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Posts from December 2008

Did the Magi Wear Mullets?

Another Christmas post from last year that I need to resize and repost. Here it is, and have a very mullet Christmas!

Original: BIG QUESTION this Christmas:

Were the Magi wearing mullets under their hats?
Did the wise men from the east wear bi-level haircuts when they found the infant Jesus?
Were the dudes bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh sporting a hairstyle that was, as David Spade would say,  "all business at the front and party at the back"?

I think YES! The Magi TOTALLY had mullets! And artists through the centuries have given witness.


But don't just believe the artists. Bi-level hairstyles mullets were the preferred choice of Persian aristocracy and the wise men were representing the King of Persia. Makes perfect sense.

"Magi", btw, is a Persian word that once defined the priestly class of Zoroastrian spiritual leaders who followed and added to the writings of Zoroaster. Later on it was used more broadly for other Persian religious leaders and mystical teachers. But the origin of the word certainly points to Persia. And Persia points to mullets for the upper class. Or in other words, anyone who was anyone in ancient Persia would not be seen dead without a mullet adorning their head.


Ahhh, you say! Perhaps not! Since the Magi were Zoroastrian priests, their hairstyles may have been quite different to that of Persian royalty and aristocracy?

But, after stroking my chin and complimenting you on your academic prowlness, as well as your amazing google dexterity, I would counter your argument with this:


And when you had gotten up off the floor, and composed yourself, I would add that the Magi who visited Jesus were not probably not strictly Zoroastrian. The true Zoroastrians were expecting a Saoshyant [world redeemer] born of a virgin in Persia, not one in Palestine. Not only that but by the time the Zoroastrian Avesta (holy writings] had been completed, there were prophecies that spoke of not just one but three distinct Saoshyants, all born of a virgin, and all born by a certain Iranian river.

Saoshyant, yes. And its amazing how many world religions had an inkling of the Redeemer's birth before it happened. But Jesus was born in a shed by the inn, not in a cara-van down by the river. (sorry - Chris Farley joke)

King Darius Of Persia SmBesides that, even being purely Zorastrian would not discount the idea that the wise men wore mullets. King Darius the Great was both a Persian king AND a devout Zoroastrian - a worshipper of "AhuraMazda" [Lord Mazda] - and his hair was longer than Billy Ray Cyrus.

Its hard to make out exactly how short Darius's hair was on top, since he was usually pictured wearing a royal headpiece. However, judging by the statues of Darius, I am quite certain that when he took his off headgear to let down his long braided hair, he would have boasted a mullet that would win trophies at the local tractor show!


Also, the type of gifts given to Jesus by the Magi were the type of gifts typically given to kings. It seems obvious that these wise men were both spiritual and governmental leaders, representing their King and most likely wearing the kind of clothes and hairstyle [ie - MULLETS!] that their King would expect from his ambassadors.

So yes, the Magi wore mullets. Friggin' "A" they wore mullets . . . and you can quote me on that! Hope this contributes a little towards a red-neck theology and that it inspires a new line of Christmas cards from Hallmark - cards that the rest of us can appreciate. Have a very Mullet Christmas!


This blog post is dedicated to Steve Camp - musician, reformer, blogger, and former mullet champion.


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Missional and Alan Hirsch

Alan Hirsch clears up the word "missional" for an American audience at Leadership Journal. Good article and I totally back up Alan, not just because he is a good mate, but also because he is right. Although I would argue with Alan, most probably over a beer, that the word "emerging" and "emergent" has been used consistently for a good century NOT as a renewal movement, as Alan suggests, but rather as a description of the new forms of church in pioneer missionary (overseas) settings, and in the past 40 years to refer to the new forms of church arising as a result of intentional mission in the home countries. However, not everyone reads old mission books like us geeks and the meaning of words is always in constant flux . . . so I will cut Alan some slack.

Speaking of Alan and loving disagreements, Dan Kimball had some missional misgivings recently and Alan responded with some good . . . um . . response. Its called "Dan Kimball on Missional Church Effectiveness".

