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Posts from September 2010

Wild Goose Festival Cometh - June 2011

For those of you wishing that Greenbelt Festival in UK would somehow come over to USA, it will . . next year. The Wild Goose Festival will be about spirituality, creativity and justice. June 23-26, 2011 in North Carolina.

I remember the first conference call a few years ago to discuss the possibility of this festival. There were technical difficulties and I couldn't get into the call, and to be honest, I haven't really kept up with the progress of this festival as much as I should have. But I am glad to see it will finally happen.

For those coming from overseas, remember that the we are hosting our yearly global roundtable for alternative and underground ministries at Cornerstone Festival (Illinois) the following week. Which is cool. We haven't done one of these in USA for a decade.

New York: At Radical Living this Saturday

This Saturday night our family will be having dinner with Radical Living, a 'Christ-centered cohousing community' in Brooklyn, New York. You might have read about them in the New York Times in "Sharing the Faith, Splitting the Rent". They have invited us to tell our story "The Motorbike in the Middle of our Kitchen", something our kids have started to put together and a story that will probably be told all over USA over the next 3 months as we drive coast to coast.


Some other friends will be there also including Sasa Flek from Prague, whose Bible translation was the best selling book in Czech Republic last year, and Becky Garrison who is about to go on a book tour for her latest work Jesus Died for This?, a book that calls me a "granola crunching hippie", a misleading and degrading accusation which I have strengously disagreed with at length. I will have HARSH words for her on Saturday, over dinner.

I hope we are having granola.

Random thoughts and links on living with Muslims

- When we lived in Portland, OR, we had Muslim students live with us. Ahmed from Yemen stayed for two years and his brother Ali stayed one year. We watched the Gulf War on CNN from the same couch but were cheering for different sides - that didn't matter. We loved those guys and they became part of our family.

- My friend Geoff Tunnicliffe called Terry Jones on the phone, the pastor who was threatening to burn a Koran, and arranged a one-hour conference call with Christian leaders who talked some sense to him and help divert what could have been a very very bad decision.

- When we moved to East London, my young daughters were appalled and offended by the loose morality and foul language from many of their classmates. Se advised them to hang out with the Muslim girls.

- When our Muslim neighbors started attending our pizza nights, we bought Halal meat so everyone could eat the pizza.

- 25 bloggers joined us for Blog a Koran Day.

- In the USA we had Muslim students live with us from Pakistan and other countries also and when Ramadan came around we had to wait until sunset before we could feed everyone. One of them asked us to buy a prayer mat for his room. They got really homesick during Ramadan.

- Jim Wallis tells part of the story behind Terry Jones's change of heart.

- I suspect that Christians published more content on the Koran this month (September 2010) that any time in history. Someone should probably calculate it but the total amount of published content from Christians might be even more that what has been published previously throughout the history of the written word.

- Sometimes I check out the site Looking for God to watch the real time decisions on Google maps [cheap entertainment] and it always amazes me how many people are deciding to follow Jesus from Muslim countries.

- Once Mohammed invited me to eat with him and his friends. His brother told me that if I accepted, I would be like his brother. I accepted, and Mohammed created a big feast on the floor. He gave me food to eat from his hand. It was intimate in a non-gay way and we became very good friends - like brothers in fact. I understood why the Pharisees were so upset at Jesus eating with people - its a very intimate bonding ritual in Eastern cultures.

- Earlier this year I went to Morocco and in Fez I visited the shrine of a famous Sufi poet, Sidi Ali ibn Harzihm. I find the mystical poetry of Sufism to have some very interesting parallels with Christian mystic writings. Thomas Merton discovered the same thing. I wonder if there are ways for both Christians and Muslims to have conversations about God by starting with Sufi poets like Rumi, rather than or in addition to the Koran.

Like this one.

Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child!
How could a zephyr ride an ass?
Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream.
Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity.

Remember God so much that you are
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.

"Love is a Stranger", Kabir Helminski, Threshold Books, 1993

Entrepreneurs or Leaders?

The USA is lagging behind in social innovation and social enterprise rather than leading, suggests a well-researched post released in June by Timothy Ogden. Almost all of the world-changing innovations from from the developing world and very few from USA, despite the money poured into them. Reasons for this, Ogden suggests, have to do with lack of training and lack of scarcity that drives innovation. He suggests:

Spend less time and money training entrepreneurs and funding contests domestically; invest more in social entrepreneurs globally.

