most un-Jesus like thing I could think of. Clearly he thought the dude's lifestyle was wrong-but I really can't think of a way that acting really judgementally and refusing hospitality is in any way going to change that dudes lifestyle. Loving him like Jesus would-maybe, being a tool-no.

Whatever your thoughts on homosexuality, we should never never never treat those who don't follow Jesus the way this guy and his family did.

I'm really wary of cracking at how bad a Christian other people are, because I know of my own glaring inability to be much chop at it, but in this case I've got no problem, it was just so wrong. I know we shouldn't judge, but that doesn't mean we can't stand up for what we believe is wrong and right.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

So I'm gonna be on TV

Ok, as alluded to on this blog a while back, I am in fact a contestant on 1vs100 with Eddie McGuire, and my first episode is this Monday the 26th and my second is April 2nd. Obviously I can't tell anybody how I went, so you will just have to wait and see like everybody else.

All I will say is that I went on with the intention of having a laugh at, and making a fool of, myself on national TV and I achieved that!

There's plenty of interesting stories to tell, some of which will happen here in the future.

NB: Edited this post because I didn't like the way it sounded, I felt it came across very arroagant, and for that I apologise. My bad.

And thanks Pfeff for pointing out my spelling mistake-haha, silly stuff from me.

Where's the creativity in church???

I’m not much onto church bashing these days, but one thing that does really piss me off is the apparent lack of creativity we see in many churches today. The fact is, you walk into 90% of church services around Australia and they will all look remarkably similar. Sure the songs might be a different tempo, the preacher might dress and act differently, but its all still same man different haircut.

I've been chatting to a couple of people lately from relatively large churches, and they've both said the same thing. Our youth group, young adults services and church services are all the same as each other, we rock up, listen to a message, sing some songs, and go home.

What the hell! If we are made in the image of a Creative, Creator God why do so few of our church gatherings reflect this? I'm not into singing that much myself, I actually sometimes find it helpful, and have no problem as such with it as a form of worship, but my problem is when thats all that we do for worship! Show a bit of creativity people!

There's a bazillion reasons why young people and young adults leave church and faith, so lets not make another reason by routinely chopping out the same old worship gatherings.

Rant over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Best resource for Young Adults out there

If you haven't heard Mark Sayers speak before, he's absolutely brilliant. This DVD is the culmination of ages worth or work compiling and funking up his famous Paris Hilton talk about consumerism and discipleship, and it really is brilliant.

The production values are tip top, but the content is just awesome, some really great reflections on culture and society as we know it,a nd what it might mean to follow Jesus in the midst of all this.

It's a four week thing, where you work through a few clips each week with time for discussion and questions. The DVD is fifty bucks, but I really can't recommend it highly enough.

Check it out here

Did God kill Ananais and Sapphira?

In VETAMORPHUS today we were discussing the the story in Acts 5:1-11 of Anainias and Sapphira, who it seems that God killed for their dishonesty. Now first off, it doesn't actually say that God killed them, but reading the story it would seem reasonable to assume so.

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"
"Yes," she said, "that is the price."

9Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."

10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

So why did God seemingly kill these two people? Surely we've all lied in our lives, why does God no longer smite people down in this fashion? Why does God kill people, if he is a God of love? To be frank, I've never really understood this story, and would love it if somebody could explain it better than me...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sunday Night-Great Success

Well, as far as I was concerned, Sunday night went off a treat. My little message thing came across how I wanted it to, people seemed to engage well in the discussions and worship activities, and everybody who was doing their little jobs did brilliantly.

Got really positive feedback from the ministry team there after the service, which was good. Was a fine line between challenging and critiquing the predominant ideas of church and mission, and encouraging them in what they do, but I think we walked it well. Good times all round I reckon.

Worst TV show ever

Was round at my mates house the other day getting ready for his wedding, going through all the last minute order of service stuff, working out exactly what I was and wasn't gonna say etc. All good fun.

Apart from the crap show that was on the tele, on Foxtel. It was called the Swan, and it was absolutely atrocious. Basically the idea was that they took a whole bunch of 'ugly ducklings' and spent a crap load on plastic surgery for them to make them look like a 'Swan' and then parade them around wearing bugger all so they can win prizes and further enforce the stereotype that their self worth comes from how they look. Man, I was so pissed off, it was just such shite. Superficial, shallow shite.

I have never been tempted to write in to a TV station beofre but actually thought about it with this one, I nearly did. Perhaps its a slightly defeatist attitude, but i didn't really feel my letter to some massive network in the USA would make a difference, so decided to vent my anger here.

I friggin hate that show.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Huddle and New Peninsula

This Sunday night, by means of a few meetings and some good friendships on both sides, the Huddle this week have the privilege of leading the evening congregation of New Peninsula (formerly Mornington Baptist Church) this Sunday night.

