Thursday, December 29, 2011

summer holidays = choosing paint colours

So the out of bounds bach (holiday home/shack) is getting a facelift, an exterior coat of paint. To be precise, an exterior coat of Rongotai, with the windows and barge boards being Reefton. Choosing colours is more fun than sanding and undercoating. Although both are more fun than ministry, because both are about instant change – you scrape, you choose – and change is immediately apparent.

What is also more interesting than sanding is the social media strategy adopted by Dulux New Zealand. Their paint range is named after New Zealand places, to which you are invited to upload your photos:

What’s your Dulux Colour of New Zealand? Where do your magical moments and fond memories come from?

To begin, simply find your special place on the map, then submit at least three photo. Simply click on the approximate area, and we’ll give you a selection of locations to choose from. You’ll also be able to browse other people’s uploads at the same time. Of course, not every location in New Zealand is in our current colour range. If you can’t find your favourite place, please let us know. We would love you to tell us what place in NZ is dear to you and what colour you think is best associated with that colour.

So that when you search under Rongotai, you get a great picture. Go look

Posted by steve at 10:06 AM

Friday, December 23, 2011

being consumed (at Christmas)

Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire is a great little book. At only 100 pages, there is both a depth of theological reflection, yet an incredibly practical edge. It is an attempt to “sketch out a view of everyday economic life with the use of Christian resources.” (viii)

“The Eucharist tells another story about hunger and consumption.” (94).

The argument is that the Eucharist provides an alternative imagination to globalisation. It’s not just theory, because the assertion that the “church is called to be a different kind of economic space and to foster such spaces in the world” (ix) is followed by some really concrete practices

  • turn our homes into sites of creative production, not just consumption (such a practical alternative perhaps to Christmas)
  • donate time to those in need
  • deposit in community development banks
  • buy locally
  • Christian business practices and
  • Fair Trade

I reckon it’s a sort of Catholic equivalent of Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling in the sense that both seem to provide an integrative center for mission. So in Being Consumed, that integrative centre is the eucharist, while in Culture Making it is the invitation to play in culture that allows a mission, whether it is a minister leading a change, a teenager engaging in social justice, a retired person crafting for charity or a Council worker enacting legislation for the sake of a cleaner city.

(For some of my commentary on this a great little video, see here).

Both seem to provide ways beyond the church-centric imagination that plagues so much of contemporary mission (including fresh expressions) thinking. What is more appealing about Being Consumed, in contrast to Culture Making, is that the eucharist is more more communal, much more social, than the tendency to individualism in culture makers.

Further links:
Consumerism at Christmas (part one)
Consumerism at Christmas (another here).

Posted by steve at 01:36 PM

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a week’s work: communion in a world of hunger

Most of this week has been a writing week, preparing to speak at a conference on Post-colonial theology and religion in Melbourne later in January. My paper is titled – This is my body? A post-colonial investigation of the elements used in indigenous Australian communion practices – and over the week I’ve put together 4,800 words, which is a pretty good effort.

For those interested, here’s my introduction: (more…)

Posted by steve at 12:04 PM

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent acts of healing and redemption

The Lake (Ellesmere) on which my most re-creative space is found, was a few years ago, declared pretty well dead, a victim of chemical pollution and lack of care.

After much negotiation, the local Maori tribe has been given a greater opportunity to care for the Lake. This morning, with the air dead calm, I walked out where the River (Selwyn) meets the Lake. What was a paddock is now planted in native bush. An attractive set of wooden steps welcomes. A number of new trails toward the lake are being developed. It might be a coincidence, but the bird life seems more abundant. Black swans patrolled the river and a range of shags and seagulls fought for fish.

It struck me as being a wonderful metaphor for the work of God in the world. I have been absent, in another country. And yet creation care continues, land is being offered some space to healing and the birds rejoice. In a few days we will celebrate the birth of the One who made healing and redemption, of human and creation, a possibility in which all are invited to participate.

Romans 8:21, 23 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God …Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Posted by steve at 03:14 PM

Monday, December 19, 2011

my most re-creative space?

This is one of my most re-creative spaces. I woke up this morning to this


and ate breakfast with the kids looking at this


It is what we call the “out of bounds bach.” The back story is that we used the author advance from my The Out of Bounds Church? book back in 2005 to invest in a place of retreat and memory creation. It’s about 40 minutes from Christchurch, so was a great place to find solitude while in ministry at Opawa Baptist.

If you ever think I’m burning out, or sense I’m losing my soul, ask me how long since I’ve been here? And how long till I plan to return?

Now we live in Australia, it’s a wonderful holiday spot, our sense of turangawaewae.

Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.

My task this week is to write from here. What joy.

Posted by steve at 10:10 AM

Saturday, December 17, 2011

on a jet plane. tee hee

Team Taylor are on a jet plane, flying back to New Zealand for the summer. I have one more week of work, in which I hope to make significant progress on this little writing project, but with school ending for the kids on Wednesday, it’s time to reconnect with earth and people.

We are all very excited ….

Posted by steve at 07:38 AM

Friday, December 16, 2011

indigenous dreaming

I’ve had a rich few days that included time with local indigenous Christian leaders, talking and dreaming

  • about ways that Uniting Church candidates can be exposed to indigenous culture
  • about whether we as staff and students at College can be taught the Lords Prayer and Words of institution at communion in the local language (Kaurna), as a way to honour the traditional owners of the land on which College exists
  • about urban field trips, Saturdays in which we drive around Adelaide, hearing the stories from Colebrook, and Lartelare Park
  • initially for students in my Reading Cultures class, but why not as a sort of fresh expression for new migrants
  • about shared theological projects, including communion and the missiology of the Preamble.

