I had some stuff to say tonight, but we didn’t get back from our Christmas gig until 9.30 and I am stuffed, so it aint gonna happen!

We are off tomorrow to Busselton for a week with 5 other families from the community as well as a family from our Upstream team. It should be a hoot. A whole week of surfing, diving, fishing and hanging out.

So chances are you won’t hear from me for a while!

Thanks to all those who have been regular readers, commentors and lurkers this year. I hope you had a great Christmas and that we continue the journey in 2007.

Now in the interests of maintaining some obscenity on the front page while I am away here is Hamo’s Christmas fart joke:

A man got married and everything was going well for the new couple except that every morning he would let rip with the loudest, most assaulting fart you have ever heard!

His new bride, while deeply in love, just could not bear it and asked him to stop.

‘I have to do it honey. Its just what blokes do… Better out than in’ he would say.

She couldn’t think of any way to stop him so every morning mr bugle bum would fire up and let rip. Some days he was so loud and forceful he would wake the neighbours. Other days he would just scare his new wife.

She began warning him that one day he would fart so hard he would blow his insides out.

‘Yeh right’ he said. You couldn’t fool this guy. He was a smart cookie.

Then one evening as she was preparing the Christmas turkey she had an idea. Bugle bum had gone to bed early so took the innards from the turkey and placed them on the bedsheet next to bum so that he would find them when he woke up in the morning.

Sure enough – next day bugle bum wakes the house with a fart that disturbed the richter scale. His bride was already in the kitchen but is surprised when an ashen faced bugle bum enters.

‘You were right honey! I did have a bit of accident this morning. But its ok now – I got it all back in…’

Anyway – enjoy your breakfast and I will see you when I get back.

The Big Talk

A friend was round the other day and told me she had just had the ‘big talk’ with her 11 year old son. Ok… I thought – 11 is a fair age to be starting the sex talk these days. Good for you!

She went on to tell me how the talk went, only it wasn’t about sex, it was about Santa. He was asking if Santa was real or not – and he wanted her to be honest. She told him the truth, explained about the origins of Santa and he went off a happy fella.

But I have to admit I was stunned that a kid could get to 11 years old and still be a believer.

We have chosen to tell our kids the truth straight up, but also to allow them to enjoy the myths that surround the Christmas period. Some would find this appalling, while others would see it as most appropriate. Our rationale is that we don’t want them to get caught up in the fable and lose sight of the truth.

They still get excited when they see Santa, they still leave a carrot out for the reindeer, but they will also say to us that they know he’s not real.

(Actually little Sam is scared stupid of Santa and couldn’t sleep tonight. He was worried about reindeers landing on the roof – probably exacerbated by me tossing a tennis ball on the roof just after he had gone to bed…)

But I digress…

What do you think?

Should we let kids live with the myth for a while?

Should we tell them the truth straight up?

What is the best way to go?

I have declared my hand and I am happy to argue for a ‘tell em the truth’ approach based on the amount of crap that currently surrounds the Christmas period. As Christians I believe we can still celebrate well, enjoy the fun and festivities, even allow our kids to enjoy some Santa stuff, but without them growing up as believers.

Ok – your turn!

When Your World Rocks

An Aussie mate by the name of Glenn who is living in the US just got news that his 3 year old daugher Madison has been diagnosed with a form of liver cancer that typically attacks young children.

A biopsy will be done on Tuesday and we’d love people to pray for a bit of a miracle and the tumor to either be benign or non-existent.

Those of us with kids can imagine a bit of how this would feel, so if you want to make a point of it then I know Glenn and family would really appreciate it.

FYI – Glenn is an ex Warwick Church of Christ bloke, living in US with his wife and 3 kids but planning on coming back to Perth to plant a church in the next few years. We have developed a friendship over the last two years and we have really appreciate the way they have supported us.

Missionary Position

Here at Upstream we are always open to people joining us either as part of our community, or for those who seek a higher level of commitment as part of the mission team.

If you would like to take up the challenge of mission in the burbs then give us a call to discuss what it would mean to join the team.

