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Trip to the US a Possibility in 2005

29 December, 2004 11:40 AM

There is a chance that V and I might be in the US in June for a few weeks for holiday (and maybe a little work). We're toying with the idea of New York, LA, Washington and maybe even Boston.

I know a lot of you are from the US and so I'd love to hear your suggestions on destinations, things to see and do and most importantly cheap places to stay which won't suck all our worthless little Aussie dollars out of our wallet!

I'd also like to meet some of you - although we'll have to work out a way of not completely dominating our holiday with bloggers! :-)

Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

Blogathon 2005

29 December, 2004 11:11 AM

Last January I decided to raise a little money for a cause that I was passionate about by doing a 24 hour Blogathon. I started the process at 3.52am on 21 January and ended at 3.51am on 22 January.

We ended up raising $540US to go towards buying Filipino families 'pedicabs' to give them a way of earning an ongoing income for their family. We reached our goal of buying two pedicabs and I'm happy to report that the first two families have received and are paying off their pedicabs (the project we donated to loans money to families to set themselves up in business which they pay back over 12 months - the money is then used to repeat the process every year with a new family).

Anyway - this year I've decided to do the blogathon again at a similar time to last year (mid January). I'm yet to settle on an actual date but have decided to that the money raised this time around will go to a charity who is working in countries affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami.

I'll write more about it as it gets closer but thought I'd let people know in advance. As with last time I'd love to get your involvement in as many ways as possible. You can obviously help by making a donation on the day - but other ways of helping out would include:

- ask me a question/s in comments below for me to answer on the day (last time I posted 112 or so posts over the 24 hours - it is hard to come up with topics for them all)
- spread the word about the event to try to get people to the project (I'll be running it on a purpose built blog this year)
- keep my company on the day and proof read my postings (last year a number of other bloggers read through a lot of my posts and pointed out some of the bigger mistakes that I made in my sleep deprived state)

If you'd like to be involved just let me know in comments below or shoot me an email.

My Top 5 - Blogger Idol Week 3: Travel

27 December, 2004 9:37 AM

My 'Top 5' for Blogger Idol Week 3: Travel

- courting disaster - writes about Jet lag.
Cliff Between the Lines - tells a chilling story from his travels
- Excogitation - shares a list of things learned from a lifetime of travel and living abroad
- Dodgeblogium - has written a song (is this Blogger Idol's first?)
- A Dervish's Du`a' - writes a fascinating piece on travel within the Muslim faith

Postcards from Fes - Morocco - Blogger Idol

27 December, 2004 9:13 AM

This past week's topic for Blogger Idol has been 'Travel' so I thought I'd post a few photos from my trip to Morocco a year a half an ago. They were taken in the city of Fes. You can click on each on to enlarge them. We now have prints of most of these on our kitchen wall and remember our time in Morocco each day. Hope you enjoy them too.




fes pulses.jpg

fes man.jpg

fes donkey.jpg

Photos taken August 2003

The 'Rules' of Church

27 December, 2004 9:07 AM

Darren (the other one - or one of them) has written a post titled Rules were made to be broken about a workshop he's running. He's asking readers to name some of the 'Rules' of Church:

'This made me wonder, what would those of you in the blogosphere list as Rules of Church? Those in the EC scnene have been redefining the rules for quite some time and I was wondering if there was anyone out there paying attention to my new blog who might be interested in listing some of their rules and some of the old rules of Church.

Some of the rules that I think have been dismantled include:

- A church doesnt not look like a coffee shop
- A dance party is outreach, not Church
- Music in the Church should be played on an organ
- Uncomfortable pews are a necessary part of Church
- There is one definition of Church
- The minister preaches, I listen

Of course, there are hundreds more, but I wonder what your old rules were'

Head over and add your 'rules' to his list.

Christmas Hits the Rowse House

24 December, 2004 4:28 PM

Well it is beginning to look a little like Christmas - life has reached its climactic peak and then suddenly tomorrow afternoon it will all suddenly stop for a few days of complete rest.

