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It's Finished

31 March, 2003 5:43 PM

Last night was my last service at DCCC. Whilst it was a sad occassion for me it was also an incredibly affirming and encouraging time. I shared some of what we're doing with the Living Room project and left a last challenge to grapple with what it means to be a disciple of Jesus today in our times.

Then came the farewells - they put together a video of peoples comments, they had an open mike sharing time, they quizzed me on how well I knew the churches young adults (my ministry area), they sang a song about me and other miscellaneous fun and shinanigans. It was amazing how much effort they put into the service - I'm very grateful for such a wonderful send off. Oooh...I almost forgot the great gift of a whiteboard that they gave me which is something will use heaps!

I also had another 40 people join my prayer supporters team over the day which was also really encouraging. (just sent another prayer email today if anyone would like one....just shoot me an email) Altogether a great day. Today I finished up in the office, handed in my keys and cleaned out my desk. I'm officially not a Churches of Christ minister any more...another era has ended...

Radio Head

31 March, 2003 5:34 PM

Heard a few songs off the yet to be released Radio Head CD '' on the radio today. I can't wait to get my hands of a copy of it on 10th June when its being released here in Australia because it sounded great. The songs I heard i can already think of ways of using in reflections or prayer times!

Why I made that speech - Michael Moore

31 March, 2003 8:37 AM

In todays Age newspaper is an article by Michael Moore talking about why he made the speech that he did at the Oscars.

He begins with the words:

"A word of advice to future Oscar winners: don't begin Oscar day by going to church. That is where I found myself last Sunday morning, at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Santa Monica Boulevard, at Mass with my sister and my dad. My problem with the Catholic Mass is that sometimes I find my mind wandering after I hear something the priest says, and I start thinking all these crazy thoughts like how it is wrong to kill people and that you are not allowed to use violence upon another human being unless it is in true self-defence."

For the rest of the article go here

meta.sunday.23-30.march

30 March, 2003 10:06 PM

In the last week or so I've added a number of great new blogs (well they were new to me) to my Quality Links page. Some of them are great quality - have a look and see what you think! Here they are:

Andy and Bea's World of Roman Umbrellas >> Charlie Wear's Notes >> DMash >> Matt Glock >> M Squared T >> Organic Church >> SteveSpot >>

Sacrifice

30 March, 2003 3:21 PM

In today's edition of Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper was a double page spread dedicated to those that have given their lives for the campaign for freedom in Iraq. The page was filled with the faces of American and English soldiers, 'our best', who have given their lives for the cause.

I sat there in the comfort of the cafe I was having lunch in and was quite confronted by the vast loss of life. While I do not agree with the necessity of this war I am amazed and challenged by anyone that is willing to give their life for a 'cause', whatever it may be.

I was reminded of the call of Jesus to give up our lives for 'the cause' and found myself wondering to what level would I be willing to 'give' in response to his call.

The other reaction that I had as I gazed at the faces of these young people was to ask 'V' - 'where are the others that have given their lives for this cause?' Where is the acknowledgement that other innocent people have had their lives taken? I notice that today the counter on my site says that between 320 and 428 civilians have been killed so far in this conflict.

Where are their photos, where is the acknowledgement of their pain and sacrifice for the 'cause'? After all these are the people 'our best' have gone to fight for the freedom of - so surely their passing deserves some recognition also.

On this day I wish to remember the lives of both our soldiers but also those whom we do not know the names or faces of - all who have given their lives in these violent times.

All the Best

30 March, 2003 2:47 PM

This morning's service went pretty well - my input seemed to hit the mark and people's feedback after the service was very positive. As I stood at the door shaking hands afterwards the words out of most peoples mouth were 'all the best' - I feel very supported. The other exciting thing was that another 20 or so people signed up to receive our prayer support team newsletter.

Just one more service to go!

End Times

29 March, 2003 7:21 PM

Tomorrow is my last day at Doncaster CCC - the church where I've been a minister for 2.5 years. I've just finished preparing my last 'sermon' for my time there which I will deliver to both congregations (one morning and one evening) tomorrow.

I've been trying to think of a way in which to describe my time at this church - its hard to sum up that long a period of your life in a few words. But one word does keep springing to mind. The word that describes best what this church has been like for me is 'INCUBATOR'.

Strange I know, but my time at Doncaster has been one in which I feel like I came into it in one form and have come out the other end in another. Whilst there have been some very difficult challenges over this period, in general I feel as thought I've been in a largely warm and encouraging environment where I've been free to grow to a stage where I'm now able to be 'hatched' from the world as I know it into another one -like a chick from it egg.

This church has encouraged me to think outside the box, its allowed me freedom to experiment with alternative worship ideas, its listened to my strange ideas and ways of communicating the gospel, its encouraged my creativity and its not stifled my desire to plant a new church.

For this I am very grateful - many churches would not have allowed me to be like this, they would have been threatened by my questions and take on 'church'. So thankyou Doncaster - my your incubator like ways continue!

Todd Rants

29 March, 2003 8:30 AM

Todd Hunter has 'ranted' for the first time ever in response to a pastor expressing concerns about him 'reimagining God'. Here is a snippet of what he 'rants':

"First, I've never talked or written about re-imaging God. I've talked AND WILL CONINUE to talk about re-imaging the church and what it actually means to be a Christian. I am not ashamed about trying to align my life with the aims of God with regard to his desire for an obedient people who would live in his Story as the ambassadors of his Kingdom. If this makes me dangerous, "unbiblical and questionable", then bring it on! "

I think Todd should rant more often.

UN estimates 1200 have been killed in Iraq

29 March, 2003 8:20 AM

From John Campea:

The United Nations Health envoy has given an initial estimate of death casualties in the current Iraqi conflict. Roughly 100 coalition soldiers, 350 Iraqi civilians and close to 800 Iraqi military have been killed with an additional 4000 Iraqi civilians injured. British officials say these numbers &"sound generally accurate". All this in a couple of weeks. The U.N. envoy expressed "deep concern" that the coalition now says the conflict could last months.

Thats pretty full on - with after only a week or so conflict we are at these levels - I am deeply saddened by the thought of this continuing for months.

Old words

28 March, 2003 4:15 PM

Rachel found an old thing I posted on a previous church online discussion (scarey how the net records your every word even from other places and times!!!) I thought it was interesting to see some of the earliest things I was working through when it came to 'Church' - its actually not that different from what I feel today - here it is...

I'm a strong believer in 'church' I think its an awesome thing when
operating in a relevant way to its culture. The church has been an
amazing place of growth into wholeness for me and many of my family and
friends. Its a place that I love dearly because it is where I met Jesus
- the one who authored and perfected life!

However, I've had an increasing frustration with the church in Australia in
that I wonder if its really being and doing what it should!