Related: Did you ever read Alan's book The Forgotten Ways? It's excellent and it should be on your bookshelf. Heres more info.

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In Yeovil, England

Yeovil, England. Pronounced "Yo - vil". Sylvester Stallone would feel quite at home here.


I was here today for the Tribal Generation meeting. Great to see so many Brazilians who are now bringing the gospel to Europe. There were other nationalities also. JP from France who is now working in Belgium. One Brazilian who started 10 churches in North India, and is now also working in Belgium. Others from everywhere working everywhere.

That was a big theme - multi-directional mission. This was also something i talked about when i was asked to say a few things. I thought it interesting hearing Olgavaro talk about starting movements and keeping things simple, and expecting a little mess because its all very new and chaotic. Interesting, because the Assembly of God missionaries who went to Brazil many decades ago were influenced by Roland Allen's "Missionary Methods: St Paul's or Ours?" which had a similar message. It was like hearing the echo of the simple message of the gospel that went out to Brazil now coming back to Europe.

Reminds me of when I used to make big waves in the bathtub as a kid [i dont do it anymore, really!] watching the wave go forward and then come back, and then go forward again and back. Missions is a bit like that. And it seems like we are at one of those full-circle moments when the wave is coming back to hit us in the face and remind us of the simple ways of Christ and his apostles.

Back in London tomorrow and then home.

Worth Diversion: I had a cup of tea with the grandson of missionary Roland Allen

Tribal Generation in England this week


I am heading down to England this week to be part of the Tribal Generation event. Should be great. We will be exploring mission among and out of the emerging generation. The Latinos have a lot of energy and simplicity to their faith. We all need a bit of that sometimes. If you want to come along, the event is free and open to anyone. Thanks to Yeovil Community Church for their generosity and vision.

Tribal Generation is a fantastic global network. I first hooked up with the Latinos from Tribin 2000 at a DAWN event in Sheffield. Olgalvaro Bastos Jnr had come up from Brazil at the request of Wolfgang Fernandez and we figured out that what God was doing in the counterculture of Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and other countries was extremely similar to what we were seeing in USA, UK, Europe and Japan, etc. So we started networking, collaborating, doing events together and we formed what became known as the Tribal Generation Global Team. Its just a really great network to be a part of and has grown to include many more countries that anyone predicted. Olgalvaro and I, along with others on the TG Global Team, have done gathering and training events in Japan, Prague, Texas, and even Cartegena, Colombia.

Olgalvaro blogs here - its a great blog, if you can read Portuguese. If you dont, you can read something I blogged about Olgalvaro here.

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My Kids in a Peter and the Wolf Pantomine

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Off tonight to see our kids perform in a local pantomine - Last year it was Chicago (remember Sam singing?) and this year it is Peter and the Wolf. Sam is in it again (image above, center, with the silly white outfit) and Abigail is on far right. Elizabeth is also performing (second from right and the left cossack in the image below). We went on the opening night and it was really fun, especially when Hannah (image below, in brown) ended up on stage.Tonight is the final night and mayhem will surely happen. Thats our good friend Donald Cowan dressed up as an ugly woman with green hair.

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Recession Busting Ideas for Global Mission

Thanks everyone for your input. For those that were not here over the past week, here is a summary of the conversation about mission, church, and how we can get over the recession.
Top 5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession
Recession: The Carnival is Over
Recession: How Bad is it?

Other bloggers/writers worth reading:
Claire Cooper - Five Things to Do in a Recession
Anglican Mainstream - Recession could push some dioceses over the edge
Skyebox - Mission and Recession

[Original Post]

Sorry if the previous post on exorbitant Christian conferences in a time of crippling recession was a little gray (sorry David). But I do want to ask the question:
Where we gonna find the eyes to see a brighter day?
Where we gonna get the wisdom to find a more sustainable way?
Where we gonna invest our time, talent and money in the Great Commission so that it will . . . pay?

Ok - that last one was a little forced. I'm a blogger, not a songwriter. But if you have a good idea on how we can respond to this global financial crisis, leave a comment below. Maybe we should compile a top ten list or something . . . .?

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