A Quiet Place

Its one of those days when we are able to get away for a whole day to somewhere out of the hustle of life.

Over the last few years I have scheduled these days in, but have found myself cancelling them as I have looked at all that needs doing. It always seems less urgent to spend time with God than time solving problems!

This year I asked Danelle to join me on these – hearing God together seems to make a bit of sense – and we have also approached 3 other couples who we would consider close friends to come with us.

We are heading up to the hills today from 9.00-9.00 to pray, eat, laugh, listen and hopefully meet with God and each other in a fairly focused way.

And now for something completely different…

Today I met with Graham Johnson the senior pastor of Subiaco Church of Christ, one of our big local churches.

Graham is a fantastic supporter of Forge and while he is not called to do what I do, he is able to appreciate the value and offer encouragement. Graham’s church was homebase for saint gaz and still seeks to support him as he plants Myriad.

I actually use the Subi website quite regularly as a source for good online sermons while on the treadmill. This is the kind of post I much prefer to make and the kind of relationship I prefer to have with other Christian leaders.

Two blokes who can love, support and respect each other as they serve in very different ways May there be much more of it.

Thanks Graham!

Check the Facts…

It seems there is a quite a move out there to try and bring the so called ’emerging church’ movement into disrepute and possibly even stamp it out.

jungle 2 jungle dvdrip I had heard of Don Carson’s 3 talk series, but hadn’t taken much notice. However today I downloaded all three MP3’s to actually check out what he says. I haven’t done it yet, but I will give my thoughts when I have. I am fine with decent critique – it is always appreciated. However it seems that what is happening is not earthed in solid fact.


has done a decent review of the recently printed Baptist Press article here download little fish dvdrip and I won’t reinvent the wheel as he responds to it very well. In case you haven’t come across it this is the opening paragraph:

A recently developed way of envisioning church known as the "Emerging Church Movement" deals carelessly with Scripture and compromises the Gospel, according to a prominent evangelical scholar and a Southern Baptist seminary president.

I don’t think you could see them as anything but fighting words…

Add this and you have some fairly serious accusations:

"The worldview of postmodernism — complete with an epistemology that denies the possibility of or need for propositional truth — affords the movement an opportunity to hop, skip and jump throughout the Bible and the history Christian thought in order to take whatever pieces they want from one theology and attach them, like doctrinal post-it notes, to whatever picture they would want to draw."

Kinda makes me feel like a naughty kid who just got smacked!

The funny thing is that I reckon I’ve done more reading and theologising in the last 5 years than I ever have and these kinds of comments are both ill founded charicatures but also hurtful and offensive.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’d know that I actually prefer not to use the term ’emerging church’ much because it does lack definition – it means whatever you think it means. That is probably an indication that there is no ‘official movement’ as such, however there are a group of people aligning around some common themes. I prefer to simply think of ourselves as missionaries (and yes that has some baggage too).

It seems the fundy crew are concerned that ‘ec’ers’ are abandoning the scriptures to accommodate the culture while the bigger church guys are seeing it as undermining what they have spent the best part of their lives creating.

And yet… all the time I find myself asking who are these ’emerging church straw men’ who get lifted up, kicked and beaten and thrown on the scrap heap?

I see some of myself in this article but I also see much that does not apply to me – or to those I know who are on the similar track. No doubt there are wackos in the emerging church scene… butttttt… how may fruit loops are there in normal evangelical churches? How many control freaks are there masquerading as shepherds? How many people who say they take the Bible seriously, but don’t show evidence in their life?

I have been reading a blog this weekend that labels emerging church people as ‘heretics’. (I won’t give you the link as I have already wasted too much time in discussion with these very aggressive antagonists)

However… these are fighting words.

It’d be great to be able to sit down with those who make the critique and let them see that they don’t just throw mud at an amorphous ‘movement’. They actually attack people.

I’m afraid I don’t take that kind of crap real well.

Better stop there before I say what I really think.

Upstream at Easter

Its been a busy weekend!

Easter Friday was quite relaxing – I spent some of it watching the Jesus video with Ellie. (It really isn’t a quality movie is it?!) But it was great to sit with her and explain the whole story and describe Jesus to her. I found it very moving to do that with a 4 year old who hasnt been innoculated to the power of the story. It really refreshed it for me too.

Yesterday we headed out to the football & dinner with Mark and Michelle, two of our neighbours, while Mike and Heidi took the kids. I’m not a real big footy fan, but it was a great night out.

Then this morning was our Sunday AM Easter gig. We are trying to make it a bit of a tradition to do brunch at the local park and then do some kind of easter reflection activity.

Today in the middle of some serious humidity we all cooked and ate brunch and then did a ‘stations of the cross’ type of deal. Jenny had a great idea that we use different points in the park to read passages of scripture that tell the Easter story. So that was pretty much it – from gethsemane (garden) to trial (gazebo) to Golgotha (hill) to resurrection (park).

The day finished with helium balloons being let go to remember the new start we have because of Jesus. Everyone could write their own prayer on the balloon and offer it up. It was a simple idea, but it worked well (however when you are asking kids to let their balloons go you need to make sure you also have a few in reserve!!)

As well as the four families from our team there were 10 other local families present to share the day. The icky weather made it very tiring, but it was another great time.

Tonight we go round to Mark and Michelle’s to watch The Passion… again… it was hard enough the first time 🙂

Here are some images Jen took of us eating brekky, doing the easter activity and then letting the (biodegradable) balloons go.




Jesus is risen!

Doctrine and Morality as Key Hindrances in Mission

Roland Allen suggest that our obsession with (wat we perceive to be) correct doctrine and our own standards of morality are significant hindrances to the ‘spontaneous expansion of the church’ as he calls it.

turn the river divx online

What does he mean?

Doesn’t he value doctrine or morality?

Not the case at all, but he does say that when we get more obsessed with teaching people to follow ‘Christianity’ rather than Christ we end up dulling the edge of their faith. Its a bit like the Bible college experience many of us have had. You know the drill – get all excited about following Jesus – decide to go to Bible college to ‘grow in that faith’ and finish up more informed but bored to tears with it. By restraining young Christians from mission activity until they have a sufficiently develoed understanding of doctrine is counterproductive. Allen argues we trust the spirit to guide them into truth rather than having to drill them before sending them out.

On morality he doesn’t see it as a dead issue – not at all – but he does argue that we need to allow Christ to do the convicting and shaping much moreso than we do. While his application is to tribal culture where issues like polygamy are (were) signifcant it does also have bearing on the western world. He describes the problems missionaries have had in the past trying to move tribal people to monogamy before accepting them as followers of Jesus. While this might seem a critical issue to us, to them it may be a non issue. To declare them not ‘Christian’ because they remain in polygamy is akin to declaring our ancestors to not be Christian because they practiced slavery.

When you look at questions of mission and faith thru the eyes of a missionary you see a very different picture than if you look thru the eyes of a western ‘pastor’.

He’s not an easy read, and not everything he says is ‘gold’, but he’s well worth the effort.

From Another Angle

I am in the process of reading Paul’s letters (one every few days) to try and get a perspective on how he functioned as an apostolic missionary leader with oversight of a number of churches.

It does offer a different take on what he has to from our normal reading. (Myabe its just me but its easy to read the letters purely as instructions for US on how to live)

friday the 13th online