Today I realized that it's been just over 12 months since our little family moved on from LivingRoom.
As a result I thought perhaps it was a time to do a little reflecting upon the last year as we've transitioned as a family from the community. I hope this jumble of thoughts, experiences and half baked ideas comes out OK :-)
A few significant 'moments' and 'observations' from the last 12 months include:
Moving house in Decmember last year (we celebrated our first year anniversary in the house last weekend and it's beginning to feel like home.
Adjusting to a new area - we've moved from North of Melbourne to East - from a very multi cultural area with a lot of social economic variety to a quite mono cultural area with a more middle to upper middle class feel - from an area where churches have traditionally struggled to the 'bible belt' where there are some very large churches (well large in comparison to LivingRoom).
Our second son, Henri, arriving in June. He's a beautiful little boy and while he's only just started giving us a full night's sleep has been a wonderful little fellow to have in our family. Xavier is now 2 and a half and is growing up fast. He's enjoyed living only a few minutes from grandparents.
New Church - We started attended 'One Community Church'. On some levels it was a logical choice (we have a lot of friends there and it is walking distance) but in some ways it couldn't have been more different to LivingRoom (it's relatively large, their worship style is very 'contemporary', they've just done a big building project etc).
Despite some of the differences the heart of the church is quite similar to LivingRoom with a real heart for mission, some amazing people and a similar Theology.
To be honest when we first started going to 'One' (and a couple of other churches locally) late last year we had quite a bit of 'culture shock'. Despite having grown up in and working in churches quite like it - having been out of that type of church for a few years meant having to make some adjustments on a number of levels.
For example the 'singing thing' was really bizarre. Listening to a monologue sermon for 20 minutes without a chance to interact/discuss/question/reflect/do anything creative was particularly challenging for me. Being a part of a community that had just invested significant time and money into a building was also something I had to get my head around.
However over time and particularly as we've invested more into the relationships in the place we've begun to find ourselves more and more 'at home' in this community. I'm sure a few of our friends have raised their eyebrows at the idea (I've done so myself) but at this point it seems right - at least for now.
'Ministry' - for the first time since my early 20's I'm not either a 'minister' or leader of a church. This perhaps has been one of the bigger adjustments for me. It had been something I'd been transitioning to for a while (I'd not been in paid ministry for a year or two and I'd increasingly been thinking about my work as tied to my faith) but it was a bit of a shift in how I saw myself (and perhaps has been a shift in how others saw me too).
I've continued to see what I do in my work and business as tied to faith (ministry if you want to call it that) and have seen that continue to grow and open up opportunities. To be honest I'm not quite sure what to do with it but I've grown my blogs now to a point where I have the opportunity to communicate with a couple of million people each month.
There's an opportunity there and I continue to grapple with how to allow God to use me in that way. Mainly that looks nothing like what I would have regarded as 'ministry' before - and is relating to and seeking to be there for people.
Interestingly in the last two weeks I've been asked by a few people to do some preaching. I've not done any (a part from writing daily blog posts.... which at times feels similar) for 12 months and am looking forward to doing a little more of it.
One of the other interesting things is that since releasing my book in April (another 'event' from the last year) I've had quite a large number of people wanting to talk about faith and spirituality as a result of the introductory chapter of the book where I talk a little about my background. I only included it in the book to give a little context to my story - but it seems to have connected with people - and stimulated some interesting conversations.
The other reflection that I have about not being in a 'formal' ministry position these days is that on some levels I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Being able to attend church without feeling I have some responsibility to keep things going, without having to have to prepare anything, being able to sit with my family - all of these things have been very refreshing.
All in all 2008 has been a real year of transition. With the change has come a mixture of excitement and the challenge of adjusting - but all in all it's been a good experience.
A few people have been asking me for a bit of an update on life (mine) recently so I thought I'd take a little time to reflect upon what has been a busy few months.
For starters - I'm writing this on a flight between Melbourne and Los Angeles. I'm on my way to Toronto at present for 10 days of meetings with some business partners.... but I'll get to that. (update - I've now been in Toronto for two days and have had a great time so far).
On Being a Dad - Xavier is now 4 and a quarter months old. Being a father has been an amazing experience and something I would not trade for anything in the world. Some days I look at the little guy and how he came into my life (don't worry - I know) and why I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to have him. He's a gorgeous little fellow and doing really well.
While there are of course challenging moments we're fortunate enough to have a pretty relaxed son who is sleeping well, reaching all his little milestones and changing so quickly it's hard to keep up with it all. I'm sad to be missing the next 10 days of his life (just under 10% of his life) and am already counting the hours til I get home (I'm sure V is also).
On Being a Church Planter - LivingRoom has continued on its way over the past few months despite V and my needing to pull back a little to get used to being parents. We've transitioned from 2 to 3 groups in the second half of this year and in the last few weeks went back to 2 groups.
Our members have gone through the full gammet of life's highs and lows in the last 12 months and are learning to care for one another through it all.
We meet now on Sunday afternoons (the group I'm in) and on Wednesday nights. We'll take some time off over the new year and then come back together in February to plan 2007.
We've also had a number of new people join us in the last month or two which has been refreshing (not that we're sick of each other).
My role at LivingRoom has continued to be 'team leader' - although I've been less able to put significant time into it of late and the groups have needed to take on more of the leadership tasks.
On Being a Blogger - Blogging continues to be the thing that I do as an occupation/business. the two main blogs that I work on are Problogger and Digital Photography School. I still also run Digital Photography Blog and a variety of other blogs but am spending less time on them.
Both ProBlogger and DPS are blogs that aim to help people to get better at different aspects of their lives and both give me opportunity to connect with people on many levels. I enjoy both and have been meeting some great people from around the world of late (virtually - and this week 'for real').
I've also continued to work on the b5media blogging network that I started with 3 other bloggers just over a year ago. Recently we announced that we've taken on some investment from two venture capital companies in Canada (hence the trip) and I will increasingly be spending my time on my role with the company (my role is 'blogger training and development' - something which I'm excited about and see as a natural extension of ProBlogger).
b5 is teaching me so much about people, life and myself. It is not easy and is at time confronting on numerous levels. I continue to grapple with how spirituality and business intersect and who I am in the midst of it all.
As a result of the Toronto connection and other opportunities I'll be doing a little more traveling in the next couple of years including both this trip and a longer one next year to the US and Canada (V and Xavier will be on that one too).
On Being Darren - Many other aspects of life continue to make up who I am. I'm a husband to the wonderful, patient, generous, caring and insightful V. I'm a gardener to my out of control vegetable patch (tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini, capsicum, corn etc wil be plentiful in the Rowse house this year, I'm a photographer, mainly of Xavier but am also enjoying using my photography in for others. I'm a reader, mainly novels of late. I've particularly been enjoying working through Douglas Coupland's back catalogue.
All in all - life is busy. It's full of opportunities (too many to take them all up) and is a load of fun.
At the end of every year V and I spend a little time reflecting upon the year that has gone by and looking ahead at the one ahead. Every time we do this we tend to make comments along the lines of 'wow that was a big year - we'll have to slow down next year and have a quiet one'.
Of course it never seems to work out that way. 2005 was as busy and full of such a vast variety of experiences - many of which we never expected.
We were fortunate enough to get across to Europe again to see family and spend some time in Turkey, we bought our little house and are gradually making it our own, V's was made permanent in her job (previously on a contract) which has been both something she's enjoyed but also something that has been quite challenging in terms of the clients she works with and my work front has been an incredible transition from being a part time minister/part time study/part time casual worker/part time micro business operator into a full time business owner and volunteer church leader.
We've just spent a week up on the north eastern coast of Australia relaxing and reading - I think we needed it.
The year ahead is already looking pretty busy and full of new experiences - not the least of which is the arrival of our first born in late June. We're both looking forward to parenthood incredibly but are aware that life is about to change once more in ways we're sure we're not expecting.
Well Christmas has come and is about to go with it being 11pm now.
V and I have been on the go today since early on.
We started by exchanging gifts early this morning, quickly followed by the arrival of V's Dad and brother for a breakfast of French Toast. We then jumped into the car to one of V's friends for a flying visit on the way to her mum's for one of the biggest lunches I've ever encountered. It was a great spread with roast ham, pork, turkey and chicken and an array of roasted vegetables as well as an entree of avocado, salmon and caviar. Dessert was plum pudding and a pavlova (something I made :-) ).
I couldn't move after lunch for a considerable amount of time but we were on the move mid afternoon for a visit to V's uncle and aunty where her cousins and grandparents were.
After that we were off to my parents where my sister and brother in law (just back from their honey moon) were also. Dinner was a lighter affair than lunch but still included three meats, salads and potatoes followed by a selection of desserts.
So yes - food featured pretty heavily in today's hectic schedule!
Tomorrow V and I area off to Noosa (two states north of where I live) to laze beside pools, sit on the beach, enjoy some hot weather (we're told it'll be 35 degrees (Celsius) most days this week and to read some of the many books that I got for Christmas.
I'm looking forward to a relaxing few days.
Life this year has been quite like our day today - full, fun and a little hectic. As I look back on the last 12 months I feel very fortunate (and a litte tired). We've bought our first home (and moved), taken a trip to Europe for a month, seen LivingRoom grow from 1 to 3 groups, been involved in marrying more couples that I can count, transitioned from being a theological student/paid minister/church planter to being a small business owner who overseas a church etc.
