Wednesday, June 30, 2004

pastor as chaos agent

I am working on a chaos theory of leadership:
the theory is that the role of a pastoral leader is to cause chaos.

this is based on a fear of domesticated religion
on a personal distaste of images of gentle Jesus meek and mild
on a concern that given time, most systems find an inertia of their own
and on my PhD musings that so often discontinuity is the space for growth.

so if the people of God are meant to be pilgrim,
and meant to be growing,
then should not the role of a pastoral leader be to promote chaos?

Posted by steve at 04:29 PM

Monday, June 28, 2004

experiential learning

It struck me afresh yesterday how empowering experiential learning is.

I had talked briefly in the evening church service to introduce a theme of “reflect the light.” I then explained three “stations”, three ways for people to engage with the theme. Each station involved people doing something. I put on a track of music and invite people to participate. People wandered around for a while; writing on mirrors, eating fresh bread, sticking stars on a drawn map of our city.

I then gathered people back together and opened it up for discussion, asking what people where struck by, or had learned.

A woman has been coming for the last 4 weeks. She has absolutely no church background. And as she chipped in a comment, I thought, “Wow, in most church settings you need to feel like you know a whole lot of Christian stuff before you can speak.”

Yet by creating an experience, everyone is on the same playing field, everyone can engage in doing something, and so contribute to the conversation.

It puts a whole new spin on seeker services – rather than passive listening posts, why not get people learning experientially? They are likely to learn more and be immediate contributors and shapers of the community of faith.

Posted by steve at 05:04 PM

Sunday, June 27, 2004

life-giving metaphors

I ran a thinking about baptism evening this week. We did a “dry, dummy, run”, then sat around and talked about what baptism means.


I find images of weddings, funerals and baths helpful.

A wedding is an outward statement of inner intent. You’ve been in love for a while, and you gather publicly, with your friends, to outwardly mark a growing inner journey. A funeral, as we participate in the death of Christ, as we go down into the waters, and trust in the “baptiser” to raise us to new life. A bath, a sign of washing and renewal.

Anyway, 9 people turned up. 5 of them are new to the church since we arrived less than 5 months ago. Which is very, very cool.

I love baptism because it is such a life-giving metaphor. There can be a deconstructive, cynical smell around some emerging church discussion. There can be a lot of Easter Friday, Stations of the Cross, woe is the church rants. Rants and cynicism have their place. But so does the celebration of life.

Posted by steve at 10:04 PM

Friday, June 25, 2004

is this fair?

Does this mean that blogsphere promotes only a faux-friendliness that hides a real individualism? asks Tim, wondering why so few people responded to my kiwi~mission~diet:
Steve’s recent appeal for volunteers to adopt a cheaper diet for a week, and donate the difference to mission, did not fall on deaf ears. COMMENTS and Maggi’s extensive musings demonstrate that we read his post. Yet as I write, I’m away from Internet access on a three day writing retreat, no one has volunteered to join Steve. (Still haven’t publicly as far as I can see!)

Like others I was stirred by Steve’s appeal, so why did we not act?

PS I am not looking for strokes, nor am I in the least grumpy at folks. I am just dropping Tim’s comment into the consumption around the dinner table discussion.

Posted by steve at 09:25 PM

book crossing


Book crossing is a new form of book club. If you find a book in a phone box or park bench, it could well have been left there on purpose. Open it and your instructions await you.

I like the sheer randomness of this.

I’d like to add this to my thinking on spiritual growth trails. I’d like to add in a random growth trail – where you sign up and get random CD’s, poems, books placed across your path – and together we would search, with a smile, for the God-patterns in this sheer randomness.

Posted by steve at 06:02 PM

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

the third way of consumption

“When we see the relationship between the Eucharist and the food economy we remind ourselves of the connection between our own consumption of food and global ecological and justice issues … But when the local worshipping communities reconnect the Eucharist with ecological justice and the food economy … they give visible shape to the good news that the trouncing of the powers that threaten life on earth is not only a past event but one that is constantly breaking into our present reality.”
quote from most excellent Third Way magazine

Posted by steve at 07:11 AM

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

consuming the body

Jesus took bread. Food. Stuff from the earth.

Take, eat, this is my body.

And in so doing, Jesus linking our eating with our spirituality.

What we eat shapes our faith.

Ben Witherington has a fascinating perspective on 1 Corinthians 11. He argues that Corinth is a divided body. The rich eat first. The poor eat little. So when Paul suggests that those who eat the bread and the drink the wine in an unworthy manner sin against the body, Paul is linking eating and a spirituality of justice, that if we eat in way that keeps the poor hungry, then we are sinning.

This is not about our inner relationship with God, this is about what and how we consume.

The kiwi~mission~diet is not just about money for mission. It is a way for us to ask ourselves; how can we eat justly? how can we consume without harming the worldwide body of Christ?