LivingRoom finished off for the year on Wednesday night with a good old feast and sharing of some small gifts. We'll be taking a couple of weeks break from meeting (its refreshing to be able to be able to stop gatherings for a few weeks). We'll all still get together to see a movie or have a picnic, but no formal gatherings for a bit.

V and I have a big day planned for Christmas day tomorrow with time with both sides of the family and then some friends in the evening - then V's got a few days off work and we'll make the most of some time together which will be nice. It has been a great year but a wearying one also and a mini break will be wonderful.

So have a a great Christmas friends - I hope and pray its a meaningful and restful time for you all.

Emerging Church Question from Maryam

21 December, 2004 3:53 PM

Maryam over at A Dervish's Du`a has posted some excellent questions and reflections on the Emerging Church. The cool thing is that she's not only asking questions from outside the Emerging Church but also outside the Church. As a Muslim woman who we've actually had along to share with us at LivingRoom I'm very interested in her observations and thoughts. She writes:

'However, it struck me that EC would be difficult to 'enter' as a non-church-goer or non-Christian just interested in checking things out. You know... tasting the aperitifs before comitting to the twelve-course meal. Sometimes it takes quite a few aperitifs before you're ready for the roast beef and yorkshire pud, so how do you approach that in your EC congregations?

The weekly gathering I attended had a group of extremely and genuinely warm and welcoming people, but of course with a small group of a dozen or so people in someone's home, a newcomer stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. There is no mouthing along with the hymns up the back at EC!!

Also, how do you deal with the 'member' / 'non-member' / 'official status' / 'you have to join up to be a part of it' / 'you have to believe X theological creed' etc. issue? Read more at A Dervish's Du`a': Emerging Church Question

So where does one start in answering those questions. Here are a few reflections:

1. I've felt similar feelings as I've observed LivingRoom and othe ECs.

2. Whilst I've felt similar things I've reminded myself that LivingRoom has not set up to grow LivingRoom. Our purpose is not to build our community in numbers, or even 'the Church's' numbers - rather we exist to build 'the Kingdom of God'. Whilst this distinction doesn't fully answer Maryam's questions it is an important distinction to make. In previous church circumstances I think the mindset was often to get people along to church, to make it as accessible as possible to people, to break down the barriers for people to come in and belong so that they could become one of us. With LivingRoom we actually have in our DNA that we are not as interested in building our numbers by getting people to come in to us - but we're more interested in us going out and joining God in his work in the world.

3. Having said this there does sometimes come a time when people want to come to LivingRoom - both people who have church experience and people who do not. On most occasions that this has happened so far these people come along on a Wednesday night out of some sort of relationship with a LivingRoom participant. Its not a rule - just the way it happens. Whilst this also doesn't completely answer Maryam's question I find that it does help people make the transition. Very rarely have we had total strangers rock up to LivingRoom - usually there is at least one meeting with people first - if not many months or years of relationship with people. Often they've already met a number of the group before coming.

4. Despite all this wonderful theory I still know that the format of how we choose to meet (and its just one way of many within the Emerging Church) CAN be a little (or a lot) threatening to some people. This is due to our size, our meeting in a private home, the format of our meetings (interactive, sitting in a circle) etc. On the flip side this format and style also makes things more accessible for other types of people. I guess what I'm coming to believing is that Church should take a variety of forms - each with its own strengths and weaknesses in connecting with different types of people.

Anyway - those are some of my reflections - wondering what others think? Leave your comments over at Maryams.

Blogger Idol - First Dates - Top 5

20 December, 2004 2:28 PM

Round 2 of Blogger Idol was on the topic of First Dates - my top 5 (in no particular order) for this week are:

- Red Interior - a list of 'first dates' from history and from his own life - especially good because he mentioned Carlton's first VFL premiership.
- The Stokes Family Blog - T-Bag tells of finding out her son's got his first girlfriend - cute
- Ian's Messy Desk - posts what could be the first date
- Tuneouttv Braindownload - I'm a sucker for a good definition - this is a great one
- She is Leaving.... : waiting.... - Jesslin (who seems to be really getting into blogger idol - I see her commenting on loads of other entries) has a good post about her 'friend-to-boyfriend' alternate to dating.

