What Would Jesus Blog?

Waiting….

by on Feb.07, 2009, under Uncategorized

Both Cat and I are waiting for Methodist Church cheques – mine is for some work that I did back in November and invoiced for in early December, Cat’s is a selection of expenses and wages dating back as early as August. Between us, we’re owed several hundred pounds. Why is it that secular organisations manage to pay wages and expenses in a matter of days, and sort out problems in hours, while an organisation that should, by rights, be caring and just, takes months? Go figure.

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Tuesday Celebration

by on Feb.04, 2009, under Uncategorized

We’re messing around with new ways of doing Tuesday Celebration, now that we’ve moved it down to the Chatsworth room – it’s a fantastic space and means that we can really let loose (when we have the equipment :p). This evening’s offering was pretty funky – plenty of well-used media, coherent narrative that didn’t cause me to switch off, sound message, and only one or two technical glitches that we can learn from. I may even let my manuals take one meeting every two weeks for worship-related stuff as manual time, which I’m sure they’ll love.

One thing I really appreciated was that the worship wasn’t all luvvy-duvvy ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ kinda stuff – that kinda thing really doesn’t represent how I feel about God! Michael Frost has an excellent chapter in his book Exiles about that – I highly recommend it. I was utterly despairing in the midst of such rubbish and then we sang a song that was all about how we all need God’s forgiveness, how God can forgive anyone who comes before him and asks for it, and how awesome it is that he offers it to us – and that right from day one we have to contend with one of the many paradoxes of Christianity – we don’t have to pay anything to receive God’s forgiveness but at the same time, it demands that we give over everything to God’s purpose.

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Technoculture

by on Jan.27, 2009, under Uncategorized

Been in lectures this week as part of MEC2 – Leading, Mentoring and Accompanying the Emerging Church, one of my modules in my MA in Mission (Emerging Church) here at Cliff College. Phil Meadows has been talking about Technoculture – the culture that’s emerged as technology has evolved at a rapid pace through the Industrial Revolution and beyond. He’s talked about how this culture has taken things that used to be central and beneficial, such as conversation around the kitchen table as part of preparing food, and through a mechanism (such as pre-packed food) taken that away. I think he has a point – and I’ll certainly return to this later. I just find it really interesting to note that as we’ve lost so many things that are centered around human interaction, we’ve gained loads as well – Facebook and MySpace are entirely user-generated and are communication tools but there’s no substitute for real human contact.
PLUG ALERT!!

I guess that’s why mychur.ch is about mixed-mode church – not totally online cyberchurch but not totally offline and removed from reality-church either. Church should mirror real life and be immersed in real life – so it makes sense that church has a physical presence (but not a totally organised one) and an online one (but not one that’s totally removed from real relationships)

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Hello world!

by on Jan.23, 2009, under Uncategorized

Welcome to mychur.ch. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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Late night blogging

by on Jan.19, 2009, under What Would Jesus Blog?

I did something tonight that I thought I’d never do – I deregistered some of my domain names. I figured the ones that I’ve not had a use for in over a year just weren’t really worth carrying on with, and had no real resale value – and I’ve got more fun things to do with domains these days! I’m currently obsessed with domain hacks – making words that end with the TLD (the letters after the final dot) – so things like del.icio.us. I’ve got a few fun ones in the pipeline which I’ll buy as soon as I can work out how to get my ISP to let me manage them…..1&1 are great until you try to do unusual things…..

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Life is a dancefloor…

by on Jan.07, 2009, under What Would Jesus Blog?

Or rather, the life of the people of God is much like a Shakespearean play – at least in one of the illustrations I’ve used in this essay I’m working on. I have no idea who first introduced me to this idea but I absolutely love it and I think it fits really well.

Think of the life of the people of God as if it were a Shakespearean play that is missing its fourth act, and we are filling in the gaps with our very existence. The first three acts are known – the characters are laid down, there’s more than enough in the Bible and in the testimony of literally millions of Christians over the years to have a good idea of who God is and how he reacts when his people do all kinds of horrible stuff against him, and good stuff for him. The final act is known – although not all New Testament eschatological writing is about the apocalypse by any means – and we know how it ends, new heaven and new earth and all that.

So what does this mean? Instead of rulebooks and lists of dos and don’ts (which many of today’s churches often make implicit rather than explicit – I hate it!) we need to put ourselves, both individually and corporately, in the place of an actor playing the part of the Christian in that fourth act. Does what we do line up with what God has praised in the past? Are we the people God wants us to be? Of course not – but the closer we get to God, the more we know and love Him, the more natural playing his supporting cast becomes. This isn’t a new idea at all – but one that we need to consider before we go on our next witch-hunt.

