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Blogger Chat Session.

31 July, 2003 9:06 PM

Tomorrow morning (8.30am Melbourne time - see here for international times) is our next blogger chat. If you want to be a part of it message me (daziii@hotmail.com - msn ID) and I'll invite you to the group.

Last time we had around 12 people involved - its fun, hope to see you there.

When I was 9

31 July, 2003 8:33 PM

lild.jpgWhat was your life like when you were 9?

Yesterday in class (first one of semester for the new subject I'm doing - The Multicultural Church) we went around the class answering a series of questions to give each other an insight into our different cultural backgrounds. The first question was to talk about what your life was like at the age of 9. I was amazed by the variety of responses from the 12 of us in the class. We lived in 8 countries at that age!

So what was your life like at the age of 9? Where did you live? What did you like to do? What was your family like? What sticks in your mind the most?

For me - I lived in the north west of Melbourne in a suburb called Essendon. I attended Strathmore Primary school and was doing pretty well in my studies in grade 4. (I was a bit of a nerd and teachers pet!) I remember I was the classes spelling champion (regular readers will wonder what ever happened) and I regularly locked academic horns with a girl named Deirdre for the title of class multiplication champion.

My best school friend was David Dangerfield - he left half way through the year to go live in the country which was pretty sad. I had a crush on a girl named Lauren who was in grade 3, but I never had the guts to talk to her.

I was the eldest of three children. My sister Mel was born in that year which was pretty exciting. Our family was pretty fun and loving. We went on holidays a couple of times a year, often to our grandparents farms where we loved to harras the sheep and play with our cousins.

Dad was the pastor of Glenbervie Baptist church which was a pretty 'normal' evangelical mainline Aussie Baptist church. I had some really good mates at church, Simon, Scott, Ben and John. We were the 'bervie boys' and ran amuck regularly with sleep overs a favourite past time. Church was mainly about fun and friends for me - I went to Sunday school and had all the right answers in my head, but didn't really experience much more than that of God.

The church manse that we lived in was pretty cool. It had a big yard with trees to climb and best of all a tennis court which we spent a lot of our time on. I played competition tennis every Saturday and in summer months would play most nights until dusk.

I was fortunate to have a pretty good upbringing - 9 was a good age for me. How about you? Leave your answer in comments or post it on your blog and let me know and I'll link to it below. (By the way - the pic is of me....but a little before I was 9...actually I think it was my first day of school at 5!)

Update: Phisch tells their 9 year old story here.

Temporary Blogging Disruptions

31 July, 2003 9:19 AM

Just a quick post before I leave for the day to say sorry to those of you who have had comments from 'Greg' left on your blog overnight.

'Greg' has a habbit of getting out and spreading the word for me. I'm not sure what the issue really is. If there are things about my approach that are 'unbiblical' I'm more than willing to be confronted on them and to rectify the situation. I don't really see myself as a 'liberal' or 'lefty' - I'm not sure why I keep getting this label apart from the fact that I tend to take seriously Jesus command to love others as myself. Anyway, I'm open to talking about any issue, just shoot me some mail or leave a comment (with valid email) and I'll dialogue about anything!

And Greg - sigh - buddy, I know you have some issues with the approach we're taking - I'd love to chat with you someday about them to find out if we could find some common ground. I know you are from Australia, so if you're ever up for a coffee, or would like to come to Living Room to see first hand what we do, just shoot me an email.

I'm afraid that every time you leave comments on other people's sites telling them to boycott my blog that all you do is send more people to it, like last time you did this campaign today I've had higher than normal hits - so I guess I should thankyou.

sorry to leave such a long comment, but I've no other way of getting messages to Greg.

This is the last time that I will mention you on this blog Greg - I'll be deleting any comments you might leave, unless you show you are serious about dialogue and discussing the issues you raise by leaving a valid email address. As I said, I'm more than willing to be confronted and challenged, but not by an anonamous stranger who is not willing to have a true interaction.

Anyway, lets get on with life and not get too worked up by this. Now, lets all head over to Rachel's and lend a hand by buying a great CD at a cheap rate! (free links here to anyone who does!!!)

Peace

My newest reader

30 July, 2003 9:20 PM

As I've said before - V, the wonderful woman to whom I am married, is not able to read my blog at work due most of the internet being blocked to staff there. That was until yesterday. So I'd like to welcome my newest blog reader, V!

Hmmm....I wonder if my blogging will change now that I know she's reading!?

Experiencing God

30 July, 2003 7:33 AM

Last night at Living Room I personally found myself very aware of Gods presence - more so than I've found previously at group. We prayed for one another and I found myself visualising other group members in their missional contexts - it was very powerful for me to know that each of them are so loved by God and are making a difference in their own places of work, rest, study, play and life. Very cool.

Emerging Church Planting Resources?

29 July, 2003 4:31 PM

In the past few days I've been asked (in person and via email) for suggestions on resources for planting Emerging Churches.

I'm not the biggest reader going around so don't have alot to suggest but I thought I'd open it up to everyone to answer. Leave your suggested books, websites, people, blogs etc in comments. The people asking the questions are regular blog readers, so you'll be directly helping people in getting into some planting.

Have I ever mentioned Ignition as a great resource??

Blogcards

29 July, 2003 4:09 PM

pcrd.jpgJust received a post card from Zoe out of the blue in response to my call for mail to our PO Box. Thanks Zoe, you made my day!

Career Counselling

28 July, 2003 9:02 PM

How should an emerging church planter financially sustain themselves and their family?

Today I worked another shift at the warehouse that I've been picking up casual work at for the last few years. This morning my boss pulled me aside and asked me to consider taking on full time work there. I knew immediately that it wasn't going to work at present for several reasons. Firstly I study a day a week at bible college (just 1 year to go now!), secondly I work for Living Room a couple of days a week and thirdly warehouse work is slowly killing my back, knees, neck, sinuses, feet...etc.

However its got me thinking about where I'm headed 'career wise'. In 12 months I'll have a bachelor of Theology and at the end of next year the grant that funds the Living Room runs out. I'll have time on my hands and will be looking for a way to earn a living that has the potential to keep a family going.

So how does an emerging church planter make a living? I'm not expecting or even wanting to be rolling in cash - but one has to live somehow. I can't see how the model of church we're developing is going to fund a full time minister (and I'm not sure I'd want it to). I wonder if there will even be a place for paid 'ministers' (I don't like that word so much these days) in emerging churches?

I'm a little confused - thinking on my feet here - do I take on a warehouse job or something in a local cafe or bookshop - do I find a position with a para-church organization - do I keep trying to pick up speaking engagements and weddings where I can - do I go to university or tafe and get another qualification. (or do I start charging my blog readers big bucks to log onto this site and read my ramblings!)

I'm not really asking for advice (although if you've got some feel free to comment) - just thinking out loud - wondering - dreaming - stressing - hmmmm.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos....Blogos

27 July, 2003 11:46 PM

Look here for more helpful articles on Ethos, Logos and Pathos

I have been thinking today about rhetoric. Aristotle described it as "the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion." He talked about three main arts of rhetoric as being Ethos, Pathos and Logos.

Ethos is persuasion based on the character and/or credentials of the communicator. If the communicator is trustworthy, has their listener's best interests at heart, knows what they are talking about, practices what they preach and has integrity they are more likely to be persuasive.

Pathos is persuasion based on emotion. When people have a strong connection with the communicator on a 'feeling' level their argument can become all the more powerful. Engage the heart and you'll be all the more likely to convince one's audience.

Logos is persuasion based on logic or reason. If a communicator makes sense and their argument is presented in an ordered and conclusive manner they are likely to convince the listener well.

I've found these three arts as being useful in thinking about speaking/preaching. Most good speakers that I've heard have had the ability to draw on each of these in their speaking. They also weave them together at the appropriate time. Alone each are important tools but when you bring them together they can be quite powerful.