Studies show that 85% of Australians believe in God, over 66% pray
regularly and over 60% believe in some type of afterlife - yet less that
20% attend any type of church regularly. (figures for 1999 - talking
with people in the know it seems that this 20% figure is continuing to
fall)

Exit polls of those leaving the church have found that the major reasons
that bring about this decrease in numbers is not because of theological
or belief issues. Rather it is about how people are being asked to
belong to and participate in the community that is the deciding factor
for them. So much of what we DO in church is so foreign to such a large
part of our society. How many of our non churched friends would
regularly gather with a group of people to sing for 30 minutes and
listen to someone give a 20minute (plus) monologue?!? Many of us who
have been brought up in this environment have come to love singing and
listening, but not too many of the young people I work with in the
warehouse at wishlist would get off on it!

Studies have shown that only 10% of the non churched population are
comfortable with and open to 'contemporary worship' style services. (ie
Hillsong style singing - preaching etc). Yet the same study shows that
up to 90% of churches are moving towards this type of service. By my
calculations that leaves around 90% of the unchurched population without
a church presenting the message of Jesus in a culturally relevant method
for them.

I believe that the time has come where the church needs to seriously
face the fact that if it continues down its current path that it will
find itself in serious trouble. The time has come for a variety of
models of church to emerge. This will and should include the
'contemporary worship' model similar to our services, but it
should also include a myriad of others that attempt to present the
person of Jesus to our multicultural society.

Real People

28 March, 2003 4:01 PM

Today I did a shift at my other job in the warehouse - its been a while since they've called me in - I like going to work in there - it gives me a chance to do some physical work - to earn some needed extra dollars - and it also puts me in the firing line of some amazing questions from some 'real people'. By real I mean some 'non churched' types which I find very refreshing. (of course I don't think churched people are not real... just...well...different) As per usual they are always facinated by my work with the church and generally spend the whole day asking questions about faith, church and life as a 'priest'....they are still amazed I can be married unlike their 'priests'. I enjoy my time there - I come away feeling energised in a 'ministry' sense - but exhausted physcially.

I think I'll go slip into a coma for a few hours now!

mis speling

27 March, 2003 4:29 PM

this picture of a pro war activist made me laugh at Jordan's site. Looks like something I'd do (the sign that is....not the moustache!)

Imagery of War

27 March, 2003 12:04 PM

has a great collage of pictures of War that communicate a number of perspectives and themes. Tis cool

Anyway...

27 March, 2003 11:49 AM

Anyway — I don't want to get caught up in all that too much — I have no intention of feeding a flame war — thanks for your positive comments and emails but I'm ready to move on.

What I'm really interested in the conversation a few posts back entitled A Question. The comments there are really stimulating — lets keep that conversation going.

Muslim Lover

27 March, 2003 8:02 AM

Well its been an interesting morning. I wasn't able to access the net last night due to running out of hours with my ISP (had to upgrade my plan) so I was expecting a few emails this morning....however as I watched them come into my inbox I realised that something 'strange' was going on! 100 emails later my suspicions were confirmed.

The bulk of these emails came from the one address - most just had the words 'Muslim Lover' in the subject. All I want to say to the writer of these emails (unsigned but presumably from our friend Greg) is thankyou for the reminder. I actually hadn't forgotten the call of Jesus to love my neighbour as myself - but its always good to be reminded. I DO appreciate your concern for me - however perhaps in future just one email reminder would suffice.

Another 20 or so emails came from a variety of bloggers. They are too many to name here - however most of them you'll find in my blog roll. All wrote to let me know of comments on their blogs reminding my blogging buddies to 'love Muslims' too. (this time they were signed by Greg) Again - we got the message Greg - we love Muslims - and most of those bloggers that you've left comments on also seem to love YOU too Greg in the gracious way they've responded to you.

Sorry to my fellow bloggers who've put up with this - I hope Greg is able to let go of his angst and put his energies into more positive endeavours in future.

Time Lines

25 March, 2003 10:01 PM

Last night at our Living Room gathering we did an interesting exercise to help us think through our core values/DNA. Its one I've taken groups through many times before but it was still worth while.

I asked the group to draw a time line of their lives marking on them their key experiences, relationships, decisions and events that have brought them to the point where they currently are in their spiritual journey. Out of our time lines we each looked at the themes and influences that have shaped us. We talked a little about the values we've taken on from from key individuals and organisations and also those that we've reacted against and rejected.

It was also great just to hear each others stories - I was astounded by some of the depth of the sharing from a group who've largely only met one another once before!

Next week we'll continue and extend the conversation as we begin to see how our values connect. Should be fun.

A question

25 March, 2003 3:36 PM

A question for you my friends - What are the 5 most important, non-negotiable, aspects of faith and discipleship for you? If you had to boil it down - you had to get to the crux of it all - what would your core values, your DNA, be when it came to your faith. (It doesn't have to be five - it can be less or more if you wish - but start with a few at least)

This is part of the process we're going through at Living Room at the moment - we're dialoguing on it as a community. Its a question we're initially asking of each other and answering as individuals as we try to make some sense of who we are corporately as a community of faith.

Another question that taps into the same topic that a wise friend often asks is - What makes a Church unique from any other group of people, whether they be the local football club or a local Mosque?

I'd be very interested to hear the 'blogging community's' (what ever that is) response to either or both of these questions. Responses invited - discussion will be highly valued!!!

Interview with God

25 March, 2003 7:33 AM

Take a look at this Interview With God Little Corny - but a nice idea.

Thanks to Presurfer (again) for the link.

Go Aussie Go

24 March, 2003 12:13 PM

I'm feeling a tad bleary eyed this morning as I was up til around 3am last night watching the Aussie Cricket team convincingly beat the Indian Cricket team in the final of the World Cup. Despite the demolition (we won by 125 runs) it was quite an entertaining game - with some big hitting (140 from captain Ricky Ponting) and a nervous interruption by rain that threatened to throw things into a real spin.

It was worth the late night to see Australia become undisputed world champions!

A childs prayer for Iraq

23 March, 2003 7:43 PM

This morning I worshipped at one of the Living Rooms Parent churches. It was a very liturgical gathering with a time set aside for anyone to come forward and light a candle for any issue that they wanted us to pray for. The process was to come forward - light the taper - and share a prayer. At the end of the prayer we would all say the words, Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

A number of people came forward and prayed for the Iraq situation in a variety of ways. It struck me though that most of us didn't really know how to pray about such a complex situation. Our prayers either gave away that we were feeling either numb, angry or confused.

Lucy (who is 6 or 7) came to light a candle after others had prayed. She had a bit of trouble keeping it alight but eventually did. She stuck it in the sand and paused for a few seconds before saying...

I wish this dumb war would stop

She then sat down as us adults echoed the words - Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lucy in that moment was able to cut through alot of the crud that many of us were feeling and was able to express in a very profound way her own cry for peace. One might look at her prayer as being overly simplistic or not understanding the full situation but I was inspired by her childlike faith and was able to finally put words to some of the feelings I've been having. I think I'll be praying Lucy's prayer from now on.

