Wednesday, June 16, 2004

via interflora

nice bouquet from stateside
the one that seems to be farthest ahead and most on the edge (imho) is down under. my favorite is kiwi steve his ideas, thoughts and ability to distill and illustrate a concept is a gift i fear not many have. his blogroll will link you to many other like minded.

Posted by steve at 09:36 AM

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

doing postmodernity

Getting men to read fiction is the holy grail of publishing. Can men be weaned off newspapers and books about the exploits of elite military forces? This was the headline in a local newspaper on Saturday. Men read less than women. Men read way less fiction than women. For years, publishers have tried to get more men reading.

Penguin’s Good Booking campaign, launched in Britian this month, offered a 1000 pound to any man caught reading a Penguin title.

Time and again, I have been asked to explain postmodernity. I reach for a book I have read, only to be greeted with “Oh, I don’t read.” Many websites on postmodern mission include a list of books.

So how to engage missionally with a non-reading male?
- get them to browse a mall
- watch The Matrix
- learn DJing
- move 7 tonne of sand into and out of a church
- offer them a 1000 pounds
Any other ideas?

PS – I have expanded my thoughts into a piece called blokes and books here.

Posted by steve at 05:34 PM

love is blindness: u2 all sweet pain

reading this reminded me of being at the feelers concert last week. they did a fantastic rendition of U2′s Love is Blindness, a perfect mix of loud, angry guitar and plaintiff sweet vocals, which captures the pain of loving, the risk of giving, the sweetness of hoping.

Love is clockworks
And cold steel
Fingers too numb to feel
Squeeze the handle
Blow out the candle
Love is blindness

Posted by steve at 08:08 AM

Saturday, June 12, 2004

coming or going and mission

attractional vs missional: do people come to us or do we go to people: this is a false dualism.

sociologically – people are always coming and going. centre is edge and edge is centre and the journey is more interesting that the destination.

biblically – the bible shows times of attractional mission – I’m going up to Jerusalem or John 17, by love they know we are disciples or Acts 2; are you drunk?; and moments of missional mission; the end of Acts, the wandering of the prophet Jesus.

theologically – the triune God is both the embrace of the divine dance of love and the incarnational gift of love for the world.

the underlying principle is right – that Christendom is over. But the either/or dualism is unhelpful. mission must be missional in order to find Christ in new places. and mission can be attractional in a post-Christendom world. For example, building an alternative community of love – or standing up for the ethic of marriage while accepting that our world is pluralistic and tolerant of a range of sexual expressions.

Posted by steve at 12:58 PM

Friday, June 11, 2004

insane burning and extreme worship

jonny baker labels this act of worship insane.

by a total co-incidence, I have been humming Ben Harpers, Burn one down, all week. Suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

of course, us downunder kiwis are happy to take such insane risks, because we also have insane amounts of water.

Posted by steve at 09:22 PM

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

lateral thinking on emergent growth

From Department of Natural Resources:

EMERGENT WETLANDS (MARSHES): Emergent wetlands are considered the transition zone between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. These wetlands are usually found in association with streams or other watercourses, but can also be fed by groundwater.

Do we fully appreciate the very now of this transition zone, or are we scrambling for dry ground? What are our streams, our life-giving assocations? Is our groundwater healthy, or has it started to rot?

PS – Insights from Craig - “Not to mention the incredible biodiversity to be found in this environment which is so vital to the overall ecosystems. Often in these environments vegetatively stained water that is fresh can be perceived as not so fresh, how do we determine the nature of the water without testing or subjecting to the chlorination of our religious ritual.”

Posted by steve at 04:05 PM

best class ever

permit me a moment of self-congratulation. its the last day of my semester class here at BCNZ. 14 weeks on pastoral leadership and management, and i’m doing my best to teach in a postmodern way: interactive, honouring different learnings styles, valueing story and experience, strong emphasis on community.

so after class a student rocks up to say; the classes have been fantastic, the best classes he has ever had at bcnz.

time to say “cheers” after 14 weeks of hard work.

Posted by steve at 03:39 PM

Monday, June 07, 2004


in response to the question What did your pastor preach on last Sunday, the Sunday before that, and three weeks ago:

The question assumes that it is important to recall and remember. It assumes the priority on cognitive recall of information. An interesting assumption … is the gospel about cognitive recall?