Similarly, in the last few months I've noticed that many good bloggers (or at least the ones I like) are also able to draw on each of these three 'arts' in their blogging. Different bloggers will be stronger in different ways, but I suspect that many top bloggers will be able to bring each to their blogging.

An interesting book on this topic and Paul's writing is Paul's Use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in 2 Corinthians 10-13.

Look here for more helpful articles on Ethos, Logos and Pathos

Tea for Two

27 July, 2003 3:38 PM

Had Tea with Jenn from Sunburned on Friday morning. I always enjoy the exeperience of meeting bloggers in real life. Its amazing how similar people can be in person.

Jenn and I chatted alot about emerging church here in Melbourne and around the world. Its great to hear that alot of what is happening here is representative of what is happening in other parts of the globe.

Jenn's story is pretty interesting - I'm looking forward to seeing how and where God leads her next!

Last week I also caught up with fellow Melbournian bloggers Eddie and Phil. Again - it was great to catch up and hear the stories of these two EC practitioners here in our local context. Very encouraging times.

Celebrating the Underblog - Final Entry

27 July, 2003 1:21 PM

Well I've enjoyed this mini campaign to uncover 100 underblogs. I think we've met the target with exactly 100 blogs nominated. Here are the full set for your reading pleasure. I thought I'd post them all here in one post for our surfing convenience. You can continue to nominate blogs here in comments, but note that I won't be posting any more on the main page until next time we do it. (maybe at the end of the year we'll have another week long campaign)

Thanks everyone who has nominated blogs and also those who've surfed and linked them. I've noticed quite a few people have mentioned on their blogs that they've found a new interesting blog or two through the process - so I guess its had some positive effect.

A special thankyou to Irene who has really gotten into the idea and has nominated quite a few blogs over the week!

Anyway - keep enjoying the Smorgasbord (or should that be blogesborg?) above and pay it forward by linking your favs.

Beth :: Traces :: servant-striving :: After Abortion Blog :: Sunburned :: Le Sabot Post-Moderne :: Pooing in the Woods :: Carrie Church :: mute TROUBADOUR :: A minor :: Something Understood :: The Thinkers Blog :: Odd Socks :: dydimustk :: Jax :: Passion and Reason :: K.I.S.S :: The Unnecessary Pastor :: Food for Fish :: Hot Buttered Death :: Pursuit :: The Narrow Way :: Fallible :: In That Number :: Sam's Worship Thoughts :: the John Heron Project :: Bipolar Support :: Spudlets :: The Brog Blog :: Bad Attitudes :: Xoverboard :: Not Geniuses :: Batemania :: A Copernican Revolution :: Easily Distracted :: Cronaca :: Ideo Fact :: le sofa blogger :: The Cave :: Jay :: Dann :: Jazzdaddy's Journal :: Drawn by still waters :: Live the life :: Life Being Beautiful :: Aarondot :: Simple Green :: The Red Door :: Crimson Light :: Sisters' Weblog :: Big Simon :: Jake Rinard :: Newsrack :: ExGayWatch :: All Facts and Opinons :: Franklin's Findings :: Buzzing Bye :: Leaving Munster :: Organic Church :: Paradosis :: Doxos :: A New Kind of Christian :: The Found Sheep :: Crystals blog :: Mark's blog :: the worrywort and the trickster :: j. klaszus' domain :: Tune Out TV :: The Starloft :: Joe's journal :: Waiken's Soap Box :: Clarity Amidst Chaos :: Future Margins :: The Thinklings :: Jen Speaks :: Only Connect :: Citizen of the State :: Soft Edges :: Asisaid.com: Tim's Journal :: Lifelines? :: Brainwaves :: Theopany :: Galvin :: Holly :: Daily Drivel :: Insights :: Words of Wisdom :: Danger! Falling Brainwaves :: Petals Art Journal :: A Blog Apart :: Lordside :: Country Keepers :: I Was Thinking :: Jagged Mind :: The Evangelical Hermit :: Adam Feldman :: Doc Misterio :: Mindless Musings of a Roach :: Miriam's Journal

Celebrating the Underblog VII

25 July, 2003 5:07 PM

I've received a few nominations via email in this batch. We're getting to the end of the week. I'll post any last minute nominations tomorrow to close off our Week of the Underblog.

Le Sabot Post-Moderne :: Pooing in the Woods :: Carrie Church :: mute TROUBADOUR :: A minor :: Something Understood :: The Thinkers Blog :: Odd Socks :: dydimustk :: Jax :: Passion and Reason :: K.I.S.S :: The Unnecessary Pastor :: Food for Fish :: Hot Buttered Death :: Pursuit :: The Narrow Way :: Fallible :: In That Number :: Sam's Worship Thoughts :: the John Heron Project :: Bipolar Support :: Spudlets

That takes us to 94 Underblogs identified and surfed. 6 more in just these last few hours and we'll reach the 100 mark! Who's got some to nominate!?!

Nominate, surf and link - keep paying it forward.

V the Groupie

25 July, 2003 12:19 PM

V and Chrissie II.jpgThis morning V and I rolled out of bed at 6am so that we could indulge her passion for Big Brother. Please don't hold it against me - but V loved the latest series. Her favourite housemate was Chrissie (pictured left - V is on the right).

So yesterday when I heard that Chrissie was appearing live this morning at a breakfast radio show's live broadcast I thought it might be one of those things we could do that she might enjoy.

The broadcast itself wasn't the most exciting thing to watch - although there were some pretty funny moments. But the highlight of the morning was to watch V meet her hero! She was so excited.

It was kind of wierd meeting someone that we'd seen so much of on TV over the past 3 months. Its strange to be able to walk up to someone and start an educated conversation about what they've been doing lately and know that to them you are a total stranger. We live in a strange world.

Cut and Pasting Steve

25 July, 2003 12:08 PM

Steve gets blunt on 'pomo blogging'.

If I can be a little blunt, most of the Christian blogs that I read are not about experiences of people engaging in first world mission. They seem by and large to be the collective "cuttings and pastings" of people with little or no practical experience in post modern mission. Any kind of original thinking is simply cut from one site and pasted to the other until a small circle of bloggers are talking second and third hand about someone elses experiences, living vicariously though others (the few) mission experience, simply feeding our "blind to our own eyes" consumerism.

Is there really any benefit from blogging?

I thought that quote was worth Cutting and Pasting!

Leave comments here

Celebrating the Underblog VI

24 July, 2003 5:08 PM

And still the nominations roll in for Underblogs. I've found some great blogs in this process so far. Its interesting to see that a growing number of nominations are coming from outside the 'God-Blogosphere' (if there is such a thing) - many of which I am really enjoying.

This latest batch will take us up to 70 Underblogs identified so far. I'm going to draw nominations to a close on Saturday (that will have been a week since I put the call out - lets go for 100!)

The Brog Blog :: Bad Attitudes :: Xoverboard :: Not Geniuses :: Batemania :: A Copernican Revolution :: Easily Distracted :: Cronaca :: Ideo Fact :: le sofa blogger

Remember to surf some of the above and pick one or two to link to to pay it (great blogging times) forward!

Sunburned in Melbourne

23 July, 2003 5:03 PM

I've been following Jenn's great blog over the past month as she's prepared to come to and has more recently arrived in Melbourne from the US to be involved with UNOH here.

Her observations and experiences are well worth the read as she adjusts to life downunder! Her latest entry on Reasons why Australia is a land that captivates me is a ripper. (That's Aussie for unreal!)

Looking forward to a coffee with Jenn on Friday morning.

Celebrating the Underblog V

23 July, 2003 1:07 PM

A few more underblog nominations have been dribbling in. Check them out.

The Cave :: Jay :: Dann :: Jazzdaddy's Journal :: Drawn by still waters :: Live the life :: Life Being Beautiful :: Aarondot :: Simple Green :: The Red Door

Nominate, Surf and Link.

