Blogging as a Spiritual Discipline

I have been wondering for a while now about this and my wise old friend who is almost as good looking as me has beaten me to the draw.

TSK looks at various ways in which spirituality is expressed thru blogging. In particular I am interested in his perception of blogging as a spiritual discipline. Read on for TSK’s thoughts…

I will simply do a cut and paste here:

Here is the skinny on what I said. Blogging is a spiritual discipline because to blog is to find oneself in a place of:

1. Praise (public acknowledgement) – “publish glad tidings daily”

2. Accountability. (Eph. 5: 21 “Submit yourselves to one another”)

3. Vulnerability (Daniel’s window)

4, Given-ness (Freely you have received, gift economy, Prov 11:24)

5. Creative Naming (Adam, Neighbors in Ruth)

6. Repentance (editing/deleting/changing our mind in new media)

7. Fellowship (hypertext linking, Koinonia)

8. Evangelism (storytelling, blogging from our lives)

9. Integrity (writing matches our speaking, design reflects reality)

10. Posterity. (store/guard what has been entrusted, writing history)

There was also another one: Watchfulness (“watch and pray”).

I reckon he’s done a great job in summarising what some of us may feel about the whole blog experience.

Some people ask me how I get time to write most days, and the simple truth is that I find it a valuable experience so I make time.

* I love being able to cast my ideas out before people who are willing to interact. It causes me to be both bold and thoughtful with what I write. People commenting on blogs often tell you when you are full of crap.

* I simply enjoy expressing things in words and I find that I think well when I write. It helps me come to grips with the questions I am facing. If you trace my blog you trace my life. I rarely write about stuff that isn’t of relevance to my situation at present. This is me.

* To steal from Eric Liddell (‘Chariots of Fire’ for all you younger readers!) ‘when I write I feel his pleasure’. Sometimes writing is an experiencing God thing for me. As I write I meet God.

* I find that I can’t write about something I am not living or attempting to live so in a sense blogging keeps me honest. If I come to write about something that I am not living it reminds me that I need to write about as a struggle – not a win.

* I have valued the friendships that I have made this way. It is definitely very weird to have ‘friends’ I have never met and it almost seems a little seedy when I tell people I met Phil & Dan

over the internet!

But… Is it a spiritual discipline?

As I see spiritual disciplines they are practices that shape us more into the image of Christ. So when that is said I would imagine that blogging can be a fun way to kill a bit of time, or… it may actually be a discipline. Sadly it doesn’t feel arduous enough to me for it to be called a discipline…

I would say that for me it is something that shapes my character and grows me into the image of Christ to some degree, so in that maybe it is a discipline for me, but… I have trouble imagining Dallas Willard or Richard Foster including it in their books 🙂

Thanks TSK – great job!

A Question of Ethos

Here’s a serious and fairly critical question I am pondering about how leadership looks in a pioneering context.

Is the primary role of the pioneering leader to:

a) Act as a catalyst and empower others to engage in missional activity that is in line with their calling and gifting. This will mean that ‘less happens’ unless people get it happening, but it also means that what does happen will flow from the hearts of the people who initiate it.

b) To seek out and start up initiatives that others can be ‘envisioned for’ and get on board with. This allows a go-getter to ‘go get em’, but its failing is that the go-getter could finish up spinning all the plates himself if no one else gets excited about any of the projects. Or he could go the route of guilting people into ‘serving God’ to keep them going

I realise we do both, but if you had to pick a primary

free cujo movie download role what would it be and why?

What’s in a Name?

We have called ourselves ‘Upstream Communities’ because we believe the call of the gospel is to live counter-culturally in the suburbs we find ourselves in.

That means rethinking how we do relationships, use our time, our money, our possessions etc.

Our name is a constant reminder of who we are called to be. I find it confronting

Right now Danelle and I face a situation where ‘downstream’ looks pretty nice. The name is actually a powerful motivator for me to choose the upstream way when everything in me screams ‘stuff it!’

