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End of an Era

28 May, 2004 2:16 PM

This morning I had my last class of semester and the last class of my theology degree! What a feeling to walk out of it and know that after 10 years of part time study I'm almost finished (two papers to go).

Its been an amazing journey. When I started out studying theology as a 22 year old (full time at first) I was a pretty naive, theologically sheltered and black and white kind of thinker. Today I'm not sure I've got too many more clues (or answers) but I feel as though I've grown and changed incredibly through the study. I'm a lot more comfortable these days with grayness, paradox and ambiguity. I guess thats partly due to living through the ups and downs of life in one's 20's as well as the study experience.

The question I continue to be faced with now is 'what next'. My lecturers have been encouraging me to do more study, but the cost of doing so precludes that option. If money were no option I'd love to do some further study on what is happening in the emerging church world wide. I'd love to be able to collate stories of what is happening around the globe and reflect on the similarities and differences that we see in different regions. I'm also interested in fleshing out more on some of the theology that emerging churches are grappling with around the globe. Maybe one day...maybe not.

In the mean time I'm exploring a number of options for work and will keep those interested informed on developments here on the blog as it happens.

Love Thy Neighbor Survey

28 May, 2004 2:04 PM

Bene Diction points to an interesting survey that a social psychology professor named Dr. Mark Vincent is trying to find Christians to fill in. Its on the topic of 'Love Thy Neighbor'. Check out the survey on this interesting topic. Will be interested to view the results.

American Idol Breaks Blogging Records

27 May, 2004 12:58 PM

Well today will be a record breaking day for activity on this blog with people searching for information on the winner of American Idol 3 in their thousands. Welcome to those who've ended up here looking for American Idol info, I'd love to have you drop back sometime for a chat about life, pop culture and faith. Or you might like to visit our Digital Camera Blog.

If you ever wondered about the value of having a high google ranking for an entry on your site I can give testament to the fact that its definitely worth learning a thing or two about Optimizing your Blog for Google - especially if you can do it on a topic that people are searching for.

Everyday Spirituality Tour II

26 May, 2004 11:16 PM

Last night at Livingroom we had our first Everyday Spirituality Tour. 'C' took us on a tour of her life. Here's how it worked.

First we had dinner at her home (like we normally do). After dinner we piled into cars and she took us to a variety of places that she goes to each week and told us about the interactions she has in those places. Stops included:

  • First we stopped outside the home of a woman that 'C' is building a relationship with. This woman is going through a bit of a rough patch and 'C' is able to encourage her in this.
  • Local swimming pool - where 'C' swims twice weekly with her swimming squad. She's been building relationships with these other local women both at the pool but also in a variety of social settings.
  • Work (at a local hospital) where 'C' works. She took us around her ward, showed us what she did, introduced us to some of her work mates and told us about some of the issues that she faced in that place.

It was a really powerful night for me for a variety of reasons. We got to see 'C' in a different light, she planned the night which was excellent and we got to pray for her at work in a quite room. In praying for her we commissioned her for her work there and acknowledged the way in which she was joining in with God's purposes in that place. It was great to be able to stand with her in the setting where she spends the majority of her week and affirm and encourage her.

For me it was a night where I think we grew in all three of our core journeys. We grew in our sense of community as we understood more about 'C's' daily rhythms, we engaged with our individual inner spiritual formation as we looked for what God was doing in some very everyday settings and we caught a glimpse of what God is doing in our local community and were inspired to join him in those places in ordinary everyday missional activities.

We'll definitely be doing this activity again on a semi regular basis.

Server Update

24 May, 2004 1:54 PM

Update - Ok the server is swapped over - we're still ironing out some bugs now. If you find anything wrong with my site please don't hesitate to leave a comment below. Hopefully we'll be back to normal shortly. Thanks again for your patience.

As a result of the increased readership of this site in recent months we will tonight be moving it across to a new, faster, bigger and cheaper server. It is our hope that this will make viewing the content here a more pleasurable and productive process. However for the next 24 hours it means that readers accessing this site may experience outages and slower than normal loading of pages. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope to have the site transferred to its new home as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience over the next 24 hours.

Reflecting on James

24 May, 2004 11:59 AM

I had an email from a new reader asking about what I thought about a recent session that some of us had with James Thwaites last month. They asked how what he had to say resonated with where LivingRoom is currently at. I thought I'd share part of my reply to his question.

A number of things about James Thwaites message spoke to us:
1. His main thrust was about living out faith in the everyday places where we live, of family, workplace etc. This is something we are very keen on. In a sense we have reprioritized what we do to try to incorporate this. We have a lot less focus on our weekly gathering together for worship than many churches. It is still important for us, but so is the other 97% of our lives and so a lot of what we do tries to focus upon the rest of life.