If you considering overseas mission and would like to flex your ‘mission’ muscles locally first then it would be worth spending a year with our team to observe and learn how a mission team functions.

At the moment there are 5 families in the core team and I am praying for several more to assist us as we serve the local community and connect with people.

If you are overseas and would like to spend a year in Oz intentionally serving in a mission capacity (and you are able to self fund) then give us a call to discuss the options!

Obscenity, Sin or Just Humour?

Grendel has been asking deep philosophical questions

regarding this post.

The question is “is it sin or just obscene; and where is the boundary?”

I probably show a few pics that some folks wouldn’t, but I would argue they are not ‘obscene’. Perhaps not what you would show your grandma, but probably something you would chuckle about rather than say ‘echhh!’

For me the difference between obscene and acceptable is like the difference between art and pornography where a nude figure is displayed.

As we wandered the art gallery today there were some nudes, but I didn’t find myself feeling guilt and shame looking at them. However if I had picked up a porno mag on the way home that would have been an entirely different proposition.

So how do you see it?

Where is the boundary?

What are Christians allowed to laugh at and what should we turn away from?

I believe there is definitely some stuff that is over the edge, but how do you know?…

Job From Another Point of View

Today was Danelle’s 37th birthday so we took the day off and headed into the city to wander, have lunch and hang out. It was nice to be able to relax together while mum and dad looked after the kids.

We had lunch at ‘Secret Garden’, a little cafe down a laneway off Murray st. The Moroccan burger was great (Danelle’s choice) but my salt and pepper squid was a bit bland. I have to say that friendly staff can often make up for average food and this was the case today. I’d go there again on the strength of the staff!

We went to the Art gallery after that and looked at the ‘Under God’s Hammer‘ exhibition as well as the collection of indigneous art. It was intriguing to see how the Job story was portrayed by these two artists and their understanding of the prescence/absence of God in the whole thing. The piece of aboriginal art that was most striking was the image of an aboriginal father dressed in suit and tie holding hands with his daughter (I am guessing) which was overlaid with some 1950’s (?) research on aboriginal people describing them as lazy, unambitious and poor with money. It was a powerful 3 part depiction and I won’t do it justice here.

I wished I had longer to chew it all over, but it was off to 130’s for a coffee and cake! Since January last year I have had a 2 free coffee and cake voucher that I haven’t used, so today we cashed it in. (Thanks Dave Meldrum!)

130’s is regarded as one of Perth’s most popular coffee joints, but I have always found the staff a bit stand offish and so have chosen to use Greens instead. As for the coffee… it was nice, but not earthshattering. The lemon lime brulee pie with fair dinkum whipped cream (not out of a can) was fantastic though! The staff were… well… I think I’ll stick with Greens!

What is a Cult?

Scott is back from holidays and making up for lost time. One of his posts today addresses the question ‘what is a cult?’ because it was suggested to him that his group may be a cult.

We have also had that suggestion made of us, (but I asked my wives and they don’t think its accurate…)

Here is the list Scott put up drawn from work by Adrian Van Leen, a West Aussie cult watcher.

download one flew over the cuckoo s nest divx

1. The Preaching of Fundamentalist Revival

2. The Leader’s/Pastor’s Domination

3. Arrogant Authoritanism

4. Regular Calls to Submission and Obedience

5. Strong Emphasis on Tithing

6. Narrow Outlook and Perspective

7. Poor Theological Training

8. Distorted Theological Emphasis

9. Insensitive Simplistic Solutions

10. Agressive Recruiting/Proselytising

11. Intense Confession

12. Promotion of Guilt

13. Alienation

14. Exclusiveness

When you look at it from that angle we don’t fit many of the categories even slightly. The ironic thing is that some ‘churches’ may actually be more cult-like than ‘cults’!

How does your church rate?

Is Mark Edwards a cult leader – after all he has only obtained a degree from the Baptist Theological College in WA?

Ok, i jest (no really Mark 🙂 ) but is it not disturbing how that list doesn’t just fit Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but does fit at times quite neatly in some strands of the contemporary western church?…