Missional Activity

23 July, 2003 11:36 AM

This morning I had to write a report for the BUV (the denomination that Living Room is birthed out of).

The process is a good one. We are one of the first of many (hopefully) experimental new forms of church that the BUV wants to launch in the next few years and as a result the report is not only about keeping us accountable, but also about learning from the process. I guess we're like R & D for our denomination. (I'm wearing my Lab Tech white coat as we speak)

One of the questions in the report was about what ways we've been engaging our community in mission over the past quarter?

When I first dreamt of Living Room I dreamt of a group of people, all living in a local area engaging in a shared missional activity. One possibility was to be working in one of the local housing estates with children. Another possibility was to set up a gallery space. The possibilities were endless but the vision to focus our missional activities in working together on one (or maybe two) combined missional projects.

After four and a half months of meeting together the idea of combined missional activities has rarely been mentioned. Yet the missional activity of this group is perhaps higher than any that I've ever been a part of before.

Every week we hear stories of opportunities for conversation or acts of love that group members have had in their own personal context. God has been at work in the lives of those we work, socialise, study and live with.

Group members are involved in one primary school, one university (two faculties), 7 work places, one homework programs in a housing estate, a swimming group, 5 houses (including a number of shared houses with non churchy types), a local tennis club, an artist studio, teaching religious education in a school....just to name a few missional contexts. Add to that the developing relationships we each have in our day to day running about down the street with cafe owners, librarians, neighbours and shop assistants and the potential to impact our community is overwhelming.

The exciting thing is that the group is not just going to these places, but that they are actively taking the opportunities to serve, speak and love in these places also.

One day we may (or may not) engage in a more formal shared missional activity in our wider community, but in the mean time we've each got plenty to keep us busy!

Out of the Loop

22 July, 2003 8:19 PM

Tonight Living Room is on - right now they're meeting a few kms away - WITHOUT ME!

The past couple of days I've not been feeling too well - this afternoon my body decided that I should stop pushing it and rest. (I think I caught something from Hamo or Rachel via their blogs)

So here I sit at home alone wondering what my church is doing without me.

Its a strange feeling. On one level there is no reason to be uneasy. Any one of the group is more than capable of facilitating tonight's gathering. I'm sure it will go brilliantly.

Yet its the first time they've met without me and I'm curious as to how its going. I wish I could be a fly on the wall. It would be really fascinating to watch the dynamics without me.

Wish I was with my Living Room family tonight.

An Underblogger Responds

22 July, 2003 4:04 PM

I just received an email from one of the underblogs listed early. They wish to remain anonymous but write:

Hi Darren. Thankyou so much for your latest series of posts on 'Celebrating the Underblog'. I have been blogging for a number of months now and have been getting very disillusioned with the exercise. I am sick of looking at my statistics counter and realising that I am almost the only person that reads what I write. The only comments I've had in the past have been from people trawling for hits on their own site. I sometimes get angry that only some blogs seem to get noticed when I think I have something to say also.

Last night I checked my counter and almost fainted when I saw 12 hits all linking from your blog. There was also three comments from people I've never heard of before. This morning I had also been linked by another blog who had found me through your campaign.

I know 12 hits and 3 comments are not much in comparison to most blogs, but to me that meant the world. To my knowledge I've never been linked to before, yet today there are two. Thankyou to you and your readers. I hope that this shows us all how just a little encouragement can inject hope into a discouraged person's life.

Nominate, surf, link and Celebrate

Celebrating the Underblog IV

22 July, 2003 3:19 PM

And still the underblog nominations roll in - we've had some doubleups, so I won't post repeat nominations. Feel free to keep submitting your favs - but above all take some time out to surf and link up to some of these gems.

Crimson Light :: Sisters' Weblog :: Big Simon :: Jake Rinard :: Newsrack :: ExGayWatch :: All Facts and Opinons :: Franklin's Findings :: Buzzing Bye :: Leaving Munster :: Organic Church :: Paradosis :: Doxos :: A New Kind of Christian :: The Found Sheep :: Crystals blog :: Mark's blog :: the worrywort and the trickster :: j. klaszus' domain

Celebrating the Underblog III

21 July, 2003 2:14 PM

The nominations for great Underblogs continue to roll in. Thanks for those who've spread the word on their own blogs. Here are the next 16 nominations.

Tune Out TV :: The Starloft :: Joe's journal :: Waiken's Soap Box :: Clarity Amidst Chaos :: Future Margins :: The Thinklings :: Jen Speaks :: Only Connect :: Citizen of the State :: Soft Edges :: Asisaid.com: Tim's Journal :: Lifelines? :: Brainwaves :: Theopany :: Galvin

Now this campaign is useless unless we surf, encourage and celebrate some of these blogs.

Here is my idea - lets do a 'Pay it Forward' type thing here. Click on some of the above (and below) links - find one that you like - and then link to it on your own blog too. If we all do that we might just make a difference in the blogosphere - one link at a time.

Keep leaving your nominations - I'll post every one of them. (famous last words)

Celebrating the Underblog II

21 July, 2003 1:02 PM

Thanks for the great response so far to my call for quality underblogs. So far the caliber of blogs submitted are excellent - some have even been mentioned a couple of times. Here is the first 16 links. (see previous comments for expanded comments on each.)

Holly :: Daily Drivel :: Insights :: Words of Wisdom :: Danger! Falling Brainwaves :: Petals Art Journal :: A Blog Apart :: Lordside :: Country Keepers :: I Was Thinking :: Jagged Mind :: The Evangelical Hermit :: Adam Feldman :: Doc Misterio :: Mindless Musings of a Roach :: Miriam's Journal

Check out some of the above blogs - you won't be disappointed. Keep the nominations coming. I'll post the next batch shortly.

Celebrating the Underblog

20 July, 2003 9:20 AM

What blog/s do you read that you wish others knew about? Leave your nominations here.

I sometimes look for new blogs (to me) at Who links Who (for GodBlogs) and The Blogosphere Ecosystem (drawing on blogs from the whole blogosphere). Today I popped into both and decided to work through some of the blogs at the bottom of the lists (blogs that haven't attracted many links). I had an hour or so and I got through quite a few and was really impressed with the quality of blogging going on in both the Christian blogging world and the blogosphere at large.

It got me thinking though - so many of the blogs on the lists I've never seen or heard of. Many of them don't attract a whole heap of links - yet many of them are posting great material.

So I thought I'd start a campaign to unearth some of these 'underblogs'.

- Leave up to 5 blogs that you wish more people knew about in the comments section below. Please include the name and its address. (hyperlink them if you know how)

- Leave a short reason why you like the blog.

- You can leave a link to your own blog if you think it fits the category of 'underblog'.

- I will publish all the collected underblogs that you mention in a few days time in the main section of this blog in a 'Celebration of the Underblog' post.

The Countdown

20 July, 2003 9:14 AM

Its one month today until V and I leave on our European Vacation.

We fly from Melbourne on 20th August. We then do a tour of Spain, Portugal and Morocco for two weeks. Then we spend 13 days in London with family with a weekend side trip to Paris.

Those of you that live in the UK that want to catch up for a coffee please let me know and we'll try and work out a time!

I can't wait to be warm again!

Nudie Bar Mission

20 July, 2003 9:09 AM

Hamo asks if its ok for a pastor to be doing mission in a nudie bar? Its not a hypothetical question - what did Hamo do?

Gospel Blogging

19 July, 2003 10:40 AM

How would blogging look if we applied gospel principles to it?

I was reading an article a few weeks ago that talked about promoting your blog. It was about 'getting hits' and being linked to by the Alist blogs. One of the key strategies was to target two or three 'big bloggers'. To do it you need to link to them lots, leave comments on their pages, send them emails notifying them of your best posts etc.

The Blogsperts tell us that to have a great blog its all about climbing the blogging tree - looking at the blogs 'ahead' of us and using them to drag us up to the next level. Its about ego, building little empires, power and inluence.