I wish this dumb war would stop

meta.sunday.17-23.march

23 March, 2003 7:39 AM

I havnt done much surfing this week - so my Sunday morning meta blog really has nothing meta about it. Rather I've got one site for you to take a look at.

Check out my mates brand new blog. Luke is from Melbourne like me and he's put his blog together himself from scratch - looks good mate!!! Luke: food for thought

Also was impressed with this post entitled THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT WAR WITH IRAQ that I found on Jordon's blog.

Living in Heaven

22 March, 2003 12:37 PM

I've received a few emails of late (I love getting them from fellow bloggers so please feel free to shoot me one - I wont publish it unless you give me the go ahead!) asking me to tell them what the area I'm living in is like. So I thought I'd try to give you a bit of a picture (in words) of what this part of Melbourne is like - I personally think its like living in heaven - but I'm biased.

I like in North Fitzroy which is sandwiched between North Carlton and Clifton Hill - about 30 minutes walk to the centre of Melbourne's CBD. The area was originally an area that would have been fairly low socio economic in population with lots of little Victorian terraces - cottages really.

However things have changed - this area has become somewhat yuppiefied and the little cottages have become much sought after and most have been renovated. Its a pretty trendy part of town to live in with some amazing parks, beautiful architecture and an incredible array of eating and drinking establishments. The range of cafes, restaurants and hotels is stunning. I'm sure you could eat in a different one every day of the year and still not get through them all.

Housing prices have gone through the roof over the past couple of years as a result of the increased interest in the area. This has caused some problems in the area as there is a real shortage of affordable housing.

Mingled amongst the million dollar plus 'mini mansions' of the area are quite a number of public housing estates. Some are high rise blocks others are low density estates. The demand for this housing is out of control. Its quite a unique part of town because its quite common to have people at both ends of the socio economic extremes living side by side - generally in harmony.

As I walk down the busiest street in our area (Brunswick St) I'm be confronted with the most amazing sites, smells and sounds. This is one of my favourite streets in the world - the international variety of food and drink on offer is staggering - but so is the real sense of community I get there. Its a fairly 'edgy, alternative, bohemian' crowd - but its also incredibly accepting of 'all sorts' of people. The inclusivity is quite challenging to me as I compare it with how many churches operate.

Social Justice is one thing that is very evident in this region. The environmentally friendly political party 'the Greens' generally does pretty well around here. Social groups like 'Amnesty International' are also active.

The council municipality that I live in (city of Yarra) is very multicultural. The nationalities represented is quite staggering. There is quite a large population of older European residents, especially Italians and Greeks - but there is also a growing number of people from Asia, Africa and the Middle East - many coming seeking asylum.

The Arts are an important aspect of life here. Local movie theatres do a roaring trade, generally focusing upon alternative type films. Artist studios and galleries are dotted throughout the streets and a variety of live music is on tap most nights.

I love my city and the area of it that I live in. It is not perfect - there are real elements of greed and consumerism reflected in the 'yuppieness' but there is also some really 'Godly' characteristics being demonstrated in this community.

I see so many ways that 'Living Room' can connect with the wider community here and am excited at the opportunities.

THANKYOU

21 March, 2003 2:14 PM

A Huge Thank You to Rich! He'll know why - all I can say is he's been most supporting and generous to Living Room - what a guy! Visit him every day like I do!

Pictures of Hope - Isaiah 35

21 March, 2003 12:57 PM

Last night I was asked via email by one of the young people that I worked with a year or two back 'why is God allowing such violence to happen?' She is deeply affected by what she is seeing on the news 24/7 and is trying to make sense of it all, trying to 'find God' in the senseless violence she is witnessing.

The passage I read today in Isaiah 35 is a hopeful picture of flowers, singing joy, site for the blind, hearing for the deaf, leaping for the lame and words for the mute. There is water in the desert and a highway of holiness.

Restoration is at the heart of our God - however this is not the case in the passages around this one. Instead there is mass destruction and chaos which results from the selfishness, violence and greed of the people.

I suspect this is applyable to what we're seeing in our world today.

There are no easy answers to the questions of my young friend. All I could say to her was that restoration, wholeness, justice and peace are central to God's purposes. Without telling her what stance to take politically I encouraged her to hold onto these same purposes in a personal sense. As his people we must continue to pray for and practically work towards peace and justice in whatever ways we can.

New Voices

20 March, 2003 9:02 PM

I've been talking of late to Rudy about getting some new voices added to the global emerging church conversation. The observation that many have made is that there is is limited diversity in those contributing to discussions.

So Phuture through Rudy has invited a number of people from different minority groups to submit pieces that will add valuable insights to emerging church discussions.

I'm really excited to see what will be submitted for publication. The first of these pieces has just been submitted by DJ Chuang who is DJ Chuang is an Asian American of Chinese descent who is living near Washington, D.C. Check out his article called 'Where are my People>' here.

Where were you?

20 March, 2003 1:52 PM

Yes it has begun. The question that is always asked about these occassions is 'where were you when you heard the news?'

I spent this morning in a Hindu Temple here in Melbourne and that is where I heard the news. I am currently doing a subject on major religions which involves visiting different places of worship.

It was quite a surreal moment after seeing the peaceful nature of these devout people and the serentity of their compound to get in my car and hear George Bush announcing the beginning of such a major conflict.

Village Space

20 March, 2003 8:49 AM

Village Space is a site I've headed you to before - but the site has been redesigned and moved to a new domain.

I really like the way fellow Aussie Mark seems to be thinking about this new church. He's opened a guitar school which gives an income stream but also puts him into direct contact with young people in his community. Check out his thinking on the blog/site.

Do as I say, not as I do

20 March, 2003 8:45 AM

Yesterday my chaplaincy class visited one of Melbourne's leading private schools. It was a nice change to get out of the normal lecture theatre to hear a lecture from the schools chaplain.

The session was held in the schools newly constructed chapel — a modern and innovatively designed space, complete with all the latest audio visual gear, beautifully crafted pews and the latest in architectural design. One of the main points of the lecture was that the chaplain had been experimenting with the cutting edge audio visual equipment in communicating the story of Jesus. He seemed quite proud of the fact that the school had invested over $1,000,000 in his new facility. It was a nice space but I came away from the time there feeling somewhat distressed.

It was not the content of the lecture that got to me, he did have some good things to say, rather I was again struck by the contrast between the gospel message that was spoken in that place to students and the surrounds that they were said in.

The chaplain was asked about Jesus relationship with the poor and responded that they did share that that was an important part of Jesus message to the students. Also when pushed he said that they also talked to the students about consumerism and how they should consider how they thought about money. Call me cynical if you wish, but I couldn't help but wonder what impact those messages would have as they were conveyed on the big screen in surround sound in such a place.

