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Argghh Cmon Anglicans!

Monday, June 30, 2008 by Sam

I consider myself something of a collapsed anglican; my dad is an anglican minister, I worked as a youth pastor in an anglican church for three years, and its only being the last couple of years serving the community of blueprint (a kind of independent churchy type thing, not really associated with any movement, just trying to follow Jesus) where I've being somewhat removed from the goings on in the anglican scene, though I still have the opportunity to share and hang with many of my friends within that denomination. As much as I hate to admit it, I still care about what happens in the anglican church.

So Im saddened that my old church has made the news in todays dominion post. I was part of the original property review committee 3 and a half years ago, and clearly it has being a very difficult process for the crew in Karori.
Outcomes aside, I get rarked up with how much these sorts of issues consume a disproportionate amount focus and energy in church life, I am saddened that the news has the appearance of "young people vs preserving our history and heritage". I am saddened at how we seem to loose focus of the Kingdom in these discussions (see recent rant on this here). I am saddened that this is what church gets known for. Chris, the current youth pastor in Karori nails it in this post. I really feel for him and the youth group this week. Chris has buckets more grace than I do, I would be spitting tacks if I was in his shoes...

Worldwide things are not in a great place for the Anglican scene.
Rich Johnson (priest at St Pauls in Auckland and guest speaker at Blueprint in a couple of weeks) has also being sifting through some of the goings on and has some of the latest news from the wider Anglican communion. Post one here, post two here.

*deep sigh*

Update: Chris posts his thoughts

NT Wright on The Colbert Report

Thursday, June 26, 2008 by Sam

Im quite surprised, but this clip summarises NT Wright's over arching theme in his latest book "suprised by hope" quite well, but not enough to really get your head around it completely... Im still chewing over the challenge and message of this book, and have enjoyed a couple of conversations with people that have read it, or are currently engaging with it. Whatever you view, its one of those books that is a "must read".
Speaking of NT Wright, one of his good mates, Chris Marshall is speaking again at Blueprint. Scholars are the new rock stars.

Church is not the destination

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 by Sam

So occasional Blueprint attendee (actually a primal dude) Cam is a total nutter. Here is a vid of him crashing a 21st... can anyone else say "awkward"... Quote of the clip; "If you want to catch an eel, you have to work for it". And check out this excerpt of him getting arrested at Parachute.

Here are some excerpts from my talk on Sunday night entitled "church is not the destination". I am intrigued about this idea that Church finds it identity and purpose in pointing to and helping bring about the Kingdom of God. Talk heavily influenced and partly lifted from a talk by Reggie McNeal address to the Reformed Church in america that I heard recently and of course NT Wright, the man of the hour for me, and his book "suprised by hope". My text was from Mathew 6:33
It may not make huge amount of sense as I really dont want to fill in the gaps of my notes... add your own embelishments and rants...

"Church is not the destination"

In the gospels Jesus mentions the word Kingdom 121 times in 114 verses
Church is mentioned 3 times in two verses

I think there is a misconception that the Church is the destination. Its such a small bandwidth. Seek first the Kingdom.

Eg; Airport (wellington fog) When it confuses itself as the destination, thinks its winning when all the planes are on the ground and the airport ground is just packed with people. Look how many people we have! (This metaphor was used by Regie McNeal and adapted to make my own - conveniently I had being grounded on Monday last week for a number of hours at Wellington airport)

Every time it does that it screws up people’s lives.

The Airport is a connector going to somewhere I want to go.

The Church is not the destination, it’s a connector getting people to where they really want to go. To life… its pointing to the Kingdom “I came to give you church, and church more abundantly”. I came to bring life.

The role of the church is to proclaim the Kingdom. And the Kingdom brings life.

What does the Kingdom look like?

God makes a covenant with Moses.
Gen 12:2 Abraham im going to bless you, so you can bless everyone who is not in your tribe, who is not like you”.

Your job is to bless people. To be good news.

Church is a group of people on mission with God who are living out where people are living. Eg. Salt and Light.

The kingdom is every act of love, gratitude, and kindness, every work of art or music inspired by the love God and the delight in the beauty of creation; every minute spent teaching a child with disabilities to read or walk; every act of care and nuture, of comfort and support for others, all spirit led teaching, every prayer, every deed that embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honoured in the world.

in our art and the fresh songs that are written in this community;

NT Wright: “When art comes to terms with both the wounds of the world and the promise of resurrection and learns how to express and respond to both at once, we will be on the way to fresh vision, a fresh mission".

This kingdom is centred around this idea of justice and mercy (NOTE: Chris Marshal spokes heavily to this last thursday so mentioned it rather than banged this drum to hard on this occasion)

What is happening now in the world amounts to theft by the strong from the weak, by the rich from the poor.

Eg. Elliot choosing to drink only fair trade coffee… that’s a kingdom decision

Everything that is good and beautiful – that’s the kingdom. More of that! Meals and art, justice, generosity, kindness, mercy, sacrificial service.

In telling others.

The power of the Gospel lies not in the offer of a new spirituality, or a religious experience, not in the threat of hellfire (certainly not in the threat of being left behind)

But in the powerful announcement that God is God, that Jesus is Lord, that the powers of evil have being defeated, that God’s new world has begun

People everywhere are gladly invited to come in, to join the party, to discover forgiveness for the past, an astonishing destiny in God’s future, and a vocation in the present.

My dream for blueprint is that we are a church incarnating thie Kingdom, sharing our kingdom stories. That we are actively involved in seeking Justice both globablly and locally, that we are bringing about the Kingdom in our art and creativity, in our relationships with everyone around us, and that seeking the Kingdom would bring much joy and life to us as a community, that it would define us.

