Sunday, January 26, 2003

Hi from Slovakia. I met with Marsh Moyle of Citygate.org yesterday, after arriving from Vienna. He has a great training ministry for east europeans and has many papers for download on his site. Hey = the header on this site doesnt appear on this vintage computer in this mountainside cyber cafe. Is that because it is old or do we need to work the site over?

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Churchgoers as tourists?

Kiwi, Mike Grimshaw (Canterbury University, New Zealand), in an essay that I’m reading at the moment, Tourist, Traveller, or Exile: Redefining the Theological Endeavour, describes the representative of popular religious piety/praxis in terms of their being “tourists” (an expression, not necessarily used or inferred in the same way by the likes of Pete Ward, and Gerard Kelly in his interesting little book called Humanifesto written in the style of a travel guide). No doubt, quite a provocative way of talking about many Christians and their experience of church.

The authentic Christian experience is typically a constructed and mediated one – most commonly the Sunday morning experience! The “tourist” seeks an authentic ‘travel’ experience by a ceremonial and spiritual holiday away from the mundane concerns and claims of their everyday, real world by participating in a service of worship [implication – an experience disconnected from their ‘everyday’, ‘real’ world]…

”As such, the clergy are primarily tour guides who weekly shepherd the tourists through a spiritual quick-stop tour, a greatest hits/snapshot/souvenir/tick-the-boxes experience that contains enough difference and content to hopefully excite, yet enough support and comfort so as not to upset.” In this the aim is not an ‘everything-included-in- the-price’, package, for that would undermine the tour operators aim of continued patronage. Rather it is deliberately incomplete with just enough to perk sufficient interest in repeat visits.

The “tourist,” as distinct from the “traveller” (orthodox theologian) and “explorer (modernist [and most likely ‘Postmodern’] theologian),” is the unthinking, religious amateur, with insufficient willingness or motivation to be anything other than one who is “guided” and has everything laid-on for them. One quite content with the superficial and the mediated; one who will not stray off the tourist bus, or beyond the most prominent sites in the tourist guide. The “tourist” is more than comfortable with “the security of pure cliché.” The tourist relies absolutely and unquestionably on the tourist guide. Theirs is the journey that “is expected to include the manageably different, the accomplishable challenge and experience that are to be found and located within a controlled and demarcated tourist zone.”

I’ve stretched his analogy a bit, but it’s been an interesting lens through which to reflect on and think about my church (in general) experiences…on what ‘church’ is, and on what ‘going to church’ is about.


Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Embodied prophesy
Random thought 1 - I grew up in a setting where prophecies are all talk. And often talk in King James English. I have enough trouble understanding Shakespeare let a KJV prophesy.

Then I stumbled across the Old Testament prophets. People who use their bodies to speak of the Tomorrow.

Random thought 2 – I was moaning to Al Roxburgh (an "immigrant" who I respect immensly) about how hard church planting was, and how often other ministers don’t understand me and judge me by modernist indicators. He shrugged and said, “what do you expect. What you’re doing is prophetic.”

And it suddenly clicked. If Graceway just is, it is prophetic. To do nothing more than live .. to just drink beer and loves Jesus and tells stories and runs art exhibitions … is to get heat. Why? Because it’s embodied prophesy. It’s a challenge to the way others are.

Alan Hirsch commented on his blog;
“Ours is not merely an apostolic role in establishing new ground for the Gospel and church, but must be by nature a prophetic one as well. I find this the most painful aspect of my ministry--an almost total rejection/marginalization from the established church which I am so committed to."

Again, embodied prophesy. Tonight I pray for all my fellow embodied prophets. We who have thrown off the KJV English. We who by the very act of living, feel marginalized. Long may the Spirit pulse in our veins.

The Phuture belongs to those who invent it - Update

New articles on Emerging Church and a new Discussion Forum have been added to Phuture this past week.

Update
New book review on Stephen Timmis's 'MULTIPLYING CHURCHES' posted also.
"You cannot advance the kingdom of God with people who are in retreat."
-Erwin McManus, Seizing Your Divine Moment

Monday, January 20, 2003

Are we cloning postmodern churches and is it all toooo commercial. Karen Ward in Seattle puts down her coffee to say a few words about her angle . . .and impressive blogger Andrew Careaga gets vulnerable about his experiences with Christian publishing.
Hey Marc, welcome back! I see you are making up for lost time.

