January 2005 Archives »
29 January, 2005 12:03 AM
Darren from planet telex
has decided this year to run a lent blog
to help him reflect upon this special time in the Christian calendar. It looks like a great project that would be worth getting involved with - unless of course you're giving up blogging for lent.....then it might be worth avoiding.
'So, I've decided to spend some time during lent reflecting on a blog and I've invited a number of people to participate in the experience. Many of those I've invited don't already have a blog up and running (yet) but are people who's reflections I'd like to hear during this lenten period. If anyone out there in the blogoverse would like to participate in the Lentblog please let me know by commenting here or emailing me.
The Lentblog's theme in work is 'relationships' but can spread further than that if participants would like, I'll provide some bible readings and reflections if people wish during the period to help with kickstarting their reflections.'
Read more at planet telex - Lentblog 05
25 January, 2005 11:09 AM
A few readers have asked me recently why I haven't been doing many 'blog tips' recently - It's actually been a while since I've stopped writing about blogging specifically on this blog - a few months back I decided to move all my Blog tips over to a new blog at ProBlogger. Over there I'm writing about the lessons I'm learning as someone who earns a living from blogging as well the latest relevant blogging news and some other general blog tips.
The move has gone well so far and I've 'met' some pretty amazing bloggers through it from around the globe who are doing some highly innovative blogging.
So if its blog tips you're after - that is where you should head.
24 January, 2005 8:30 PM
Just spotted this article in Christianity Today, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience - which examines the difference between what Evangelical Christians believe and how they live their lives:
'Then the pollsters started conducting scientific polls of the general population. In spite of the renewal movement's proud claims to miraculous transformation, the polls showed that members of the movement divorced their spouses just as often as their secular neighbors. They beat their wives as often as their neighbors. They were almost as materialistic and even more racist than their pagan friends. The hard-core skeptics smiled in cynical amusement at this blatant hypocrisy. The general population was puzzled and disgusted. Many of the renewal movement's leaders simply stepped up the tempo of their now enormously successful, highly sophisticated promotional programs. Others wept.
This, alas, is roughly the situation of Western or at least American evangelicalism today.
Scandalous behavior is rapidly destroying American Christianity. By their daily activity, most “Christians” regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate allegiance to money, sex, and self-fulfillment.'
Read more at The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience
24 January, 2005 11:58 AM
Update: All of the following blog tips have been moved to my new blog at ProBlogger - Blog Tips - please join us there
Also check out our Blog Tips for Beginners series.
See the most popular Blog Tips at ProBlogger at:
General Blog Tips
SEO Tips for Bloggers
Methods for Making Money from Blogging
Making Money on Blogs through Advertising
Using Affiliate Programs on Blogs
Other Articles on Making Money from Blogs
How to Find Readers for Your Blog
How to Keep and Leverage Traffic Once it Comes
Using Social Media Sites to Build Readership
24 January, 2005 12:13 AM
Thanks to the many generous readers from this blog who were very supportive on Thursday during my Blogathon. After the 24 hours it looks like we raised just under $1000 USD which was almost double last year. I'm looking forward to passing the money donated onto Oak Tree Foundation for their Tsunami Appeal in the next week or so. I've also enjoyed a couple of days since it all finished early in the morning on Friday without too much blogging!
19 January, 2005 4:39 PM
This is just a short note to let readers of this blog know about our efforts to make a difference in the lives of children impacted by the Tsunami. We've all seen the footage and images of those waves of destruction and have heard the many appeals for donations. We have been impacted by what we've seen and heard and want to do what we can to make a difference.
As a result - Darren Rowse, the owner and editor of this blog, will be conducting a special 24 hour Blogathon appeal to raise money for the cause. By Blogathon we simply mean that he will be writing one post every 15 minutes on this site for 24 hours. We would ask that you drop by the site and consider making a donation to the cause via credit card through the button you'll see there in the right hand menu. All money raised through donations and sponsorships (you can buy an ad or text link) on that site or any other site in our network over the 24 hours will be donated to a local charity - the Oak Tree Foundation. The blogathon will start at 3am on Thursday (20th Jan 05) - Melbourne Australia time.
