Wednesday, June 07, 2006

on art and beauty

I once was interviewed by a reporter for National Public Radio, who … asked, “Doesn’t all the music and painting and artwork in your church distract you from focusing on God?” and I responded, “Tell me this. If your husband takes you out for an anniversary dinner, and there is candlelight and roses and violins, does that distract you from feeling romantic?” That’s how humans are made, to respond to beauty with openness and joy-a truth more apparent to earlier Christians than to many of us today.


Posted by steve at 03:08 PM


desperate plea from one of our pastoral team …

I have a problem.

I have an avi. file which I recorded on Saturday night, it s raw video foodage and is about 12Gb. The problem is that for some reason it seems corrupted and I cannot open the file with any of the programmes I have avaliable. (RealPlayer, Windows Media, Quicktime, VLC Media, Adobe Premier, Media Jukebox).


Head on over if you might be able to help.

Posted by steve at 10:11 AM

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Spirit of life Pentecost weekend


The Spirit of Life festival was our Pentecost celebration, building on the NorWest Festival held last year. The aim was to connect the Spirit with the whole of life


Posted by steve at 12:19 PM

Sunday, June 04, 2006

spirited anti-perspirant

Mum have an anti-perspirant deodorant. It is called “Spirited.” It is coloured red (the colour of flames and fire and passion and Pentecost).


Tonight I will offer a benediction;
I will offer to make the sign of the cross,
on people’s hands,
using my Spirited deodorant.
I will invoke the Pentecost spirit,
the flame of love, to fire us afresh with healing hands.

Posted by steve at 05:06 PM

Saturday, June 03, 2006

spirit, church and mission

As part of our Spirit of life festival, I was doing a talk on the Spirit and church. It was a mixed group, young and old, who had gathered to love God with their minds. In other words, to think.

So I showed them Rublevs Icon. (Click here if you want to view image) I suggested that;
When we talk about the Spirit, we are talking about a flow of love.
When we talk about the Spirit and church, we must talk about a flow of love.

Then in groups they discussed the implications of this for our worship; our community; our mission. Here is what a group of our younger people read out.

Mission doesn’t mean you have to go out into a secluded area. It is everywhere! But you need community to back you up and each person in that community is doing a mission of their own based on what and how the Holy Spirit manifests in them (i.e. to pray from someone “out there” is to participate in the mission flow.

Posted by steve at 04:59 PM

Friday, June 02, 2006

waiting on Pentecost


: We’ve been praying every day this week.
: Tomorrow over 60 people have booked for seminars - creating art installations; Spirit and Jesus; Spirit and church; tile and kite making; spirituality of new life.
: From the auditorium roof are hung branches of twisted willow, forked, for we are waiting,

for the Pentecost flame of love.

Posted by steve at 10:42 AM

what is truth?

“Learning truth is like learning a trade; apprentices grow in experience little by little.” So says Basil the Great in his book, On the Holy Spirit, 16.

When truth is capitalised to Truth and used as a weapon, it seems in such contrast to this wise church leader who offers to his opponents a process of gradual learning, in the context of relational, experiential apprenticeship.

When truth is capitalised to Truth and used as a weapon, it seems in such contrast to Jesus. The fully human, fully divine who offers truth as embodied; “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” This is the same person who has offered a starting point of “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” So truth is set in the context of discipleship, and of a personal growing relationship with Jesus.

Posted by steve at 10:22 AM

who was mary magdalene?

This book is really helpful; Gospel women by Richard Bauckham. A very close reading of the New Testament to argue that, if the church is patriarchal, it was certainly not the case in the early church.


There are chapters about Ruth, Tamar, Rahab, Elizabeth and Mary, Anna, Joanna the apostle, Mary of Clopas, the 2 Salomes and the resurrection women, including Mary Magdalene.

It’s a book packed with lots of interesting facts. Did you know that 25% of women in Jesus day were called Mary? Did you know that there is strong evidence that Joanna becomes Junia the apostle in Romans 16? Did you know that Anna is most likely a returnee from exile, making a complimentary pairing with Simeon of Jews, both local and diaspora, waiting for Jesus? I’ve used it to preach on Mary Magdalene here; and Joanna as a women in ministry here.

Posted by steve at 09:48 AM

Thursday, June 01, 2006

crash lands well: film review

Here’s my latest film review: of Crash. I’m really pleased with these few lines… “I like movies that play with linear time and demand audience concentration. But such movies, when mixed with diverse characters and diverse plots, have to work harder to provide a satisfying ending. Crash lands well.” For the full review go here.

I do these for a Denominational magazine, who allow me to place them on the web once the monthly magazine has been published. My other film reviews include; River Queen here; Brokeback Mountain here; Narnia here; Serenity here; The World’s Fastest Indian here; Sedition, a New Zealand film about the fate of conscientious objectors in World War 2, here; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, here

Next month I review (no prizes for guessing) Da Vinci Code.

Further film resources:
Film as a point of gospel engagement (PDF).
Film and spirituality web resources.
Why gospel and film?

Posted by steve at 12:58 PM

Mary Magdalene is now blogging

Mary Magdalene is now blogging. And I am part of her inspiration (scroll down a bit from here). Worth watching.

Posted by steve at 12:41 PM

reviewing carson

Beth Dickson has a very clever review of Don Carson’s Becoming Conversant with Emergent Church in Partnership Perspectives January 2006 (not online). Here are some quotes:

Carson believes strongly in the power of argument to persuade people. In reading his book what struck me most strongly was not so much the content of his arguments but the way in which he conducted them

Carson calls MacLaren ‘silly’ .. and constantly belittles his opponent instead of just disagreeing with him … the effect of emotive words such as ‘succumbs’, ‘elementary’, ‘distorts’, ‘excessively’ are relentlessly pejorative and shows that despite his grudging concessions, Carson makes little effort to be neutral and argues in the most personal terms

Carson seems to have no awareness of how such an unkind manner of arguing is likely to prejudice people against the argument, even if they generally share his point of view.”

Note to self: How I say things can be more important in communication than what I say.

Posted by steve at 11:09 AM

espresso anniversary

espresso is the Tuesday congregation at Opawa that has been celebrating it’s first birthday over the last few weeks. It started with a team of 4 and now has about 10 people. (for more on espresso’s history go here) It’s been an experiment in planting an emerging church within an existing church and in valuing community-in-discussion for spiritual formation.

After 2 weeks of evaluation through May; including questions like – What was the original idea/intention/purpose of Expresso? What has worked? what do people like about expresso? What has been difficult or could work better? Ideas about the format/structure/time/place? Size of the group/absences/sustainability/place for growth of the group? Unexplored areas to be incorporated? What/Is their a role of corporate prayer/bible reading/singing worship and other traditional aspects of church? Is it church? – we cut the cake and listed our highlights of the year. In no particular order;

Worship: Anne’s line-dancing “ending”: “It was a cracker!”

Worship: Simon’s U2 Record (vinyl) ending: (love rescue me)

Worship: The tent with Fat Freddy’s Drop

Thinking: food and vegetarianism debate(s): Jesus and food.

Thinking: Karen’s input

Community: Rockclimbing team building/nurturing

Thinking: Can God heal all relationships? discussion

Posted by steve at 09:58 AM