Building Community

I was chatting with one the members of our Brighton Residents Association committee today. She is concerned that in one months time the team of 9 people will shrink to 4 as members move on, but that there is no one to replace them.

Recently a community survey sent to every house in Brighton (3500) got a return of 11. I can see our local residents assoc struggling to survive in this kind of atmosphere, but truth is that very few people want to buy into this kind of commitment and activity.

I am pondering why as I would guess it may be similar in your suburb.

Despite all the marketing about Brighton being ‘what a community should be’ there sometimes seems to be a general lack of interest in what is going on around the place as well as a general lack of desire to get involved.

Makes you wonder how sustainable these babies are I reckon…

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Just Say Yes and Work out the Details Later…

For the last year this has been my approach to the irrigation and landscaping work I do.

I have never been known for my home handy man skills – in fact one of the standing jokes at our last church – was that ‘dangerous’ was defined as Hamo with a Bunnings bag! However part of the problem was that I was never interested in any of the handyman work I was faced with. I had plenty of things occupying my mind and didn’t want to carve out a space in my brain to figure out how to hang a door or install a kitchen.

Lately I’ve been much more interested in this kinda stuff and funnily enough I have got better at it. A few years back when faced with a practical task I wasn’t familiar with I would simply ‘pay a man’, but now I’d prefer to have a go myself – so long as I have time and brainspace to figure it out.

Lately I’ve had a few jobs where I haven’t known exactly what to do at the time of starting, but what I know is that if you do your homework you can solve anything – so long as you are motivated…

I don’t have a natural practical inclination, but I am getting better at this stuff, so maybe one day people will stop running in fear when they see me with a Bunnings bag…

Attractional or Attractive?

I heave a bit of a sigh as I write this, but I’m a little weary of the way these words get used interchangeably to describe church, when I would suggest they have quite different meanings. I hear it and read it regularly so for what its worth here is my explanation of the difference.

As one of the crew (Forge

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) who – as far as I know – began the use of the word ‘attractional’, I’d say I probably have a fair idea of what we mean by it – and certainly in our understanding it doesn’t mean the same as ‘attractive’.

Not at all.

In missional church lingo the term ‘attractional’ refers to the way a church seeks to do all it can to get people to the service. This might be better music, more comfy seats or a free car (serious…) It is all about marketing and developing a way of getting people ‘in’. It operates on the assumption that people actually want in… a bloody big assumption if you ask me…

I am not a fan of church being attractional. I believe the foundational assumption is flawed. People are not sitting at home just waiting for us to get the show right and then they will come. This approach will lead us to more focus on style and less on substance.

However I believe Christian community ought to be attractive. If there is genuine Christ centred community happening where we are loving one another deeply and sharing life then it will be attractive to people. Perhaps not to all however. Community can be frightening – exposing us and leaving us vulnerable – it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

But the foundational assumption here is not that people are waiting to join us if only we could ‘get things right’. It is simply that if we are a genuine community then chances are that will be very attractive to many. And if they encounter our community then they will find it life giving.

So am I saying we should have crap music, lousy teaching and poor coffee?


We don’t need to do these things poorly. But doing them with ‘excellence’ will not be the difference between people coming or not coming. I’d say that doing these things well will probably make us more attractive, but if these are the factors drawing people to us, rather than the depth of community we experience then those people will not be genuinely connected and discipled and will disappear as soon as someone else offers better quality preaching, music etc.

This is not about church expressions. Large, small, alternative, traditional etc. It is about the imagination of church that shapes us.

Anyway I hope that’s cleared up what I find to be an ongoing confusion when it comes to missional ‘terminology’.

Life in the Street

‘Hanging out the front’ seems to be an art form in our street, and as summer draws closer it looks like we’ll be doing a lot more of it. The kids play out there and if you’re feeling a bit bored you’ve only got to walk out your front door to be greeted by friendly faces sitting and having a smoke or a drink. The time of day is usually irrelevant.

This pic is of our next door neighbour’s place where there are regular gatherings of 4 or 5 families from the street to simply catch up. I reckon these folks really know the art of hospitality and making people feel welcome.

