Friday, June 26, 2009

left behind video games theology

One of my tasks, as part of Grow for Sunday night, is to analyse the theology of the Left Behind video games trailer. It’s part of 3 weeks were we explore what the Bible says about the end of time.

Here’s the LOL comment made in youtube: personally, i cant wait for the rapture. as an atheist, i am sure to stay here, and if these christians are right, then they will all disappear. poof! the world just became a more logical and rational place!

If this is the text:

Throughout history, men and and women have chose one of 3 paths. Those who daily seek a personal relationship with God, unbelievers and believers who don’t seek after God and those who chose to ignore God.

And as the prophets foretold – God will come to take his people home. No-one knows the day or the hour. Without any warning all infants, children and many people, mysteriously disappear. Terror and confusion reign the world over. For those left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.

that what is this saying about God; and about humanity?

Posted by steve at 05:53 PM

Monday, July 14, 2008

communion, Grow with happy meals

Excellent kick off to Grow with a happy meal on Sunday nite. We are taking 3 weeks to explore the place of food in Christianity, with a particular focus on communion. With school holidays on, and with the theme being food, we are starting earlier (6:15 pm) and eating together. It was neat to have more kids with us, who seemed to connect well with the Grow congregation flavour – non-linear, multiple learning, style cafe congregation.

grow in july.jpg A highlight was the local Anglican vicar, who was asked to tell us about what communion means, and lead into fascinating contrast and compare discussion. Reminded me of this quote: “It has been said that heaven will be like having a Baptist sermon with Anglican liturgy; and hell will be like having an Anglican sermon with Baptist liturgy!”

Anyhow, for those who can’t imagine a non-linear, multiple learning, style cafe congregation, here is the run sheet for the evening….


Posted by steve at 11:13 AM

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Grow with happy meals

grow in july.jpg

Posted by steve at 10:58 PM

Friday, March 14, 2008

collaborative learning around the real Jesus

Grow (our non-linear, interactive, Sunday evening church service) is using a cell phone text challenge to help us search for the real Jesus. Themes – like aren’t there are other gospels that offer us a different Jesus or the church tampered with the gospels – lend themselves to some collaborative learning through a text challenge. So we have asked people to volunteer to be either
a) a Gnostic Jesus or
b) a Buddy Jesus
c) or a real Jesus.

We have given them either a Gospel of Thomas, or a selection of feel-good Bible verses, or a Gospel of Mark and sent them into the week. Then we text them a challenge during the week.

I was sitting a test this week. I cheated by copying from my friend. Now I feel bad. What do I do [Gnostic or Buddy or real] Jesus?

Simply giving people the Gnostic gospels has already highlighted how patriarchal, esoteric and just plain weird they are. And we are hoping that then running these “Jesus’s” through real life type scenarios will further help us realise the significant differences between the real Jesus of the gospels, and other constructions.
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Posted by steve at 03:19 PM

Sunday, March 09, 2008

updated post: the theology of one Hillsong song

Update: Commenter Bill has posted on this post at his blog, and started another stream of conversation over there. His blog is bigger than mine (just like Hillsong is bigger than most of us), and so the commenting energy has now swung over there.

For those who think I might be a Hillsong devotee, check out my other posts on Hillsong here and a here and here. And other posts I have done on exploring Jesus images in texts, including Narnia, Edmund Hillary and the Mel Gibson movie.


I did the below at our Grow service tonight. We’ve started a series looking for the real Jesus. As part of it, I am leading into worship by taking a song and asking “what are we thinking when we sing this.” Here is the Hillsong number “for all you’ve done.”

The song has 3 parts. The opening is fascinating;
My savior
Lifted me from the miry clay

I hear echoes of the Old Testament. For example Psalm 40:1 -3; I patiently waited, LORD, for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit, full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm, and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you.

Such echoes of Jesus are present in a number of places in the Old Testament. The most well known is Proverbs 8, with what I call a “Cosmic or Wisdom Jesus,” Jesus present at the birth of creation, giving wisdom to life. So “for all you’ve” done starts with a creation Jesus present redemptively within creation.

The middle of the song keeps the Old Testament theme going:
Forever, I will never be the same

At this point, I become a bit uneasy, as there is the potential of Jesus being mushed into Almighty God. But then the song gets very specific.
Cos You came here
From the everlasting
To the world we live
The Father’s only Son

This is a good Incarnational theology. This Cosmic Jesus is God before time, that came to live. The life of Christ is essential. “For all you’ve done” includes every day of every one of those 33 years.

The good theology continues as the song moves to end:
And You lived
You died
You rose again on high
You opened the way for the world to live again

I find fascinating the echoes of ascension. Jesus fully human and fully divine “opened the way.” The human body of Jesus ascends into God. In the Ascension, the way for humans is opened to God. What is more, God is changed as God embraces humanity.

In summary, “for all you’ve done” is a surprisingly broad song theologically. Christians often limit what Jesus does to the cross. Yet this song names Jesus, for all you’ve done as including creation, incarnation, life, resurrection and ascension. So salvation in Christ is not limited to the work of the cross. It starts with God making the world, involves the sending of Jesus, God with skin on, moves through thirty three years of healing to the embrace of the cross, the surprise of Easter Sunday and the ascension, as Jesus opens the way. That’s the Jesus being worshipped in “for all you’ve done.”



Posted by steve at 08:40 PM

Friday, February 08, 2008

Grow through grandparenting

How many of you have grandparents? How do we grow through these relationships? The Bible is full of stories of old connecting with young – Samuel to Eli, Ruth to Naomi, Anna and Simeon to Jesus. What wisdom can we gain from these relationships?

Grow our Sunday evening service is back, exploring these questions. Features will include “adopt-a-gramp”; top 10 oldies in our church; tips on how to grandparent, grandchild and visit a rest home; interviews with grandparents; generational stereotypes and clips from Waiting for God.

Grow through grandparenting; Feb 10, 17, 24, Sunday’s at 7 pm, cnr Hastings St East and Wilson Road

Posted by steve at 11:09 PM

Friday, November 09, 2007


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Lot of work on Grow (our new Sunday evening service) this week (For some history, see here). Here are two learnings:


Posted by steve at 10:09 PM