Big News

news views politics

Friday, February 27, 2004

too tired to post

Too tired to post today, too much happening, family online at the moment. Then again, I may be too busy looking at this or getting over the fact that the 'Passion' has nailed $26.6 million on the first day of screening, ironically prompting most in the industry to use the Lord's name in vain.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Pre- Passion

The Passion of the Christ by now would have already made more than the $25 million Mel Gibson put into the movie. We're going to see it on Sunday night, as it's the first night we can get a baby-sitter. I am so tempted to comment on the film, as others have, but I'll refrain from the temptation until Sunday.

There's hundreds of articles and reviews of this movie online already. The movie is almost entirely in Aramaic with a smattering of Latin, and rated R16 in New Zealand. Christian communities have geared up to use this movie as an evangelical tool. They are even encouraging people to give out tracts outside the theatres.

The media, rather than concentrating on the story of the last week of Jesus, are writing "gore reviews" concentrating on the violence. Before the movie opened yesterday in New Zealand - the first country to screen it - 78 reviews of the movie were already online. this is one of the best ( requires registration).

But what annoys me is that evangelical Christians all of a sudden think that as the Passion is about Jesus, they feel that at last - at long last - they have something cool to invite their secular friends to, so as to "reach them for Christ". Then they can have a passion bible study with them afterwards. This, without even taking a look at the film, what it is about, and what message it is protraying. Churches are booking theatres out all over the place. Talk about milking it!

Just because Christ is the centre of the movie does not mean the movie is a conversion tool. Mel Gibson didn't bankroll the movie for Christian brownie points. He did it to portray the sufferings of Christ. People I've spoken with say it is the most violent film they have ever seen.

The Jewish community had complained that the film is anti-semetic. Weird and ironic, really when you realise that Maia Morgenstern, who plays Mary, is the Jewish daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Perhaps I`ll post a movie review on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

:: Ouch!::

For American readers:
If you're one of the millions of Americans who uses your computers to burn music CD's, listen to MP3's, share video files, etc, you could go to jail if this becomes law.You'd face up to five years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. Do I use my computer like that? No, of course not. Anyway, I don't live in America.

For all readers: You should read this, from my former Next Wave editor Jason Evans whose site I visit occasionally. Here's a taste: "For goodness sake, I'm just getting sick of the bitterness that surrounds this so called 'movement' (oh, sorry, we changed our minds on the 'movement' thing last month). I'm fairly certain that we were told somewhere that we would be known by our love. That seems to be fairly antithetical of where we are at some times."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

:: Adventures in missing the point::

I've just caught up with Andrew Jones' follow-up post to this post on girls.

In some ways Andrews humble reply did not need to be written. Perhaps the saga is a lesson to those who misinterpreted what Andrew was saying, but took offence and went straight to the keyboard.

As I suggested, here and on his blog, Andrew was comenting on girls in China. He was not commenting on 30-year- old western Anglicans. But women in western countries have experienced discrimination in churches and some comments highlighted strong feelings regarding this.

The Internet is immediate. Once a comment is posted it is online, there is no cooling down period. So don't let your hot irate fingers do the thinking, people. Especially if there is a possiblity that you may have missed the point. And then have to apologise. Like the person who retracted her "your attitude sucks" comments.

Yet, despite past struggles of dignity, women are having a voice - and not before time. I have noticed an increasing presence of women bloggers who are posting good comments regularly.Women are taking leadership positions in both western churches and the mission field. Long may that continue. In New Zealand, Penny Jamieson is a high-ranking Anglican bishop, and may women - and girls - are having a voice and leadership in increasing numbers.

But there is another side to the coin. I've noticed "discrimination" not just in gender, I've also noticed it on the basis of marital status - married people have it over single people - Catholic Church excepted, as clergy are all single (and male) - when it comes to ministry in western churches. How many lead pastors are women - married or single? How many male pastors are single? How many men make the coffee? Perhaps this marital status mistreatment/bias is contributing to the fact that many people who go to the overseas mission field are both female and unmarried.

