Monday, July 26, 2004

Alan Hirsch who I met in OZ with the Forge lot in Melbourne where my brother lives, are over in England on a tour of lectures/training for those interested in Christian Mission.  Alan Hirsch has interesting views, personally I think they are very influenced by a management/process ethic, so it is bound to be interesting and topical.  See the pdf info below. 


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Bad News I am afraid
I am sorry to let people know that the Jerusalem Trust have decided not to financially support our moot project worker initiative after they appeared very enthusiastic about us.  This is a major blow to moot community, management group and to me personally.  However, I do remain optimistic that there is a way through this, but as usual it comes down to money..... I will update with info when there is some form of plan.  A number of the management group will be meeting shortly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

INRI at Suddenly Seminary Discussion
Tall Skinny Kiwi has asked people to post their favourite pic from the INRI exhibition by Rheims that was exhibited in Prague a few years ago (amongst other places). The exhibition explored the gospels using a photograph alongside the text, with the photos set in a contemporary setting. I loved it - I think it brings many of the characters in the gospels to life.

He is having a gathering a the virtual room 'Suddenly Seminary' in Habbo Hotel, a virtual gathering place at 7pm tonight for discussion on what people have posted - see here for details.

I think for me this is my favourite pic from the display; the female crucified Christ. It is a very simple concept - yet one which is always controversial. It raises many questions: -
• If Christ represented the new humanity how could he do this in only a male body?
• What does embodiment have to do with the atonement?
• What does a female image of suffering and sacrifice look like?
• What would a feminist atonement model look like?

Ivone Gerbera in her book, 'Out of the Depths' looks at the way we often define evil and good in male terms. We talk of evil of control and power and the good of sacrificial serving etc... Yet within the church it is mainly the women who are the ones who are always sacrificially serving; who are not in control and who, by and large, have no power. So does talk of 'letting go of power' make sense - and conversely does insisting that being 'good followers of Christ' means 'giving up power and control' mean that women will never be emancipated from their present state as pew members not leaders/visionaries/prophets?

All questions that I think arise from my reflections on this photo.

Monday, July 19, 2004

moot : now avaliable in bitesize feed format
After much consternation I have managed to get the RSS and XML feed working. To subscribe copy this link into your newsreader - the link is also on the left as feedburner. And using a very useful site called feedburner I have managed to make sure that whatever news reader you have is compatible (feedburner works out what you have and adjusts the feed for accordingly). All very clever stuff. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about - see here.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Future of the People of God Conference - Report
Just come back from the above three day conference with Bishop Tom Wright. Tom took four of the sessions, the first two outlined his new perspective on Jesus using his critical-realist approach, the last two sessions saw him take these new insights and try to see the affect they may have on the present/future ecclesiology of the emerging church.

I uploaded my notes which you can download here.

For me the highlight was Toms first two sessions, where his clear passion for rediscovering who Jesus was in his own tradition was very evident. I particually liked how he argued very passionately that many of Jesus' core saying (Kingdom of God, Son of Man etc...) had an immediate political and social edge to them, an edge that has been lost in much evanglical scholarship.

I also loved his rather Moltmannian idea of the call of the church being to bring about the future that God has promised to us. The firstfruits being Christs resurrection from the dead. A future where the whole of creation is renewed, not just humanity. It is this future that the church encounters most particually in its sacraments, and it is this future that the church needs to make present in, and through, its mission in the community. And it is the Spirit that makes this future present - although he may differ from Moltmann in arguing that the Spirit is made present throught the people of God, and is not active outside that.

His last two sessions on ecclesiology did not really seem to fit the radical Jesus he presented in the first two sessions - they were also rather anecdotal, though this may be understandable given that his area of speciality is the NT.

Both Jason C, and Richard S, have commented that they felt that many in the conference wanted to do away with any form of gathering as a church, and that the present day church structures should be done away with. I am not sure that this is quite representative, as I saw many varied opinions expressed, and I didn't come across many people who seemed to argue this. Maybe I was just in different seminars.

It was also good to catch up with some other fellow bloggers - and we even had a battle of the bloggers at table tennis - thought I will save the blushed and not reveal who won :-)

ps blogger has updates their posting software, you can now edit the colour of your text, its size and even the font - seems blogger just gets better and better, and for free.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Off to bash the Bish ;-)
Am off today to a conference with the Bishop Tom Wright (details here). Should be really good. TSK, Jonny B, Simon Johnston and Jason Clark will be fellow bloggers in tow (Si will also be giving me a lift - cheers!).

