Thursday, February 17, 2011

the richness of our shrinking world

The internet has some downsides. But it also has some amazing upsides.

I am currently working on some distance material, around the theme of Jesus Christ today. The aim is a course to help lay folk as they prepare to exercise their gifts, including in leading worship and preaching. Being a course by distance, the challenge is not to prepare pages and pages of words, but to encourage a range of ways to engage.

On Tuesday night I was working on the section on Jesus Christ in history. I came across the Theologians Trading Cards, on the disseminary website. Could people arrange the theologians in various categories – geography, time, Christology from above/below? Could people play variants of snap or top trumps with their friends? A way to engage Jesus Christ in history in which the cards create interaction and question. A query email to the site owner and overnight there was email reply in regards to the Creative commons license.

On Wednesday I was working on another section. I love the story in pages 3-4 of Scot McKnight’s A Community Called Atonement about the impact of Christ on a person’s actions/witness. (The whole book is an excellent resource, which I found helpful a few Easter’s ago in framing my preaching input over a Thursday, Friday, Sunday). A story opens up different ways of engaging. What is more, the story could then be used as an exercise, inviting folk to work out how the sources of theology – Scripture, tradition, experience, reason – are all there and are all at play.

The story in McKnight’s book mentioned the title of a song. I googled the title, but could find no song with exactly that title. So I decided to email the author with my query. He replied with the contact details of the actual person who tells the story.

Another email to her. And a reply, including some more detail, which will make the story even more helpful.

In less than 48 hours, three conversations with three people on the other side of the world. Our shrinking world can certainly be full of richness.

Oh, for those wondering what the song is (more…)

Posted by steve at 07:45 AM

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

peacemaking: three local (Canterbury) bi-cultural peace stories

Sermon from Sunday evening Grow, part of a three week series on Grow in peace.

In Romans 12: 18, we are told “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Which leaves the question: what might this look like? A few weeks ago visiting speaker, Mark Grace, speaking about Parihaka (a North Island story), challenged us to look for local peace stories

So I went to the library. It’s a very Pakeha thing to do. If you were Maori, you might talk to your elders. But I’m a Pakaha, so I went to the library, to the New Zealand archives section.

This was what I found out, the story of three local peacemakers, and some bi-cultural mission history here in New Zealand (more…)

Posted by steve at 08:28 PM

Sunday, August 23, 2009

digital faith conference

Steve Garner asked me to mention this ….

DIGITAL FAITH: Exploring the contours of faith in our digital world

How do the Christian faith and the Internet impact upon each other? What place might the Bible have in our digital world? Come and join us as our panel of expert speakers engage with these topics and others relating to issues of faith in the digital world.

Mark Brown, CEO, Bible Society New Zealand
Founder Anglican Cathedral in Second Life.

Stephen Garner, Lecturer in Theology and Popular Culture,
School of Theology, University of Auckland.

Heidi Campbell, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication, Texas A&M University
Author of Exploring Religious Community Online.

Tim Bulkeley, Lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College
Developer of the Amos Hypertext Commentary & podBible projects.

Saturday 5 September 2009, 9am-12pm. OGGB4 Lecture Theatre, Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, The University of Auckland. Please REGISTER your attendance by Wednesday 2 September with theologyadmin AT auckland DOT ac DOT nz

Posted by steve at 10:27 PM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

hello carey folk

Hi, I’ve noticed quite a few visitors coming from Carey Baptist College, in particular an online learning discussion forum. It feels strange, this sensation of probably something on this blog being viewed and discussed, but because the forum is closed, I can’t hear the conversation.

Posted by steve at 06:42 PM

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Stephen Matta

Stephen Matta from Georgia, I have responded to your email. However my email reply keeps bouncing. Since you leave no other address I have no way of contacting you, apart from to place this notice on my blog.

Posted by steve at 09:25 AM

Thursday, March 26, 2009


OK, we’re having a go at using twitter for Opawa Baptist – We’ve created a group twitter, initially with a number of pastoral team people, and will see whether it’s useful tool in terms of comings and goings and prayer updates around the church.

Posted by steve at 03:36 PM

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

should Christians use copyright?