Please consider taking a moment to consider a donation today. In the mean time there will be a short break in blogging on this site whilst the appeal takes place. We'll be back with all the normal news and reviews here shortly.
17 January, 2005 5:18 PM
Garth is wondering 'how many of those who consider themselves part of the EC still worship or are attached to their local church. How many have started something new and no longer attend the 'structured' church? '
17 January, 2005 12:56 PM
Every week I get an email from a reader of my Blog that goes something like this:
My name is (insert name here) and I am very interested in what you are doing with LivingRoom. I have recently been thinking about church and am coming to a place where I feel it is time to find a church like yours to become a part of and explore some of the themes that you explore.
I live in (insert part of Melbourne that is NOT near LivingRoom) and was wondering if you know of other churches that are like yours in terms of style, values, outlook etc. Can you point me in the right direction?
Thanks - (insert name here).'
I love these emails because it confirms the suspicion that so many people are arriving at similar conclusions about church but it also leaves me wondering how to respond. I know of a number of 'emerging, simple, organic, post modern, liquid churches' around Melbourne but I know there are more.
Just yesterday I met a guy at Soul Survivor who is part of a movement of house churches in the West of Melbourne that I'd never heard of before (called 'West Church') - hi Nathan by the way!
So - I thought maybe its time I began a bit of a list of Melbourne Emerging Churches. I'll let you decide what is and isn't an Emerging Church and invite you to submit the details of any that you know or are apart of below in comments. Please include:
- Name of group (if you have one)
- Region of Melbourne that it is from
- A couple of sentences that describe it
- A website link and/or some way of contacting the group (email, address, phone - whatever works for you)
Hopefully this will be a useful resource.
Here are some to start the list off of some of those that I'm familiar with. Please don't be offended if I havn't mentioned yours yet - these were just some I had websites handy for. I didn't want to add one's without websites because I know some are not as public as others and may not want the exposure at the moment. More than happy to add others with or without websites - submit them in comments:
Region: Inner North - from Fitzroy, to Brunswick, to Northcote and Thornbury.
Description: Meets in the homes of its members on Wednesday nights for a meal, discussion, community building and reflections. Informal, small and friendly.
Contact: Email Darren
Name: Northern Community Church of Christ
Region: North - Preston, Northcote etc
Description: - NCCC is an interesting church with multiple congregations that meet in a number of locations targeting different groups of people in culturally appropriate ways.
Contact: contact details
Name: The Junction
Region: Outer South East including Berwick
Description: A missional community made up of a number of smaller primary communities meeting in homes, hotels and other public spaces.
Contact: Contact Details
Region: North/East - from Kew to Northcote and many places between!
Description: Solace meet in a number of formats at a number of times during the week. Contemplative and Creative.
Contact: Contact Details
Name: Cafe Church
Region: Meet at Babel Cafe in Brunswick St Fitzroy on Tuesdays.
Description: Cafechurch is about a group of christians who want to enjoy church and each other through the challenge of community. We meet weekly in a cafe where we share our faith in a forum that is informal and interactive.
Contact: Contact People
17 January, 2005 12:45 PM
One of the questions that has been sitting in my inbox for a while now from a reader is on Tithing/Giving. A reader asks:
One thing that interests me is tithing. I've read some of your posts about money and the emerging church, and I wonder, how do you think tithing fits in the emerging church? If there's no building to maintain and no full-time staff, is a strict 10-per-cent-per-paycheck still the go? No quibbles that giving money per se is important practically as well as being an antidote to materialism, of course.... How does LivingRoom do things?
Good question. Actually giving is an area we're currently working on (and so the following is largely my own opinion and guesswork as to how we'll move forward). To this point its been very relaxed (perhaps too relaxed) and we've left it up to individuals to give as they feel led to do to whatever they want. If they want to give to LivingRoom we have an account that they can directly debit money into. But we rarely talk about it and we rarely spend it! I know individuals are very generous with other causes - giving to the LivingRoom account to this point has been quite small - probably because we have not pushed it at all.
