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Posts from December 2009

Rock Bands turning up here for our REALLY BIG PARTY

Ahhhh its CRAAAAAZY around here!! We are really busy, setting up to throw a huge party this weekend called Rock on Christmas, the brainchild of Denny Hurst who turned up this afternoon. The festival starts tomorrow and we have been sweeping out this old warehouse and watching people set up the stage and deliver the generator and drop off all kinds of things. People sleeping on couches and mattresses on floor all around us. REALLY nice people, despite how many of them dress in black. I guess black must be the new black?

9 bands are coming down to help us rock this city - Olhao, Portugal - the poorest city in Western Europe. We are also showing some videos that share the good news about Jesus like Walking on Water and some shorter ones from Teen Challenge, 24-7 Prayer, etc.

pb2645.jpgI had a really good chat today with Rob Cassels from the foothills of South Carolina [needs a translator into English] and Pastor Bob Beeman from Tennesse who is here with his band. Pastor Bob (pictured) introduced me to his band as the "guy who started him blogging" which is a wonderful compliment but the whole "Getting Naked with Pastor Bob" idea was entirely his! Hey - bet you cant guess what color his blog is? Yeah . . . its black. Good guess.

EVERYONE is volunteering here. The bands are paying their own way so we are only charging 5 Euros which should cover most of the costs. The best way you could help us this weekend is by checking out the bands below and BUYING ONE OF THEIR CDS. That would be great. Here they are, and give a shout out to them if you know them.

Verra Cruz

Rob Cassels Band




Memorial Death

Desso Blues Gang

Sanctuary Worship Band

Cast a Fire


The Manhattan Declaration and why we didn't sign it

150,000 Americans have already signed the Manhattan Declaration, released last week. But not us.

"We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life

  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife

  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty."

The loudest voice on my radar in favor of the MD was Big Al Mohler, who is "not usually inclined" to sign petitions or declarations. The ultra-conservatives booed it down, mainly because of the presence of the Catholics and Orthodox or assuming it was a statement about the gospel. Steve Camp called it the "New Downgrade and John MacArthur rejected it as he did the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document. The liberals tended to shy away from it also.

I read it through with my American wife. The reason we didn't sign it is not because we didn't affirm the 3 points, because we did. Nor is it about the ecclesiastic bedfellows with funny hats and robes. In fact, I think it is healthy to not forsake the assembling of ourselves around issues we agree on. It sends a signal that there is one church, bigger than we think and smaller at the same time, which, surprisingly, is true. Our decision not to sign has more to do with not knowing how our vote will be used in the long tail of American politics.

And besides that, I really believe societal change happens from the grassroots, when people make friends and tell stories, more than trying to push papers to politicians. When the church forgets how to make friends and tell stories, they have to resort to less personal, less effective means.

I have 3 stories that come to mind about choices we have made:

[hey - i made a boo-boo here. My 3 stories have disappeared because i downloaded this post into iblogger on my iphone and the extended part didnt make it. when it resent the post, it lost them. I will repost them on a different post, maybe tomorrow.]

Whatever happened to the girl who started the emerging church network?

Well, she's in her thirties now so you can no longer call her a "girl" without getting into trouble, but whatever happened to Shannon Hopkins?

sweet notions

In the nineties, after being part of the Young Leaders 1998 event in New Mexico [where we first met] she helped to launch a coffee-shop kinda church called Soul Cafe, one of the first emerging church expressions in Texas. Then she pulled key leaders together around Texas and the emerging church network was formed. After that, she hosted a number of incredible alt. worship experiences like Wabi Sabi and Doxology. I was there. They rocked!

Then she shifted her base to London to work alongside us in a new focus on Europe as well as USA, And taking the missional idea even further, she has been launching mission-shaped social enterprises and campaigns that have had an even greater impact than her previous efforts.

shannon hopkins truth isnt sexy

She started a network of young Christian business entrepreneurs in London called NET - Network of Entrepreneurial Talent. She helped to halt the flow of human trafficking through The Truth Isnt Sexy beer-mat campaign [image above]. She has been shaking the world of social enterprise through Sweet Notions, training social entrepreneurs at Greenbelt Festival, challenging the church to think different, and developing a holistic measuring tool for social enterprises called the Transformational Index. Which is what we were doing in New York a few months ago.

Like many missional entrepreneurs, Shannon hasn't used the term "emerging church" for quite a few years, and she cringes when she hears me say it. The EC conversation got stuck a long time ago, Shannon would say, and no longer described her. No longer described us.

What's really cool is that Soul Cafe is raising money for Shannon's next season through a raffle. $5 a ticket and you can win a trip for two to London, including accommodation. The drawing is in a few days so email Cathers for details or buy it online now.

UPDATE. Sep 2011. The Transformational Index is almost a reality. Well done! Check it out here.

How to speak about the Emerging Church without sounding like a moron

Next-Wave deserve a special mention for November's incredible array of articles on the emerging church. Sorry for coming late to the party. Very rude of me, especially since they have run my tallskinnykiwi widget to raise funds for next year. THANKS! Charlie's cover story on What Pastors should think about the Emerging Church was a smash hit but there were also other worthy pieces. One of them involves Becky Garrison talking behind my back, as well as many of my English friends, in A Mixed Economy of Church in a Post-Christian Marketplace. And plenty other articles to read there also. In fact, for a pretty well balanced history of the emerging church in USA, glean what you can from the past ten years of Next Wave [can you believe they first interviewed me ten years ago?] and the next time you teach on "What is the Emerging Church?" you wont sound like a moron.

Charlie, there's a seminar title for you - "How to speak about the Emerging Church without sounding like a moron."

Stuff I am reading and watching and thinking about

- The Rise and Fall of Media getting discussed in the blogosphere today.

- A friend is looking for the full version of Rich Mullins - Homeless Man video for me. Short versions on youtube. Worth Watching.

- DELIGHTED to see my wife and kids give some polish to our family's travel blog.maggie.png

- Watching my last twitter get retweeted. I thought it was funny too. Here it is:

"Tz mrcy all, imnz & free, 4 OMG it fnd out me. (If Charles Wesley could Twitter, No. 1)"

- Still deciding if my wife and I should sign the Manhattan Declaration. We agree with it in principle but are not sure what message it gives by the act of signing it.

- We played Keith Green's video Asleep in the Light (1982) after a conversation about the tragically unconscious state of the church, especially when it comes to passing on the good news. Everyone should watch the Keith Green story on youtube. Really.

- Cant believe my friend Shane Claiborne appeared on Esquire because he is one the worst dressed guys I know - he insists on making his own clothes and it shows - but then what do I know about fashion? And he is speaking about more than fashion so there . . . HT: Mark P

- Just heard from a faith-based Foundation that they would match donations from other Foundations towards our mission projects around Europe next year. Great news!!!! Now to find them.

- Big thing this week for us is hosting Rock on Christmas festival. We finished painting the warehouse yesterday. We got the warehouse for nothing but it needed a lot of work. Photos at  Jonesberries.

- Reading through Genesis and Hebrews, chasing down the idea of church and God's temple of living stones as it relates to Jacob's standing stone at Bethel, and the 12 standing stones that Moses erected. I think our ecclesiology would be a lot different if we started reading Hebrews and then went over to Acts to see it played out, rather than starting with Acts and being dumbfounded by Hebrews.

- I am cranking up my Arkaos VJ 3.5 software for this weekend's festival. 90 minutes of video. Some of it we are filming around this city and mixing it up for transitions and eye candy, as well as introductions to the bands. Unfortunately, I am having a problem when it goes to full screen. Must be time to upgrade.