Monday, July 31, 2006

work intern – welcome Nigel

Nigel, Jo, Archie and Jacob arrived from the UK today. They are with us at Opawa for 3 weeks. This is our 2nd go as a church at hosting overseas interns. Last year we had Shannon McMillan, who worked as an “art” intern. Nigel is a “work” intern, and will be helping us explore workplace spirituality across our congregations. He’s also fascinated by Opawa as a story of emerging within an established context.

Overseas interns is a tricky balance – so much culture crossing and the need to find ways for all parties to bless and be a blessing. Each year I hope we get better at hosting overseas interns; we now have more staff, better structures and a dedicated intern study space.

I guess I am saying with this post: overseas interns welcome; if you live outside New Zealand (or Christchurch) and want to learn and be a part of the Opawa story, feel free to get in contact.

Posted by steve at 07:27 PM

Saturday, July 29, 2006

blogs and books

i think books are different from blogs. it might just be me though. i have been blogging for a few years now. one of my categories was about church transition – doing emerging church stuff in an established setting. i was stunned to discover earlier this year that there are over 200,000 words in that blog category on my blog.

now those 200,000 words are jottings and have blessed people on the way. but i suspect there is another way to bless people; to reflect on those 200,000 words and integrate and edit them as a 45,000 word book.

is there a place in our world for multiple approaches to communication?

A comment I made on Mark Berry’s blog.

Posted by steve at 05:50 PM

Friday, July 28, 2006

blokes and church


I sent out this letter today. It will be fascinating to see what might emerge. (Note to self: if this works once, then it could easily be reproduced with other “invite” groups).

Over the last while, 7 of you have independently spoken to me about men and ministry at Opawa. I hear from all of you a concern to do something. I also hear from all of you a lack of clarity about the what and how and when and who. Which I think is a good thing, because it gives us some space to nut out together God’s unique dream at Opawa.

So, as a pastoral leader in your midst, because of your concern for men and ministry at Opawa, I am inviting you to commit 4 hours to a process of listening and learning from each other as men. At the end I suspect we will know a lot more clearly what God might want to birth among the blokes at Opawa.

I am asking you to engage with me and some others for 4 weeks around the following topics:


Posted by steve at 07:13 PM

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Missional texts

I am working on a project: a missional reader – a set of texts – Biblical, liturgical, blog and book – that might nourish the journey of a missional learner. I am wondering about the potential of a shared set of texts, shared among missional learners in different contexts, offering a sense of communal learning on the missional journey.

Such a reader would best emerge from texts already used in community, grounded already in the local and particular. So I am currently field-testing some Biblical texts with a class. Every week for 14 weeks we are committing ourselves to dwelling in a different Biblical text (Yes, I know that the emerging church is rumoured to not take the Bible seriously:)). We will be reading the text and letting the text read us; listening to the text and listening to the text through each other. Here are some of my more poetic reflections on text 1: Genesis 28:10-19.


Posted by steve at 02:50 PM

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

heart in my mouth

I need a book reference for a lecture I am about to do in 2 hours. I used the book in my PhD, so I go looking for my PHD on my laptop. No sign of my PhD in the usual folder. How strange.

Puzzled, I hit “search.”

Stranger still. According to “search” my PhD is in my computers “Recycle bin.”

I open the “Recycle bin.” I find over 500 of my files, waiting to be deleted. I have no idea why.

Could I have ever been that jet-lagged in the last 10 days? Could someone have fiddled with my computer (it was left accessible in a classroom a number of times recently)? Can a virus do this?

(And yes, I did backup all my files recently).

Posted by steve at 10:23 AM

Saturday, July 22, 2006

hi ho, hi ho

it’s on the plane I go
with a tired throat here and a drained body here
hi ho, hi ho

It’s been an excellent week’s Living the Text intensive and a great bunch of people to work with. The variety of people – lay, student, pastor – and of cultures and of generations has produced some fascinating learning. It has, I think, been the most experiential learning process I have been part of.

It sounds like Fuller are keen for this to be a regular occurence which I will take as a compliment.

But for today, I am really tired. Jet lag meant that I struggled to sleep at night and the mornings just got harder and harder. Nevertheless, I will take home some sweet dreams for my 13 hour flight across the Pacific Ocean. Peace to all.

Posted by steve at 03:36 AM

Friday, July 21, 2006


Resources the Living the text in a postmodern context class asked for more information about:

The most recent version I have of the espresso house rules is here.

The Spirited exchanges website is here and Alan Jamieson, Churchless Faith is based on this research project.

You can find more about Godly play here. Please remember that what I did was highly adapted to our Fuller context and the course. Godly Play is a good introduction to godly play and books like How to lead Godly play lessons offer concrete steps for nervous first timers.

The Erwin McManus podcast (Corey notes the series on the controversial Jesus was really good; on the right side of the website). It was mentioned in the context of a potentially good example of Question and Answer in preaching.