Falling in Love With Jesus?

It was going so well.

I was reading Richard Foster’s article on spiritual formation and finding myself engaging with everything he was saying. Then this statement stumped me:

“In practicing the Spiritual Disciplines we are simply learning to fall in love with Jesus over and over and over again.” ben hur a tale of the christ dvdrip

Is that really what we are doing?

At the Forge Summit Mike Frost was speaking of how our world has idealised romantic love and made it into the highest form of love. And how as the church we have copied this and now see ‘falling in love’ with Jesus as the ultimate goal.

He was arguing that in this notion of love we are simply becoming products of our culture. Does Jesus really want us to ‘fall in love with him?’

He does restraint dvd download want us to love him and I am absolutely sure that such love does involve our feelings, but I am with Frosty on this one. When we need to ‘fall in love’ we speak of our love for Jesus in the same terms as a teenage infatuation rather than as a long term marriage commitment that sometimes has its deep passionate intimacy and sometimes has long periods when that is not there (or is my marriage just a lousy one?)

As much as it feels kinda rude to disagree with a mind like Foster’s, I believe the practice of spiritual disciplines is not to make us fall in love with Jesus, but to help us become more like him. In this we express out love for him – by doing what he says and allowing him to guide our actions even when we don’t feel like it.

What do you think? Am I missing something here?

A good mate has just begun a new project and its web home is jerry maguire divx online

Owen Beck is a Brighton local and has a dream for helping people in need get a feed and a few mates, so each Sunday he is heading down to a park near the church he part of with a portbable barbecue, a few sausages and some salad, cooks up a feed and invites people to join in.

The park is in the inner suburbs of Perth and he’s looking to connect with some of the people in that area who are finding life tough.

His dream is to see people doing similar things in parks all over Oz and I know he’d love to hear from people who are willing to engage in a simple act of kindness and show God’s love in practical ways.

He’s also got some confronting T Shirt designs on his website – you might like to print out an iron on sticker with some of his logos, like… ‘Jesus loves Muslims’…

Owen is a bit of a legend round Perth for his time in the Rockin Rabbi’s, a band who were a both a prophetic voice and a hell of a lot of fun. He is now a media teacher at Swan Christian High School, and still a prophetic voice.

What I like about Owen is that he simply gets up and ‘does it’. He quotes an old aboriginal man on his website who he met in the park last Sunday who says “nothin will happen if you don’t do sumthin”.

Goodonya for ‘doin sumthin’ mate!

Playing the ‘Cultural’ Card

While there is no question that scripture was written in and for a specific cultural context, this is also a great card to play if some aspect of the Bible doesn’t suit us.

Don’t like wearing hats to church? Its ok girls cause it was cultural

Want to have a same sex marriage? Go for it. Paul was writing for his own culture. And t doesn’t apply to us now.

You know the drill”

I came across an interesting ‘cultural card’ in Bangkok last week however that I would value your reflections on. In most of the western world the way to deal with conflict between two people is in accordance with the Matthew 18 principle. Go your bro/sister, take a friend etc.

According to my friend Jeff, who we stayed with, In some parts of Asia the way to raise an issue is to tell a friend who tells a friend who then tells the person who you have issues with. And you deal with the issue thru these intermediaries.

When asked how they see this in light of Matthew 18, their response?…

Matt 18 is cultural and specific for those people at that time. Now I can’t see that at all, but I am product of my culture and I see things thru that lens!

Of course the question it raises at some point is what is authoritative and what is temporal and culturally bound? And if we have no good way of determining this (that isn’t culturally bound in itself) then is there anything in scripture we can really be bound by?

I’d be interested to hear from some Asian readers how they see this issue in particular, but also to hear some broader comments on the question that is at the core of it all.

How do we know what is and isn’t ‘cultural’?

