Sunday, February 29, 2004

godly play on live video feed

I had a go at godly play at Opawa this morning. For those unaware, godly play is a way of honouring the Biblical text by using imagination, senses and wonder (I’ve blogged about it here, and Prodigal describes me doing it here). You tell the Bible story using symbols (sand, stones, ark, etc), allow time to “wonder” (I wonder where we are in this story), and then conclude (I did the story of crossing the Jordan into the promised land).

I love it because it privileges the Bible story. Rather than dissect the Scriptures with cold intellect, we enter into the Scriptures and let the Bible shape us.

Anyhow, I got a live video feed going. So as I did it with the kids, the whole church could watch. It is something I have dreamed off for years, live video feeds in church, and it is great to be in a context and with techies who can make some dreams happen.

Posted by steve at 04:16 PM

our house is like a tardis

A friend visited our new house yesterday. They reckoned it was like the tardis from Doctor Who. From the road it looks small. Walk inside and it goes on and on.


Dear God
please may our house, our life,
call people on a journey, on and on,
into the mystery and hugeness which is the living God

What is a TARDIS? The TARDIS is the Doctor’s method of travel through both time and space – all Gallifreyan Time Lords use TARDISes for getting from A to B – and from then to now.

And TARDIS means? TARDIS, of course, stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Or Time and Relative Dimension in Space, if you’re a purist.

You can download a tardis screensaver from here. For more Dr Who trivia, try here.

Posted by steve at 04:00 PM

Saturday, February 28, 2004

the postmodern contest

One of the questions my PhD examiners asked me was to reflect on the contested nature of postmodernity. They liked my answer so much they suggested it be inserted into the thesis. So here is a first draft.

There is a huge amount of literature that describes a movement from modern to postmodern. At base this reflects some rejection of the past; often in relation to triumphal and over-arching words, symbols and systems.

I would group critiques of postmodernity into five camps.


Posted by steve at 11:25 AM

Friday, February 27, 2004

Examiners recommendations

that Steve Taylor’s Phd on A New Way of Being Church be accepted and the degree be awarded once amendments have been made;
a glossary of terms
a brief and more fuller discussion of the contested nature of postmodernity, as per the candidates impressive answer in the oral defense
a more punchy conclusion.

Congratulations Doctor Taylor.

A toast: to God who gave a brain, the supervisors who lassoed 10 phd ideas into merely 3, and to family, who walk the journey with me.

Posted by steve at 08:17 AM

“You’ll be great Steve” – my wife as she drops me off at the airport.
“But how do you know that Daddy will be great Mum?” – my 4 year old from the back seat.

Posted by steve at 08:12 AM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

emotional exegesis

I did some “emotional exegesis” with the Pastoral Leadership and Management class I started lecturing today. It went like this;
Form a group. Think about the gospel story of the 4 friends who tear off a roof, in order to bring their friend to Jesus. Jesus responds “Rise up, your sins are forgiven.” Role play this in your group, taking turns to be Jesus and to be the crippled man.

Now take 5 minutes alone. Imagine a time when you were forgiven. Reflect on your feelings; before, during, after.

Now repeat the exercise.

And a most profound hush descends. The class became holy ground. New questions are asked. New insights emerge. A fresh challenge to give grace is heard. Our emotions have deepened our love and engagement with Scripture.

Posted by steve at 03:40 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

God revealed in community

a tangent touched off from here

Modernity sold us a pup. It sold us a belief you needed truth as all-encompassing and systematic. Modernity took truth and wrapped it in culture and then sold it to us as a cultural syncretistic product: truth as pure, abstract, timeless.

Yet, the God of the Bible was a God of community … moulding community in the desert, moulding community in the church … urging community through the broken body of Christ…..telling story after story, narrative after narrative of the actions of the communal God … refusing to sieve narrative into doctrinal purity, God took the risk of letting stories serve as the interpretive vessel for the body of God.

For where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there is Christ … he broke bread and gave it to them … then their eyes were opened and they recognized him ….

