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Posts from June 2008

Blogging for $$$$$$ (can you count to 6 figures?)

Darrenandandrewjones-1Today my Aussie mate Darren Rowse from Problogger spills the beans on how he made six figures a year when he started blogging and how you can make some $$$$$$ or some ££££££ out of your blog. Its a free video interview hosted by Blog Squad. Darren will promote his new book Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. I just ordered the book on Amazon. Really, when people ask me how a blog can make money, I just point them to Problogger because I havent made much from blogging at all. Darren asked me to write something this month for Problogger while he was on holiday but i was just too busy with travels. Sorry Darren. Heres hoping this will point a few more people to your interview.
Related: I finally got to have coffee with Darren Rowse in April. Darren says he started his blog after discovering mine in 2002, making me vicariously famous (Problogger is now one of the top blogs in the world) but NOT vicariously wealthy in the slightest. I should read his book.

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Ramayana at British Library

I spent a whole morning at the British Library exhibition called Mewar Ramayana: Love and Valor in India's Great Epic. The display included 400 paintings, produced by Hindu and Muslim artists between 1649 and 1653, that tell the story of Rama and Sita, a story that forms the basic mythology behind the Hindu vedas and called "arguably, the most influential secular work of world literature".

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The paintings often feature the same characters multiple times, as a way of showing multiple scenes through time, and they often move from bottom left in an anti-clockwise direction. The 5 books of the Ramayana were completed by 500BC, probably by the poet Valmiki, but two additional books that identifed Rama as an avatar of Vishnu were added around 100BC. The Ramayana existed on palm leaves and birch bark until it was finally printed as a book in the Sanskrit language. This work was done, according the library, in 1806 by two Christian missionaries named William Carey and Joshua Marshman on their press at Serampore, India. William Carey has been called the father of modern missions. You can view the paintings on the British Library's website.

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Jeff Fountain at the Cell Church Euro Symposium

I popped over to London for the European Cell Church Symposium which was conveniently only 30 minutes from Luton airport. Highlight for me was hearing Jeff Fountain talk about Europe - its past and future connected to Asia. Jeff is a fellow kiwi (yeah . . . salt of the earth!) and currently heads up Youth with a Mission in Europe. He also writes a weekly thought that you can follow. Jeff's message was updated from what he shared in Budapest at Hope 21 (dude like I was SO there) and much of it can be found in his book Living as People of Hope: Faith, Hope & Vision for 21st Century Europe (reviewed here by Richard Tiplady - hi Richard!)

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Amsterdam: Meeting Phil Graf, Carl Raschke and Hugh Halter

Here are some more details on my strategic meeting with some fellow conspirators in Amsterdam a few days ago. Let me introduce them to you.
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Phil Graf (left) is the missional training for a really stiff-upper-lip mission organization (just kidding) called Christian Associates. He also knows his beers pretty well and enjoys the Trappist ales from Belguim like I do. I stayed with Phil and his family during my time in Amsterdam and the emerging church gathering earlier in the year was also in their house.

Carle Raschke is a guy I have wanted to meet for many years. He is an intellectual from Texas who has published more books than he can remember and they all seem to have controversial titles like The Next Reformation: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity. His latest book was sent to me a few months ago by the publisher for comment but I didnt get my thoughts to him on time. The book is GloboChrist:The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn and its an excellent walk through postmodern thinking that reminded me that we really cant afford to move ahead without a serious consideration of this movement. And Carle tackles things that you have heard from me such as the rhizomic nature of the internet and church 2.0. And Carl appreciates Belgium Trappist ales although I think he would be just as happy with a Shiner Bock from Texas. Heres a PDF sample of his new book.

Hugh Halter I met ages ago in Portland, Oregon where we both used to live. He is in Denver now with Church Resource Ministries and has published an excellent book called The Tangible Kingdom. Great guy. Likes beer, but he really doesnt know what the heck he is drinking.


Missional Synchroblog: The Skinny on Missional

Missional. I lost my job because of "missional". I will tell you how in a second but, first thing, before i start whining over losing my job at the Baptist Convention of Texas, welcome to the missional synchroblog, organized by Rick at Blind Beggar. My entry is one of the latest (stuck in Aberdeen due to airport strike, stayed in youth hostel and said no to their £5 an hour internet rate) so I am adding my thoughts to what others have said and then am giving a medley on what i have said about this word over the past 5 years.

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Like Alan Hirsch, I have preferred the term "emerging-missional church" and I agree the name "missional" is not foolproof

In fact, I lost my job because of a so called 'missional' transition. BGCT, who I still love and remember fondly my 8 years of mission service, and have no hard feelings against whatsover (they gave me plenty of warning and treated me respectfully throughout the process), decided to annex their entire church multiplication department, including myself, in the name of becoming "missional" and attempting to put the impetus for mission back in the megachurches. To be honest, I didn't think that decision was the most strategic. If the megachurches are the ones who now carry the torch for mission, where are the apostles who scout out the needs and help the church send out its people beyond its borders, over cultural barriers, and outside their comfort zone? Who will fight for the mission projects that will not immediately pay back into the system or will prove to offer a better alternative to the megachurches? Does being missional really mean firing the missionaries and adding their budget to the biggest churches?

I love the word missional but it still has some problems:
1. It is often dumbed down by people who confuse it with "evangelistic" or "mission-minded"
2. It has often been purged by some evangelicals of its connections to the global mission movement (read 'Ecumenical') and given a newer and more acceptable face.
3. It has sometimes been co-opted by aggressive and competitive white males to drive resources to the programs that beef up their own churches.
4. It suffers from a compulsive activism, as if God was a workaholic who constantly drives on his team and never rests from his labours.
5. It lacks an immediate connection with worship which might be the flip side and a necessary balance.