Civilian Count

19 March, 2003 11:24 PM

I've decided to add the counter to the right to this blog. It is morbid, it is a stark contrast to the 'living' theme of this site and it is confronting.

I have not added it to make a political point - but rather as a reminder to me of the impact of this war upon the people of Iraq. I have seen a number of campaigns on blogs to pray for and support the troops of the 'coalition of the willing' - I think its good to be praying for these men and women. But I also think its important to be in prayer for those on the other side of the attack.

Thanks to Presurfer for the link.

Advice to New Bloggers

19 March, 2003 1:44 PM

Was chatting to a new blogger yesterday via email - what advice to give?

I'll make it brief - go here and here. Read their advice. Lastly go here every day and add this to your links list!

Letter to the PM

19 March, 2003 11:34 AM

Just found this open letter to Mr John Howard our Prime Minister. Not sure where it was originally published as I found it in a news group - posted there by Rowland (which by the way is an AMAZING resource site in itself). Its written by a prominant Aussie - Hugh Mackay. Its long so I've put most of it in the 'please sir, can I have some more' section.

Update - originally published at here

March 15 2003

Dear Prime Minister,

Speaking as one of the mob, I've had enough. Like 49 per cent of voters,
I've never been a supporter of your Government, but I have often had reason
to respect your political skills. Now, having so resolutely ignored the mind
and mood of the Australian people, you seem destined to go down in history
as the prime minister who made us feel ashamed of being Australians.

It's a pity our military leaders don't have the freedom to disobey your
orders when those orders contravene both international law and common sense.
What a sweet moment it would be if the top brass could simply say, "Sorry,
we won't act unjustly. If you want to invade Iraq, get someone else to do
the job. We're coming home."

As things stand, we are in imminent danger of aligning ourselves with the
infamous "rogue states" you and your mad mate, George Bush, keep talking
about - the states that ignore the military and humanitarian rules and
resolutions of the United Nations.

If I've got it straight, your logic runs like this: because Iraq has failed
to respect its obligations to the UN, Australia should do the same. We'll
invade Iraq and, in the process, give our imprimatur to international
lawlessness and thuggery.


Is that to be your legacy - to be identified, throughout history, as the
prime minister who said that we, like Saddam Hussein, should thumb our noses
at the UN?

Apart from your single-minded determination to drag us into an ill-conceived
war, a couple of other things worry me. For instance, your failure to draw
the proper distinction between acts of terrorism and acts of war. Bush's
rhetoric notwithstanding, terrorism is not war; it is criminal activity that
should be dealt with like any other crime. Tracking down terrorists is a job
for intelligence services and police forces, not armies.

The Bali terrorists are being arrested by the Indonesian police, as is
proper. But the unsuccessful hunt for Osama bin Laden involved the invasion
of Afghanistan by a mighty army (or was that war really about "regime
change"? I'm confused).

Is the attack on Iraq being carried out in the name of the so-called "war on
terrorism" or not? If it is, then, as well as being illegal, it's based on a
category mistake.

I notice you and Bush keep shifting your ground on Iraq, and that makes me
nervous too. Long ago, I was taught that if someone gives you two reasons
for declining an invitation, that probably means they're hiding the truth
(which is, presumably, that they simply don't want to come). The anti-Iraq
propaganda is a bit like that.

First we were told Saddam had to be disarmed by force before he had a chance
to deploy his weapons of mass destruction. When it became less certain that
he had such weapons, and even less clear why or where he might want to
deploy them, the focus switched to the need for "regime change" in order to
establish democracy in Iraq (though not, we assume, the Florida-style
democracy that installed Bush in the White House).

Now we're being told an invasion can be justified on humanitarian grounds
and we will be the heroic liberators of an oppressed people. Too many
reasons, John.

And another thing: Bush isn't our president ... and neither are you. You are
our Prime Minister, yet you seem, on this issue, to be acting against
Australia's interests and in defiance of public opinion. Where's the
consultation with the Australian people? Where's the parliamentary debate
that should precede any decision to deploy Australian troops - especially
when they are about to undertake an unprecedented and unprovoked invasion of
another country?

We've heard your legalistic assertion that this is a decision for cabinet,
not Parliament. And we've heard your undertaking to recall Parliament to
debate the question once the decision has been made. (What's the point of
that, by the way?) But when you seem prepared to do what no other Australian
prime minister has ever contemplated doing, tarnishing our nation's
reputation or integrity in the process, mightn't a bit more collegiality, a
bit more inclusiveness, have been in order?

As for your breathtakingly cynical attempt to forge an emotional link
between Iraq and Bali - suggesting we should make ourselves feel better
about soldiers coming home from the Gulf in body bags by recalling our
outrage over the Bali massacre - well, this time, you went too far. We saw
through that cheap rhetorical trick: it looked like a last desperate attempt
to win support for your war - yours and Bush's - and we rejected it.

Please think again, Prime Minister. The word on the street is: no, John, no

Blast off...

18 March, 2003 10:35 PM

Tonight was the first meeting of Living Room. It was a really interesting gathering of 6. We range in age from 10 to 30 some things - we have had a diversity of experiences of life and church.

We have decided to continue to meet Tuesday evenings for a meal together. We will spend the next few weeks continuing to get to know one another and to talk about our 'DNA' both as individuals but also as a community, following that we might do the 'Ignition' course.

Whilst I felt the night was a good start I find myself sitting here tonight alone in my actual 'living room' feeling extremely strange. It all seems rather surreal and very fragile. If any of you church planter bods have any words of wisdom feel free to shoot me a comment or email.

Its nice though to finally be moving forward in some tangible ways.

Australia is in....

18 March, 2003 1:47 PM

I'm sitting here watching Australian Prime Minister making a speech to the Australian Federal Parliament. He and his cabinet have made a commitment to the 'coalition of the willing' to send troops to the coming conflict in Iraq. Of course he says that they've only been there for the past weeks and months for aclimatisation and the decision has only been made today.

I'm saddened, unconvinced and bitterly disappointed that he and our nations leadership at this time. I think I've said all I need to say about it in previous posts for the time being.

New blogger?!?

17 March, 2003 10:22 PM

dtour.com.au - >>> the Missional Position

Congratulations to fellow Aussie blogger Malcolm who's just become the father of MICAH!!! I wonder how young the worlds youngest blogger is? Maybe you could get him to post for you Malcolm!?

Count Down

17 March, 2003 3:37 PM

Tomorrow night the Living Room takes another step towards being an actual community as most of the different individuals that I've been talking to about coming on board will come to dinner at our house and meet one another for the first time!

So far the 8 or so people that have committed to the idea have only met V and I.

I'm feeling quite nervous about it although I suspect they will get along pretty well as there are a few common interests that flow through us all. I'm also quite relieved that we are finally kicking off and very keen to get into the regular rhythm of meeting and relating.

