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Posts from November 2011

Hanging with Massive Scar Era [Mascara]

In Cairo we hooked up with Egypt's famous hardcore metal band Massive Scar Era for a chat. The coffee shop was closed but we found a place on the street for a tea and a sheesha.

Cairo mascara street

Massive Scar Era, or Mascara, is an amazing and original hardcore band. Really. I saw them perform at Cornerstone Festival in USA last summer and I talked to them about coming to some of our festivals in Europe. Florian from Freakstock Festival is with us this week in Cairo so we were asking them if they would consider coming to Germany next year. Maybe Poland also. Hope that works out. The band is an interesting mix of Muslim and Christian, of both Orthodox and evangelical flavours, a hopeful microcosm of what might happen in Egypt when the next generation shows the world that we can get along together.

Mascara became well known in Egypt when one of their songs was used for a movie. I think this is it here.

11.11.11 event at Pyramid cancelled

Cairo, Egypt. We met these German guys last night who had come all the way to Cairo to attend the rituals at the Pyramids on 11.11.11. They said there was a rumor that it would be cancelled and it that was the case, they would probably rock up to the Day of Prayer held in Cairo's cave church.

11 11 11 pyramids

Well, much to the disappointment of Freemasons, pagans, numerologists, New Age folk and others, the Great Pyramid of Giza did indeed close down today to prevent any such event. Maybe we will see those German guys today . . .

The Cave Church at Garbage City

This week we visited the monastery of St St Simeon (Simon) the Tanner (or shoemaker) which is now most commonly referred to as The Cave Church. It's longer name is St. Simon the Tanner Coptic Orthodox Church in the Mokattam garbage village.

St Simons, the cave church on a garbage dump, is the largest Christian church in the Middle East. I was there this week chatting with some of the church leaders. With their interconnected network of 7 cave churches,  that have capacity for 30,000 people. But today, at the Day of Prayer, 50,000 people are expected to turn up and they will be putting out some EXTRA CHAIRS! I can imagine!

Garbage city house family

This is a typical house down the road from the church. Families like recycle garbage for a living inside their own houses. Sometimes they live on the second floor above it but you can imagine its pretty smelly and not a great environment to live in or raise your children. About 30,000 people live at this Garbage City, but there are other Garbage Cities in Cairo also. Yesterday we visited one that had over 20,000 people. Most of these people are Coptic Christians.

St Simeons was started in 1969. It is has grown rapidly and now includes 7 cave cathedrals, all interconnected and all decorated with large carvings and sculptures.

St simons cave church

The entrance to St Simons.

Cave church cairo

This is the second largest of the cave cathedrals.

Cave church polish sculptor mario

This is the largest of the 7 cave cathedrals. Here they are setting up for this week's Day of Prayer service. The guy with the helmet is Mario, the Polish sculptor who has been making all these amazing pieces of art that decorate the churches.

More: See map herePhotos and panaroma. Website for Cave Church where you can read the history of the church and watch services live.

Egypt and the Day of Prayer 11.11.11

Update: Just got back. 70,000 tickets sold. Going very well. What a shame that the evangelical leaders were not allowed on the stage. Hopefully they will all learn to get along.

Update: More info about the Day of Prayer taking place today . . YES TODAY . . in Cairo.

I talked with one of the leaders who was at the original planning meeting. I told him that people around the world would like to join their prayers with Egypt today and could he please tell us what we could pray for.

Pray for egypt blessing isaiah 19

He said it is a day of PEACE so firstly pray peace for this country.

He also said we could prayer for PROTECTION over the day and over the spiritual climate of Egypt.

It's an important time for Egypt and there is much at stake.

Did you know that the prayer meeting will take place at a cave church located at Garbage City?

Church of simon the tanner day of prayer cairo

Its an amazing story St Simon's church started from nothing in 1969 and is now the largest Christian church in the Middle East with 30,000 attending its services in 7 different cave cathedrals.


Original Post: Egypt will be a special focus during the Day of Prayer which happens November 11, 2011. news suggests millions of Christians will be praying around the world. Great!

Quite coincidentally, I am in Egypt for this occasion and already have my ticket to attend the event at St Simons. It is estimated that over 100,000 people will be praying at the church. If this happens, locals tell me it will be the largest gathering of Christians in this country for over a thousand years.

BTW: 11.11.11 is also a global day of worship, a day of prayer for financial blessings [come on, who thought of that????] ,a global day of prayer for world healing, and a global day of prayer for Egypt. Even Muslims will be praying for Egypt on November 11.

