Thursday, March 17, 2005

postmodern monastery in amsterdam

Karel, from Amsterdam is asking for prayer for what could be a cool new adventure.

Hey Steve,

Let me introduce myself: I’m a philosophy-student living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Over the past years I’ve been involved in setting up and facilitating to different networks in the world of music & arts and working on social justice.

I’ve been very intrigued and fascinated by a lot of the writings on your website. Especially the paper/dream about ‘the postmodern monastery’ really spoke to me as it so much look like the dreams I had over the past few years.

(Karel is probably talking about a rant I did about postmodern monasteries here, which still gets lots of visits. It’s also updated and put in a larger missional context; alongside festival spirituality, art collectives and house churches in postcard 7 of my book. Anyhow, back to the email)

This leads me to the following: At the minute we’re talking to the head of a Franciscan fraternity in Amsterdam who have their monastery + church up for sale. It’s going really quick now as we’ll have a meeting to discuss our proposal next friday. It would be the best place ever to start a postmodern monastery – in the heart of the old city and with the history of a Franciscan fraternity. We want it to be a place for new media, visual arts, community, and for people working together on social justice … pray with us for God’s guidance in this process – both for us and the brothers from the fraternity who have to make the decision … pray to our God for guidance in this project…

Praying for you Karel as I type …

Posted by steve at 11:36 AM

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

film quiz – Jesus as movie star

Every few weeks in the gospel and film class I am teaching this semester, I have a film quiz. The class are in teams: Fox, Bollywood and Sundance. I fire 5 questions at them, and the overall winner at the end of the semester will receive a BCNZ Academy. Lots of fun, good crowd breaker, and often the information makes good teaching points.

Here’s the questions from last week.

Question 1: The longest film ever made, at 6 hours, is Jesus of Nazareth? True or False

Question 2: Which religious film – The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story ever told, Ben-Hur – was a Top 10 film for the entire decade of the 1920s?

Question 3: Ben Hur was a box office smash in 1959. Made for a then unprecedented $15M, it earned more than $70M at the US box office. Did it win 7 or 9 or 11 Oscars?

Question 4: Put the top 3 movies of 2004 in the correct order:
Shrek 2, Spider-man 2, The Passion of the Christ.

Question 5: Less than 0.1% of people who watched The Passion of the Christ came to faith? True or false.

Update: For the curious, the answers are …


Posted by steve at 09:08 PM

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

church notices

I’m still processing whether church notices are curse or gift.

A sacred vs secular divide would see notices as secular, mundane, needing to be rushed through. An integrated view of God in everything would discern notices as just as spiritual as prayer or worship.

All groups have them – if you’re small in number it might be which pub after the church service or notice of a house warming. If you’re larger in size, they can be long and tedious. They can also be manipulative, guilt-inducing sales pitches. Yet if done well they can be creative and insightful.

Are they an impediment to worship? Should they come at the end of a service, after the benediction, as part of the movement of God’s people into the world?

Or they actually an essential part of community? A chance to “peek” into the mission life of a church? An opportunity to participate?

Still processing.

Posted by steve at 02:17 PM

Sunday, March 13, 2005

In memorandum


I ate fish tacos with Stan Grenz in San Diego last month. I, the young theologian, had emailed, seeking lunch, keen to stir the older theologian about the contrast between his post-foundationalist theology of community and his individual writing projects.

Stan was gracious enough to humour my impudence. The conversation quickly shifted. I, the young stirring academic, began to appreciate a depth of spirituality. We shared career call stories; for me a white rabbit to Christchurch, for Stan a cold snap and ice roads back to Vancouver. This was no academic theologian. This was a humble and passionate follower of Jesus.

Stan Grenz
Called home 12 March 2005.

Leaving behind the inspiration
To love God with all our minds
And live our careers with all our humility
And our spirituality with all our passion.

Posted by steve at 10:57 PM

comes in soft cotton waves
and sharp email

Show me your fruit? the choir man asks
Measure for measure

Cats pat
adequacy, and his leading twin
from personal paw to personal palm

Who am I?
Single spark in turgid grey

The shoes of the liberator
are ill-fit

Text is black. Margins are white and wide
Context is sharp, Edged
And never the twain shall meet

Yours, mine, ours, hers
And with a gently smile
we play,

Posted by steve at 05:11 PM

Saturday, March 12, 2005

5 people signed up for growth coaching 2 date.

Posted by steve at 08:06 AM

Thursday, March 10, 2005

How often do we meet in the forming of community?

How often does “church” need to meet to be church? Here at Opawa I’m tossing around the birthing of another emerging congregation – expresso101. One of the questions is timing – how often do we meet? Here’s part of an email I sent a friend. Any web wisdom out there for us?

for a number of months I have been wanted to start something a bit different at Opawa. Sunday morning is a singing monologue. It’s got some really good things, but Q/A and discussion will never sit easily with the majority of Sunday morning punters.

