Decent Books

Ok. Here are a couple of decent recommendations!

Jesus in Beijing is a very interesting account of the development of the church in China, with a focus on the persecuted believers and the underground church. I like that it focuses on the theological challenges and leadership struggles that have dogged the Chinese church rather than simply its phenomenal growth. It is quite a real (if at times drab) portrayal of events, and for those who worry that house churches will wander into heresy, you only have to read the statement of faith in the appendix to see how effectively the self correcting mechanisms of the church work.

I picked it up a couple of days ago at the local Clarkson library and am enjoying it.

Also from the local library was The Journey, by Alistair McGrath. McGrath is best known for his theological works but this book begins by stating that we need to be careful to balance the cognitive and affective approaches to the Bible, so that we do’t simply ‘think’ about God, but that we encounter him.

It is a book about spiritual formation and ‘the journey’ we take in that direction. He uses the exodus as a central motif, an interesting idea, but I’m not sure it really works, because to do this it involves captivity to freedom, but with 40 years of wandering in the desert in between! I don’t think anyone wants to see their journey as 40 years of shuffling around in circles… Still it was an interesting read – again from the Clarkson Library!

And this time not from the Clarkson Library, but from the publishing arm of SU, a fantastic book for the spiritually curious is Unseen Footprints by Sheridan Voysey.

This is an easy read, but also a very subversive book!

It describes the Christian story in one of the most engaging ways I have seen in a long time. I would recommend it anyone exploring questions of faith and wanting a book that is more than simply apologetic or factual in nature. Sheridan makes a great case for the authenticity of Christian faith, but he seems to do it almost without you noticing.

I am impressed and have already been recommending this one far and wide. I had a coffee with Sheridan in October last year just before the book-launch, but sadly its taken me this long to finish reading it. It will connect particularly well with the Gen X cynical types and those who enjoy story more than raw fact.

So there you have it – 3 books all worth a look!

Is God a Psycho?

I have an atheist friend who loves to debate religion and matters of faith. She is very sharp, always fun to debate with, and asks all the tough questions. I like her! The other night as we were chatting she asked to have a look at a Bible. Another friend brought out one from her childhood and we carried on the conversation.

She opened the Bible randomly to explore it and this was what she read. Its from the story of the golden calf:

Exo 32:27 and he said to them, “The LORD God of Israel commands you to strap on your swords and go through the camp, killing your relatives, your friends, and your neighbors.” 28 The men of the Levi tribe followed his orders, and that day they killed about three thousand men.

“What is your God on about?!!” she asks.

Fair question I’d say…

How would you respond?

Anzac Day

It was great to get out with Danelle and the kids today for some holiday fun.

We caught a train to the city, watched Ice Age (I slept thru half of it!), wandered around he streets and parks, finished up in the art gallery looking at the display of work by year 12 students (always a hit) and then came home.

It is always a challenge to try and explain the significance of Anzac Day to children. How can a kid ever understand war?

Are They Still Churchless?…

One of the really valuable pieces if research done in the last few years was Alan Jamieson’s A Churchless Faith that explored why people were leaving church, but still following Jesus.

Now he has a follow up book coming out entitled Five Years On. You can read about it on Prodigal Kiwi.

The blurb says:

“This follow-up to A Churchless Faith is both fascinating and disquieting – fascinating because it shows that people rarely stand still in their journey of faith, whether or not they attend church. And disquieting because it underscores once again just how irrelevant or unhelpful the institutional church has become for so many reflective and intelligent believers today. This book provides further valuable insights into the growing phenomenon of church leavers, whose protest the church ignores at its own peril”

It comes out soon so stay tuned!

Mark Sayers

Mark Sayers has some fantastic insights into what is going on in our world and how we are to live and make disciples in the midst of it all.

Mark is a key player in the Forge scene here in Oz and a bloke I have immense respect for.

Now he has a blog

If you’re serious about discipleship in the emerging culture especially amongst youth and young adults, then you must read what Mark has to say.

Here’s a sample where Mark writes about the potential of ‘coolness’ to save the church:

“However there is a problem with churches and individuals attempting to become ‘cool’ as a missional strategy. When we try to become ‘cool’, we only make an attempt to re-dress the superficial to put on a new coat of paint. Sure it will probably mean our churches might attract a whole host of Christians who are looking for a ‘cooler’ expression of church, but we will fail to address some of the core reasons why Christianity is struggling to impact post-Christian culture.

