December 2003 Archives »
31 December, 2003 3:54 PM
Tonight V and I are heading out for dinner and then fireworks in the city. Should be nice. Then we're off down the coast again for the weekend at a little Bed and Breakfast. Hope that you all have a great New Years however you all see it in. See you in 2004!
31 December, 2003 3:11 PM
I've been Reading The Weblog Handbook by Rebecca Blood over the past few days and am really enjoying her relaxed and clear style of writing.
This post on Rebecca Blood's book has been moved to Pro Blogger - Rebecca Blood on Blogging.
31 December, 2003 10:14 AM
Just found this interesting Article on Mars Hill in the Seattle Times. Here is an excerpt:
'But in the past few years, certain in-city churches, founded by people in their 20s and 30s, have quietly amassed followings. Around the country, Seattle is becoming known as a center for these churches, variously referred to as "emerging," "postmodern" or, galling to their founders, "Gen X" churches.
Typically, they seek alternative ways of presenting the message of Christ - ways that tap into current youth culture rather than villainize it, as some churches do. Often these churches are small and less top-down, more like a gathering of friends. They value intuitive experiences of God, encouraging a vital relationship with him, rather than assuming people already have one. They are often culturally liberal (welcoming of, say, nose rings and expressing one's love of God through punk rock) but theologically conservative, emphasizing early Christianity and the root meaning of Bible stories.
But here, too, Mars Hill has become an anomaly. With its sheer size and orthodox theology - far more conservative than most other emerging churches - it no longer fits neatly into that niche....
The Rev. Karen Ward, pastor of the postmodern Church of the Apostles in Seattle, says Mars Hill is "espousing a certain tradition, a very conservative, fundamental, Promise Keepers ethos." Emerging-church pastors, she says, are generally more open to saying they don't have all the answers. '
Interesting article - interested in your reflections
30 December, 2003 5:10 PM
It is that time of year where everyone is looking back on the year gone by and preparing for the year ahead - I thought it might be fun if to have an 'Open Mike' where people share their 'predictions' for the year ahead.
Make a prediction in comments on any level whether it be on a world political level, a cultural prediction, your thoughts on a technological advance or even a personal prediction. Whatever you like. It could be fun later in the year to revisit our predictions and see how we went (feel free to blog your predictions on your own site and leave a link to it in comments).
You might also like to leave a wish, dream or prayer for 2004. The mike is open.
30 December, 2003 10:22 AM
Last night I spent some time reflecting upon the year that was (is - I'm a little a head of myself) 2003. It has been a big year. I've really enjoyed it heaps.
It was a year of new directions and fulfilling dreams. I moved on in my work from DCCC and started Livingroom in March which has been a long term goal. In that process we made friends with some great people. We moved house mid year into a place we love. We were fortunate enough to be able to travel to Tasmania and Europe.
I continued to work this year on completing my Bachelor of Theology (only 3 subjects to go - I did 4 great ones this year) as well as working for Forge/Dreamland and in the 'warehouse' sporadically throughout the year when the shifts were available.
I've had heaps of opportunity to speak on camps and at churches around the state and to be involved in marrying a number of couples. I continue to be energized by these opportunities.
Our family had a big year - with Nana celebrating her 90th, Dad his 60th and then Nana passing away recently.
I've stepped out of my comfort zone but teaching Religious Education in the local primary school and engaging in multi-faith dialogue on a number of occasions.
Blogging has continued to be an important outlet and place of exploration and building relationships in 2003. I've been fortunate enough to even meet a number of bloggers from around the globe in this 12 months.
This year has not always been easy - there have been moments of loneliness, grief, frustration and disappointment - but through it all there have also been some amazing times of discovery, euphoria and growth.
Thank you to those of you who have supported me here through this blog - to those who faithfully read my ramblings, those who have joined my email prayer support team and those who have sent cards, letters and even gifts.
I hope 2003 has been a year of life for you and your family and that the New Year continues in that vain.
29 December, 2003 3:55 PM
It is strange having your 'blog routine' changed. Not having the computer at home for a few weeks and using public library internet access has changed my view of blogging quite a bit already.
Writing in a public forum with a short window of time to get it done is a good discipline. You never quite know who might be looking over your shoulder as you write (a good reminder that you never know who will read your finished product). There is no time to ramble on (although this post might prove the exception if I'm not careful). You need to prepare for what you will write ahead of time.
Then there is the inspiration you get from those around you. I'm currently sitting next to a Buddhist monk who keeps asking me for spelling tips (yes ironic I know). Fun.
The irony of having limited net/blog access is that the last four days have seen an influx of hits to this blog - largely on my World Idol posts after the airing of part 1 of the show (wasn't Guy good!). It is always the way - last time I was out of blog action I had a record level of hits too. Maybe I should do this more often!
All in all its been an interesting experience but I'm looking forward to the return of my ibook. Maybe I'll bring it down to the library to write from time to time for old time's sake!
29 December, 2003 1:33 PM
Over Christmas I've been reading Douglas Rushkoff's 'Bull'.A friend recommended it to me and I'm glad I picked it up.
It's a satirical critique of the technological, consumer driven society that we live in in the west. I have come away from it with 100 trains of thought all running simultaneously. I found it not only entertaining but also quite challenging as it painted a picture of where all this technology we use every day could be heading (if we haven't already arrived there!). It is a great cultural commentary well worth a read if you can get a copy - I've heard it is out of print, but that you might be able to get it online.
Douglas blogs here.
29 December, 2003 1:20 PM
You heard it here first!
Yesterday around lunch we were talking a 'church songs' and V mentioned the song 'Father Abraham'. Everyone immediately knew what song she was talking about except 'Yol', the youngest member of Livingroom . Her dad explained to her that we were talking about 'church songs'. Then he said - I guess you havn't been around church too much.
Yol immediately came back with the statement - 'Oh, I like Livingroom much better than church!'
Makes you wonder about what we're doing - and about what her experience of 'church' is....hmmmm. Glad we're appealing to the 10 year old demographic!
29 December, 2003 1:10 PM
We had a great weekend down at Warnambool over the weekend with 4 other livingroomers. It was great to get away from Melbourne even if only for a few brief days.
