Saturday, July 28, 2007

chip off the old block

We are chips off the block, shaped by our parents, moulded by their attitudes and behaviours. The church I pastor has an old building and a new building. The old building, built in 1953, is an A-frame.

[Photo of church under construction, 1953]

aframecropped.jpg

It is quite rare to see an A-frame house in Christchurch, let alone an A-frame church. So this week the pastor from back in that day was contacted and asked “Why? Why an A-frame?”

Looking back I think the church realized that to replace the
former church, built in 1916 and founded in 1924, the new church had to be
of a design, outside the square and would revolutionize the way churches
would be built in the future.

That’s a great chip to carry on our shoulders into the future.

Posted by steve at 11:32 PM

Friday, July 27, 2007

the emerging church is liberal

It’s news to me, but that’s the word according to The emerging Christian Way

emergingchristianway.jpg

(I hate books with the word “The” in them. They just sound so arrogant. The simple use of the word “A” would leave room for other voices).

Anyhow, chapter one paints church history as belonging to two camps: an earlier Christian way and an emerging Christian way. The author, Marcus Borg, places himself in the later, and he also includes Brian McLaren in his camp. “Emerging” in this definition refers to time, as it comes after “earlier”. There is no mention of postmodernism or cultural change, which is a unique departure from much emerging church literature. There is also no mention of communities of practice, which so often characterise other emerging church books. Instead we have a focus on theology.

It’s a good discipline to read people who might see things differently, so I hope to review some of the other chapters in the weeks ahead.

Posted by steve at 09:46 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

be quiet, i’m listening to the pictures OR how do you read Harry Potter’s Deathly Hallows

Every fortnight I do Viewpoint, a 4 minute radio slot. This morning I did a piece reflecting on the hype surrounding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which caused me to ask the question; How do we read (whether Harry Potter or the Bible)? I’m quite pleased with it, so I thought I’d put it on the blog for my e-world listeners.

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Posted by steve at 11:20 AM

Sunday, July 22, 2007

moulded into romans 8

Tonite was a team preach, me and a younger leader. We have met 5 times; to explore a Biblical text; to discuss it’s application; to work on how together we could preach the text.

Everyone was given a piece of clay as they arrived. Romans 8 is about God’s love. What if this love is not an abstract theory, but meant to be expressed concretely? What if love is not something to talk about, but something to express in action?

Tentatively he handed his piece of clay to me. I moulded it with mine and passed it onto another person. One by one, people moulded their unique piece of clay into the whole.

romans 8 at 250.jpg Might this be church? Our colourful unique talents, made greater as a whole. God’s love as concrete, expressed in and through one another.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing¬ónothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable¬óabsolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:38-9

Posted by steve at 10:34 PM

Saturday, July 21, 2007

the bishop and the baptist

graham cray400.jpg

This is Steve Taylor last week trying to convince Graham Cray to read the book he’s holding. It’s mine (Out of Bounds Church?) and it’s free and I’ve even signed it and I’m still trying to convince him! :)

No seriously, this is the closest I’ve ever been to a bishop and Graham Cray is one cool dude. I asked him what he did to relax and he told me he listened to rock music on his iPOD. He’s sharp. He’s key in Fresh Expressions in the UK. He listens well. He’s a great gift to the church.

Posted by steve at 05:59 PM

Friday, July 20, 2007

of airports and airplanes

It is always hit and miss how much work I get done on planes, but the last 24 hours of journey home have been unusually productive.

Between Portland and San Francisco I completed a film review (of Shrek 3), which I needed to have done as part of my monthly writing contract with Touchstone magazine.

At San Francisco I drafted two proposals which an interested publisher had requested. One was around turning my year long missional church coaching package into a written resource. (Watch this space).

The other was some thoughts around how to get some of my creative and communal worship ideas shaped up in ways that might be more available and accessible. A sort of “missional lectionary” with themes, thought pieces, prayers, poems, takehome resources. (Again, watch this space).

Between Auckland and Christchurch I drafted another film review (of Once, showing Auckland on Friday 27th), which I can perhaps tuck away for next month.

Then it was into the arms of my family. Yah!

Posted by steve at 12:38 PM

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

you’ll never walk alone

Today I return home. I travel from a northern hemisphere to a southern hemisphere, from summer to winter. To Christchurch. A city I left 18 days ago. To home and family and church.

