Friday, January 30, 2004

Blogging from the bach

Wine glass full (Gisborne Chardonnay) and fresh garden salad open. I am at Auckland airport, at the bach café.

Bach . n. colloquial New Zealand term referring to secondary abode/beach house/temporary escape/sanctuary/

It has been an excellent week with the Church and Society class. However, 3 days lecturing 4 hours a day, and I am stuffed. Glad to be coming home.

Owen Marshall’s South Island Prayer
Don’t let me die in Auckland
Rotting in the heat before your
eyes are closed: a greasy take
away after the soul is gone.
Jesus, no.

Let me go with the old Southerly
Buster: river stones in the grey
flecked sky and that white wind
to keep your chin up.
Christ, yes

From Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts and Mike Grimshaw..

The last hour of class today we went to Borders.
1. To explore Borders as a contemporary shopping experience – the creation of ways for people to interact, the multiplicity of choice, the democratisation of information – and its implications for both church and society.

2. For coffee, and to give space for students to interact with me in a different setting. Increasingly I am convinced that it is around informal settings that students really process material and that my task as lecturer is to both give material to process and create spaces for that processing to happen. Again today, as in my lectures last year, café space allowed far deeper learning and interaction to occur.

Posted by steve at 10:07 PM

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Ello comes to church and society

Ello-opolisgodly play.

Last week I offered a prize to anyone who could guess the link between Ello and Church and Society.


Posted by steve at 08:50 PM

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Church and Society Summer schooling

First day of my lecturing Church and Society at the University of Auckland Summer School; 33 students, good cultural and gender and age mix. It is really nice to be doing it in the heart of Auckland; High Court just down the street, Old Parliament buildings across the street.

Today was introductions and learning styles; then how we can find God, not only in the Bible, but also in society and church communities. After lunch we explored the various ways that church has responded to society.
complete with a few case studies including Faithless, God is a DJ and this fascinating comment on contemporary attitudes to church;

It’s a pity their [church] withdrawal from society at large has become so complete they sought out a solution without communicating with society.

Posted by steve at 10:13 PM

A snobs journey

OK, so I’m a snob. Now that’s clear, I need to weed through my life. How did I end up a snob?


Posted by steve at 06:42 PM

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I am a snob according to andrew jones

Andrew Jones is a good friend. He saved me in Seattle when I was undergoing extreme US and emerging church culture shock. The tall skinny Kiwi gently tucked the cultureshocked short Kiwi under his arm and lead him away for coffee.

Andrew is like the wind- he has promised/tried to meet me twice in London and once in Paris, but has been blown in other directions.

Alas, our friendship appears poised on the abyss, as I am a snob. I commented here of a certain amount of irony in a megachurch seeking an emerging church pastor. Andrew in response called the commentsnobbish here, and defined his position about megachurches here.

I love you Andrew, but I’m not changing my position. There is too large a gap between the command and control structures of most mega-churches and the both the chaos of the internet and angst of European postmodernity for me to put the two together.


Can 1 short Kiwi and one tall skinny Kiwi still hongi (touch noses in peace, a ancient Maori way of greeting), even if one consider the other snobby?

Posted by steve at 11:30 AM

a new start

Today is Shannon’s 1st day at her new school. Today Kayli (our 3 year old) is choosing her kindergarten. Today I fly to Auckland to teach a 3 week intensive, Church and Society at University of Auckland. I will fly up Tuesday evening’s and return for the weekends, for the next 3 weeks in a row.

Posted by steve at 11:08 AM

Monday, January 26, 2004

church, belonging, membership .. more

A couple more comments on church, belonging and membership.

1. I don’t think it’s fair to juxtapose community formation and membership. Don’t they go hand in glove ie membership is a way of expressing community formation?