I felt I was just starting to wind down when we had to come home - but I guess that is better than nothing. The beach down there is wonderful. I wish I could share some of my digital pictures with you but the library computers don't let me download pics. The Great Ocean Rd (which runs west of Melbourne down to Warnambool is stunning. If you ever are in our state you need to visit.
The people we stayed with shared some wonderful hospitality with us. The night we arrived they put on an amazing spread of food - great country hospitality.
So all in all it was great. Good food, wonderful company, the sun was shining and I even did a little exercise to work off some of Christmas lunch and dinner!
25 December, 2003 3:11 PM
Happy Christmas friends.
I'm blogging from my parents house. They live on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne and we've just had a lovely afternoon of food, presents and laughs.
Last night we had a quiet evening at home watching Christmas Carols on TV, sipping champagne and eating cheese while wrapping presents.
V's Dad and brother came for a Christmas brunch of french toast and fruit this morning. Then it was out here for lunch of roast pork, vegetables and icecream Christmas pudding for lunch.
This afternoon we're calling in on a couple of friends and tonight are dining with V's mother and her family. I think we're having prawns and chicken.
Today is around 30 degrees celcius so we're all in our shorts and Tshirts - probably a little warmer than some of your Christmas days.
Tomorrow we head down the Western coast of our state to visit one of the Livingroomers who is down in Warnambool working on her family farm over the summer. A couple of other livingroomers join us the day after for some fun on the beach. Its beautiful down there so it should be a relaxing and fun weekend.
Anyway - that is Christmas Aussie style - hope your day is as full of good times as ours has been so far. Peace to your and your family.
24 December, 2003 11:45 AM
I've only got a few minutes of my public library net access left - but thought I'd post to this link that someone sent me via email. Thanks Andy.
Christianity Today asks 'are Emerging Churches still Emerging?
Also just found Canadian Christianity's 'Emerging' churches going back to basics
Have a great Christmas all - thanks for your comments and well wishes in the last post. I appreciate your kind words! Hopefully will be back online from home again on the 5th Jan!
23 December, 2003 4:26 PM
Sunday night my computer died. Well it went into a coma at least. The screen of my little ibook decided it needed a long rest - it has now gone to a place in the sky where ibook screens go to die.
As a result of this I'm probably going to be restricted in my blogging for a while as my only computer is in being repaired. I'm currently writing from our public library which offers free public internet access for 30 minutes at a time. (I've got 5 minutes to go. In my absense I invite you to head to my archives page at the top of the screen and peruse some of my previous ramblings. You might also like to leave a comment in the 'hot discussion' (look left) or post your own thoughts and comments about ANYTHING at all in the comments section of this post which I now officially dub and OPEN MIKE!
Hopefully we'll be back up and blogging next week at some stage if the repairs don't cost too much and I get some Christmas money in the stocking! :-) Also if you've emailed me I havn't been able to access it to this point - I'm not ignoring you.
If I don't write again before Thursday - let me wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I hope it is a day filled with fun, laughter, meaning and those that you love.
22 December, 2003 7:28 AM
On Sunday night V and I went to my old church to drop off the presents from last night. It was really nice to go back. They did a little interview with me to hear a bit about how Living Room is going. They also generously gave us a gift which was a complete surprise and greatly appreciated. The church there has a lot going for it and are very supportive of new things.
It was a strange feeling to be back in a 'contemporary worship' service (full of Christmas Carols) after 10 months of Living Room. It is only the second time I've sung a song corporately since February. I personally don't mind singing (although Carols are not my favorite) - I even used to worship lead occasionally - but I realized tonight that I haven't really missed it much at all. In fact it is quite refreshing to be a part of a community that has deliberately chosen to find other creative ways to worship.
By no means have we found all the answers when it comes to worship. We need to grow a heap more in it and will continue to experiment and explore - but I'm enjoying the journey.
21 December, 2003 9:39 AM
Our 'redemptive party' last night went really well. About 30 friends of Living Room showed up from a variety of different places - some were churched others not.
It was an informal night of great food (V cooked up a storm), good music, interesting conversation, lots of laughter and a chance to reflect upon the birth of Jesus.
We invited people to bring a gift for a child in need. Tonight I'll take about 40 gifts over to an organization who works with refugees, families affected by drug dependancy and homeless people.
We also set up a place on our landing for people to reflect upon Jesus as 'the light of the world' - basically it was a spot to light a candle and read poems/prayers. It was really nice to see people taking time out from the party's center to light a candle.
Lastly we had a series of projected images shot up onto a wall where people walked in that picked up the Christmas story as depicted in art throughout the centuries. It was the thing that seemed to grab peoples attention the most.
I had some great conversations with a number of people on the edges of our community - one of whom has just decided to become a follower of Jesus after years of relationship with two members of the Living Room. Its been really exciting to be able to share some of her walk over the past few weeks since making that decision. Its brought a real life to the group as a whole.
Overall the night was a lot of work - we are very tired this morning - but well worth the effort.
Now....back to the cleaning up process!
21 December, 2003 9:06 AM
It is always sad to see a fellow blogger decide to end their blogging journey. Actually its more mixed feelings that sad. Often they move onto bigger and better things.
One of my favorite bloggers - Josh Sargent has decided to move on to new things. I'll miss his blog on my daily rounds. All the best Josh.
20 December, 2003 4:56 PM
Justin Baeder of Radical Congruency Justin Baeder has written a great article over at the Ooze called Moving Beyond the Worship Service
It is well worth the read - and I'm not just saying that because his Secret Santa asked me to mention it for them!
Actually this Secret Santa is taking a very unique and ingenious approach by not only asking bloggers to link to Justin's writing - but by donating $1 to Tear Fund in Justin's name for each one of that links up (limited to just those asked).
20 December, 2003 1:12 PM
It might be worth paying the extra $10 for the more expensive Christmas lights in future.
20 December, 2003 9:42 AM
I was just sitting here minding my own business - making a powerpoint reflection for tonight's party when my MSN Messenger beeped at me - someone was initiating a chat.
I opened it up and didn't recognize the person's nickname or email. He was 'Sam'.
Sam: So did you get the minx?
Darren: Did I what?
Sam: Did you get the minx?
Sam: How did last night go? Did you catch any carp?
Darren: No - I actually went to a Christmas party.
Sam: Hey I wanted to ask you about those tires - are they working out ok?
Darren: Who is this?
