Tuesday, August 31, 2004

lit cross on opawa church wall


Posted by steve at 10:06 PM

emotionally violent worship

an electric guitar played well – that is pure and discordant – is an instrument of emotional violence.

so much of church music is soft and schmaltzy. to hear an electric guitar solo on Sunday evening, in the midst of a worship song, was a superb reminder of the emotionally discordant violence that is the death and resurrection of Christ.

and loud, so loud, the electic guitar solo must be played, if we really do believe that this event changed human history.

all that we are; responding to all that God is.

Posted by steve at 09:29 AM

Saturday, August 28, 2004

my colour today is yellow

The weather this week has been appalling. Freezing cold, rainy and wind. The drive is muddy and we have to carry the kids to the car. Everywhere is damp and cold.

On Tuesday I ordered a new, bright, yellow, corflute signboard for the church. It went up yesterday. Bright, cheery, springtime yellow.

Christians are people of hope, who follow a springtime Jesus. Today my colour is yellow.

Posted by steve at 04:21 PM

Friday, August 27, 2004

what colour is God today?

from here

I have had an increasing awareness of the place of colour in spirituality. Today I leafed through some colour charts on the kitchen table.

Shallow Water; Pale Citrus: a sense of calm and a hint of warmth.

this is what I need from God for today.

Posted by steve at 09:11 AM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Graduation special

On Saturday I graduated Doctor of Philosophy. In celebration, I am offering a limited edition A5 size copy of my PhD, A New Way of Being Church.

thesis with title.jpg

How do religious groups respond to cultural change? Recent global events have seen a hardening along fundamentalist lines.

A New Way of Being Church is a world first, an indepth academic exploration of how the emerging church responds to cultural change. It asks the question; how effective is the emerging church as a postmodern expression of faith? It takes one particular church, the innovative Cityside Baptist Church in New Zealand. It surveys 48 members and discusses three months of worship innovation. It deeply engages with themes of community, creativity and culture, in dialogue with the gospel and with postmodern thinkers. It draws on interviews and visits with 13 alt.worship communities in UK.

The thesis argues that in response to contemporary cultural change, people are, in the words of French philosopher Michel de Certeau, “making do,” engaging in transformative processes to creatively subvert their surrounding context.


Posted by steve at 04:02 PM

Monday, August 23, 2004

Destiny marches and some questions need asking

On Monday a new church group in New Zealand, Destiny Church, marched in protest against the Civil Unions Bill. They marched in black, they shouted in unison, and they caused a lot of media attention. For a report on the march, go here. I would not have marched in the march and my views on the Civil Unions Bill are expressed here and here.

However the march did raise for me the following questions;

does the fact that most of Destiny are Maori alter one’s views on the march? are people not actually concerned about angry, black men, but about angry, black, Maori men? are there in fact some levels of racism involved in responses to the march?

is it inconsistent for the counter protest-marchers to talk on the news about tolerance and diversity, when in fact any protest march should be applauded as an expression of diversity? or does tolerance only mean certain types of tolerance?

similarly, was not the shouted statement by Georgina Beyer; “your hatred is intolerable” also a contradiction? again, does tolerance only mean certain types of tolerance?

is it inconsistent for the news media to express concern about the use of children in the march, and then for the media to then ask children why they marched? did the news media gain parental consent? or are their different rules for media using children than religious groups?

Posted by steve at 12:13 PM

Sunday, August 22, 2004

church is people

At the carpark before church I met B. who has been a Christian for about 3 months, and C. who has been a Christian for 2 weeks.

At the door we were greeted by A, a local community kid, roped in by D. to help welcome people.

In worship we thanked God for C.P.’s first haircut since recovering from leukemia. T. thanked God for her rest home, a milestone for her as she has struggled with this particular life transition. A. wanted to thank God for her parents. She is 8, so neat to have her voice shaping our worship. S. who is also 8, re-told a Bible story on the hot text seat.

After the service S., another community kid, faced smudged with tears, needed a sticking plaster for a grazed army.

This blog spends a lot of time re-imagining church. All good stuff. For me, the re-imagining has one main point; to connect people with God and each other.

Or the Maori proverb says so eloquently: What is the most important thing? It is people. It is people. It is people.

