Thursday, April 14, 2005

creativity and anger drive emerging church I said with a smile


Don’t I look cheery? This is a photo of me being interviewed in the Methodist Touchstone denominational magazine (I blogged about this back here). The article is titled “Creativity, anger drive emerging church?” and starts “Media-driven cultural change and resentment against established institutions are the two forces behind the alternative congregations commonly labelled ‘emerging church’. This is the view of Rev Steve Taylor

Seeing the words “anger” in black and white sort of sat me back a bit. Is it a fair description? Is it a worthy energy driver and a healthy missionary motivation?

PS. There are also articles on two emerging churches; Side door (one of the congregations at Opawa) and Urban Vision, in Wellington.

Posted by steve at 02:12 PM

moving from across the road

The youth pastor at Opawa resigned the week I arrived. It gave me heaps of extra work and stress in a really tough settling period. It also opened up some space to make some changes – to move to a team approach to leadership, to develop uniquely the evening service as Digestion: more interactive, tactile, participatory, to employ a person to empower existing leadership rather than a paid professional.

The result: These are notes from recent youth leadership meeting (I wasn’t there), attended by Mike, the regional Youth consultant.

Mike asked how our relationship with church is, realizing there definitely used to be a road in-between, very separate, “them” and “us” and completely different styles. We realized things have changed a lot and the church is more accepting of the youth … Mike couldn’t believe the change. Feels like we have been replanted in the church community, uprooted and taken to the other side of the road.

I find this fascinating, that my attempts to develop unique identities with multiple services seem to be make people feel more included.

Posted by steve at 11:25 AM

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

espresso ver1

espresso - our potential cafe congregation – got a first trial last nite. The “guiding group” meet, in-house, to try the evening for ourselves. I mean, if it wasn’t going to sustain us spirituality, it was going to be hard work pursuing!

: Gathering ritual
: Discussion guidelines – be honest, be considerate.
: A discussion question introduced and discussed
: Closing ritual

We were nourished and energised and challenged. We made a few tweaks. We are going to offer espresso ver2, with a few more friends, and their evaluation, but still in-house, 10th May. Little steps, rather than big jumps, potentially allow a gradual evolution and a shared sense of community and ethos to develop.

Posted by steve at 10:47 AM

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

jack johnson concert

Great night at Jack Johnson concert last night. Great to hang with some other Opawa people and friends, and sway, sing, holler and be glad of being human.


A bonus was Xavier Rudd, a neo-Ben Harper. I have never seen one person make so much music and how someone can sing and play didgeridoo, drums and electic guitar in one song I have no idea.

A downside was G. Love’s forced rap, a secret best kept in the States IMHO.

Posted by steve at 04:56 PM

Sunday, April 10, 2005

barbequed fish and ministry as participation

The visual environment at church today involved a net, a dinghy and a barbque, which was lit and cooked upon as I preached. We fed fish to over 180 people at two services.

The shaping Biblical text was John 21:1-14. I was struck by verse 10; Jesus saying “bring some of your fish.” Jesus has fish and fire, yet still invites the disciples contribution. This is a hugely empowering model of ministry. Bring what you’ve got to Jesus. Church needs to invite participation. After the sermon I gave out a participation survey – Click to download file, which listed ways people could participate at Opawa. They could fill them out, drop them in the dinghy and then enjoy some fish, with a choice of squeezed lemon juice or tartare sauce.

Today, thanks to some barbequed fish, Opawa took a huge step from one-person band, to participatory community.

The other striking thing about the John 21 text is the way it deconstructs the Christian symbol of fish. For Peter to go fishing is to turn his back on Jesus mission in John 20 and to return to old habits and lifestyles. It’s a fishy text about failure. The Christian symbol of fish invites honesty and realism in discipleship and appreciation of God’s relentless grace.

Posted by steve at 09:19 PM

Saturday, April 09, 2005

reading the popes funeral through alt.worship eyes

It was interesting to watch the Pope’s funeral on TV last night. Great to see an inspirational leader honoured in this way. Wonderful to see religion so mainstream.

I kept wanting to watch it as a worship curator; wondering how I would lead/take/curate such an event. Here are some Protestant reflections.

Contextualisation: The Mass was in Latin, so basically incomprehensible and inaccessible. Yet the commentators, an Archbishop and various Catholic experts, provided interpretive comments. So there is some desire for accessibility and comprehensibility. So why not go the whole hog? Why not translate?