Maybe different treatment of those based on marital status is a discussion that should be aired. Any takers?

Monday, February 23, 2004

::my week from hell (cont)::

Well, got our washing machine, but couldnt get the car fixed. The electrican - as opposed to the mechanic - who was going to look at it, had a tree blow down at his house ( he lives up the road) cutting the power,so we couldn't contact him for 3 days as he couldn't use the phone. And when he did eventually contact us he said he couldn't do anything until he saw the car in its broken down state. It's just that the car is mobile, but is tempermental - it could break down at any time. I want it to break down at the right time - like at the electricians house - and keep going when I need it.

UPDATE Looks like the template kerfuffle I had is now over, and the car's now getting fixed - should have a car by the weekend, fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

::Girls, gurus, and sucking::

Two of the so-called charcteristics or values of the emerging church are a lack of hierarchy and an increasing acceptance of women in leadership. There is a move away from paid ministers - and spokespeople, paid or unpaid. Everyone is a minister in a kingdom of priests and gurus are just soooo 1980.

Well, sort of. That’s not entirely true. Some emerging churches are advertising for paid ministers. There are a few recognised gurus who preach emerging values. They are sought after. They are read, listened to and highly thought of and, on the whole, they are taken seriously. They are even described as gurus. They are seen as men (yes men, never women) behind a sort of a movement (or whatever it's called now) called the emerging church. These "gurus" were not self-appointed - they were "appointed" and are acknowledged by others. One has even been referred to as the Godfather.

Another other one is over here. Andrew Jones. He has been hailed as a spokesperson of all that is new and postmodern in the Church, and a "senior fellow of Emergent", as most recent as today. But get this: The very women who are recognising these gurus are now chiding one of them on his views on women. That’s because he referred to women as girls , not once, but twice, and some women took offense. One commented, in what she described as a scathing rebuke, saying, "Your attitude sucks". Not exactly pointing out the truth in love, is it.

But was Andrew really referring to 30-year-old women from the USA, as well as girls from China? The cultural situation is quite different. Maybe he will clarify later. Read the comments on the last link, they are quite entertaining. Some people are really heat-up.

Now the girly comments wouldn't have been so offensive if they had come from me. They never would, anyway. But they were from the Tall Skinny Kiwi, senior fellow of Emergent, who ought to have known better, say the women. I think Andrew may have been misinterpreted. Surely Andrew can say what he likes on his own blog? Others have on theirs.

This all illustrates that there are levels of respect in the emerging church -and in the blogdom of God - the more respect one has the more he /she gets slagged off if something is said that is offensive. Yet true missional people would not say someone's attitude sucks on his own blog. That’s not tolerance. That's knee-jerk, and taking a post on a website - written by someone they have never met - too personally.

Some people just need to grow up, others need to be a little more tolerant, and others could refrain from unnecessarily putting people on unwelcome pedestals. If you are offended, isn't it better to point out the truth in love - well, at least not be rude. Isn`t it better to show some leadership?

:: Post - evangelicalism hits the US::

Post-evangelicalism is a move away from Christian orthodoxy, and the very use of the prefix post indicates that it is not really evangelical either, says Albert Mohler. Who's surprised - he's the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Friday, February 20, 2004

::Our week from hell::

I guess most of the following happens to most people at some stage or other, but not usually all in the one week….but this was our week from hell, and the week is not over yet.

Saturday: ( or was it Sunday, it's so long ago now) : - while waterblasting the garage, the power went out when the extension cord short- circuited and blew a fuse. Power out until fuse replaced

Monday - fence blew down and smashed in the stormy weather -the worst summer storm in New Zealand for 20 years. In the evening the car broke down - my wife had to get it towed back to our local garage, and hitch a ride home with her dad.