I actually would like this year to have it higher on our priority list - not that we talk about it all the time or pressure people to give to LivingRoom but that we raise the profile of being a generous and giving group of people.
We don't and probably won't ever have a bowl that we pass around but I suspect that we will probably just talk about it more and talk about where we might give the money that is given more.
We don't actually have any expenses as a church - I don't draw a wage and we have few, if any overheads - as you say - no building, no staff, no expenses. This is exciting to me because it means that any money we get we are looking to give to other groups, ministries, community groups etc - especially missional stuff. This year we may use some of it to run some of our own missional projects.
So in answer to your question - its not a big deal for us and perhaps should be more of one (without becoming dominant).
My personal opinion on tithing is that 10% isn't really what God is after. He asks for everything and so we need to learn to live more in an attitude of that whether it be in our formal or informal giving/generosity. I'm not anti tithing or churches that practice it but would much prefer to see individuals seeking God as to how he wants them to use their resources (financial, time, possessions etc) and then responding to that. I'll keep you up to date here on the blog as to any decisions we end up making in the coming weeks/months on this area.
16 January, 2005 10:34 AM
Have been doing some teaching down at Soul Survivor this weekend and having a good time meeting some pretty passionate young people.
Yesterday we did a session called 'Spiritual Fitness Test 1' today I'm heading back down for part 2.
If you've surfed in from Soul Survivor welcome to my little blog. Some of the pages that you might like to check out that related to my sessions on 'Spiritual Fitness' include:
- Journey Resources
- Living Room Core Journeys
You might also like to check out a series of posts that I did on developing a 'holistic spirituality'. That series gives a bit of a different framework for thinking about your spirituality than what I gave you at Soul Survivor this weekend - but its got a similar vibe to it.
Feel free to say hi below in the comments section - happy for your feedback and comments on the sessions as I'm always looking to improve them. Thanks for stopping by.
14 January, 2005 10:37 PM
Just a reminder that next Thursday I'm blogging for 24 hours in my annual blogathon to raise money for victims of the Tsunami.
Last year the main reason I got through the 112 posts that I completed was that I had a whole heap of reader questions to answer. People asked about LivingRoom, about life in Australia, about my personal life or story, about my experience as a blogger etc.
I'm taking questions again here in comments below. You can ask anything and I'll do my best to answer anything unless it goes against one of the boundaries that I set myself in my blogging - pretty much anything will go.
I'm also taking your suggested links, articles, blogs, sites that I can blog about during the 24 hours - if you have any funny, interesting, insightful or bizarre links for me feel free to leave them below.
Otherwise - tune into my blogathon blog on Thursday for all the fun and shenanigans. I'll try to limit the toilet humor this year to under 4% of the posts - unless of course I get desperate because you don't help me out with some links below!
PS: I'm still looking for a sponsor/s for the site I'm open to offers on text links, banner links editorial space. Will sell virtually any space on the site in return for your donations to the cause - let me know if you're interested.
13 January, 2005 9:25 PM
Unfortunately due to lack of numbers we've put the Liquid Conference on ice until some point in the future.
Instead of the full three day conference that we were planning we will be running a more informal, cheaper afternoon and evening event on 9 Wednesday February. The time will start at 2pm at Northern Community Church of Christ (as previously planned) and will include a few short presentations, some free flowing discussion and lots of interaction around issues of:
- Engaging culture & community
- Spiritual formation & discipleship
- Compassionate living & social justice
In the evening (6pm for dinner til 9pm) we'll be opening things up and inviting some of the emerging churches and communities from around Melbourne to come together for a time of story telling, alternative worship and reflection.
We're suggesting a donation of $20 if you're coming for the whole time or $10 if you come for one or the other session (ie afternoon or evening). If you'd like to have some pizza with us bring an extra $5.
I'm sorry to those who had planned to come to a three day conference - especially those who are coming from overseas - a combination of a hard time of year, other competing conferences and other circumstances have made it difficult - but we hope you can still come and be a part of this day together.
