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Friday, June 18, 2004

taking a break

This blog is taking a break. Its hard building community when it is not reciprocated. So I`d rathe put my energies into something that results in community. The Christian community here in NZ is a bit weak in terms of activism and on-line community.

I have another blog which although not getting as many comments is apparently getting more readers and a bit of dialogue.
it's over here. It will have more on politics, including the civil union bill, which I will post or link on Monday ( may even do it here, too) as well as other related stuff.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

What a Destiny Church service is like

Ship of Fools is a good website. They`ve recently posted a "mystery worshipper" who attended Destiny Church ( no not this one, unfortunately) and did a review. Thanks to Rachel for the heads up.

Heres a sample:
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Sorry, but nothing for me.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Having the offering passed down my row after the pastor began praying. Presumably we were supposed to be joining him in prayer, but nothing gets in the way of the offering.

This is the top Destiny church – the one that broadcasts on TV2.The church where the ushers wear suits ands have earpieces. The Church whose pastor, Brian Tamaki, was profiled in The NZ Herald last year. The same Brian Tamaki who has his own TV show. The one with the link to the new political party Destiny NZ that was profiled in the Sunday Star Times last weekend.

Anyone been to a Destiny service and would like to comment?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

From the Herald

Bishop Vercoe is obviously an idealist - as he should be as a churchman of profound faith and devotion. But if his vision is a world without homosexuality, he might as well have a vision of a world without adultery and fornication, without cancer or heart disease, without poverty or violence.
For they are all part of the human condition, and have been since mankind was created (or dropped out of the trees, if you'd rather) and will be until Christ comes again.
Since Christianity is essentially a religion of virtue and morality, it seems strange that the churches which have made the acceptance of homosexuals into their communions such a controversial matter appear to be unconcerned about the adulterers and fornicators who sit in their pews (and preach in their pulpits) and who would surely outnumber homosexuals by a hefty margin.

More here

He's got a good point, that not too many church leaders are prepared to speak about.

UPDATE the Archbishop has written a letter to the Herald

"I am disappointed that my views have come across in your paper as extremist anti-gay when I am not. Nor did I use the word 'abomination' to describe gay people". Have a read.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Archbishop and gays

I spoke with Archbishop Vercoe today. He doesn't agree with the Herald story. DOesn't like it at all. His comments and a bit of a commentary are over here

Monday, June 07, 2004

Anglican bishops get gongs

The first woman in the world to lead an Anglican diocese, Penny Jamieson, has topped the Queens Birthday honors list. The new leader of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Archbiship Whakahuihui Vercoe, refused to attend her ordination. Jamieson got a Distinguished Companion of the Order of Merit, which is equivalent of a knighthood.

Meanwhile, Author Witi Ihimaera, who also got a similar gong for, among other things, writing the novel Whale Rider has called for the resignation of Archbishop Vercoe, following his statements released during the weekend about a backlash against gays. Ihimaera is both Maori and gay.

Auckland Anglican bishop Richard Randerson also got a gong - a companion of the NZ Order of Merit. He has also jumped into the fray over the "world without gays" story in the Herald, saying that Maori find homosexuality "culturally difficult".

It was the first time since 2001 that
the clergy has topped the honors list here,
although that was New Years Honours list.

The only member of the clergy to ever recieve New Zealand's top honour - the Order of New Zealand,(ONZ) limited to 20 living people - is Cardinal Thomas Williams, in 2000. The Rt Rev Te Whakahuihui Vercoe MBE also got a gong that year. He got the New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM) which was also not awarded this year. In 1999 the (then) head of the Anglican Church was gonged, although he did not get a knighthood. Knighthoods were scrapped the following year.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Postmodern v progressive

Some people in emergent circles seem to think it is cool to be postmodern. As if it was progressive. Nobody wants to stay in the same place, people want to move on. Often it is the evangelicals, rather then the pure traditionalists that are progressive. Some of the liberals like to think they are progressive, but many of them are reacting to traditional conservatism, from whence they came. Some have chucked out bits of scripture along the way. Perhaps some emerging church people are like this. They have moved on from denominationalism - but it is more relevant where they have moved from, as opposed to where they are moving to. It's a bit like getting out of an old flat because you can't stand your flatmates. Who cares where you end up as long as it's better than the old place of residence - and a platform to move on further.

Maybe that’s why the name "emergent" was coined - what you are emerging "from" is more relevant to what you are moving "to". Sounds pretty reactionary to me. A bit like becoming a Christian just because you don’t want to go to hell.