I travel, but not alone. I travel with the prodigal kiwi. I travel with rich memories from the last few weeks with Anglicans and a class at Fuller Seminary and international partnerships around the Allelon Mission in Western Culture project. I travel with awareness of many saints who have travelled before with missional intentionality. I travel in the name of the sending One, conforted that he sends me and he is intending to come after me.

Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

Posted by steve at 05:07 AM

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

what is missional church?

Missional church paints God as very big, and church as a small part of that.

Leander van Dyck from video here.

Posted by steve at 04:51 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007

a take away ending

We sat in an open circle on the floor. In the centre I had placed a stack of takeaway coffee cup lids. People were invited, one at a time, to take a lid and name to the group one thing they would take away from the week long intensive – it might be something sweet, something raw, something stirred, something to chew on.

For me it would be the gift of a unique group who had worked hard, listened well and thought deeply, and the gift of a question.

And then I blessed them;
To take their take aways, their stories of nurture and growth and change,
their treasure, for which they, and Jesus, have paid a great price.
And now to go in the name and the power of the Giver of our stories
Go into Gods world. Go in peace.

And so ended the Fuller Living the text in a postmodern text class of 2007 (apart from assignments and marking :)). Rich memories for me to take away as I board the plane for the third, and final, leg of my journey, to Portland and a gathering of the Allelon Mission in Western Culture Project.

I am down to present on Sunday for about 20 minutes and on Monday for about 35 minutes, followed by Q & A. I am deeply tired and quite homesick.

Posted by steve at 06:44 PM

Thursday, July 12, 2007

the gift of a question, the question of a gift

One of my students in my Living the text in a Postmodern (Fuller) context class gave me a gift this week. Here it is:

“Where does this story connect with brokenness in the tellers life?”

(Context for those interested: We had been discussing storytelling and the student was making some links between the narrative of my preaching journey, a group storytelling exercise I had done with them in the morning, moving into an afternoon storytelling workshop in which I was trying to help students work on developing awareness of their own stories. We then used the question to evaluate a class case study – a narrative sermon.)

It is a question that I will pin on my wall and use to guide my ongoing talking. I think it relates back to a post from a few months ago on stories of failure.

Posted by steve at 02:03 PM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

religion on and offline

Christchurch bloggers: please pass this on … Do you use, or want to use, web or cell phone in ministry? Need to consider the influence of new technology for church and faith? Then check out: Building Christian community: What the internet can teach offline church, with Heidi Campbell, BCNZ Christchurch, 70 Condell Ave, 28 July, 2007. More info here

And calling all on-line bloggers: what we are going to do is try to run this seminar on-line and off-line. Heidi’s notes will be placed on-line 24 hours before kickoff. We will also try to Skype her seminar and thus anyone in the world can ask questions via website. Could be a fun mixing of on-line and off-line, so pass it on.

Posted by steve at 06:41 PM

Sunday, July 08, 2007

my most significant emerging and missional books

Just had an interesting email from a graduate student, asking my opinion of the most significant emerging and missional books. So below are the texts I consider significant, with a brief comment as to why. For me, significant is different from popular, which if you want that, you can check through google rankings and blog crushes. I have also separated out emerging from missional.

Can anyone spot the thing that disturbs me the most about this list?

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Posted by steve at 10:19 PM

Saturday, July 07, 2007

arrived safely

My wheels touched down in the good old US of A a few hours ago. It is very strange how sitting in a seat for 12 hours can leave one feeling so knackered. I have brought groceries, gone for a run, cooked myself a meal and caught a movie (Waitress – recommended). All those good “keep on moving, keep on moving” things that help one earth and body clocks readjust.

Posted by steve at 06:35 PM

Friday, July 06, 2007

Go vicars

My time with the Auckland Anglicans finished today. It was excellent and I hope to post some resources for them in the next day or so.

The day finished with workgroups discussing questions like what is the difference between a “come to us” church and a “go them church”? The workgroups reported back and then I was asked for the last words. This is what I said:

- We shouldn’t be afraid of statistics, because they keep us honest.
- In a Go church, the vicar gives the benediction not from the front, but from the door, then leads the congregation out into mission.
-Imagine what a different diocese Auckland would be if every parish set a goal of planting just one “fresh expression of church” over the next 10 years.

Posted by steve at 12:19 AM