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March 2011

Posts from February 2011

"Lets Love Each Other!": Christian Maori Leader on Christchurch Earthquake

When this week's devastating earthquake in Christchurch struck, many of New Zealand's top Christian leaders were gathering near Wellington. A few internationals were there. I was there also.

Among the words that were spoken, two speeches seemed to strike a cord with me. The most profoundly simple and yet stirring was from Sam Chapman, leading Christian Maori spokesman.

"Why we do wait for a crisis to realise just how precious we are to each other? We've got a whole society out there saying, "Love me before I become a statistic! Don't wait till something goes wrong. Love me today!" I hope that out of the rubble, not just materially, but spiritually, psychologically, that the lessons we learn from tragedies like today, and there will be more . . . lets love each other! Lets not wait."

The other was Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA International Director, who was speaking at our meetings. Here are some snippets from my recording.

". . . I want to say a word to you my brothers and sisters in New Zealand, on this day of tragedy. I want to let you know that the body of Christ around the world is standing with you . . . You know . . there is a sense of hope that God brings at these times. . . I believe that the church will rise up in Christchurch and across New Zealand, with the world church standing behind you, to be beacons of hope in this great tragedy. We just want you to know that we are deeply concerned for you as you face these difficult days together . . but people can have hope and that's the great message." Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe

Praying for Christchurch

Like many families and groups around New Zealand today, we are thinking and praying for our friends in Christchurch after the earthquake.

At dinner time we all went down to the beach. Jenny Duckworth's idea was to collect 75 shells and make the word "Christchurch" on the sand. The 75 represented the death toll so far. Then we wrote what we wanted to pray for the city and its people and we stood around it and prayed.

Beach earthquake prayer for christchurch


Earthquake in Christchurch

Thanks everyone for all your messages. Our gathering yesterday was in Waikanae, near Wellington, a long way from Christchurch by NZ standards.

News of the earthquake  was shattering. I was sitting next to the Bishop of Nelson when they announced it and he left almost immediately, along with many others from Christchurch (Murray Robertson, etc) to return home. We showed video footage on the wall. We stopped and prayed a lot.

Earthquake Statistics: 6.3 magnitude. At the moment the toll is like 75 dead and 300 missing.

We are going down to Christchurch to volunteer.

We are currently packing up our things and will head south tomorrow, taking the ferry to the South Island and down to Christchurch where we have contacts with church and mission leaders. I was supposed to be teaching there anyway in early March but we will just go early and help in the relief efforts.

Thanks for your prayers. Keep you posted.

UPDATES on Christchurch earthquake at Stuff

LEAVE A MESSAGE for earthquake victims here.

DONATE at Red Cross

HELP guide at NZ Herald 

Locals can VOLUNTEER their spare room at Salvation Army on Facebook


docstoc : boring documents can be fun.

I just took another look at after a few months away - its become HUGE and still growing. Amazing PDF resource. Even my Facebook is suggesting I sync with docstoc.

The documents on docstoc are not always sexy like books in a bookstore but sometimes they can be a great way of accessing niche knowlege that you would never find otherwise. Even boring documents can be fun if they hit the spot.

Docstoc image

For example, a document I found this morning, just uploaded a few weeks ago, is the final emerging church report from a church in Scotland that is making plans for their mission projects. The document is the culmination of their committee's thinking and decisions which, although far too boring and irrelevant for almost everyone on the planet, is actually right up my alley.And for a church contemplating starting some fresh expressions of church in their city, it could be just the ticket.

Usually I download these kind of documents and store them for later reference but a better idea is just to leave them on docstoc. Why ACCUMULATE when you can simply ACCESS it when you need it?

Praxis: Training for an Emerging Postmodern Paradigm of Mission

We came to Ngatiawa Contemplative Monastery, here near Waikanae, New Zealand, for PassionFest and liked the people so much that we stayed. Its been a week now and we are having a great time. Justin and Jenny Duckworth are the main conspirators. They let me putter around in the kitchen and hassle the heaps of people coming through. Right now, Praxis mission training is taking place for about 30 missional urban youth workers from New Zealand and Australia.

Praxis focuses on what they call the "emerging postmodern paradigm of mission". Which reminds me of David Bosch who suggested we were in the 'postmodern' paradigm, a term he wanted to replace with the word "ecumenical". As we all know, this never happened, probably due to his untimely death in 1992 and the reluctance of the evangelicals to embrace the "ecumenical" word, despite the fact that it occurs in the New Testament. But "the emerging postmodern paradigm of mission" would probably have his stamp of approval.

The young people here have backgrounds various ministries - Urban Vision, Urban Seed, UNOH, Salvation Army, and whatever Youth For Christ has morphed into.

Praxis course lunch only god can judge me tattoo
Interesting collection of tattoos over lunch.

