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Posts from April 2012

The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington

Update: Watch the news on TV and read May 5 NZ Herald interview.

Original: Some very exciting news. The papers are ablaze this weekend with the announcement that Justin Duckworth has been elected Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. 

"The Anglican Church needs to be ''dusted off'' and it believes a dreadlocked, barefooted priest is the man to do it." Dominion Post

"The 44-year-old . . . said he felt "humbled, privileged, excited - and terrified" to have been chosen as bishop." NZ Herald

"He has dreadlocks, for starters. He’s usually in shorts and bare feet, too. But the voters in the Diocese of Wellington saw past that. They saw instead that he’s been at the cutting edge of Christian ministry “to the last, the lost and the least” in Wellington for 25 years." Wellington Scoop

"The new bishop speaks candidly about his love of marathon-running, mountain-climbing and directing stage musicals – and advises he may soon be recruiting members of the clergy to take part."

 Justin and Jenny founded the Ngatiawa contemporary monastery where they now live and where my family have erected our yurt. You might have already read about the Duckworths on my posts "Prophets of the New Order" and "Covenant Making is Not Always Evil" or from their book, On the Waka Against the Tide, Towards the Kingdom. Justin is also working on his PhD which deals with how monastic orders and radical discipleship movements have enabled the church to renew itself and reemerge as fresh and vital. 

justin duckworth signs offer of bishop of wellington appointment

Justin Duckworth, behind a desk, signing his acceptance of this appointment and hiding his feet at the same time.

Continue reading "The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington" »

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

So yesterday we went through Part One of Duarte's 2Day VisualStory training. There were about 30 of us in the training room at Duarte in Mountain View, sitting at tables, being led through a journey of storytelling ins and outs by our capable and amiable expedition leader named Kevin. Nancy Duarte was there at the beginning to welcome us all.

Resonate book duarte

The basis for this first day of training was the book Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences which I had just bought a few days ago for iPad. They gave us a paper copy of the book but I don't regret having the multi touch version on iPad. The advantage of the iPad version, which was created with iBooks Author, is that it has all the videos from the training at the touch of a button as well as diagrams that enlarge and quizzes at the end of each chapter. 

The training was really helpful. We were writing up the essence of our presentation on post it notes and sticking them on our story board. And with advice from our tables, we were changing them, refining them, shuffling them around, adding stories and sharpening the structure. Looking at the basis of my presentation when I started the day, its pretty obvious that it now has direction and a structure that makes sense. Still a lot of work to do on it, but I have some good tools and ideas now.

Today is the second part of the training which is focused more on the presentation and not so much on beating our stories into submission. They are giving us the book Slide:ology to accompany the training. Cant wait!

Freebie: At yesterday's training we examined great speeches and why they worked. Nancy Duarte spoke on How Great Speeches are Structured recently at TEDx. Have a listen.

Some thoughts:

I was reminded of Hillman Curtis's approach to refining a story. Hillman's books were very influential to me in my digital storytelling days. I just found out that Hillman passed away last week at age 51. We had a little correspondence - see my post Hillman Curtis and me. Praying peace for the Curtis family.

I also thought of Haddon Robinson who taught Denver Seminary students to preach using the structured tension points of a typical television episode.

VisualStory training at Duarte

I am wasting a few hours at Sydney airport before boarding a plane a plane for San Francisco. I just downloaded Nancy Duarte's book Resonate which some are saying is the first interactive business book created for iPad using iBooks Author - something that I am keen to do also one day. 

Oopppps! Forgot to bring earphones!!

I haven't read Nancy's earlier book Slide:ology BUT I am taking Duarte's VisualStory training next week in California and the book will be a good primer. I am also curious to see how the Duarte team, famous for tweaking TED powerpoint presentations,  have fudged the pixels around for the iPad. 

You might ask why am I enduring a 2 day training in story presentation when I am ALREADY such a KICK-ASS, Powerpoint Demolisher!!!

1. Well, actually, I am NOT really a kick-ass Powerpoint Demolisher, despite what my mother says.


2. The last time I gave a powerpoint presentation, a 20 minute presentation to business and foundation leaders entitled "How to Resource Missional Entrepreneurs without creating charity cases" [Slideshare], I failed royally to connect emphatically and emotionally with my audience and realized afterwards that I needed some help.

