And for fun… The Myers Briggs Prayer

With thanks to Steve

ISTJ: Lord help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41.23 am e.s.t.

ISTP: God help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.

ESTP: God help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they’re usually NOT my fault.

ESTJ: God, help me to not try to RUN everything. But, if You need some help, just ask.

ISFJ: Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right.

ISFP: Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if you don’t mind my asking).

ESFP: God help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing.

ESFJ: God give me patience, and I mean right NOW.

INFJ: Lord help me not be a perfectionist. (did I spell that correctly?)

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God,help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird-ing at a time.

ENFJ: God help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

INTP: Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.

ENTP: Lord help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I’ll settle for a few minutes.

ENTJ: Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwatIdo.


And just for the record I am an INTJ and Danelle is an ESFP. I think its pretty accurate 🙂happy go lucky download free

The Carson Conversation

* Note – this is now ‘sold out’ so don’t just roll up and expect to get in. I’m told there is a ‘wait list’ for people keen to attend.

Theologian Don Carson is coming to town next week and as part of his time here we are having a meeting focused on the emerging church.

Carson is well known worldwide for many of his excellent biblical commentaries and is regarded as a world class theologian. He is also known more recently for his Becoming Conversant with The Emerging Church, a book that critiques those of us seeking to experiment with new forms of mission and church.

He does say some good things in the book, but sadly he paints with a very broad brush and makes generalisations about the EC worldwide based on very limited observation and interaction. As one who seems to fit that category whether I like it or not, I was disappointed with the way he described us.

In my reading I am yet to find anyone who has been able to get a response from Carson to emerging churchers who felt misrepresented (is that still the case folks) so this event may be a bit of a first. I am looking forward to it and hope it will be a profitable time for everyone.

I have read his book and listened to his online talks re the EC but I’m not sure exactly where he sits today.

The event is at the Baptist Theological College in Bentley on Wed Sept 6th from 10.00-12.20 and its $10.00 to get in.

The proposed schedule is below:

10:00 – 10:10am – Welcome (Brian Harris)

10:10 – 11:00am – Don Carson

11:00 – 11:20am – Morning Tea

11:20 – 11:35am – Response (Andrew Hamilton)

11:35 – 11:50am – Response (Geoff Westlake)

11:50 – 12:00pm – Response (Don Carson)

12:00 – 12:20pm – Open discussion

12:30 – 1:30pm – Lunch

Might see you there!


A good friend who would not regard themselves as a Christian asks you ‘What is the gospel?’

What do you reply?

Come on!

Who reckons they can offer a simple definition?…

Its one of the most critical questions we can ever be asked but so many people stumble around like drunken hooligans when faced with it.

I think we need to know how to respond.

Anyone?…35mm digital camera uk

A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity – Final

Ok here goes… my final take on Spencer Burke’s new book.

I have really enjoyed this whole process as it has moved my mind into gear theologically more than I have had to for a little while. The book is not a hard read by any stretch, but it does call you to think about what you believe and why

The last 70-80 pages are essentially focused on the concept of grace and how it impacts on us.

He begins by suggesting Jesus may have been a heretic because he chose to live contrary to Jewish standards. I don’t think anyone would question the fact that Jesus was a rule breaker and status quo annihilator! But a heretic?… Again, this gets down to definitions. What is a heretic?…

Maybe Jesus was a heretic by first century Jewish standards?…

I agree with Spencer that an obsession with the afterlife has dominated much of evangelicalism’s take on salvation. It become a heaven or hell proprosition rather than anything to do with the here and now, a distortion of what the Bible does actually teach. This is pretty tragic and something we starting to move away from.

Spencer’s solution to the current dilemma of religion / institutionalism as he sees it, is a shift towards what he calls ‘mystical responsibility’. He asserts that he ‘is no longer sure if he believes in God exclusively as a person anymore’ p.195 In that he has chosen to incorporate a panetheistic worldview into his thinking so that he now sees us as being ‘in God’ while here on earth, a philosophy he says is more accessible to people who are thinking about faith today.