2. His ideas on 'what is at the centre' of a church were interesting. Often we tend to put the 'worship gathering' and or 'the leader' at the centre rather than God. We're grappling with this and are working towards an egalitarian style leadership. Whilst I'm 'the leader' at the moment, I work hard to let others take initiative, lead and live our their God given gifts and abilities. I try to foster an environment for the life of Jesus to be experienced, lived out and passed on rather than to dominate the group with me and what I want to do.

By no means have we got these two things 'worked out'. Most of us come out of many years of church which were quite focused upon Sunday worship gatherings and a charismatic leadership being central - it takes time to re examine paradigms and discern what God is saying and as I say we're only 18 months into it.

The Bible is Innerant?

23 May, 2004 1:46 PM

Anita is wanting to have some discussion over what we mean by 'the Bible is inerrant'. Head over and have your say.

Blog Survey Results

22 May, 2004 8:07 AM

Blogads just released the results of their survey of over 17,000 blog readers. The results are interesting showing 'that blog readers are older and more affluent than most optimistic guestimates: 61% of blog readers responding to the survey are over 30, and 75% make more than $45,000 a year.' Also 79% were male.

This surprises me a little as previous studies have found that the largest group of people blogging is teenagers - one would think that if this is the case that it would be mainly other teens reading the majority of blogs. There could be a few explanations for this result:

1. Teens have stopped blogging (and therefore reading blogs). Perhaps keeping a blog is not the cool thing to do any more - maybe they've moved on to the next greatest thing.

2. The survey attracted an older and wealthier respondent. I'm not sure how many teens would be running blog ads on their blog and therefore would have known to post about the survey. In fact now I think about it the only people that I saw advertising the survey were what could be termed as 'A-list' bloggers (like Buzz Machine) who blog mainly about politics and very 'grown up' subjects. I could be wrong here (I don't read many teen blogs myself) but I suspect the results would show a more accurate description of the readers of A-list bloggers than they would of the majority of bloggers with smaller readerships.

Actually this weakness of the survey is admitted to on the results page - 'To be clear, the survey's responses are a fragment of a sample of a subset. There are millions of bloggers. On Monday morning, I e-mailed roughly 50 of them -- some of the biggest bloggers, many of whom focus on politics and/or sell blogads -- suggesting they link to they survey. '

Still they are interesting results and worth a read.

Living Room - The TV Series

21 May, 2004 4:09 PM

Just got an email heads up from Dave the Rave that over in NZ there is a TV show called the Living Room.

'The Living Room Series II is a weekly 30-minute magazine style TV programme. It�s about artists, musicians, filmmakers and other inspirational characters that operate away from established art institutions, record companies and production houses. '

Sydney on a Shoestring

21 May, 2004 4:02 PM

I've got a fun day ahead tomorrow. Two days ago I was chatting to a reader of one of my other blogs and he told me about a digital photography trade show that is happening in Sydney this weekend. I'd not heard that it was on until then and on the spur of the moment decided it might be worth heading up for the day tomorrow. The airfares were incredibly cheap (sometimes it pays to fly last minute to pick up the scraps) so I booked them instantly and leave in the morning for a flying 8 hour trip where I'll try and make some contacts and play with some of the latest digicam toys. Should be fun - I enjoy visiting Sydney, on a nice day (weather wise) its a stunning city to visit.

'Purple Cow' Church

20 May, 2004 3:20 PM

purplcow.jpgHas the church lost its remark-ability? Are we just another run of the mill black and white, boring, cow?

This morning I finished reading Purple Cow by author (and blogger) Seth Godin. Its a great little marketing book about being 'remarkable'. The basics of the book are that the way marketing has been done for decades (that if you throw enough money at a advertising a product you can guarantee its success) just doesn't work any more. His argument is that in order to be successful today you need a 'purple cow' type idea, product or service. He illustrates the idea of a 'purple cow' by describing a trip in the countryside where initially the cows by the side of the road grabbed his attention but soon became 'boring' or 'normal'. After an hour or so of driving he didn't even see the cows any more. It would have taken a purple one to get him to notice and be intrigued by a cow by that time.

This is true in many sphere's of life. Seth goes on to talk about how we are bombarded with so many message that it takes a pretty remarkable new product to break through our defense systems. He then goes on to talk about ways of being a 'purple cow'.