Of course these are just 5 of 20 or so entries this week - there are heaps of other worthy contenders but these are my five favorites - which are yours?

Taking its toll

20 December, 2004 9:05 AM

I think that all the Christmas parties, Birthday parties, work breakups and weddings of the past two weeks have caught up with me. Too much rich food and drink - have been laid up in bed most of this weekend with some sort of a tummy bug. Not a good lead up to Christmas...


19 December, 2004 11:34 PM

Livingroom-MmCool - custom printed MMs - this could be fun.

Understanding and Reading a Blog

19 December, 2004 11:23 AM

I've now move all of my Blog Tips to ProBlogger - Blog Tips

First Date

15 December, 2004 10:50 AM

DateThe topic of Blogger Idol this week is First Dates....

This picture was the first result for 'dates' in Google Images - ie the first da... ok, ok - you get it

I'm sorry....I couldn't resist...


13 December, 2004 11:06 PM

I know the bible says something about not bringing legal cases against brothers and sisters - but I'm not sure it covers defamation. What do you think?

LivingRoom Wedding #1

13 December, 2004 8:52 AM

Yesterday was the first LivingRoom wedding. Two of our much loved core group tied the knot in a really beautiful morning ceremony in the sunshine a couple of hours outside of Melbourne. It was a wonderful afternoon - very relaxed - very creative.

As I lay on a picnic rug at during the reception - nibbling on some wonderful organic vegetarian food and having myself a very nice organic beer - I looked around me to see a wonderful example of what community could be. There were 100 or so people there from all different parts of the happy couple's life - LivingRoom people were just one of many groups that included friends from school, previous churches, family etc. It was nice to see different groups connecting throughout the afternoon.

Instead of a sit down reception they decided to have a picnic where people were invited to come dressed 'as you are' - very relaxed. People brought their dogs and kids and sprawled out on picnic rugs and fold up chairs.

People were also given with the invitation to the event a small square piece of card which they were asked to make/draw/create something to represent a small gift for the couple. It was fascinating to see the variety of creative ideas that people brought.

It was a wonderful cruisey afternoon. Bring on some more LivingRoom Weddings - I could certainly do with that kind of afternoon a little more regularly in my life.

What do I want for Christmas?

8 December, 2004 1:31 PM

blogger_idol-1.gifDoes anyone else struggle to answer that question?

I struggle with it on a number of levels.

Firstly most of what I want costs a lot more than those who are asking have. Ok - I'm being honest now.

But secondly because I've always struggled a little with this whole giving and receiving of gifts thing at the end of each year. Whilst I'm not opposed to the idea of exchanging gifts I do find myself wondering how massive a thing it has become to so many.

Has a gift at Christmas become more of a right or an expectation than what it should be.

My dictionary defines 'Gift' as:

'Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.'

I wonder if the way we give 'gifts' these days is actually true to this definition on two counts.

1. Voluntary - has gift giving become a mandatory act? How many gifts given this holiday period are given because we want to give - or out of fear of what will happen if we don't give them.

2. Without Compensation - do we give 'gifts' because others are giving us gifts? I wonder if there is some unspoken expectation these days that if someone gives you something there must be a returning of the favor. How many dashes will be made to the convenience store on Christmas Day this year because of gifts unexpectedly being given by people you hadn't bought for?

Maybe the Dictionary needs to make a few amendments to their definition - or maybe we need to have a bit of a think about what 'gifts' really are.

PS - I wonder if I've just talked myself out of a few gifts this year

PSS: a few extra 'Christmas Links':

Digital Camera Christmas Gift Ideas

16 Christmas Photography Tips

Why do I blog?

8 December, 2004 7:59 AM

Bene asks 'Why do you Blog' - thought I'd give it a go.

My reasons for blogging have changed quite a bit since I started. Originally I just wanted a place to record my journey, to keep ideas and to talk out loud as I sorted through what I was doing and thinking. I also saw it as something of a discipline that would help shape and refine me. I reflect upon these reasons now and think it was a fairly insular view of blogging - all about me really. My ideas soon evolved to also include a relational aspect to blogging.