Tuesday - woke up crook, not much sleep, had a small fire in the kitchen when the stove element started to melt the frypan and smoked out the kitchen- flames poured out the element. Had a crying son to deal with as he couldn’t go to creche as we couldn’t take him on the car. And as it was pelting with rain and was blowing a howling gale there was no point walking down. Got the car back from the garage as our mechanic said he couldn't find anything wrong with it. But he had other things on his mind - a giant tree smashed into his house in the previous night's storm, narrowly missing his sleeping daughter. There was a picture of the mess in the morning paper, with a gaping hole in his house. His daughter was about a foot away from being killed.

Wednesday - washing machine broke down. Flooded the washroom. Took a while to clean up the mess. However it could have been worse - had we not been home at the time the whole house could have been flooded out as the taps would not turn off.

Thursday - smashed a wing mirror on the car. It was, in many respects, a good day. As per my normal Thursday evening, went to the pub - during another thunderstorm - and had a great time catching up with friends. It's my weekly gig.

Friday - had to buy a new washing machine as our current washing machine couldn't be fixed. We still had to pay the $65 call-out charge to be told - in five minutes - we had to replace the washing machine. Work out the hourly rate for that!

Car broke down again. Can't get it fixed until next week. Couldn't use the car so I thought I`d cut the grass. Nothing could happen to the mower, surely. Wrong. Had to spend half an hour fixing the mower - including taking off the blade.

Saturday -tomorrow. Not sure what will happen tomorrow, but we haven't got a reliable car we can use, and our washing machine doesn't arrive until Sunday morning.

Oh well, at least we've still got an Internet connection, a roof over our head and some coffee in the fridge, so I suppose I`ll get up in the morning…. Hope we can borrow a car to get to a party we are supposed to be going to Sunday evening to farewell a friend ( Liz) who is going to the States. Looking forward to it.

UPDATE: Have just been rung to say the party has been cancelled - Liz has changed her mind. She's not going to the States after all. So no need for a party, she thinks. Why not just have it anyway? I mean, I've gone to all the trouble trying to organise a car...

So, how's your week been, then?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

::A couple of good links::

A friend emailed me this article from the New York Times Hip New Churches play to a different drummer" Have a read, it's OK.

Here's an interesting interview with Brian McLaren, even if it is a month old. Brian McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church and the author of a few books. Thanks DJ Chuang.

Also, Haloscan reaches 100,000 members and has introduced trackback. So I've added this nifty and jiffy trackback feature to this site. YAY! Other folks on Blogger may want to pay them a visit and, along with the rest of you bloggers, track me back....

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

:::Living in a Consumer culture:::

Found this on Scott's blog

Ways to be Christian in a consumer culture:
 Live simply
 Give without expecting return
 View others as intrinsically significant; view them as important for who they are, not for what they can do or for what they have
 Slow down
 Critique bigger-better-faster-more
 Be skeptical of marketing
 Be captured by mystery and wonder
 Think long-term
 Find fulfillment in relationships and service
 Create space for silence, stillness, and rest

Ironically, I saw Scott's post just after I saw this marketing site on giving a your church a "brand". - or an " image or feeling that their target community can connect with, recognizing that “this is not the average church”."

Trouble is, it takes forever in a day to even look at the sample websites they create due to the download time. Is that good marketing?

So, while I was waiting, I read this, "When your signage matches your bulletins, brochures, business cards and website you have more than some designed pieces - you have a brand, a Powerful Image Force! When they give their lives to Christ, they will feel the true sense of belonging that your branding efforts only began to foster".

Yeah Right!

Someone create a Tui billboard! Someone pass me a bucket! This is exactly the type of marketing I'm skeptical of.

:::Tutu ticks off Bush and Blair over "immoral war":::

Former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu has given a lecture and said that "immoral" war in Iraq has left the world a much more unsafe place, ridiculed "dangerously flawed intelligence" and has urged US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to admit they had made a mistake.

Tutu said, "the belligerent militarist policies that have produced a novel and dangerous principle that of pre-emption on the basis of intelligence reports that in one particular instance has been shown can be dangerously flawed, and yet were the basis for the United States going to war dragging a Britain that declared that intelligence reports showed Iraq to have the capacity to launch its Weapons of Mass Destruction in a matter of minutes."