12 January, 2005 12:49 PM
Lucas also asked in his email for my thoughts on planting a house church (or a 'simple church' as they prefer to call it). I too resist the 'house church label' - we don't refer to ourselves in that way (see some of my grappling with what to call ourselves at Sexy House Churches, Emerging, House, Cafe, Organic, Post-Modern? and Boxable Church).
My thoughts or advice or lessons on Church Planting are only given hesitantly as they are OUR lessons. 'Ours' not because we own them or have a patent pending but because they are what we've learnt in our context in the period of time that we've been experimenting. They may or may not be universal lessons applicable to all. I've previously written quite a few of these 'lessons' and rather than rehashing them all here I thought I'd just provide some links and headings:
The first ten lessons were written after one year of being established. They were perhaps a little more 'theoretical' than the last five. We were very much testing and experimenting in the first year.
- Church Planting Lessons - Part A
1. Get your DNA right
- Church Planting Lessons - Part B
2. Make Mission Central
3. Read Shaping of Things to Come
4. Multiplication rather than Addition
- Church Planting Lessons - Part C
5. Make it Simple and Replica-table
- Church Planting Lessons - Part D
7. Sending vs Attractional
- Church Planting Lessons - Part E - 8. Participation is Key and 9. Community is Central
8. Participation is Key
9. Community is Central
- Church Planting Lessons - Part F
10. Have Fun
If that wasn't enough I also wrote More Church Planting Lessons from the LivingRoom after another 6 months of meeting. These tips were perhaps a little more out of our experience. They are:
11. Go Slow
12. Make it as connected as possible to people's real lives
13. Don't just meet in Houses
14. Don't let Church Dominate Life
15. Be Shaped by the Outsider
I'm sure there will be 'even more Church Planting lessons' that I'll write at some stage after a little more reflection but this will have to do for the time being. I will however add one more brief one:
16. Be careful what you blog about - whilst blogging is a wonderful tool for communication, learning and networking it can also be used inappropriately. It might be worth having a brief conversation with your group as to what you can and can't blog about.
- I personally have chosen not to identify by names people in our group.
- I have posted a few photos from time to time but limit this. I also choose not to blog about decisions we're making in much detail until they have been made.
- I do not blog about our disagreements or about what individuals said unless I get permission first.
Whilst I want to be transparent with the world through this blog about who LivingRoom is - there is nothing to hide - I also want to keep in mind that our community is made up of real people who are entitled to privacy and a safe space to express themselves and their journeys. They are also entitled to not have our dirty laundry (not that there is much) aired publicly. This is just my position - I know other bloggers have taken different approaches - some it has worked out for, others it has caused some massive problems for. Just be careful.
I'm interested to hear your 'lessons' or advice to a group of people just starting out.
12 January, 2005 12:20 PM
Lucas from ::my four walls:: just emailed me to say that they're starting a little church where he lives in Texas and that after using some material from this site and chatting over it as a group that they've decided to call themselves 'The Living Room'. Wooohooo another one!
By my counting this brings the total number of new LivingRoom's that I know of in the last two years to five.
It is really exciting to see these little communities springing up all over the world (not just the one's named Living Room). I'm constantly amazed by the way that so many of them seem to have common threads and strands yet how diverse they can also be.
Our little 'Living Room' church has been on summer holidays from meeting face to face for a couple of weeks. Some of the group have been away on holidays, others have caught up informally and others have just taken a little break by themselves. I love that we're flexible enough to morph and change in this way.
Lucas asked in his email how big our church is and I thought I'd answer here.
I'll resist the normal emerging church response to this question of 'its not about numbers'. Whilst I agree that numbers are not the best or only measure of a church's health I have come to a point that its still not the evil/bad/misguided/unaskable question that some seem to think that it is. Numbers are important to me not to measure our success but because numbers change the dynamic of a group and can help give a picture of where a group of people are at. They can also (but don't always) give an indication of energy - ie one could say that a group that goes from one hundred to thousands (like on the day of Pentecost) might have something going on - there might just be some energy there that says something about what God is doing there. Having said this a small non numerically growing group of people can have incredible energy and God's movement going on in it also.
Ok - have I said enough qualifying statements to the most simple of questions?