Posted by steve at 10:09 PM

foreign exchange dealing

There has been some good discussion around the kiwi~mission~diet. I live in New Zealand, so my figures for food costs are obviously New Zealand dollars. Tammy commented, asking how this might translate in her currency.

Can any of my blog readers
a) take the kiwi~mission~budget shopping list, and price it in their currency
b) ring a budgetting agency and find out what the average person spends on food.

I would appreciate such information.

Posted by steve at 10:51 AM

Sunday, June 20, 2004


and here are the recipes for $4 per person per day.


Posted by steve at 02:48 PM

Saturday, June 19, 2004


The kiwi~mission~diet is simply an spirituality exercise that invites each of us to reflect on our lifestyles and timestyles. It is a creative starting point and if it doesn’t work for you, fire me your alternative suggestion.

Below is the shopping list. Tomorrow I will post the recipes.

SHOPPING LIST (prices in New Zealand dollars to feed a family of 2 adults and 2 children = $118 ie 4 X $28)
Apples or Pears $1.99


Posted by steve at 04:19 PM

Friday, June 18, 2004

kiwi mission diet

tallskinnykiwi is on a fatkins diet.

downunder, this Sunday, as part of a 3 week mission focus, I am suggesting a kiwi~mission~diet. I rang the local budgetting agency and they reckon it costs $60 per person per week to eat.

The menu below costs $28 per person per week. Follow the menu for one week. Do the maths. The difference between $60-$28 is $32. Give that $32 to a third world mission cause.

Go on – join me for 1 week and lets see how much money we can raise on this blog for the poor. If you want to join me, drop me a line.

I will post the shopping list and menus tomorrow. (Resources are from tranzsend.) Go on – 1 week. 250 people read this blog each day. Multiply by $32, would equal $8000.


Posted by steve at 06:40 PM

Thursday, June 17, 2004

contemporary preaching

I am teaching this course in Semester 2, 2004;

Introduction: “Preaching in a postmodern world is a little like playing pin the tail on the donkey. A scarf has been draped over our eyes and we have been turned around and around. In the postmodern world, not only are we preaching blindfolded, but our target is moving. Just when the church was beginning to get used to the rules of the modern era, suddenly we find these rules have changed on us and even disappeared.” according to here.

Yet, The Lord of the Rings showed us that we can take ancient text and re-tell it for an image-eyed generation.

This course will explore some of the issues around preaching in a rapidly changing world of “txt” and “pxt” communication. It will take for granted skills in expository preaching, and deliberately seek to critically explore other ways to “txt” the Biblical text.

Course outline

The course has two main parts:

7 weeks teaching block (21, 28 July, 4, 11, 18, 25 August, 1 September)

Week 1 – text-ing in a pxt culture: the challenges for preaching today
We live in a visually orientated, sound-bited world suspicious of institution. This week will de-fragment modern notions of authority and suggest ways to re-align Christian notions of text, Spirit and tradition in community.

Week 2 – DJing with authority: Incarnation in text, texts, preacher and community
An approach to gospel and culture will be explored using the metaphor of the DJ. This will be applied to the task of preaching as the DJing of texts in Christian community.

Week 3 – txting the text: inductive, dialogical, case study, multiple approaches
We will explore a number of approaches to txting the text. These will include inductive, dialogical and case study approaches. Strengths and weaknesses will be outlined. Examples will be provided.

Week 4 – txting the text: Storytelling old and new
An exploration of the art of storytelling. This enables txting of both Biblical story and of finding God present in our lives.

Week 5- txting the text: emotional exegesis, Meditation/lectio divina, sensory engagement
We are made whole-bodied people. Our emotions and senses are a gift from God. A number of practical ways to use these gifts to both open up the text and present the text will be outlined.

Week 6 – txting the text: Curating the arts, the visual, the environment
Can creative arts preach? How to use the visual and tactile in preaching? How to modify and enhance our environment? This session will include input from creative guests.

Week 7 – creativity workshop
A workshop which will explore ways to enhance our creativity around the Biblical text.

(b) 3 week workshop (27 October, 3, 10 November)
Students will present assessment. This will continue the process of creative stimulation and critical reflection on txt-ing the text.

Note : Creative Commons license does not apply to this post. It is not allowed to be reproduced in any form without permission.

Posted by steve at 02:39 PM

blokes and books

I have further developed my thoughts on doing postmodernity into a longer piece on blokes and books, for a local radio station.

Oh, I rate 30/100 in the good booking quiz. Given the tone of some of the questions, I am taking this as a compliment.


Posted by steve at 02:34 PM

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

growth trails

Art trails. The notice caught my eye. I thought about the way that art trails thread one-off, stopping places into a journey.

So why not spirituality trails?;
meet at the start of a period with your spiritual coach
select a range of stopping places – courses, seminars, books
meet at the end of a period to celebrate learning.

You could have leadership trails, worship trails, mission trails, parenting trails …. and so many events can be threaded together in a range of personal choices.

Now that would be an exciting approach to spiritual development.

Posted by steve at 11:04 AM