Chill Out

I often think David Fitch says it well and he does again with his comments on whether the whole ’emerging’ scene is dead, sick, passe or whatever.

I really couldn’t give a rodent’s posterior whether nametags gain traction or die, but that the church is renewed and re-inspired to focus on the things that are close to God’s heart… well that’s a biggie.

I was a missionary before I knew about emergent, missional, organic churches and I don’t think anything is going to change that. I have been blessed to be heavily involved in the conversations, training and agitating to see the church re-imagined, but I’m not going to die for a brand or a name tag.

In fact the need to sustain a brand is in my opinion one of the potential undoings of any move of God. We then ossify what was once dynamic and in doing so drain it of the potency it once held.

Let’s keep focused on the stuff that matters and that gives shape to the kingdom and let’s not waste time on the stuff of ego and empire.

Blood the New Black?…

I don’t think I am a prude or a feminist, but I do think these T Shirts being sold now by Roger David are very very dumb.

Sure, on a philosophical level it raises questions of ‘what is art?’ ‘How does censorship work?’ etc, but on a practical day to day level you just have to look at it and say someone had their head up their butt when they made this decision.

Interestingly Roger David have defended their decision on their facebook page…

There is an online petition to object, or you could just walk into the store and let them know what you think…

I reckon a hundred angry customers in each store would see the T shirts disappear in a day or two. At the moment while they may be getting muddied on one level, but they are also getting some free advertising, however I don’t think they’d be too happy about people asking questions in person and expressing some rage in person in store.

I imagine if this was ‘art’ at an art exhibit it would come with a ‘warning’ at the entrance about the nature of the images, but obviously this doesn’t happen in a clothes store.

Reality check for RD!

Here are some links related to the issue:

News article

Melissa Tankard blog post

Roger David home page

Online Petition

I have been putting together a website for our church community at Quinns over the last few weeks and gradually adding content to the point where it is now ‘open for business’.

Creating a website is a really challenging task because you are trying to describe and define yourself succinctly and honestly both to those who are part of the community and those ‘looking in’.

Like other tools of this nature it’s easy for it to become a marketing exercise where the whole look and feel of the website is at odds with the look and feel of the actual church community. In doing this I hope those who know both would say that there is a fair degree of congruence between both online and real life.

In this case I have chosen a wordpress / blog format as I like the look and ease of use for others in the community. It also keeps the ‘latest news’ front and centre and easy to access.

There are still some pages to be filled but feel free to stop by and have a look. Recently I was debating whether to put Sunday teaching online and I ended up deciding to do it but in a members section which requires password access. The reason for this choice was because the learning is specific to our own community and I am also wary of letting my words loose online. Believe it or not I am very selective about what I put in print, but knowing how much I ‘freewheel’ in speaking I am reluctant to put it out there at this stage.

Anyway… It’s a website… A way of helping our church community communicate better (amongst many ways) and a window to those in the community who want to get a feel of who we are.


My good mate Steve McAlpine has been doing it tough over the last few months as it was fairly certain he had pancreatic cancer and the odds of any kind of recovery were not good.

I was just reading on his facebook this morning that it turns out to be serious gall bladder issues – which is absolutely sensational (relatively speaking…)

We’re going to catch up soon to have dinner so it will be good to hear some of the journey this family have been on as they have had to face a potential death sentence and then be given a reprieve. I imagine it would make you see life quite a bit differently!

I guess the question comes up – ‘did God heal him or did the docs get it wrong?’

And while I still believe in miracles I couldn’t give a fig which of the above is true and I am pretty sure they’ll take either option as well!

Very happy to hear such great news.

Sadly another good mate Kim Hammond has just found out that his little fella Carter has been diagnosed with leukemia – bloody terrible news – so if you’re the praying kind then I am sure the Hammond family would value anything you’ve got.

I Still Believe in Miracles

One of the things I have noticed is that as I get older I am less compelled to believe some of the things I did as a younger person.

For example, I no longer subscribe to a literal 7 day creation view, holding more to the view that God created, but evolutionary processes are still in place and that these were his idea too. I realise for some that is anathema, but I think it is both faithful to scripture and reason.

I am less convinced of what it means to be ‘saved’ these days and what constitutes a ticket to heaven or a one way route to hell. As Dallas Willard says ‘surely salvation is about than God inspecting our brain to make sure we have an adequate theology of the atonement’. I find myself a lot more circumspect about making any of those ‘in’ / ‘out’ judgements and I continue to wonder what critical theology we (as evangelicals) have got wrong that God will overlook in his grace.

But while the more debatable aspects of faith have seen me tempering my views and admitting my own limited understanding I haven’t lost faith in the miraculous. We are about to read John 6 as part of our teaching at Quinns and the story of the miraculous feeding of 5000 people doesn’t lend itself to a lot interpretation. It feels like a story we either take at face value and say ‘wow – no idea how – but wow!’ or we toss it and the rest of Jesus’ miracles out.