That same day I found myself in the gospels reading verses that talked about denying oneself, serving others, aiming to be last rather than first, focusing our attention on the 'least of these' and humility.

My question of US as Christian bloggers is this: does blogging according to the 'blogsperts' advice fit with the gospel message? Do we buy into the 'climbing the blogging tree'? What would blogging from a gospel perspective looks like?

Fred Peatross words have been ringing in my ears this past week:

'So if blogging is an emerging 21st century Christian discipline (as I have recently read) someone please model the act of death and humility through their weblog journaling. There's a robust blogging community out there who needs you to help those of us who are still trying to see ourselves.'

How do we do this? What does it look like in practice? Your thoughts, ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE Irene and Martin (22nd July) have picked up the topic and done it much greater justice than I have here.

Beer Quilt

18 July, 2003 5:50 PM

premium_glass_lg.jpg
Steve has decided to come up with his own digital quilt (taking inspiration from Rachel's growing effort.

Steves is a little different though. He writes:

"Send me the name or image of your favourite beer and your best beer story."

I already left my story there - but here is a picture of ONE (I reckon I could come up with my own quilt if I put my mind to it) of my favourite beers - James Boags Premium.

The Fair Dinkum 51st State!

18 July, 2003 9:37 AM

I almost chocked on my cereal when I read this.

AUSTRALIA has been urged to seriously consider becoming the 51st state of the US.

And American-born historian Dr David Mosler told a Brisbane audience yesterday there was a 20 per cent chance of Australia becoming an American state in the next 50 years.

Source

PO Box Ups and Downs

17 July, 2003 5:43 PM

Items in our Post Box today included:

altworship.jpg

- 3 REALITY magazines generously given to me by my blogging buddy Paul Yay!!

- 1 book titled Alternative Worship (pictured) from my blogging buddy Jonny Baker. Review to come soon. Yay!!

- 1 letter telling me that the shop that was selling my Bass Guitar on consignment for me has gone into receivership and my $450 Bass was actually sold months ago - and the money cannot be recovered. (there goes the OS spending money) Doh!!

You win some and you lose some.

If you want to send something by snail mail into my PO BOX (I have a growing postcard and letter collection from blogging contacts now) our postal address is:

PO BOX 1295
North Fitzroy
Victoria 3068
AUSTRALIA

Melbourne Musings

17 July, 2003 1:11 PM

This morning I met with three other local Baptist ministers. (hi guys) We meet every second Thursday morning for prayer and support. There is an increasing amount of co-operation between our groups. One exciting prospect is that it looks like we'll be sharing office space/resources soon which will mean we will be bumping into each other on a daily basis. This emerged out of my Emerging Lonelienss.

It's fantastic to find other local people speaking a similar language.

Yesterday a Melbourne friend MSN'd me to tell me that he'd just been thinking about virtually the same stuff that I wrote about in Village Life - and then the next morning he logged onto my blog to see my post. (maybe God's trying to tell you something mate!)

Every couple of weeks lately I've been hearing of new groups starting around the city to meet to talk about forming new communities. Some are using resources like Ignition, others are doing it their own way. In the past month I've had two Melbourne churches email me asking for help/information about how to 'reinvent' themselves.

My bible college is even planning on running a subject next semester titled 'Emerging Church'!

A few minutes ago I also received an email from another guy involved in leading an emerging church who wants to meet weekly for an hour to swap notes, encourage each other and pray. I lept at the opportunity.

Add to this the weekly time I spend with the guys at Forge and my online and real life interaction with other Melbourne groups and individuals who are thinking about experimenting with new forms of church - I feel very fortunate to be not going this alone.

Something is happening in our city which inspires me!

Of course I'm seeing similar stuff happening around our country and globe also. Are we living in the early stages of another Reformation?

Preaching Sux

17 July, 2003 1:10 PM

Hamo says some good stuff about Preaching that takes my post on the topic a bit further.

Village Life

16 July, 2003 10:02 AM

Some of the local gathering points in our community are in the 'village' shopping strips. These seem like logical places to connect with our wider community. The question is how? buy? rent? use someone elses place?

Has anyone got some spare cash?

Don't worry, I'm not about to put a paypal link on my site or start a blogathon to raise money. I'm not seriously looking for money....well not too seriously.

We live 10 minutes walk from four shopping strips. There are no shopping centres (Malls) close by - we're in the inner suburbs and they are mainly out a bit further) and there is a real 'village' atmosphere in each of the strips.

Each village has its cafe's and arty little gathering points. Some of them have galleries, libraries, doctors surgeries, internet cafes, alternative healing centres, retro furniture shops, bars, pubs and one even has a cinema.

As I've been reflecting in the last few weeks upon the rhythms of our local community I've become more and more convinced that these local shopping strips are key connecting points for us. They are places where people gather, socialise, learn, relax, heal and explore spirituality.

Last night at Living Room I shared a little with some of the group about some ideas that are percolating in my mind. Nothing formal or ordered yet, but some urges really.

I've noticed that in each 'village' that shopfronts are periodically up for lease. Yesterday I saw three in just one street. As I walked past each one I found myself stopping and peering in the window trying to visualise the possibilities of what we could do with such a space. All kinds of ideas flashed through my mind.

Learning centres, Cafes, Galleries, Drop in centres, Tea Houses, Art studios, book shops - spaces for exhibitions, poetry readings, bands, food banks, philosophy discussions, book and movie clubs and story telling - just to name a few ideas.

Our area is very artistic, very alternative, very social justice oriented. There would be many possible ways to connect.

I got excited - I started to dream. But then two things pulled me back.

1. We are only 8 people (with only 3 working full time). We have less than $100 in our little bank account. Property prices in this area are out of control. A shopfront like the ones I'm looking at with a small residence at the back went for over $1,000,000 recently. Even to rent would be a massive monthly outlay. Would such an approach be a responsible use of resources?

2. As I look at the above list of dreams I can identify a place in one of the shopping strips where such activities are already happening, or could easily happen without us having to buy or rent our own space. Would another approach to join with other community groups, to go onto their turf, to build relationships there rather than to expect people to come to our little cool patch?

I can see the pros and cons of each way - wondering if you have any thoughts?

Create a God

16 July, 2003 10:00 AM

'I know this is ridiculous.� There is no such thing as a Make-a-God kit.� But what if there were?� Religious skeptics claim that we make God in our own image.� Suppose it were possible to create a god to match our desires.� What kind of God would you make?' Let's add something here.� Is there anything you would change about God?

What an interesting question - found at King of the Leper Colony.

On Safari

16 July, 2003 9:30 AM

A couple of days ago I downloaded Safari 1.0 to test as a browser. Its still got a few little things that I don't like, but it has revolutionised my time online.

I'm in love with its tabbed browsing. It has cut surfing my blogroll down to about a third of what I used to take to do the whole thing.

Its layout is clean.

It is easy to use - even for a techie illiterate like me.

Its bookmarking system is the best I've seen.

Top stuff from Apple again.

Quilting Nets

15 July, 2003 11:21 PM

I've been thinking alot about what my square contribution will be to Rachel's digital quilt. I haven't fully decided but spent a little bit of time tonight thinking about it. Here is my first idea (not final).

100pixels is pretty small so I'm not sure if you can make out the pic, but its of two boys fishing with a net. One of them has just thrown the net out and it is fanned out wide in the air. There is a number of reasons that this image has captured my imagination. There isn't a whole heap of logic or connection between them, but I like them all.

1. We are called to be 'fishers of people'. My time in the blogisphere is helping me to become a better fisherman as I interact with others who are thinking about how to 'fish' in the crazy world we live in.

2. A net is made up of lots of individual strands of twine. As I look down my blog roll I see a hundred or so relationships (all in different stages) which perhaps make up a larger net. The strands are not only between me and each person behind those blogs, but also between many of those bloggers and each other. The global net work that is emerging in the blogisphere is intricate and growing stronger.

