Personal Reflections

There’s not much point sitting thru a whole 4 days of Forge material if you don’t let it penetrate your life.

More information is not what we need as Christians. Hell no. If we (or maybe its I) could only do half of the things I already know to do then maybe we’d really see the world changed!

So let me share with you some thoughts I have been mulling over during the last few days…

1. This whole area of justice and interaction with the poor is a major area of ‘failing’ for me. I don’t mean that in a ‘self flaggelatory’ way (did you like that creative use of words?) but it is an aspect of Jesus’ call that I seem to struggle to implement. I am inspired by guys like Steve McKinnon for whom this flows out of – he is an absolute local legend – I love to hear his stories, but I find I do not gravitate towards poor, powerless, marginalised people. I hear stuff, get inspired, mean to do something, then go and get on with life as I have known it.

As I reflected yesterday I felt like God was saying ‘just do something’. You will always limp along with good intentions unless you get off your arse and at least do something. So – I will do something. I am not sure what, I will pray about that, but something will happen.

I believe that often action inspires more action and passivity breeds inactivity and excuses. I am looking to do something that will fire me to more passion and probably more action.

I’ll keep you posted.

2. As I listened to Steve Said speaking of the other ‘major religion’ of our time – consumerism – I was galvanised again to really pursue the question of what it means to live a ‘Jesus’ kind of life – a counter cultural life in the burbs. What  does it mean to live purely and not just be a stuff junkie, a shopping addict? Chris has some good ideas at the end of this post for how to assess the consumer thing.

I know that I have divided allegiances and while my motives may never be completely pure (I’m not an idealist any more!) I don’t want to be as subsumed in the culture as I feel I am. I am convinced that we are called to swim upstream in a society that seeks selfish interests above all else.

3. I really enjoyed Geoff’s presentation on his mission in Banksia Grove. I don’t think we do enough solid earthing of our stuff in scripture at times, but today he did that superbly.

However as he spoke I found myself reacting to the term ‘community development movement’ and I am pondering why. I see Geoff really owns it and it is an accurate description of what they are doing. Is it what we are called to do?… I probably resonate better with ‘disciple making movement’ or ‘kingdom of God movement’ – maybe because these describe my own passion, but also because what I see as the heritage of the phrase.

I think I feel ‘CDM’ is a social work term and I find myself at odds with the ‘language police’ of the social work environment who seem to want to be politically correct on everything. If I am correct it would be the social work field that seemed to be responsible for mutating ‘leadership’ into ‘facilitation’. I see facilitation as a valuable process, but it seems to have replaced ‘leadership’ in some settings – and we have suffered as a result. Facilitative leadership is one form of leadership, but it seems in social work settings to be the ‘right’ form.

That’s enough for now!

Another Great Day

Today at Forge we had a fantastic time.

Geoff Westlake did two presentations on his mission in Banksia Grove and offered some excellent biblical insights into what a Christian community ought to look like. I hadn’t heard Geoff do these presentations previously, and I loved the way he earthed his thinking in the biblical text.

Alan was very passionate and lucid about the need for us to explore other ways of being church. To use one of his favourite Ed De Bono quotes he says ‘if you want to dig a hole over here, you don’t do it by digging the same hole deeper over there’. Application = if you want to reach people who do not currently come to church you don’t do it by schmicking up the attractional gig.

Scotty Vawser,our ‘local hero’ for the day, (a 30 min spot we give to those who are ‘having a go’) told some great stories as he shared his own journey into new ways of thinking about church and misson and the tension of doing that in an established and large church.

I took a session entitled ‘A Good Look in The Mirror’ that looked at both the history of the emerging church using this article and then did a critique both of the established church and the emerging. The question I was seeking to grapple with was ‘if we are going to have a go at a new way are we actually doing any better than the old way?’ We had some great discussion but ran out of time…

Tonight Al is telling the story of his time at South Melbourne… and obviously I am not there! Danelle is there tonight while I stay home with the kids. I have heard the south story about 9 times now so I reckon its better Danelle hears once than me hear it again.

Tomorrow AM Neale Fong is up for sharing a theology of work along the theme of ‘9-5 faith in a dualistic world’. Should be great!

Postcards from the Future

Tonight was a great time with over 90 people coming out to the ‘postcards’ event. Well done Scott and Steve and crew who pulled it together. The turnout exceeded all of our expectations and made for some great vibe.

I think the intensity of my day caught up with me tonight. Five ‘one to one’ appointments left Hamo the introvert a tad drained so as I sat there and listened to people’s comments and questions I found myself struggling to keep pace. I normally think pretty well on my feet, but tonight my brain felt like it was squashed under my butt!

Well done to the guys who pulled tonight together. It was a gracious conversation and one that can be developed in future gatherings. I sense we all wanted to affirm each other and maybe next time we can get into some more rigourous debate on some of the differences we may hold… if we are game…

Forge starts tomorrow – 2 verrry long days coming up, but it will be fun!