"An immoral war was thus waged and the world is a great deal less safe place than before. There are many more who resent the powerful who can throw their weight about so callously and with so much impunity."

"President Bush and Prime Minister Blair would recover considerable credibility and respect if they were able to say "Yes, we made a mistake".

The entire speech is here , and stories on it are here and also here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

::: Newsweek asks "Who Killed Jesus?":::

Mel Gibson's powerful but troubling new movie, 'The Passion of the Christ,' is reviving one of the most explosive questions ever. What history tells us about Jesus' last hours, the world in which he lived, anti-Semitism, Scripture and the nature of faith itself. Newsweek asks Who killed Jesus?"

The article answers the question half -way down page one, noting, "As a matter of history, the Roman Empire did; as a matter of theology, the sins of the world drove Jesus to the cross, and the Catholic Church holds that Christians themselves bear 'the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus.' Yet for nearly 2,000 years, some Christians have persecuted the Jewish people on the ground that they were responsible for the death of the first-century prophet who has come to be seen as the Christ."

It's worth a read.

Monday, February 16, 2004

::: The writer of the oldest Christian weblog writes…and bloggers hit back :::

Christianity commented on weblogs a while back. Here's what it said.

"Weblogs are a kind of pizza. Okay, they're not. Creators of Weblogs (bloggers) inevitably rip apart, sentence by sentence, any print media article about what weblogs are to prove how "old media don't get it." So I might as well make them happy by starting with something they can all universally reject.

CT writes that Assemblies of God pastor Tim Bednar " gushes that Christian bloggers are amateur preachers who, "as a network, are smarter, more responsive, and better educated than the traditional preacher. Sounds like Bednar needs a fact checker of his own."

Apparently, so did CT. Tim is not an AOG Pastor. Hasn’t been for three years. CT had to do a correction.

The full article is here, and here's the follow-up called "Revenge of the bloggers" where the online webzine recommends a few Christian bloggers - some of whom have written articles for Christianity Today. Well, I've written about six stories for Christianity Today.

CT is a good magazine - I've linked it, and read it. It says its weblong is the oldest Christian-oriented one. I`d like to read a Ted Olsen article on a few emerging church bloggers, starting with, say, Andrew Jones. After, all Andrew has written for CT a bit….

Sunday, February 15, 2004

:::communion, common unity, or community?:::

Community grows in the context of mission and spiritual formation. Many churches and sports clubs promote themselves as communities. In the case of churches, not too many promote themselves as missional communities. Well, actually some do, but many come across as spiritualised social clubs.

Some people attend churches to connect with others in a meaningful and fulfilling way - but they still don't find what they are looking for. These newbies are often "busy" looking at everybody being busy talking with everybody else after the services, and even if a new person wanted to make the first move, it's often difficult getting a word in. Has it happened to you?

Some leaders are up front about their concern and their "looking out for new people". Having a relationship with Jesus does not seem to give a head start on relational connection in churches, even if that relationship is usually the common unity that draws people together. But what about those who have been around 10 years or so and are known by everybody but not talked to by many. These people get swallowed up by the purpose-driven mega-crowds, and may need "looking out for "as well, before they conclude that the "common unity" is not so common after all before they head out the back door for a relational community that will connect with them.

They are regarded as being part of the culture, "in communion", but don’t feel like they are "in community". And who will notice if they are gone if they are seen as just a face in the crowds - being in communion, but not in community?

Well, some people are bound to feel detached and then drop out if the Sunday morning service is the basis for Christian community formation. Let's approach community formation a different way - like throw parties, go to other peoples parties or have a meal with them. It may take some effort and a bit more time than an hour of your Sunday.

Are emergent - type gatherings more likely to encourage community formation? Perhaps they are, they tend to be smaller, informal, participatory, and therefore more relational. Emergent gatherings don’t base community formation on a Sunday morning gathering.

Emergent gatherings are seen as missional, modern churches are often not - their mission work is usually seen as a department of the church often focussed on missionaries in other countries that need financial support to do their thing.