Having said that, its also true that missional is the word of the moment and has recieved great acceptance. I am proud to use it and have done so for a long time. Here is a little medley of my posts on this word over the last 5 years:

Newbiginsmissionalshampoo-TmThe word "missional", until I am proven wrong [again], was coined by the Brits in 1883 and lay quite dormant until revived by missiologist Francis DuBois in the early 80's. Francis and I worked together in San Francisco in the mid 90's, when i ran the Page Street Baptist Center that he had started many years ago. Interesting story - a missional story that is - the feeding program we took over and grew ended up becoming a community, organized by its own people and led by Eric Bergquist who took over from me and is doing a fantastic job. Sorry - didnt mean to namedrop or start telling stories.

Anyway, excuse the diversion. A century ago, people began to talk about missions at home and not just overseas. This thinking was later informed by the trinitarian emphasis of Karl Barth and emerged quite strongly at the 1952 International Missionary Convention in Willingen, a German town so small that even my German friend Andreas Wolf asked me yesterday, over breakfast in Norway, where the heck Willingen was or if it really existed. [Sorry]. Karl Hartenstein nailed it in 1954 with the Latin term Missio Dei (the mission of God) which drew meaning from the German term 'Mission Gottes' and stressed the idea that mission is God's initiative and the church is a participant in this mission rather than the originator. Lesslie Newbigin was also a participant at Willingen and would later be a major figure in bringing attention to the idea of missions in our own post-Christian cultures. His writings inspired some North Americans to explore the same themes under the Gospel in Our Culture Network. One of the books published was called The Missional Church and the name gained currency in USA. Further study was done by Milfred Minnatrea, who also lost his job in the missional shift at BGCT, in his book called Shaped by God's Heart. Milfred showed the word "missional" had reappeared in the writings of Charles Van Engen in 1991. Van Engen actually taught my wife at Fuller School of World Mission. Sorry - there I go again.

One day I will show you a missions book from Lesslie Newbigin's library that is now in mine. And yes, he had signed it and underlined key passages!

But I diverge from shameless name-dropping to finish this post. During these last two decades, the word emerged in UK as "mission-shaped" thanks to my ex-DAWN buddy Bob Hopkins and Bishop Graham Cray and some others. But the meaning was essentially the same, except the UK focus on "mission shaped" carried that incarnational idea that the new or emerging church is shaped by the context it enters. Read about it here.

I have blogged my thoughts many times so I wont repeat myself. But I will say that the most exciting thing I have read recently has been from Chris Wright who, in his excellent book "The Mission of God", calls for a missional hermeneutic .

In his book, Chris's draws from the gains of contextual hermeneutics "as against the rather blinkered view of theology that developed in the West since the Enlightenment, which liked to claim it was scientific, objective, rational and free from either confessional presuppostions or theological interests, theologies that declare such disinterested objectivity to be a myth - and a dangerous one in that it concealed hegemonic claims." (The Mission of God, page 42) . . to become an "interested" missiology that goes beyond contextual [and liberationist] hermeneutics by offering to subsume both readings into itself. Chris puts forward a missional hermeneutic as a contextual, holistic, coherent framework that finds its center in Christ himself who opened the minds of his disciples so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) "In other words, Jesus himself provided the hermeneutical coherence within which all disciples must read these texts, that is, in the light of the story that leads up to Christ (messianic reading) and the story that leads on from Christ (missional reading). That is the story that flows from the mind and purpose of God in all the Scriptures for all the nations. That is a missional hermeneutic of the whole Bible." (The Mission of God, page 41)

From here, you can view what others said about the word "missional".

The Missional Synchroblog team:
Alan Hirsch Alan Knox Andrew Jones Barb Peters Bill Kinnon Brad Brisco Brad Grinnen Brad Sargent Brother Maynard Bryan Riley Chad Brooks Chris Wignall Cobus Van Wyngaard Dave DeVries David Best David Fitch David Wierzbicki DoSi Doug Jones Duncan McFadzean Erika Haub Grace Jamie Arpin-Ricci Jeff McQuilkin John Smulo Jonathan Brink JR Rozko Kathy Escobar Len Hjalmarson Makeesha Fisher Malcolm Lanham Mark Berry Mark Petersen Mark Priddy Michael Crane Michael Stewart Nick Loyd Patrick Oden Peggy Brown Phil Wyman Richard Pool Rick Meigs Rob Robinson Ron Cole Scott Marshall Sonja Andrews Stephen Shields Steve Hayes Tim Thompson Thom Turner

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Norway: The best place to be for the summer solstice

We are in Kristiansand, Norway and it didnt get dark until after 11am on the longest day of the year. This photo of me [damn i'm good looking!!!] was taken after 10pm outside a great place for pizza. Nice place to be for the summer solstice.

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Whole day in a really intensive missions meeting with DAWN Europe team. Meeting was draining but enjoyable and I have a lot of hope for DAWN as they transition into the future. Great guys on the team - all very different and in many cases, extreme opposites, but that is part of the beauty of the team. Ahhhh . . . this crazy world where everything is changing.


Pete Greig on prayer

pete grieg"So let’s recognize these ‘signs of the times’ – from Lakeland, Florida to South West China – and let’s respond with an explosion of new prayer rooms, prayer vigils, nights of prayer and special prayer meetings. Let’s get ready for the supernatural answers to prayer which surely await us ‘if’ (and only ‘if’) we will humble ourselves and seek God’s face for the healing of the land and the forgiveness of sin. I solemnly believe that we are being called to partner with the Lord Jesus Christ in the awesome responsibility of shaping world events through this time of travail."

Pete Grieg gives his thoughts on current events, signs of the times and the need for prayer.

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