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Posts from May 2010

Booted out of Britain

Bad news for our family. The extension for our visa for the UK was denied without right of appeal. Bogus reasons like saying we missed the deadline, etc, but we think its all in God's hands. We have 10 days to let them know when we are leaving. Harsh words like 'should you fail to leave, enforcement action will be taken against you. Further consideration can be given to your case at that stage which could result in you being served with an enforcement decision which may generate a right of appeal'.

AHHhhhhhhhhhhhh. No, we dont have an immigration lawyer and are not going to fight it. Actually, we are thankful to God that He allowed us to live in the UK for 4 years and create a stable and wonderful base for our family. We came to the UK on an ancestry visa - based on my grandfather being born in the UK. It came at a perfect time and I was able to work for Church Mission Society during that period. And the kids attended a Scottish school and built up some identity as being Scottish.

But that chapter is over now and we need to find a new country to base ourselves in. New Zealand is too far away and most of my kids have never been there. USA is also too far away to launch into Africa and Europe. What to do???

This is all very bad timing for our son Samuel who has his audition for university in Glasgow (theatre arts) in a few days and will no longer be eligible. He also is the singer for a band and will have to leave his friends.

25 Years and Still Lovin' It

I am interrupting my current blog break to make an announcement . . .

Today marks 25 years for me in global ministry. Thats a SILVER ANNIVERSARY!!!

On May 24th, 1985, I was flying overseas on my first short term mission. I was 21 years old and had completed a few years of Bible College. Missions was what I wanted to do. I went to Asia first, then Europe where I planted my first house church in Austria, and then by the end of 1985 I was sailing on a mission ship called the MV Logos around Central and South America.

I never returned. I found my niche. I landed in my groove. My path was laid out in front of me and I didn't want to do anything else.

25 years later, and I am still traveling, still pushing ahead on God's agenda for all the families of the earth to be blessed.

In fact, I write this on the road, in France, as we drive our truck from Morocco to Turkey, from one end of Europe to the other.

And I am still lovin' it. Even after 25 years. Every morning I wake up early to take on the challenges of the day. I don't like weekends and I cant stand holidays. I struggle to take a day off [I was VERY unsuccessful yesterday and rewired the truck's solar system] and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

What's the secret to sticking with one of the world's most poorly paid and most despised professions?

[Why? Are you thinking of becoming a missionary also???]

Well. I would say that for me, its being sure that this is God's path for me and finding joy and energy in that knowledge. I love a challenge and I get bored easily. I try to challenge myself continually to prevent boredom. For example, I never preach the same message, ever, but always create unique situations for God to speak and act in each unique setting.

I always said that if my salary stopped then I would keep doing this job. Well, that has happened numerous times, including last February when my salary from Church Mission Society stopped and I was made redundant. We decided to keep pursuing our mission of locating and supporting and training missional entrepreneurs in the global emerging culture, whether the money was flowing or not.

Right now its not but we are learning new ways to save money and live leaner.

And we are lovin' it.

Thanks God for a wonderful 25 years of following our passion and seeing you provide for us so that we can fulfil the mission you have entrusted to us.

Looking forward to the next 25 years.


Not Blogging. Really

I am not blogging since we are traveling so much. However ...

Global Day of Prayer - biggest day of prayer EVER - happened yesterday. History here.

Rudy Carrasco pointed me to a great post in which he adds images and details to my story that you all read called "A black guy and a white guy in the emerging church".

Finale of Lost coming up soon for those of us who watch it on iTunes. I know many of you have already seen it. We gave up our TV over a year ago but we have faithfully stuck it out with LOST by downloading an episode each week. Its the only TV program we have watched. Not sure what we will do when it is over.

We went to the Salvador Dali museum in Spain a few days ago and loved it. I will probably integrate Dali's paintings with my teaching in Macedonia, esp. in regards to Jacob's ladder.

Writing and sending our newsletter today.