As I look at 2006 I do so with a little fear and trembling. There are many new things ahead of us both in work and personal life. I'm looking forward to having a little time in the coming weeks to do a little thinking and planning for the coming year and hope to share more of where we'll be heading once I've done that.
I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas and a good New Year in a week.
Today was Melbourne Cup Day so we decided to take a long weekend and headed up to Daylesford for a few days with a few of our friends from LivingRoom.
It was really wonderful to get out and have some sunshine (it's been a long Winter - which looks like it's finally broken). I really enjoyed getting my new digital camera out and re-engaging my photographic passions. I posted just a handful of the shots I took on my Flickr account if you're interested.
I know I've been quiet here recently so I thought I should give you an update on the life and times of me.
LivingRoom - As I've blogged here over the past few months - we're now three smaller groups meeting separately and adjusting to a new look and feel of being church. It's been an interesting process which I'm finding difficult to 'sum up'. One of the side benefits of dong it is that I've noticed an increase in the number of social interactions that people seem to be having with people inviting one another to parties, charity events, sporting things etc. Perhaps its just that time of year when people do that (although it is winter here) but perhaps its that people are wanting to see each other which is nice.
My small group is doing the ignition course which I'd previously mentioned - while this is the third time I've done it now I'm finding it to be really challenging again and am seeing some quite amazing things happen in my missional exploration (as have a number of others in the group).
Research - One of the main reasons that I've been a little scarce around here lately is that we're getting to the pointy end of the research project that I've been working on for three of our state's denominations who have ask myself and one other person to look into how the denominations can be a part of helping to birth and sustain young mission shaped churches (when we started it was 'emerging churches' - but we refined it to 'young mission shaped churches'). The research has been interesting and I'm looking forward to submitting our final proposal of how the denominations can work together. This finishes in September.
Blogging - My little blogging business continues to bubble along and even grow. At ProBlogger I've been working on a 31 Days to Building a Better Blog project for the month of August that readers of this blog who are bloggers themselves might find interesting. The tips are not just about making money from blogging and should help any blogger wanting to improve their blog.
Having had a bit more publicity in mainstream media recently about what I do has brought a lot of opportunities in this area of life - and also a few strange feelings as worlds collide. I'm still grappling with this whole bring together of spirituality and business - no massive 'answers' yet but many interesting experiences and opportunities are arising everyday.
Other - 'V' and I have definitely settled back into the swing of things after our trip - in fact it seems like many months ago that we were away - even though it's only been 6 weeks. Our little house has been fun to come home to - we've been settling in and making it a home (some might call it nesting). After three and a half years of marriage we finally bought ourselves a couch (two in fact) which makes entertaining all the more fun.
We're also fortunate enough to have two other couples who are good friends move into the neighborhood (both just a couple of blocks away) which is wonderful. We've all started walking together on Tuesday mornings and are meeting up on weekends for coffee at the local market.
I've got six weddings coming up over the summer (between November and January) - five of which I'm the celebrant for and one of which is a family one (my little sister). I thought that once I left a large mainstream type church that I'd not get asked to do many weddings but for some reason I'm getting more than ever. I really enjoy this part of life.
That's all for now - hope that this post signals that I'm still alive and kicking and have not forgotten blogging here.
Cameron Reilly (from the Podcast Network) and I have a semi regular breakfast together and today he pulled out the microphone and interviewed me for his G'day World show podcast.
We covered quite a large range of topics in the interview - covering everything from blogging professionally, to emerging church, to digital photography, to LivingRoom and much more.
I should warn potential listeners that there is a little bit of rough language once or twice during the interview - not from me of course :-) - the G'day World podcasts get a bit of criticism for it - hope it doesn't offend anyone.
So if you'd like to hang out with me in an auditory fashion you can download the podcast here.
If you're here because you want to learn about LivingRoom (our church) you're in the right place. This is a blog about my life and the starting of LivingRoom - an experimental church that has been going for two years in the inner north of Melbourne. You can learn more about LivingRoom here. You can also read my entries on this blog about LivingRoom in the category dedicated to it here. The rest of this blog records the various different aspects of my life.
If you're here because you want to learn about Blogging and Blogging as a an income maker you probably want to head over to one of my other blogs - ProBlogger.
Well the holiday is over - we arrived home from Singapore this morning at 5am.
Today was largely about sleep - although we also had a 30th birthday party to get to which was fun.
My last day in London was fun - I caught up with Richard Hall, Andy Merrett, Dave Walker, Jonny Baker, Mark Berry and a number of others. It was pretty humbling to have people come to hear the story of LivingRoom - especially knowing that some had travelled significantly to get there (thanks Richard).
Richard has posted photos here and here and Dave's put a happy snap up here.
In the afternoon I also caught up with a couple of other bloggers (Katie and Ashley) to talk 'problogging' which was fun also - their photos are here and here (I blinked - it wasn't the wine).
Tomorrow I'm going to the Forge National conference which i heard tonight is going well. There are 500 emerging church types there - something I can't resist but check out even in my jetlagged state.
We're back in London again today after a wonderful fortnight in Turkey. We had a fun tour with some great people (mostly Aussies of course).
I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the New Testament locations and imagining the early church's formation. Ephesus was especially interesting.
Also interesting was hearing reflections on the early Christians from our tour guide - a Muslim - who brought some interesting perspectives on the early days.
We also had the chance to spend three days on a gullet (yacht) sailing around the islands off the south of Turkey) and had a wonderful sunrise hot air balloon experience in Cappadoccia (click picture to the left for a larger view of one of the many shots we took) where we also spent a lot of time exploring caves where many early Christians hid during times of persecution.
Add to that whirling Dervishes, Underground cities, Persian Fairy Floss, kebabs, Gorgeous Gorges, Mosques, Bazars, Turkish Irish Bars, being kissed by a drag queen (don't ask), more kebabs, Turkish Rugs, Turkish Delights, ancient cities (4 or so) and a few more kebabs and it was a pretty rich couple of weeks.
Tomorrow I'm pottering around London by myself - having some 'Darren Time' after a couple of weeks on a bus with 20 or so others - tomorrow night my brother in law and me are heading off to see Coldplay in concert which will be fun.
The day after I have a couple of meetings lined up - one of which is with Jonny Baker and who ever else is interested in getting together with us for lunch (see the details here for Londoners).
Got to run now - but looking forward to sharing more of our trip in the days ahead.
Today was a beautiful day - mid 20's temperature wise (celcius) and sunny. We toured mosques, palaces, churches and saw some stunning views around Istanbul. Tomorrow we head off to Gallipoli and then the day after head towards Ephesus which will be fascinating.
We're both well (although I have a bit of a cold) and are loving the food and sights. Must rush off to bed - big travel day tomorrow.
This time yesterday we arrived in a cool London after 25 hours of sitting in a plane and in airports.
The Jet lag wasn't too bad although I only managed to catch an hour or so of sleep on the plane. Last night's sleep was a good one to say the least and I now feel semi normal.
We've got just a couple of quick days here with family (V's sister and brother in law are putting us up). Today we're going to the V & A museum and to Oxford St (shopping). Tonight we're going to see 'Philadelphia Story' (with Kevin Spacey).
Tomorrow afternoon heading to Turkey for 2.5 weeks of touring. Then it is back to London for another quick visit (with a couple of meetings booked in) and home via Singapore (two more nights).
I'll document the journey a bit here for those who are interested.
Those of you based in London and its surrounds might like to come have lunch with me on Tuesday 28th June at 12.30pm at:
Church Mission Society
157 Waterloo Road
London SE1 8UU
It's a Bring Your Own Lunch affair.
If you want to find out more Jonny Baker is co-ordinating it from the London end.
The time will be pretty informal - I think I'll be sharing a little about LivingRoom but am mainly keen just to put some faces to names of those that I read the blogs of and who pop by here from time to time.
I'd love to meet you if you're over there.
In related news - V and I leave for a holiday in Europe this coming Sunday. We'll be away for just on 4 weeks so expect a few 'postcard' type posts here over the coming month.
I just picked up the keys for our new house (left) and over the next few days we begin the process of shifting the accumulated things (too many) from our abode of the last few years to our new place.
It is a rather odd feeling - to actually have a little patch of land that we'll not only live on but that has a document saying that we 'own' it. Along with the feelings of excitement, relief (no more moving every year or two!), weariness (the logistics of it all are a killer) - I've been feeling a little pain over the past few days about leaving North Fitzroy.
Not just because of the cafes, coffee, park, wide streets, fun lifestyle (although I'll miss a lot of that) but mainly because this place has become home for us - for me - at such a formative time of my life.
Since moving to North Fitzroy I've gotten married, planted LivingRoom, made some significant relationships with local, started a business and had more paradigm shifts than a mind can handle. Whilst none of this ends as we move - I'm surprised to feel some grief attached to it.
Last night at LivingRoom we had a time of sharing where our 'missional heart' was - or where we were feeling God stir around us and perhaps inviting us to join in his work. I realized that for the past three years my 'missional heart' has been my neighborhood - particularly a local cafe where I've spent time virtually everyday sharing life with those who work and drink coffee there - this cafe has become central of my daily rhythm of mission and an important proximity space for me.
