Sunday, October 30, 2005

superb book review

This review of my out of bounds church? book by Greg Hughson, Chaplain at Otago University, made my day. (All out of bounds church? book reviews are logged here.)

This is a great book about what is happening on the edges of the Church. It is also an introduction to post-modern missiology. It is essential reading for anyone interested in discovering how as Christians today we can build healthy communities of faith and engage in effective mission amidst a culture of change .. Steve’s theological position is neither conservative (isolationist) or overly liberal (accomodating to culture), hence this book will appeal to a wide range of readers … Steve’s knowledge of theology, church life, academia and travel make this book an excellent read … This is an engaging and easy to read book. It is one I will return to often for a dose of inspiration when the creative juices are running low. I highly recommend it.


Posted by steve at 11:25 PM

Saturday, October 29, 2005

christmas in the square

stable.jpgThis year the Christmas Journey (an artistic exploration of the Christmas story) is moving from the outside the church to the city square for 14 days leading up to Christmas. (More photos here and more info here.) This is the fruit of months of negotiations and paper work on the part of Peter and Joyce Majendie.

It is a bold move that will place the Christmas message in the heart of our city. Very exciting. Very demanding. Practicalities of financing, of security and of staffing are major.

I was doing some work on workplace spirituality today and ran across that fact that St Francis of Assissi, back in the 12th century, ran an outdoor Christmas art installation. Three years before he died, he decided to hold Christmas outdoors and outside the church. He found a niche in the rock near the town square. He borrowed an ox and a donkey from a farmer and set up a manger; sculptures of Joseph and Mary, a little baby doll Jesus. There was lights and music, the first ever outdoor Christmas art installation.

Which got me thinking about how Peter and Joyce taking the Christmas Journey to the square this year. And how they are just following in the footsteps of St Francis; Preach the Gospel at all times, use art and the outdoors and the public spaces. Go to people. Use lights and music. And if necessary, use words.

Posted by steve at 09:37 PM

Friday, October 28, 2005

email from fuller seminary

In this regard, I wanted to give you an update on the approval process for your MP541: Living the Text in a Postmodern Context Expanded Course Description. The MA Committee reviewed the proposed ECD and are very excited about what you’re going to do with the course. They’re especially pleased at the nature of the assignments, and expect students will be drawn to the nontraditional approach they represent.

MP541: Living the Text in a Postmodern Context :


Posted by steve at 10:32 PM

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

some ratbag stole my seat

The Taylor family went out to our holiday home on Sunday night. I awoke on Monday morning and pulled open the curtains on this view.


The sun was streaming in and I slowly made my way to find a cup of tea.

The neighbouring holiday house has a wide, wooden step. Just right for sitting on, out of the wind, soaking up the morning sun. The wooden seat is aged and weathered, just right for a slow journal, a quiet savour of some Merton.

Alas the neighbouring holiday house has just been brought. I’ve lost my seat!

(More photos here.)

Posted by steve at 09:55 AM

Sunday, October 23, 2005

my film reviews online

I’ve started writing regular film reviews for a New Zealand denominational newspaper. It fits in which my BCNZ teaching of Gospel and Film, keeps me watching the movies and provides a bonus income stream. I have the editor’s permission to place the reviews on-line, with a month delay to honour the pace of the print media. So I am adding a “Film review” section to my blog.

Here’s a (September) review for Sedition, a New Zealand film about the fate of conscientious objectors in World War 2 in New Zealand. Download film review

Here’s an (October) review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Titled: Blessed are those who eat chocolate. Download film review

Further resources:
Film as a point of gospel engagement (PDF).
Film and spirituality web resources.
Why gospel and film?

Posted by steve at 04:28 PM

Saturday, October 22, 2005

tolerance, hospitality and the future of the church

A thought provoking series of posts over at heretics corner; here, here and here, on the extent of hospitality offered at the emergent table. (Link from maggi dawn). The posts are glad of the emergent conversation, but critical of how truly hospitable it really is. “Wearing a white wrist band is easy. Practicing radical inclusion of all the people of God in our communities is harder.”

I’m linking to the conversation, having just spent a week at the futurechurch conference and hoping to capture some thoughts swirling through my head. The conference was both an incredibly hospitable place – with voice given to women, gay, and lesbian – yet also at times quite an inhospitable place, in which I was stereotyped as “Baptist, male, clergy” rather than Steve Taylor, person.

1. All people, evangelical and liberal, can be intolerant.

2. I wonder if the emerging church and the progressive liberal church share a common dialogue around feelings of marginalisation from the church. The marginalisation might be for different reasons, but it has created some shared dialogue.

3. Marginalisation is not automatically missional. In fact marginalisation (and I am naming my experience of the post-evangelical discussion at this point) can be negative and cynical, which is not always healthy for those seeking a life-giving spirituality. I wonder if, and how, narratives of exclusion need to engage and draw energy from the Jesus story, to turn them from marginal to hospitably inclusive.

4. Such missional engagement is not easy for groups (whether post-evangelical or gay/lesbian) who start by feeling excluded from a conversation.

5. Perhaps paradoxically, it is the energy of this discomfort that helps hold me in such conversations. Debates around right and left, evangelical and liberal, don’t hold much energy for me. Nor do stereotypes. But open dialogue with discomforting people is hard, disconcerting, but something worth hanging out for.

Posted by steve at 03:39 PM

Friday, October 21, 2005

journal articles on emerging church

Matthew Guest & Steve Taylor, The Post-Evangelical Emerging Church: Innovations in New Zealand and the UK. A journal article I have co-authored has just been accepted for the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church.