Darren: Sam who?
Sam: Are you feeling ok mate?
Darren: Who am I?
Darren: I think you might have the wrong Darren.
He did. For a while there I thought I'd lost my memory or something.
Anyway - Sam and I ended up talking for about 40 minutes. We started with surfing and motor cross (I greatly disappointed him by knowing virtually nothing about either) - then we talked about the rugby and our common hatred of the English winning the World Cup - he then asked me what I was into - I said photography. He then launched into how I should get into photographing naked women. Ok - getting weird now. I steered the conversation back onto his work and we talked about IT for a while. He then asked what I did. I refused to tell him at first - I sometimes like to do that - gets them curious. I eventually told him
Darren: I help run a church
Sam: Sorry about the photographing women cracks!
Darren: It's ok
Sam: My family is religious - but I never go to church
The conversation then took an interesting turn. Sam proceeded to tell me everything that is wrong with the church. He finished his 'speech' with -
Sam: The church really just needs to get with the times mate - it has become so irrelevant - sorry but that is just the way I see it.
I think I might have freaked him out by saying that I agreed. We then talked about Living Room for a while and the philosophy behind what we're doing. He liked that we didn't sing songs or have 'sermons'. He wanted to come to the party tonight (Wales is just too far away).
He shared a bit about his travels through Tibet and some of the philosophy that he'd picked up there. He found it to be a very 'spiritual' place. He also talked about some personal stuff that he'd learnt and a couple of things he was struggling with. Asked me to pray for him there on MSN. I did.
We finished by saying we'd chat again some time.
What a strange experience, quite freaky really - whilst it felt like I was in the right place at the right time it also felt quite strange to be talking like that with a total stranger on the other side of the world.
20 December, 2003 12:04 AM
Sick of seeing celebrities in magazines who have had their photographs retouched to the point where they're so 'perfect' that they barely look human?
Head over to the Detouching site where they are having a photoshop competition with the brief of 'Removing the retouching from airbrushed celebs.' The results are quite funny. For example see a 'detouched' Julia Roberts left.
Link found at Presurfer.
19 December, 2003 11:51 PM
The Green Man has an interesting post on how Feminism is dying out in more recent generations. It is worth the read.
19 December, 2003 10:26 AM
What's Your Brand Mantra?
is an interesting blog that I've been following recently. It's focus may not appeal to everyone - its about 'Branding' and 'Marketing'.
I come from a Marketing background and I try to keep up with some reading in this area so Jennifer's writing interests me.
Yesterday's post, Shining through, got my attention. In it Jennifer shares how she was recently challenged by another Marketing Blogger to reveal more of her personality on my blog.
Its an interesting comment. Brand Mantra is a business blog and therefore has quite different goals to most of the blogs on my blogroll which are personal in nature. I've read a lot of business blogs lately and to be honest I find many of them to be quite boring and sterile. I often come away from them wondering who the person behind them is and if they have a sense of humor.
Many people keep business blogs and personal blogs at arms length - I know people who have one of each. There is good reason for this - you don't want post about 'what I did last night' or 'what my kid said to me over breakfast' plastered through your corporate blog. However I wonder if there is opportunity for some overlap. I think a business blog that used humor and was written by someone that readers could relate to on a personal level would do quite well. Perhaps personal bloggers could be teaching and modeling personable and engaging blogging to business bloggers?
On the flip side perhaps there might be some lessons to be learnt from bloggers like Jennifer's and other marketing bloggers who might teach us a thing or two about presentation, promotion and finding readers.
These thoughts are works in progress. Feel free to add yours.
19 December, 2003 9:03 AM
This post on Blog Translation has been moved to Pro Blogger - How to Translate your Blog into other Languages
19 December, 2003 8:46 AM
Please beware of this new virus which is called 'Goodtimes' - it looks scary.
Found via Flickering Streetlight.
18 December, 2003 11:14 PM
The following is a post from Rodney's Secret Santa. To keep it anonymous I'm posting it here on their behalf.
I'd like to draw your attention to a new blog The Journey - Taking the road less travelled written by a guy called Rodney.
My name is Rodney and I live in Perth, Western Australia. The loves of my life are God, my gorgeous wife, my adorable kids and cycling
It doesn't take long to work out that he loves his time on the bike - he recently rode across Australia: I cycled in a team from Perth, Western Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania. 4233.77km in 32 days.You did what?!
He also has some things to say about taking the church outside the usual four walls, and is reading The Shaping of Things to Come - Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch like everyone else I seem to read. He has been listening to Abba - but I think we can overlook that.
So as your Christmas present to Rodney - stop by his blog and make a comment - and add him to your blogroll (list under "Down Under").
18 December, 2003 5:01 PM
Today among other things I've been putting together a visual display for this Saturday night's Christmas gathering. I want to have a series of images and videos rotate throughout the night on a projector that give people reason to reflect on Christmas. I want to put together a variety of traditional, modern, abstract, realistic etc images. They focus is Jesus - but not all of them have to depict the Christmas story as such. I'm not wanting to create a somber mood with them as it is a party - but rather to add another element to the night.
In searching for images this afternoon I've been a bit disappointed by the lack of variety. There are heaps of cheesey nativity shots with glowing faces and haloes. Even the donkeys and cattle look positively heavenly in some.
Apart from that I've not found much.
Does anyone have any images or video that they've used or seen? Its getting close to Saturday - I've got the skeleton of a good presentation - but do need a few more images to flesh it out. If its video it needs to be small enough to download via dial-up. Thanks.
18 December, 2003 10:36 AM
I've been reading Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin this past week or so. I'm really taking my time over it and whilst it doesn't mention blogging at all I'm finding many applications for thinking about medium.
One of his key themes is that of 'smoothness'....
This blog tip on Viral Blogging has been moved to Pro Blogger - Viral Blogging.
18 December, 2003 9:33 AM
Today is my lovely V's birthday.
I don't talk a lot about her here on this blog. Its not because I don't care deeply for her - its because of a need for some anonymity with work.
Many people think I call her 'V' here because I don't want to identify her by real name - its partly true - but I also do call her 'V'. Actually I do it so much that this morning when I gave her her birthday card with her real name on it she asked me why I had? She calls me 'D' (as do many of my friends now). Together we are DV...(digital video?)...(not VD)....hmmm
I'm rambling a little today.