Whilst we're only moving 7 kilometers away to Preston - my daily rhythm will no doubt change - and my time in this local cafe will not be such a regular feature of my life. A new rhythm will emerge - but in the mean time, amidst the excitement is a little sadness and a growing 'wondering' about what may develop in our new neighborhood.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I'll be in London in June and am going to try and fit in some time to catch up with bloggers. I emailed Jonny a month or so back and mentioned it and he said that an informal get together might work rather than seeing everyone separately like I tried to do last time - perhaps a drink one day or night somewhere in London. We're only passing through for a few days on the way to and from a holiday in Turkey so it'd be great to meet a few people at once.
I'm not sure where would be best but if there is anyone who would be interested in meeting leave a comment below - if there is more than one or two perhaps someone would be kind enough to do a little co-ordinating of logistics.
If no one is interested that's no problem - I'm sure I'll have no shortage of things to do and see.
All has been quiet here for the past few days - life continues to be busy. Let me give you a quick update.
LivingRoom - continues to bubble along. I am really enjoying the increased participation of others in leading the group this year having stepped out of a paid position with the group. Its exciting to see people exercising their gifts and following their passions. We have grown numerically this year and are thinking through how we will grow. In a few weeks time we will be discussing the possibility of starting a second and possibly even third group.
Home - since buying a new home which we will move into in a month's time life has been busy with all the logistics of mortgages, paperwork and the admin of moving. We're excited about the move but a bit daunted by the logistics of it all. It will be nice to move into a place that we shouldn't have to move out of for a while.
Research Project - I've taken on a part time position doing a research project for three of the denominations in our state. The project is to look into how the denominations might best support and encourage missional emerging churches. I'm really excited by the project and am enjoying the many interviews that I'm conducting with missional church practitioners but of course am feeling a little overwhelmed by the massiveness of the task at hand.
Business - My blogging business continues to grow in the spare time (LOL) that I have. I am still amazed that blogging has become a way to sustain what I do with LivingRoom and life in general. Its enabling me to give more time to different life giving projects as a volunteer and also in other ways which is really wonderful. I'm coaching a number of bloggers now from around the world to think about entrepreneurial blogging and am especially excited by the opportunities to work with a number of bloggers from third world countries who I've been able to join in helping them to find a way to help put food on the table of their families.
I'm really exploring at the moment how business can not only sustain me so that I can 'do ministry' but how business can be a life giving thing in itself. I am really excited by the way blogging has the potential to give a voice to those who are marginalised am working on a couple of projects which I really hope will explore this idea and give such people a way of being heard in some pretty needy places. I am hoping and praying that these approaches might actually make a significant difference in many people's lives. The possibilities are exciting and I'll share more as they come to be. I write about my blogging mainly these days over at ProBlogger for those of you who wondered why I don't write about blogging here any more..
So life is busy - its full - its stimulating - its tiring - its keeping me on my toes. I am wearing many hats but am amazed at the way in which they come together and that God is opening up ways to join him in what he's doing around me.
By the way I'm off to Sydney in the morning for a few days so if you're waiting on an email from me it could be a few days as net access could be limited.
The past few days have been pretty busy - February is looking full. I'm currently thinking along a few trains of thought and getting ready for a couple of fun events including:
- LivingRoom gatherings for 2005. Tomorrow night we're meeting to talk about how we're going to operate and what sorts of topics we might want to cover in the year ahead. I'm suggesting to the group that we move to a bit of cycle of different types of nights - perhaps a 6 week cycle that I've been putting together. I'll post more about this if and when we make that kind of decision.
- Emerging Church and Denominations - I'm working on a presentation on the Emerging Church and Denominations and how they might work together. Again - I'd be happy to share what I come up with but would also be interested in your opinions on whether you see a see a future of mainline denominations and the EC in relationship together and if so what it might look like.
- Liquid Conference - I'm involved in the Taste of Liquid conference that is happening here in Melbourne on Wednesday 9th February. Any of you Melbourne people would be more than welcome to come along.
- Forge - At Forge we're gearing up for the first intensive of the year. We still have some places for the public part of the intensive between Friday 18 (PM) to Sunday 20 February. If you come you'll hear Mike Frost, Alan and Deb Hirsch, Mark Sayers and more. Let me know if you want more information on this.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Does 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
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....
Two years is not a long time - I feel like I've been at it a lot longer than that. This blog has recorded 1440 moments of time in my life and has recorded a period of real change for me. Not only has it recorded change - but blogging has actually been a change agent also!
Last year at this time I reflected upon the first year of blogging with the words:
'Blogging for me is many things. It started off as an outlet for me to think out loud about my hopes and dreams for the birthing of a little community of faith. Since then it has become many other things. It is a hobby, its a way of connecting with others on similar journeys, it is a way of learning about the world I live in, it has been a spiritual discipline, it gives me a place to get feedback on my ideas, it is a creative outlet, it is a record keeping devise for ideas and experiences and it has been a way to keep my supporters informed of what's happening for me.'
As I've reflected today upon the directions my blogging has taken since I wrote that I realize that things have continued to evolve for me. A year ago I had just launched Digital Photography Blog as a record of one of my other loves and hobbies. Through a number of strange twists of fate, coincidence and/or divine intervention that blog has become the basis for something of an emerging Career - a career as a communicator - a career as a gatherer of information - a career as a blogger.
It sounds strange to say those words - who would have ever thought that in 2 years the twists and turns of life would lead to that statement - but its the way it has happened. I don't say it to big note anything that I do - but rather because blogging has actually opened up a way for me to help put food on the table in our home and to release me to give my time freely next year to my work with LivingRoom.
It is hard to believe that the ugly little blog I first created with a free Blogger template has evolved into something like it has. I now have 13 blogs and am associated and partnering in the life of a handful of others. Blogging has changed my life (did that sound like a religious testimony?) but my approach to blogging has also changed since starting.
To be honest there both good and bad aspects of the change. The bad includes things like comment spam (which took me to the point of wanting to give up a month back), the criticism of others, the lack of time to blog about passions. However the good aspects far out weigh the rest at this point - the relationships that have opened up, the opportunities to be a part of some life giving projects, a stable and generous income, the encouragement I'm given daily by so many of you - these things keep me going.
Also keeping me going is the potential that I see in blogging. Potential not only to keep food on our table, but potential to give the marginalized a voice, potential to provide income to those without, the potential for learning, for community, for relationships. I would never have imagined that the last 12 months would have evolved the way they have for my blogging and I'm very excite about what the next year will bring and about the ideas that are continuing to form in my mind.
Thanks again to those of you who go out of your way to read my scattered thoughts. I'm encouraged by your comments and emails and even by those of you who lurk without commenting but whom I seem to bump into regularly in real life.
Last night's sex talk went well - thanks to those of you who contributed your ideas in comments below and via email. One never quite knows how a sermon is received at the best of times - but on this topic and in a church where you know very few people it is even harder to gauge. I enjoyed the challenge though and think no matter how it went down that it was a worthwhile interaction to be a part of.
Unfortunately today this ongoing hay-fever I've got has left me feeling pretty drained. Been in bed most of today trying to sleep it off.
Today was what I can only describe as pleasant. LivingRoom friends piled into cars and took off for the hills. Quite literally - we accidentally ended up on a big hill with a dirt track and drove to the top hoping it would take us to the place we were aiming for. Reading maps might not be the gifting of some in our group - but it gave us a nice story to tell the rest of the group next Wednesday night.
In a round about way we ended up at St Andrews market - a market about 50km out of Melbourne where we ambled through the Hippie/New Age stalls, bought some bargains etc. Then we drove onto Healesville for a late lazy lunch and a look through Op shops, book stores and had more coffees and ice cream before heading back home.
It was one of those aimless days where one thing leads to another - where no one felt the need to make conversation but where we got to know each other a little more than previously. Nice to get out of the city - to stop - to yawn - to relax and to be. Only problem was the hay-fever I am getting. Feeling very relaxed tonight and wondering how I'll kick start myself again tomorrow.
The trip was great - we saw some great stuff but also did some very worthwhile work. NZ is well worth a visit - hoping to return to tour that South Island one day! Now its time to catch up on some blogging that's been a little on hold this past two weeks.
We had a great day today seeing the sites of Auckland. This morning we finally got to Cityside which I found really interesting. After hearing so much about it over the past few years it was nice to finally be there and participate in a gathering.
Its been quite a strange experience the past couple of weeks at both Cityside and Graceway to be at church on a Sunday and in a larger group (not that either are what I'd describe as a large church) - also singing took a little to get back used to again. I personally don't mind corporate singing at all - however it takes a while to get back into the swing of it (not that there has been heaps of it).
Whilst I'm not wanting to critique/evaluate either Graceway or Cityside (after-all I have only had one experience of Cityside and two of Graceway) I have come away from the experience with some half baked reflections to take back to LivignRoom.
Participation - Firstly I was really inspired and excited by the way in which both actively encouraged the participation of a wide variety of people in their gatherings. It is easy to fall into the trap of relying too heavily upon one or two people in a church to carry all the load and do all the up front stuff.
This is something I've been aware of with LivingRoom and something we'll need to make some changes in next year with me stepping out of a paid position. I really liked the way people naturally took roles in leading different parts of the gatherings at both churches.
Inclusivity - One of the other things I've come away pondering especially today is the way that churches welcome and incorporate new people into them. By no means does LivingRoom have it all together in this area but one natural advantage that I suspect we have is our size.
When a new person comes to LR everyone knows they are there. Generally its pretty easy to introduce a new person to the whole group very quickly and almost without failing the person is engaged in conversation over our meal within seconds of their arrival. It would be very obvious if they were being ignored so there is a sense of accountability I guess between us to incorporate them. Of course on the flip side it could be a little daunting to come to LR because there is little room for anonymity. Whilst we never force people to actively participate it is difficult to passively site and observe without yourself being observed.