As emergent-type gatherings (and I don’t just mean to postmoderns here) aim to treat mission in surrounding subcultures just the same as most churches view overseas missionaries, they are therefore more incarnational as they tend to go to the people rather than inviting them over to their place of worship. I call it deeper community - leading to a deeper ecclesiology.

OK, a few questions. How do emerging -type gatherings embrace people who do not necessarily fit into "emerging culture?" Is there in fact an emerging missional culture developing - or is it a subculture? Is the basis for a "common union" any different from mainline churches? What's your experience?

Go in peace, to love and to serve.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Being missional in a "post-cool" community

This "emerging" thing is bugging me. Firstly, it seems that some people who identify with the term tend to think that their way of doing church relates purely to people who have a postmodern worldview- well, at least that’s who their target audience appears to be.

But I'm starting to get the feeling that people who have a modern perspective - even middle aged people - equally appreciate these values. So surely this thing we call the emerging church relates to a culture that is post seeker sensitive, but also reaches beyond postmodernity, just like evangelism methods have progressed past a quick prayer to get into heaven.

Secondly, some emergent bloggers give me the impression that they think the emerging church is "cool", and it is radical to be engaging with postmodern people. Cool for Christ, if you will. Some are even leaders - and holding office - in modern churches. It's like the Rebirth of Cool all over again. I actually think emerging values are post-cool, rather than postmodern. Those seeking to be emerging have the following values: They try to be authentic, relational, missional, reject hierarchy, make use of the Internet, and journey with those who they are serving - y'know, all the "right stuff". Hey, some may even include women (as opposed to girls). Yet some modern churches also share these values and are missional communities.

Serving within a missional community is not so much about reaching out to postmodern people, as this reaches beyond postmodernism. It is about following Jesus in a missional authentic way. If that relates to postmoderns, cool, if it relates to those who are not postmoderns as well, then that’s even better. Missional communities ( as I like to call them) can do both.

Do we really need to have a label like "emerging church" that signifies that the target audience is postmoderns - just like the target audience of the seeker churches are seekers? If so, then anyone outside the target audience is less likely to feel accepted and feel like they belong. If not, then why are so many people truing to define a label that is not needed?

I'm sure I could belong in a church with "emerging" values. So could my friends. Perhaps my pastor could too. That’s because the values of such churches mean that anybody who wanted to can be included and feel like they belong.

Although those in emerging church desire to embrace tradition, think outside the modern square, and "do theology" together in relational community, they need to turn down the coolness and turn up the missional heat. As Jen Lemen wrote earlier this week.

"Maybe in our rush to be all things cool and new, we are missing some very old ways to uncover Christ in our midst, and I include myself here. Maybe in our desire to be on the cutting edge, we are missing some cutting edge ways to see the truth of god's presence emerge in the most ordinary people we know. "

Let's not race around trying to do cool stuff. Instead, lets put the G back into Grace and continue to serve out a missional ecclesiology.

Friday, February 13, 2004

:: Half the world's population lives on less than $2 a day::

The chances are if you are reading this you are a white, middle class, English- speaking, western male who owns a computer, you have an Internet connection and a tertiary degree. You probably also blog. You want to develop community and mission among the surrounding culture and most of your closest friends are like you - Christians.

If you don’t fit into all the above categories, it's probably because you are a woman or you’ve stumbled across this blog by accident.

But it is a multicultural, multi faith world out there and not everybody is as privileged as you. There is a higher ratio of people who are black, lower class, uneducated African, female and poor. Africa is a country where half have AIDS, a quarter are orphaned, and they live in countries that borrow more to pay for debt than they spend on health, education and poverty reduction combined. And the church there is growing fast.

If we are all part of a global culture, what part does the "emerging church" play in these societies? Are we so caught up in out own little white middle class world, preaching the message that engaging with a post modern culture is the way to go, when the church in places such as South America is growing faster than any emerging community would realistically dream of. And by growth I mean in numbers and in spiritual formation.