Next: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia

You may have noticed that I am not blogging right now, except my silver anniversary post this morning. Thats because we are travelling from one end of Europe to the other, from the southwestern point of Spain/Gibraltar/Portugal that jumps over to Morocco [where we just came from] over to the other corner of Europe that pokes into Turkey.

We are driving over for an event in Macedonia and will then hang in the Balkans and Eastern Europe for the first part of the summer.

Please pray for safety on the road and for God to provide all our needs. If you want more info on our travels and events, then you can request our newsletter. tallskinnykiwi [at] gmail [dot] com.


Fresh Expressions and Emerging Church: Historical Accuracy is Important

Good article on emerging church and "fresh expressions in the Sunday Times yesterday. It always excites me to see new steps taken in this direction. And great to see the Church of England still committed to fresh expressions.

20 years ago we were getting ourselves into BIG trouble for starting new churches like these but these days its all quite acceptable and even necessary. Good.

I do share Maggi Dawn's frustration, however, that articles like these so easily discard historical accuracy for an upbeat preppy story, one that brings attention to a single organization rather than the wider church family from where it emerged. As Maggi points out in her post today, these models were happening in the 90's and may of them in the 80's. She knows because she was there. So was I.

"Don’t get me wrong – I’m extremely happy that the Church of England and the Methodist Church have been imaginative and bold enough to open up to these new ventures. I just think it might be good to keep a grip on historical accuracy…" Maggi Dawn

I see the same historical reductionism in the USA, sometimes even worse. I was reading a new e-book last week called Preaching and the Emerging Church - a good book on Protestant style preaching in the emerging church [yes, you can still find it] but spoiled by rampant historical accuracies. Where are the peer-reviews when we need them? Where is accountability? Surely its not too hard to send a manuscript around to a few people both inside AND OUTSIDE one's little cul-de-sac to get a second opinion?

Related on TSK: 10 types of emerging church that will no longer upset your grandfather

Adventure in Progress Family Interview

Most of the time I think its quite normal, our family and friends traveling around the world in a 4x4 truck. But I suppose its not. Our family was interviewed recently by another family for Adventures in Progress about our life on the road. I was just reading the responses from our kids.

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Aventure in Progress: What do you like most about your families travels? What has been the best moment for you so far?
Tamara "TJ" (8): I like lots of things, lots of moments, I liked seeing that waterpark (Morocco) I like the moment when we first started traveling and i was thinking of all the things i could do.
Hannah (12): The waterpark in Morocco that we went to on TJ's birthday.
Abigail (14): Eating camel couscous in the Sahara or that time in Portugal when we picked olives at our friends community.

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Brienne (our seven year-old) asks: Are you going all the way around the world?
Andrew: Hi Brienne. Eventually, we will have been around the world but not all in one trip. The hard part about going around the world in one trip is the horribly expensive ocean crossings on ships. So we are staying on the land as much as possible. From Europe. Africa is only a 2 hour ferry crossing so thats pretty easy. And also from Europe you can drive east into Turkey and keep going east until you get to Iran and Pakistan and India and before you know it you are in Asia. Thats what we would like to do very soon. But we might just drive back again instead of heading in the same direction because its so much cheaper. And anyway, we have already driven around USA (every state except 2 of them) and spent time in Central/South America and I have driven across Australia a few times.

Celine (our 10 year-old) asks: Have you guys seen any castles?
Tamara: We have seen a few.
Andrew: In Portugal we saw a lot of old forts that the Romans built but most of the castles we have seen were in Scotland, France, Germany and Czech Republic. We went inside a castle once in Scotland and saw lots of amour and weapons of castle warfare. Pretty gory stuff. You dont want to know. Really. But you might be interested to hear of the castle toilet which was more like a round stone platform with a hole in the middle and a 100 foot drop. Great view but a little windy and cold in the winter. Better to be on the toilet than below it, thats for sure.

Read the whole thing, including thoughts on getting dressed when there are 9 people in the truck. And you may want to follow our family travel blog. We call it Jonesberries because we were inspired by the TV show The Wild Thornberrys who were also traveling the world in a 4x4 motorhome.