Many see their progressiveness as just being relevant, and see that others that are not so progressive aren't as relevant to the surrounding culture.

Those in emerging church structures may see themselves as postmodern, they may see themselves as cool, and they would surely see themselves as progressive, in the moving sense.

But how progressive are they? Are emerging groups moving - or have such groups merely moved from traditionalism to somewhere else and are just as irrelevant to the surrounding culture, but more relevant to each other? Are such groups more than just extra candles, incense, labyrinths and the odd liturgy? They are still communicating in modern terms, they still want new people to sing their songs and be part of their culture.

What really makes them any different to modern churches in terms of their influence to those in the surrounding culture? Could it be that some modern churches actually do a better job.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

New Maori archbishop for NZ

NZ has its first Maori archbishop He's 75. Some say he is anti-gay for his views on gays in the priesthood. He doesn`t support women priests, but has ordained women priests. We have a famale bishop in this country.

He equates women leadership with Maori protocol on Marae. Women can't speak at Marae: They shouldn`t be in church leadership.

He says, about gay priests: "I will not participate in anything that is contrary to what I believe".

So, what's he doing ordaining women priests, then?

And more:
Would he ordain a woman as a bishop? He thinks for a minute.

"Not a Maori woman. I don't think the time is right for it. It will come, but not in my lifetime."

It's no wonder the Herald says the bishop is "a mix of contradictions" But you`d think they`d at least get their headlines correct Top bishop's vision - a world without gays

That's not what the bishop said, thought or believes. Maybe a world without women bishops....

Thursday, June 03, 2004

here's the news- well our version anyway

I just popped over and had a look at Canary in the Mine - John
McNeil's blog
. We have a few things in common: We both run two blogs, we are both former journalists and we are also into social policy issues.

John has just sat in a High Court case here in Wellington where the judge said, in relation to TVNZ, "the news is the news and not to be tampered with". Yeah right! John points out that it is the producers and sub-editors who decide what is the news. Well in broadcast media. In the print media it is the editor and the news editor.

Politics also play a part. If a story is written in line with the editorial teams predispostions, that certainly helps.

A good example of this is the Christian paper Challenge Weekly. The paper has a diminishing readership and a bunch of reporters that write unbalanced stories criticising homosexuality, Government policy, and a few human interest stories. Occasionally their will be a hard news story that some of us have read somewhere else already. Letters to the editor are printed only if they share the editorial viewpoint.

There is a lot of good local Christian news that is waiting to be published. Hard news. Yet much of the news is written by lobbists such as the Maxim Institute, The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, and people such as Stephen D Taylor and other writers, who have their own spin on things. So why have three paid journalists when up to half of the stories (each week) in the paper every week are not written by editorial staff? I used to write a 16-24 page paper (with six pix and up to 20 stories) on MY OWN in THREE DAYS. The other two days were layout,subbing and any immediate hard news.

New Zealand needs a decent Christian newspaper. With decent stories and thoughtful columns. New Zealand needs a religious rag that has support within the wider Christian community. A paper that reports the news without getting lots of stuff from the likes of ASSIST News.

Challenge Weekly is the only non-denominational Christian paper in New Zealand Christian retail outlets. Yet Christians are better off reading the Gay Express or listening to Radio Rhema to find out about Christian related hard news.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

sharp dressed man

Maggi Dawn recently made the point that many people in the church, particularly the emerging church, wear very cool clothes. Some people like to dress up to go to church, parties, pubs/clubs etc. Maybe even shopping.

I don't. I`d rather go in my jeans and t-shirt, and if I had a choice between a club with a dress code and a grunge/techno club where everyone has dreads and smokes, I`d prefer the latter.

Just because a pastor is wearing a jacket and tie doesn't mean that a sermon is going to sound any better. If a barista at my local cafe had a haircut and wore a suit, the coffee wouldn't taste any better. He`d probably get a few strange looks, though.

Ever seen a DJ suited up? Ever had a knock on the door from a young mormon "elder" in casual comfortable clothes? For that matter ever been to a decent Christian music festival where you haven't seen a
"His pain your gain" teeshirt?

Ever been to a church where the topic in the foyer afterwards is Mrs Brown's nice new hat?

Sometimes our funky clothes can be a barrier to the poor. And who did Jesus gravitate towards? Sometimes it is those who are not so well dressed that are making a difference in the surrounding culture. Could that be because they look at clothes as a means to cover skin and keep warm as opposed to a fashion statement and a promotion of their wardrobe?

Its fun to dress up - but it can be overdone.