Would appreciate your prayers at this time. Will let you know how it goes!

Study in contrasts - Isaiah 25-26

17 March, 2003 3:06 PM

Isaiah 25:1-5 is a great study in contrasts of Gods ways towards different groups.

God turns mighty cities into ruins, strong walled cities into rubble, beautiful palaces disappear.

On the other hand the poor find a refuge in the storm in God, the needy in distress are sheltered in the rain and heat.

I love the imagery of Isaiah 25:6-10 also where we see a 'wonderful feast for everyone around the world' depicted.

What a picture of hope it is - what an inspiration at the type of life we should be aiming to live and usher in for those around us. 'elicious and good food, well aged wine, choice beef. Death swallowed up forever, all tears wiped away, no more insults and mockery.'

Its no wonder that the people will sing the song of Isaiah 26!

meta.sunday.9_16.march

16 March, 2003 8:22 AM

I've been considering coming up with some way of acknowledgeing the blogs that have made the biggest impression on me. I've decided that on a semi regularly basis (maybe weekly on a Sunday) that I will post a meta-blog posting giving the high lights of the past weeks blogging from my perspective. From time to time it will include the serious, the bizarre, the new and the old. Its not a competition, they will not be ranked in any order - just a way for me to let you know what's caught my attention, got me thinking, made me laugh (or cry) or provided a space for a good discussion. This weeks observations include:

Jason has been blogging on the Kingdom of God and how it should impact the way we operate as church - especially in relation to our mission-ality here and here. Its a similar journey to what I've been on the past year in my thinking. Great quality blogging.

Welcome to my quality blogs list The Crucible of My heart and Eliacin's Blog. (who is from Puerto Rico)

Alan (see 10th March post) shares of his Dads confession of faith. Excellent news!

cre8d : journal posts on monologue/dialogue in blogging.

Paul shares of some ideas about using movies in church (15th March post). Great ideas which i'm sure I'll borrow!

Bene comments on some of the trends in blogging - particularly focusing upon what types of Christian blogs are getting most links.

John Campea links to a great article about A Practical Christian Pacifism - good article and very topical.

Rachel from Life Being Beautiful risks never being linked on this page again with an 'Australian Joke'! Three strikes and you're out Rachel....thats ONE!

Mark Riddle announces that 2nd April is 'National Tell the Truth Day'

HANDS on Wedding.

15 March, 2003 4:49 PM

Weddings are always so fun! V and I are just home from another one - we've had 5 or 6 in the past few months. As I blogged a couple of days ago I officiated at this one - something I really enjoy doing. I finally did come up with a talk 'with a difference'. I talked about the happy couples HANDS. I won't go into great detail except that I talked about three qualities of HANDS and how I think they relate to LOVE. It was quite a fun talk and people seemed to engage with it. I spoke about how hands speak to me of 'intimacy', 'individuality' and 'action' all things that in my opinion are essential ingredients to love.

After the ceremony at the reception V and I were seated at a table with two other couples, neither of whom we had met or known of before. The next four hours was an amazing time. As we ate some great food and drank some beautiful wine they quizzed me solidly about my job as a minister, about my training, about our planting of the Living Room and about my views on 'church' and its relevance today in society. None of those on the table were 'church attendees' but all said they were intrigued by my 'Hands talk' and surprised that they actually related to what a minister had said!

I am always staggered by the interest and eagerness of many people I meet to know more about church. As we talked today I got the sense that these four people were genuinely hungering for a church in their area who would accept and connect with them relevantly. Unfortunately their experiences with churches and life had led them to reject the institution and view it as largely irrelevant to their lives. It struck me that it wasn't for a lack of trying on their part - but in most circumstances it was from a lack of understanding and warmth from the churches they had previously had contact with.

I came away from this wedding both deeply encouraged by the searching of many in our communities but also deeply saddened and disturbed by the way that we often get it so wrong as church.

A Message About... - Isaiah 13-24

14 March, 2003 3:08 PM

Have spent the last couple of days struggling through this chunk of Scripture, Isaiah 13-24. I group it all together because just about every section is titled (in my NRSV) 'A message about....(insert place here)' Following is then a description of a different place, from Assyria to Moab to Jerusalem to Earth. The reading is pretty heavy, not overly uplifting. Its filled with ruins, destruction, war, floods, drought, corruption, pain, famine, death and ultimately the destruction of the Earth.

What can we make of such a section? Can't say I've heard too many sermons preached out of this section?

Question - if Isaiah were to write 'A message about...Earth' in the year 2003 - what do you think it would contain?

Stinky Update

14 March, 2003 10:59 AM

After a bit of a dry spell StinkyConvolutedPast has been updated with some interesting info. Al Hirsch has left some great comments on what he calls 'remissioning the church'.

New Anonymous Blogger

14 March, 2003 10:33 AM

Just to let you know of a new blogger on the scene that has cause a bit of a blogging frenzy in their few days of blogging so far! Everyone meet No Eye Deer.

Unfortunately B4G have decided not to list No Eye Deer as a result of their new policy to not allow anonymous bloggers. An interesting discussion has since been happening at Cre8d over the sense of such a policy.

Anyway - as B4G won't do the introductions to you I thought I would...

No Eye Deer has since posted on their feelings on the saga too with what I feel are some wise words here.

Reminds me of a post I did a few months back entitled Who's In?

wedding bells

13 March, 2003 4:25 PM

Am marrying a couple on Saturday and am looking for any creative ideas people might have on some words of encouragement for them in the ceremony. I have a number of different wedding talks - however at this wedding am looking for something fresh. Any thought appreciated.

Selective Faith

13 March, 2003 2:51 PM

I had a conversation with a class mate yesterday which continues to have me thinking today. She had been at a Christian Youth Festival over the weekend here in Melbourne. One of the speakers was presenting a topic to the teens and young adults assembled — her message was a familiar one (I'll be paraphrasing here) — the thrust of her talk was for the young people not to smoke, drink, swear or have sex. The message was being lapped up by the young people assembled at this meeting.

My class mate reacted very strongly against this message. She made the observation that the speakers message seemed empty in comparison to her observations of the way the speaker looked and acted.

There she stood making some sweeping statements on personal morality yet she was dressed in an outfit which my friend estimated would have costed in excess of $550. Is this another example of how the Church often is selective in what it speaks about?

Would it not have been just as beneficial (if not more) for these young people to hear about a faith that not only impacts ones decisions about whether to drink, swear or smoke or how to express ones sexuality — but also a faith that impacts ones decisions about how to spend money, what career path to take, where to live etc?

As I've said before - in my reading of the gospel - Jesus speaks a whole heap more about money than he does about some of these other issues.

The Death of Outrage

13 March, 2003 8:09 AM

I just posted this great article on Phuture written by New Zealander Mick Duncan.