I'm not wanting to say that Cityside or Graceway were not welcoming - but I did notice the different dynamic - especially today at Cityside where we did not come with regulars (like we did at Graceway) and were more strangers. Whilst one of the reasons many of us get involved in some of the newer models of church out of a desire to be more inclusive in our communities and worship it remains a real challenge.
Overall I've really valued the time of worshipping with people on similar journeys here in Auckland. I'm going home this Tuesday somewhat refreshed, energised and excited about LivingRoom and life in general.
Thanks for the well wishes for V and my break in New Zealand. We're having a great time. I spent a few days in Auckland before V arrived with Rachel and Regan talking blogging. We'll be announcing some new blogging ideas/strategies/blogs in the next week or so which have arisen out of our time together - stay tuned.
V arrive here on Wednesday and since that time we've packed in a fair bit of travelling including black water rafting at waitomo caves, time in Rotorua (mud pools, geysers, geo thermal activity) and also some really encouraging time with Paul and Kathryn. Paul is someone who I felt I knew reasonably well having been a reader of his blog for just under a couple of years - but to spend an evening and morning with him and Kathryn was incredibly special. Their generosity, enthusiasm, hospitality and interest in us was one of the highlights of this last few days of travelling. To think that blogging has opening up the opportunities to meet people like them is exciting - and a little sad because we don't live closer!
Tonight we also went to Graceway again which was special having read and heard a lot about it over the past year or so also. They have been very welcoming to us this past two Sundays and I'm looking forward to going again next Sunday. I'm also hoping to get to Cityside next Sunday morning also.
All in all we've had a great time so far with still 9 days to go! The only downside has been returning back to Auckland today to my laptop and blog to find 200 spam comments left across my blogs in the last couple of days. It makes me quite angry that people so selfishly abuse my sites for their own gain - often for some fairly sick purposes. Anyway - I think and hope I've deleted it all - its just a bit of a downer after such a great few days.
Posting could be light over the next couple of weeks as I'm heading to New Zealand for some time away tomorrow morning. I say could because I'm going to be staying with a couple of addicted prolific bloggers while there - Rachel and Regan have become good friends since I started blogging almost two years ago (wow - its almost been 2 years - I need to think of a way to celebrate the next anniversary). We've worked on some interesting blogging projects together and the first few days of my trip we'll be spending some time thinking through some new ideas and strategies for blogging up a storm.
V will be joining me in Auckland on Wednesday, at which point we'll be heading for a couple of short road trips around the North Island, stopping to take in the sites and do a bit of adventuring as well as catching up with a few other friends and bloggers along the way. We'll be coming and going from Auckland over those two weeks and then returning to Melbourne on Tuesday 2nd November (Melbourne Cup Day).
I'm sure I'll do a little blogging along the way - but if you don't hear from me - don't stress (well not until 2nd November - if I don't blog by then you might want to send out the search parties and send the police around to my axe wielding blogger friends.
Today my blogging got a little easier with a new toy - a 15 inch Apple Powerbook with super drive - 1.25gig of RAM - 80gig Hard Drive - Wireless (I got an Air Port Extreme). Very nice. Its taken me 12 months to save up for it little by little and with the trade in on the ibook I had I've finally made it!
Up until this point I've had a little 12 inch ibook and already I'm noticing the difference in many regards. The screen is beautiful - its nice to be able to see a couple of windows open at once - the faster processor and RAM just wizzes it along - no more annoying waits with the little spinning colored wheel when ever you have more than two applications running at once. And I can blog from the kitchen, the bedroom, the balcony, the lounge and even the bathroom (I didn't do it long).
Now the arduous task of transferring everything between laptops begins. Sorry if you emailed me today - I think I've lost a few emails in the process.
My younger brother Adrian has been busy these past few months recording a CD - UpClose. Adrian, or Age as he's often known, is a great guy of whom I'm really proud. Pop by his website and check out some of the new CD in the Music section where there are some samples from each song on the CD as well as one free full song which will give you a feel for his music. You can get the whole album through the site. Those of you in Melbourne might like to come along to his album launch on:
Saturday November 6th, 7:30pm
Wattle Park Chapel
234 Elgar Rd Box Hill South
I had a day yesterday when I realized just how much I need a holiday. Its been a year - which in the scheme of life isn't that long - but it has been a big year of change and exploration. I am learning that when you work for yourself and when you work part time in one of these Emerging Church type things that its tempting to overfill one's life.
V and I are heading over to New Zealand in a few weeks which I'm starting to really find myself hanging out for. I'll be going over a few days earlier than her to do a little business stuff but the rest of our time will be traveling (North Island), meeting and catching up with friends (a few bloggers will feature in our trip), taking photos - but most of all just relaxing and enjoying the beauty of a country I've heard so much about but never seen.
Life has been very busy for me in my blogging ventures in the past few weeks. There is a big digital camera trade show happening in Germany in the next few days and all the major manufacturers have decided the lead up to it would be a great time to release new cameras which is exciting and daunting at the same time. So far I've added 60 new digital cameras to the blog with more expected in the next couple of days. Add to that all the new printers, scanners, lenses, flashes and other digital imaging products and its been a busy time.
Oh - and I've also started another couple of related blogs to the Digital Camera one. Now in the growing stable of Digital Imaging blogs that I'm running are also a Camera Phone Blog and Printer Blog. They are both in testing mode to see if it is worth its while - hence the basic design/layout at this point. Feel free to stop by and to linkup if they take your fancy.
The following article has just been submitted by a good friend of mine - Mark Sayers - who is responding to my Beslan - Sudan - Perspective? post.
For the last several months I have been trying to get over a virus and so have spent many hours in front of the TV. I have followed the tragedy in Sudan and the Russian School siege closely for the most of the day as I recuperate. Thus I have come up with a few observations for me to make sense of these events.
The recent situation in Sudan was brought to the world�s attention by the visit of Colin Powell. Since then there has been large-scale reportage from networks such as CNN and the BBC. But recent events in Russia seem to have captured the attention of the west more than the terrible situation in Sudan. Fascinatingly the Muslim media has virtually ignored the situation, preferring to report on Iraq and Palestine where the perpetrators are non-Muslim. Aid is struggling to get through because the Janjaweed militias are still covertly operating, thus the situation might need a military intervention or peacekeepers, a prospect which the Sudanese Govt has promised to resist militarily.
So much of the response to the situations in Darfur and in Beslan concerns the freshness of media imagery. When the world first saw the tragedies in Biafra in the late 60�s there was reaction, as people saw for the first time starving African children on the nightly news as they ate their dinners. We saw this again in the Ethiopian famine in the 80�s which saw a massive outpouring of aid (live aid/band aid etc) But the problem of starvation in Africa did not end, and a collective feeling of disempowerment has set in for Western people who have grown up with images of African children with swollen bellies in dusty refugee camps. When we see a situation like Darfur we feel that we can do nothing. We see a sweating BBC reporter telling us what has already happened, and what will happen and we feel hopeless.
The difference with events in Sudan and those such as Sept 11 and Beslan is that we view them in real time, we see the second plane hit the tower, we see the WTC fall, we see a basketball court rigged with explosives and packed with children. Images unlike starving children because we have never seen them before. They are fresh images, which strike us with horror, because we must find somewhere to place them and interpret them.
My wife and I watched the whole end of the tragedy in Beslan in RealTime, we saw the naked, bloodied children running for their lives. We heard the ITV reporter on his mobile phone inside the compound metres from the Russian troops tell us that a bullet had just missed his head and that a soldier had been felled near him. Those like me watching cable coverage heard of events even quicker than those watching Russian TV nearby (who did not interrupt programming to cross to the scene). We were not just people hearing a report after the event, rather we were participants in a media event.
Al-Qaeda and terrorists of their ilk are not just staging attacks, rather they are creating media events. When I hear that 50,000 people have been killed I feel terrible and I try and comprehend the fact but I find it difficult. However when I see as I did the other night, the footage of an Iraqi insurgent grab the head of a dirt poor Nepalese truck driver, who�s eyes are filled with fear, and then slowly cut his throat with a knife and then witness the horrible gush of blood pouring out into the dirt as life ebbs away. When I saw that image, I felt a physical shock go through my body and I had to turn away, I kept thinking about that poor man and I felt sick for the rest of the night. I can�t help thinking what if that truck driver was my loved one or even me. Why? Because imagery and sound will always affect us in a deeper way. Figures and numbers and words can never reach us at the human level the way that terrified driver eyes did or the way the sight of people jumping to their deaths before us from the WTC did, or the Korean Christian missionary did pleading for his life in Iraq. I am sure that if there had been cameras capturing the rapes and massacres of Darfur , there would have been a similar response from people in the West. Sadly African desert in the middle of nowhere is not a good stage for the media savvy terrorists. The difference between the siege in Beslan and the ethnic cleansing in Sudan is that one is crafted by its perpetrators to be seen by the world, the other was designed to be hidden from the world. I think it is unrealistic to believe that we don�t care about Sudanese victims because they are black and poor, I have higher hopes for humanity. We need to offer people ways of helping them interpret what they see, and encourage people to help issues like Sudan.
