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Posts from June 2007

bad blogging week

Must be the worst and unluckiest blogging week of my life. A weird power outage at this YWAM base has prevented me from accessing internet during this conference and now i am leaving. I didnt have much luck in london either - with passwords that didnt work and one hotel that had outrageous prices on internet.
Last night i snuck out to a pub with free wifi and after 20 minutes we still could not get on. The guy behind the bar offered me a free beer instead. So I guess it wasnt really that bad after all.

Charity Shop Alt. Worship

Alternative worship service at a Salvation Army Charity shop. Now thats a good idea. I am at the Cell Church UK conference in Harpenden right now. Nice people, including my partner in crime Richard White and some Norwegians that heard me speak in Copenhagen last year. We are meeting at the YWAM base.

Anyway, this Scottish chap named Captain David Robertson was sharing about the various cell church ministries of the Salvation Army and he described an "alt. worship" service each Wednesday morning at one of their charity shops. I asked the question about what they did - and the obvious question . . . did they all dress up in vintage clothing from the shelves? Well apparently there is no costuming at all and in fact the service is quite traditional - a talk, some sharing and prayer at the end.

But it got me thinking what i would do if i hosted an emerging church alt. worship event at a thrift shop. It could be a blast! I would totally use FOUND OBJECTS from the store itself. Teaching would be from the Bibles already on the shelf and any illustrations would be taken from books on the shelf. Costuming would be encouraged and perhaps an award (voucher) given to those with the thriftiest and yet funkiest outfit. Drinks would be poured out of found jars and jugs into found cups and mugs from the shelves. Children might want to play some found games. Everything is found in the shop. Nothing is imported in. An offering could be taken {in an old hat, of course) for Salvation Army and a blog post with all the details of the service uploaded to a blog so that others might catch the vision to start one up in their local Salvation Army charity store. Maybe its a really lame idea. But it might be trying.

Speaking of Salvation Army, Strawberry Fields in Liverpool where John Lennon used to play as a child, was recently sold by Salvation Army. It was also used recently as a 24/7 boiler room.

Thinking about Deep Church at an Oxford Pub

Off to Harpenden. London has been a really fantastic time. Sorry I havent blogged much - had trouble logging on. I will post some images and thoughts when i get a chance.

I didnt make the Deep Church seminar last night since we stayed later in Oxford but we did manage to make a visit to the Eagle and Child (C.S. Lewis's favourite pub) and have a very brief discussion of Lewis - who coined the term "Deep Church" in the 50's. I think having an ale next at the Eagle and Child in Oxford is a FAR better venue than a theological college in London for having a discussion like this. Dont you?????

London for a week

I will be in London for some meetings. I leave tonight.
Sunday - Tribal gathering and Sunday roast.
Monday - Entrepreneurs evening on the HMS President - a boat on the London Thames.
Tuesday - CMS HQ opening in Oxford and Deep Church Seminar at WTC
Wednesday and Thursday - Cell Church Conference in Harpenden
And a few little meetings tucked in and around these ones. I will be driving down for this one.

Tonight with Spencer Burke

Tonight's conversation.

Spencerburke Bio Photo Bw 1Is Spencer Burke REALLY a heretic? Spencer is probably the only guy i know who has been accused of heresy by people both outside AND inside the emerging church. Maybe we will find out. Spencer and I have a date next Wednesday, June 13th at 7pm (UK) or 11am (PST, USA). It will be a podcast on the Soularize site and if you want to ask him anything, let me know.

How did this come about?
Someone brought up Spencer Burke's name on a TSK blog conversation this week and I said I would talk to Spencer about it. Spencer has called himself a heretic before, and has written a book called A Heretic's guide to Eternity. But I would like to know more about his views, about The Ooze and Soularize in the Bahamas, and I think he wants to talk to me about some issues related to new forms of church popping up around the world. So join us if you can.

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3 TV Commercials Worth Watching

Commercials that rock.:
This Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial (1970) called "Hugo and Holly" was my family's favourite which i was young. I think it was KFC's first commercial in Australia and New Zealand. I really must tell you the story of when Dad met Colonel Sanders - save that for another time.