I don’t think so. Let me apply the question to other things in life; I can’t remember conversations with my wife, nor can I remember all the books I read or even films I watched. But they are still important in terms of building community and relaxation. I guess my point is – the question is a good way to beat up on preaching, but I think the question operates on a modernist assumption that knowing information is important. It fails to take into account a whole lot of other ways of being; space to process, rest, inspiration, confirmation, storytelling in the community, creation of shared values.

Posted by steve at 04:44 PM

enfolded love – trinity worship

Everyone got a bead as they walked in – a range of choices, they choose the bead that suited them. I talked about Genesis 18 and Rublevs trinity. Strangers are welcome, there is space at God’s table.

Then we made friendship bracelets – three strands for Creator/Redeemer/Sustainer – woven together. And the invitation to insert their chosen bead, because they are welcome at God’s table.

Then I VJed around Rublev’s icon, and the person beside us tied the friendship bracelet onto our arm – to St. Patrick’s breastplate – I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity.

Posted by steve at 11:33 AM

Sunday, June 06, 2004

God touches earth

today is trinity sunday:
divine dance,
circling love,
mysterious infinity enfolds creation.

A ritual for trinity sunday. Go to the beach. Find a stick. Worship by drawing Trinity patterns in the sand.


Posted by steve at 09:52 PM

Friday, June 04, 2004

pentecost evening

yesterday i blogged about pentecost morning and the risks.

pentecost evening got even more risky: lots of real fire and me laying aside my planned sermon to trust the spirit.


For more …


Posted by steve at 01:56 PM

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Pentecost morning

I took some big risks on Sunday. It is Pentecost after all. But I still didn’t sleep well on Saturday night.

Risk one: Pentecost is about chaos. After a confession and a song, I gave space for the kids to blow bubbles and throw balloons around while I played a track about the Spirit for all people. How would people respond?

Risk two: the sermon for the first time gave space for interaction. I gave a number of real life situations and asked for feedback around two questions: where is the spirit of life, where the Spirit of Jesus. How would people respond?

Risk three: we finished with a Latin chant, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Baptists in New Zealand have had a very bad track record of unease around things Catholic. Yes, if Pentecost was about speaking in different languages, that would have included Latin. But how would people respond?

We had 150 people at worship. It’s the most the church has had in over 2 years. Now when you are a church in decline, who has lost 150 people in 5 years and 400 people in 10 years, to see new faces and new faces return is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And when bubbles lay all over the church floor, and an 85 year old started batting around her balloon, and a semi-retired man looked at me with a sparkle in his eye and yelled “what have you done,” I sort of felt like Pentecost: joyful, chaos.

Some other Pentecost resources on this blog:
- art and theology here
- an annual Pentecost journal here
- global Pentecost resource here
- Pentecost festival 06 here and 07 here

Posted by steve at 04:47 PM

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

all in a days inbox

My inbox today included
: titling of my book
: working with the 8 people from around the globe who will comment on the book
: negotiation over a chapter for another book
: organizing to team teach theology at a conference in September: Applying Jesus to the environment, the foreshore and the information superhighway
: would I speak on radio tomorrow
: organising guest speaker for next week’s leadership class

Posted by steve at 10:47 PM

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

deconstruction is a space

this post links deconstruction, and then applauds the opening of space. interesting that the comments then focus on whinging.

3 Christianese responses to deconstruction
smooth putty :: this response hurries to paper over the cracks. sometimes the putty is named God, or unity, or mission. But the effect is the same, a cheap makeover.

stuck in a moment :: this response opens up a space, but stays investigating the frayed edges of the movement. sometimes the stuckness is named liberalism, or post-evangelicalism. But the effect is the same, a picking away at old scabs.

the minute of space creation :: this response appreciates just how deeply ingrained and calcified is modernity. The effect is to appreciate the diversity of the now, while resisting the urge to smooth putty or stay in a moment. This is a resolve to follow the God of the cracks into the space of a postmodern future. This is the realisation that the wormhole is deep, the way unclear, but a recognition of an uncertain confidence in the God of tomorrow; God I believe, help me to believe.

Posted by steve at 10:47 PM