It didn't take long to realize that blogging wasn't just about bloggers themselves but that it was a medium that had incredible potential to connect people with one another. Blogging became about mutual learning relationships, sharing ideas and experiences and building friendships.

Blogger Idol Relaunched

7 December, 2004 2:06 PM

Blogger Idol

Readers who have been coming to this blog for over 6 months will remember the Blogger Idol project I ran from this blog for the first 6 months of this year. It was a fun way of connect bloggers together to all write on a common theme each week. Over 150 bloggers signed up for weekly emails with a suggested theme. It took a bit of energy and time for me to run it but it was well worth it as I met some great new bloggers from around the globe.

We took a break from the project a few months back but have decided to get it going again as of today. This time it will all run on its own domain/blog so as not to dominate this one. If you're interested in joining the project head over to Blogger Idol and join in on week 1's topic of 'All I want for Christmas....'

You can also submit a topic for future weeks and sign up for the weekly emails announcing new themes.

Emotional Intelligence

6 December, 2004 2:16 PM

Whilst I'm thinking about Emotional Intelligence (sometimes referred to as EQ or EI) I thought I'd collect together a few links on it for future reference to work through over the next few months. I can't guarantee the quality of any of them at this point - but feel free to add to or comment on them in comments below.

- The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations - Emotional Intelligence reports, discussion, links and information.
- EQ Directory - a collection of articles, organizations, links, resources and tools for Emotional Intelligence.
- EQ Informational Site on Emotions, Emotional Intelligence, Teen Suicide and Related things.
- Emotional Intelligence Test - a test/quiz on EQ - not the most comprehensive one around.
- 6 Seconds - An Emotional Intelligence Network
- Anger? Love? E-IQ Test - another basic emotional Intelligence Test
- Emotional Intelligence: What it is and Why it Matters - An introductory article on EQ
- Emotional Intelligence in Schools
- A Review of 'Emotional Intelligence', by Daniel Goleman - a review of one of the books that helped make EQ popular (see below for book)

Emotional Intelligence Books (Amazon US and UK)
- Emotional Intelligence : Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Daniel Goleman) (UK) - One of the guru books that started it all.
- Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman, Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis) (UK)
- Working with Emotional Intelligence (Bantam) (UK)
- Emotional Intelligence Appraisal - Me Edition (Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves)
- The Emotional Intelligence Activity Book: 50 Activities for Promoting Eq at Work (Adele B. Lynn) (UK)
- The Emotionally Intelligent Manager : How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership (David R. Caruso, Peter Salovey) (UK)
- The Handbook of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Inspiring Others to Achieve Results (Daniel A. Feldman) (UK)
- The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How to Select For, Measure, and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Groups, and Organizations (Jossey-Bass) (UK)

An Intense Week

6 December, 2004 1:52 PM

This last week has been a little hectic. Last week was our last Forge intensive for the year which was filled with 5 days of lectures and workshops from some of Australia and New Zealand's wonderful Emerging Missional Church practitioners and thinkers who were exploring the over arching theme of leadership.

Whilst I've been to this intensive four times now - I always come away inspired and encouraged. Its partly due to the speakers, but mainly just the networking, hearing stories and rubbing shoulders with others who operate in a similar paradigm.

Once the Forge intensive finished I was off to another one for the weekend with a group called Catalyst who I've been doing a short internship with this year. We've been exploring the idea of 'Missional Entrepreneurship' which has been very encouraging.

One of the best parts about the weekend was a session on Emotional Intelligence - something I've heard people talking about, but which I'd not explored previously. It was a pretty intense session and at this stage of the year I'm not sure I'm in a position to be able to process it too well - but its something I'm keen to explore further in the new year after a few days off.

I always find these intensives pretty draining - not only do they stimulate and over fill my brain - they also take their toll on my energy levels relationally - as an introvert I really feel it after a few days in those environments - let alone what I feel like today after two in a row.

I'll just go curl up in the fetal position in the corner now and do a little rocking backward and forward now....