3. Each morning as I launch into the blogisphere I feel like I'm throwing out a 'net'. I make a post and wonder what it will 'catch' as others interact with it. Sometimes it doesn't connect and the net comes back empty. Other times one or two others relate in comments or their own posts and the net comes back with a small catch, and other times the catch is overflowing with flapping fish as a tidal wave of comments and posts is released into the blogisphere. Likewise in the morning when I begin to trawl through my blog roll I love the feeling of not knowing what I'll come across (catch...or be caught by) as I surf.

4. Lastly - the Kingdom of God is described as being like a net that is drawn through the ocean drawing all kinds of fish to shore where they will be sorted. I love that imagery of God drawing us to himself in all our splendid variety. This is the sense I sometimes get of what is happening in the blogisphere. There have been numerous times when I've felt drawn closer to God through reading someone's blog or comments left on mine. We are all so different, but hopefully as we bounce off one another as we read and write, we are being drawn to him.

Maybe I'm overdoing the metaphors tonight - but its what I'm thinking about on this rainy, cold, Melbourne's eve.

Chaplaincy Essay Done - Again - I need a Data Recovery Expert

15 July, 2003 12:39 PM

Due to some computer difficulties with my desktop (PC) today (does anyone know anything about Data Recovery?) and yesterday I have had to rewrite an essay that got lost at college last month. Of course my old PC crashed at the worst of times and I lost the complete essay. Anyway its rewritten. I think I managed to get most of the original content down again.

The topic was 'My Theology of Chaplaincy'. I found it very challenging - I based it on the hypothetical situation that I was appointed as Chaplain to the high school next door (we literally live next door to a school that is about to reopen in 2004).

What did I write about? Well I won't put you to sleep with the full essay, but below are some main points (and excerpts/paraphrases).

* Chaplain as Priest
* Chaplain as Prophet
* Chaplain as Counsellor
* Chaplain as Teacher

The above four roles have been presented to us this year in lectures as different approaches. I agreed that all can be seen in the life of Jesus and all have a place in Chaplaincy.

I added the following to the models outlined above:

* Chaplain as Life Giver - Jesus came that we may have life (John 10:10). He helped those around him to find it in a holistic way. As the Body of Christ I believe we should also be in the 'life giving' business. Of course it is God himself who gives life, but we are called to play a part in the process.

* Incarnational - In order to bring life to humanity, Jesus lived among us. The incarnation is a profound gospel theme and an example for the way we should think about our interactions within our own contexts.

Many of Jesus' interactions with people happened in the day-to-day, ordinary rhythms of life. The gospels place him at the meal table, festivals, funerals, weddings and in the homes of others. People did not have to come to him, rather he was accessible to them because he lived alongside the ordinary person in his culture.

Chaplaincy should also be Incarnational. This would mean that the Chaplain would not lock themself away in an office, only to be seen by appointment. Rather it would mean they engaged in the natural rhythms of the life of the school.

* Prevenient Grace - It is tempting when going into a setting like a school to see oneself as the sole representative of God there. Often we label such environments as 'secular' and can see our role as to take God into the place. In my view this is not biblical.

I have recently been reading through Acts and have been impressed by the way that in most occasions when a Christian shares the gospel with another person (or group) that God has already been working in that person's life. For example in Philip's interaction with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40) God was already at work well before Philip came into the picture.

God is already at work in other people's lives. God is at work in the school setting before the Chaplain arrives. It is arrogant to think that we are the one taking God to such a school. In many regards it is wrong to even think of the school as a 'secular' place. Rather, if God is already at work there, it is a sacred space.

Taking this into account the role of a Chaplain is to be attentive to what God is already doing in the school and to discern what part they might play in joining God in that work.

I also added a few other brief comments about

* Relational approach
* Servanthood
* Storytelling
* Community building
* Creativity
* Chaplain's own faith being needed to sustain them on the journey.

If you want the full thing just let me know. It was rewritten in a bit of a rush - but the basics are there.

Digital Quilt

14 July, 2003 10:52 AM

Rachel is making a digital quilt and asks that we all contribute a sqare. What a great idea - check out her requirements and get busy being creative.

I'm glad I don't have to sew it all together.

Surveys

14 July, 2003 10:14 AM

I just did a couple of surveys that I found via Mike's

Firstly I found I'm in the Idealism & Autonomy quadrant.

It found my fundamental motivations and values are:
* Personal Control
* Rejection of Authority
* Global Consciousness
* Adaptability to Complexity
* Flexible Families

And my Key Characteristics are:
* Self-reliant and in control of their own destiny
* Idealistic and open-minded
* Rejecting out-dated norms and institutions

The other survey found me to belong to the tribe of the New Aquarian.

* It says that we make up 5% of the population (well in Canada we do) and 14% of GenXers.

* Our fundamental motivations are social justice and experience-seeking.

Our Key values are:
* Adaptability
* Concern for the less fortunate
* Concern for the environment
* Respect for education
* Contempt for traditional authorities
* Hedonism

Our icons include:
* Singer Sarah McLachlan
* Author Naomi Klein
* Singer/activist Jello Biafra
* Rap-metal group Rage Against the Machine
* Author/activist John Zerzan
* Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar

Surveys can be found here.

Sunday Stroll

13 July, 2003 1:50 PM

Its a beautiful Sunny Sunday today in Melbourne. V went out to have breakfast with a friend so I decided to take my new digital camera for a stroll through the suburb I live in (North Fitzroy) to see what 'normal people' do on a Sunday morning in this part of the world. Church attendance in this part of our city is very low per capita so something else must be occupying people. Where did I find people?
park.jpg - At the park - at the end of our street is a beautiful park called Edinbrough gardens. It is quite large and incorporates numerous playing fields (ovals), a bowls club, tennis courts and a football oval. People were out in force walking their dogs, laying in the sun, doing Tia Chi, having juggling workshops, watching their kids play sport, practicing dancing (not exactly sure what this group was doing, but it could have been Russian Cossack dancing), watching their kids play on the playground and throwing Frisbees.

- Gardening - a lot of people were in their front gardens. I've noticed lately more and more people planting vegetable gardens not only in their back yards but also out front. A number of families were working together on their vege patches.latte2.jpg

- Cafes - by far the biggest concentration of people were in the local strip of cafes. I couldn't resist the urge myself for a latte and was lucky to be able to even find a seat in my favourite cafe (Tin Pot Cafe). There were alot of families, large groups of young adults and individuals out for brunch. The vibe was fun, relational, celebratory and rich.

church.jpg - Church - on my travels I passed three churches of different denominations. I popped my head into two services and passed the other just as people were leaving. It was interesting to see who was in attendance. In general, each of the congregations was made up a small group of elderly people. I saw very few families or young adults in any service.

In a previous post, The Rhythm Method of Mission I talked about how I've been watching the natural rhythms of our neighbourhood as I think about what natural and relevant mission might look like. I think Sunday mornings might be a good starting point - but perhaps not based in a traditional church building.

Why Livingroom.org.au is better than JohnCampea.Com and therefore JordonCooper.Com!

13 July, 2003 12:07 AM

John Campea has posted on why his blog is better than Jordon Cooper's blog.

Well John's assessments are good - however would like to add a few points on why Livingroom.org.au is better than JohnCampea.Com!

1) John's posts are a lot better written than mine. His posts are insightful, use big words and leave his readers feeling challenged, motivated and inspired. Whilst this at first seems ideal, regular readers of his blog could be intimidated by the quality. I, on the other hand, am aiming to make my readers feel good about themselves as they see my poor grammar, spelling and choice of subject matter.

2) John only has 16 links in his blogroll in comparison to my 125 (not including those on my quality links page). Whilst this might seem a little excessive it gives you the reader 109 extra options when I don't post anything exciting, or worse still forget to post at all!