Of course the Bible gets pretty thin then and when we stop allowing for the element of supernatural we really aren’t talking about Christian faith any more.

I guess a creationist could argue that God ‘supernaturally’ created in 7 days calendar days… but then the weight of evidence to support an alternate view is strong and it does not compromise the integrity of the Bible to hold a different view.


There hasn’t been much of it these last few weeks!

I am trying to keep my Retic business to just 3 days a week and while I have been able to do that, it has meant I have had to put in a few 10-12 hour days. When you’re in the sun on hot days digging trenches it means you come home weary and with little brain activity.

I don’t think I have had a coherent thought worth publishing on here for ages, but that’s just life for me at the moment.

Its been a challenge to keep working my business at a healthy pace as the demand increases and there have been a few frantic days when I have felt like just giving it away. I have actually forgotten a couple of customers in the last few weeks and that is quite out of character for me and a sign I am trying to do too much. There have also been a few warranty issues that need to be squeezed in around the already packed schedule. Some have been genuine issues and others have been simple wear and tear and not really my issue – but often you don’t know till you get there…

Its been good to have someone working with me on big jobs because there are times on the really hot days when all has been going pear shaped I have just felt like packing up and going home. Much easier to keep going when two of you are there.

Anyway just thought I’d pop my head up for a minute and let you know that the pace of life has sped up considerably and the depth of thought on here might well decrease proportionately!

Middo The Greenthumb is Back

Middo’s back in Oz and he’s re-starting his gardening blog. You can find him here.

On the blog you will find:

– free hints, tips and traps on gardening;

– promotion of the planting and growth of Australian Native Plants;

– a link to Middo’s gardening business for people in the Perth Metro area

Check him out!

Need a Plumber?

If you live in the Perth area and need a plumber then I can recommend Geoff of GL Plumbing who has been doing some work for me over the last few months.

He’s a young bloke just starting a business and does an excellent job at a decent price. Lately he’s been doing it tough in terms of finding work so if you need a plumber give him a thought.

I know what its like trying to find a reliable, honest tradie so even if you don’t need one now you can tuck this one away for the future.

If Holiness Isn’t All About ‘Thou Shalt Not’ Then What is It?

Here are some great thoughts on world engaging holiness from my good friend Alan Hirsch. I think he says it clearly and succinctly.

Before we move on to some of the many wonderful expressions of the Holy Spirit, we thought it important to address some of our misunderstandings around the issue of holiness. As mentioned in chapter 1, often our understanding of biblical holiness is one that leads us to see holiness from a negative perspective or as a list of “don’ts” and prohibitions. One of the key roles of the Holy Spirit is to oversee the change process by which we become holy, and when holiness is properly understood, it is actually an incredibly redemptive, highly missional concept.

Part of the problem with our understanding of holiness relates to the fact that we understand the word “holy” as a passive adjective when we refer to the “Holy” Spirit. But there is another, more distinctly Hebraic way of translating the original language that emphasizes other dimensions of the work of the Spirit in our lives. Rather than translating hagia as a passive adjective (“the Spirit who is holy”) we can legitimately translate it far more dynamically as “the Sanctifying Spirit”—that is, it is the Spirit who is actively engaged in making the world a more holy place. Isn’t this who God is, and doesn’t it far better describe what he is doing all the time?

When we talk of God as being holy, or of Jesus as holy, or of the Holy Spirit, we must resist the temptation to see holiness in moralistic terms, or else we do violence to the idea of the redeeming God and end up seeing God as the ultimate moralist! That is simply bad theology. God is the model of holiness and we must become like the One we love. “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness” (1 Peter 1:15 Message).

A Hebraic understanding of holiness suggests that all of life is actually in the process of being redeemed and brought into the sphere of the sacred: Holiness begins with God, flows into our own hearts and our lives, moves from there into the community, and eventually reaches every aspect of life in the world. God is extending his sanctity over ever-increasing portions of life until all is made holy. God is never a detached observer, but is deeply involved in the sanctification of the world. In fact he leads the charge!

This way of understanding holiness is far more world- engaging, and is best exemplified in the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. As we have seen, the biblical concept of holiness provides us with a much more active, and therefore missional, understanding of holiness than we are used to in the Western tradition. Holiness is not gained by withdrawal from the world, but by active, redemptive, engagement in the world.

Instead of looking at holiness as a list of “don’ts,” see it as a list of “do’s”; for every prohibition in Scripture actually implies its positive. In fact, positive virtue generates the prohibition. For instance, in the Ten Commandments, “do not kill” actually teaches that we should value and preserve life. “Do not commit adultery” implies we should actively pursue holiness in relationships, and so on.