Right now, Dr Andew Shepherd is teaching on mission theology. There is a text book to go with the course. Readings from this module are from Sherron Kay George (The Quest for Images of Missionaries in a "Post-Missionary Era), Rene Padilla, Brian McLaren, Mike Frost and snippets of David Bosch.

I love the emphasis on justice and working among the poor. I LIKE IT LIKE IT LIKE IT A LOT A LOT ALOT ALOT ALOTALOT!!!!!!!

Facebook and the Church

Some discussion on the blogs about whether Facebook is killing the church. Richard Beck started the conversation last year and recently added some clarification, as well as pointing to others adding their thoughts, in particular, Jesus Creed, First Things, and The Lookout.

My tiny contribution is a paragraph from Cyberchurch, by Pierre Lévy, (published 2001) in which his research showed that social media do not generally substitute the physical but compliment it. He found that the young people most using social media were the SAME people with lots of friends and acquaintances rather than the loners.

Pierre levy, cyberculture, social media quote

Related: TSK on Church 2.0, Cyberchurch, virtual church: keeping it real

The 6th Christian Leaders Vision Conference

Next week I will be at the NZ Christian Leaders Vision Conference in Waikanae. This is hosted by the people behind the (previously known as) Vision Network. I met some of them last year in Cape Town at Lausanne, including the famous Glyn Carpenter.

Special blurb from website:

"The 6th New Zealand Leaders’ Congress is the unique opportunity which only happens every three years for Christian leaders from denominations, cities, ministries, and spheres of influence, to come together." Update and 10 reasons to attend

It should be a good few days. Please pray for me to get a handle on what is going on in this country, which, despite being my country of birth, is still strange to me. Pray for the other leaders to hear from God and make appropriate plans for getting things sorted over the next few years, esp. as the church in NZ looks forward to 2014, the 200th anniversay of the arrival of missionary Samuel Marsden.

Geoff tunnicliffe and jeff fountain

Pray for our two speakers - both mates of mine and both Jeffs with different spellings -  Geoff Tunnicliffe and Jeff Fountain.


Meeting Jeff Fountain at Euro Cell Church Conference

Geoff Tunnicliffe, btw, was the guy who called up Terry Jones and talked some sense to him before he made a very very big blunder.


3 Top Albums on our Playlist

Good to see Mumford and Sons win the Best Brit album of the year with Sigh No More. We have been playing it for months on our playlist, along with other favourtie albums.

The Top 3 albums on our family's playlist right now are:

Sigh No More, by Mumford and Sons

The Fray by The Fray

Begin to Hope, by Regina Spektor

Whats playing on yours?

At a monastery near Waikanae

We are staying for a few days at Ngatiawa which is a monastery in the new-emerging fashion. This used to be a Presbyterian camp in a previous life but has been bought out and changed over and broadened in its use to become a monastic center for protestant youth, with a connection to the Anglicans. Good people here. There are actually 6 urban monastries in this area under the Urban Vision banner and one rural monastery which adds some balance to the ministry. Ngatiawa is that rural piece of the puzzle - land, cows, gardens, daily prayer in a nice chapel, dung between your toes, etc.

PassionFest was here last weekend and it went really well. Totally recommend it.

Today we are going into Wellington. Famiy is happy. All is well.

Other things of interest:

Regeneration Summit - Church of England Bishops meeting with young people in England. Registration closing soon.

Chrs Wright from Lausanne on a Second Reformation. (White Horse Inn).

My 'BLOGGING FOR ACTIVISTS' workshop at PassionFest 2011

We are about to head south to be a part of New Zealand's PassionFest which runs from Feb 11 to 13 in Waikanae. I actually had never heard of it which is strange because it appears to be NZ's most exciting Christian Festival based around art, justice, food and fun - which makes it very similar to other Christian Festivals that we frequent - SLOT in Poland, Freakstock in Germany, Greenbelt in UK and Cornerstone in USA. BTW - I think I am teaching 3x at Cornerstone.

Last week I was sent an invitation to do something at PassionFest - too late to get on the official program which is already printed  - but I said I would come down anyway because it sounded fun and it sounded like my favourite kind of people.

My friend and favourite Anabaptist Stuart Murray Williams is one of the speakers and I always enjoy what he has to say.

So, sometime during the Festival, at a time and location to be announced during the Festival, I will teach a workshop entitled "Blogging For Activists" which will cover the effective use of social media, in particular blogging, for impact and change. I will divulge my SEO secrets and show you how to position your posts to be found on the search engines, the netiquette of conversing online and with commentors, how to improve your online presence and how to weave your various social media streams into something integral. If thats helpful, come along. If not, lets hook up anyway.


Best Stuart Murray quote ever:

"Many are post-charismatic. . . after 20 years, they would rather shoot themselves than sing another chorus."
Stuart Murray-Williams talking with us in Paris, 2003.