2. The easy answer is to say, have no “membership”. But that frankly, is bollocks. For 2 reasons. Firstly pragmatic, when you want to make decisions, who decides. You have to have some criteria and “membership” should be as closely aligned as possible with that criteria. Secondly, even opensource (thanks Nate for the url), have “membership”, its called entering your log-in. The question is how we can make accurate and real our levels of participation.

3. I would not want to read membership as inwardly focused. At Graceway, one of the survey form options including mission, both stuff we did as a community and people’s involvement in their workplaces. In other words, your sole “membership” commitment at Graceway could be service in God’s world.

4. I have a nagging question. If we tie membership to involvement, are we reducing spirituality to doing – ie you are noted because you do something in this place. And sometimes I wonder if this is the opposite of grace?

Posted by steve at 09:43 AM

Sunday, January 25, 2004

new blogs

I’m adding some new blogs to my blogroll. I’ve known about them for a number of months and after a stutter, they have both now started a regular rhythm, so check out

Posted by steve at 09:45 PM

Churches, belonging and membership

I shared a coffee with Nate Cull recently. The conversation roamed around to the way the internet builds community. We applauded open source communities; places like open office, and the way they build community.

Nate mentioned some research done on open source communities and how participation follows a sort of bell curve; very committed at the core who give lots of time, through the whole range of involvement, to those on the very fringe, who give very little.

He then dropped in what I thought was a stunning observation;


Posted by steve at 09:29 PM

Friday, January 23, 2004

God is a DJ

Does anyone out there have a video of Faithless’s God is a DJ, from their Sunday 8 pm album? I need it for next Wednesday, when I start a 3 week intensive on Church and Society.

I spent today doing some shopping for the course, including buying Ello-opolis.

I will give a free book with an article I wrote on Douglas Coupland, community and church to the person who can tell me how Ello-opolis will be used as a multi-media learning tool in a Church and Society lecture.

PS This generous giveaway offer does not apply to those who have heard me lecture before, especially recent Mission to the Western Mind students!

Posted by steve at 10:00 PM

Good news or bad news?

Has anyone read this book;

Jesus Entrepreneur, using ancient wisdom to launch and live your dreams.

The title puts me off. But the tag line makes me curious when it reads “ancient wisdom”. And it sounds like it is a fresh perspective on a much trawled subject. (Jesus I mean, not entrepreneurs).

She’s got another one called Jesus CEO. Again the title puts me off, but it too sounds like a fresh perspective.

Posted by steve at 08:15 AM

Thursday, January 22, 2004


On Saturday February 21 I become the “Senior Pastor” at Opawa Baptist Church (part-time, alongside my teaching at BCNZ). I join to lead a staff team of 4 (possibly 6) and a congregation of about 150 people.

Induct v.
introduce someone formally to a post
from the latin inducere, ‘lead in’

I get to shape the service and they have asked for “multi-media.” So there’s room for creativity. Any suggestions; of words, rituals, visuals, songs?

Posted by steve at 09:39 AM

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

coffee whore finds hope


On my way to work, nice vibe, good art on walls.

I am tasting their takeaway as I type. And this local coffee guide gives me even more hope.

Posted by steve at 09:50 AM

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

From conversation 2 catalyst

Over the weekend I hosted a storytelling workshop, run by Olive Drane. It is not the recommended way to start in a new city, running a conversational event 12 days after you arrive.

But it was …smashing. 40 people. Huge denominational range. Olive was excellent; warm, sensitive, encouraging. A really, really good event.

The aim of the weekend was to get people creatively in touch with their own stories, telling their stories, as a way of “telling” the story of God in our life. If we believe God is in all, it’s time we told of all.

We concluded with a telling, and the magic of God’s spirit in community and creativity was present.

Best of all, about half of the group were keen to meet again, to listen again, to tell again. So within 12 days of arriving in a new city, I just might have been part of catalysing a regular storytelling group.

(Andrew Jones taught me this: hold conversational events in order to become a catalyst)

Posted by steve at 11:12 PM