One can’t help but wonder that behind the attempts to be ‘cool’, there is not really a desire for church growth and mission, but rather a deep rooted feeling many Christians have that we are social misfits.” free eraser movie download

Narrative Propositions

It seems that one of the big issues in debate of recent times is the nature of scripture and whether a narrative approach to theology is an errant one. (For those who find that last sentence hard to understand it means approaching the Bible more as a story than as a list of propositions to obey.)

The obvious danger with narrative theology is that we all read stories differently, so we might arrive at different conclusions…

But, as Brian McClaren says in this interview, its not an ‘either/or’ scenario. Its not a case of no more propositional truth because now we think narratively.

I can understand the concern that is raised, especially in a pluralistic world, but if ‘narrative’ is ‘dangerous’ and may lead to heresy, then why did God give us a book of stories? Couldn’t he have just as easily come up with a model constitution and a set of by-laws?…

I return to that wise old man Roland Allen who said that the greatest impediments to the ‘spontaneous expansion of the gospel’ are overly controlling leadership, an obsession with morality and… yep you guessed it an extreme concern for correct doctrine.

Am I advocating a fairy floss approach to doctrine?

No. I believe doctrine is really important and I am in favour of well thought out propositions. But, when we spend our time dotting i’s and crossing t’s we really don’t have time or motivation to get on with the job of connecting in our worlds

A Winner

This weekend was spent with a bunch of older singles on the Getaway Camp, an initiative for young adults to hang out together and develop relationships.

Sarah and crew did a sensational job of creating a space that was relaxing, fun and engaging for those who were there. It was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed being there. The group were mostly of ‘Baptist’ origin, with a few Church of Christers, and a couple of Riverviewers. I’d say there was a 50/50 country / city split, but a 19:12 girl to guy ratio.

I have encouraged Sarah to make it happen a couple of times a year as I reckon it meets a real need for the crew who often slip thru the cracks in our churches. So say tuned – you may hear about the next one some time soon.


The beauty of blogging is that you get to connect with a bunch of people from all over the world who otherwise you would never meet. I am always amazed at how many people I bump into who tell me ‘I read your blog’. (Hi Kylie, you lurker 🙂 )

Recently Samuel Linde

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from Sweden was travelling thru the land of Oz with his wife and we set up a time to meet. Samuel is a graphic designer and is starting a church plant back in Sweden. He wanted to catch up and discuss the whole notion of incarnational mission and different modes of church planting. It was great to spend the time with Samuel and he has kindly linked to me on his blog.

The only problem is – I can’t read Swedish…

So – I went to Google – as you do when you need any kind of techy help and found a ‘Swedish to English’ translation site. According to the site here’s what Samuel wrote about me:

Andrew Hamilton hade jag förmånen att få sitta ner och dricka kaffe med när vi besökte Perth på vår jorden-runt-resa tidigare i vår. Han bloggar utifrån sina erfarenheter av ett missionellt arbete i Brighton, en förort till Perth. Hamo, som Andrew kallas, praktiserar de principer som jag skrev om i mitt förra inlägg, och har hjälpt mig att komma till en större förståelse för vad det handlar om att leva ett inkarnationellt kristet liv. Hans tankar och erfarenheter är en resurs att dra från.

And the English translation is…

Andrew Hamilton had self benefit that poll sits down and drink coffee with when wes attend Perth on ours earth Рabout Рtravel olds in ours. He bloggar utifr̴n sina experiences of one missionellt job in Brighton , a suburb to Perth. Hamo , as Second call , practises they principles as self groin of today midst precedence contribution , and had helped me that come by a major appreciation for what the am acting if that breathe one incarnation Christian life. His mind and experiences is a resource that draw from.

So much better hey?

I am wondering though… what’s that bit about my ‘self groin’?…

Anyway, it was great to meet you Samuel and hear your dreams for a missional community in your own backyard.

Kill Non Christians

Hey what fun?!

You can play video games and kill a bunch of nasty pagans all at the same time.

Justin writes:

Left Behind: Eternal Forces comes out some time this year, and there aren’t a lot of details, but here’s the basic premise as I was able to infer from the website:

The rapture has happened, so all the Christians are gone

A bunch of people realize the error of their ways, and immediately become Christians after the rapture

For some reason, it becomes necessary to blast the unrepentant to bits and hasten the destruction of the world

Guns. Lots of guns.

The “Christian” world gets sicker and sicker…