I have left these gatherings with this urge to take off my shoes, for I feel like I’ve been walking on holy ground.

Posted by steve at 01:42 AM

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the bias of a bowling ball as a metaphor for postmodern epistemology

Last week included a team social. Each year we try and do something fun and different to end the year. This year we went lawn bowling. Despite some initial uncertainty, photos of the event revealed a lot of smiles on a lot of faces.

Essential to lawn bowls is the bias on the bowling ball, that one side is weighted. Which makes for great hilarity when folk get the bias wrong and the ball heads off into the next door neighbours game.

In the week following, a number of times I’ve found myself sitting with folk who have felt the need to declare their own bias. They are making an observation and as they do, point out that they have a particular perspective, a particular relationship, a particular history, that will shape their opinion.

Knowing my post-modern epistemology, I gently point out to them that there is no such thing as objective neutrality, that in fact ever person has a particular perspective, a particular relationship, a particular history, that will shape their opinion.

Like a bowling ball I have told them since last week. A bowling ball has a bias. Our task is not to think in straight, objective lines. Rather it is to be aware of our bias and weight the speed of the green (the context). Only by accurately knowing our bias will we ever get close to truth.

The bias of a bowling ball as a metaphor for postmodern epistemology. What do you reckon?

Posted by steve at 09:38 AM

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What would I use iPAD aps for?

Now this looks a fantastic ap for an iPAD. On Saturday I was scrawling an idea on a piece of paper – it was a decision making tree to help a church reflect on its mission future – and a friend commented, “I bet your house is full of those scraps.”

It is.

And I don’t find any of my existing software (Word/pages/paint etc) easy to mix both diagrams and text. So an ap that I can doodle, draw, journal, all in one place!

And so a followup to my – what would I use an iPAD for – post yesterday:

What iPAD aps might intentionally re-source and re-plenish (cf consume, distract, show-off)?

Posted by steve at 08:11 AM

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

what would I use an iPAD for?

I’ve been given a monetary gift. It’s a thankyou in response to working quite intensely over a recent weekend, a period that left me quite drained.

So it would be nice to use this gift to intentionally re-source and re-plenish myself, to be able to point to something and say ‘this is a blessing back, for being a blessing out.’

Books, music and art are (definite) possibilities. Another suggestion is that I buy an iPAD. I already have a kindle (which I use for reading and love the new reading horizons) and a laptop (for work) and I’m not not convinced about more technological acquisition.

So, fellow readers what really – usefully, resourcefully – would I use an iPAD for? How would it help re-source and re-plenish me, in ways that a kindle or laptop couldn’t?

Posted by steve at 08:06 AM

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spirit-ed Missiology for a Global Church

Really excited about this, just one of our Missiology stream offerings for 2012 at Uniting College.

How can we tell which to reject, what to support and who we can cooperate with in our mission? How do we discern the movement of the Holy Spirit among all the other spirits? 

In our complex, plural postmodern world we inhabit a world of many spirits – good, bad, indifferent. These are movements, forces, personalities, cultures we have to negotiate. This unit will explore how attention to the Holy Spirit in mission enables us to minister faithfully in local contexts while connected to the church worldwide and the greater purposes of God in Christ.

Kirsteen Kim is Professor of Theology and World Christianity at Leeds Trinity University College, UK and author of Holy Spirit in the World and Joining in with the Spirit.

Topics will include

  • Mission in the Spirit
  • A world of many spirits
  • Movements of the Spirit
  • Spirit-uality
  • Interaction: Indigenous voices
  • Discerning the Spirit among the spirits

July 23-27, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. Available at both Bachelor and Post Graduate level. Adelaide College of Divinity Campus.

Posted by steve at 09:04 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2011

very, very early U2 “Out of control” in 1979

Recently up on Youtube is part of an 1979 recording of an early U2 concert.

It was recorded by a fan, long-time fan Pete McCluskey and features 5 minutes of what was to become Out of control. It seems that Peter has more:

over 40 minutes of U2’s set that Saturday afternoon which Pete has on tape. Many of the tracks, including ‘Cartoon World’ and ‘Life On A Distant Planet’, are ones which U2 never committed to vinyl. Pete has no plans to release his tape

(Hat tip)

Posted by steve at 06:08 PM

Saturday, December 10, 2011

film review: Moneyball

A 500 word (monthly) film review by Steve Taylor (for Touchstone magazine). Film reviews of a wide range of contemporary films (over 65), each with a theological perspective, back to 2005 can be found here.

What do you value? Numbers, money, sentiment or fun?

“Moneyball”, (more…)

Posted by steve at 02:14 PM

Friday, December 09, 2011

mission and leadership postgraduate offerings 2012

These are the postgraduate (Master and Doctor of Ministry) offerings for the Uniting College of Master and Doctor of Ministry, just emailed to our postgraduate students, plus are in Uniting church ministers mailings all over South Australia over the weekend (Full PDF download go here).

I am really pleased with them, especially the focus on mission, leadership and culture and the range of voices (including from interstate and overseas) and approaches we’re building into the programme. A highlight is one of the world’s leading ecumenical voices on the Spirit and mission, Kirsteen Kim, author of the fabulous Holy Spirit in the world , who will be teaching an intensive – Spirit-ed missiology for a globalised world – from July 23-27, 2012.

Posted by steve at 05:55 PM