I'm totally stoked about it too, will be great fun. They've shown an enormous amount of trust in pretty much just letting us do whatever we want, with no real guidelines. We were thinking about taking advantage of this lack of guidelines and having our usual session of ritual goat sacrifice whilst dancong naked around an elm tree, but thoguht we'd mellow it down a bit and go with the slightly more standard set up of some reflective worship, testimonies, communion, sermon of sorts, and prayer.

Am hoping it will be a really challenging and encouraging time for all. I'm doing the little sermon thing, and will probably focus on the Acts 2:42-47 stuff, the Greek meaning of the word ekklesia and the need for mission to be the first and foremost priority of the church. Should be good fun. Will report back next week.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chapliancy stuff

In a nutshell, my thoughts on the whole debate about chaplians being in schools. I can't see why anybody should really have a problem with it. At the end of the day the school can use the chaplain in any way possible, so they can be an extra member of the counselling team if need be.

So they're no different to any other social worker other than the fact that they can offer the kids spiritual guidance too if they want it. Of course thats optional, so where's the problem. In very multi-faith schools it may be a bit problematic, but I don't see why everybody's trouting off.

I hope I'm looking past my own bias here, as a Christian youth worker/potential Chaplain of sorts (but one who isn't actually applying for the funding this year) but if not, please tell me.

Jesus' bones

Found this article today, which was also in the Age in the Faith section, raised some interesting questions for me, which I was talking about yesterday with mates, about Jesus forgiving people before he died on the cross and that.

Was also thinking about this Jesus' bones thing. I don't know that even if they did actually find them it would call into question the entire Christian faith, for a couple of reasons, mainly because they could just be his bones from when he grew old and died. Of course, the Bible says that he was whisked up and away into the heavens, but if they did find bones maybe they were from his old age, not necessarily from dying after the cross. I don't reckon they are his bones, but that is just another interesting possibility.

The other question which i sometimes toss around is would the Christian faith exist if Jesus hadn't come back to life? Cos Jesus did have followers before he died, but would they have just gone back to being good little Jews after he died or carried it on? Of course if this didn't happen it would also call into qustion the legitimacy of a whole bunch of other stuff, but its an interesting hypothetical.

SO, THE bones of Jesus may have been found. A friend of mine joked that
now we can find Jesus DNA and clone him. The world could do with a few
more saviours just now.

I've long suspected that I've missed the point of Jesus' life, but it seems to me
that the redemption, grace and hope he made real aren't at all dependent on
the resurrection.

It's immediately obvious when one reads the Gospels. For example, one day
Jesus came across a group of religious leaders who were about to stone a
woman caught committing adultery. They couldn't see past her actions. Jesus
couldn't see past her worth as a human being. Jesus thought every life was
worth saving. He confronted the men and they backed down. This woman's
salvation didn't depend on the resurrection.

There's another story about Zacchaeus, who had made his wealth by working
corruptly in a despised job. He was ridiculed and hated. Jesus called
Zacchaeus by name, and chose his company over that of others who would
have been clamouring for it. This offer of friendship, without strings attached
was enough to make Zacchaeus begin living differently. He didn't
need a resurrection to have his life transformed.

Then there's the story of a woman who we know only by her sinful reputation.
Seeing Jesus' exhaustion and stress, she washed his feet with ointment and
her tears. The men around Jesus were harsh in their condemnation. They
feared she might be diminishing their morality just through her presence.
Jesus received her gift as pure love _ he knew she needed to give it as much
as he needed to receive it. She didn't need a resurrection to encounter

I recently spent a couple of hours at Port Phillip Prison listening to a group of
men talking about their faith, trying to uncover together what it is that restores
hope. The men were pretty sceptical about most of the “facts'' of faith - the
stuff people assume the Christian faith depends on. They didn't care about
the virgin birth or resurrection. But when it came to Jesus' life the words
tumbled out. He healed the lepers, he was friends with those who had no
other friends. He noticed the people society ignored. He spoke of peace and
justice. He saw the best in people. He loved. For these men in prison, and for
many of us not in prison, thinking these things,daring to believe they might be
true, having the courage to think that someone - that God - would think they
were worth investing friendship in, that they were worth a second chance,
takes much more faith than believing in a resurrection.
Cheryl Lawrie works with an alternative worship
project for the Uniting Church

Forge thoughts

Was the Forge National Summit over the weekend, which was most enjoyable. Had lots of thoughts and stuff going on inside my head, will try and blog bits of pieces of it.

Was reminded of what somebody said to me a while back about planting new churches and that 'You finish with what you start with'. So if you start with pissed off angry Christians you'll probably end up with pissed off angry Christians. And if you start with passionate, mission-focussed Christians, that's probably what you'll end up with. A bit of a generalisation, but worth thinking about.

Also reminded that not everybody on your team/community/church thinks about, prays about, and is as passionate about your team/community/church as you are. They have lives, jobs, partners and everything else that fills their head too. So don't expect them to be thinking about it as much as you do, its just reality. Very helpful for me to think about.