Tradition: A strength of Catholicism, eg the retaining of Latin, is continuity with tradition. You respect and honour a 2,000 year old history. Yet this notion of tradition was deconstructed by the commentary noting the changes. For example, the 20th century pope not being carried everywhere in public on a special chair. Another example, the willingness to just distribute a wafer as an inclusive symbol of both bread and wine. So tradition can and does change. Surely any change weakens your ancient roots.

Audience participation: It was totally impressive to see the host distributed to an audience of 40,000. So you can have audience involvement in large events. So “alt.worship” might not just be for small groups? And at times the funeral was halted by the cheers and chants of the crowd. Great to see that even in such mass events (pun intended), the audience shaping the “liturgy.” I am interleaving this with reflections on U2 and how they involve the audience in their concerts. Large need not equal passive.

And a question:
What was George Bush, that “Christian” fundamentalist, really thinking as the host was distributed?

Posted by steve at 12:36 PM

Friday, April 08, 2005

lets meet


lets gather beforehand 6:45 pm at Metro

Posted by steve at 06:04 PM

Thursday, April 07, 2005

another local blogger

Good to see Andrew, an Opawa-ite blogging away at what the flock. Good stuff.

Update: Paul was blogging before Opawa and has also now joined the Opawa blogger list.

Other Opawa bloggers:

Posted by steve at 03:40 PM

God is merciful
but I do need to be slightly better organised.

This should start by finding my diary. I lost it over a month ago. It is a wierd feeling, slightly reckless, slightly helpless to try and run my life without a diary.

Posted by steve at 03:08 PM

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

living theology and boundaries

The focus of my PhD research was on living theology (what an emerging church was actually praying and preaching) in relation to boundaries (relationships between society).

Today I am working with a group of 40 chaplains. I said yes, because it seems to me that chaplains are a fine example living theology in relation to society. I’ve been asked to nourish them with some biblical metaphors that will help them better process their boundaries.

I was going to haul the “pastoral ministry” books of the shelf when I suddenly thought, “what are the biblical images that nourish me.” They are not pastor as prophet or preacher, but minister as midwife, gardener, storyteller and DJ. So I’m going to see how they “fly” in a chaplain context.

I’m really looking forward to it. The downside is that it’s 5 hours of input (not all talk, there’s group work and art and case studies and storytelling and creative prayer stations), and then I have my usual Bible College of New Zealand lecture – gospel and film - 2 hours. 7 hours will be a long day.

Posted by steve at 08:59 AM

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

origami worship

In John 20; post-Easter, Jesus, in the name of the Father, and for the sake of mission, breathes on the disciples to “Recieve the Spirit.” This links with Genesis 2:7, God breathes life into the human. Life, creativity, vitality, passion are breathed. The Resurrection hope is for Spirit infilled, enthused, creative, vital, life-giving, sent into our cities in the name of God.


On Sunday evening at Digestion, people were invited to reflect on these texts, by making origami balloons. Fold brightly coloured paper just right, and blow, and up pops a paper balloon. People were invited to place this onto a map of Christchurch, as their prayer for their lives to be creative, vital, Spirit-enthused in their homes and workplaces.

Posted by steve at 01:49 PM

Sunday, April 03, 2005

the author is frozen

I have just met my twin brother, who due to publisher deadlines, stopped growing in May 2003. That was the month my book went to the publisher/editor. While my ideas became frozen in print, I kept growing. Tweaking, changing, adapting.

Now I get emails from people, with questions and comments about my book. Which is like way cool, but that was May 2003 and have you heard about “postcard 10″ (my book has 9 “postcards” on contemporary mission)?

I had a constant debate over 3 years at seminary with my Old Testament Lecturer. Deeply infested by contemporary reader response theory, he used to maintain “the author is dead.” It was a slogan designed to rial my desire for some level of authorial intent, as one strategy for allowing coherence between original text and context.

Is an author dead? Or is an author frozen, a virtual twin, a camera snapshot of a brain stranded in time?

Posted by steve at 10:56 PM

Friday, April 01, 2005

Christchurch book launch


Just confirmed a date for my Christchurch book launch;
Friday, April 22, from 7:30 pm
Manna Books, Manchester Street
drinks, nibble and live music (hopefully)
all welcome

Posted by steve at 04:23 PM

spirit festival

Derek Lind confirmed for
Living under nor’west arch Spirit festival
teaching + interactive creativity + music + coffee + film

Opawa Baptist, Pentecost week (May 17-21)

Posted by steve at 02:52 PM