‘It is NOT a Church’

So go the opening lines of this conversation between ‘Current Affair’ and Geoff and Barbara, two irate neighbours who have been living next to the Scarborough Baptist Church.

Current Affair: But you bought a house next to a church?…

Geoff & Barbara: Its not a church… its NOT a church…

Clearly in Geoff and Barbara’s mind is an ecclesiology that Scarborough have been able to move away from as they seek to engage with and serve their community. While Geoff and Barbara see church as something that happens very quietly on a Sunday morning, Scarborough have managed to really position themselves effectively in their community and do some wonderful work.

For those who are committed to missional expressions of church this raises some interesting questions because these neighbours have made it really hard for the church to fulfill its mission. It can gather on a Sunday morning so long there is no fuss, but these community activities don’t really have anything to do with a church… do they?…

I’m guessing Geoff and Barbara haven’t done much theological study, and while their answer might have been typical 40 years ago these days it is an oddity.

A church that was on life-support not so long ago has had new energy breathed into it and is now a beautiful picture of what a very ordinary bunch of people can do it they just stick at it and seek to be salt and light in their own context.

I do have a personal interest in this one as Scarborough was the church I grew up in as a teenager, the first church I worked in as a pastor and the church that my folks are still a part of (see if you can pick them in the video).

My favourite part of the story is the opening where elderly Ivy (pictured above) gets asked if she’s a bit of a wild thing… Then there are the stories of people’s lives influenced and changed by their involvement with the church. And they are fantastic stories!

Its a dangerous business allowing the media anywhere near your church community, but for Scarborough they have certainly come up smelling of roses. Their neighbours however…


We all need a place to call home.

Obviously some folks ‘need’ a more impressive one than others. Sometimes its hard to define ‘excess’ and other times… well

India’s richest man, and Forbes’s fourth richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has built the world’s most expensive house in Mumbai. It is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

The lavish building– named Antilia, after the mythical island– has 27 stories, is 173 meters high and has 37,000 square meters of floor space — more than the Palace of Versailles. It contains a health club with a gym and dance studio, at least one swimming pool, a ballroom, guestrooms, a variety of lounges and a 50-seater cinema. There are three helicopter pads on the roof and a car park for 160 vehicles on the ground floors. It’s obviously quite a job keeping all this running smoothly, so the house, if you can call it that, also boasts a staff of 600. And all this for just Ambani, his wife and their three children to enjoy.

Pre-millenial Party Tricks

This made me chuckle

You’ve committed your life to Jesus. You know you’re saved. But when the Rapture comes what’s to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you’ve received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.

We are currently active in 24 states. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral / ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet’s natural life….

For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved ….

Sounds like a bargain to me…

It reminded me of the story of the door to door evangelist who was predicting the end of the world very soon and calling people to repent and be saved. The owner of the home asked him if he was absolutely sure of his message, to which the evangelist replied ‘of course!’

The smart homeowner then said he’d become a Christian if the evangelist would sign over all of his worldly assets to him on the day he predicted the world’s end.

Seeing he wouldn’t need them any more it seemed like a fair thing.

Of course the evangelist wasn’t that sure of his prediction…

Stupidity on Steroids

I’m looking at you Target…

This weekend Danelle, Ellie and 7 other girls from our church community head off to Bali to get involved with some of the work that is going on in orphanages over there. As they go they take as much good second hand clothing as they can carry to give to those who have very very little.

Danelle also sends clothing over with anyone who is going to Bali and the front room of our house (that in most homes is a home theatre!) is now a Bali storeroom chock full of the next batch of stuff to be sent across.

Yesterday we got word that Target were disposing of several hundred women’s singlets that they had been unable to sell. They were ‘tipping’ them in a skip bin… And not just tipping them but slashing them to ribbons first so no one could use them or bring them back for a refund.

They were told of the Bali project and asked if they would be prepared to donate them – clean new clothes – to people with very little – but the answer was ‘no’.