V is amazing. She is one of the most compassionate people I know - she has so much energy for people and living life to the full. I won't go on for fear of embarressing her - except to say that I love her dearly.
Happy birthday V!
17 December, 2003 2:34 AM
Will blogging produce millionaires? Can blogging financially provide people with a full time earning capacity? Will we see more and more professional bloggers? Can and should blogs earn money?
This blog tip article on blogging for dollars has been moved to Pro Blogger - Blogging for Dollars.
16 December, 2003 6:55 PM
Today I've been getting ready for Living Room's Christmas Celebration/Party which is his Saturday night.
As I said in the previous post we're hoping to make it something of a redemptive party by encouraging people to bring a gift for a child in need and by giving people some opportunities for reflection in different parts of our house during the night.
I'm looking for readings, poems, prayers, pictures or simple exercises and meditations that people might be able to engage with. Does anyone have any that they've used or written? I've got a growing collection of ideas, but am open to suggestions if anyone has anything that might be useful.
16 December, 2003 6:17 PM
The following blog tip was submitted by Phil Wolff from blogs such as Don't Blog, Blog Count, emblog and a klog apart....
This Blog tip has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Link Unto Others.
16 December, 2003 8:26 AM
I'll post any happenings in Secret Santa Blogger land here - let me know when/if your SS strikes.
Irene's Secret Santa struck. - 'I discovered I have a very efficient secret santa; have already gotten an email message, an e-card, and an Amazon gift certificate! The e-card made my day. Thank you!'
phew - it works....
Just realized I forgot to include myself in the mix....doh!
upate: Thanks for the person who decided to be my secret santa - your email was much appreciated.
15 December, 2003 8:23 PM
Blog Cards are like Business Cards that feature a bloggers blog address to make networking easier.....
This Blog tip on Blog Cards has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Blog Cards
15 December, 2003 8:06 PM
Well its 10 days til Christmas (here in Australia it is anyway) and that means the Secret Santa Blogger cut off date has come and gone.
I just sent out 23 emails notifying our Secret Santas of the blogger they need to give some sort of gift to. It is going to be interesting to see how and if this works. Perhaps people can blog about what they receive - might be fun?
If you signed up but didn't get an email from me please let me know - I hope I got it all right. Enjoy and give, give, give.
15 December, 2003 6:17 PM
Want to know what a good blog design looks like?
Blog Desiger - Rachel Cunliffe has just released the Blog Design Showcase. She writes...
This post has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Blog Design Showcase
15 December, 2003 7:26 AM
Apologies to those unable to access this site for the last few hours. Looks like we're up and running again.
Also to those participating in Secret Santa - I'll be emailing you tonight (Aussie Time) with details of who you are paired up with. Start thinking about what you might give.
I'm off to the warehouse for a days work. Have a good day!
PS - if you're looking for something to do - head over to Visually Speaking and see the latest news in Digital Photography.
13 December, 2003 11:05 PM
Blogging about Blogging is happening with growing frequency on many weblogs, but writing in hard copy is also becoming more popular. Here are a few of the best selling and most popular books on the topic. (Descriptions are taken from Amazon) I've read most of the first two - both are worth a look. If you've read these or other books on blogging leave your reviews and suggestions in comments.
This post has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Blogging Books
13 December, 2003 12:42 PM
Dave Pollard writes some great Blog Tips - here is another good one on Understanding Trackback.
13 December, 2003 10:32 AM
Just found this interesting article on Religion and Happiness. Here are some extracts
'If pursuit of happiness is really your goal, forget all that. Only spirituality and a sense of purpose bring bliss, says one British researcher....
Joseph's study seeks a recipe for happiness, looking beyond religious faith, which other studies have shown is one ingredient. He looks at self-actualization and purpose in life, too....
"We're not saying that all religious people are happier than non-religious people," Joseph tells WebMD. "It's just that, on average, religious people tend to be happier because they have a greater sense of purpose in life."
Actually, a spiritual path outside of organized religion works in the pursuit of happiness, too. "Religion is only one path to sense of purpose," he says.
Interesting - Read the rest here.
12 December, 2003 11:02 PM
Emerging Ecclesiology (previously called 'What is the the Emerging Church' ) is a blog I just stumbled over again. I've been there before but spent a bit more time there today. Its worth a look.
Its written by Anna Aven who describes herself as follows:
'I am a follower of the Man who walked the shores of Galilee and called ordinary people to come, follow him. I walk the shores of Los Angeles and reflect on what that call means in my context. I am the director of the junior high ministry at a non-denominational church in Los Angeles. I recently graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a MA in Youth, Family and Culture.'
12 December, 2003 6:04 PM
God joined with Mary and created
The divine fertilised human
Nestling into her womb, nourished by her blood
God joins with us and creates
A divine planted idea, an inspiration
Which settles in us, and feeds
But after the ecstasy of impregnation
9 months of waiting, hoping, growing
The invisible inside, waiting to be born
And while we wait, difficulties arise
Herods try to destroy
Authorities try to rationalise
While redemption gestates
We are all wombs of the divine
Pregnant with that which God envisions us
How will we feed it?
Who will it most resemble, us or God?
How long are we prepared to be patient?
We wait for the invisible to become visible
For the seed to flourish
For vision to be born
12 December, 2003 7:30 AM
Don't you dread the 'so what do you do' question sometimes?
Try explaining planting a new form of church like Living Room and working for a mission training network to people. Its hard enough with Christians, let alone non churched people (although I think some of them get it a lot better than my church buddies).
Then when you've weirded them out with that they try to get on 'safe' ground and ask what you do in your spare time. Introducing and trying to explain the concept of blogging at this point has the potential to totally kill the conversation and ostracize you from the person and their friends.
Luckily someone has written the helpful 20 Definitions of Blogging article. Surely there is a definition there that won't weird people out too much.
I like number 13 - 'A way to think and write in short paragraphs instead of a long essay'
How would you define it?
11 December, 2003 11:36 AM
I'm sad today. Not because of anything that has happened on a personal level - but because of circumstances and situations that I have heard about in the past 12 hours from friends.
- People who should know better doing stupid things.
- Leaders compromising beliefs through actions.
- Repercussions of poor decisions and actions rippling out through the lives of so many.
