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November 2008

Posts from October 2008

November Banner

November cometh. Its a little early to put up my new banner but i couldn't wait.
I took the November banner photo yesterday at a farm a few miles away, where we buy our straw for the chickens. Its the same farm where i get my sides of beef cut up. In fact, they cut it up behind that red barn door. On the way over, I saw a huge hare on the road and that was almost this month's banner. Have a great November, everyone!


Emergent Village gears up for next season

Good to see Emergent Village release the results of their survey and lay down plans for the next season. USA needs Emergent Village because they need a space space to hold conversations about the future of the church in the emerging culture. Tony Jones is stepping down as director and Emergent moves ahead with significant changes. If you remember, I was one of the leaders in the developmental stage with Emergent Village and have been both a critic and a cheerleader for a number of years.

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Resource Training

resource church planting

Resource starts this weekend. There is still time to register. Its a one year program in the UK, built around certain training weekends so its totally doable for anyone. I teach occasionally at Resource weekends and they are really fun. The guy in this photo, btw, is none other than Maty Big Fro who often comments on this blog. Maty went through the Resource Church Planting training a few years ago. Actually, Maty, I just looked at your blog [MatyBigFro: Webbumblings of a wanna be rastafarian prosperity prophet] and I really think you should come back in for some fine tuning . . . he he he.

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HPV Immunisation: We don't want the Jab!

This week marks the second of three HPV immunisation jabs for 11-13 year olds in the UK. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer. We will be keeping our 13 year old out of school because they jabbed her last time without our consent and despite her not wanting it either. Some of you have been asking about this so here is the skinny.

Question: Can they jab your 11-13 year old daughter without parental consent in the UK?
Answer:Yes. According to the guidance in this Consent To Treatment form that was handed to us at our meeting with the NHS.


Children under the age of 16
Children in this age group are not deemed to be automatically legally competent to give consent. The courts have determined that such children can be legally competent if they have "sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to understand fully what is proposed".
. . . The emphasis in the Department of Health's guidance is that the families of children in this age group should be involved in decisions about their care, unless there is a very good reason for not doing so. If however, a competent child under the age of 16 is insistent that their family should not be involved, their right to confidentiality must be respected, unless such an approach would put them at serious risk of harm.

We don't have a big problem with that particular law in the UK. In fact, we wish it were followed in our case, especially the parts about families being involved and children being given 'sufficient understanding'. You may have read our story in my blog or in the national papers. Abigail, who has Type 1 diabetes, did not have 'sufficient understanding' regarding this process. She was told to sign a form and she obeyed. She did not know it was a consent form or that she was giving permission to something that neither she nor us wanted. The jab came unexpectedly, taking her by surprise. You can imagine the trauma our family has gone through, especially reading of deaths and injuries young girls have sustained in the USA.

We met with NHS officials after we lodged our complaint. The report from our meeting with NHS arrived yesterday. Pretty disappointing! We were expecting an apology for the coerced vaccination of our daughter and probably some disciplinary action for the doctor involved, but we didnt get either. Instead, their report ruled in their favour. Their conclusion:

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Top UK Christian Blogs

Guess what? Tall Skinny Kiwi is currently the Number 1 Christian Blog in the UK. Thanks to The Blue Fish Project (Dave Bish) for including me on the list. Now what about a BADGE or AWARD or something???
A lot of people don't realise I live in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, despite being born in New Zealand and spending much of my life in USA. Nice to be welcomed into the UK fold, so to speak. Dave's list, which he will update each month, is based on technorati rankings. I have met most of these bloggers and totally recommend you pop over and see what they are up to.

Top Christian Blogs in UK [Oct 2008]
1. Andrew Jones
2. Dave Walker
3. Jon Birch
4. Adrian Warnock
5. Jonny Baker
6. Colin Adams
7. Tim Chester
8. Dave Bish
9. Terry Virgo
10. Martin Downes

Also thanks to who put me in their Top 10 Christian Blogs and Guy Kawasaki [who I met at BlogWorld in Las Vegas recently] for my inclusion on his Alltop Christianity page.

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Russell Brand - Best TV Apology of the Year

Picture 22-2Big news in the UK today was Russell Brand apologising to actor Andrew Sachs ("Manuel" in Fawlty Towers) and resigning his job as BBC presenter. Sky news had Russell giving a heartfelt honest apology and resignation from BBC and it was really refreshing to see.

In my opinion, I have never really liked Russell Brand much at all and yet today, I find I suddenly respect him. Why? Because in a world where everyone is afraid of admitting they were wrong, Russell Brand totally owns up to his pathetic behavior, admits he "crossed the line" in a juvenille way, gives the best apology I have ever heard on TV, and does so while respecting and honouring all parties involved.
Video here [thanks Richard]

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WEA meeting in Thailand: I am not there

I was supposed to be in Thailand this week for the Mission Commission meetings with World Evangelical Alliance. The WEA meet up every 6 years for a general assembly so its a really big deal. But I can't make it and will be in Scotland this week, if anyone there is wondering where I am.

In 2001, in Malaysia, I gave a presentation on the emerging church movement at the Great Commission Roundtable which was an interesting mixture of WEA, Lausanne, and the AD2000 movement which was coming to a close. I spoke about what was happening in the Western world (the Americas, Europe and Australia/NZ) while my friend Donny from Indonesia shared from a non-western perspective. I also played a video from our Epicenter event in Austin to show the more visual/aesthetic side of the worship and practice.

Great people. Really. Is anybody blogging the mission commission meetings?

Related: The Theological Commission of the WEA is also meeting in Thailand and Dr Darrell Bock (who had some recent thoughts on emerging church) blogged about their statement on holistic ministry. Its interesting that the books cited at the end of the statement are almost all mission books - which just shows the incredible amount of crossover from mission into other areas of church life and thought.

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Is Hell a Real Place?

Are heaven and hell real places or not? What do you think about what the Bible says?

My friend Doug Pagitt just posted a transcript from an interview with Todd Friel, a self-described fundamentalist from Way of the Master Radio. The conversation went to hell. Heres a snippet;

Todd: OK, Doug, hold on Doug… Doug hold on a second. I have no idea what you just said. Here’s what I think Hell is: eternal damnation, God sends lawbreakers to a place where there’s weeping, there’s gnashing of teeth, a lake of sulpher, the worm never dies, eternal conscious torment. Agree or disagree?
Doug: Disagree.
Todd:What do you think Hell is?
Doug: I think Hell is disconnection and disintegration from God.

Todd Friel gives Doug and hard time for not believing that hell is an actual place and Doug suggests Todd has a view of hell influenced more by Plato than the Scriptures. Its a fascinating interview and although neither Todd nor Doug succeed in presenting strong cases for two opposing views, this tension point between eschatologies has been a huge issue this year in church circles. And it worth a look. Why? Because our views on these things affect they way we live now and our mission on the earth.

The most interesting book I have read this year on the topic, hands down, is N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church". While the book is not primarily about hell, and while Wright is not even dogmatic about his views of hell [see this interview], he does tackle the subject and lands in a place somewhere in between a fundamentalist eternally conscious torment view on one hand and a universalist 'everyone gets in' perspective on the other, as well avoiding the annihilationist option. Wright says that hell is not a 'place' in the way we Westerners understand "place" but rather is a different kind of space, time and matter. He also points out serious flaws with the "Left Behind" perspective of the second coming and offers a way of reading the Scriptures that focuses more on the new heaven and earth coming to us rather than believers "going to heaven when they die". I think Doug would mostly agree with Wright while Todd Friel would strongly disagree.

How 'bout you? Anyone read the book?

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