And I’m also thinking that church does not equal singing. It’s about people growing together and into God. For some people that will be by singing and listening. For others, it will be by discussion together.

Hence expresso101 – discussion, cafe, video loops, all participants – as an idea. I have talked to a number of others, who are all keen, and who can think of others who could be interested. So it could be a goer.

The question of timing is a key. I really, really don’t want expresso101 to be seen as a small group or as a “monthly top up.” To do that seems to demean discussion as a valid spirituality.

So ideally I would like to set up expresso101 to be “church”- ie to have all the elements of growing together and with God that Sunday would have, just in a different way. For me that revolves around community (being real with each other), spirituality (connecting with God), mission (doing/being something for others).

So I have been wondering about an expresso101 discussion fortnightly, and in the week in between either do a movie (ie something fun) or do a combined “mission” project eg plant trees, work in a foodbank … whatever the whole group would feel authentically helps them give beyond themselves. So in effect we meet weekly. Not cos I like being busy, but cos that’s a pattern that might make it more fully “church.” People don’t need to come weekly – just like people don’t on a Sunday morning – but the question I ask is “does this have enough of a rhythm to sustain spirituality?”

People could also still be part of both Sunday and Espresso (or Side Door or Digestion), but I am reluctant for espresso101 to meet less than weekly.

Posted by steve at 05:09 PM

is church as boring a healthy motivation for creativity

“I went to the Easter Vigil service at the Anglican Cathedral in Pittsburgh. It was snowing, and I was aware of the proper setting for a tremendous religious experience. But the people in the church seemed bored, and the clergymen [sic] seemed to be hurrying to get it over with. I left with the feeling that, rather than rolling the rock away from the tomb, they were piling it on. I went home, took out my manuscript and worked it to completion in a non-stop frenzy.”
- Tebelak, creator of the 1973 musical/movie Godspell.

(In Tatum, Jesus at the Movies. A Guide to the First Hundred Years. Polebridge Press, 1997)

Posted by steve at 12:24 PM

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

worship leader blog list

A US magazine (I’ve never heard of) called Worship Leader has a feature of emerging church, and the little wee emergentkiwi blog gets a mention. So there we are. Maybe its time for me to release my worship DVD!! Tee he. Or is it that they think I can sing!

(thanks Will for the heads up – I wondered why there was traffic from your site to mine!)

Posted by steve at 09:25 PM

pastoral leadership skills

Partnering in God’s new future requires spaces to listen. It resists programmes and models and hurries from impatience. It requires attentiveness to the unique contours of the cultural now in people’s lives. It plays with metaphor and possibilities. It lives within a narrative, not its own yet strangely familiar. It is birthed amid a personal attentiveness to my uniqueness, gift mix and personality.

Posted by steve at 03:25 PM

Sorta nice

One of my recent poems is featured on theooze. I’ve never considered myself any sort of poet.

Posted by steve at 11:29 AM

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

strangely familiar: how to respond to religious bigotry

I preached on Luke 9:61-56 on Sunday. What initally seemed a rather opaque text in the end became strangely familiar. This weekend a religious group marched in protest of family values. We have seen how the US responds to 9-11. We live in a world dominated by religious terrorism.

In Luke, Jesus meets religous opposition. He choses to journey to Jerusalem via Samaria. It’s a shorter trip, 150 km, but goes through an area in which a different ethnic and religious group dwell. He could have taken the longer route, 190 km, and avoided Samaria. Most religious pilgrims did.

For some reason, Jesus takes his pilgrimage into religious pluralism. He is faced, probably naturally, with opposition. Rather, than turn or burn, Jesus lives out the Sermon on the Mount. In the face of religious hostility, he will love enemies, and quietly move onto the next village.

Posted by steve at 11:21 AM

Monday, March 07, 2005

a day off through the eyes of a 5 year old

“Daddy, have a good day at home cuddling Mummy.”

Posted by steve at 07:57 PM

Sunday, March 06, 2005

processing a tough one

A lot of my thought has gone into a tough pastoral issue this week.

Late last year we baptised a new Christian. His testimony was honest and raw. Coming back after the Christmas break, I became aware this new Christian had copped some flak for what he shared.

Sigh. I don’t know the who or what. Not everyone knows about this, yet there is a fair bit of talk in the community. Should I leave it or not? Is this a one off or more sinister? There are 25 new people at Opawa since December. Will hearing some of our history put them off?

Sigh. This morning, after consultation during the week with heads I respect, I took the plunge. In the context of communion I talked about being one body. I described the joy as the body grows (we had welcomed 4 new members), and the pain if one member of the body suffers.

I described some of what happened at and after the baptism in December. I then reminded us of the grace of God, in welcome, reconciliation and forgiveness, that is offered to all at communion. The invitation to take communion this morning was an opportunity to walk with Jesus in a body of honesty and forgiveness and grace.

The coming days will tell if I made a wise call and if the processes I engaged with were appropriate. Leadership is scarey and I’m feeling exposed over this particular call.

Posted by steve at 08:00 PM