This is where I tack back the scriptures and the ancient creed which speak of ‘father’, ‘son’ and holy spirit as 3 persons.

The very next section is entitled “I’m a universalist who believes in hell”. He goes on to describe what he means by that:

“When I say I’m a universalist, what I really mean is that I don’t believe you have to convert to any particular religion to find God. God finds us and it has nothing to with subscribing to any particular religious view”

That’s a tricky statement!

Because in part I agree. God is beyond religion. Jesus can be met in a Muslim context as well as a Hindu context, but ultimately there is a religious view that Jesus espouses that we are called to conform to. I don’t believe we can follow Jesus and hold the Koran as our holy book. It just doesn’t make sense.

There is definite appeal in universalism because as Spencer says ” there is a certain madness to the idea that members of only one religious group can make it into heaven because they happen to know Jesus or some other religious figure.”



I can’t get away from the biblical teaching on the exclusivity of Christ. I can’t see how Spencer does. Acts 4 is the ‘no other name’ passage and Paul speaks repeatedly of Jesus death and resurrection as our only hope.

Spencer finishes this section by stating that we need to go one step further and realise that ‘grace is bigger than any religion’. Again I would agree, but I am happy to live with the mystery of ‘what happens to those who have never heard?’ rather than choosing the universalist option.

I really appreciate that Spencer tells us where he sits. One of the common critiques of Brian McClaren’s work is that he doesn’t nail his colours to the mast on tricky subjects, but seems to avoid them. Whether we agree or disagree I like to know what it is we are discussing.

Ironically I liked Spencer’s take on evangelism and conversion because it focused on what God does rather than our effort, as well as noting that conversion is a multi-faceted process.

This is already long enough so I will wrap it up.

There is much that I like in Spencer’s book, but there is also plenty that I take issue with (see previous posts). Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is that there is virtually no attention paid to the place of the cross and Jesus’ death & resurrection in his thinking. Perhaps this is congruent with a more universalistic world view?

I feel this is a huge ommission for a book of this nature and one that will come back bite him on the bum. While he does provoke some good thinking, to avoid discussion of the single most critical event in human history does bear some serious concern. The cross was the focal point of much of Paul’s writings and integral to this gospel, so you would expect that in a discussion on eternity it would feature.

It doesn’t.

I still feel a bit fuzzy on terms like grace and spirituality. I ‘get’ religion, but I find the other two a bit unfamiliar and not easy to digest. I sense we may use them in different ways.

So is Spencer Burke a heretic?

He would say so, and if I read him right then I think I’d agree with his own assessment, but it feels like he is talking heretic in the same way that Patch Adams was a heretic.

Is he onto stuff that maybe we need to hear?

I think he says some great stuff, but you do need a discerning mind to read it all. I would be concerned for a young Christian reading Spencer’s book with no faith grounding.

I actually reckon it’d be a great book to put on the evangelism and theology booklists of our Bible colleges because it does get students to think outside the square and it challenges them to weigh Spencer’s point of view alongside their own. It’d do a lot of them good to be faced with a text like this one.

So – thanks Spencer for the opportunity to review your book. I have really enjoyed it, but as you are aware we do disagree on some core stuff. I wish you well in your own journey of following Christ and look forward to reading whatever else you write.

Blog Links Update

Well after 3 1/2 years of blogging its probably time to update my links. Its a painful process – both tiresome and frustrating because I have known some precious people to get offended over this stuff.

I was very tempted to have no links at all, but in the end I have recategorised and added a whole bunch of new faces from all over.

The criteria for me linking to you is simply that you are a regular blogger who has been going for a while and I read your blog at least occasionally.

There is some real gold in the links over there so be sure and have a dig around.

For those who link here, but who I haven’t yet read much of, there is a category for ‘those kind enough to link here’.