Are we missing something here? Jesus lived among the poor and it was said "can any good come out of Jerusalem?"

Can any good come out of Africa? Of course.

Thanks to french blogger Jonathan Finley for making me think again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

::: being missional communities:::

OK, I'm not sure if I like the term 'emerging church' today. It's a bit like the term postmodern - both words are reactionary - based on something other than what they are. Today I'm going to refer to missional communities. Note that the term is plural. Note it is not restricted to emerging church leaders. Tomorrow I may have another name. Like missional ecclesiological communities.

There is a lot of talk about being "missional communities", with several views on what it actually is. Being "missional" simply means to be outward and others-focused with the goal of expressing and sharing the love of Jesus. The term is plural, ancient future, and is non-reactionary (unlike emerging church - emerging from what?)

There has been criticism that many churches are not missional, but any mission they do is comparmentalised to a division of their church focusing primarily on ex-pat missionaries. Nothing wrong with that, but what about mission to the surrounding culture. Mission is an "add-on" for most churches. Get this: One church I know of would not permit anything about their mission work to be placed on their church's web site, perhaps because they wanted the site to be about what goes on within the four walls of the building they meet in.

These days, church leaders should be seen as "pastoral missionaries" - well, that’s my definition. Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch in their book The Shaping Of Things To Come consider a missional leader as one that takes mission seriously and sees it as a driving energy behind all that the community does. But that doesn't mean that mission is elevated above pastoral work and spiritual formation.

A missional community is a sent community with one of its defining values being the development of church life and practice that is contextualised to the culture to which it believes it is sent.

Another perspective I like: Jason Zahariades says a missional community is about becoming by grace what Christ is by nature. Read the whole post, Jason says it better than I ever could. My definition of grace (actually a borrowed definition) is "the empowering presence of God to be what God as called us to be and to do what God has called us to do". Nice. Jesus does it naturally. It’s a much better phrase than the naff "Gods Riches At Christ's Expense".

Some consider that there is a difference between churches and missional communities - ie: churches are, well, churches, and missional communities are associated "pre-church groups". But not church. Yet if a small group can be a missional community, why can't a church also be? A community does not have to have a smattering of non-Christians to be missional. It's just that church culture, on the whole, is not missional so anything that proclaims to be missional - especially a small group that is not associated to a "church" - is seen as a fringe or radical group - and is perhaps the sort of group Jesus would belong to. It would be a group that is incarnational, have fewer programmes, and more relationships. That's because missional communities are more about what they are than what they do.

And of course what a community does reflects what it is. A missional community is a mission based on the teachings of Jesus. It's all good. It's the way it should be. In other words, our ecclesiology should emerge from our missiology, which should derive from our Christology.

More later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

:::New Zealand music rocks - at the click of a mouse!:::

If you thought New Zealand films such as Whale Rider and The Lord Of The Rings were hot, you should check out some kiwi music! I've put a selection up on the sidebar of this site. One of the things I`d like to do occasionally is provide you, dear readers, with some kultcha. So it's music today. Get listening, it's all good, and it's brought to you by New Zealand online.

You can start with Salmonella Dub. They have a flash site and a good one it is too. Have a nosey around and have a listen to several tunes. Then you can move on to the guitar bands starting with Fur Patrol. These guys are mates. I've known them for ages and they are a good live band. I actually wrote their first ever newspaper review of a live gig - which the band has not forgotten. Fur Patrol is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. I've linked a couple of videos of songs that you can play in full.

Then you can move onto Goodshirt. Although not a flash site, this link gets you to five songs - click on audio visual - which you can listen to in full (that’s half an album folks - at no cost!). You can even listen to all five tracks off line, should you choose to. Best tracks are "Blowing Dirt" and "Sophie". Great stuff. Then click on Auckland band Elemenop and have a listen to a few clips of their tracks.

Then let me know what you think and go buy some music. All artists bar one have topped the charts here.