Closing Questions;

• What do you enjoy doing? (God is interested in your life and may use what you enjoy to build the Kingdom. He may have created you to enjoy what you do for glorious purposes.)
• Where do you see God at work right now?
• Are you serving other (if you are not serving you are not growing)
• Are you seeking – looking for the KOG; Seeking it so bad that it gets good.

Auckland and Worship through song

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 by Sam

Back from Auckland - today was a good day. 5 great conversations, 4 coffees and a dodgy wendys burger later... For the record, Bruce is genuine, Tash is incredible (never forget that), Frank rules my world, Andrew Robinson is incredibly generous and Im excited about the future of Youth Alpha (cant say much more than that).

Bit of drama getting to and from dorkland; I was meant to fly out at 8:30 am on monday, and due to fog finally left at 4:30 pm.
And on the way home; I turned up to catch the shuttle (which turns up every 20 minutes in theory) at 6:30 for my 8pm flight, by 7:20 I was getting worried. I rung air nz and found out that 8pm was the last flight to wellington, and so grabbed a taxi, and egged him on to get to the airport as quick as he could. I arrived at 7:55, and $60 later got on the flight... just.

Here is a quote from NT Wrights commentary on Ephesians 5:11 - 20 that I have being wanting to post for a while - I would love to write a whole lot more on the topic of sung worship on this blog but (insert excuse here) I haven't.

"One of the main places that music was regularly employed in the ancient world was in worship. Pagan worship, Jewish worship, and of course early Christian worship all used music extensively. This passage and similar ones in the New Testament indicate that singing was then, as it has remained ever since, an important part of Christian worship and of building up the church in celebration and instruction".
And later
"Paul doesn't see these hymns and songs as simply decorative, a pleasant aural embroidery around the Christian faith and practice. Singing, whether aloud or in your heart was, he thought, an excellent way of practising the faith. If you don't want your garden to grow weeds, one of the best ways is to keep it well stocked with strong, sturdy flowers and shrubs. If you don't want your mind wandering off into the realms of darkness, one of the best ways is to keep them well stoked with wise and thankful themes, so that the words of comfort, guidance, and good judgement come bubbling up unbidden from the memory and the subconscious.
Hymns and psalms today can provide exactly this kind of Christian nurture. They are not merely entertainment; they are instruction, consolation, warning and hope. After some rather feeble attempts at new Christian hymns and songs in the late twentieth century, it would be good to think that the twenty-first century might see a creative talent in this area."

Sigur Ros

Thursday, June 12, 2008 by Sam

Go to this site, and listen to ára bátur. Do it... now...

According to Elliot Taylor the track was recorded live in one take with the London Sinfonietta and London Oratory Boys’ Choir, with a cast list involving 90 musicians and singers.

Its amazing


Tuesday, June 10, 2008 by Sam

I received this incredible poem on my facebook wall by one of my friends (who is herself a ginga) in response to this photo... Applecore for life...

Mr. Sam Harvey
Used to be a winner
Til that fateful morning
That he became a Ginga

'My eyebrows' he yelled
and screamed with a scare
As the orange mutation
Spread through his hair

His flatmate Jemma
Smiled with glee
‘At last there is someone,
Someone like Me!’

The hot day went by,
As Sam hid in the shade
He wondered what had happened?
What mess had he made?

Suddenly from above
A voice yelled out loud
‘Step out of the shadows
And wear that hair proud’

So Sam stepped out!
With his giant ginger mop
Proud of his morange
And carrot top

And by the end of the day
God had helped him to see
That gingers are really
Just like you and me

So next time you see a ginga
Stay by and don’t run!
Because really we know
That gingers have more fun

Books, life, more yaconelli

Friday, June 06, 2008 by Sam

Ok before anything else... please check out this website - oh my freaken gosh, my jaw just dropped when I started to piece together what it was about... absolutely brilliant. Another proud day for the christian community.

Speaking of great theology, thanks to amazon the ol credit card has taken a bit of a hammering recently. The latest couple of purchases; "the reason for God" by Tim Keller after this recommendation, and a book called "do hard things, a teenage rebellion against low expectations", check it out here. Im nearly finished reading "Surprised by Hope" by NT Wright which is currently winning the "harveys book of the year" award. Am very excited about chatting about it with anyone that has given it a read - its an incredibly dense book, and will need a re-read fairly soon.

Things have quietened down significantly now that Fuse is over, the foot has well and truly being taken off the gas pedal in the blueprint camp. Most of the staff have being working half days, and generally taking a breather. The bonus of working in full time ministry is that you can do that, there are a huge number of volunteers that went straight back to work.

Somewhat unrelated, but the quote below by Mike Yaconelli is a goodie, I cant remember what book I read it from, but jotted it down - feel the burn - love it :)

When you take the pagan worship of busyness and add to it the biblical mandate to reach the world, you have a lethal combination. The church has baptized busyness and activity and basically formed a pact with the devil. This pact has succeeded in silencing those who criticize the trend toward hectic, overworked, burned-out, spiritually dry ministers who—in the "name of God"— neglect their families, their souls, and their physical well-being.

If I can be so audacious as to "blaspheme" the Gospel of Growth, I respectfully suggest this modern rush to urgency is not only wrong, it's arrogance gone mad.

The moment we believe the Kingdom of God is dependent on you or me, we've either experienced a schizophrenic episode or we've misunderstood our roles as Christians.

Yes, we are to be salt and light. Yes, we are to "go into all the world." Yes, we are to "make disciples." But last time I checked, it took Jesus three years of concentrated effort to make 12 disciples—and it took them the rest of their lives to understand what discipleship means. Last time I checked, Paul suggests we are in Christ, not working for Him.