Also, I learnt today that when we had first moved in one of the neighbours had me pegged as a drug dealer. Because I worked from home and we had so many people coming and going that was his conclusion…

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Travel Plans

The falling Aussie dollar is a bit of a worry as we look at heading to the US next year. Earlier this year we were looking at getting almost dollar for dollar value as exchange, but now its under 80c and sliding. Bugger. Hopefully another 6 months will see it move back up, but who knows…

On a more positive note our next door neighbours will be renting our house and looking after Winston while we are gone so that is very nice. We have intentionally agreed to rent the house cheaply to friends rather than do it commercially, a) because it helps them out b) the risk factor is lower. So that will bring a constant small income supply while we are gone and will help out. Its about $200.00/week under market value but these are great people and it works for both of us.

The plan is still to leave in April, but lately my carpal tunnel syndrome has been pretty bad, meaning digging and retic work is quite painful. We don’t really want to leave earlier, but I’m not sure how long ‘Brighton Reticulation’ will last at this rate. I may evaporate (pardon the pun) off the landscape as quickly as I struck it last year in November. It’d be a real shame as I love the work, enjoy meeting the local people and love the exercise factor. Its also pretty good money and I’d need to replace the income some way or other.

Sometimes you have periods where life is simple and other times it just gets complicated… That’s life hey?…

More Iphone Thoughts from a Non Groupie

After a rocky start I am quite liking it but not yet blown away.

The original frustrating issue – not being able to connect to my own wireless network – was solved by getting another router. This was something we needed to do anyway and everyone in the house is much happier with the strength of the ‘N’ signal over the ‘G’. But it doesn’t explain it… And as I sit in my in-laws home in Moore River I also can’t connect to their wireless network with the same phone…

To be precise, the phone detects the network, shows that it is connected but will not download data. Weird. My router was a netgear and this one is a belkin – both older models I am guessing, but I wouldn’t have thought the type of signal would be the issue?

This is a frustrating issue when out of 3G range as the connectivity is the aspect I enjoy the most.

As a phone I can’t complain. It makes and recieves calls – but then I doubt anyone buys a phone these days simply for these features – ironic? I have a Nokia 1100 at home with a black and white screen and no functions at all, but the battery life of a Beduoin camel. I have occasionally contemplated just using that – but then its not about the ‘phone’ qualities – is it?…

I’m not sure that the iphone has increased my social standing as I had hoped. I have flashed it around my neighbours a few times, but they haven’t gooed and gahed as I had imagined they would – bloody philistines. I had expected that girls would be more likely to smile at me in cafes and that more people would want to be my friend on facebook… I thought I would feel stronger, more chic and sexy. I had expected that more people would be pointing me out as the cool guy… I guess even with an iphone I am still a greying middle aged man… oh well maybe the next status toy will do it for me (tongue out of cheek now – in case you were wondering)

I have found myself browsing the range of apps for iphone quite regularly and I do like the scope of these tools/toys. I know you can pick up similar for Nokia etc, but I never did as it all seemed too difficult. These are interesting and novel – or maybe just a reflection on how dull my life is…

I am still getting used to the whole process of adding video or music via itunes. I haven’t found that a simple process at all. I don’t know if its supposed to be easier, but if you didn’t have the time or patience to play around you’d be frustrated pretty quickly. I think I’ve got it sussed now, but not as straight forward as I had hoped.

As far as appearance goes – I like it. Simplicity is good and the lack of places for grit to get stuck is a welcome change from my E65. I will be keeping it and have ordered the necessary protection to try and keep it from looking like my current phone does! Landscaping work lends itself to things getting dirty and scratched so we’ll see how we go…

So – all in all I’m pretty happy with it and enjoying learning.

Yes, battery life is still not real good and I don’t see an easy work around, but for now I’m willing to accept this as a limitation.

Anyway I’m off to get an apple tattooed under the grey hairs on my chest this morning… Maybe this summer I will be ‘the man’…cherry falls dvd download

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