Posted by steve at 02:56 AM

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Resources that the class asked for more information on included:

The U2 video clip we looked at in terms of DJing came from their Vertigo DVD

I referred to a book on passionate practices; it is Kenda Creasy Dean, Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church.

And to follow the thoughts and interactions of the Living the Text in a Postmodern Context credit students; go here. Each student is asked to write a 1000 word reflection on what the Biblical text means to them; and to offer 5 critical comments on each other’s work over the following 3 week period.

Posted by steve at 03:09 AM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

permanent mark on fuller


I left my mark at Fuller today; using a permant marker on a white board. Ryan Bell very nicely snapped a phone pic for my records.

Monday resources that the class asked for more information on included:

Gen X video This is who I am

If you want to download the flea circus; go here;

A really solid introduction to the imagination is Richard Kearney, The Wake of Imagination.

The artist I mentioned is named Sieger Koder. A place to buy his art would be here.

For the words I wrote to go with the 40 CD; go here; and here for the information I gave in class about how the resource came together.

Update: A resource mentioned toward the class: video from Highway productions and visual resources linked to the Lectionary here.

Posted by steve at 05:28 PM

Sunday, July 16, 2006

leonard cohen film review: i’m your man


In an effort to keep awake, I went movie hunting. I took a punt on Leonard Cohen: I’m your man and it was a great choice. The movie is a chronological journey through the life of a man I consider a lyrical genius. This is mixed with live concert songs from Came so Far for Beauty; artists like Nick Cave, Beth Orton and Rufus Wainwright singing Leonard Cohen’s songs. There is also lots of interviews with Leonard, plus comment from Bono and the Edge which adds depth to the songs.

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

I found lots to ponder in relation to creativity and spirituality and humanity. It was probably the jet lag but I find the movie quite moving. Now I am just hoping they release the sound track.

Trailer here

Posted by steve at 05:43 PM

Saturday, July 15, 2006

living the (fuller) text in a contemporary context

I fly back across the Pacific Ocean today for a week lecturing at Fuller Theological Seminary; teaching a course I’ve designed from scratch called Living the text in a postmodern context. I’ve taught it twice in New Zealand and am really looking forward to seeing how it plays in a different cultural context.

The course is being run as a 5 day paper for credit, a 2 day conference for pastors. It is also being videod for potential use as an on-line resource. I am lecturing 7 hours a day for 5 days, so appreciate any stray prayers for stamina, and that my nights of sleep here
guesthouse200.jpg will be deep and renewing. And that technology would go well (my bag is stuffed with videos and loops and CD’s, all essential to the experience of the course).

Posted by steve at 01:47 PM

Friday, July 14, 2006

desperate for brian mclaren

Update: Found it, 90 minutes before my plane took off. Yeeha .

I am desperate. I have a CD digital recording of Brian McLaren preaching in Christchurch in which he practises communal lectio divina. In other words, he is working his was through a Bible passage (yes folks, Brian does use the Bible), inviting the congregation to imagine being in the text and to express how they feel.

I have lost the CD. And I use it in my teaching as a case study of community and imagination in Scripture. And I fly to the US tomorrow and I need the CD for a (Wednesday) class I am teaching at Fuller. Now you see why I am desperate.

a) Have I lent this CD recording to any of my students who read this blog? If so, you have 24 hours to escape from being forever in my bad books.
b) Or do any blog readers know if Brian has done this communal lectio divino approach in places other than Christchurch (surely he must) and it was recorded and you could help locate a digital copy for me to use Wednesday 19th July (US time). (You would be forever in my good books :))

Posted by steve at 11:29 AM

Thursday, July 13, 2006

consuming Christianity

Gospel in a post-Christian society is the next course I teach at Bible College of New Zealand; starting Wednesday 26 July, the course runs for 3hours over 14 weeks. Each year I adjust and tweak my courses and this year the emphasis will be on what the gospel might mean in our consumptive and consumeristic world.

I am using this book – A to Z of postmodern life – as a core text;
atoz.jpg firstly, because as a sociologist the author allows us to explore postmodernity not only as a philosophical problem but as it occurs among people. Secondly, the author is non-Western and the book is a critical voice on the impact of postmodernity on global culture. And thirdly, because the book explores postmodern in everyday life: advertising to zapping, toys to shopping. And it is precisely in how we live and spend money that the gospel needs to engage us.

For those interested, a fuller bibliography is as follows:


Posted by steve at 04:12 PM

It’s so easy to get complacent, to waste great chunks of life just drifting along being resentful, tired, overworked, angry, or the wrong kind of lazy… Life needs to be savoured. You don’t get it twice. If time is to be wasted, it needs to be wasted properly. If there’s stuff to be angry about, do it thoroughly, then get it over with and move on. If you’re tired, get some decent rest, good food, rehydrate, and get in shape to live a bit more. Don’t waste it. Don’t waste it.

A needed reminder. Thanks Maggi.

Posted by steve at 11:20 AM