I see the same problem in the church which decided to take the "leadership" route many years ago rather than the "entrepreneur" route. Leaders help move the existing and sometimes struggling structures forward into greater productivity and encourage people to follow. Entrepreneurs invent and innovate new structures tailored for the changing situations, but not without continuity with the past. In a world of relentless change, entrepreneurs rule. If the church expects their impact to continue, it needs to create and celebrate a culture of innovation, finding precedents in the Scriptures [come on . . . look harder] and examples in the developing non-western world.

If you want to hear about our plans to travel the 10/40 window and
locate "missional entrepreneurs" then keep an eye on our North
America tour that starts next week. Cities and dates coming soon.


"Meg Duerksen is a mom of five, photographer and an awesome TypePad blogger" says the email from Typepad who are showcasing Meg's blog "Whatever." I dont think I have seen a religious blog recommended by them before.

Its a a great blog with lots of fun and color.

And its not lacking in spiritual content either. Well done, Meg.

Related: I have a post on the word "Whatever" and its relation to God's purposes.

"[Whatever] is a word that annoys me and I tell my kids off when they revert to "WHATEVER!!" as a response to my statements. But in Missio Dei, the word WHATEVER" helps us move beyond an overly humanistic understanding of salvation that lacks a biblical cosmology. Our ministry of reconciliation is focused on WHATEVER needs reconciling. Jesus came to seek and to save WHATEVER was lost - its more than just humans that need reconciling. WHATEVER was alienated, WHATEVER was broken must be reconciled. God's character demands it. He is holy, wholly, complete."

Lausanne 3: Its gonna be BIG!

Are you coming to Cape Town for Lausanne 3 next month? Let me know, and leave a link below to your blog and connect with me on the Lausanne conversation site. Maybe we could get together in Cape Town.

There is already a lot of buzz about Lausanne 3 and I think its going to be HUGE. I remember when we were discussing the possibilities of a big mission event(s) for 2010 back in Malaysia at the Great Commission Roundtable (2001). Many of us committed ourselves to work towards these events in Edinburgh and other places. And as it worked out, Lausanne 3 will most likely be the BIG ONE that captures the attention of the global church and the Lausanne blog will be a good way to track what happens. So will the @capetown2010 Twitter hashtag.
So, as you already know, I will be there along with 4000 others. I will be blogging the big event and speaking a few times in various events connected to these celebrations and discussions. I have also been asked to be the official blogger for a well known magazine but that is not finalized yet so I cant give details. But I will when the time is right.

Also, the Lausanne organizers are searching for some people who understand the flow of social media and can track the conversation as it spreads. You could do that from wherever you are. If that's you, email me for details.

More history on Lausanne 3 here.

Echoing Green looking for social entrepreneurs

Echoing Green is looking for their next crop of early-stage emerging social entrepreneurs. Are you thinking of starting a new project? They offer a helpful grant and plenty of support. Check out your eligibility. They do not support faith based initiatives but your social enterprise can have a spiritual base.

I had the privilege of being one of their Readers this year and read through a selection of amazing applications giving some thumbs up when I thought appropriate. I also attended The Feast Conference along with a few friends last year in New York - a fun and exciting one-day event for social entrepreneurs. The next one is Oct 14-16. I cant make it coz I will be in Cape Town, South Africa but I do highly recommend it.

Is there any future for the institutional church?

More scandalous news from Belgium this morning. Jonny Baker asks the question:

In the light of the scandals surrounding the Catholic church, and the decline in church attendance over the past decades, has the classic model of the institution had its day?

Is institutional Christianity an outmoded organisational technology slow, heavy-weight and rigid and are there new, more light-weight and adaptable skins that provide a more flexible and adaptable service& or is the move towards a more fluid, "TAZ" Christianity no more than a flash(mob) in the pan, lacking substance or ground for genuine action?

The Apple 7 event this week at a pub in London hopes to pick up on Kester's earlier thoughts and answer that question.

Great photo on Kesters blog, btw. Reminds me of that Vineyard service I went to last year.

Church Day. Dresden. June 1-5, 2011

I want to give you some warning on this one so you can tell your boss you are taking holidays on the first week of June and flying over to Dresden, Germany. When she asks "Why?" you will tell her that you want to be part of a BIG CHURCH DAY with over 100,000 people and inside this festival will be Tallskinnykiwi and his friends from all over Europe. It will be a COMING TOGETHER OF THE NATIONS and the new forms of church with the old. What a party!

We have been invited to suggest and bring in young church leaders from all over Central and Eastern Europe to Kirchentag and are already working towards it.

More details later on but I just wanted you to have the dates in mind for next year in case you wanted to come along and be part of what we will be doing there.