He argues that we need to get in touch with a sense of Outrage. He writes:

"Without a sense of outrage we run the serious risk of being an ordinary person. But God created us to be extraordinary people. Outrage makes you do things that are out of the ordinary. Without a sense of outrage you run the risk of becoming nice person. But God only gave us ten commandments. There is no eleventh commandment that says, �Thou must be nice.� And without a collective sense of outrage, a church runs the risk of fast becoming a nice church. But Jesus, the Head of such a Church, was and is no Mr Nice Guy. It seems to me that Christians have bought into the sickening idea that niceness is the essence of goodness. There are more important things than being considered nice!
"

Check out the rest!

What I learned at the porn show

12 March, 2003 1:27 PM

WHAT I LEARNED AT THE PORN SHOW is a really interesting article written buy a guy who went to a porn convention to hand out bibles. He writes:

'Allow me to share some recent discoveries I've made about God, life and people in an very unlikely place - at the AVN Adult-Expo in Las Vegas. This is the largest porn convention in the world that attracts over 75,000 people and the heavy hitters in the adult entertainment industry.'

Freedom Fries

12 March, 2003 11:57 AM

bloggedy blog draws our attention to the Congress boycott of french fries (they are calling them freedom fries instead out of protest for Frances stand in the UN. That will teach those french to threaten vetoing US resolutions!!!)

Andrew asks the question - 'did anyone bother to tell the legislators that hamburgers are named after a city in that other "old Europe" ex-ally, Germany?'

I think this is actually an incredible opportunity for US backing countries to get in on the act of taking over the monopoly France has on its naming rights of food.

From now on lets rename French Fries - British Fries and we'll call French Toast Aussie Toast. French bread, French onion soup and French dressing are also up for grabs for other nations willing to back US action in Iraq - you'd better get in quick though. There will also be an opening for a country willing to rename French Kissing - that's sure to be popularl

So form a line - heads of state who don't support US action need not apply.

What a load of crap! - pardon my French

Isaiah 10-12

12 March, 2003 9:56 AM

Got a little carried away this morning and read Isaiah 10-12 rather than just the one chapter.

I find it fascinating to observe the imagery that is used in this writing. Particularly in Isaiah 11 where there is a description of the coming of the Messiah. Its an amazing picture.

Some 'highlights' from the description include:

- He will never judge by appearance, false evidence or hearsay.
- He will defend the poor and the exploited.
- He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of his mouth.
- In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace.
- Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes.

What an amazing picture of wholeness - what a fantastic image to hold onto heading into today.

Moon Walk a FAKE!?

11 March, 2003 4:00 PM

On a lighter note (I guess it is) a documentary has just been released that argues that the first moon walk was actually a con and instead filmed in a studio. Read more Here. You get to vote on if you think it happened or not there too.

ANTI SHALOM - Isaiah 9

11 March, 2003 3:55 PM

Once again this passage in Isaiah 9:1-7 gives us a glimpse of the way God desires things to be. Its a messianic picture where the main theme seems to be that of Peace.

In that day of peace, battle gear will no longer be issued. Never again will uniforms be bloodstained by war. All such equipment will be burned.

Again I can help but contrast this picture of what God seems to be working towards - a picture of wholeness of Shalom - to what is happening in our world today.

I close my eyes to try to visualise the desires of God - the Shalom, the Peace, the wholeness that this passage talks about - but all I see in my head are the instruments of war being amassed in the middle east.

It all seems so destructive - so Anti-Shalom. I know the stated aims of the western leaders (including my own prime minister) is to bring peace to our world with this war - however it all seems so horribly the wrong way to go about it to me.

What if we were to put the billions of dollars being spent on weaponry into purchases that will build our enemies up rather than shoot them down. Simplictic I know - maybe I'm too simple - it all just seems so terribly at odds to these Scriptures I keep reading....

Once again I'm left asking - if these passages in Isaiah are glimpses of Gods purposes for humanity - then why do we continue to work towards other seemingly opposite purposes by our actions!?

Pray for Hirarc

10 March, 2003 11:38 PM

This weekend V and I looked after our young friend Andy again. For new readers - he's a 20 year old guy that we have come visit once per month for a weekend to give his family a break - he's got Downs Syndrome and they need a bit of respite once in a while. I've blogged about my mate Andy before here.

Anyway - Andy has 'a way' about him - he's amazingly perceptive at times.

I was putting him to be on Friday night and we had our normal prayer time. I asked him what he wanted me to pray for. He thought long and hard about it and eventually answered by saying - 'pray for Hirarc'. Its not unusual for me not to understand some of what Andy says - so I asked him to explain. Again he said 'pray for Hirarc'. Again I looked quizzically at him and he elaborated by saying - pray for the war in Hirarc.' He went on to say 'if you pray for Hirarc the war will stop'.

What faith Andy has - challenges me every time!

Out of Context - Isaiah 8

10 March, 2003 4:53 PM

Strange how some words leap off the page at you when you're reading the bible. The words that ring in my ear this afternoon still after reading Isaiah 8 this morning I'm sure were not the 'main message' that the original writer of this passage was trying to convey. I'm also sure I'm reading them totally out of context - however as I read them and now reflect upon them they 'fit' - they made me go 'ah haa'. I won't analyse or explain them here exept to say that today as I read them they gave me real strength, confirmation and peace. They came from verse 11:

'Do not think like everyone else does.'

Sunday morning Blogservations

9 March, 2003 9:17 AM

Observations of my Sunday morning Blogisphere rounds.

Stumbled upon a new blog (to me) Marcs Messages at Kingdom Space, it looks really good. Bene - well he just blogs on! (he's a machine!)

Laura is talking about one of her (and my) favourite bands — Coldplay. Steve's church Grace way have started a lent blog which is a fantastic idea. I'll be checking it out heaps as its such stimulating stuff. (try saying that first thing on a Sunday morning!)

Friday6pm's temperature is rising over a new HOT television show. Paul and Mark are hot under the collar too as a result of blogger type frustrations.

Tall Skinny Kiwi's site is looking great — I like all the little pics — concise posts etc. I wish I could be a little more pointed in my writing. Alysha Jane may just be loosing her marbles after some heavy study. The evidence is in her star trekking post — poor girl!

Malcolm tells of an interesting chat with a pastor doing some interesting thinking on church size. Mark has discovered that church is actually a soccer game with 50 kids! He's a braver man than I.

Stay clear of Gannes site — you might catch what he's got! Leave him an encouraging comment though....I hate being sick. IreneQ is talking death — interesting stuff. Berlin Rocks has finally updated!!!! Woohooo!!! I love her reflections.

God is With US? - Isaiah 7

8 March, 2003 1:48 PM

'The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel — God is with us.'