3) John lives in the northern hemisphere. That's at the top of the globe. Everyone knows that going down is much easier than going up and therefore data flow to LivingRoom.org.au is much faster, thus saving you the reader a lot of time and energy.

4) John has worked in churches for at least 12 years. I have only done such work for 10 years. I will therefore be a lot less battered and bruised.

5) John also has experience working in the computer industry - I don't have a technical bone in my body (see point 3 for how this should help my readers feel a lot better about themselves and their ability to develop great blogs.)

6) John lives in Canada - I live in Australia....need I elaborate???

7) To my knowledge John is yet to post on the topics of farting, toilets, vomit or spitting. I make a point of posting on topics that the general public will be able to relate to.

8) John 'cheers' for something or someone called the 'Maple Leafs'. I'm not sure what that means....but I'm sure my beloved Navy Blues could whip their butts!

9) John may only have one eye. The photo on his site cuts off half his face. This either means he is:

- attempting to be 'rock starish'
- missing an eye
- unable to operate a camera to get a centred shot

The pic also seems to indicate that he has an earring! (and he said Jordon was Satanic!)

10) John is obviously only blogging in an attempt to get hits. You can tell this by his domain name. You may think he chose it because its his name - but no its because his name contains some of the most searched words in search engines. (oh, camp, am, amp, pea)

So there you have it. 10 reasons why LivingRoom.org.au is much better than JohnCampea.Com and therefore better than JordonCooper.Com

The Andy Files

12 July, 2003 8:18 PM

andy.jpgLast night Andy came to stay again. He is a great young man with downs syndrome that I've talked about on numerous occassions.

When V went to pick him up last night his parents told us of an experience they had during the week when they went to the airport to farewell Andy's sister. While they were there they saw Eric Thompson who was the star of an Aussie drama called 'All Saints'. His character's name was 'Mitch' and earlier this year in the show his character died.

While they were saying goodbye to Andy's sister Eric walked by and Andy spotted him. Andy has no qualms about approaching anybody (unless they are a dog) and he broke away from the group straight for Eric shouting: 'Mitch, you're alive, you're alive! You didn't die!'

I love this guy!

Boys Night Reflections

11 July, 2003 11:28 AM

Last night I went to the pub with the guys for a boys night out. Its been a while since we all got together and had a testosterone filled night over a few beers. Usually the conversations revolves around cars, girls, beer, computers, farting, sex, mobile phones and movies (complete with impersonations of our favourite characters) etc.

Last night things changed.

One of my best mates has just become a father. His son is three weeks old. Four of the other guys are about to become dads (in the next three months) and one has young children.

We started with nappies (disposable vs cloth). We then progressed to techniques to getting babies to sleep all night. After that our topic progressed through different models of prams, dealing with dogs that get jealous of the new baby, birthing classes (complete with descriptions of the videos), maternity leave, cracked nipples and the hazards of using a stroller in the city (lifts aren't big enough, escalators can be hell, peak our on public transport should be avoided).

Paul, the only other childless guy there, and I had to escape to the bar at one point to debrief. I suspect things will never be the same again!

Recommended

11 July, 2003 10:59 AM

I'm officially a Recommended Blog!

Blog Personality vs Real Life Personality

10 July, 2003 6:27 PM

Have you ever wondered if a persons blog personality matches with their real life one?

I've often wondered what perception my blog readers have of me purely from what and how I write.

Last week I had dinner with Phil, Dan and Hamo.

Hamo just posted his impressions of us. Before you go read it, leave a comment below on how you perceive me to be...then go read it and compare. I'm interested to see if others see me similarly to Hamo!

Conversations @ Work

10 July, 2003 9:19 AM

'Hi Darren how are you? I'm glad you could take the shift. How's your wife going? Hows that lounge church thing you're starting?'

Yesterday I got called into a warehouse that I've worked in over the years to do an afternoon shift. The last time I worked there was just before we started Living Room. All my work mates know that I'm a minister and have heard about the new venture that we're starting. Some have even expressed an interest in coming along to see what we do.

I was blown away yesterday that every one of the 9 people I worked alongside during the shift specifically asked about how the 'church thing' was going. I didn't have to start one conversation - the initiative was totally with them. Most of my work mates live fairly alternative lifestyles, they are into all kinds of stuff, but each of them in their own way is prepared to talk on a spiritual level and each of them is more than willing to consider the idea of a new form of church.

The thing that blew me away most was hearing that the reason that they called me in to do the shift was that four of them (including my supervisor) had been talking about me in the lunch room earlier in the week and had been wondering how the church was going. I got the shift purely so they could get an update!

Going back today and tomorrow - can't wait to see where the conversation goes!

Anti mosquito phone

10 July, 2003 9:18 AM

The latest news from Geek News Central is that a South Korean Telco is offering a download for mobile phones that makes handsets emit a high frequency sound wave that is supposed to repel mosquitos.

Hmmm....I wonder if they could offer other kinds of downloads to repel other things?

Here are a few of my suggested downloads:

- Tele marketers
- Door to door salespeople
- Collingwood supporters
- Nigerian email scams

Any other suggestions?

Nuns Seek to Copyright Mother Teresa's Name

10 July, 2003 9:18 AM

'The order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa seeks to copyright her name in a bid to stop other organizations -- from banks to business schools -- trying to cash in on the Nobel peace laureate's image worldwide. 'We are seeking legal protection for the use of our logo, and also want such protection for the name of Mother Teresa and that of the Missionaries of Charity' Sister Nirmala, the head of the order, said in a statement.'

Bathroom Humor

10 July, 2003 9:17 AM

Its been a week since I posted anything that could be classified as toilet humor....(I'm trying to pace myself) - here's a whole site dedicated to it. BathroomLife.com. While you're there make sure you do their Bathroom Survey. Check out the results at the end....there are some disturbing results!

source

Quotable

9 July, 2003 8:49 PM

"Do you want to be a mourner, lamenting the passing of the church as you knew it, or do you want to be a midwife, helping to birth a new Christianity?"

I love this quote from Herbert O'Driscoll which I've heard before but never knew who said it til I saw it on wanderer :: worshipper :: lover of leaving (one of my new favs on my daily blog run).

Stats on the background of Church attendees

9 July, 2003 11:26 AM

This is an extract from a great essay on the state of the church in the West that I had emailed to me last year written by a guy named Kevin Ward from NZ. He writes:

"I decided to research the backgrounds of those now attending my church. The results were even more marked than I had imagined. What it showed was that 87.7% of those attending the church had been attending another church as adults before they came to this church. Of the remaining 12.3% who had not attended elsewhere as an adult, 5.2% had gone to Sunday school or youth group at the church, 3.1% to Sunday school or youth group elsewhere, and only 3.9% came from a genuinely nonchurched background. Interestingly the largest group of attenders at this church, 33%, came to it from mainline Protestant churches. I then wanted to find out if this pattern was true of other churches that had experienced growth over this period. I researched 3 other churches that had grown significantly. A charismatic Anglican church, evangelical Presbyterian church, and Pentecostal church. The results were similar with in all cases at least 75% having come from other churches and only between 2.7% and 4.0% having a nonchurched background. Interestingly with the Pentecostal church the pattern was similar to the Baptist church in that the largest single group were those from mainline Protestant churches, in this case 38%. In terms of the percentage from a nonchurched background there was no difference between the Pentecostal and mainline churches.

Since doing this research I have found the pattern is very similar in other western countries. Sally Morgenthaler in the US asks "How do we explain the growth of the megachurch? Simple: musical chairs - church hopping growth. And it represents more than 80% of the people who have come in our doors in the past decade.. The megachurch's feeder system is the smaller church, and disgruntled believers who have quit their churches." In Canada additional research by Don Posterski and Irwin Baker has found that 5.5% of church attenders come from an unchurched background, and that there is no difference between mainline and conservative churches. Finally in Australia the NCLS research has found that 7% of church attenders are newcomers, of which 4% are returnees to church life after a period of time away, and only 3% are actually involved in attending church for the first time. "

I have a copy of the full article if anyone would like it.