About 100 people are expected to be there to discuss the ramifications of + Tom's work on Jesus on the emerging church scene. And I am busy trying to access all those old college memories of ploughing through his multi-volume (and definately multi-paged) books.

If you fancy a quick introduction by the main man himself then try his somewhat thinner volume 'The challenge of Jesus'. Andrew, of opensourcetheology, has very helpfully posted a good summary of + Tom's three volumes as well as good papers by himself, Stuart Murray and Jim Thwaites - download them here.

After a lot of comments on the emerging churches theology being rather wide but lacking in depth it will be interesting to see how the dicussions go considering we will engaging with one of the foremost academics on the life of Jesus alive today.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Two modes of mission?
Simon Johnston has posted about mission in the emerging church and quotes me, but I think he may have slightly misunderstood my understanding. So here's a quick recap of what I think I said

For me there are two distinct views of mission within the emerging church :-

1 - mission is something that the individuals of the community work out in their daily lives, job choices, consumer choices, conversations etc...

2 - mission is something that is worked out as a community, in social enterprises, outreaches, overseas mission and this sense of mission is then re-enacted by the individual

Now obviously most groups do something that has a bit of both, although most emerging church groups primarily fall into the first category. For me this occurs due to several reasons:-

• most of these groups have no one in paid leadership. so they lack someone to organise and plan missional events. In fact most groups struggle to just get on and plan a few services a month. Structures that most established churches take for granted just do not exist in the emerging church, so even the ζsimple' sunday service take time to plan in an opensource model.

• a large proportion of the people who attend emerging churches are people who have been dechurched, they are suspicious of any attempts at co-ercion into missional activity, missional activity is something they perceive as pretty negative. And for some the painful memories of church missional activity is enought to put them off any consideration of mission for life.

• a lot of these groups have only been around a year or two (with a few exceptions like Grace), they have had little time to reflect and think on the issue of mission as a community.

These are all very important reasons why the emerging church has made little impression with people in its missional activity, and need to be considered whenever people think that the emerging church is just 'pretty candles and music' - its not and thats not a fair comment.

Bishop Graham Cray in the book 'Mission shaped church' made some similar observations about alt.worship groups, and concluded by saying that he hoped the creative worship spaces that these groups are so fantastic at would lead to healing of some of the past hurts caused by the church. And that this in turn would lead to a fresh revelation of the missional activity of God in Christ, and the call to take that story out into the world in many wonderful, creative, and relevant ways.

I would echo his comments, I think that many emerging churches (including moot) are at a place where we can begin to re-consider the place and role of mission within our communities, not just what we do as individuals outside our community.

Simon really wants the groups to discuss the possibility of co-operating over the social justice issue of human traffiking, which I think would be a fantastic idea. Its an issue that is at once local and global. And with all the creative genius' we have in the different groups it should not be too hard to co-opt together and try and opensource some genuine engagement with this huge problem. I hope to be able to help plan some of the stuff Simon is suggesting, if your interested leave a comment and I'll get Simon to buzz you an email, or watch this space.


Coming Home
A big thanks to all you guys for supporting Phillipa and I on our wedding day, and a special thanks to all those who emailed and left comments on the blog - it was an amazing and wonderful day :-)

We are just getting back into the swing of life after returning from our honeymoon in Marrakesh, Morocco. We stayed at a fab place called the Caravanserai — a converted berber palace. It had a lovely pool and was incredibly serene. Well worth a visit if you fancy Marrakesh without the hussle and bustle of the city everyday. I also read through Philip Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' trilogy which was very enjoyable. I can't really understand what all the fuss was about in the Christian press.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


I met Murray Sheard of Cityside alternative worship community in Auckland, to see how they are doing since Mark Pierson has moved to Melbourne. I first met Murray when I went down to New Zealand for the first time, where we went surfing, and we have kept up with each other ever since. It sounds like the cityside community is alive and kicking, and has continued being an innovative and supportive place, a great example of what can be achieved by alternative worship communities. Hopefully Murray will be around at moot later in the month.

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