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Posts from February 2009

French toast, Saturday Morning and the Emerging Church

Saturday morning.

I made French toast out of a single pan loaf, like I always do on a Saturday morning.

Then I read the text from Kevin Ward's lecture "It may be emerging but is it church?" and drank some coffee.

Then I read Bruce Hamill responding to Kevin Ward with some interesting thoughts on incarnation and a missional stance to culture.

So on Bruce's comments I pointed out my poll taken with emerging church folk and their understanding of Christ and culture because I thought that would be helpful.

I haven't eaten any French toast yet, but my kids did.

Now I am reading about myself on Kingdom Journalism.

Off to work on the truck. I still didn't get any French toast. Sometimes cooking it feels like eating it.

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What can Europe learn from India?

Victorjohn"He spoke about multiplying disciples by making them disciple-makers as soon as possible and through that process, they become leaders and church planters. Something that most church planters would agree to, right? However, as we studied Luke 10 (the sending out of the 72 leaders), this key principle emerged. God uses simple, uneducated, unresourced & unafraid men to prepare the way for God to plant churches among new people groups. God can do this with anyone who is available and willing to loose his life and renounce his ambitions." Anthony Testa on Victor John

This weekend in Netherlands is a special training for the Jesus Freaks from all over Europe. I was invited to be there but alas am still busy getting our truck ready for the road. Victor John is the teacher. He has helped start a church planting movement in India that now numbers 80,000 house churches and 3 million people. I am really excited about this weekend. Jesus Freaks came into being in the 90's when some German punk and goth teenagers found Jesus and then started nearly a hundred churches across Germany and beyond. The growth later slowed down, possibly because they listened to Western teachers who told them how to do it [my opinion] but I really think the Indian church movements could point them in the right direction.

What can Europe learn from India? A heck of a lot. The importance of discipleship, the simplicity of starting house churches, the priesthood of all believers, the place of personal sacrifice, faith in the Holy Spirit. And a lot more? Anyone have thoughts?

Another leader from India who is teaching us Westerners about church planting is Victor Choudrie. I have some thoughts from Victor in a post entitled Slice of Nicolatia and in my article What Did You Go Out To See?

Chinese blogosphere booming

Why blogs are hot in China - Here are some thoughts from Kato Yoshikazu on the Chinese blogosphere which hit over 100 million blogs in 2007 and is booming out of control. HT: ChurchCrunch
"Phenomenally-popular finance blogger Xu Xiaoming was the "hit king" of Chinese blogs in 2008 with 355 million hits. Other statistics predict that between 2012 and 2015, China will see blogs with hit counts of 1 billion."
Those hit counts are huge. Back in 2005, I had some email contact with Edwyn Chan, China's "blogfather" who feature on Wired mag. The Chinese blogs back then were tiny compared to some of these big hitters today. However, I have a gut feeling that phone-based micro-blogging will take some of the attention away from the blogs. Maybe more Chinese microbloggers and less superstars. What do you think?

- Also from China: four arrested house church leaders released due to international pressure. China Aid has the skinny.

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Virtual Church in the 1940's

I haven't had much time to blog or chat in the last week but I did listen in to one chat - the interesting conversation that Shane Hipps ignited during the week about virtual communities through his video. Especially relevant to me because we are less than one month away from the Cyberchurch Symposium in London that I will be attending and hosting.

In my absence, others responded to Shane including Scot McKnight, who wondered whether Shane was talking about ecclesia or koinonia, and John La Grou who found Shane's argument a little on the dualist, techno-phobic side of the fence for a guy who has written a book on electronic culture [see my review]

If I were to add a thought to these thoughts on virtual church, which i might do during the week if i get more time, I would start by saying that the church has been dealing with virtual church for a lot longer than people think. In fact, the church dealt with a similar scenario in the 1940's which might be worth another look.

Colossus Wideweb  470X308,0\

No, not computers. They were just big number crunching monsters back then. I am talking about radio and its impact on the idea of virtual church.


Christian broadcast through radio, by the 1940's, had a strongly evangelistic flavor in the USA but in the UK it was seen as an extension of the church service. While the Americans were preaching the gospel on as many stations as they could find, the Brits were exploring the impact of radio on worship, eucharist and church life.

"It was discovered that some of those listening on Sunday evenings were either on the fringe of organised religion or lapsed members, while others had never been at a church service and had no personal faith." Religion By Radio: Its Place in British Broadcasting", by Melville Dinwiddie, 1968.

Yes, the author of that really cool book that I found was Melville Dinwiddie. Try saying that name three times without laughing.

Melville Dinwiddie.
Melville Dinwiddie.
Melville Dinwiddie.
he he ha he . . . No, I couldn't do it either.

And, if you will forgive me, just another observation: Early forms of emerging church that appeared in the 1980's on both sides of the Atlantic were, just as 40 years earlier, concerned with evangelism (USA) and worship (UK). Thank you. Thank you very much!!

Back to the 40's. By the 1940's, war had broken out, millions of British people had gone overseas and the idea of widespread virtual church was suddenly not so far fetched. Soldiers serving on the continent could not attend an English service BUT they could tune in to a broadcast . . .

"Worship was next to impossible in crowded huts or barrack rooms, but on isolated gunsites and on ships on patrol in dangerous waters, participation was sincere and meant a great deal to those taking part, as did listening in hospital and sick-room. The audience to such broadcasts could be numbered in the millions, many more than attended all the churches in Britain on any Sunday. . . This vast multitude of home or national service worshippers could not be placed in any recognised category except as men and women in search of a loving
page 47.

When the war was over, Britain was more open to the idea of a radio-resourced church outside the brick and mortar. 1946 was the year of the experiment.

Interested??? Keep reading.

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Video Gear Funds raised through Twitter and Missional Tribe (updated)

UPDATE: Good news! 33% already in. Thanks everyone. I think a lot of people on Twitter are hearing about it and pitching in, as well as some bloggers. This is what my Tweetdeck looks like:

Picture 7-7

ORIGINAL: The good folk at Missional Tribe are raising money on their site for the video gear we need to film what God is doing around the world. Go to TSK Thanks the Academy and you will hear more of the story and have access to a paypal widget.

Update on Our Truck and Travels.

We are all working really hard on our 20 year old truck that will be our new home. Yesterday we stuck the first pieces of insulation inside the box and painted the guards. Today we have a group of teenagers helping us. I get to be the foreman. We are still aiming to be on the road by March 10 but there's a lot of work to do.

Over the next few months, we should be in Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and possibly Morocco. Heres a pic from last week with my daughter Tamara.



Australian Fire Relief

The fires in Victoria Australia have been a massvie disaster. What to do?

1. Darren Rowse in Melbourne says that SitePoint is offering a sale of any five SitePoint books for $29.95 USD, which is five books for the price of oneā€”and donating 100% of the proceeds to bushfire relief.

2. Cheryl Lawrie tells me by email: "Some other organisations might be the Salvos who are doing brilliant emergency relief , the Uniting Church Share Appeal which is setting up to do extensive long term relief and restoration work [the Uniting Church is the largest non-government provider of community services and development in Victoria - and I should be up front and say that they employ me!] and, of course, the Red Cross - and apparently the British Red Cross have just set up an appeal in the UK."

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