The God of all, revealed in community…

When moderns encounter postmoderns they sniff for a watering down of truth. What they fail to smell is the decaying odor, the rotting carcase, of their modern, all-encompassing, systematic cultural approach to truth. (Note what I said, the cultural approach is rotting, not the truth.)

Posted by steve at 09:52 PM

Ritual to mark new beginnings

This is a family ritual to mark a new beginning and to pray for fresh life.

Take a packet of seeds, preferably fast growing flowers, especially if you have young children. Remind the kids of the new beginnings they are experiencing.

Together clear the earth, ideally in a place that you will pass often as a family. Give seeds to everyone in the family. Plant them together as an act of prayer, that new life will emerge and that fresh colour will spring forth.

Posted by steve at 09:43 PM

a moving Sunday

It was my first Sunday at Opawa.

At the door everyone got given 2 pieces of Ello opolis; a type of lego. The Bible text was 1 Corinthians 12; each body unique. As a response at the end of the service, I invited everyone to join their Ello to the person beside them. These were handed from person and person down the rows, and then brought to the front, where about 5 people built “the new Opawa; each body part unique” – while we sung “Be Thou My Vision.”

It was a very moving to see this uniquely new creation emerge.

(I wanted to grab a digital photo for you, but the kids arrived first!)

PS A number of people commented on how having something tactile to play with during the service enhanced their attention span. This is at the heart of creativity; if we treat people as whole people, they are more likely to learn and grow as whole followers of Jesus.

Posted by steve at 12:36 PM

Daddy, what good does a doctor do? Most doctors you know help make people better. I will only be a thinking doctor – good for nothing else!

Posted by steve at 09:26 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Email to Andrew Jones

Andrew you are probably being drowned under a mountain of words. I pray wisdom and generous grace for you as you attempt to hear God and ponder the way forward. For what’s its worth;

1. One of the key insights of postmodern thought is that language is power. The words we use to name are very easily words to control. The emerging church has lived, has been birthed on the edge of the modern church. We know what it’s like to be named as
“alternative” when our motivation was hearing the heartbeat of God
“emerging” when our motivation is following God
“small” when our motivation is communal
“pagan” when our motivation is Biblical.
“liberal” when our motivation is missionary.
We know what its like to feel language used in ways that define us unhelpfully. It is time we took our experiences and used then to listen to those who currently feel marginalized in the emerging church. If they say the name is unhelpful, then it is up to us to change, out of respect for their voice, their gifts, their insights.

2. One of the key insights of postmodern thought is that context is essential. The experience of females in the church in China is a very different context from that of females in the emerging church in the West.

3. One of the key insights of the postmodern thought is the power of a story. A seeking woman walked into a worship experience. She left, never to return, saying “I’m not interested in being part of an experience in which one man tells people what to think.” The missionary listens attentively, not for the sake of political correctedness, but so that by all means we may win some.

Posted by steve at 04:31 PM

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Taylors commissioning

My welcoming and commissioning today. Friends are flying down from Graceway to hand us over to Opawa. That is a great honour and it will be neat to catch up.

Other guests are meant to include local MP’s like Tim Barnett (best known in New Zealand for this) and also Ruth Dyson.

I’ve shaped the service which will include writing heart prayers and a big communal welcome.

I’m nervous.

Posted by steve at 11:01 AM

this quote goes out to my auckland church and society class

Engage with communities and the new generation of consumers or risk losing market share. Full BBC article here.

Posted by steve at 07:57 AM

Friday, February 20, 2004

do you speak German?

Found this link to my A-Z of emerging church;
Darf ich hier mal eine kleine Frage stellen? Wer weiß eine gute Übersetzung für den Begriff ’emerging church’ und alles, was dahinter steckt?
Wer sich darunter noch nichts vorstellen kann, dem sei der verlinkte Artikel empfohlen, bei dem versucht wird mit Hilfe eines ABCs den Begriff näher zu definieren.

Can anyone translate it for me?

Posted by steve at 01:52 PM