I wonder how it might apply to Church? After centuries of the church operating in pretty much the same paradigms, speaking pretty much the same message in pretty much the same way I wonder if perhaps we've lost some (if not all) of our remark-ability? It is a pity, because the message of Jesus is pretty remarkable - Take 'love your enemies' for example. Those are pretty shocking, confronting kind of words to say, let alone live out.

Jesus actually has a similar message to Seth. We're called to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Those are pretty remarkable things to be. You certainly know about it when you experience one or the other.

I wonder if we've lost some of our saltiness, if perhaps our light is a little dim. I wonder if perhaps if the church has become a little comfortable. We were the centre of western culture for so long that we've stopping pushing the boundaries and taking initiative. In doing so perhaps we've become a tad boring.

I look at the church as it is presented in Acts 2 and I see a dynamic and remarkable group of people. They are a 'purple cow' in the truest sense of the concept. They live what they believe, they stand out from their surrounding culture - risking everything, giving up all for the cause.

Maybe its time we woke up from our zombie like, comfortable existence and rediscovered some of the remarkable call that we've actually been left with. Maybe its time we became the church of the 'purple cow'.

Work and Faith

18 May, 2004 10:12 AM

Tonight at LivingRoom we're beginning a series on Everyday Spirituality - specifically tonight focusing upon the workplace. In doing some searches on the net for resources on the topic I was surprised to find very little at first. Strangely enough my own site came up a number of times in Google simple because I'd mentioned it in passing a couple of times. Scary how Google makes a person an expert in something simply for using the right words repeatedly in the one paragraph. I had to dig a little deeper to find some quality stuff online and thought I'd share some of what I found (which comes at the topic from different perspectives and locations around the globe) here:

If you have any other suggestions of books, sites or online articles that might add to this conversation please feel free to add them in comments below.

Support LivingRoom with your Blog

17 May, 2004 1:59 PM

I feel a little strange writing this post but do so after the encouragement of a couple of fellow bloggers.

After a recent post about some of my concerns and questions about my future a number of people have recently asked how they can support my work with Livingroom in creative ways. One suggestion that was made to me was that a fellow blogger kindly wanted to run some ads on their site on our behalf with the earnings from it going towards our work.

After a lot of thinking I've decided to enable a way of doing this for those of you that wish to support us in this way....

Many of you will know that we do run small text ads on this site, whilst they don't earn a fortune, their earnings do add up over time and help us with our work.

For those who have blogs or other websites that would like to support our work through running ads we now have a vehicle in place to do so using Adsense.

Before I go on, please don't feel any pressure to participate, its purely for those who feel its something that they really want to do.

Here is the process that you would follow:
1. Let me know you'd like to help out by sending me an email from our Contact Page.

2. We will then talk about the size and style of ad you want to place. Adsense have quite a few options ranging from very small ads to larger banner ones like the one towards the top of this page and skyscraper ads (like the ones on the right hand side of this page). They can be customized to suit the design of your site so as not to dominate it. For a samples of sizes of ads go here.

3. Once we've talked about size and colors I will provide you with some code to add to your blog/site. The positioning is up to you.

4. The rest is handled by the Adsense system. You don't have to do anything after that except for to remove it when you feel the time is right. Ads will be served to your pages that relate to the content that you're writing about. ie if you write about blogging, ads about blogging will come up. If you write about church, ads about church will come up. We can block ads that you don't like if that is an issue.

There are a few conditions and prerequisites that you also need to consider:
- firstly only blogs or sites that do not run these ads (or similar ones to it) are eligible. This means that if you have a free blogger blog with similar ads at the top you're not able to help out. Sorry...thanks but sorry.

- secondly you're not allowed to promote the ads to your readers. If Adsense see any evidence of unnatural clicking on ads they shut down my account. That includes anyone repeatedly clicking - so its best just to ignore them once they are up and let them do their job. This is really important.

- thirdly you can only put one ad on each page. Some formats have numerous ads in them, but only one set of ads is allowed per page.

I think that that is all. Once again, this is not something I'm going to twist anyone's arm on. If it suits you and you feel you'd like to support then I'll be eternally grateful, but if its not then that is totally fine.

Blogger Idol 16 - Home

17 May, 2004 11:35 AM

Blogger Idol

Welcome to the 16th round of Blogger Idol - Remember you can suggest a topic for future weeks here.

The Theme this round is 'Home'

Thanks to Harmless for the suggestion. Feel free to interpret the topic in any way. Take us on a visual tour of your home, design your 'ideal' home, philosophize about home, tell us about your childhood home, write a song about it....anything goes.

Anyone with a blog can enter this round by following the simple steps outlined below - remember unlike the TV Idol shows this is not a competition.

blogger_idol-1.gif

Here are this weeks Blogger Idol Submissions


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