Word on the Street…

Spent this morning at the local park with the kids and then hanging out on the street with a few of our neighbours. Good weather has a way of bringing people outdoors. Sounds like there are changes afoot round our street.

R & C have abandoned ideas of building, are selling their block and will be moving once their lease expires. They feel they are too far from the city. Bummer – I like them!

M who only moved in 6 weeks ago is heading back to country once her lease runs out. She feels too isolated.

M & C have sold their place to buy a bigger one. They’ll be renting back for a while before they move somewhere else in Brighton. Real bummer – I doubt we will see as much of these guys and we have really connected well.

L and her 5 kids are moving into the homeswest house this weekend. I went over to help her and her ex-husband move the heavy stuff in today and was able to chat for a while. He will stay in the old location while she moves up here. Seems like a very earthy woman with a great sense of humour. Looking forward to helping them settle in.

I think the rest of us are staying put for a while longer, but it does show the transitory nature of suburbia and raises several questions for those us trying to connect and develop longer term relationships in the burbs.


We had an amazing holiday in Bangkok.

Some highlights…

– Spending time with Jeff & Tara. There are some people who just energise you with their presence. These guys are those kind of people. Just to hang with them was worth going there.

– The food. I love food… a little too much sometimes, and Thailand is a food lovers paradise. The first night we were there we went to a restaraunt that has been classified as Thailand’s best for the last 5 years. I think I was in heaven. Thai food… sensational!

Night Golf. Jeff and I went for a round at the Bangkok Golf Club, a beautiful course and what made it better was that after it being 5 years since I last hit a golf ball I managed a 107, with 49 on the back 9. That is my best score ever. Weird hey? Five years out and then I actually get a good score on a hard course with unfamiliar clubs… that’s golf. Of course if I decide to tak it up again back here I’ll never get under 120!

– Massages. All legit! For $6.00 you can get an hour long massage in many places in Bangkok. The ‘foot massage’ after 18 holes was great. The ‘Thai Massage’ after dinner was just plain scary. Lots of stretching and bending. I didn’t know my body could go in those directions.

– Drinks at Vertigo. Vertigo is a rooftop bar in Bangkok where you can get 360 degree views of the city. We went up there for the sunset one evening and it really gave you an appreciation for how huge this city is.

– Misho meet up. On Sunday night we hung out with a group of local missionaries who hang out at Jeff and Tara’s each week. They are mostly from the New Song church in LA and are doing some great work from the burbs to the slums. I recieved a paper from one of them on ‘New Buddhism’ a phrase that they use for Thai’s who become Jesus followers but who do not want to embrace all the cultural baggage of western christianity. Its great contextualisation stuff!

– Books. I read Affluenza on the plane on the way over. Brilliant and challenging. I was sitting next to a wealthy French woman on the way over who started the flight reading BRW and finished (after a long conversation) writing down the details of Afflenza so she could get it when she got home. I have about 250 pages of Shantaram left. It is a fantastic story, but so many characters make it a little hard to follow in places. The movie is coming!

And what did I buy?

Actually… nothing. Not a cracker.

Danelle had no problem making up for this failing on my part.


What would you read if you were on holidays?…

Tomorrow we leave for Bangkok – no kids and a great time hanging out with some really good friends. If its a holiday then I need to take a book or 3.

I went to the local library today and found 3 books that I have been hoping to read. Here they are, as well as one I bought recently:

1. When Jesus Came to Harvard

It doesn’t look like an easy read, but I like its focus on how Jesus would deal with difficult ethical questions.

2. Affluenza Scott has been raving about this so I thought I ought to go read it and allow my consumeristic western tendencies to be radically challenged.

3. Shantaram – a novel that Al Hirsch was reading when he was here a few trips back. I liked the feel of it but have never got around to reading it.

4. Transforming Mission – I read this a few years back, but only ordered my own copy of it recently. i’m not sure how much I’ll get read of this one. It feels a bit heavy.

Chances are I’ll read the novel and forget the rest!