- Communities and families being broken apart when they need not be.
I'm surprised by the depth of what I feel about a situation so far removed from my own context. I'm angered by the selfishness of people I've never met, I'm reminded of the brokenness of humanity, I'm saddened as I think about the grief others must be feeling and I'm challenged to consider my own relationships and community.
Whilst I do not know of the specific details of this situation - I'm also left wondering about discipleship again. So often faith is allowed to be fluffy, shallow and infantile. I'm not just talking about new Christians - but especially about those who have been 'disciples' for many seasons. Without strong and growing foundations when the pressure of life mounts its so easy for things to crumble.
My concern is that when Churches are allowed to be shallow and fluffy environments that the crumbling of one key person can actually cause the collapse of many. Its very sad stuff - your prayers would be valued on this one for all involved.
11 December, 2003 11:09 AM
Bene has just posted the last post in a series on god-blog demographics.
The latest post was on blog rolls.
Bene did some specific study into how males and females linked. After studying 100 blogrolls these are some of the findings:
- Technically oriented bloggers and US male pundit blogs were least likely to - link up outside their immediate sphere of interest.
- Linking outside their faith group: 100% of females, 65% of males
- Linking to international blogs: 90% of females, 55% of males
- Linking to the opposite sex: 100% of females, 64% of males
I find some of those results quite interesting. Especially that so many males have no links to female, international or secular bloggers at all - that is quite staggering. To me that seems a very insular and closed off way to go about blogging! I know that in the god blogosphere that its a fact that US males make up most of the numbers (and therefore are likely to be on more blogrolls - for eg on mine 63% are male, 24% female and 13% are group/unknown) but Bene's figures are quite staggering in that such a large percentage have no links to non US, Christian, Males. Here are some initial reactions/challenges:
1. We're living in a 'global village' - if you only link to bloggers from your own country you're missing so much of the bigger picture. Enrich your experience of life by finding out what life is like on the other side of the globe somewhere! Get with the times.
2. Jesus called us to engage with our world in mission. Ok - most of this probably should happen in the 'real world' in our daily face to face interactions with those we meet - but I would love to see it extend to our online interactions with people. If all we do is hang out in our 'holy huddles' do we run the risk of isolating ourselves from those we are actually called to draw to God. I don't have heaps of secular blogs in my blogroll - but have been intentional lately with changing this and have found myself with some great emerging relationships with some great people around the globe from different backgrounds. It also helps to give me a more well rounded world view.
3. 26% of 'god-blogs' are (or were) written by females. I would have hoped this would be reflected in our blog rolls. Once again I challenge my fellow god bloggers to get with the times and link up. There are some incredibly talented female bloggers out there. Don't link to them just to be politically correct - but to learn from, build relationship and interact with them just like you would any other blogger.
Ok - so I'm a bit fired up about this one. The reason I feel passionately about it is that I feel that we limit our potential as bloggers if we remain closed off, inwardly focused and don't acknowledge all of our community.
Interested in what others think...
11 December, 2003 10:31 AM
10 December, 2003 7:43 PM
I was just looking back through my archives at what I was doing one year ago from today and found a post about an event that caused a bit of a fuss but which was the first in a series of interactions and dialogue with people of other faiths.
The original post was 'Mosque Visit. (the old comments were deleted in the move to my new domain - probably a good thing as many were not too nice).
Other posts followed including:
- Muslim Blogisphere
- Interviewing Bilal part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
- Ritual, Rhythm and other lessons from other Faiths
- A Muslims Reflection on Easter
- Inter Faith Dialogue
- Muslim Lover
- A lesson from a Buddhist Nun
It has been quite a year of learning, exploration and building relationships.
10 December, 2003 7:34 AM
How Do You Feel? rates the way the world is feeling (or its mood) at any given moment.
Simply tell the site if you're feeling good or bad and it will add your results to the 'global mood'. When I did it earlier the world was feeling good in the daily rating, but overall for month of December the rating is bad after a very high November. Sigh...must be end of year blues.
9 December, 2003 10:01 PM
Today it was confirmed that Mark Sayers and I will be running a subject at Tabor College (a bible college here in Melbourne) next semester. We've been developing it for a little while now but today got official word that it is going ahead.
The subject is called 'Creative Worship - Postmodern Culture'.
We're still finalizing the curriculum but it is our hope for it to be a very interactive and hands on 14 weeks of exploring some of the new forms of worship that are emerging around the globe at present. Some would call what we're studying 'alternative worship' but its a term I'm not entirely comfortable with. Having said that 'Creative Worship' isn't my choice of title either but its what we've been given - I probably would have called it 'Emerging Worship' if I'd had the choice....anyway) We'd also like to give students an opportunity to experiment, dream and put together some creative worship experiences of their own for their communities of faith and each other.
If you're in Melbourne and are interested in the subject it will be held out at Tabor on a Tuesday afternoon. It can be done at diploma, degree or grad dip level. Let me know if you'd like more information.
8 December, 2003 10:46 PM
Martin Roth emailed me this afternoon to let me know he'd written something about me so I went on over there. I almost fell off my chair when I got to the second last paragraph!
I've never thought about myself or my blogging in those terms before - I'm not quite sure how to take the compliment except to say thanks Martin. I'm not sure I live up to such a title but it has me wondering...
Who would you nominate as a cybermonk? (as distinct from a r cyber monkEY). Maybe we could compile a list?
By the Way - we're up to 23 Secret Santas so far - does anyone else want to sign up? Please let others that you think might enjoy being involved know. The cut off date is 15th December.
8 December, 2003 7:34 AM
'The word �disciple� occurs 269 times in the New Testament. �Christian� is found only three times and was first introduced to refer precisely to the disciples.... The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ....
For at least several decades the churches of the Western world have not made discipleship a condition of being a Christian. One is not required to be, or to intend to be, a disciple in order to become a Christian, and one may remain a Christian without any sign of progress toward or in discipleship....So far as the visible Christian institutions of our day are concerned, discipleship clearly is optional.'
Dallas Willard — The Spirit of the Disciplines
Do Willard's words ring true for you in your church context? How do have you seen churches effectively disciple people? If you were asked to disciple a new believer how would you approach it?
7 December, 2003 11:47 AM
I'll be posting the latest News reports on World Idol here as they come in:
Update - Congratulations to Kirt Nilson from Norway on winning World Idol.