Trivia: There is one National Day of Prayer website which does not tell you which nation it is talking about. The eagle is a clue.

Read more about our visit to St Simons.


Does Occupy Wall Street Mock the Arab Spring?

Occupy Wall Street. I saw David Fitch on the subject and that Brian Mclaren recommended reading Tom Beaudoin's A Note from the Protest and I read an interesting article about a Baptist minister holding his "Occupy Till I Come" sign and using a few Bible verses to back it up {Yeah King James!}

Fair enough.

Yesterday I was having coffee with some people in Cairo and we were talking about revolutions in our countries. New Zealand, of course, just doest have them, at least not on this level, except when the sheep revolt against the particular type of grass but that's quite different.

An Egyptian guy told us about what's been happening here this year. Pretty crazy stuff. Fizzled down a lot since February, apparently, but still people going out on Fridays to protest, still people getting shot or kidnapped. Still changes going on. Still struggle.


An Indonesian guy said that his country went through the same thing some years ago and has come out the other side.

A German guy talked about the revolution in Berlin and the loss of identity it created.

An American guy reminded us that his country has their own version going on right now with Occupy Wall Street but its pretty obvious to us all that the America is not Egypt and comparing Occupy to the bloodshed and severe political/religious changes that have happened this year in Egypt and other countries, borders on mockery.

Ehab Zahriyeh contrasts the two scenarios in a worthy article:

America's protesters found inspiration from Arab uprisings, but their needs and desires are distinct from those striving for change half a world away. Occupy Wall Street will grow and succeed on its own merits. Ehab Zahriyeh, Occupy Wall Steet is no Tahrir Square

She has a good point and she backs it up with statements that show the two revolutions are happening in very different contexts:

- Roughly 40% of all Egyptians live on less than $2 a day and have lived this way for a long time.

- During the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution, police and other state security organizations killed at least 840 people and injured thousands, according to Amnesty International

You can add more casualties to that list from last month, especially the Copts that were mowed down with military vehicles. In the USA, protesters are feeling the weather getting colder and are enduring some persecution for their stance, but they are not having their body parts collected in plastic bags. Occupy Wall Street is important, YES,  and it points to enormous frustration under the surface, but it's not Egypt.

Hippie Hostel with a Misison

Our good friends Al and Tina Nord and the Nomad's Land they help run in USA made the news. Congrats. Watch it on CBS here under "Hippie Hostel with a Mission." You might remember last year Debbie and my kids walking a pilgrimage across Alabama to raise money for the Nomad's Land. Same one. This is an amazing community and our family still talks about their experience there.

Al and Tina came to our house party in Prague this summer. They have a fantastic ministry in Europe and the USA. So happy to see them recognized and affirmed. Check out the video.

Related on TSK:
Global nomads, existential migrants.


Egypt. Where are the bloggers?

So I arrived in Cairo last night on my way to New Zealand. I have a few days to see some sights, eat some dates, and meet some bloggers.

Egypt camel jockey blogger

Where are the bloggers here in Egypt?

- I would have liked to have coffee with Alaa Abd El Fattah, one of the bloggers at, but unfortunatelyhe is in prison. Egyptians are not happy about it, apparently. I would like to meet him and hear his story.

- Zeinobia blogs at EgyptianChronicles and has been focusing on the injustices in Syria.

Wael Ghonim, creator of the "We are all Khaled Said" Facebook page that helped inspire the revolution, has moved to Dubai.

Who is blogging on the Coptic situation? Anyone know???


Related on TSK:

Egypt: The largest capital flight since the Exodus?

Coptic Orthodox shooting.

12 Vintage Theoblogians: Where are they blogging now?

10 Years ago I only knew of a dozen Christian bloggers.

When I first started Tallskinnykiwi in 2001, I was the only Christian blogger I knew of. Very soon I had discovered a few more faith bloggers on and by encouraging a few of my friends to start blogging about religion, the number grew. By November 2001, I had a list of 12 "theoblogians". Nobody had ever created such a large list of Christian bloggers. Imagine  . . .  a WHOLE DOZEN OF THEM!!!!

Dozen vintage theoblogians

Ladies and Gentlemen, these people all have a decade of blogging under their belt and should be honoured as VINTAGE THEOBLOGIANS.

So . . . where are they blogging today?