Little Lent stuff ups

Got caught up in the excitement of the challenge and spent $2 on Big buck hunter-that game you play where you shoot deer, at the pub. And the other day saw a movie with some mates, just rushed in and bought it without thinking too much. Other than that it's been good. Not major indiscretions, but indescretions no less. But not gonna beat myself over the head, cos that helps nobody, just move on.

Was also annoyed at having to buy food a lot cos I was at the Forge conference, but thats unavoidable I guess. Perhaps could have made myself lunch at home, but didn't even think of that. It's all still going pretty well though.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

On Inspiration

Am doing Introduction to Biblical Interpretation this semester, so expect a few more Bible related posts. Have done a lot of this stuff before, but its from a kinda different perspective to CCTC, so thats always fun. Am seeming to find myself as the one in class asking the questions that most Christians just seem to take for granted, cos often those answers just don't satisfy me.

Like how Christians tend to try and prove the Bible by using the Bible-which to me seems to make very little sense at all. Obviously its way way more complex than this, but its like me writing a new Bible, and say in it that it is the Word of God and expect people to believe that!

The books we have in the Bible were written by people about their experiences and understandings of God, verified through communities of faith over many many years and finally all officially gathered together, not just written on the spot.

But anyway, my point is that the fact that the Bible in Inspired by God is pretty much just a faith thing. There are heaps of things that go toward proving its validity and accuracy, bu the fact that Paul, Mark, John etc were Inspired by God in what they wrote is just a faith thing, no more. I believe it, but don't really think I can prove it.

When 'Church' gets in the way

One of the many roles in my life at the moment is working for the Frankston Church of Christ helping to develop New Faith Communities.

Basically the idea behind that is that we as a church are a multi-congregational church, with many congregations/faith communities/churches all as a part of the Church.

So each one is distinct in its style-though a few are fairly similar, and are considered in their own right to be church. Some are in the church building, most aren't, and the potential new ones we're looking at aren't either. But one of the ideas behind each being their own church is that there isn't this expectation that all the little missions and ministries are all well and good, but at the end of the day, everybody has to come back to church on a Sunday.

But more on that another day.

So recently I was working with somebody who was looking at making the small group they were leading a Faith Community. After chatting to them, I realised that the group was already performing the functions of a church. They were focussed on mission, active in prayer, getting stuck into the Bible, cared for each other, and had Communion. This was church, just by another name.

So we chatted a fair bit about what them seeing themselves as a faith community might mean, and it now appears it's not a path they want to go down. I was really keen on working with the group, working through their understandings/ideas about church, and encouraging them to see that church doesn't have to be in a building and have all the trappings most people associate with church.

But the thing was, for them, seeing what they wee doing as church was just too much of a head trip. They had been so incultured to think that church was this, this and this, that they couldn't imagine it any other way. Now normally I love being able to break down these ideas, but these guys just weren't interested, being a church was too hard, and they didn't want a bar of it.

This has set off a lot of thoughts for me, the first being that if the title church gets in the way, then ditch it. I love redeeming the word church, reshaping and refashioning it into less of what we think, and more of what the Bible was all about, but if the word is getting too much in the way, then perhaps its not worth it. I'm not sold on these thoughts either, just what I'm thinking at the moment.

The main thing is that a group performs the functions of a healthy church, not necessarily what you call it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Stir your world

Just found out about this promo thing that the World Vision youth arm people-STIR are running. Basically instead of spending 10 grand on an advertising campaign, they've done pretty much done nothing, just chucked a video on their site explaining the idea.

So if they can get 10 000 people to sign up to their site they'll donate that money they would have spent on advertsing to one of the actual causes they support. Sounds like a top idea to me.

So here's my bit of free advertsing for them. Go get amongst it and sign up!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Second day at my new school!

Just a quick update, last year I finished up working at Flinders, where I'd been a youth worker for the past four years, and have now started a day a week in a voluntary position at Mt Erin in Somerville, a local public school.

First day I had a Yr 8 kid convince me he had a free period (trust me, his story was good!) found a Christian girl which is exciting, met a few teachers, knocked over some little kids playing soccer and found a kid-the lying kid from before-to help me run a dodgeball competition.

Today had a few kids to chat to about some issues, got told off for being on the wrong computer by the principal (am no longer at Flinders where I could just do whatever I wanted!) and met a few more teachers. Have been about as many fights in these two days as there was the whole four years at Flinders!

Am soo excited about the potential at this school, so much stuff to be done. Can't wait to get amongst it!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lent so far

So I ended up deciding to give up buying anything at all for myself for Lent-apart of course from food and anything else necessary for basic living. Can still buy presents for people for birthdays etc.

Basically for me it was a bit of a priority check, looking at what I spend my money on and what my priorities are. Should be a good one.

Was pretty annoying the other day being at this op shop in a faraway place I'm not likely to go again for like a year, and there was this sweet shirt for like $2! Spewing I couldn't get it! Was kind of annoyed at the time, but I've survived!