* He's rarely Kurt out
* Norwegian beats Sebastian to 'World Pop Idol' crown
* Norway's Kirt Nilson wins World Idol
* Sebastian misses World Idol Title
* DO YA THINK I'M SEXY?
* World Idol Rates well around the globe.
* Kelly and Will are still favourites.
* Will Wil Young Win World Idol?
* An Australian view on World Idol
* World Idol gets top Christmas ratings in Australia
* Canada's Idol Judged Luke Warm
* Guy considered dark horse to win
* SA idol lashes out at judges
* Will Insulted by World Idol Judges - Will Young told to get singing lessons
* It's Canada vs. USA in World Idol Showdown
* 'World Idol' hopefuls strut stuff
* Report from Recording of Show - Abusive judges upstage Idols
Excerpts: 'The pre-recorded contest was reduced to a farcical slanging match between judges who ran their own competition for the nastiest diatribe....idol executives admitted after the recording there would be "heavy editing" to ensure the show did not offend viewers. It seemed the show's producers had plucked the "nasty" judge from every territory and put them all on World Idol.'
* Elton to perform at World Idol Results show - Similarly - World Idol to feature celebrity guests?
* US judge slams Guy as a `donkey'
* This is apparently a review of the show (recorded last night) from a studio audience member who gives a contestant by contestant description.
* Official World Idol Website Launched
* World Idols Get Together. (pictured right)
* Heinz takes on the World
* World Idol to be recorded tonight - Guy hits London Also Guys Album hits top spot in Aus after only a week
*Kelly Clarkson named Favourite to win World Idol
* Guy In Tears for Fan and Cancels Tour.
* Ryan Malcolm releases debut album Home, preps for World Idol
* Latest Betting Odds. I just found another article with betting odds (a bit different to the first one).
* Guy Sebastian to Sing 'Climb Every Mountain' @ World Idol (although he's said otherwise on radio interviews).
* Guy Sebastian released his debut album Just as I Am Big crowds turned out in Sydney for the launch.
* Get bios, pictures, betting odds from World Idols Competitors here.
* Canadian Idol - Ryan Malcolm - is in demand with next Tuesdays release of his debut album 'Home'. 'Malcolm can't talk about the song he'll perform (at World Idol) -- his handlers, sitting at the next table, would probably break his legs. But he does admit he doesn't have a clue about his fellow competitors. Ignorance, as the old saying goes, is bliss.... "I've seen the German Idol and he's good looking," says Malcolm. "So, with my luck, he's an even better singer. I don't want to see that. I'm hoping he's just a pretty face." '
* Australia Idol - Guy Sebastian - also is releasing his album 'Just as I am'. Record launches have been cancelled due to fears of riots. Excerpt: 'On Saturday, he flies to London to compete in the final of World Idol, pending the results of a compulsory medical examination ordered by Idol producers.... Sebastian wants to show a different side of Australia when he competes for the World Idol crown. "Australians are not all like the crocodile hunter," the 21-year-old with the Afro hairstyle said. "Australians are balanced people, so it will be cool to represent the other side as opposed to just the ocker." '
* Entertainment Africa reports: 'The results show of World Idol has been brought forward to Thursday, January 1 and will not be broadcast on January 7 as was initially advertised.
* Simon Cowell Will Judge "World Idol"
* Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, better known as Ant & Dec, will be hosting WORLD IDOL.
* Dicko to be Judge
* Get bios, pictures, betting odds from World Idols Competitors here.
7 December, 2003 11:34 AM
I usually blog all my Digital Photography thoughts at Visually Speaking but I found this great article today that gives a whole heap of predictions about developments in photography in 2004. Its an interesting read if you're into photography.
The basic premise of it is that Digital is slowly (actually its rather quick) pushing film out. The predictions include:
- 'it should be easy to see that film will continue downwards while the impact of digital continues to increase.'
- Eight new DSLRs from Nikon (3), Canon (3) and Fuji (2). The third from Nikon will shake up the industry - the F6 - which will 'be like a medium format camera in 35mm size'.
- Nikon drops compact 35mm development.
- $299 is the new digital compact camera price point.
- At least two traditional camera companies fold (perhaps they get acquired instead).
- Agfa (and perhaps Konica) closes or sells their film plants.
- High profile camera dealers/labs start folding.
- Phones kill the low-end digital compact camera.
- Some films and cameras will disappear from the market - so stock up!
7 December, 2003 11:03 AM
I had a similar experience to Signposts this week. It was filled with face to face encounters with Bloggers (of the New Zealand kind). As I previously posted we had Rachel and Regan stay with us most of the week (hence Rachel's now empty front page of her blog - ie she's on holidays) and then on Friday I caught up with Steve Taylor and his family for a beer down Brunswick St.
The week was filled with Kiwi accents, seeing my city through the eyes of a tourist, conversations about church and blogging and the furthering of friendships. It was a fun week.
7 December, 2003 12:14 AM
Tonight was my Dad's surprise 60th birthday party. We've been planning it for a while but I've not said anything about it here on the blog because he's an occasional reader.
We managed to keep it a surprise from him right up until everyone screamed 'Surprise' at him tonight - which was a pretty good achievement.
My Dad is a legend. He was born in 1943 - 21855 days ago.
For a lot of his childhood he lived with his parents and 3 siblings on a flower farm in eastern Victoria (my state). The early years there were tough as they were coming out of the depression. For quite a while they all lived in a tin shed.
After finishing school he came to Melbourne to work and had a conversion experience when my uncle wrote to him from New Guinea (where he was a missionary) challenging Dad to get serious about his faith. Dad took the challenge and began studying at bible college.
Dad has been a pastor for 33 years. He's been involved in 3 churches and more recently works for our denomination as a pastor of pastors. He's an amazingly gentle, caring, encouraging, wise and inspiring man. Recently he resigned from his job and is looking go back to pastoring a church again. Not only is he great at his job, but he's also been a great Dad. As my brother said tonight - often pastors kids grow up resenting the church for taking their Dads and Mums away. We didn't experience that as Dad worked hard at his family life and had great boundaries. As a result the three of us kids are not only all still Churchies - but all in Christian ministry in churches or schools.
Anyway - tonight was good. About 35 people showed up for storytelling, food and a bit of fun. It was tiring but a good night.
