Friday, September 08, 2006

leader as gardener goes global

I am a very proud lecturer. One of my students, Jocelyn, has just had a piece of work; titled Leader as Gardener, published in The Officer, a magazine that goes out to Salvation Army leaders all around the world.

Jocelyn was in my Pastoral leadership class earlier this year. As part of the class I invited students to explore 6 images of leader in 1 Corinthians 3 and 4;
- servant; 3:5; servants who waited on you
- gardener; 3:6-9; you are God’s garden
- builder; 3:9-17; I laid a foundation on which others
- resource manager; 3:18-4:7; Christ’s oikonomos [estate manager]
- cross carrier; 4:8-13; we are fools for Christ
- parent; 4:14-21; “fathers” to help you grow

Each student was given practical tasks – like to garden, to serve, to play with a child, to build something – and then invited to blog about what they learned about leadership from these practical experiences. Jocelyn blogged about leader as gardener (here).

She must have then re-worked the piece, because she bounced sort of Tiger-like into Bible College yesterday, beaming, with a September edition ofThe Officer magazine open. Jocelyn is a very gifted student and a very creative and able writer. Well done you.

Posted by steve at 02:18 PM

Thursday, September 07, 2006

a PR day

Today has become a PR day; 2 media agencies rang requesting interviews. One was interested in the place of religion and spirituality; the other in the emerging church.

And then the phone call from a government social service agency. Ringing to compliment Opawa on the way it cares for one of it’s parishioners. “It must be great to be part of a church like your’s”. Well. Thankyou!

You can’t timetable media and PR work. You just have to push aside your appointments and your lecture prep. You just have to pray that soundbites will indeed become a “true and accurate record.”

Posted by steve at 02:34 PM

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

salvation in the arms of another

It’s a line from a song (Salvation), by Rae and Christian, from 2001 Sleepwalking album. It became a theme song for my gospel in post-Christian class this week. We looked at the fiction of Douglas Coupland; the endings to 3 of his books; Generation X, 1991; Life after God, 1994; Hey Nostradamus, 2003.

It is fascinating to realise that each book ends exploring themes of salvation; salvation from human loss and need into reconciliation of human relationships in Hey Nostradamus; salvation from human selfishness into a life of giving and serving through creation, through death to self (with sacramental hints of cleansing and baptism) in Life after God; salvation from aloneness into mutual acceptance in community through surrendering the love of the mentally challenged in Generation X.

As a class we then reflected on the narrow ways that salvation is presented in modernity. We contrasted this with the richness of Biblical images. We decided that Biblical images of God as Family restorer (Luke 15) and Environmental integrator (Colossians 1:18-20) in fact connect with the endings and the salvific themes in contemporary culture, specifically in Douglas Coupland’s work.

What a shame if the church was actually preaching a limited gospel that was in fact disconnected from the salvific search in our culture. It was a great class.

Relevant parts of the lecture notes are here if you’re interested.

Posted by steve at 04:17 PM

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the Bible as living word in community: idea 3

The Sunday before, ask males in the church to bring something from their shed (a tool, a hobby, a tool). This can become a hugely energising exercise for some – we ended up with cars and boats inside the church.

So all of a sudden you are surrounded by the Monday to Saturday world of half of your church community. You are faced with the Bible needing to be lived in this real world.

bikes and bread250.jpg Now, try and serve communion … white table cloth in contrast to tools and engines, bread in squares or wafers in contrast to greasy hands, an altar in contrast to a shed … and you are face to face with the gulf between church and everyday life.

How did it get this way? How did an everyday meal shared by Jesus become a ritual separated from life? What is the theological values that drove the introduction of altars and whiteness and wafers? Here is how I tried to make the links. It was hard, hard theological work!

(more…)

Posted by steve at 01:17 PM

Friday, September 01, 2006

sharing the linking luv

Apparently, today is world blog day, and you are meant to link to 5 blogs you have never linked to before; to share the linking luv … so here are 5 blogs that I have recently wished I could blog like;

Backyard missionary – good, honest Aussie battler

Laura Drane – a new blog that comes from a mind well worth listening too

Fernando Gros - self-reflective and lateral linkages being made around globalisation, film, popular culture, Christianity

Sue Wallace – creativity and spirituality plus

Andrew Picard – down to earth pastoral minister

Posted by steve at 05:28 PM