As soon as I saw the tragedy in Sudan I got online, within seconds I found a Christian aid group who I could donate to, I got our Church to pray about the situation in Sudan at our prayer meeting, I explained the situation to those who had not heard about it. Out of that prayer meeting a conversation has begun in our church about what we can do to help the many Sudanese refugee families that are settling in our area, there is talk of people volunteering to help in many ways. As I watched the horror unfold in Beslan, I chose not to just be a passive voyeur, instead I offered my humble prayers for those caught up in the battle and for their families. Maybe one of the roles of the emerging church leader is to be an interpreter of media to wade through the spin of the Left/Right/Radical Islamic/Nationalist/US/European lenses which distribute the reality of life on this planet, to help people to promote the kingdom of God and help in real ways, not remaining paralysed by terror or pinned down by apathy. I think it was the US Christian activist Ched Myers who said something like, �now that we have all this media technology we can no longer say we did not know�.
Along with most of the world this week I've followed the tragic story of the siege and massacre in Beslan Russia. I've refrained from posting about it largely because in these situations I find that there are not really words to respond to the devastation that this event has caused in the lives of hundreds of people in that country. I've watched the news reports with horror, sadness and despair. The media here in Australia have covered the story from many angles - our papers and evening news services have been filled with disturbing pictures and footage and thousands of words describing the goings ons of the days leading up to and after the peak of the crisis.
I listened this afternoon to talk back radio and was amazed to see the impact that an event on the other side of the world from us can have upon so many people. In our town hall in the centre of our city they have set up a condolence book for Melbournians to sign - people have turned out in their hundreds and thousands to express their sympathy for the people of Beslan. Apparently a number of Russian groups here in Melbourne have been overwhelmed by the show of support and compassion from the general public here. Other opportunities to give financially have also been launched through various charities.
Without wanting to decrease the magnitude of the Beslan situation it has gotten me thinking a little about the way in which some tragic events (like the one in Beslan) capture our attention and yet others seem to slip by with barely a mention in our media.
For example the situation in Sudan is critical at the moment.
'Despite a recent peace agreement in Sudan, conflict continues in the western province of Darfur where an 18-month-old war is creating a major humanitarian crisis. The fighting has killed 50,000, displaced more than 1 million people in Darfur and forced nearly 200,000 to seek refuge in neighboring Chad. More than 2 million Sudanese are now in urgent need of food and medical attention.'
Again - I'm not saying Beslan isn't worthy of media attention, I'm not wanting to draw direct comparisons between Beslan and Sudan - they are different situations which are both horrific - it grieves me to see what is happening in Beslan - however the situation in Sudan is positively terrifying. Did you read that quote?
- 50,000 killed
- 1 million displaced from their homes
- 200,000 fleeing the country
- 2 million in danger of death due to lack of food and medical attention.
Now I can only speak for what is happening in Australia - perhaps other countries are featuring this in their news headlines, filling their newspapers with pictures of the Sudanese, starting campaigns to send messages of condolence and more importantly relief to those working to meet the needs in that region - but from what I see here in Australia the issue has barely been a blip on the radar. I've seen a few mentions about it in the back pages of papers and once on the news - but I wonder if we've got things in perspective?
Why is it that some tragic situations capture our attention whilst others go largely ignored? Is it because it is all just too overwhelming? Is it that the Sudan crisis, and others like the AIDS epidemic in parts of Africa and Asia are ongoing and long term problems? Is it that live pictures of starving children doesn't make as riveting TV as a hostage drama? Is it because Africa is somehow less accessible to our media than Europe?
I'm really not sure what the answer is - but I wish there was something we could do to get some perspective. As I sit here tonight watching the late night news I wonder what I (we?) can do about it?
Big day today with lots of dads stuff (V and I have three between us). It is always a nice opportunity to see the whole family in just a few hours - although its a little tiring especially having to drive from one side of the city to the other. Anyway - I'm feeling rather full and sleepy this afternoon.
Tonight I'm heading out to a local pub to see the band of a guy I've met in a local cafe (which I frequent most mornings as part of my daily rhythm). Will be good to see them again. Some of the LivingRoom gang are coming out too - should be fun.
This week has been a bit of a testing week physically. A couple of days ago I either ate something bad or picked up a tummy bug of some kind. Ever since it has been one of those weeks - its not been pretty! I think I'm coming out the other side of it now but its not been a pleasant time.
Along side that my computer died a week back also - bad timing seeing as though we're in the middle of our busiest time in developing the Olympics Site. I managed to hire a second hand laptop however which has been really handy but quite inconvenient. Crazy how all the hiccups of life tend to come at once.
Despite all that its been a reasonably good week. The Athens site's continued to bring in a truckload of visitors. We just cracked our 800,000th visitor in the last hour which far exceeds what I envisaged when I first started it. Despite it's success however we've struggled at get any acknowledgment from any of the big 'A list' bloggers out there. Not that it really matters but its proved to us what a closed group they can be.
This morning was another highlight of the week - I managed to keep my stomach together long enough to preach at Armadale Baptist. The people there were very nice and encouraging. I do enjoy the occasional speaking engagement - I guess its one of the few things I miss having moved to the LivingRoom style of doing church.
The other thing I've been doing the last two days has been to be away on a weekend retreat for the internship I'm doing on 'Missional Entrepreneurship'.
We had a great time with author James Thwaites - particularly thinking about a theology of work. We also each have a chance to share our enterprise and business dreams and then spend time working them through as a group.
I've got a head full of ideas, dreams and possibilities which are bursting to get out. I love that this weekend (and the internship in general) has given me a real space to enter into this head space. I can't wait to see what will emerge in the next six months.
Well it has been a rather busy few days for me. I'm sorry for stopping the last series on Lovemarks halfway. I'll endeavor to do the last post in the next few days.
Part of my attention has obviously focused on the Olympics Blog we're running. Its been going well - better than I thought it would when I first started it a month or two ago. It is quite exciting and satisfying to see a plan come off.
Having said this it comes at a bit of a cost. Regan and I will be living on Athens time for the next 16 days. That means I'm not going to see a whole heap of daylight for a bit. The plan is to start blogging at around 5pm Melbourne time and go to bed at around 8am.
I'm not sure how the body will hold up over this time - but I suspect it will be a worthwhile venture.
Yesterday V and I went and saw Fahrenheit 911. I'd hear a lot about the film already and so some of it lost its shock value - however it still left me feeling rather numb, angry and a little hopeless.
I don't swallow whole everything in Moore's approach - there is obviously some bias and use of material that is taken out of context but I do find myself agreeing with much of the general thrust of what he's on about.
I've stayed out of the political blogging scene since the Iraq fiasco blew up last time around and will continue to refrain from too much political comment here - but the film has left me thinking a lot about power, greed and human nature.
I'm wondering what others thought of the film? Do you think it will have much impact on the elections in the US this year?
One of the things that I've started in the last month is an internship in 'Missional Entrepreneurship'.
'Huh?!?' you say....that's what I said too when I first heard the term.
Let me explain a little with a story.
When I was 9 or 10 I started my first business. I noticed back then that the boys in my class started doing some 'weird' stuff. They started talking about girls. Actually at first it wasn't really 'girls' - they started with women, women they'd never met. To be more specific the woman they all seemed to be interested in was Brooke Shields. They talked about her incessantly. Not only did she invade our conversation but she also started to invade their school books. They would stick her picture all over their books, on their pencil cases - anywhere they found space.
I was at home one day and I noticed one of my mum's magazines lying on a the table. I'd seen them around the house before, but had never taken any notice until now - Brooke Shields was on the cover. Not only that there was around 10 pictures of her inside. A light went on in my mind. The boys at school wanted pictures of Brooke Shields - I had 10 of them.
I hadn't heard of 'Supply and Demand' or any other economic terms, but I knew an opportunity when I saw one and the next day at school I set up my 'Brooke Shields Shop. I 'mentioned' my stash of pictures to the biggest loud mouth in the class and soon I had more customers that I could supply - I also had $4!
Mum's old magazine collection kept me going for a while - plenty of Brooke in them. Once I ran out of Brooke pictures I started talking up other models, pop singers and movie stars. I even sold a few pictures of male movie stars to the girls in my class.
Once mum's old magazine ran out I started buying women's magazines myself (I got a few weird looks from the newsagent). I could make $4-$5 per magazine profit. I was rolling in money (or so I thought) but my windfall was short lived as my teacher soon caught wind of my venture and told me it wasn't appropriate for me to fund my candy habit by taking advantage of the hormones beginning to appear in my class mates. My first business promptly died.
My second business was similar - it took place in my second year of high school - my mum had a big stash of rulers, pens, pads and pencils left over from a school fete. Once again I saw an opportunity and opened up a mini stationary shop selling them out of the empty locker next to mine to my classmates who had lost their pen or forgotten to bring their pencil case to school. Once again the business didn't last long because I soon sold out of my supply of pens and rulers.
Growing up through high school I was always drawn to 'business' type subjects. I did Economics, Accounting, Legal Studies, Politics and English in my final year of high school and studied Marketing at University. I always wanted to expand on these skills and saw myself as a business man.
As I've shared before on this blog - this all came to an end when I had a 're-conversion' experience as a 21 year old. I decided that I wanted to give my life over to God in the best way that I knew how - 'Ministry'. The advice I received from some influential people was to quit my Marketing degree and go to bible college. Seemed like good advice at the time - I mean how could someone truly be a Christian in Marketing right - isn't that just about greed, manipulating people and accumulating money?