Not their policy…

What a bunch of knobs…

What can I say but its a clear case of stupidity on steroids…

Goodbye (For Ever)

Ok, so I know I’m late to this story, but it is a goodie so I’m recording it here for the benefit of those who may not have come across it (ie – if you have been living in a cave in the back reaches of Afghanistan). It was widely reported, but probably struck a chord in many of us who have at times considered making a grand exit from our jobs.

Steven Slater, a US JetBlue flight attendant reached the end of his tether while on the job after being abused by a passenger. A New York Times report says that after 20 years working as a flight attendant, one final disagreement with a passenger was one disagreement too much for Slater.

One passenger stood up to retrieve belongings from the overhead compartment before the crew had given permission. Mr. Slater instructed the person to remain seated. The passenger defied him. Mr. Slater reached the passenger just as the person was pulling down the luggage, which struck Mr. Slater in the head. This was the straw…

Mr. Slater asked for an apology. The passenger instead swore at him. Mr. Slater then got on the plane’s public-address system and gave the passenger a serve of expeletives for all to hear. Then, after declaring that 28 years in the airline industry was enough, he blurted out, “It’s been great!” He grabbed a couple of beers from the aircraft’s kitchen, activated the inflatable evacuation slide at a service exit and made his way to his car before driving home… where he was arrested…

The comments on the story have ranged from considering the guy a complete loser to seeing him as a hero. I’m guessing the truth is a little more complex, but I’m also guessing he may have planned that exit for a while and that was the day he had just had enough.

I imagine many people experience what he did – utter frustration in their jobs – but few would ever take action like he did, so I guess we will enjoy his moment vicariously!

What struck me were the inane questions of the TV reporters who questioned Slater as he was leaving the police station. ‘Why are you smiling?’ they kept asking. Crikey I’d be smiling too if I’d just done what he’d done! You might as well enjoy the moment…

I have occasionally thought of how I’d make a grand exit from a church based job, but my guess is if my ‘grand exit’ ever came to fruition I would permanently unemployable! I won’t go into all of the details, but suffice to say I’d wait for a full moon to coincide with a day on which I am preaching…

The news report suggested that Steven Slater’s future as an airline attendant was ‘up in the air’… although I think that may be overly generous.

A second ‘grand exit‘ was also reported this week, but has turned out to be a fake. Still if you enjoy a laugh here’s the link

One of Us?…

I think most barely sensible human beings would put Fred Phelps in the complete nutbag category. Sadly for those of us who claim to be Christians, he calls himself one of us and for those of us who are ‘Baptists’ he is one of us too.

Ah… don’t think so!

So I must admit I took great delight in seeing this post.

Westboro Baptist Church showed up to protest in front of Twitter’s San Francisco office on Thursday, but found themselves severely outnumbered by a crowd of absurdist pranksters. Here’s one image from the day, but go read the whole post to get the skinny. Its a hoot.

And in case you thought we Aussies were out of his reach think again… Sadly what this does prove is that you can use the Bible to justify even the most absurd of positions.

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

Is it April Fools Day in Queensland?

From Mark Edwards man who came back the dvd

The Qld Baptists are proposing this motion…

“The new ‘Interim Registration Guidelines’ for Queensland Baptists were sent out by e-mail today to pastors and a shock was in store for those who read all the way through. They discovered in Section 11 ‘General Guidelines’, the following:

11.5 Registered Ministers should be total abstainers from the use of alcohol”

What the?…

All I can say is that I am glad I don’t live in Queensland! I think I would be jumping ship pretty quickly, partly on practical grounds and partly on theological.

I share much of Mark’s sentiment so check his blog for more thoughts.

Funnily enough while on alcohol… here we are in Port Hedland and I stopped in today to grab a cask of red, but because of the severe alcohol issues in this part of the world you can’t buy wine in casks until 2pm. So while recognising the social damage that alcohol does, I think the book of Galatians would have something to say to those in Qld who formed the document in question.

Even more I reckon Jesus would be very cheesed off.

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