'God is with us'

I wonder if my faith actually reflects this some times — do I live a life that reflects that God is with us? Do I live a life where it is evident that God is with ME? I know that there are bits of my life where God feels 'with me' — like times in creation, times in prayer, times in deep and significant conversation with others. But I wonder if I actually live a pretty segmented life. I'm not so sure I live as though God were with me all day every day! Maybe Immanuel should mean 'God is with me — sometimes.'

But to just look at God being with ME — is to probably miss the point. Its US that he's with! Or is he? I wonder if the way we live as his people in community reflects his presence? Is the way I look at, treat and relate to those around me reflecting that God is with US. Its perhaps easier to grasp that he's with ME — of course he is, why wouldn't he be? I'm a pretty special guy if I do say so myself — but to acknowledge that he's with US means to acknowledge that the OTHER had God with THEM too! Heaven forbid — I've seen some of THEM! I've seen how some of THEM pray, I've heard some of THEIR politics, I've read THEIR blogs and I've heard some of THEIR worship songs!

'Immanuel - God is with us.' It is a beautiful name — but its so much more. In a rich and complex way it pulls together what Jesus was on about. In his very name we see summed up the two greatest commandments of Love. Firstly to an intimate connection and relationship with a God who desires to permeate every crevasse of our existence and secondly to community with the diversity of neighbouring travellers.

M8

8 March, 2003 12:52 PM

Today is 8th March - a special day for me because one year ago today I was married!!!! In fact at this time last year I was nervously eating a little lunch and then started getting dressed for the big moment. What a great day it was!

What can one say about Marriage? Hmm....well I'm no expert - but to me I see it as a journey. Whilst on this day last year we officially became married - I actually think that one doesn't really become married at one particular moment in time - rather I see it as a process. In some ways we began to 'become married' many months before the official day - and I suspect we are still 'becoming married' to this very day - and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives together. Gee - getting all philosophical! Sorry...

Its nice to look back on a year where so much happened both in ministry, in my family and in many other ways and to know that I shared it with such a special human being as V!

So grab a glass of cyber champagne - raise your glass - and lets toast in memory of a great year - and in the hope of many many more!

Quote of the day

7 March, 2003 3:00 PM

from class yesterday..."I see you coming — I think you are a pain in the neck — I tighten the muscles in my neck — which gives me the pain in the neck that you are." — R.D Lains

Question

7 March, 2003 1:51 PM

Quick question my wonderful readers! Would you prefer me to put my biblical journalling (currently on Isaiah) on a separate page? It would have the advantage of keeping them all together in sequence for easier digesting and also help keep the train of though going on the main page.

But on the flip side would take the biblical out of the every day reflections - which although messy may add something to both types of postings.

What do you think??? Would like your opinion. Feel free to comment below or email if you've got any thoughts.

Cleansing and Calling - Isaiah 6

7 March, 2003 1:47 PM

Interesting to see how closely connected Isaiah's 'Calling' was to his 'Cleansing' in Isaiah 6. He is forgiven and cleansed in one breath and in the next is given a calling. Almost seems a stark contrast to the way we work in church sometimes. A person almost has to prove their faith before they are given any responsibility or role in the church. I can understand why in one sense, however perhaps it would be better to take this approach. It reminds me of the approach of Jesus who in one breath calls his disciples into relationship with him with the words 'Come follow me' and who in the next breath calls them to action with the words 'and I will make you fishers of men'.

Often new Christians have a sense of wonder, energy and openness to sharing their faith — I wonder if we stifle the impact they could have by making them have a year of 'spiritual formation' before they are given opportunity to take up a role within the Church or do any sort of mission.

This chapter is also a great reminder at how linked our personal faith is to our calling or ministry. As a minister I'm always tempted to spend my time doing - but need to remember to continue to 'be' with God and allow the 'cleansing' and connection with God to take place.

Prayer Team

7 March, 2003 12:43 PM

Just sent a new prayer newsletter to our prayer support team. If you wanted to receive it but didn't please email me again. I've lost a few addresses in the swap of computers - sorry about that. New prayer team members are always welcome! Email Me

Vote for a top blog

7 March, 2003 7:51 AM

Vote for Rachel in the best design catagory in the dilly award. Congratulations Rachel!

Also just a reminder for people to change their bookmarks on this site. Thanks.

Human and Humanitarian Consequences of a War on Iraq

6 March, 2003 5:04 PM

The Human and Humanitarian Consequences of a War on Iraq is a site that has a wealth of information for anyone thinking through the war on Iraq issue. It has numerous articles covering issues such as the increase in refugees out of such a conflict, the impact upon children, public health implications etc. There is too much information on this site to summarise here - go have a look for yourself.

No matter what position we take on this issue - we need to be aware of what the implications of action upon Iraq will be so that we are ready to respond to them. For instance - I hope my country is willing to increase its refugee intake if it insists of being part of such an attack on this country.

Me, Myself and I(saiah 5)

6 March, 2003 4:23 PM

Today's passage in Isaiah 5 picks up the familiar themes of Justice and Righteousness. Again the imagery is rich - that of a vineyard that has the potential to produce a great crop but instead produces wild and sour grapes. The consequences are dire.

Its interesting to take a look at the 'sin' of the people in these chapters - I can't recall one mention of sexual sin yet. SO FAR the things that displease God are pride, arrogance, self obsession, oppression, greed, piety and selfishness.

The society of the time seems to be a 'me' focused place. In my reading of the passages - this is what is peeving God off the most. Reminds me so much of today where life is so often about getting oneself ahead - accumulating My own fortune - making sure that I am happy.

I wonder if we in Church sometimes only add to this I-centric attitude? Most of the worship songs we sing are as much about ME as they are about God. Often the preaching resembles a SELF help seminar. I wonder what would a Church that was less in tune with our self obsessed culture and more in tune with God's other obsessed paradigm look like?

Message Added

6 March, 2003 9:07 AM

The Message has been added to BibleGateway. Thanks to What is Church for the head up.

Bribery?

5 March, 2003 12:13 PM

Josh's Post disturbs me today. The suggestion is that the US with hold foreign aid to Turkey, Egypt, Russia and North Korea.

The suggestion appears to be that the amount withheld should correlate with the percentage of times the countries have voted against the US in the UN Assembly.

Josh qualifies by stating that he is not suggesting that foreing aid be used as a bribe to get UN votes - however I'm afraid I don't see the logic of including the voting statistics in the post if this is the case?

The countries mentioned by Josh (along with many others that the US generously supports - and I think its great that they do) face incredible hardships. From conversations that I've had with friends working for development agencies around the world it seems that this aid is doing great things for the population in these nations.

Whilst I do not agree with Josh's stand on Iraq - I do understand the frustration that he and other are feeling over these (and other countries) rejecting the US's calls for war. However as I've said before here, there needs to be a forum where the actions of powerful nations are analysed and questioned. There needs to be a place where nations are held accountable for the power they have and the ways they exercise this power. The UN is this place (despites its inefficiencies and problems - its the best we've got). All nations represented at the UN have a right to vote as they wish and should not be held to ransom by how their vote goes.