Surely truly dedicated Christians showed their commitment to God by giving up such things and going into mission or ministry?
So for the last decade I've suppressed any inkling of business or enterprise that may have existed within me. I saw such a focus as not being compatible with what God would want for my life. In fact at times I secretly I quite arrogantly looked at some of those around me who had chosen to work in the 'secular' workplace as being second rate Christians.
The past few years have seen a turn around in my thinking on this topic (one of the many changes in my life lately). I'm still thinking and praying it through, but I alongside my changed thinking on 'what a church is' I'm feeling challenged to rethink what it means to be a 'disciple' also.
If a disciple is someone who loves God, loves the world they live in and loves their fellow believers (inner, outer, together journeys/calls of Jesus) then I can't see why someone exclusively focusing upon doing church based 'ministry' is responding in a more dedicated way than anyone else.
In fact I'm starting to realize that especially when it comes to 'mission' (or loving the world) - it can be more advantageous to actually be in business than locked away in 'church ministry'.
Before I go on I'm not wanting to put down the idea that God calls some to full time, Church based ministry. No way - I know many people who I genuinely feel that God has gifted for and called to work with Christians in Churches. What I'm wanting to describe is a rebalancing in my own mind and life. I guess I'm discovering a place of balance in my own life after the pendulum has swung to an extreme over the last decade.
Basic mission principle 1 - if you want to be effective as a missionary you have to have proximity to them. Where do most adults spend most of their waking hours each week? The Work Place. So on a very micro level I think we need to start seeing the work place, business, enterprises etc as a place where we need to encourage Christians to be in, not just to put food on the table and to help fund 'real ministry' but as a primary place of ministry/mission/faith itself.
I'm also thinking on a macro level also. Business/Commerce/Enterprise is perhaps the most powerful influence on our society in the West today. The Church used to play a pretty influential role in society but has been pushed aside (some would say its forfeited the right to such influence by its own behavior). More and more I'm noticing that businesses are taking on the role of providing avenues for social concern/welfare that previously would have fallen back upon the Church and Government. I suspect this will happen increasingly in future.
The power that Business wields on our society is often labeled an 'Evil' - often rightly so. But rather than protesting from the fringes could another way forward be for Christians to influence from within? Maybe a twin approach is a way forward for us.
Perhaps I'm being naive, but most business people that I've met don't want to be manipulative, they actually do care for the society they live in, they do want to make a difference - they often just need to be encouraged to do so and see ways of ethical, life giving business to be modeled for them.
My realization of late - Mission and Enterprise are not necessarily mutually exclusive - ok its not profound - but I'm a little slow off the mark.
So recently I've decided to stop just thinking about these things and actually explore ways to test and actually implement some of them.
A few months back I looked around at the skills and experiences that I've had in life and decided that one of my passions is 'communication'. I love to communicate with people, especially on a mass communication level via speaking and writing. Communication energizes and inspires me and I take virtually every opportunity to speak or write that I can
Up until the last year or so I've exercised this passion almost exclusively through preaching and writing a few 'Christian' articles.
My experience in blogging over the past 18 months has also given me a few skills in developing websites, (not designing them but rather in search engine optimization, content generation etc). For me there is a natural meeting between this passion and the skills I've developed and so a small (micro) business has emerged.
Those who read this blog regularly will have sensed this as my blogging on this site has changed, been a little lighter and I keep mentioning other blogs that I've started. Some of you have expressed some concern to me over this change in my approach - I hope this post sheds some light on some of my thinking.
I'm not moving away from 'church ministry' - working intentionally for LivingRoom is still important to me and I foresee that I'll continue to do so in the years ahead in some paid part time capacity. However at this time I'm also wanting to explore re-igniting the entrepreneur within me and will explore how the skills and experiences that I've accumulated in my 32 years of life can be transferred into other arenas.
I'm not sure if I've expressed myself very well here - I'm sure there will be more posting on this topic over the next weeks as I continue to mull it over. If anyone is still reading this (sorry its been rather long and muddled) I'm interested in your thoughts as I always learn so much from what you all have to say.
Well she will be in 3 hours time. My lovely V will be back from her three week overseas trip at 3pm this afternoon.
I can't wait to see her and catch up on the last few crazy weeks.
Its been an amazing few weeks with some great opportunities opening up for me for 2005. Can't say too much at this point but some of the worries that I've been having over the past 12 months in terms of work/direction are beginning to sort themselves out. Its a great relief.
Anyway - got to run down the shops to get some flowers as a welcome home gift!
This is my first test blog using Ecto Blogging Software. It allows me to blog while off line (uploaded later) which will change the way I blog for sure!
If this works I can see myself spending a lot more time in my local cafe blogging.
Update - I have to say that this is one of the best blogging tools I've every had the pleasure of using. Check out the great features for the Mac Version and the Windows Version.
Remote blogging, drag and drop image upload (including thumbnail functionality), full functional html editing (hard to get on a Mac in Safari on MT - previously I had to know a lot of html code), multi blog enabled plus heaps more.
Its sped up my blogging heaps - using the "New entry with selection" feature all you have to do is highlight text that you want to quote in your web browser and you can blog it (complete with the URL) with just a click or two. Excellent stuff.
The Livingroom blog is 1300 old posts today. What a journey it has been since our humble beginnings way back on 27 November 2002.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from blogging back then. All I was really doing was trying to have a place where I could record the journey of our little church and try to build some community with those that would join it.
How things change. Most of my community are not into the web and the site soon took a number of different twists and turns in terms of topics, exposure and offshoot blogs.
Its been a great journey - I've learnt so much and 'met' some amazing people. I'd especially like to honor and thank two people who have been very patient and generous to me in terms of blogging. Rachel and Regan Cunliffe have been instrumental in me getting to the 1300 post mark. For starters at a very practical level Regan hosts all of my sites - his rates are excellent and service very personal and above and beyond the call. Every good bit of design that you see on this site is Rachel's work (the bad bits are how I mangled it).
Their service to me goes beyond that though - they've become more than suppliers of bandwidth and design and become suppliers of support, inspiration and friendship. For that I'm grateful. I'm excited that we're able to work together on blogging projects and that we have an excuse in this to keep visiting each other, talking on the phone and growing a mateship across the waters between our island homes.
Its been a really good couple of days. The weekend was a bit of a lonely one - most of my friends were away and with V out of the country I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself.
I managed to keep busy and productive over the weekend but was starving for some personal contact by the end of it. Luckily a new friend Richard, from the UK, has been in town for the last few days and I've had the pleasure of his company in our humble abode for the last two nights. Its been great to get to know him. We met a couple of weeks ago at the Forge intensive and strangely find ourselves on similar journeys in numerous respects of faith and ministry.
Tonight was Livingroom - we read the book of Jonah and had an interesting discussion. It was good to have a bit of a back to basics night after a few more creative weeks and just get into some good solid bible study - especially an Old Testament study.
Anyway - I'd better sleep. Its 1.20am and I have four Forge boys coming for breakfast in the morning early...
I think I'm going a little stir crazy at the moment. I've been working really hard on getting the Olympics site up and running the past few days. I think I've been staring at the computer for way to long because this morning I was making my breakfast and I filled up my coffee cup with milk instead of boiling water and put boiling water all over my cereal.
Well as of 5pm this afternoon you can refer to me as 'Bachelor Darren'.
No its nothing drastic, V has not finally thrown in the towel in a fit of jealous rage over my obsessive blogging.... She's actually heading overseas for 3 weeks as a companion to her generous Mum. Its a great opportunity and whilst I'm going to miss her heaps part of me feels like I'm going on holidays with her.
So anyway - the next three weeks will be kind of fun despite the cold patch in the bed, the gourmet cooking and the lattes together down at the cafe. I thought a few weeks ago it might be a bit of a quiet few weeks - but looking at my diary I'm actually going to be busier than normal with plenty of people to catch up with.
One of the funniest things about V going away is that despite her not quite getting this 'blogging thing' that I do - she's actually started her own little mini website where she'll be updating family and friends (its a private one...sorry) on what she is doing. It looks very much like a blog to me - but don't tell her that - might put her off! I've been trying to convince her to start a blog for ages - especially a food/recipes one - maybe after the trip I can convince her.
Anyway - better get back to helping in the packing process.
Life is getting busy again at the moment. Sorry for the slowness of updating this blog in the past week or so. With the camp last week and a few new projects that I'm working on, blogging has been a little scarce here.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Forge intensive for the week which is always challenging. I'm doing a short session tomorrow night speaking about Livingroom and then on Wednesday afternoon a session on 'Alternative Ways of Connecting with God' (not my title). It will focus on Creative/Alternative Worship. Should be a fun week.
Thanks for your congratulations on finishing up at college - it is a nice feeling. Now I have one less thing to say when people ask the 'what do you do?' question. Thanks also for those who've asked about how the camp went. It was a really positive time. I always enjoy these particular camps, but this year was especially fun. Its always very energizing to hang around with 18-20 year olds. We spent quite a bit of time just having fun and relaxing - its been a while since I spent a whole day just chilling with people. We spent one whole afternoon inventing a game called 'shuffle cup'. Its amazing what you can do with a block of wood and a styrofoam cup! I even made a mini movie about it.
Wednesday night was pretty special for a lot of us on camp. We did a night focusing on 'Wonder' (see link below) and had a good worship time and a pretty powerful time of praying for a lot of campers - it was quite an intense experience for many.