Tallskinnykiwi - that's me, folks. Here's the other 12:

1. Urban Onramps Rudy Carrasco in Pasadena is still changing the world and blogging about it.

2. Deepdirt - Karen Ward now blogs at Anglimergent. Karen was the one who nabbed the domain name.

3. Wolf's Howler, like many of our blogs, moved from blogspot to typepad but is still going. I will be with Wolfgang again in a few days in  . . .  Egypt.

4. Shookfoil was the blog of Amy MacDonald who married one of my best friends, Derek Chapman. They both blog at The Bearable Light.

5. Jordon Cooper, Canadian from near the north pole, had a huge amount of resources online before most people even heard of blogging.

6. Bloggedyblog was the blog of Andrew Careaga who is now all over the internet and has authored books like eMinistry and Hooked on the Net.

7. Theyblinked was the blog of Dallas geek Dan Hughes, honoured by Bob Carlton and

8. Punkmonkey was John O'Keefe's blog which became Ginkworld and is now here at

9. Wendy Cooper, Jordon's wife, and the first lady of emerging church blogging, now blogs at

10. Darren Friesen, living way north in Canada like the Coopers, blogged at The Invisible Sun but may have let it all go since his ordination. Come on Darren!

11. Alan Creech, vintage Catholic blogger is still going strong.

12. Kevin Rains still blogging strong.

Shortly after this list, other theoblogians appeared including:

Jonny Baker, who built one of the best Christian blogs in the world.

Rachel Cunnliffe in NZ who is now a webdesigner at Cre8d Design.

Doug Pagitt, after starting off on a blog I made for him, is still blogging and teaching social media.

And Darren Rowse, after starting The Living Room in Australia a few months after this list, went on to launch ProBlogger and become the most prestigious blogger in the universe.

But there is my list of 12 vintage theoblogians. Over the years, I have met almost all of them personally which was a lot of fun. You might notice that all of them are somehow connected to the emerging church. That's not because I chose them out of other Christian bloggers who were more traditional but rather because these bloggers appeared on my radar in 2001 and the more traditional church bloggers came along later.


UPDATE: I made you guys a badge. Get it here.

US$2,650 for Turkish Earthquake. THANKS!

A HUGE THANK YOU to all who gave towards our Turkish Earthquake appeal.

Earthquake turkey 1

As you know, a 7.2 earthquake hit eastern Turkey last week leaving thousands of families homeless in the FREEZING FREEZING COLD! I know it was freezing because I was there a few days later, freezing my skinny butt off in the mountains to deliver blankets, baby food and warm winter clothing . . .

. . .  all stuff that was donated by local Turks (almost all of them of Kurdish descent) and all stuff that would NOT have arrived in good time if it were not for your gifts to us which  . . .

totalled US$2,650

More detailed info is in our official Newsletter that just went out to those who support Boaz and and all our projects. We raised $2, 650 and we spent $2,840.

Biggest expense by far was for diesel for our large thirsty truck which did over 2000 miles of travel last week in the country with the most expensive fuel in the European area.

Biggest donation was the generous gift by the W Charitable Foundation, without which I don't think we would have stepped out to help. I will blog more about this soon because NOW money is what is needed immediately after an earthquake and not SOON money or even LATER money. I will tell you exactly how the W Foundation was able to respond so quickly to this crisis and speed their funds to where they were needed before the other Foundations had got up for breakfast. They that snooze, lose.

Other donations (sorry to mention you but I will) by Bill Kinnon, Cindy Blick, Mr Jackson, [update: add Teresa Kwon, John La Grou, Tamsin C]

Thanks also to all the lovely Turkish petrol station owners who gave us free chai (tea) along the way.

Thanks to the Kurdish people of Antalya.

Thanks to our Turkish translator Selchuk who came all the way with us and also navigated.

Selchuk earthquake

Thanks to Priscilla from Germany who flew in the day before to join our team and found herself driving a huge truck across Turkey. I was surprised that her feet touched the pedals. [Hi Priscilla!]

Team earthquake turkey

Thanks to everyone for prayers.

Our little project is now done but if you wanted to give to the Turkish earthquake relief and rebuilding effort and do so through the Turkish churches, then I suggest contacting these people and request bank transfer details:

Churches Van Coordination Centre

Tel: +90(232) 445 69 92 GSM: +90 (536) 335 93 49



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Vintage Theoblogians

Have you been blogging continuously on religion for over ten years? Fantastic. You are a vintage theoblogian and you deserve something nice . . .  like a badge for your blog.

I made up a quick one at the suggestion of some vintage theoblogians here but I would like to increase the list and have people like you recognized also. Here's the badge in125 pixels. More details soon on having it point here.

Vintage theoblogian 125


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