If we are reject the call to help the disadvantaged purely because they do not fully accept our position or work towards the bring about of our own interests then this looks like bribery to me.

Contrasting Imagery - Isaiah 3-4

5 March, 2003 10:05 AM

2 chapters today - both filled with contrasting rich imagery.

Isaiah 3 is filled with anarchy and self centeredness. Children leaders, people taking advantage of one another, fighting, shortages of food and clothing, ruins, guilt, foul stenches, shame, ugliness and destruction are just some of the pictures.

Isaiah 4 is a more hopeful picture of the grace of God. It contains pictures of Shalom — of wholeness. I love this imagery — fruit, lushness, beauty, washing of filth, cleansing, shade, shelter from heat, hiding place from storms and rain.

The contrast between the two is stunning - the question in my mind is - which is more descriptive of the state of our world (and even the Church) today?

Lastly the image that leaves me pondering today is that in chapter 3 of God as 'the great prosecuting attorney - presenting his case against his people.' This is not a portrayal of God that I've ever seen before and has left me surprised. Why is it that we generally only talk about the biblical images of God that are not confronting? We hear about a nurturing, comforting, shepherding God on a weekly basis in most churches - but where is the confronting, judging and sometimes angry God of Isaiah?

War - Isaiah 2

4 March, 2003 4:01 PM

Today I read Isaiah 2 and was confronted by many things again. So far my main personal challenge has been to catch a glimpse of the purposes of God and to compare them with the purposes and ways of his people. (both in OT times and today - including my purposes)

Interesting to read verses 1-5 in light of what is currently happening in the world.

In the last days 'the Lord will settle international disputes. All the nations will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. All wars will stop, and military training will come to an end.'

Again in this passage we get a glimpse of the heart of God. Peace seems to be fairly important to him. The transformation of implements of war into objects of provision and life is a beautiful image. Just imagine the missiles, bombs etc being transformed into things that could feed the starving in our world....

If these are Gods purposes - and we are the 'body of Christ' - how should we be living them out today?

Fat Blue Address change

4 March, 2003 3:24 PM

FatBlueMan John Janzen has changed his domain address.

False Worship - Isaiah 1

3 March, 2003 4:56 PM

I've decided to take a walk through Isaiah the next few weeks. Today started in logical place of Isaiah 1. I was struck by the words in verse 17.

'LEARN TO DO GOOD. SEEK JUSTICE. HELP THE OPPRESSED. DEFEND THE ORPHAN. FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF WIDOWS.'

In context they stand in stark contrast to what the people of God have been doing. God describes their efforts at connecting with him as sinful, empty and false. Their actions are described as 'worthless slag' and 'watered down wine'. The tone of Gods words is of frustration, disgust and anger. It is confronting.

God says he's even at the point of not listening to or seeing their prayers because of the emptiness and hypocrisy of the peoples behaviour! This doesn't sound like the God we hear about most Sundays - a God of love, patience, acceptance of us just the way we are...This God is confronting at the emptiness and futility of his people's faith!

Makes me wonder what God thinks about what we do as his Church today! How seriously do we take the call to justice? How central is defending, helping and fighting for the rights of the less fortunate to our faith? Have we lost sight of some of the central purposes of God? Do our worship services seem empty and even 'false' in the eyes of God when we fail to grapple with the things that seem to be fairly and squarely upon his heart?

Which Blogging tool are you?

3 March, 2003 4:24 PM


b2
You are a highly intelligent person but you always keep a low-profile. You are going to be famous someday.

Which Blogging Tool Are You?

Thanks Jan for this link.

'Church' - 'Christian' - the baggage

3 March, 2003 2:39 PM

Just had a stimulating conversation with a fellow Living Roomie about what we are doing. As per usual we covered every topic under the sun including the struggle that we both have with the name 'Church'. As we sat in our local cafe we asked ourselves the question - 'what barriers (cultural or otherwise) would a local community of Christians have in mission in our context?'

One of the big ones is the name 'Church' or even the name 'Christian'.

In the inner city suburb where I live the attitude of the average person towards the Church is not very positive. So much baggage is attached to the words 'Church' and 'Christian'. Do we put ourselves behind the eight ball by even using the terminology?

If I were to put a sign up on the wall of our cafe (which is covered with such notices) advertising a new community/co-operative focused upon the growing of organic vegetables, eating together, exploring spirituality and sharing a common life I'm almost certain that we'd receive calls and visitors within hours! (we live in a pretty alternative part of the city) However if I was to put up a notice advertising a new Christian Community or Church who was going to do the same things - I doubt the notice would still be on the wall at the end of the day!

So how do we respond? Do we remove the word Church from our vocab, do we attempt to find words with less baggage? Do we soldier on and forget the cultural barrier - letting our actions debunk the baggage that people have? Do we continue to use the words but try to explain our terminology every time we use it? Are their other alternatives?

Its an interesting conversation, interested in others thoughts...

Modern Day Prophets - a Critique - Phuture

2 March, 2003 4:02 PM

Just posted this article to Phuture written by John Wallis - very confronting

They seek fame and fortune. The latest rendition of the prophets of days gone by, spouting off about community and authenticity never even knowing what they are. They pontificate to the masses that will listen with the hopes of book sales and speaking engagements. At times they are brilliant at others ignorant and stupid. Their epiphany expected to be heard, embraced and emulated without question. Yet, late in the night they awake in fear just having seen the emptiness of the message. The sun rises and once again they squeeze into the uniforms of revolution, buttons straining to contain the girth. Damn it shrunk again!, they say without seeing the truth. Guess its time for a new uniform.

Macs and PDAs

2 March, 2003 2:48 PM

Quick question for Mac users - do any of you use PDA's? If so what is the most compatible one for synchronising with your Mac? Have you found a way to sync your emails with Entourage? Interested in your opinion...

Categorised Archives

1 March, 2003 8:30 PM

filing.jpgHave changed my Archives over to a Categorised format - hope its easier to use than what I had.

Church Growth

1 March, 2003 1:42 PM

Looking back on the week that was in Living Room Developments - had a few meetings with people interested in being a part of what we're doing with good results. Seems that we maybe have increased in number from 2 (V and I) to 7 this week! Now if I were good at maths I'd be able to work out the percentage growth....but I'm not. I'm sure in percentage terms it would sound much more impressive!

Seriously though - am excited about the quality people that are putting up their hands to journey with us (and have us share part of their journey) - in fact I'm excited that ANY people are putting up their hands to journey with us....its just a bonus that I get along with them all! Its a real relief to see a two year vision start to eventuate.

Introverts Anon

1 March, 2003 1:34 PM

Check out this cool little article about us Introverted types

thanks Creative Slips for the link

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