Just a quick note to say that camp is going very well. I've had some amazing chats with some very passionate young people who are doing some fantastic soul searching. The sessions I've done seem to be going over reasonably well - I'm learning heaps as usual about spirituality and myself. Should be home and will resume 'normal' blogging again tomorrow evening.
This week I'll be away most days down at Philip Island (a little island south east of Melbourne) speaking on a camp for 60 young (18-20 year olds) bible college students. They are doing a program called Year In the Son which is a year of intensive study, usually done after they complete high school and before they go off to university.
I've been fortunate enough to speak down there for the past two years also and am looking forward to meeting this year's intake of students (YITS). Once again I've been asked to speak on Holistic Spirituality over 5 sessions. It should be fun.
Unfortunately I've got to take down a load of other work with me and have to make the trek back to Melbourne tomorrow night for Living Room and another meeting so I will not get as much time with the students as I'd like. Its a busy time of year.
Next week is the Forge Missional Training Network Intensive - a great 1 week intensive which is examining the topic of Spirituality for those in Mission. I'll be doing a couple of sessions but am looking forward to some of the other speakers also - these weeks are great times of meeting other emerging church practitioners from all over Australia and New Zealand.
There is talk of an 'emergent/bloggers' type get together here in Melbourne on Sunday 27th June in the evening for dinner. If you're around and want to meet bloggers like Steve, Phil and Dan and myself we'd love to catch up. At this stage the venue and time is unconfirmed (it will probably be somewhere in the inner north (between Brunswick and Preston?) but Steve and I will get our heads together on it at Forge next week. In the mean time express your interest in it by shooting me an email or leaving a comment below. So far Steve thinks there will be a few from around Australia and even Scotland there after the Tony Campolo conference that week.
One of the things I was looking forward to most in starting Living Room after 10 years of working in fairly regular looking churches was that it would be the end of the dreaded 'breakfast meeting'. In my previous church this was a favorite time for meetings for some reason as it was one of the few times in the day that people had left after a hectic life.
Its been refreshing to get into a rhythm of a 'normal' and somewhat leisurely start to the day.
This week that's all come crashing down with four breakfast meetings in four days! Each meeting has been really great - but I'm not sure my body is quite holding up. You see I'm a morning person, but not a 7am in the morning person. My Golden hour is 10am-11am.
I wonder if anyone has ever invented a intravenous drip system that can be attached to an alarm clock that would give me a shot of a strong coffee about 15 minutes before waking up... I say this not just for my own benefit but for those I'm meeting with - take a closer look at the picture (left) by clicking on it to see what I look like in the mornings! (picture taken from my early start on my Blogathon last year)
Well we're just back from our weekend away in Sydney. We had a great weekend (its a public holiday for us today for the Queen's birthday - one of the few (only) benefits of us being under the monarchy in my opinion). We did heaps of walking, shopping and eating nice food. Saturday we visited a couple of markets and ended up seeing 'Super Size Me' at the movies (no McDonalds afterwards). Yesterday we took a ferry to Manly and did some site seeing and shopping around the city itself.
The weather was great - despite it being winter here it was a sunny 23 in Sydney when we left this morning. Unfortunately Melbourne was its dreary self at only 11 degrees.
I really enjoy visiting Sydney, its a great place on a sunny day. I'm not sure I could live there (its pretty expensive and the traffic is shocking), but its definitely worth visiting.
So that was our last public holiday here in Melbourne until November (its a long winter without a break). The months ahead look pretty good for me, quite a few speaking engagements, exploring options for ministry and work and of course plenty of blogging!
We also spent a bit of time while away thinking through our vision and future with Living Room - this Tuesday night at group we'll be sharing a little more with the community about what we're sensing is ahead. I'm really looking forward to seeing what eventuates out of the next few months.
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I do however appreciate Warren's alerting me in these comments of one of the ads on my site as being inappropriate (I'm sorry to anyone who was offended - the ad was a random ad and has now been removed). The conversation that has resulted has been both interesting and thought provoking.
Here is how Warren started the conversation in my comments...
'When I look further at the sidebar links, I begin to sense a bigger ca$h desire than a God desire. One who truly cares about spreading the good news, doesn't need to worry about the dollars. And why would you choose something so blatantly obvious as cashing in on divorce. It's a sad day.'
To be honest I'm a little offended by some of Warren's comments, but at the same time think its an interesting conversation to have in terms of how people in ministry should earn an income - its a particularly interesting conversation to have for those of us planting small emerging churches. Many of us are exploring alternative ways of making an income, some through tent making businesses, others by working multiple jobs, others through raising support.
Anyway, I'm interested in others thoughts - not so much upon whether I'm 'slimy' or 'deficient' (although I'm open to being told a few home truths) but more about how people in ministry should (and shouldn't) earn an income.
V and I are heading up to Sydney first thing tomorrow for a few days break so consider this an 'open mike' post - have your say, but please be nice to each other.
I'm currently working on a paper (my second last one for my whole degree!) that seeks to describe in words the the Spirituality of our little community.
Its actually quite a challenging task because in writing things down one can fall into the trap of ordering or boxing something that is in reality a very messy, chaotic, evolving and undefinable thing. I'm finding myself getting frustrated with the process but am strangely enjoying the pain of nutting this one out.
How would you describe the spirituality of you and/or your community of faith?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had a really positive time speaking tonight at Night Church. I get really inspired by young passionate people and there were definitely some like that there tonight. I shared on a number of things around the topic of mission including:
- getting them to do some cultural observations around the ideas of cultural rhythms, values and gathering places
- sharing some stories of communities around Australia and NZ who are responding missionaly to their cultures
- 4 P's of Mission with reflections on Acts 8 (story of Philip and the Ethiopian).
It was great to see a few faces I hadn't seen for a few years also and to see how a number of people have really gone on with their faith.
I'm speaking at Kew Baptist this Sunday night again for anyone local who'd like to come along. The subject is 'contextualisation - mission - outward journey' and I'll be sharing stories of groups around Australia and NZ who doing some great contextual mission in their local communities.
Service starts at 6.45pm - address is in the Melways.
Update - sorry, I should have said that Kew is a suburb of Melbourne, its not the Kew near Port Macquarie or the one in London. (thanks to Susan and Jon) for the emails querying me - pity you can't come...)
Only 3 weeks, 1 essay, 1 tutorial paper and 2 journals to go until I finish my degree (after 10 years of part time study)!
The end of the road is within sight which is very exciting - however I'm feeling a little uneasy. The question on everyone's lips that I talk to is 'what are you going to do next?'
It is a question I've been asking myself also and to this point I'm still not sure. I'd appreciate your prayers (and revelation, if you have them) at the moment.
Not only does study finish for me in the next month but the grant that pays me a small wage to lead LivingRoom ends at the beginning of next year. So there are lots of unanswered questions buzzing in my mind - both personal ones of calling, vocation, career, finance etc - but also community ones of sustainability, future direction and how to measure what we're doing in terms of viability and success (what ever that might mean).
I've been investigating a few possibilities for what to do with my time from next month onwards (hopefully something that will enable some income) but to this point nothing solid or hopeful has emerged.
I'm open to and exploring lots of ideas including work in:
church positions (as long as they don't crowd out work with LivingRoom which I feel is my first priority on this front)
'secular' (I don't like that word) organizations - Over the years I've suspected that the skills I've learnt in church work could easily transfer into the larger workforce - for example in the areas of work place training, coaching etc. I have no formal qualifications in these areas however except for a 75% finished marketing degree.
blogging - I continue to explore avenues for an income through blogging. Surprisingly the past months have seen growth in this. I won't retire on what it currently brings in, however it has steadily gone beyond just paying ISP and hosting fees.
That sort of sounds like I'm fishing for a job. I'm not (although am always open to offers) - just thinking out loud and wanting to give some insight into my personal situation (in response to those who've observed a lack of that lately).
Times like these are exciting - bursting with potential - but also a little uneasy. I can't wait to see what the next chapter brings.
Does anyone know of or have a Myers Briggs type personality test that a group can do offline? ie there are plenty of tests you can take online, but does anyone have something that can be printed off and used by a group that is not online.
I used to have a test with 60 or so questions that was done on paper and then self assessed - but after a morning of searching I can't find it! Doh!
Friday night we caught up with my family for dinner (I ate too much).
Saturday we had a work lunch for V's work (I ate too much)
Saturday night we went out to friends for dinner (I ate enough....but on top of lunch...too much)
This morning we got at at 7am and loaded up our cars with all our odds and ends and went to a big Garage Sale where we tried to raise a little money and empty our cupboards of our excess....of course we had to buy some sausages and bread to help raise money for the cause...
Then I caught up with friends for lunch at a local cafe... more food! (I had a salad this time)
After lunch it was back to the Garage sale to pack up... we sold a fair bit which is great.
Tonight I'm preaching at Kew Baptist (no food involved...but I'm really tired!). Am talking about Holistic Spirituality - using LivingRoom's Core Values as a framework.
I'm looking forward to bed tonight and hopefully a sleep in tomorrow!
Wow, thanks for the feedback on the last post about Who are You? Your comments and many emails have been really interesting and encouraging. Sometimes blogging feels like you're talking to an empty room a little and you do wonder why you're doing it - it is good to know that people don't just come here searching for the silly stuff I write about but that there are people engaging on a deeper level also.
A number of people have mentioned that they want to know more about what I do personally in emails - I guess I forget that people who have only been coming here for a few months can't get the full picture without reading back over the thousands of archived entries. So let me give a brief oversight of what I do with my time.
