Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What’s Going On Out There?

The church around the world is changing. From the way people meet, to the way people worship (multimedia, art, storytelling, neo-liturgy), it’s clear that this is not your mum’s or dad’s church anymore. So what’s happening on the edges of the church? What’s on the horizon and how fast is it closing in?

Contemporary Ways of Being the People of God (Taught D/M445C.505)

This course takes trips to the edge of the church envelope and sends back what Steve Taylor has found inside the emerging church around the globe. Topics include: Internet church, Christian festivals, resourcing spiritual seekers and selling worship. The course includes optional practical workshops on spirituality, worship and community. From the revival of ancient spiritual practices to the rise of multimedia, this course will explore the implications for being the people of God today.

Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24, 2005, 9 -12 am, 2 – 5 pm.

Cost $50 for interest. To enrol or for more information contact Kathy or Steve, BCNZ, 70 Condell Avenue, Papanui, Christchurch, 643 354 4270

Posted by steve at 04:25 PM

images of jesus

images of Jesus.
The domestication of Jesus saddens me.

Posted by steve at 01:58 PM

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

geoff bullock mark 2

Over at signposts there is some fascinating insight into how people change over time. Faced with crisis and tragedy in his life, Geoff Bullock has re-explored his theology and re-written the lyrics to some of his songs. The new lyrics (alongside the old) are being published at the signposts blog; Just let me say; the heavens shall declare; the power of your love; have faith in God.

It is a poignant reminder to any Christian songwriter and any Christian worship leader; that words are deeply, deeply powerful. Songs need to be chosen with care. Lyrics matter.

Posted by steve at 10:19 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

texting communion

Further to my post on mobile worship, we had a go at texting communion tonite.

Context: Younger demographic, so high users of cell phones. Also a demographic with potential for giggle factor.

Planning: We broke communion up into bits;
Bread Scriptures
Grape juice Scriptures
Lords Prayer
Serving bread
Serving grape juice

Actual liturgy: We texted people, who came to the front to read the various words. These were up on the powerpoint to make it easier and also to include those who didn’t have cell phones.

We then texted more people with the invitation to serve bread and grape juice among us.

We then texted everyone the Lord’s prayer, which we all said together. We ended by texting a couple of people the Benediction and asking them to pass it on among each other.

Analysis: It took about 20 minutes, longer than I thought. This was OK, but if we did it again, I’d like to give people more visual input.

If we did it again, I’d also like the lights darker, so that we could see the glow of all our cell phones lighting up as we recieved the Lord’s Prayer.

Oh, I texted the benediction to the wrong person, someone said. I like the fact that the Lord’s Prayer and a benediction is flying around cell~space.

It had the potential to become a giggle fest, but didn’t. It certainly made commmunion more participatory and helped tune people in. I loved the randomness of it all, not knowing who would do what or when a text would arrive.

Why do it? I hope it wasn’t to try and be cool. For me, it was part of reflecting on the Word made flesh, God who so loved this world. What does it mean for the Word to become text? How does God connect with cellphone users?

Ponder this: Who was the first person to invest in global roaming technology?


Posted by steve at 09:23 PM

Thursday, August 25, 2005

yeah, but is it church?

View image- 29K

espresso, our new Tuesday nite “discussion in community” congregation went rock climbing on Tuesday. A great nite; sharing communion, building community, pushing ourselves into new ways, integrating body and soul. Is it church?

Posted by steve at 12:53 PM

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

contemporary Christian approaches to film

I am being interviewed by a University student about Christians and film. They have read my blog stuff around film and spirituality, (including this paper on how churches use film) and have just fired me another round of questions. It’s been a fun exercise.

Question: Churches and Christians engaging with movies is a way of engaging with contemporary culture. Is the underlining thought behind this: film is a reflector of culture?


Posted by steve at 09:12 PM

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

V(isual)Jing worship

This is a nice visual mixing from Sunday’s worship.

Sunday Night3.jpg

Photo taken by Jason King.

I blogged a few weeks ago about colouring our worship. People gather in all sorts of spaces. In order to honour that reality, I was inviting people to choose a colour to express their week. This colour was then placed on a cross. Look close and you can see all these dots on the green lit cross. That’s the colour chips.

The wall, wood and saw bench come from the morning. I am doing a series on leadership from 1 Corinthians. Sunday was leader as builder. One of our practical types had offered to build me a wall. It took him about 10 minutes on Saturday. Even dropped a cell phone into the visual display! Part of my talk was about building in our homes and workplaces using Jesus values of love, integrity, humility, sacrifice.

Just before the sermon, in the middle of the service, I realised that the “colour chip” cross was still lying on the floor. This was to allow people to place their dots, but in the rush, I’d forgotten to stand it up. How to recover from this mistake? Oh, I thought, I’ll place it in the building site at the values of Jesus bit of the sermon. It made quite a poignant moment. I stopped talking. Walked to the cross on the floor. Picked it up and dragged it into the building site. Walked back and resumed my talk. It didn’t need any words of explanation.

Sunday evening at Digestion, we play with lighting a bit more. The hands in the shape of the cross that are red lit are standard. Dropping the green colour light inside the cross made it stand out. It was simple and effective. It was unplanned, just VJing of various visual arrangements.

Posted by steve at 03:08 PM

Sunday, August 21, 2005

mobile theology

In my out of bounds church? book, I argue that a church committed to Incarnational mission will take seriously Incarnation within a globalised, roaming culture. I ask the question; What will it look like to fund a spirituality in a world gone 24/7? It’s a part of the book that applies Incarnation not to subcultures, but to global culture and I offer a number of suggestions including cybermonks, spiritual takeaways and postcards.