Well, now I have my own family and we have our own favourites. Funniest one this year in Scotland is Iron Bru's Goth Holiday. Its a big hit with my daughters.

Continue reading "3 TV Commercials Worth Watching" »

Offense of the Cross

I preached yesterday at the local Baptist church. The subject was the unavoidable offense of the cross (1 Cor) to those who are too strong or too smart and the avoidable offense of language and behavior of God's people which picked up a little on my blog post from last week. Ended up talking a lot about THANKSGIVING as the language of the Kingdom and a result of being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5). When we begin to follow Jesus, our language changes from mindless to meaningful (Ex. 20) and from complaining to complimenting (Eph).
I read out a great passage on praising God with our mind from the classic book 'Disciple', by Juan Carlos Ortiz. LOVE that book. Glad I found it again after 25 years.

Deep Church

184227504601 Sclzzzzzzz V44228500 Aa240 A new book has just been released called Remembering our Future: Explorations in Deep Church, edited by Andrew Walker and Luke Bretherton. I am grateful for my chat with Luke Bretherton and Jonny Baker last year in a London pub and am really happy that this book is now available. Its really an EXCELLENT, challenging, thoughtful book.

My blurb on the back says,
"These essays are the best attempt I have come across to address the emerging church's need for a deep ecclesiology. I not only recommend a rigorous contemplation of this book, but also commend its vision of 'Deep Church' as a worthy goal for all streams of church life"
Andrew Jones, back cover, Remembering Our Future

Deep Church is a term coined by C.S. Lewis that never really got off the ground, being passed over by the preferred phrase "Mere Christianity". But Deep Church is back with a vengeance. Get used to the term because you are going to hear much more of it. And this book is a great introduction.

"Perhaps the trouble is, as supernaturalists, whether 'Low' or 'High' Church, thus taken together, they lack a name. May I suggest 'Deep Church'; or, that fails in humility, Baxter's 'mere Christians'?"
C.S. Lewis, letter to Church Times, February 8, 1952

Andrew Walker writes a mind-blowing earth-shattering chapter of historic proportions called "Recovering Deep Church". Lewis would be smiling. The other writers add their chapters, all of which are good and pick up on Walkers premise. But most relevant to our conversation on this blog is Luke's chapter called "Beyond the Emerging Church". Luke situates the emerging church as an offshoot of the Pentecostal/Charasmatic movement and therefore complicit in its weaknesses as well as its strengths. Weaknesses here referring to a anti-credalism and a-historicism. His chapter is both a critique and an exhortation to emerging churches. He even chews me out for jumping in too quickly with terms like "Church 2.0".

But thats the missionary in me.

Deep Church, is a challenge to swing back (as Len Sweet once put it) and embrace the 2000 year old heritage of the church. It is a challenge to continuity in an age of disruption. Continuity and change are always necessary, but without an adequate grasp on how we know what we know, we are ill equipped to move forward and ill-advised to innovate. We need to be immersed in the Scripture AND the Christian Tradition.

Its that second one that trips up evangelicals. Tradition. In many ways the book builds on Baptist theologian D.H. Williams impressive book called Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants and brings its conclusions to bear on todays church scene. Its a call to embrace the holy catholic apostolic church through the centuries. Not an easy task for suspicious protestants. I have read Williams book twice this year.

I see Remembering our Future as a very British book but I am hoping my American friends will pick it up. In the UK, the emerging church was spawned from the charasmatic tradition and enjoys an inherent connection with the Anglican church. In the USA, where the term "deep ecclesiology" carries a similar meaning, the emerging church in the most part has come from conservative evangelicalism, both charasmatic and non-charasmatic. But like its British cousins, it inherits an anti-credalism and a-historicism. Perhaps even MORE so. It has also borrowed a double-dose of pragmaticism from the church growth movement and the seeker-senstive churches. This gives it a predisposition towards the 'mutability' of the gospel rather than its continuity. Remembering Our Future will help point them in the right direction. And Williams book also. In fact, Americans might want to start with Wiliams.

In a new blog called Deep Church, Jason Clark, who fast becoming a deep church evangelist, writes a number of thought provoking blog posts.
Deep Church lecture series is happening at Westminster Theological Centre in London. I am planning to be there on June 19. See you there.

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