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September 2012

Posts from August 2012

Muslim sanctuaries: For Your Eyes Only


"Cinderazahd: For Your Eyes Only" has its world premiere at the Dowse Art Museum next week but men will not be allowed in. The Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria has expressed her wishes that men should not see the unveiled women in her video, a wish that corresponds with her Muslim faith.

Fair enough. I respect that. She is the artist and she can determine the boundaries of her audience at the showing. My wife and two of my daughters will probably attend while I, obviously and with no hard feelings, will stay home.

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The same thing happened when we visited the hamam (public bath) in Chefchouen, Morocco. The women were allowed in and I had to stay out. No bath for me, which was a bummer because we had just been chased over the Rif mountains by drug dealers and we were all in need of a bath. But it was women's day only in the hamam so I can understand their refusal :-)

Chefchouen, where my family enjoyed the hamam,  was once a Muslim holy city that forbade non-Muslims to enter. Until 1920, only three Christians had entered. One of them was Charles Foucauld, who I wrote about recentl, entering the city  disguised as a Jewish trader. Another dressed as a Muslim. The third was an American missionary who was poisoned and never got out to talk about what he saw. Maybe it was the mickey mouse t-shirt and white Nikes that gave him away???? I don't know. Today, the city is a lot more welcoming to non-Muslims and a great place to visit. I can't say the same for the Rif mountains.


Speaking of Muslim holy places, a friend of mine visited Mecca last month for the opening of Ramadan.

"I was actually inside the Grand Mosque, next to the Kaaba, and a loud canon went off – letting the million plus Muslims there know that tomorrow Ramadan would begin. From there, within seconds, the rest of the Muslim world would know.  ”Tomorrow we fast.”  Everyone began congratulating each other – me included.  Then the evening call to pray went off, and we all lined up, facing the Kaaba (right smack in front of us) and we prayed."

Apparently Carl has upset a few Muslims and a whole Sunday potluck full of Christians and so he is asking for some feedback.


- Blog a Koran Day on Sep 11 will be in its third year. Write something and let me know.

- New resource from Pew Research Center: The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity

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Mission among subcultures and the emerging church

Tomorrow I am teaching two sessions on missions at Praxis. The first will be a more practical and interactive look at Luke 10, some church planting movements overseas that are doing well, a few controversial issues related to that. For those that cannot be there, I recommend reading 

11 Practices of a new Jesus movement (Lausanne)

The second session will deal with subcultures and what kinds of ministries have succeeded over the past few decades. Here's some material that I will be referencing. 

Understanding subcultures (Underground Ministries Handbook)

Ten types of emerging church that will no longer upset your grandfather.

Countercultural history of emerging church


I am speaking at Flourish Tonight

It's very short notice but someone could not make their speaking engagement tonight and so I have been invited to speak at Flourish, at the Wellington City Mission. 7pm. There is live music and dessert. I will be showing the same 5 images from 5 countries that I used at an Anglican church last week, but this time we will have more of a mission/social enterprise focused discussion.

Here's one of my images which I took last year at the largest Garbage City in Cairo, Egypt. The story attached to this image, which I will tell again tonight, is here on my blog

 Flourish photo of egypt

Challies and Perriman on the existence of hell

Sunday theological conversation that requires a cup of tea and an armchair: 

Tim Challies kicks off a series on hell. Andrew Perriman responds.  Tim Challies concludes with his final post  and Andrew Perriman gives a  summary response. There might be some more posts in the middle but the book-ends are worth a read. Last year, when the talk revolved around Rob Bell's book, I suggested Perriman had the skinny. The kindle book that emerged from those posts [Heaven and Hell from a Narrative Perspective] is a keeper.

Overhead on non-profits

Summary of study from GreyMatter: New research shows the average American believes it is reasonable for non-profit organizations to spend 23 cents out of every dollar on overhead expenses such as fundraising or administration.  However, 62% believe non-profits typically spend more than is reasonable for overhead, and the average American estimates spending on overhead at 37 cents on the dollar for the typical non-profit organization.  Over a third of Americans believe non-profits typically spend at least half of their money on overhead. More


Evoke 5: Stories of justice and hope

This Sunday I am presenting 5 stories with 5 images from 5 places I have visited recently. The five countries are Egypt, Turkey, China, Morocco and Indonesia. 

Evoke 5 450

These are places of unrest, tragedy, tension, uncertainty, hope and joy. The photos I took at those locations last year may not be National Geographic quality but they evoke in me the emotions I felt when I was there and remind me of my ongoing obligation to remember, to feel, to pray, and when I get the opportunity, to tell the story.

5 stories. 5 minutes each. Evoke 5 will take place this Sunday at 6pm at the Ignition service, Waikanae, August 12.

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Debbie and I were married 25 years ago at First Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton, also known as the "Pizza Hut". We honeymooned at Palm Springs and lived in California for a further six months before moving to Portland, Oregon.

Thanks Debbie for putting up with me for 25 years and being a soulmate and travel mate. We are going out for a special meal tonight. Here's a photo.

Andrew and debbie

You don't have to live like a refugee

Well sometimes you do have to live like a refugee. Especially when you ARE a refugee.

I got an email from Egypt today saying that one of my friends that I met in Cairo last year, who was arrested and beaten very badly shortly before we met will be going through the same treatment again, unless we get him out of the country. We need an immigration lawyer and maybe a place for him to stay overseas. Some people are tough and others are delicate. This young man is not tough. We want him out of there quickly. Can you pray for him?"

Australia is a little far away for my Egyptian friend but Jarrod is raising money for a big house in Perth that will accommodate refugees. See the video and the video update.

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$500 mini-grant to know Your community

Starting a social enterprise? You need to know the community you serve. My friends at Echoing Green want to encourage you to do this by offering $500 for the best strategy. You have until August 8th to submit your idea on how that $500 could make a difference. That's one week. So on your bike and off you go . . . 

How well do you know the people who will be on the receiving end of the good work you want to do? What are their strengths? What do they like about their community? What would they change? And do they want your help in creating that change? Getting to know the people who will benefit from your work is the first step to effective public service, allowing you to challenge your assumptions and transform altruism into high impact, culturally competent work.

Submit an idea before August 8 for how you would spend $500 to better understand and build deeper relationships with members of the community you most want to serve. Rally your friends and colleagues to give your submission a "thumbs up." Echoing Green