Stats - I'm 32 years old, live in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne Australia, am married to the wonderful 'V' (no kids yet) and enjoy photography, reading and .... long walks on the beach, great food, wine and coffee... (sounds like a dating ad)
Study - I'm currently completing the last two subjects of a Bachelor of Theology at a local bible college (some of you might call them seminaries). I've been doing this degree for 10 years now part time and can't wait to complete it this semester!
LivingRoom - I work two days a week as the team leader for LivingRoom which is a small emerging missional church in the inner north of Melbourne.
Forge - I volunteer a day a week to a national missional training network called Forge (site being updates as we speak...its a little out of date). This involves helping out with the running of events, an internship that we run and some speaking in churches, on camps and at conferences.
Blogging - Over the year and a half of running this blog I've learnt a lot about how to run a blog. In the last 6 months I've taken my knowledge and have started a second blog which I run for commercial purposes. The desire is to see it grow to a point where it supplements my income. In the weeks ahead there will be more news on the commercial blogging front as we explore some new possibilities.
Hope that gives newbies to this blog a little more of a picture of who I am.
Who are you readers? I'd love to know who is out there...
It has been an interesting few weeks for me with this blog. I've had a number of out of the blue contacts from people who I haven't seen or heard from for years who accidently found me through searching for information on Google. I guess that is always going to happen when you have a site with a couple of thousand pages on it.
Also last night I was at the Jim Thwaites evening and was told that someone had come because they saw it on this page - they'd been reading my stuff for a while and I never even knew of them - it was nice to meet a reader, although to be honest it is a little strange. My first reaction every time something like that happens is - gee I what have I been writing? Then i generally think of all the posts I've written I wouldn't want them to have read...
Lastly I've had a couple of requests to speak at places from completely out of the blue from people who have been reading this blog. Its definitely opening up a few doors which is exciting.
It makes me wonder - who is reading this site? How many people are lurking out there anonymously? How many out there do I know and how many have I not met? Perhaps I should do a reader survey to get some idea of this. Does anyone know of a survey package that is free and easy to use? My stats package tells me how many people are out there, what pages they visit and what region they are from - but I'd like to know more.
I'd love to hear from you either in comments or via email through my Contact Form. I can't guarantee long replies to everyone, but I'd love to know who you are, how you found this site, why (and if) you come back from time to time and what you think of it....
V and I were at a shopping centre a week back and came back out to our car in the car park to find that someone had hit our car. Looking at where they hit I have no idea how they did it, but they did and they would have known that they did as there must have been a significant impact.
There was no note left and no way of tracing who did it - hence it falls back on us to pay for repairs. Luckily I don't lose my rating 1 from the insurance, but the $450 excess and 10 days without a car sucks. It really makes me wonder why people wouldn't own up to what they do - on one level it doesn't surprise me at all - but on another it makes me sad that we live in a society where people feel free to not reap the consequences of their actions.
I just sent out an email newsletter to our support team - a group of people from around the world who pray for and practically support the work that I'm doing with LivingRoom and Forge here in Melbourne.
If you'd like to join this team and hear a little more about my life including some of the highlights and some of the challenges we face simply shoot me an email and I'll add you to the list that receives an email once every couple of months. If you sign up in the next few days I'll send you this last edition that I've just emailed out.
V and I are looking after our little mate Andy again today (I've previously written about him here. He came over last night and we went out to a friends party for drinks. I'm always amazed by his outlook on life and how open he is to meeting new people. Within minutes of his arrival Andy was the life of the party - singing the birthday girl his own special rendition of 'happy birthday', meeting more people than I did and leaving his own special mark on each person.
Once again we prayed together last night - again he asked me to pray for Hirarc (this time I knew what he was saying). This morning we've danced, teased V and watched Video Hits.
I asked what he wants me to tell the world this morning - he says,
'Say Hi for me....and say that V is a very nice lady....and say that I LOVE the world'.
Sorry to those who've had trouble accessing this site in the past few hours - I'm told we have been having server upgrades. There will be a few more outages in the hours ahead also. Thanks for your patience.
Unfortunately I didn't get away for my Easter break. Unfortunately the flu I felt I was coming down with Thursday night got on top of me completely on Friday and Saturday and I couldn't get away with the rest of the gang. So I spent a couple of days at home alone in bed with a growing pile of tissues next to me.
The worst of it is over now though hopefully and I'm feeling a lot healthier. I'm taking it easy today though and doing some blog surfing. Just happened upon a post from Paul who picked up my P is for Emerging Missional Church post - thanks mate, you brightened my day - glad it was of some help.
V and I are heading up country for the next couple of days with a group of friends for a bit of a break. Hopefully it will be refreshing - I've got the flu so I'm hoping to knock that on the head with some sleep, good food and good company.
This afternoon I'm heading over to Tasmania (that little island state that lies off the south eastern coast of Australia on maps) for four days. I'm heading over to speak at a camp and a dinner tonight for church planters and missional practitioners.
It should be a good weekend. Not sure I'll get a chance to post anything here until Monday night - Blogger Idol Week 12 will be posted then. Have a good weekend.
Had an excellent day in Adelaide today. The session I did was received well and some good discussion was generated. I'll share more tomorrow about it when I'm not feeling quite as tired.
One of the interesting things of the day was our taxi drivers. In both trips, both from and to the airport, we had different drivers who with a little prompting opened up to Dad and I and shared their life stories. The coincidence was that both were originally from overseas and had come to Australia as refugees - one from Vietnam, the other from Iran. Both had been been imprisoned in their home countries, one for 8.5 years the other for 6.5 years. One had been given the death penalty, purely because he was an academic.
Both escaped from prison after numerous attempts and arrived in Australia with virtually nothing at all. It was amazing to hear their stories and be challenged by the by the circumstances of others whom have experienced hardships I cannot even imagine. Also challenging was the positive attitude that both had towards life, Australia and the future.
Light posting today due to the Fasting Paper I'm working on. I guess I've fasted from blogging today - although not very well. Thanks to all who have left comments so far after my request for thoughts on Fasting - I'm quite staggered by the variety of responses which interestingly correspond very well to the historical stuff I'm reading on the topic as well as the more contemporary ideas that I've found in books and online. Its not to late to have your say - I'll be presenting the paper tomorrow afternoon to my class and will be using everyone's responses as an appendix to the main paper as they are just so good! Leave your comments here on your experiences, understanding, concerns and hints on fasting.
Today I'm going to a farewell lunch for my dad who has just finished up in a ministry position in the head office of our denomination. Dad is 60 years of age and has been in a variety of types of pastoral ministry since the late 60s - before I was born. I find this pretty hard to comprehend on many levels.
I've been doing this church thing in a variety of roles for just on 10 years and I know the pressures that it brings. To know he's been doing it for 40 is quite staggering. He's made significant sacrifices in that time - welcoming all kinds of people into his home, being on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, watching his hair go from black to snow white (please God not me too) etc
I really admire his commitment to the task at hand. In a world where people flit from job to job every couple of years Dad has stuck with it for the long haul and will continue to do so. When he could quite easily retire Dad and Mum have decided to keep serving - he's just taken up an interim pastoral position in a little old church for the next few months and will continue to do so for years to come. What a Guy!!!
update - the lunch went well - people said nice things about Dad - there were even a few tears. Dad's latest job was as an area pastor for our state - for the last 10 years he's been visiting and supporting pastors and churches in the eastern region of our state. In that time he's driven almost half a million kilometers in his travels.
They have him some money for a digital camera which is exciting - now I get to go shopping with him to help him spend it!
Today there was a little excitement over at my Digital Photography Blog when I had an email from a mate (thanks Cam) telling me that the site had been reviewed in the Australian Newspaper. I'm not sure that such exposure in Newspapers brings about too many hits but it is always nice to be recognized for all the hours of writing its taken to get the content up, especially by people in your own context.
Thanks to those who have emailed and left comments of well wishes for our anniversary weekend away. We're back home after a very relaxing few days down at the Peninsula.
We had a great time of touring around visiting an assortment of wineries, cheeseries (is that a word?), markets, antique shops, cafes and restaurants. We went for walks, ate copious amounts of great food, saw some great art, painted some mediocre art (well I did) and had some great conversations.
The little B & B that we stayed in was really pleasant - very quiet and quaint.
All in all it was a great time away - but now its back into the craziness of study, community, work and life.
This is an Open Mike Post - which means you can be the Living Room Blogger this weekend by posting comments in the comments section! I'm going to trust you all here to be good and have enabled the features that will post whatever you post in comments to be shown up as a part of this main page!
So feel free to tell us something about yourself, give your blog a mini promotion, start a mini debate over a current issue (be nice please), tell us about your ideal weekend - talk about anything at all, but please be nice to each other and don't post anything that is too long!
If you'd like to post something in this Open Mike you can do so by:
Filling in the comments section below as per normal, you do not have to fill in an email address. Your Name and the URL will appear in the post so feel free to link to your own blog.
Please try to keep your comments to a paragraph, two at the most.
The reason this is an open mike is because V and I are heading down to the Peninsula for a long weekend. Its our wedding anniversary which always coincides with a public holiday which is nice. We're going to paint, eat, sleep, go to the market, walk along the beach and gaze into each others eyes! Woohooo.
Have a good weekend. See you Tuesday.
Anyway, feel free to blog something in comments below - here is what people have blogged so far....
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