6 December, 2003 8:56 AM
Today is going to be a busy and fun day filled with all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. Will blog more about it tonight or tomorrow once it has run its course.
Consider this an Open Mike where you can talk about anything - here are some ideas for topics.
- Ideas for Secret Santa Blogger gifts (see last post)
- Ask me any question - to be answered during my blogathon later this month
- Check out the 'Hot Topic' (to the right) - What DO we do with New Christians?
Or write about anything else that gets you going. Have fun.
5 December, 2003 12:14 PM
Do you ever participate in the secret exchange of gifts at Christmas time where everyone has to get something for someone else but no one knows who is buying for who? Here in Australia we call it Criscringle in other places its called 'Secret Santa'.
I was wondering if any bloggers want to do one this year? Of course it would be 'virtual presents' and we'll set some ground rules - but it could be fun and you might 'meet' a blogger you've never met before.
There are similar things out there but most of them require you to purchase a present and send it physically.
Anyone interested? I'll coordinate it. Here is how it will work.
* Sign Up - Bloggers wanting to participate will leave a comment or shoot me an email saying they are willing to participate by a set date - they need to submit their email and blog address.
* Notification - At that date I will send everyone an email notifying them of the person they are to give a 'virtual gift' to. There will be a time limit (ie should happen before Christmas). Each participant will be a gift giver and a gift receiver.
* Give a gift/s - Gifts should be anonymous. Its not about promoting your blog but about the other blogger.
* Gifts might include:
- anonymous encouraging comments/emails to the blogger.
- sending virtual cards or flowers
- making a donation to charity in the persons name
- writing a blog review/link/poem etc about their blog and ask another blogger to publish it on your behalf (ie to keep it anonymous)
- contribute to their paypal (or some other way of giving a small physical gift).
* Be Creative - The presents are limited only by your imagination. Be as creative as you like, but keep it anonymous if you can. Enlist the help of other bloggers in your giving if you'd like. Give more than one gift if you have the time and creativity - but do at least something and sign it from their 'secret santa'.
Anyone want to do it? Please indicate if you want to be included clearly in comments below (and leave your email and blog address!) or via email. Feel free to make suggestions on gifts also. We'll make the cut off date 10 days before Christmas (December 15th) if we get enough responses. All are welcome to participate - Please spread the news because the more who do this the more fun its going to be!
5 December, 2003 9:15 AM
I'm not going to make a habit of having a 'blog of the week' - but I have been really appreciating Stranger in a Strange Land lately.
It is written by Ellen who lives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She grew up in Ohio but has lived in many places and speaks a number of languages.
This is how she describes herself:
'I am on staff with InterVarsity, seconded to the Bosnian evangelical student ministry EUS, which is affiliated with the IFES.
I teach English, run a library, speak Bosnian, observe culture, participate in culture, think theologically, lead worship, serve the nationals, and drink coffee (but only socially).
I am passionate about lots of things: books, music, God, reconciliation, peace, languages, spiritual formation, liturgy...
Ellen has been blogging at 'Strangers' since April 2002 and blogs about everything from Bosnian culture, to Movies, to Faith to general Life stuff.
Ellen recently blogged about being robbed and is currently doing some Advent Reflections (which she is willing to send out via email).
Can I encourage you to stop by Ellens blog and check it out - its well worth the read and. Also keep her in your prayers.
4 December, 2003 12:38 PM
Bene has a good post into blog ranking systems - especially in GodBlog circles. The comments section is a wonderful collection of thoughts and ideas on the topic. Check it out.
4 December, 2003 12:00 PM
Blog Search Engine have some interesting Blog Survey Results here.
Here is a few of their stats:
- 52.8% of those surveyed post every day. With a further 33.6% updating 2-4 times a week.
- 47% blog from home only where as 48.2% blog at both home and work.
- 13.4% of bloggers run paid advertising on their blog
- 52.3% of those surveyed use Google's Blogger platform to run their blog
There is much more at Blog Search Engine have some interesting the results page.
The results are interesting - although we need to keep in mind the type of person that would be willing to fill in such a survey. You're probably more likely to get your hardcore blogger (hence the updating daily result) than your occasional blogger to respond to a survey on blogging. Having said that its a useful and interesting study.
4 December, 2003 11:35 AM
Here are a few thoughts from the Forge Intensive session I went to on Monday about Missional Church DNA. The speaker was Alan Hirsch.
The church in 100AD was approximately 25,000 people in number. The Roman Empire at the time was 45 million people.
By 300AD before Constantine the church is estimated to be 27 million people. The Roman Empire was 60 million. Something happened that brought about an explosion in this time.
Alan made a number of observations:
- they had no (or very few) centralized buildings
- they met in small ecclesial units - often based around households
- there was very little in the way of professional clergy
- they were persecuted - their movement was often quite underground
- they grew through multiplication - not through growing large churches
Interesting to compare this early approach to they way we go about things today.
4 December, 2003 11:03 AM
The last few days we've had a bit of rain here in Melbourne.
The worst of it was in the northern suburbs close to where we live.
Luckily we live one floor up from street level and the worst damage we had was from leaving our bathroom window open a little bit and getting a wet floor.
Photo Source - The Age
4 December, 2003 10:39 AM
Sorry to those who have had trouble accessing this site lately during the wee hours of the morning (Australian time) but our host has been having some issues every night or two. Hang in there with us - we're working on it. It seems to only go down for two hours at a time so keep trying.
4 December, 2003 10:38 AM
Just found a new blog - Christian Computing which has been kind enough to link up to some of the things I've written of late. It looks interesting - check it out.
3 December, 2003 11:20 PM
Hamo just posted a review of The Shaping of Things to Come. Both the book and the review are well worth the read.
Paul at Prodigal also has a collection of great quotes from the book. (see 2nd December 2003 entry)
It looks like the book is getting out there - I heard this week its in the Christian best seller list here in Australia at the moment and starting to doing well overseas too.
3 December, 2003 9:53 AM
Last night at Living Room we had another rich time.
Rachel and Regan came and after main course (vegetarian BBQ) shared a little bit about their journey and especially their last year of going to Graceway. It was interesting to hear about a church that seems to be on a very similar journey to us - except that they are 9 years into it and we are only 9 months along the way. I found it really encouraging to see some very common threads.
