Thursday, February 19, 2004

flaming the chaff

I was flamed by Mr Wheat yesterday - using the definition here of – A public post or email message that expresses a strong opinion or criticism. Flames can be fun when they allow people to vent their feelings, then return to the topic at hand. Others are simply insulting and can lead to flame wars

I was flamed in regard to the emerging church. At the risk of starting a flame war, I will pick up on specific things said in relation to my site, my theology and my writings.


Posted by steve at 04:47 PM


this is great. it has just become my home page.

Posted by steve at 03:05 PM

saturday evening party


Taylor’s welcomed and commissioned;
Opawa Baptist Church
Saturday, 21st February 7:30 pm
All welcome

Posted by steve at 12:40 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

whats the internet point 2

NB. The post is not designed to induce guilt in any readers.

As an academic, I make my mark by writing and publishing. It’s called publish or perish. As a blogger, I live in an instant world, where yesterday’s post is old news. It’s called publish or persish. Academic publishing takes months and years. Blogging is instant.

(I am also a pastor, parent, partner, coffee drinker, but I will stick with the academic and blogger at the moment.)

Sometimes these values clash. For instance, late last year I delivered a paper on a postmodern monastery. It would shape up nicely into a journal article, but that might not be released until the end of 2004. Yet I mention on my blog that I had given the paper – on postmodern monasteries – and there are LOTS of requests for the paper. So do I go academic or go blogging? Academic writer vs blogger are in tension.

So I decide to make the paper I delivered a PDF, surround it by creative commons copyright and blog it. I decided to ask that if people downloaded it, they would offer some comments, sort of like tossing me a bone, sort of like fair trade. I wondered it this would resolve the tension between writer and blogger, because I can blog it, but if people give me feedback, that might improve the academic paper.

So I put the paper on postmodern monasteries on my blog, and asked for feedback.

My web stats tell me that over 120 people downloaded that PDF, while only 9 people commented.

Which sort of leaves me back at the drawing board. How to manage the book writing and the blogger instant demand? Which leaves me very unsure over what to do with my PhD on the emerging church once it is passed. There is a book there, but people want it instant.

I am yet to be convinced I can do both.

Posted by steve at 05:18 PM

whats the internet point

I have wandered into another evangelical canon, over here. I am “pandering to pagans”, and “driven by culture”, and “same as the Catholics.” [Quite a mix really!]

So a complete stranger has got something off their chest by flaming me. It is so bizarre reading someone else’s interpretation of your website and realising how little you have in common. If there was some common ground we could probably start a dialogue and I could do some learning and growing. Instead, flaming the chaff results in a scorched earthed policy. Oh well, I hope they are feeling better.

Posted by steve at 05:07 PM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

holding eggs

It was my 1st day at my new church (Opawa) today. I asked the 4 other paid staff to gather.

I gave them all an egg – fragile, yet hopeful. I talked about the church as the bride of Christ … beautiful … hopeful … yet fragile and nervous.

I said that I felt a bit nervous and fragile in this new role. I said I thought people at Opawa were probably a bit nervous and fragile about having a new young minister on board. I said I wondered if the staff were a bit nervous and fragile, wondering how they would fit with this new young minister.

And so we prayed for each other, that in our fragility new life would emerge.

Posted by steve at 10:35 PM

Monday, February 16, 2004

ask me tomorrow but not today

It has just taken us 22 hours to do the 1 hour flight from Auckland to Christchurch – one cancelled flight - one overbooked flight – two attempts at standby flights – and finally home.

Posted by steve at 09:23 PM

Sunday, February 15, 2004

thin spaces

It was the baptism of Kelli today. She is a young woman, an unchurched atheist, until about 6 months ago. She has a strong environmental heart and it has been a joy to see her grow and unfurl over the last months. She was presented with a bone carving of a koru – a Maori symbol of new life and growth.


She was baptised at the beach. The new minister of Graceway, Mark Barnard, talked about the Celtic notion of thin spaces, where the gap between heaven and earth is no more. The sun shone and the waves lapped. Some fish even jumped. Various Graceway kids could not resist the lure of the water. It was indeed a thin space.


Posted by steve at 09:18 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2004

nz music

the feelers
in the sun
by the sea
with good friends

this is
as good
as it gets

Posted by steve at 07:42 PM


My partner flies up to join me for the weekend and we share in a friends baptism at graceway on Sunday. We’ve had 4 days apart, every week for the last 3 weeks. I am looking forward to a weekend with her, without the kids, and on Valentine’s Day.

Posted by steve at 09:37 AM


Thursday 26th. The flights are booked. My PhD thesis on the emerging church goes under the microscope. I submitted it November 26 last year. It has now been read by 3 examiners, 2 in New Zealand and 1 overseas. They have given their opinion (which I don’t yet know), have written their reports and have prepared their questions. Thursday 26th I meet them face to face and find out who they are (identity is meant to be kept a secret). Then after the handshakes, they fire questions at me about my thesis and my 100,000 words, normally for about 2 hours.

After that, they tell me the result.
- Pass
- Pass with a few minor changes
- Rework and resubmit
- It would make a good Masters thesis rather than a PhD.
- Fail

I am looking forward to O-day. I am generally quick on my feet and I learn best by talking (one of the reasons I have a blog), so I am looking forward to significant growth on O-day as keen and trained academic minds probe my work.

Posted by steve at 09:36 AM

Friday, February 13, 2004

A to Z of emerging church

In Genesis 2 – “adam” is invited to name creation. The desire to name the emerging church could thus be part of our God-given ability to use language to describe and understand. While “adam” named creation, yet no companion was found. “Adam” remained incomplete. A certain humility is therefore intrinsic to naming. To name is not an act of limitation, but an act of partiality, part of a search for completeness.

We seem reluctant to name the emerging church. Perhaps our naming yet lacks an alphabet. We need some A, B, C’s before we can spell the word. So in a spirit of Genesis 2, and in partiality;

A = artistic, and so the emerging values the creative, the visual, the non-rational as essential to communication and being.
B = blogging, and so the emerging tell stories and learns from the stories of others. We listen, we ask, we grow through the wires of the internet


Posted by steve at 12:12 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I need a life

I have visited 15 countries, only 6% of the world!

create your own visited country map

PS This post probably needs a context.
1. I need a life because I had just finished a long day and it was a real
fun website to play with
, clicking boxes and seeing the graphic result. I
need to play more in life.

2. I need a life because I am lecturing a group that is quite culturally
diverse and I have so appreciated new perspectives; migrants, indigenous
people, island cultures. It made me realise again the ease with which I slip
into my well worn cultural grooves of thinking. Other cultures are gift. Travel helps one get a life.
one way to appreciate this gift is travel.

Posted by steve at 11:34 PM

Liquid church

Take liquid church by Pete Ward. Road test it by asking 30 students from a wide variety of backgrounds, spiritualities and ethnic backgrounds to write a critical review. Hone this reflection by asking them to debate the moot; Liquid Church will drown the Church. In the process the book has to preform a number of road tests.

(Note that these comments are my reflections on the class interaction and feedback and are in no way a comment on any individual student’s work.)

Naming Test: Many students felt the book named


Posted by steve at 08:18 PM