3. Wolfgang Fernandez and I, [both of us are taking the training this week] believe we have a story to tell. We managed to hook up in 4 continents last year to research and resource some of the sharpest cutting-edge movements of the global missional enterprise and we feel that there is a better way to change the world, going beyond our current efforts which tend to be wonderfully nostalgic but are rarely sustainable, let alone reproducible. I have tried a few times to share my thoughts on this but it often [but not alwayscomes out negative, or skeptical, or cynical. I need to sharpen my story, streamline my message, figure out what it really is that I am trying to say. And since Wolfgang and I are writing a book together, we both need some help in beating our story into shape.

4. You don't need a good excuse to go to San Francisco.

Anyway, now to read da book and catch da plane.

Fantasy island

Update: Check out my first day at VisualStory

Charles Colson Passes

"There’s much about the emerging movement that I applaud." Charles Colson to Andrew Jones on Tallskinnykiwi.

Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson passed away today. It was good to see so many bloggers and Christian leaders speak well of his life and ministry for a few days before his death. I hope his family shared some of those compliments with him. Best article was "Setting the Captives Free" by Emily Belz on WorldMag.

Colson was a great man and a worthy critic of the emerging church and its dealings with postmodernism. Many of us responded to Colson's critiques which were bold and sharp but not always on target.

One of the posts I had written in 2003 in response to Colson's "The Postmodern Crackup" became a really well-read post, especially for those Princess Bridge fans. In fact, I still read this post to give myself a giggle. 

Page 1

In 2006, I responded to another of Colson's articles, this time called "Emerging Confusion". My response was very tongue in cheek and full of insider jokes - probably meaningless to people who have not read Colson's books, but nevertheless quite fun to write. 

"I just love how Charles Colson keeps bouncing back with more articles on the same thing, each time getting closer and closer. It's a life sentence to habitually write these articles and a true act of loving God. What perseverance! The man is certainly born again." TSK, Colson takes another shot.

It was always a joy to respond to Colson. He had an approachable manner, apparently something that he also carried in the White House. And unlike many EC critics who never turn up to discuss or defend their criticisms, Charles Colson interacted with us, influenced us, and was influenced by us.

Princess bride

I am grateful that Chuck took the time to talk to me in 2008 which helped to smooth out some misunderstandings. I summed up our correspondence this way:

". . . [Colson] wrote an article on postmodernism and I don't think we saw eye to eye. Later on, things came to a head when Colson wrote Soothing Ourselves to Death? and I responded with Reclusing Ourselves to Death? But it sounds like we are all in a happy place now, and its good to see emerging church people quoted in Colson's book." Link

Praying peace for the Colson family.

Respectfully, Andrew Jones


Original Post: Watergate figure Charles Colson is not expected to live much longer. He had a brain surgery operation a few weeks ago and he is not recovering from it. Pray for Chuck!

"There’s much about the emerging movement that I applaud." Charles Colson to Andrew Jones on Tallskinnykiwi interview.

It's true that Chuck and I had a few clashes on the internet regarding the emerging church and postmodernism but these were friendly and congenial learning experiences and I look back on them fondly. It was a privilege to have Charles talk about his book "The Faith" on my blog.

charles colson on born again

Charles Colson leaves a huge legacy with his books, the worldwide Prison Fellowship movement, and what he might most be remembered for, his leadership alongside Richard John Neuhaus  to produce the groundbreaking document called“Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.”

Chuck, you did well, you rocked the world, you kicked ass! We applaud you!

DID YOU KNOW . . . that he "Born Again" book cover image of Charles Colson was based on a photo by my friend Spencer Burke?

Anyone have an extra DSLR?

I need a camera. My blog has suffered ever since my camera was stolen [by Christians, no less]  in Cairo last year. I have a little money to buy one. Does anyone in USA want to sell me their old Canon or Nikon DSLR?  Let me know. I will be in San Francisco all next week so you could send it to me.

6a00d8341c5bb353ef0115722797f6970b pi

Yes, I took that photo in Prague of one of my daughters at the train station. Back when I had a camera . . . sob sob!

10 Year anniversary of a Christian communal blog

On April 19, 2002, at exactly 11.23am, I gathered a few of my blogging friends and launched a commununal blog called A Kingdom Space. The tag line was "A global diablog - stories that are bigger than our own." Within a very short time, we were about 40 bloggers telling our stories of what God was doing in our countries. A few bloggers got their first taste of blogging on A Kingdom Space and others were quite new at it.

karen ward blogging

a kingdom space christian blog communal experiment

Here's a list of some AKS bloggers that I copied off the WayBackMachine - not all of these links to their own blogs will work but you will recognize some of the names. To everyone on this list, and to the many others that contributed to A Kingdom Space, we thank you and appreciate your efforts not just for blogging, and for snapshotting the emerging church in your countries at that time, but also for being part of shaping the future of the blogosphere.