How big is the LivingRoom. As of the end of 2004 our core group numbered fifteen people. This doesn't mean there is 15 there each week - our gatherings vary from half that to more than that depending on what is going on with people that week. We quite often have visitors and people are quite often away. There is also somewhere between 5 and 7 people on the edges of the group who are about to either join in the new year or who are 'checking us out'.
The dynamics of the group have changed as we've grown in the past (almost) two years. When we started initial core of 7 (all but one remain today) our gatherings happened around the meal table and were more intimate by virtue of being so physically close to one another. Now we are too big for any of the tables that our group has in their homes so we tend to spread out around a LivingRoom to eat and for our activities. Its also common now to leave our time together not having talked to everyone as deeply as you did when we first started. Of course there are positives to a larger number of people (the meal is usually easier to organize) and its a nice feeling to have a full room of diverse people.
2005 will likely see LivingRoom multiply for the first time. This is partly just for logistics but there also just seems to be energy in the group for a new one to emerge around a number of people within our core team. How this looks and the way it will happen is yet to be made clear but I'm looking forward to seeing where the conversations we're having will take us.
11 January, 2005 5:29 PM
I'm really pleased to announce a new blogging project that I've been working on for the past few days - Depression News - a blog that will report the latest news and information about the symptoms and treatment of Depression. It is still in beta form but is at a stage where I'm happy for people to start to use it.
Over the past 10 years in my work as a minister I have encountered many people who suffer from depression and have always had an interest in seeing them reach their potential in terms of health. In more recent years I have had more personal confrontations with depression and have always kept an eye on the latest news on treatment and studies into it. I am also passionate about advocating on behalf of those who suffer from depression or mental illness.
It seemed natural to extend this personal interest in the topic into a blog where others could benefit from my own research.
I have felt a growing urge within me in recent months to look for ways to extend my blogging in a direction where it not only is about making me money or satisfying the consumeristic urges of my readers to have the latest gadget - Depression News is one of the responses that I'm making and is an project that I hope to repeat many times over in the future as I develop my blogging.
Depression News is being hosted with the Breaking News Blog collective and uses Word Press as its backbone. I am funding it (and hoping to raise a few dollars for a local mental health charity) using Google's Adsense and Amazon Affiliateship at present but am also open to other forms of sponsorship. The design is based upon one from Cre8d design but tweaked quite a bit in CSS by me.
I hope that you or someone that you know finds it a helpful resource. I'm open to it becoming a group blog if others wish to join in with some posting - at present it is focused more upon news and information but I would like to also add some personal stories. Just let me know if you'd like to get involved. Your comments suggestions on design and features are also welcome in comments below or via email.
10 January, 2005 9:51 PM
Bene Diction's Blog is having some issues at the moment - If you've been looking for it you can get it here til it goes back up on the normal domain.
10 January, 2005 4:11 PM
I believe that Blogging can make a difference not only to those doing the blogging but the wider community. This is your chance to join me in such a project.
On Thursday 20 January I will be blogging for 24 hours straight with at least one post every 15 minutes to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. I'll be doing all the blogging on the day over at this blogathon site and would like to invite you to be a part of the project.
You can support the project in a number of ways - either by a direct donation, sponsoring the site (I'll leave your ads up forever!), by helping promote the project or by helping me out with content or proof reading.
I'm particularly seeking some marketing savy bloggers to help get the word out through the blogosphere about the project as the more who hear about it and visit the site the more we'll be able to raise through donation or via sponsorship.
I'd also love someone with some design skills to design me a little button to promote the blogathon that I can give to other bloggers to put on their sites. Doesn't have to be anything too amazing - if it could just say something like 'Tsunami Blogathon' or something similar. Any takers?
I'm attempting to make the project as transparent and accountable as possible so that 100% of all money raised goes through to our chosen charity who are doing some great work in the Tsunami affected areas.
Please don't hesitate to contact me as soon as possible if you have any ideas or would like to lend a hand to the project.
6 January, 2005 2:43 PM
Well at last I can say I'm proud of something our government is doing. Howard promises $1 billion in aid - Asia Tsunami
'The Prime Minister, John Howard, today pledged $1 billion over five years to the Indonesia's tsunami reconstruction, the largest donation made so far for the relief effort.