Monday, February 09, 2004

:::My new $839 fountain parker pen:::

Well, it's actually Sunday for me despite it being Monday. It's 1.30am and I'm still up. I had an interesting package couriered to me the other day. I opened it and it was a box with a fountain pen - and the pen was worth $839.00 - and that's not including the two bottles of ink I got with it as well. Who would buy a pen for that price? Not me. Happy to be given one, though. Pity I can't sell it for that price - 23ct gold trimmings and all.

I got the pen because I wrote a letter to North and South Magazine, which is a national monthly current eventsy magazine in New Zealand. The letter was judged the letter of the month, and the pen was the prize. But as I'm left-handed I have no use for a fountain pen so I'm going to swap it for perhaps a couple of cheap ball point pens - well, comparitively cheap at around $400 each.

Unless someone wants to buy it off me. I`m open to offers.

I got an email today ( or was it yesterday) from someone I knew a few years ago He contacted me after bumping into my blog - by accident. He used to live in New Zealand, but now lives in Wimbledon with his wife. Perhaps it is not so surprising he has got hold of me through the blog until you realise I've only been blogging a couple of weeks. Word gets around. Small world, innit.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

:::Cross-cultural communcation:::

Brian McLaren/Emergent sent out an email the other day about postmodern churches. They don't exist. Just like snowballs don't exist in hell. McLaren considers such PM gatherings are modern churches dressed up as church coolness trying to speak the language of the surrounding culture. Those doing so are better conversationalists, will inevitably be criticised as heretics, unorthodox or disturbers of the peace.

McLaren writes, "If one wants to do meaningful ministry among Spainards or Arabs, one must speak Spainish or Arabic. But if the Spainards and Arabs move out and the French and Chinese move in, then it’s a big mistake to still speak Spanish and Arabic."

Or to put it another way, if you want to communicate with modern people, you enter into modernity. If you want to communicate with those in a post modern culture, you develop a Christian theology written on post-modernese, rather than Christianese (which is really a sublanguage of modernese).

But what I found interesting in the email was comments attributed to a McLaren friend Ed Chinn.
"We all know that the more traditional churches live in a ghetto of unreality; they speak only to themselves, write books for themselves and make music for themselves. No one else has any clue what they're saying. That’s why serious people have been ignoring them for a couple of decades.

While I appreciate the freshness and youthfulness of "the emergent church" sometimes I think they have simply become better conversationalists. But, very honestly, I've not heard very much in that world that really testifies of anything seen in Heaven. Like most other church worlds, they speak from a distinct "earthview" in a distinct earth-language."

I call that language "emergentese" (well, it's actually more like post-Christianese). It is a developing language. Just don't describe the (predominately) white male post-graduate church leaders who are speaking the language as part of a "movement".

The distinction in our post Christian culture is that the Spaniards and Arabs (moderns) haven't actually moved out, it's just that the French and Chinese (post moderns) have moved in and are slowly taking over. Both groups have to be communicated with. The trick for those who wish to communicate in a post Christian church culture is to be multilingual: To speak - hopefully limited - Christianese (to those in the culture who themselves live and breathe the language) emergentese (to seekers and Christians with a post Christian worldview) and the language of the street, or surrounding culture, with everyone else. Of course there will be overlaps.

Here's the full version of the email.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Give thanks and praise to the Lord

It's Robert Nesta Marley's birthday today......well it would be if he was as much alive as his music. Many people all over the world will be celebrating Bob Marley's birthday today.jammin

Marley was the king of reggae. He was born on February 6, 1945 at 2:30 am and died of cancer 36 years later, on May 11, 1981. His hits included Could You Be Loved, No Woman No Cry, Buffalo Soldier, and the anthemic Get Up Stand Up. Lesser known tracks include goodies such as Three Little Birds and the classic One Drop. Marley was Jamaica's greatest cultural icon. A month before he died he was awarded Jamaica's Order of Merit, the nations' third highest honor, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the country's culture.