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The Skinny on the Food Revolution

People, a movement is underway. We are in the beginning stages of a food revolution and the church is upfront and center. Good.

I suggested a few days ago that God may have sent Jamie Oliver to the Southern Baptists. But it might be equally true that God sent the Southern Baptists to Jamie Oliver. Bloggers should be tracking this one and contributing their thoughts.
I said back in 2004:
"I believe that FOOD and cooking are as essential to emerging/organic church than what music was to contemporary/seeker church. I also predict that in the next few years, as emerging churches stop emerging and settle down into their calling, that we will see a resurrection of the church cookery books in the tradition of the Mennonite and Amish churches. Although these will be web based instead of print." Andrew Jones, TallSkinnyKiwi, You Had Me At Halel, 2004

I believe this food revolution is a lot bigger than food and a lot older than Jamie's visit. Those cookery books are being aggregated on the web right now and we are all adding to the knowledge base. But its more than cooking and more than food. Its about love. I hope to blog a lot more on this in the near future because I believe its important to God. Please join me and lets see a revolution in our kitchen, in our neighborhoods and in our own lives.

Rock on Christmas Update

Picture 3.pngRock on Christmas Festival, that rocked Portugal last December, will happen again this year in a few more countries. Probably Spain and Italy as well as Portugal. Maybe even North Africa [come on Morocco]. Who knows?? Denny and Maureen Hurst are hosting a meeting next week in Portugal to discuss it. Here's a little update and some free promo for some of last year's bands, because they came all the way to play for us without getting paid.

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Jasmin Jones from Triplet has a BIG CD release party tomorrow for Lost in Rainbows which is available already on iTunes. Have fun Jasmin!

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Marc James from Verra Cruz has released his first solo album called Surrender. He calls it a worship album. Does anyone have it? Recommendation???

Rob Cassels is now rocking the blogosphere but I cant find his blog. Rob - where did you put that thing? [update: Blog is here - Thanks Rob] And please tell us the lyrics of that song that got you banned from ORU because of the reference to Oral Roberts up in the tower.

Here is some classic Rob Cassels Band from MTV back in 1986.


LOVE those wife-beaters Rob! MOre info on Rock on Christmas here.

Ted and Gayle Haggard and their In-Home Church

Speaking of house church, as I have been in the past few blog posts, you may not have heard the phrase "in-home church" before . . . but . . . apparently . . . Ted and Gayle Haggard have one and just incorporoated it under the name St James. I wish them the best.

Come to think of it, the Queen of England has an "in-home church" as well, or perhaps "in-palace church" is a better description.

I was thinking about Ted last week. He used to say that a rising tide should lift up all the boats, and a move of God should bless ALL the churches in an area. It would be great if church growth people and their missional offspring would start measuring growth in the wider community of God's people instead of being infatuated with how many bums plant themselves on their pews every Sunday morning.

Hmmmmm. SOoooooo . . . In-Home Church. Anyone like the phrase?

Previously on TSK: Gayle Haggard - an excellent woman who can find? Carrying your Dad's Dumbbell

Men would rather be in a ladies underwear shop than a church

According to a new survey, more British men would feel comfortable in a ladies underwear shop, or a library, or a hospital, than a church. And the biggest hurdle is the SINGING!

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From Sorted Magzine:
Two out of three confessed to feeling ill at ease in a pew, while only one in two said the same of a ladies underwear shop. Most off-putting are the hymns. Sixty-seven per cent say they do not feel comfortable singing in church. Almost eight out of 10 are happy to croon in the shower while 53 per cent chant cheerily at football matches. But just one in three will willingly open a hymn book at a religious service.

See more results of this survey on Sorted and some good commentary by David Keen on his post No Songs Please, We're Blokish.

I have suggested before that house churches, esp. when an outside BBQ is involved, are more comfortable for men than church sanctuaries. Do you think I am right?