On the eve of today's international summit in Jakarta, Mr Howard announced a historic package which includes $500 million in direct aid and $500 million in concessional loans. He said the Indonesian President, Susilo Yudhoyono, had been “overwhelmed” by the offer and “would never forget it”.'
3 January, 2005 10:03 AM
For Blogger Idol - Instead of News Years Resolutions this year I thought I'd post some quotes of one of my heros - Albert Einstein. Hopefully this year I'll learn to live some of these things rather than just quoting them:
Insanity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
"If A equals success, then the formula is: A=X+Y+Z. X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut."
"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive."
"It's not that I'm so smart , it's just that I stay with problems longer ."
"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
"I want to know God's thoughts,..... the rest are details.."
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
"Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion toward men and toward objective things."
"True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and
1 January, 2005 7:01 PM
I just heard the sad news that one of my oldest online friends passed away last night as the rest of us celebrated the New Year.
Kas was one of the first people I 'met' when I first got my first internet connection at home 8 or so years ago. The computer technician came to my home to install my new PC and modem and before leaving offered to show me how to get onto an IRC chat line.
He randomly selected a chatroom called #DownUnder - a room we assumed was for Aussies. I logged on as 'oziii' a name that sticks to this day. I still remember the warm greeting that I received that day from the #DU regulars - one of whom was Kas - or MeKas as she called herself early on. The community spirit, acceptance and warmth that I felt in that virtual space that first day hooked me in and I became a regular/daily visitors to #DownUnder - and so began my love affair with the internet!
#DU became something of a virtual home for me. Sounds strange I know - but in a tough time in my life - a time of confusion, grief and struggle in my real life - this virtual space that Kas was so central in became something of a place of refuge for me.
Kas was from Perth, on the other side of Australia, and we didn't meet in person for a number of years until she came to visit some of us East Coast chatters. We only met 'for real' once - but she certainly made a bigger impact than that.
Kas was a woman who was always full of life. She had a wicked sense of humor and a quick wit (and temper :-) ), she liked a drink and she could swear with the best of them. I remember many a virtual wrestling match in #DU with Kas, Rach, Dave, Tull and the rest of the gang. There was a lot of fun when Kas was about.
I also remember the chats Kas and I had in those quiet moments in the room when no one else was around. Despite being a generation older than me Kas had a way of connecting with me that I really appreciated. We were worlds apart in many of our experiences of life - me the good young Christian boy with a pretty naive faith and black and white experience of the world - I'm not quite sure she really 'got me' - but that didn't really matter to her. She showed a genuine interest in me that made me sit up and take notice.
Not only that - she was willing to share and tell her own story too. Her life was not always an easy one and I was inspired by her courage and willingness to tackle the big stuff that life brought her.
In recent times I've not chatted in #DU. The room died a few years back now and the community scattered (some would say shattered). A few of us chatted occasionally on MSN but Kas vanished from my life as quickly as she entered it. I guess that is the nature of 'online friendships' they can be like that. Life went on.
That was until a month or so when I heard there was something of a reunion of the old gang and some of the regulars were back - including Kas. We chatted a few times, reminisced about the good old days, caught up on the latest news - she hadn't been well but didn't let on the full extent of things. I sensed pain but what could one do?
Last week I heard Kas was in a coma - the prognosis 50/50.
Last night I while a few of us had a mini virtual party in #DU like old times Kas passed away.
Strange how the passing of a person you've only met once can have an affect on you. Bizarre how this internet thing can put you in the paths of such diverse groups of people yet can actually help facilitate quite deep friendships between the most unlikely people.
Tonight #DU mourns in its own virtual way. The mood is sombre - the drinks flow (Kas would want that) as do the jokes (that was her way too).
Rest in Peace Kas.
PS: - I'm amazed at how many IRC chatters are logging onto this page. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment - memory or a good bye below in the comments section. Anything goes. Most of us can't get to Perth for the formal memorial ceremonies - but I'm happy for this virtual space to be used however you'd like to remember Mekas.