Lovin Life

Today was one of those days when I am reminded of how much I enjoy the life I get to live.

It began with breakfast in Leedville with a few other guys who are also exploring the questions of mission and church. We catch up monthly for breakfast and I love hanging with these guys – great diversity of opinion – great interaction and challenge and a lot of laughs. I always leave feeling ‘up’.

Then it was into the city to meet up with an older man who has been working in the area of urban mission for well over 20 years. It ws great to catch up with Garth and hear his own story of pioneering and experimenting. Isn’t it wild how you can live in the same city for so long and not realise that you are ‘riding the same train’ as someone else. I’m hoping we will see a bit more of each other. I reckon there is plenty to be learnt from him.

I hung around in the air con of a cafe to finish my Forge sessions and got a call on my mobile from the USA. A young guy called Glen who has been over there for 8 years is looking to come back and plant an emerging missional church somewhere in Perth. We met a few years back but don’t know each other. He has been involved with the same church as Justin who I now know thru blogging – weird hey?

While I was sitting there talking to Glen, a bloke sat at the table across from me – an old Uni mate – haven’t seen him for 22 years! We used to call him Gorilla because he was such a big bugger and also because he was from a famous/infamous WA sporting family (think George the commentator and gorilla is the surname). He is now a sports commentator at USA football events… That Phys Ed degree came in handy…

With the Forge sessions finished I was able to hop on the train and head home. Along the way I picked up a gift for Danelle – a voucher book with ‘vouchers’ for a ‘free 20 min massage’, a ‘video of her choice’, ‘a romantic night out’ etc etc. I grabbed it, paid for it and then read it more thoroughly. If she takes me up on it all I’ll be flat out!

Nothing on tonight…


Light Reading

Before I go to bed tonight I am planning to skim read the policies of all the major parties in the race for next Saturday’s election.

Bolders has links to them all if you are interested.

I find it interesting that it has taken 22 years of particpation in Australian society to actually get to the point of taking some responsibility for this. I also find it quite humbling that at 40 years old I am still need to learn the importance of such simply stuff as being a responsible member of society.

It was quite a revelation last week when I sensed God saying ‘you really haven’t even tried to get on top of this have you?..’


Anyone Feeling Brave?…

Ok – come on all you missionary thinkers!

Thanks for the various comments on my post re the Healing festival, but no one offered an opinion on this question:

So here’s a serious question for you…

These guys got together and put on a healing festival. I’m sure part of it was to promote their own businesses, but I also know many of them are very keen to see people healthy and well.

They allowed us to come (as you would hope they would.)

What if… the churches in the area put on a combined healing event (hey what a novel idea…) and these guys asked to be part of it – the reiki girls, the crystal balancing lady, all the practices that we would see as not compatible with a Jesus worldview… would we allow them into our festival?


Its a hypothetical at this stage, but it does raise some big issues for us churchies. We’ve just been enjoying some lively debate over dinner with my in-laws and I’d like some other input.

Come on folks! Who’s up for it? Who’s got an opinion to share?…

I’ll show my hand and say that I’d be ok with it. I’d see it as a fair thing to be able to attend and participate in each others festivals – which I guess is not a traditional Christian position, but I think its a fair one.

I might not subscribe to the worldview of the reiki crew, but then I don’t subscribe to the theological ideas of the health and wealth brigade either. In fact I reckon I’d have more concern about having them attending than people who would not claim to be Jesus followers…

I hope that’s sufficiently provocative to raise a response!

Can’t Complain About That

An email from my ISP:

"Currently you are subscribed to e-wire’s Standard plan. As of March, you will be placed on e-wire’s new Pro plan level – offering a massive 15GB worth of downloads, and a faster 512kbps connection speed. That’s twice the speed you are getting now, with absolutely no increase in price!

We have also introduced our new XLR8 option, where you can upgrade your speed to an amazing 2MEGAbits for only $5. That’s up to 8x faster than ADSL!"

All that for $50.00 or the new deal for $55.00. not bad hey?


The reason I was at New Norcia last night was to speak to the .acom students about Forge and how they can receive credit for doing Forge units.

Scott did a great job of pulling the evening together and it was evident that there was a fair amount of energy in the room as the student body gathered. Having been to a fair few different college environments over the last year its easy to feel when things are firing and when they are struggling.

.acom definitely feels like its on a good trajectory with a healthy approach to ministry and study and a very de-centralised view of location (no central buildings at all).

We have 5 .acom students at Forge this weekend and we’re looking forward to having a whole heap more students exposed to some different thinking in relation to mission and church.

Edward De Bono: Six action shoes

in the cut free If you’re read the six thinking hats then this is simply that kind of stuff in different format.

It was good value first time around but this one feels a bit tired and uninspiring. All he really says is that different situations require different kinds of action. I realise we sometimes don’t get this, but its hard to get excited about this kind of a book!

I am however enjoying Daniel Goleman’s Primal Leadership – some very useful thoughts in there.