If you are feeling nostalgic for the early days of Christian blogging, jump into the first month of A Kingdom Space and have a read.

And if you are a budding blog-historian, tell me if you think A Kingdom Space was the world's first Christian communal blog or if it was preceded by something else that we don't yet know about.

San Francisco next week, but not Seattle

Haight ashbury

I will be in San Francisco for most of next week. I LOVE this city. Three of my children were born here. Working among alt. youth and street kids in the Haight Ashbury was the turning point in our ministry. It will be great to be back. I will be a part of a visual story training event and will also be working on a book with my friend Wolfgang Fernandez. I hope to carve out a morning to connect with mission leaders and experimenters in one of my favorite coffee shops.

I won't have time to be at Inhabit conference in Seattle, unfortunately - it seems like a great conference and I thank the organizers for their invitation. What I like about it is the framework of the parish for ministry instead of the individual church, a focus that allows more scope for community impact and cooperation among churches rather than competition. And some great speakers also. I expect it to be one of the best USA church conferences in 2012.

Our eco-friendly $5000 home

In the past few months, we have turned a storm damaged yurt into an eco-friendly, toxic-free, funky home for our family. Last night my wife and three of our kids officially moved in to the house we created from recycled materials. We slept on our new wood floor, lit a fire in our pot belly stove, ate some pizza and watched a movie before we all fell asleep. This morning I woke up to see sheep sleeping outside our window

Elizabeth cello in the yurt

Our home has cost us NZ$5204 which is US$4,287. The only thing left to do is plumbing the bath and sink to the hot water cylinder and installing a wetback in the pot belly stove. And I need to make some more furniture but that can wait a while.

Still a bit more work to do but our house is very livable and enjoyable. A yurt is a Mongolian style round tent, also called a "Ger". Ours was originally made in NZ by Jaia Yurts and was badly storm-damaged when we bought it from an English lady who was moving back to the UK. Much of the frame was broken, the canvas was water-stained and the round ring that holds it together was smashed. But it was worth salvaging and I managed to find the right wood and replicate the broken pieces.

Building yurt

We got permission from the Ngatiawa community, a Christian contemporary monastery near Wellington, to build a small structure on their land. Its a beautiful green valley surrounded by trees and hills.

Tj in yurt

The biggest expense, apart from the original yurt ($2000), was the floor. When we started, we only had a plastic groundsheet but it was summer and warm enough to get away with it. But the weather eventually changed and the family was flooded out while I was overseas on a trip.

Yurt floor and sheep

As soon as I got home, I started to get the yurt off the ground and I eventually found some nice native timber offcuts, enough to make the floor.

Yurt floor sanding

Having sanded the floor all night long, I was still caffeinated and delirious when the sun came up. I never did get it really smooth because the wood was all different sizes but its a floor nonetheless. And it looks rustic like the rest of the yurt.

While I was busy getting the yurt away from the wet ground, Debbie was created an insulation cushion out of old wool blankets that we are finding in charity shops. It took about 15 blankets to make the ceiling. She filled them with eco-therm insulation which is made from recycled wool. It turned out amazing.

Debbie yurt insulation ceiling

For a complete breakdown of how that $5000 was spent, go to

Finding your inner monk

You are never too young to be a monk.


We have been enjoying this weekend with a bunch of young people (16 - 25) from around New Zealand who are part of the Order of St Stephen (OSS). Nice people. Mostly Anglicans, maybe all of them Anglicans, probably due to the re-launching of this monastic Order a few years ago by Bishop Tom of Wellington and the encouragement of Anglican Youth Ministries. But the Order was originally made up of Presbyterian, Methodist and Anglican youth who wanted to serve their church and their community.

OSS makes an appearance on the Anglicans Online official list of Anglican Religious Orders and they are now on Facebook. They describe themselves this way:

"The Order of Saint Stephen is a network of young adults and their supporters; living out ministry and mission through prayer, community and service, from within the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Related: New book on St Francis of Assisi coming out this month called Francis of Assisi: A New Biography. I saw that Amy Welborn highly recommends it. Can't believe the publishers did not send me a copy to review on my blog. One day I will tell you about my pilgrimage to Assisi but in the meantime you can give me your thoughts on my revamped movie poster for Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

Francis assiss brother sun sister moon