Posted by steve at 03:45 PM

Friday, August 20, 2004

some mondays are hard

This was me catching some space with God on Monday …

Posted by steve at 09:53 AM

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Development pastor

The church I pastor is looking for another person to join a staff team of 4. All 4 work part-time, and we want to continue this ethos (0.75 of full/time), as a way of respecting the workplace ministry of church people.

Ethos and context: After a number of rocky years, the church has made significant changes and is looking to a new future. Our vision is to enable people to walk and grow with Jesus, reflecting his love in our communities and beyond.

Our 3 year focus includes the training another generation of leaders, communicating into the community and developing wholistic lifestyle teaching as part of our mission.

We want to employ a Development pastor to:
– Share communication load in Digestion, our evening service
– Network with church community ministries
– Develop leadership
– Develop people spiritually
– Enhance community within church
– (plus some slush for the passion of the person.)

You will need to be able to work with the existing team, be committed to Opawa’s journey of mission and change, be a realist and a people lover, who can work with what is and who is and have a sense of humour when things go wrong.

Drop me a line if interested, or if you know of someone who could fit the bill.

Posted by steve at 09:57 AM

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

communion colour amid snow


It snowed Sunday afternoon. It was just magic driving to church in the evening, soft flakes drizzling across ghostly bleak trees.

It was communion, so I brought some daffodils. I grabbed some snow and placed these in plates on the communion table. Add some spring flowers and it became a neat image of new life out of the cold, compact places of our life.

Posted by steve at 10:09 PM

Monday, August 16, 2004

hacking the emerging church

We live in strange days, when an Anglican vicar suggests we leave church. There is much about church I struggle with. Yet I stay because church is a space and a resource to hack.

A hack as in an enthusiast who … through clever programming, pushes the system to its highest possible level of performance … a person who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about it.

Hacking has an ethic. It is not mischievious, but is based on … the ethic that all technical information should, in principle, be freely available to all and that destroying, altering, or moving data in a way that could cause injury or expense to others is always unethical

Thus an emerging church hack is about the attempt to create missional spaces; to seek to make the gospel freely available for all, rather than encrusted under layers of modernity, and ossified under centuries of tradition.

A hack does not intend to destroy or alter data. Thus a hack respects the riches of the past. But a hack recognises that church is not monolithic. Rather church is a contextual response of a group of people, uniquely working with the strands of Scripture and culture and tradition in their context. Thus a hack takes the rich strands of past data, and seeks to re-work them to maximize to a highest possible level.

In 2001 New Zealand dub band Salmonella Dub released Inside the Dubplates. In 2002 they gave their mix to 10 different DJ’s, who produced a new mix, titled Outside the Dubplates. Same elements, same number of songs, same song order, but the strands of bass and vocals remixed.

Church hackers won’t leave, despite the invitation. They will stay because they want to take what is inside the church’s dubplates and play it outside the dubplate. They want to take the gospel freedom beyond the centre of church and institution. It’s a missiology that might be hard to grasp at its deconstructive best, but at its constructive best its an adventure that gets me up in the mornings.

Please, despite the invitation, don’t leave. Keep hacking.

Posted by steve at 05:57 PM

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Reading text in a new context

The video played and the camera panned over a V8 classic car; shiny, grunty, engine throbbing.

The driver turned off the engine, opened to Colossians 3 and began to read:
Since then you have been raised with Christ
set your hearts on things above
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Someone said aloud; you can’t possibly read the Bible like that.

Why not? Reading the Scriptures in this context will asks different questions of the text; very different questions than if the Bible is read in abstract in a church context.

And so today, we showed the video and asked what it meant, practically, to live Colossians 3. And I think I touched a male spirituality in a new way.

While church is generally run by a male leaders, by and large it is a feminised spirituality. To show a video of a V8 classic car, to explore Scripture in that context, in some way touched new dimensions of being.

I am not sure of the impact, but I am convinced the car driver enjoyed the ride.

Posted by steve at 04:02 PM

Friday, August 13, 2004


:: go a long way in leadership

Posted by steve at 08:55 PM

Thursday, August 12, 2004

oops! Just realised that in the midst of internet joy, I turned off my comments function. I was wondering why you were all so quiet!! Sorry about that.

Posted by steve at 10:40 PM