Blogging in Holland and GeoURL

Niels Boogaard published a Dutch bloggers map. It gives some indication of the popularity of blogging in Holland.

Check out GeoURL, a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor's blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you.

Big red cross



This big red cross is a look-alike of the one we used for the Mission congress. I found it on the website of Generazione Scelta (Chosen Generation), one of the emerging youth prayer movements in Italy. I plan to connect with them in March.

Too much coffee

"It’s like the world’s been drinking too much coffee," Pete Greig writes in the 24-7prayer E-bullit. "Everything seems jittery. Watching the news feels like a soap opera with too many story lines crammed into a single show. Bush and Blair are intent on disarming Iraq of weapons they can’t find while Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe do panto on the world stage. Osama is off somewhere hanging out Dr Evil and Elvis, terrorising the world in whispers. Meanwhile Russia can do whatever it likes to Chechnya, and North Korea is busy sending postcards of their various nuclear arms factories to world leaders who are far too busy looking for weapons of mass destruction near oil fields to read the post."

"Meanwhile a UFO cult led by a dodgy old French pop star is busy trying to clone their (fantastically balanced) followers whilst in the middle-east everyone continues to blow everyone else up – normally on buses. At such times it’s easy to resort to extremes – either becoming too intense or too blasé. As Christians we cannot avoid the issues just because they’re complicated, burying ourselves in the trivial pursuits of local church activity or obsessing about the latest Reality TV series as if that really was reality. Paul urges 'that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for… all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.' (1 Tim. 2) Our prayers matter at times like these, and – believe it or not – world leaders desperately need such spiritual back up."

"In the midst of so many crises I’ve been wondering why so many wives of world leaders – from Nancy Reagan and Lady Di to Cherie Blair – seem to resort to astrology and New Age wacko stuff. My hunch is that they know the truth about their husbands and are terrorised by the notion that world peace lies in the hands of a man who can’t remember the name of the cat and farts in his sleep. They need to believe that a higher intelligence is pulling the strings of power than the one struggling with flat-pack furniture in the garage. Well, the good news for the president’s wives is that there actually is a higher power at work, promoting and demoting their husbands. The church of Jesus Christ has been appointed to exercise authority (rather than power) in prayer and in practice. We really have been raised up ‘for such a time as this’. Even when we are surrounded by trouble, Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16). We don’t need to rush around like Corporal Jones yelling ‘don’t panic!’ We need to pray."

Young leader training

EuroTrain developed an innovative young leader training (age 15-25). They call it "a completely unique experience, and an answer to the new paradigms needed to develop new generations of leaders."

Seeking God

"God yes, church no." This is what most non-Christians tend to say. Or: "I want to experience God, but I don't want to be part of them" (read: the Christians). An added problem is that many Christians can't explain in normal (non-religious) language what they believe.

Realizing this, the Evangelical Broadcasting Company in Holland decided to do something they had never done before: ask a well-known non-Christian TV host (in this case Catherine Keyl, the Dutch Oprah) to make a series of six programs on 'seeking God in the Christians'. A search for authenticity which would force Christians to come out of their cosy subculture and open up their lives and explain in normal language who Jesus is and why living as a Christian is as real and relevant as could be. The series was broadcasted around Christmas and drew a lot of response. I think it's fair to say it was one of the best programs on Christianity aired on national television.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Wabi Sabi collaboration is happening in Austin Texas on March 28-30. Should be a good time. For more info and registration, go here. more details on kingdomspace to follow

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Untitled

Iggie has released "The Lost Ten Traits of Postmodern Apostles"

Mel Gibson takes Heat.

So Mel Gibson is taking heat for making his new Passion about the life of Jesus. I like Mel Gibson a lot. And have heard only good things about him. I think this is the case of Hollywood meddling again.

