We Interrupt this Break in Transmission to Bring you a Mid Year Post

On Not Blogging

Well its been over 6 months since my last post”so I thought I’d just chip in at this point with some thoughts on life as a non-blogger and to update anyone who is interested on what’s been going on in ‘backyard missionary land’.

To be honest I wasn’t sure how I would fare simply pulling up stumps and going ‘cold turkey’ after nearly 4 years of regular blogging. Surprisingly it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I thought it might be.

Lurking in the back of my mind was the nagging concern that I might be addicted to blogging or I might be ‘finding my identity’ in blogging, but if the absence of any ‘withdrawal’ symptoms is any indicator then it seems neither of these are significant enough to be a problem.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed blogging for a couple of weeks, and I have to admit that I am aware of my slide down the technorati rankings also as my so called friends de-linked me” (just kidding) Somehow in the bigger scheme of things this just doesn’t seem that much of a deal”

However I do miss having a place to dump my thoughts and interact with others. I began a private blog to try and keep writing, but because there was no commenting I soon lost interest. I have never been a good journaller and my private blog only served to remind me of that. Boring as hell if I’m honest. The online debate that this blog ignites really helps me to clarify what I am thinking, but its pretty hard when there’s only yourself to argue with…

Having made the decision to also pull right back on preaching and teaching this year I have at times really missed forums to discuss ideas and places to share what I am learning and thinking. My original intent was to take a 2 year break, but having observed where I am at and shared the journey with friends I am not so sure that its necessary. I probably could come back to blogging now, but I think I will see the year out as a personal discipline.

Random Theological Ruminations

I have done a lot of this over the last 6 months.

Some of the more significant questions I have been chewing on are:

Who is ‘saved’? While on holidays I read a great book entitled 4 Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.

It wasn’t exactly holiday reading, but it certainly raised plenty of great questions! It essentially addressed the question of how people can be saved and whether Christ is the only way – and if he is what that means. Clark Pinnock’s view (that Christ is present in all world religions in a ‘common grace’ type of way ) is quite different to the more traditional particularlist / exclusivist view. I am still chewing on this one.

How do we do ‘communion’ or whatever your tradition chooses to call it? I have come back to some foundational questions like who can take it and how should we do it? What did Jesus expect us to do and what did he not care about? I have tried to look at it thru a more sacramental lens in recent years, but I’m afraid my upbringing is too strong and I am very much of the ordinance mindset. That said I am still chewing thru how we do it as a community.

The challenge of being an evangelical. I audited a unit at the Baptist Theol College here in Perth earlier in the year and found it fascinating to think thru how we have arrived at where we are today as ‘evangelicals’. The four distinctives of evangelicals are:

1. Crucicentrism – a focus on the cross as central

2. Biblicism – we are people of the book

3. Activism – we like to do things and work hard

4. Conversionism – we emphasise the moment of conversion strongly and measure our effectiveness by this.

While much of this is good, every strength has its shadow side and perhaps the one that I pondered the most was the emphasis on conversionism and how this led to at times quite extreme pragmatism – a ‘whatever gets them over the line’ type of mentality. We discussed the pros and cons of Impact World Tour (I have expressed my opinions here) and how pragmatism had fuelled some pretty dodgy practices in the name of getting people ‘saved’. (I’ll stop there because I don’t want to open that wound up again!)

Life Shifts

Some of you would know that last year I picked up the role of National Forge Director with Al Hirsch heading off to the US. That hasn’t been earth shattering, but has simply been a case of picking up where Al left off. I am a huge believer in calling people to think more creatively about how we connect with people who have no interest in church, so I am still sold out on what we as Forge are on about.

I also finish my role of coaching youth pastors at the end of this month. We have a new Director Ministry in the Baptist Churches and we have seen some changes. I am one of those changes and my contract was not renewed. At this stage I don’t think I will pursue any new work, but instead will just give more time to Forge WA and Upstream. (If you’d like to see a bit of what we are doing with Upstream then you can see a vid clip here made by American, Patrick Cone. Patrick came to Oz to make a doco on different missional adventures and we were one of the ones that made it into his final product. It gives a great insight into who we are.

After much agony I eventually sold the old blue 1981 4 Speed Landcruiser and upgraded” to a 1985 Landcruiser. No one can accuse me of wasting money on cars! I set out to buy a car that had done less than 200 000Kms, was under $10K, with no rust and on LPG. This one fitted the bill and I got the guy to drop from $7500.00 to $5K so it was a great buy. I tell you what, if its possible to fall in love with a car then I think I am doing it now! Even better was that Mike Russell from our Upstream team gave me $1500 for the old beast so its like she’s still in the family!

I have also started footy tipping and as I write this am currently leading the SUWA footy tipping competition with a score of 56 after round 10. For a bloke who knows absolutely nothing about football I reckon it’s a hoot. My good friend Kent Morgan reckons he’s going to sneak up on me and knock me off, but I wouldn’t be so sure Morgs! The funny thing is that I am now interested in football and even watch the footy show each Thursday night. (It has got to be one of the most wacky debauched, blokefests I have ever come across – just my thing”)


Well that’s it for now. I’ll shuffle off back into retirement for another 6 months and then re-launch backyardmissionary again in 2008.

(I’m very curious to see if anyone actually reads this!)