If you think you belong in one of these categories but I have missed you out then feel free to email or leave a comment! If your link is defunct then let me know also.


– you will be very happy now!

My ‘Patch Adams’

Last night for church we watched Patch Adams, the brilliant story of a man with imagination, initiative and the ability to see what others couldn’t.

He just wanted to ‘help people’ – to be a doctor – someone who ‘improves the health of others rather than simply prevents their death’. He dared to challenge a deeply entrenched medical system – a system that was doing both good and ill – and in the process inspired many others to think differently.

He and many of the staff in the existing hospitals both wanted the same thing, but the powerbrokers and stakeholders seemed more preoccupied with maintaining the status quo unaware that it was losing ground and not doing its job.

In the beauracracy that institutions inevitably become, people eventually become less important than outcomes and sooner or later somebody says ‘enough’.

I think there are many in our churches at the moment who share the dream of ‘making disciples’ and seeing the kingdom of God come in our communities, but who have been taught to tow the line by those who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo – those who have lost their vision but still want to keep their jobs.

I thank God for the ‘Patch Adams’ I have met who have called me out of that kind of ministry based on position, power and maintenance into a world where the institutional rules no longer dictate the playing field and where there is freedom of expression.

Upstream Interview….

I recently did an interview for an Oz magazine. Here are the questions and answers if you are interested!…

When was this ministry established and by whom?

[Andrew ] 2003 we arrived – team led by Andrew & Danelle Hamilton, but also 4 other families from Lesmurdie Baptist Church

How did your journey begin to explore new ways of doing ‘church’?

[Andrew ] Didn’t start with a Sunday service – we believe church flows out of mission – agreed there would be nothing that looked like a Sunday service for at least 18 months. We still don’t meet on a Sunday.

Do you consider yourself to be a church planter?

[Andrew ] A missionary is the best description. When people ask I tell them I am leading a missionary team that is planting churches in the northern suburbs.

Briefly, what does your community look like?

[Andrew ] Suburbia – new development – working class for the most part – developers have done a lot of work trying to make the suburb pretty and attract people there – byline in marketing is “Brighton – its what a community should be”( imagine big cheesy grin)

Beyond the week-to-week happenings, how would you explain this approach to “doing church”?

[Andrew ] Simple and seamless – church happens where life happens – we travel light with programs and structure – we hope to stay small and grow by multiplication rather than becoming a large congregation

What has been challenging about this transition/new ‘model’?

[Andrew ] we are familiar with church but not so familiar with living as missionaries ‘in the world’, so we have been learning that there is a whole heap of stuff that is not that important that we have spent time on in the past. Some folks have struggled with no familiar big gig ‘church service’ to attend and found that their own personal spirituality was not as strong as they had hoped.

What has been exciting?

[Andrew ] getting to live as a missionary after so long as a pastor – building real relationships with people I didn’t previously have time for – learning new ways of doing mission and expressing church life

And what has God taught you through this ministry so far?

[Andrew ] Heaps – I am very programmed to think of church in traditional ways and I quickly default to this even when I am trying to move in a different direction – he has taught me that as much as I can connect with people and share the gospel only he changes hearts and I can’t do the work of the spirit – has taught me what is core to the gospel and what is peripheral, what the essence of church is – what it means to love people “. I could go on!

What impact has this community had on those around it?

[Andrew ] that’s hard to tell – for some very significant – for others they probably don’t even know we exist. My wife (Danelle) won the Citizen of the Year award last year and it was her friends who nominated her. That was a huge buzz because she won it for being a loving caring person.

In what ways does a ministry such as this help to draw people to Jesus who would not be attracted through “traditional church”?

We are much freer and have more time to be with them than we in trad church. I still think it’s a long road to faith and people don’t get there overnight.

Have you//others experienced God in a way you hadn’t done beforehand?

Hmm” not really

Where do you hope this ministry is in 3 years time?

That there were would several church communities established by our mission team all simple self sustaining and indigenous to the local community.