To quote him:
"This is a movie about love, faith, hope and forgiveness, He died for all mankind. He (Jesus) suffered for all of us. It's time to get back to that basic message. The world has gone nuts. We could all use a little more love, faith, hope and forgiveness."

Sunday, January 12, 2003

jason.evans.online

Jason Evans is blogging from South Africa

ATLAS.CZ

Yes - I just looked at foneblog - looks great - our blogging engine is called bluelog and will be available soon. Jarda, who is a part of our community here and lives in our basement, is adding the final touches - like support for many languages. 2 weeks ago, Yarda took over as CEO of ATLAS.CZ, one of the largest web portals in Czech Republic. He now has a lot more work to do, with a staff of 40 people and 2 million subscribers - he has his work cut out for him. He will be connecting his blogging engine with his portal, but has promised that we can all use it. Now I just need to get a mms phone that will allow me to either capture images at a low resolution or reduce them small enough to use.
Speaking of technology, I was thinking of roadtesting Apple's new Keynote presentation software at a conference in Switzerland next month, although I will probably use Arkaos VJ 2.2 which is my next step up from G-Force, which i have used for 3 years.
Anyone else using VJ software for presentation. digital storytelling or preaching?

Thursday, January 09, 2003

FoneBlog

FoneBlog
Somebody beat you to the punch Andrew. I know it was bound to happen. You should check them out see if you can't learn from their system for KingdomSpace.com..

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Calling Southern Hemipshere Bloggers

If you are from south of the equator and have a blog (or know someone who is) - Darren Rowse at LivingRoom would like to hear from you. Leave him a comment here to be added to a soon to be published list which seeks to connect, network and link up people from down south.

The list is now published and includes 32 cool blogs from 8 'Southern' Countries - Check them out

Monday, January 06, 2003

liquid church coverliquid church is finally out - published in the usa by hendrickson and paternoster in the uk. it really is a fantastic book to contribute to the reimagining of church and mission in our current context. i hope it gets a wide reading. pete uses zygmunt bauman's notion of solid and liquid modernity to speak about solid and liquid church. he does a lot of theological work to underpin a new way of speaking about church. it seems to me that this new way of speaking is essential if 'language makes the world'. there are lots of things that i could highlight from the book but it really is the overall opening of discussion and imagining that is why this book is so welcome. to say that we need to re-imagine church or that it isn't working (for those outside it) or that it needs to change isn't news any more but there aren't many people who have offered the resources to help rethink the landscape. thanks to pete for offering us a way forward here.i fear it will be perceived as a threat by many who either have too much of a vested interest in church remaining solid or who see the invitation to engage with consumerism as selling out. change, mission and engagement with culture is always a risk but in my view it is one we have to take. pete's descriptions of three mutations that church has made in its solid form as heritage site, refuge, and nostalgic club are all too painfully visible. and the point about these is that whilst they may indeed be working as such for some people for many others they don't and they mitigate against mission. that is the whole point of why the whole thing of church needs rethinking - so many people involved in mission find the church bit the stumbling block. it's certainly true in youth ministry. pete doesn't offer any off the shelf solutions - it's more an opening up of discussion or imagination, but i hope that this does help open up new possibilites.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

been thinking lately about leadership in the church lately and how money and all that have created a problem we cant solve. it seems the church is full of people who have been trained to do nothing but ministry. there is nothing wrong with this yet i feel it may be one fo the causes for the church's inability or unwillingness to change traditional ministry models. i may be way off with this but maybe its a dose of self preservation at work in all this reluctance to change. i have been feeling lately that the whole professional staff model just doesn't work. when all your income, identity and ego is tied up in professional ministry and there is nothing else for you to do to support yourself then there may be a fear to change anything about the system, even when you know it doesn't work. did God ever intend for us to create a class of professionals in the church that can do nothing but ministry. i know there are many people who don't fall in this quandary but i keep hearing some pretty lame excuses form people in the tractional system when they are confronted with a need to change, we change programs, worship styles, curriculum but ignore more basic issue like structural adjustments that need to be made. the church needs to change or large portions of it will die in the next few decades. but if we have created a system that so many depend on for sustenance is there any hope of it happening.

i would love to hear your thoughts about this, am i full of it?