Techno-Sexuals

8 July, 2003 4:46 PM

There has been a lot of discussion on my blog run about Metro-sexuals. Male heterosexuals who are very image conscious - dress well, live well etc.

Just saw an article entitled The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive? and wonder if a couple of my friends might be Data Addicts....or maybe we could call them Techno-Sexuals.... you know who you are!

The Rhythm Method of Mission

8 July, 2003 3:50 PM

I'm still reading through Acts - I am constantly amazed at the little things I observe there - especially with respect to how the earch church interacts with their wider community in mission seemingly so naturally.

I love how Paul always goes to the synagogues when he enters a town....or to the lecture halls....the places where people already gather for community, learning, worship etc. Once there he interacts with them in a way that is culturally relevant. He naturally becomes a part of their natural rhythm of life and is able to introduce the gospel into the context.

I've been thinking about this alot lately and taking some time out each week to observe the rhythms of our local setting. The synagogues and lecture halls of the inner north of Melbourne are not quite the same as they were in Paul's day - but such places do exist....maybe they are just called different things now....

Book clubs, new age festivals, poetry readings, street festivals, cafes and pubs.... maybe these are some of the natural gathering points that we need to be building genuine relationships in?

Answering the Inevitable Question

8 July, 2003 8:08 AM

Yesterday our landlord, Mrs C, (who occupies the ground floor of our house) invited V and I for coffee. Mrs C is an elderly Italian lady who speaks very little English — her daughter came to translate for us as my year 7 Italian doesn't get me very far at all. She is very friendly and has made us feel very welcome.

The inevitable question came 5 minutes into our 'coffee'. 'What do you do Darren?' It's a question I often think twice about before answering — you never know how it will come across saying that you've just 'started a church'.

The conversation that followed was truly bizarre. Not only was I trying to explain 'Emerging Church' and 'Post modernity' (something that I find hard enough to do with some of my closest friends) but I was doing it through an interpreter, to someone from my grand parents generation who was born on the other side of the world and has always belonged to a little local Catholic church.

I'm not sure Mrs C will be joining us at Living Room any time soon. She's probably downstairs right now wondering what she's gotten herself into with the wacko couple she's got living upstairs and wondering why this priest is married! However despite all this she seemed happy that there were young people 'in the church' — something she'd given upon seeing.

I really enjoyed the challenge of having to explain what we're doing across the cultural divides. Interested to hear how others go about explaining what they're doing to friends, family and elderly, Catholic, Italian ladies!??

41,000 Stats

8 July, 2003 12:13 AM

Ever wondered how many Russian Orthadox believers there are in your state? What about how many Aquarian Spiritualist centres there are in your area? Adherents.com is the place for you.

Adherents.com is a growing collection of over 41,000 adherent statistics and religious geography citations -- references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc.

Source

AOL Journalling

7 July, 2003 11:58 PM

AOL is getting ready to release its blogging tool, AOL Journal, to its 35million (give or take a couple of hundred thousand!) members.

I get the feeling that this blogging thing is going to explode....even more!

Examen

7 July, 2003 9:53 PM

I've had an increasing amount of interest in a post I wrote back in May on Examen which is an ancient form of prayer and meditation that I use regularly. It's also something that we've used at Living Room as a group. Have you used it? If so, how have you found it?

Computer Woes

7 July, 2003 3:14 PM

I'm sick of computers not doing what they should.

I lost an important essay (amidst other things) on my desktop - looks like I'm going to have to rewrite it unless the computer repair man can bring it back from the dead!

Tipping Point - Blogging Style

7 July, 2003 1:31 PM

I've previously posted about Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point here and here. I've often wondered how it might apply to blogging.

Here is one blogger trying to make sense of it. Here is another, another good one and another great one.

Here is an article written on the topic by Gladwell himself. Its a little dated, but it will give you the idea if you havn't read the book.

Preaching - The Emerging Church Way

7 July, 2003 12:11 AM

What is the place of Preaching in the Emerging Church?

On the weekend I had an email arrive in my inbox that asked me to complete a survey for someone who was doing a survey of Emerging Churches. The guy asking the questions is doing a doctoral study of preaching in the emerging church. I found it to be an interesting research topic and am also wondering what 'preaching' looks like in the EC's around the globe.

At Living Room after 4 months we are yet to have a 'sermon' (in the traditional sense of the word), there have been no monologues and nothing that resembles preaching in the sense that I've previously seen it in the churches that I've worked. The only times I give a sermon these days is when I'm guest speaking at a church or a camp — and even then it often ends up more like an brawl (workshop might be a more correct way of saying it) than a 'sermon'.

Having said that, there has been a lot of group learning, teaching and exploring. Scripture has been opened and expounded virtually every week. People have been challenged and stretched by God through the worlds of those sitting around the table with them. Whilst some weeks I do prepare something for the group to grapple with, most weeks the group itself is responsible for each coming prepared to participate in the learning experience.

The way the survey was worded, I'm left wondering if what we are doing is weird? The questions 'seemed' to assume that the recipient of it was the one doing 'the preaching' and that they were solely responsible for preparing a sermon. The questions focused largely around topics and preparation of sermons.

I had presumed that in the post modern world we live in that methods of 'preaching' might be undergoing some change. Are we weird, maybe even heretical in the approach we're taking?

Those of you actively participating in or observing EC (or any community of faith for that matter) - I'd really be interested in hearing about what you're doing in this area. Does your community do 'preaching'? If so, what does it look like from week to week? In what ways is preaching changing shape in the church today?

BBC tells Christians to Get with the Program!

6 July, 2003 10:55 PM

Excerpts from an article titled BBC tells churches to liven up broadcasts

Alan Bookbinder, the head of the BBC's religion and ethics department, called on church leaders last night to become more courageous and passionate in using the media or risk losing their broadcasting slots....

"Think of David Attenborough, Melvyn Bragg, Jamie Oliver, all on fire with enthusiasm," he said. "That's what brings broadcasts alive: infectious, irrepressible zest. By comparison, voices from the mainstream churches can often seem muted and defensive."...

The BBC devotes 112 hours a year to televised religious broadcasting and 400 hours on network radio - much more than most interest groups, with the possible exception of politicians, cooks and gardeners, can command....

Of the Church of England's current internal convulsion, he added: "What good does it do a homeless teenager to hear Christian leaders squabble about the appointment of a gay bishop?"...

A huge thanks again to Presurfer for the personal heads up on this one. You're my hero mate!!!

Go Poo!

6 July, 2003 10:05 PM

You can do it!!!

Update: No he can't!

Hot Discussion

6 July, 2003 9:18 PM

There is a great discussion happening over in the Hot Topic about whether working in a church a hindrance to spiritual development?

Give us a Sign God!

5 July, 2003 9:48 PM

Have you ever asked God for a sign? Be careful what you ask for.

A congregation in the United States was left stunned when lightning struck the church moments after a visiting preacher asked God for a sign.

Moved

5 July, 2003 9:06 PM

I'm blogging from our new home. Today was a huge day of lifting, cleaning and lifting. I can't believe how much we got done. I can't believe how exhausted I now feel. The 21 steps to get into our new place don't really enhance the moving of furniture experience - however we made it. Now we just have to find a home for all our gear and go clean up the old place tomorrow.

Paganism in Australia

4 July, 2003 11:31 AM

This is an interesting article on how Paganism and Wicca are two of the fastest growing groups here in Australia (especially in Melbourne). Interesting stuff.

Fart Free Education

4 July, 2003 11:30 AM

I couldn't help myself when I saw this article about a school in China who has banned farting in school! If a student is caught they are fined! My school would have been rolling cash if it'd instituted a fine system like this!