The entire edition (Volume 6, Number 3) is dedicated to the Emerging Church. That says something quite significant about the place of the emerging church in contemporary Christian thought. There are 9 articles under headings of Introductory overview, Contextual studies, Joining and Leaving and Theological reflection. The editorial by John Drane explores an underlying question about the nature of ‘emerging church’, namely ‘emerging from what?’ (eg from post-modern culture, or from the Christian tradition – or a mix of the two – highlighting issues of how the Gospel should be contextualized, Christian attitudes to cultural change, etc).

Due out December 2005. You can order it here (scroll down a bit).

A list of emerging church post-graduate research (masters and PhD) is here.

Posted by steve at 10:12 AM

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

espresso ending

For our “ending” ritual at espresso last nite; we were offered crayons and one blank sheet of paper and all invited, together, to draw. It somehow captured the values of espresso; community and the value of each other in order to bring colour and meaning.

Espresso ending.jpg

Posted by steve at 01:54 PM

slowly emerging

Hi folks. I’ve been gone from the blog for a while. Wednesday last week I flew to Auckland, ears blocked, to the futurechurch conference. I lead some worship (remixing some art and theology voyaging and adding in some boatmaking). The out of bounds book launch went well (I ended up selling out of books), with a great “launch” prayer by Brenda Rockell and Mark Barnard. (Oh, I met the first person who liked the title of my book. Needless to say he was an American!)

Wednesday night I “animated” a conversation on the relationship between church, tradition and mission (mixing a Whale Rider, two biblical texts, Sardar’s Postmodernism and the Other and Coupland’s Polaroids from the Dead. (Craig blogs about it here).

Stayed and re-connected with friends; Tony and Jan. Tim and I had a great coffee and argued about money. Who should pay for spirituality; the user or the organisation? It was a question that “nagged” into the Friday workshop I led: spirituality2go and texting communion: selling out or sold out? I continue to ponder and work with Postcard 5 from my out of bounds church? book. How far can Incarnational mission go? So much of Incarnational misson is locked into physicality. Which is fine and necessary, but I believe is currently limiting our mission vision. What does it mean for Incarnation to be atomised into hyperlinks and 24/7 cyberspace? Surely that is the Incarnational challenge of this millenium.

Then a very restful weekend at the beach with Paul. Flew back home on Monday. My ears are still blocked. It’s actually a necessary season. I am living life half-tuned outwardly as a commitment to inward re:centring.

I hope that helps fill in some of my blogspaces from the last 7 days.

Posted by steve at 11:04 AM

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

go little book

into the world, little book
and wherever you go,
may you stimulate wise and sensitive discussion.

May you stimulate creative worship
may those who read you
form communities of faith and love that genuinely
connect with this world we love

God be with your author, your readers, and all those who are touched by your message. In the name of Christ, your inspiration, Amen.

Prayer by Brenda Rockell at the Auckland out of bounds book launch.

Posted by steve at 12:37 PM

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

future church conference

Just about to fly to auckland for the future church conference. Check out the conference blog, (which I will be able to develop, if blogger will just remind me what my password is!) I am leading the gathering ritual this afternoon. Then there is a book launch of my out of bounds church? book. Later this evening I then help “animate” (Dic: bring life to, enliven) a conversation around the theme Disconnected from our traditions. I am bringing the movie Whale Rider, and two animating Biblical texts.

I’ve been in bed for 2 days with a head cold, so I’m not the best. And my laptop powerpack died on Saturday. 2nd time in 18 months that my Acer 290 powerpack had died.

Posted by steve at 10:58 AM

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

evangelism as process part 2

On Sunday at Opawa I laid out my stall. I asked the question: what would a church committed to evangelism-as-process look like? I used the image of lounge and kitchen and offered about 5 concrete ideas that I thought could work out Opawa.

The sermon is here and is part two of a two-part series. (The first one is here)

Note some things:
The aim: to allow the Biblical stories (of Peter and Paul) to release missional imagination among the people of God.
Us not them: I wanted us to take seriously the issues in our community. I want the church to be a resource for people reaching their friends. I have been wondering if mission as radical discipleship, while a wonderful ideal, actually disempowers us from reaching the people in our networks and workplace. So I wanted to sow “us” ideas not “them” ideas.
Could not should: practical suggestions not finger waving guilt.
We not I: possibilities that would suggest people working together.
Grounded not pie-in-the-sky: and so on Sunday I brought with me a Further Reading Handout for those interested. I was delighted to see all 10 reading handouts disappear. As a concrete next step I am planning to hold an “evangelism as process” brainstorming time Saturday, 29th October, 4-5:30 pm in the church foyer.

Richard Peace’s book, Conversion in the New Testament, has been very helpful.

Posted by steve at 02:07 PM

Sunday, October 09, 2005

sweetness of travel

Given the fact that I am travelling to Auckland this week; this piece of news will make the trip all the sweeter.

Posted by steve at 08:47 AM

Thursday, October 06, 2005



This looks great; Bible podcast. It starts last weekend in October, with a marathon effort to try and podcast the entire Bible.

podbible3.jpg This means you can download the “oral” Bible onto your iPod for your walk, gym, ride on the bus. So I listened to Mark 1. My only critical comment is that the podcast I heard had no clear break between the Scripture reading and the three devotional application questions. Or perhaps this is a claim for divinely authoritative devotionals!

An unexpected joyful moment was that straight after the podbible reading, it suddenly randomed into U2’s “Miracle drug.” “What an awesome podcast” I thought, only to realise it was on my computer! But the lyrics were SO appropriate.
“I want a trip inside your head
Spend a day there
To hear the things you haven’t said
And see what you might see
I want to hear you when you call”

(Oh, the joy of song devotionals rather than word devotionals).

Posted by steve at 04:24 PM