Thanks for the thoughts on the previous post – it is a question I discussed today with our breakfast group.
We meet each month to read and discuss a chapter of Al Hirsch’s book – ‘Shaping of Things to Come’. There was no great answer forthcoming from the group, but I have a theory gestating.
Someone once said ‘the opposite of love is not hate – its indifference’.
Perhaps the opposite of incarnational is not attractional – maybe it is formulaic?
I say that because maybe somewhere there is a culture where an attractional church would be the most effective way to make disciples – in that context it would be incarnational… true?
So perhaps what we need to guard against is ever constructing a nice neat formula for mission and church that doesn’t allow us to be incarnational. If we were to ban all attractional churches then we might shoot ourelves in the foot at some point…
Anyway that’s what I think today.
Come on all you emerging church thinkers… what is it?
Its a serious question that arose after a conversation with a good mate today.
What is the opposite of incarnational?…
If you missed it today then you missed one of the great days in surfing history!!
Go here West Oz time for daily live coverage of the big one. Today was ‘brown underpants’ day and only for the experienced – described as the biggest and most challenging waves ever surfed in a contest in Australia – 15-18 ft Margs. Its scary at 6ft, its a nightmare after that so these were very brave men!
Bells Beach 1981 was pretty wild… to beat that it was a hell of a day!
All surfers out there ought to check it out over the next few days – the swell is dropping but its still BIG. (The feed is pretty good on broadband)
Are like no others!
When you are surfing the primary focus is on catching waves or not getting killed by them. The rule is this: No matter what is being spoken about if a decent wave appears on the horizon all conversation ends until one surfer has caught the wave and paddled back out.
“Hamo my marriage is on the rocks, I’ve lost my job and I’m about to commit suic…
“Hang on mate – watch out”
(5 mins later)
“Go on… what were you saying?”
Sounds absurd but its not far from reality!! The thing is that surfers understand – it sounds rude to other people, but it amazing how long a conversation can take on a good day.
Daddy I love you in the whole world…
Can we go to McDonalds?
The only way Ian Thorpe can overcome his disqualification from the 400m freestyle is if Craig Stevens voluntarily removes himself as a competitor – or ‘gets ill’.
So we have been told repeatedly by our media.
I feel for Ian Thorpe – I think the rule is a stupid one – and performance over a calendar year would be a better assessment rather than one race on one day.
But what kind of pressure must Craig Stevens be feeling?!
Swimming Australia must live with the consequences of their dumb rule – Craig Stevens is the rightful entrant in the event – if not the best!
So goes the cheesy slogan promoting Brighton
as a development you might want to live in.
I think yesterday we went some way toward making that bear some truth. A team of about 25 of us – 13 or so adults and the same number of kids spent the day doing a blitz on the backyard of a woman who lives at the end of our street.
For various reasons she has been unable to finish her backyard off and as her neighbours we felt it would be great to be able to help her by doing it for her.
So friends teed up to get her out of the house, while we moved in at 7.00am and started work. It was all done by 5.00pm and while it was done on a small budget, it certainly was a transformation. From there we hid in the backyard waiting for her to come home and then the fun started.
You could say she was fairly surprised!
From here it was party time – orginally at the home of the ‘blitz’ the party got shifted to our place… I was so tired I could hardly stand let alone host a party! I was planning on leaving early… end of that plan!…
Despite the tiredness it was great to sit around with Mike & Heidi from our team and a bunch of our neighbours enjoying the glow that goes with having done something that will stay with someone for a very long time.
As the night wore on and we wore out Danelle and I eventually went to bed at 10.00 and left a few people in the backyard. The last laugh I heard was at 11.00 but I couldn’t tell you what time they went home!
The word for today has been ‘recovery’…
Today I was preaching at East Fremantle Baptist Church where a mate is doing a great job of leading the people in mission.
As I drove down the coast and saw the offshore breezes feathering the large swell I must admit to wondering what I was doing preaching on a morning like this!
I had planned to finish my sermon yesterday, but with so much on I got all of 45 minutes spent on it and finished up very much flying by the seat of my pants today. Perhaps I should say the Holy Spirit was leading me… I actually think he did, because it seemed to connect very well with a whole bunch of people there.
When we left LBC I felt very strongly that party of my calling was to plant churches that plant churches and another part was to train and equip people in that – at the very least be a catalyst for creative thinking, so I need to keep that balance between occasional speaking gigs and being ‘in the neighbourhood’.
Today I spent the day teaching my students at the Christian school I am employed by – where only kids with at least one Christian parent can attend. What of non-Christians?…
Well they can go to… the school down the street of course! (You weren’t thinking ‘hell’ were you?!)
From there I made my way home on the school bus and stopped in at the local tavern – a blue singlets and work boots kind of place. I was picking up a bottle of wine one day and noticed that it gets busy on a Friday arvo, so I thought I’d drop in and see if I could make some connections.
I went last week and had some very interesting conversations about God, faith and the meaning of life. Today I got into some more great conversations with the local tradesmen – blokes who are the salt of the earth, but just talk a slightly different language to some of us.
It is a real cross cultural experience for me to enter this world – I wasn’t brought up to venture into pubs – especially ‘rough’ pubs, but I’m enjoying the challenge of connecting with very earthy people in their environment – again folks who are never likely to roll into a church service – but who need a listening ear just like everyone else.
Its not often that I experience self doubt in relation to what we are doing here in Brighton, but I have had a little the last few days.
At the Baptist Pastors Conference we were hearing about how the American Churches of the West have seen phenomenal growth in their movement as they have adopted an aggressive church planting strategy with a strong results orientation and high levels of accountability. They have seen many many people ‘cross the line’ to use John Kaiser’s terminology.
The closest they have to an emerging missional church plant is a more funky church service that does reflect the surrounding culture.
What strikes me and causes me to question is the fact they seem to be effective. They appear to be growing churches rapidly and seeing many unchurched people come thru the door.
I am results oriented.
What we are doing is going to be very slow in the early days especially and it will be difficult to measure results. I am tempted to jetison it for a pumped up version of normal church – church on steroids / pig with lipstick – whatever you want to call it.
Maybe we will fail in what we attempt here – maybe we will not see people come to faith at all? Maybe we can do a better job of the attractional beast and see discipleship occur?
The thing is I don’t want to go back. Its just that sometimes when the weight of opinion sways against you and what you are involved with is unproven (OK the ’emerging’ church in China is fairly proven!) you just wish you could hop on the bandwagon and be ‘one of the boys’ again.