Down here in New Zealand there will be parties celebrating his birthday, as it is Waitangi Day, (or for the colonial, New Zealand Day). Waitangi Day is a national holiday so most people will have the day off work today. In Wellington, as happens every year, there will be an irie reggae party this afternoon, with much skanking and a bit of ganja, one assumes, going down.

For the rest of you, check out some online Marley music from the best reggae had to offer.

You can listen to some vocals
and take a listen to this midi track, to get you into the swing of things.

And to finish off, heres a Marley test: Which of these Bob Marley songs are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Here's my result:
You are Jammin'. You are in love with your music
and use it to express yourself in all aspects
of your life, from religion to the government.
When you're jammin' mon, ain't nothin' gonna
stop ya from it, and jah want everybody to jam
wit ya!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Sepll cehkc fro bolggres

Spelling getting you down when you hit the blogs? Uoy cnat sepll nad is't bceomnig a pian in teh bcaksdie? Yuo'd raelyl lvoe to sepll btu wuold lkie sum hlep?

Dowload this software. It has a spell check built into Internet Explorer. Type in your blog entry and click the spell check button and it checks all your spelling.

Yay, it’s a start. Just don’t use the word 'sum' instead of 'some'.

Monday, February 02, 2004

February Next-Wave magazine is now online

The latest Next Wave e-zine is now online and my latest article is in it.

This zine comes out every month and is a good read. My article is entitled God bloggers, seekers and the emerging church and its one of at least two I am writing on the emerging church. As an added bonus, you even get to see what I looked like a year or so ago.

There's also a couple of reflections on the Mayhem conference held earlier this month - as I say, check it out, the articles are a good read.

Caffeine addicts may be able to enjoy church

Café church is an approach that originated in New Zealand, according to Anglican bishop Graham Cray. The Guardian has done a story on serving up coffee with religion, noting that Anglican leaders will soon debate a series of initiatives designed to broaden the Church's appeal in a secular, consumer-driven society. Top of the list - outlined in the aforementioned book Mission Shaped Church, - a book endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury - is backing for a series of 'café churches', where people talk about their faith over food and nibbles. It reminds me of a poem I wrote about 10 years ago… I've since hardened up to long blacks.

I'd love a cup of coffee
In a coffee cup
Have to keep it down
Just to keep me up
Cuppiccino coffee
As frothy as can be
Cuppiccino coffee
Yeah, that’s the stuff for me

Make it in a coffee cup
Brew it in a pot
Drink it slowly, drink it quick
But drink it while it's hot.
Hot in the coffee cup
Fresh from the packet
Wake up and smell the coffee
And when you’ve done that- drink it

It's an oral inhalation
The sipping of salvation
Espressaholic cuppiccino
Culture for the nation

I'd much prefer a coffee binge
Than beer, without a doubt
You can't get pissed on this strong drink
But it may string you out
These crowded city coffee bars
Are great for drinking up
Espressaholic cuppiccino
Coffee in a cup

Give me coffee anyday,
Milk, no sugar thanks,
Make it proper caffeine coffee
Packed with pop-eye punch
Serve it up strong
Quick, boy, quick
Gotta have another cup
And get my caffeine fix

It's an aromatic inhalation
The late night lubrication
Have a havana- the coffee you feel
Beware of imitations

Another cup of coffee,
In a coffee cup
Have to drink it down
Just to keep me up
Cuppiccino coffee
As frothy as can be
Cuppiccino coffee
Yeah! That’s the stuff for me.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Breakdancing for the Pope

Happy LORDS day to you all. Word of the day from Our Daily Blog.
"You will find, apart from Him, that nearly all the trust you place in men is a total loss. Therefore, neither confide in nor depend upon a wind-shaken reed, for "all flesh is grass", and all its glory, like the flower of grass, will fade away".

And, speaking of " flesh is grass", here's a story (and pic and video), of the Pope attending a break dancing session

Trust he doesn’t get too many ideas. The 83-year-old pontiff seemed to approve, waving his hand after each dancer completed a move, then applauding for the entire group. He watched the performance from a raised throne.

"For this creative hard work I bless you from my heart," he said.