Is working in a church a hindrance to spiritual development?

3 July, 2003 11:37 PM

John Campea asks the above question.

Its a very good one and something that I've been wondering over the past few years. I remember coming to a realisation last year that some of the reasons I entered the path of ministry that I'm currently on have actually not come to be.

Perhaps I was a little niave - but one reason I first decided to go to bible college 10 years ago was because I hoped that it would deepen my own faith journey. I also had similar aspirations when I accepted a position as youth pastor at my home church as a 22 year old.

Whilst I feel my faith is now deeper than it was 10 years ago - I really wonder how that came to be!?! I'm not convinced it was the 'ministry' itself. As John says in his post the pressures of such work can sometimes work against a deepening faith.

So my question is - how do/should we sustain our personal spirituality on such a journey?

Moving...at last

3 July, 2003 11:35 PM

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember me announcing in January that V and I were moving home back.

Well after numerous months of delays - tomorrow we will begin the arduous process of taking our possessions to our new abode and cleaning this house. Saturday is when the truck comes - but I'll make a few trips tomorrow.

Our new home is just 700 metres away so we will continue to be involved in our local neighbourhood but it will be a much bigger and considerably cheaper place to live.

This is my 7th move in 9 years so I'm getting a little tired of the whole process. We are both really hoping that this will be our last move for a few years.

Kingdom Talk

3 July, 2003 3:18 PM

On Tuesday I read the four gospels.

I did so asking the question — 'What is the Kingdom of God?'

Jesus spent a lot of time preaching about it, telling stories that described it and encouraging his followers to do likewise. It is central in his language and focus (especially in Matthew) — so what is it and how should it be informing the way we live both as individuals and church?

A lot has been written on the topic, but I'm yet to find a description of it that really satisfies me. Having said this I do like how Pete Ward talks about how 'the kingdom offers an ideal of the reign of God in the world...The kingdom is the dynamic, kingly rule of God. It is also the arena which this reign is experienced.'

Tuesday at Living Room I described it as being 'life according to God'. By that I mean it's living at its ultimate — as God designs and desires it to be — in its fullest sense.

It's a dynamic and moving thing. It's about change and growth. It's where God values are lived out. It's a surprising place — upside down when compared to religious and world standards. It is invisible yet a powerful reality. It is rich and life giving. It is higly valuable yet the poor have prominance in it. It is among us yet not fully yet. Its organic, its lavish and it permeates everything. Its worth giving up every thing for.

Happy Toilets

3 July, 2003 11:10 AM

The Restroom Association of Singapore has just launched the 'Happy Toilet' campaign where they rate toilets with the ultimate five star rating called 'Superloo'!

"We spend almost three years of our lives on the toilet. It's natural and it's normal, so let's learn to say: 'Wow! That's a great toilet!'"

(can you see a theme emerging in some of my posts of late?? hmmm)

Bible-toting tax plan

3 July, 2003 11:04 AM

Alabama's Governor is pushing for a A Biblical Tax Policy. Interesting.

Dinner with Hamo, Phil, Dan and Kouta

3 July, 2003 9:04 AM

Last night Hamo, Phil, Dan and I had dinner together. I know Phil and Dan pretty well but meeting Hamo was a first for us all.

I really enjoyed the conversation which spanned, blogging (of course!!), Emerging Church (Hamo is planting and Phil and Dan are doing some very innovative and new stuff) and other miscellaneous topics.

I had chicken risotto - yum - and of course the highlight of the night for us all was to be seated next to a table with Anthony Koutoufides (Kouta) who is one of Aussie Rules Football's most famous players from the best team in the league. Phil and Dan tried to hide their excitement but I could tell they were impressed.

I can jump blogs

1 July, 2003 11:56 PM

Spent some time tonight looking at some newish blogs (to me). I thought I'd share some of what I found.

Steve reflects on a life of coloring 'within the lines'.

Pooing in the Woods reflects on the Hulk.

Martens is writing some good stuff on a variety of topics.

Le Sabot Post-Moderne has been talking about Metrosexuality.

The Virtual Doug talks about Web Based Learning.

A Budding Pastor has a series of posts on an Anger Resolution Seminar that they attended.

Andy posts about Sexy Ministries.

oh - by the way - my High Score is now 6042!!! I could do no wrong....until it got boring and I had to blink!

Who's the Missionary?

1 July, 2003 10:17 PM

Tonight is Living Room again — we're up to week 4 of Ignition. I've really loved reading through Acts as a group. The past few weeks have been very challenging to me on a personal level as I think about my own call to Mission. Three stories have hit home to me in chapters 8-10.

- Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40)
- Saul and Ananias (Acts 9:1-43)
- Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48)

In each case I've found myself asking the question, Who's the missionary? Each time I've answered 'God'.

Previously I've always read these passages with Philip, Ananias and Peter 'doing mission'. I suppose there is an element of truth to this in that their actions and words play a part in the process of others coming to know Jesus, however the part they play is relatively small when you consider the part that God plays in each case.

In each instance God's Spirit has been at work in the lives of the Ethiopian, Saul and Cornelius. Each have already encountered God in different ways. The Ethiopian has been delving into Scripture and is grappling with a passage that describes Jesus, Saul has a dramatic confrontation with Jesus on the road to Damascus and Cornelius sees an angel and receives instructions from God.

God is at work with each individual, he's already drawing them to himself before any of the 'missionaries' even enter the scene. The 'missionary' is not called to 'save' the other, but rather to join God in what he's already doing — to play a part in a much bigger picture.

Mission is often presented to us as being a huge responsibility that we must pursue at all costs. I remember as a young person being taught how to do it in a very formulaic manner. It went something like this:

- Select a Target.
- Create an opportunity to share with them.
- Tell them your story of how you became a Christian.
- Run through some bible verses (you might also use a diagram or formulae to illustrate the separation of humankind and God....two cliffs with Jesus as the bridge seemed to be a popular way to do it)
- Close the sale by putting the hard word on the other person and asking them to pray a prayer of repentance.

There was some flexibility to this at times — but the pressure was on to create opportunities to make disciples — we had to report back on how we did at small group. The responsibility was ours to make it happen. I remember many times lying awake in bed at night scared petrified that it 'wouldn't work' for me and feeling terribly guilty that I'd not been able to get past the first couple of stages.

I love that in the stories above the responsibility rests upon God's shoulders. I love that we are not alone in mission but that God actually engages with us in it. I also love that in the midst of each story God not only draws the 'pagan' to himself, but also manages to draw the 'missionary' to him also. It's a beautiful picture of how it can (should?) be.

Referring to Living Room

1 July, 2003 10:12 PM

I was perusing my referrer statistics this afternoon and was interested to see that the majority of my hits of late have come from search engine searches. This is a big change as in the past I rarely had any at all. I guess the longer I blog the more data there is for the engines to point people to. Weird what people search for though....here are some of today's search terms that led people here:

- New Zealand methane cow tax
- big tin shed
- introverts
- pagitt blog
- buddhist nun
- strange street sine's
- start a new life
- how to grow a beard
- spat on
- italian livingroom
- brennan manning
- porn convention

Evangelism Bill Gates style.

1 July, 2003 2:36 PM

J-Walk Blog has this fascinating post about how Microsoft has recently hired Robert Scoble as an Evangelist! Has Bill Gates seen the light and decided to spread the Good News?!?

J-Walk writes:

'Robert Scoble is a popular blogger, and he was recently hired by Microsoft as an "Evangelist." I put that term in quotes because I happen to think it's a ridiculous term -- not to mention a ridiculous job title.

The problem is, the word evangelist conjures up images of a sweaty, red-faced Southern Baptist preacher spouting off about sin and eternal damnation. But it seems that Microsoft is trying to change that image. To them, an evangelist is someone who attempts to get people to use a particular product -- at least that's what I think a Microsoft evangelist is.'

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