If I was writing the book now, and not 18 months ago, I pick up on a fine selection of posts at planet telex. The image of mobile phone is used to illustrate perfectly this global, roaming, 24/7 world that we live in. There is an introduction to what I would call spiriutal tourism, but what planet telex calls mobile theology here. There is a plea for interactivity here (which engages directly with material from my book).

Here’s an idea…
Send people out from your community with the task of sending you via email or via picture messaging 3 images that speak to them of God during the week. Upload each image to the website as the week progresses, use the images during worship on Sunday, swap the images as free wallpapers for people’s phones. The next week ask them to do the same thing, but with a different theme, what makes them happy, images that make them sad, images of friends, images of meals eaten…

Then there is a suggestion of mobile worship, which offers a subversive set of spiritual practices.

It’s an excellent set of resources that offers in the mobile phone a very concrete metaphor and takes seriously the questions of postcard 5; both for everyday spirituality and for worship.

Repeat of a blog post from the blog about the out of bounds church? book.

Posted by steve at 05:41 PM

exclusive brethren

Update: For a political comment on the Election Pamphlet funding by Exclusive Brethren business leaders, go here.

Following the TV3 programme onThursday evening regarding the Exclusive Brethren, I’ve had a number of internet visitors to this post. I was stunned recently to discover that the Exclusive Brethren have a website. I was amazing at the irony of a group that professed to ignore technology seeming to have produced an information website about themselves.

Other web resources on the Exclusive Brethren include the following; an evaluation (and warning) of their cult status here (scroll down to “E”). There’s an overview of the group on the BBC website. There’s a Listener review of the just released; Behind Closed Doors: A startling story of Exclusive Brethren life by Ngaire Thomas. And New Zealand sociologist, Alan Jamieson provides another review of the same book here.

As we talk, let’s remember that this is not only about religion, it’s also about people. I talked to someone this morning, who recounted the pain of her being excluded from the Brethren, barred from her mother’s funeral, and the damage it did to her faith and that of her husband. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata — it is people, it is people, it is people.

Posted by steve at 02:42 PM

Thursday, August 18, 2005

missional discipleship

I just had an email asking me what Opawa was doing in the way of missional discipleship. Over the last year I have developed a programme called Growth coaching; which offers one on one; whole of life coaching. A person meets with a coach, together they set a programme, and the coach holds them accountable.

This was what started the idea , and the realisation that most discipling programmes are content based, not people based. They impart information and have set starting and ending points. How to be more flexible?

It was also important to see growth as whole of life and at all life stage, not just for “new” Christians. So this is some research I did as part of a sermon series.

This is our finished publicity product, which is given out to interested people. And this is an article from a New Zealand Christian newspaper about the concept.

We trained 10 growth coaches toward the end of last year. They met last week for support and prayer and feedback. They are quietly working away, behind the scenes, connecting with people, quietly changing lives.

Posted by steve at 09:17 PM

Song, a poem written by JK Baxter

My love came through the city
And they did not know him
With his beard and his eyes and his gentle hands
For he was a working man

My love stood on the lakeshore
And spoke to the people there
And the fish in the water forgot to swim
And the birds were quiet in the air.

‘Truth’ – he said, and – ‘Love’ – he said,
But his purest word was – ‘Mercy’ –
And the fishermen left their boats and came
To share his poverty.

My love was taken before the judge
And they nailed him on a tree
With his strong face and his long brown hair
And the whiteness of his body.

‘Truth’ – he said, and – ‘Love’ – he said,
But his purest word was – ‘Mercy’ –
And the blood ran down and the sun grew dark
For the lack of his company.

My love was only a working man
And now he is God on high;
I have left my books and my bed and my house,
To follow him till I die.

‘Truth’ – he said, and – ‘Love’ – he said,
But his purest word was – ‘Mercy’ –
Flowers and candles I bring to him
And no man is kinder than he.

: From Collected Poems, edited by Weir, 1980.


and for more on Baxter, one of New Zealand’s finest contextual theologians.

Posted by steve at 03:05 PM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

baptism resources

Shannon, who was with us for some months recently as an art intern, was asked to design a postcard – fresh and appealing – that we could give to people being baptised, to pass onto their friends. Just something physical that if you’re being baptised, you can give to friends and say “hey, this is special to me, please come along.” All part of us at Opawa trying to make connections easier between life and faith. Here’s the result. What do you think?

Posted by steve at 01:54 PM

women and apostolic leadership


For the last few months, at Digestion, our evening service, I’ve stumbled on a bit of a winner in terms of participation. Early in August, I did a sermon called my favourite Biblical hero is …

To my surprise, a number of people told me they had a different hero and could they share. So far 5 different people have shared and 2 more are waiting in the wings. There’s been something about the mixing of two stories; the preacher and the hero, that has been rich and interesting.

But it had become a bit male focused, men talking about male biblical heros. So to break things up a bit, on Sunday I talked a second time, about my favourite female Biblical hero. She also happens to be an apostle, and thus for me continued some of my thinking about gender and leadership. I drew heavily on Richard Bauckham’s book Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels.

After the sermon all the women in the congregation were invited to stand, and two of our current women in leadership prayed for them. If you’re interested, here’s the sermon: my favourite female Bibical hero.


Posted by steve at 12:12 PM

Saturday, August 13, 2005

gender and leadership

Venture Capitalist and author Guy Kawasaki wrote in the Art of the Start that a major problem of many start-ups is that they are dominated by men and that is a problem. Men are by nature too aggressive and want to defeat and kill things … In companies he funds, he makes them hire women if they don’t have any into senior leadership positions to help negate the testosterone and learn to build partnerships instead of trying to kill every wooly mammoth that we see walk down the street.


Posted by steve at 05:20 PM