After that we did a simple Advent meditation. Here is a brief outline:
- Brief Explanation of Advent
- Silence - people were encouraged to reflect on their day/week - in the style of Examen
- Reading - John 1:1-18
- Reading and Prayer - 'The Great Reversal' from Alternative Worship (p15) Sharing of bread and wine
- Prayer for one another
We then shared the rest of our meal together (fruit platter and peppermint tea) and continued to chat. For me the talking after it was all over was best - filled with surprises and evidence of God at work in the lives of Living Room members and their friends. God is so Good.
3 December, 2003 9:38 AM
After announcing my Quest to get Tall Skinny Kiwi and GinkWorld to change my domain in their blog rolls I was inundated with fellow bloggers happy to join my merry band of revolutionaries.
Jon Reid and Alan Creech especially caught a hold of the vision for updated blogrolls by leaving comments here at Andrew's blog. Thanks guys - it seems you've succeeded as Andrew (a blogging and EC legend) yesterday graciously updated the link!
So we are halfway to fulfilling the quest at hand. Now we just need to focus our energies on GinkWorld. Lucas of 'My Four Walls Fame (great blog worth checking out!) has started a spam campaign to get the link changed (he also needs his link changed there...the quest grows) - Kevin from Sakamuyo (another brilliant blog) hosts Ginkworld and is threatening to shut it down - but perhaps we need a three pronged attack!
Anyone got any ideas?
UPDATE: Ginkworld kindly changed the link - thanks to all who participated in 'the quest'. That was fun.
2 December, 2003 11:01 PM
It looks like Blogger is having technical difficulties today as many of my favorite blogs seem to be out of action. I know this can be frustrating so if you are one of these bloggers feel free to post something here on my blog in comments. You can copy and paste it into your own later if you want.
Others are welcome to post also on any topic that takes your fancy.
2 December, 2003 2:43 PM
They found Nemo
Warning - Viewing Could Distress Nemo fans
here are some other great Finding Nemo online resources:
- Pixar - Finding Nemo - the people behind the movie
- Finding Nemo - Bios, Information etc on the film
- Finding Nemo Clips - Video Clips, Trailers of Finding Nemo
- What Finding Nemo Character are you? - Online Quiz
- Finding Nemo - Reviews, Cast, Plot etc
- Finding Nemo - Disney site - Official Site
- Finding Nemo Screensavers
- Finding Nemo Soundtrack
- Finding Nemo Sticker Book
- Finding Nemo Read Along CD
2 December, 2003 10:08 AM
I have been thinking a lot about Advent this week. The churches I grew up in did not really taken much notice of the 'Holy Seasons' apart from the normal Christmas and Easter services that 99.9% of Australian churches do. I'm not sure why they largely abandoned the idea of Advent. I think its unfortunate because what I am now learning is really helpful.
So as an 'advent novice' I'd love to hear people's experiences of it. Do you participate in Advent reflections/gatherings/devotions etc in any way? If so how? What resources do you find helpful? What does it mean to you?
In my looking around I've found the following online resources:
- 2003 Advent Reflections - one for each day (it also has some useful explanations of the season and some of the rituals people use during it)
- Steve's reflection on - 'if Jesus was coming to dinner Christmas Christmas eve, what would we be doing?' - a blog entry.
- The History of the Advent Calendar
- Four Themes for Advent (looks good!)
- Reclaim Advent: A creative Exercise
- Grace Cathedral's Online
Stainglass window Advent Calendar
- I'm an Advent Christian - Article/Personal Reflection
- Preparing for the Holy
- Seeing the Unexpected in Advent
- Advent Fridge Art - Bringing Liturgical Life into the Home - There are some 'interesting' ideas here for helping children connect with the season.
- Advent Calendar
- Close Encounters of the Liturgical Kind
- Praying Advent
- Where did the
Season Advent Come from?
- An Indian Advent Meditation
- An Advent Address - Based on Mark 13: 24-37 (Blog Entry)
- Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
- Advent and Christmas With Thomas Merton
- Advent Sourcebook
1 December, 2003 9:53 AM
Today is World AIDS Day.
Five people worldwide die of AIDS every minute of every day. HIV has hit every corner of the globe, infecting more than 42 million men, women and children, 5 million of them last year alone.
- Worldwide, and in 2002 alone, AIDS claimed 3 million people last year.
- 95% of all AIDS cases occur in the world's poorest countries.
- In several southern African countries, at least one in five adults is HIV positive.
- In 2000, the HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women in South Africa rose to its highest level ever: 24.5%
- The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2002 is 42 million
- The total number of AIDS orphans worldwide is estimated to be 13.2 million
More information at UNAIDS
Please consider how you might respond today.
1 December, 2003 9:09 AM
Today I'm spending a day in Melbourne's eastern suburbs at an intensive for those exploring Emerging Church, Mission, Leadership etc.
I work voluntarily for an organization called Forge (webpage is a bit out of date) who put on three week long intensive (on different subjects) each year. These intensive make up the core teaching elements of a year long internship where students are placed in Missional contexts for a year to explore incarnational mission and new forms of church. It is an exciting program that I myself did two years ago.
This week's intensive is on Leadership and covers topics including:
- The DNA of Missional Church
- Images of Leadership: The Wounded Healer
- From Machine to Organism: New Images of Church & Mission
- From Discipleship to Leadership
- Prophetic Leadership
- The Innovator & Innovation
- Belonging before Believing: Creating Community as a Missional Activity
- Unlikely Images of the Church
- The Future in 3D
- If I could do it all again...
One of the best things about these intensives is that you get together with other people thinking similar things from all over the country. The first time I went I felt like I was coming home. Up to that point I felt like I might be a heretic or something - to find other people asking similar questions was amazing.
The other great thing about these weeks is the quality of the speakers. All are practitioners (no theoreticians are invited to speak) and all are top quality people from around Australia and the world.
If you're ever interested in flying out here for one of these intensives (or for the year long internship) let me know and I'll get you the information.
1 December, 2003 8:48 AM
Wayne Hurlbert shares Three quick ways to more visitors in one week. It is written more with a business blog in mind but most of it is somewhat transferable.
The remainder of this blog tip on finding more visitors for your blog has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Three quick ways to more visitors in one week.