Incidentally, I went to see Yes Man with Mike the other day – it’s a great film, very funny but there’s one scene a few minutes in that I think really sums up the approach to evangelism that far too many churches take – Jim Carey’s character gets converted to this life-changing ethos by being publically humiiated, shouted down and pressured into accepting, but then doesn’t have the understanding of the concepts required to live it properly. I just can’t help but think of seeing people give their lives to Christ at rallies and the like and the church not being ready to disciple them properly – and comparing their testimony to that of people who got in with groups of Christians and over time saw a difference in them, and then accepted it for themselves. No judgement here on which is better – both bring people to Christ so both are good but I think they present different challenges that churches just aren’t ready for.

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Kendal

by on Dec.19, 2008, under What Would Jesus Blog?

Back in Kendal for the next two weeks – available for ale at any time (near enough….)

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Full Metal Jacket

by on Dec.03, 2008, under What Would Jesus Blog?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love Full Metal Jacket. It’s (for me at least) Kubrick’s finest work and it’s just so refreshing to see a film that has no happy ending, that doesn’t end happily ever after and is just so meticulously constructed that you can’t help but marvel. There aren’t many films that I can watch as many times as I’ve watched FMJ – if I had the cash I’d probably have the collector’s edition box set by now. Real life doesn’t end happily ever after, most of the time (eschatology aside) and it’s fantastic to watch a film that acknowledges that.

It’s where The Matrix Trilogy let me down. The first film was great – the second two were interesting but they left too much unexplained and yet explained away too much too easily. Honestly, I wanted to the trilogy to end with the destruction of Zion, the recreation of The One and it could be a fantastic example of how institutions can create diversions that avoid real change. If your boss shouts at you for being 5 minutes late in for work, for not putting the new header sheets on your TPS reports and asks you to work every Saturday, you get mad at him for that, and don’t spend your time getting mad about the wider injustice in the company, how it’s headed for moral bankruptcy or how just how meaningless your job really is – this makes you a more productive employee because your boss (usually subconciously) has controlled your anger.

The church does exactly the same thing – people come up with entirely new ways of doing church and feel that they need funding (sometimes true, although often a myth perpetuated by the institution), so they turn to the churches who welcome them, provide for them, nurture them…and leave them in the corner as a Fresh Expression to be looked at and referenced ad nauseum at Synod. Don’t hear what I’m not saying – I’m not saying that all Fresh Expressions are wastes of time, that we shouldn’t explore new ways of being church or that everyone in the church behaves like this. It’s really not the people – it’s the institution that we’ve inherited. So if you’ve got a great idea about church, pray about it and consider carefully how you should proceed – if you need a church to back you then that’s fine, but often you don’t so don’t be afraid to go for it with your two or three gathered. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll show the institutions that God works outside of their walls – and that they could learn some lessons from the ecclesiological equivalent of the little children….

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Youth Conference 08

by on Nov.24, 2008, under What Would Jesus Blog?

Youth Conference 2008 was awesome! The venue, despite looking like some kind of weird military installation from the outside was actually just right inside – plenty of space without us feeling lost, good areas to hang out in and spend time in, and a fantastic gaming area (then again I might be biased!). It was a completely different feel from last year – less utter craziness, less strange occurences but I think people actually bonded more and felt taken seriously by the church. We had some good resolutions, although less in total than in years gone by – doesn’t matter though, I think the wheat was separated from the chaff so the impact of MYC ’08 will be felt as much, if not more than previous youth conferences. The ones I can remember covered things like training local preachers to be more confident and inclusive when there are young people there, membership in more than one place for people who genuinely live in more than one place (eg students), calling on the Methodist Church to liberalise and clarify its position on homosexuality, helping young people to explore their call to ministry (whether ordained or lay) and challenging the Connexion to help open EDEV to young people.

I, however, had a stinking cold when I went to MYC. The usual treatment for a cold is plenty of rest, plenty of water, and eating well…..none of these things happen at a youth conference! I don’t like using drugs all the time but for MYC I made an exception – half a pack of Pro Plus, a pack of Tyroset, a pack and a half of ibuprofen, four rolls of Halls Soothers, a pack of Lemsip Max and half a bottle of Benelyn later I survived but my liver hates me! And, of course, sleep doesn’t enter into the equation – this weekend I clocked 33 working hours and only 8 hours in bed….

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Pay Day!

by on Nov.18, 2008, under What Would Jesus Blog?

There’s something nice about getting paid – bills get paid off, sometimes nice things get bought……but it’s also rather worrying when you look back and realise that most of your paycheque’s disappeared in next to no time. Ah well – got some good books in this month’s session….David Bosch’s Transforming Mission (well I couldn’t exactly do a missiology degree without it), Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody and Brian McLaren’s More Ready Than You Realize. Fun times!

Stayed with Cat this weekend – damn I love that girl! She looks after me :) And her living five minutes away from JRUL comes in very handy. I think I’ve actually got more books out now than I took out throughout the entirety of my first degree. This is what I imagined uni to be like – getting lost in a world of literature and it just never happened with my BSc, but it’s great fun now!

Youth Conference is coming up, it’ll be weird to be working on it rather than being a delegate – great to be going though. I can’t believe that I actually needed convincing to go!

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