Not according to Keith. He has just emailed me the following: “I was just wondering why someone who has a heart for God’s people and would want marriages to have the best start ever would have such an issue with their message being used by others. Imagine if Jesus did that with the bible?”

I presume he is talking about this entry on my blog; where 4 years ago, I wrote the following: “[not to be reproduced in any form, including verbal, without permission. ie. creative commons does not apply to this post]“ (Update: written on 1 post on this blog. The other 1230 posts are under creative commons use. ONE post, on which I simply wanted people to ask before they used it. And when people did, I simply said “sure and thanks so much” and got a wee thrill that my thoughts were being used. Feedback – its important for me you know. Part of the gift of encouragement.)

What do people think? Should a Jesus follower have an issue with their message being used by others without permission?

Posted by steve at 10:41 AM

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iGod in New Zealand

Just had an email from Heidi Campbell, who is a bit of an academic guru on internet and spirituality:

I am working on a project in how individuals involved in the emerging church discourse use and speak about new media in their ministries. I was wondering if you can recommend other people it might be good for me to connect with while I am in NZ. I will be in country for the entire month of July.

She is going to be with us in Christchurch Saturday July 27 for a interactive seminar on religion, internet and new media. If people around New Zealand want to connect with her, drop a comment.

And here is my initial list of links of individuals involved in the emerging church discourse in New Zealand who use new media in their ministries.

Cityside Baptist: check out their Stations of the cross and their Lenten files as a multimedia and internet resourced approach to Lent.

the kitchen: which includes an active blogroll and often posts interactive stuff on their website, like these Kingdom of God cards

In my Out of Bounds Church? book (pages 125-129, I dream about the rise of postmodern monastries and cybermonks and analyse them, and other manifestations of the emerging church, using the work of sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.

Steve Garner is probably NZ’s leading academic in relation to technology and theology, while Tim Bulkeley leads the way on hypertext and the Bible (and built my first website last century).

Use of cellphones: for communion here and for benedictions here.

Blogs: lots of blogs by Christians. Some good blogrolls are maintained here (scroll down the left under Cession) and here and here

Videoblogging: discussion here around whether these videoblogs are becoming 3 minute theology

Blogs to enhance seminary learning: here

Podcasting the Bible: here

Who and what (in New Zealand) have I missed?

Posted by steve at 08:13 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

whats the internet point 2

NB. The post is not designed to induce guilt in any readers.

As an academic, I make my mark by writing and publishing. It’s called publish or perish. As a blogger, I live in an instant world, where yesterday’s post is old news. It’s called publish or persish. Academic publishing takes months and years. Blogging is instant.

(I am also a pastor, parent, partner, coffee drinker, but I will stick with the academic and blogger at the moment.)

Sometimes these values clash. For instance, late last year I delivered a paper on a postmodern monastery. It would shape up nicely into a journal article, but that might not be released until the end of 2004. Yet I mention on my blog that I had given the paper – on postmodern monasteries – and there are LOTS of requests for the paper. So do I go academic or go blogging? Academic writer vs blogger are in tension.

So I decide to make the paper I delivered a PDF, surround it by creative commons copyright and blog it. I decided to ask that if people downloaded it, they would offer some comments, sort of like tossing me a bone, sort of like fair trade. I wondered it this would resolve the tension between writer and blogger, because I can blog it, but if people give me feedback, that might improve the academic paper.

So I put the paper on postmodern monasteries on my blog, and asked for feedback.

My web stats tell me that over 120 people downloaded that PDF, while only 9 people commented.

Which sort of leaves me back at the drawing board. How to manage the book writing and the blogger instant demand? Which leaves me very unsure over what to do with my PhD on the emerging church once it is passed. There is a book there, but people want it instant.

I am yet to be convinced I can do both.

Posted by steve at 05:18 PM

whats the internet point

I have wandered into another evangelical canon, over here. I am “pandering to pagans”, and “driven by culture”, and “same as the Catholics.” [Quite a mix really!]

So a complete stranger has got something off their chest by flaming me. It is so bizarre reading someone else’s interpretation of your website and realising how little you have in common. If there was some common ground we could probably start a dialogue and I could do some learning and growing. Instead, flaming the chaff results in a scorched earthed policy. Oh well, I hope they are feeling better.

Posted by steve at 05:07 PM