Monday, July 28, 2008

Busy Time

I can't believe how busy I have been in the last few months... well I can I guess because I put all those things in my diary!!

May included:
A Youth Workers Lunch
A Training Day with Turbulence Leaders from Orange
Plus a day in Canberra
SNAK Training Day
Eastwood Congregation Consultation
5 Days in Melbourne with interstate colleagues
A weekend away
A weekend in the Riverina
And the beginnings of work at Blacktown

More congregational conversations
Various Training Sessions with Youthleaders from Blacktown
Winter Camp Training Day
Umina Ettalong Consultation Day
Staff Meeting/s
Fuel ext Mix Training Day
'Vitality of Call Review' for colleague Nicole
Hunter Future Consultation
And a PRC Meeting about my possible transition to 'the Dark Side' as a Minister of the Word

More work at Blacktown
Preparations for the 'Blueprint' for the future of ministry with youth in the UCA in NSW/ACT
A trip to Orange to talk Youth Work
A Discipline Panel discussion
A weekend in Canberra
Winter Camp [speaking once and helping with worship once plus backing up various leaders]
More work on my Transition
Speaking at a Training Day in Melbourne
Celebrating my 47th B'Day
Planning to change the world in a day [tomorrow]
And a few other conversations about how we plan to do just that....

I have five or six posts in my head and [3] Movie discussion guides to write BUT I guess this is my way of saying.... it'll be a little while!! There are a few cretaive worship ideas I've seen and some of my talks/input to distil into a meaningful post...

NEXT comes the excitement of a trip to GREENBELT FESTIVAL and various interesting 'faith communities' in the UK and the USA from August 19th to September 9th... while I am sure I'll miss my girls this is a chance to see and hear about some genuinely exciting and possible new forms of church, to be at a Festival I've harboured hopes of seeing for some 10-15 years!! and then over to New York to check out some other faith communities by way of contrast!!

In my 'storytelling' work I am also planning to take a 'Ground Zero' Walking Tour in Manhattan but to do so with the 'Tribute' group whose Guides were all personally effected by the collapse of the World Trade Centres. Thye had partners of family members who worked in the building, or rushed into it as Firefighters or Police on that surreal day in 2001!!

I will enjoy the rustic and friendly delights of the Westside Y and visit up to four groups including: Journey Church; Origins; Transmission; and St Laurence...

I've had no word on my request for 'Letterman' tix but I may be lucky enough to head to the US Open Tennis in week 2!! I've been to Flushing Meadow in the height of winter so it'll be an amazing contrast.

They are also playing their last season at Yankee Stadium and I didn't do the Tour when we previously went to a game so that's on the list as well.

1. Do yourself a favour and go see 'The Dark Knight' BUT be ready for 2 1/2 hours...
2. Another interesting Aussie film is 'Unfinished Sky' which to me [amongst a range of themes and explorations] asks... what kind of country do we want to be... one like the publican/cop or one like the farmer...
3. Buy a copy of 'Tales from Outer Suburbia' by Shaun Tan
4. Make a 'bucket list'
5. Check out "Little by Little" Oasis on youtube and plan a worship/discussion about the story of Job with an unmade bed as a centre piece/focus in the space... I love the verbal image that "God got up out of the wrong side of the bed" as an explanation for some stuff that happens to us...
6. Give the Beijing Olympics a wide berth
7. Grab a 'WYD' merchandising bargain this week in Hyde Park
8. Try a pair of fleecy lined Crocs... they're toasty warm
9. Ask someone you know 'with a story to tell' to write it on one A4 page as told through a pair of their shoes which fit into the story and contact ne about how you can send me the story and the shoes for an art/worship installation I'm working on...
10. See if you can find out why 'Juan Mann' has not been giving out 'free hugs' in Pitt St Mall for weeks

Friday, July 25, 2008

Speed Thinking

I heard Ken Hudson on radio last week speaking about his creative planning idea called 'speed thinking' as outlined in the book "The Idea Accelerator."
The idea is built on stripping away all the things that stiffle creativity when lots of time is spent in planning. Ken gave a number of listeners 30 secs to write a list of things that would solve a scenario he gave them.... It's not brainstorming because that carries 'the power of the pen' and a few other limitations!!
On ocassion in planning teams I have used a similar approach of 'putting the clock on the group' to bring out the task focus and to remind them that often given 90 mins they still only do the work in the last 5, so just take 5!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Special Police Powers the Latest Publicity Fun for WYD

I think WYD08 shapes as an amazing event and the 'pilgrims' are already thick on the ground anywhere within 2 hours of Sydney!! It all kicks off officially next Tuesday and should be a remarkable celebration of the Christian faith.

In 'secular' Australia with the culture/media clash it's fascinating to watch the media frenzy and by and large negativity which may run like the Olympics and turn around once the Festivities get underway.... only to return to vitriol once the balance sheet becomes partially available!

I do still chuckle at the chosen image for the invitation to Sydney in the official DVD promo... "come to the ends of the earth!!" There's a slightly less generous way of saying that...

However, this post is actually about the ridiculous Police powers granted recently to allow Police to charge people for 'annoying WYD pilgrims' and extends to examples like 'offensive t-shirts.'

Some tried to back peddle and claim these powers already exist and this was just a collection of them to inform the public of their responsibilities. Others cried fowl over civil liberties. I bet the 'Chaser' boys were laughing about a story and decision made possible by their APEC Summit motorcade stunt... and the Catholic Church was quick to point out it had not requested this and respected everyone's right to make their views known, to protest etc!!

Not to be denied, the Aussie sense of humour has come to the fore and groups such as the NoToPope Coalition and merchandiser & t-shirt designers & sellers REMO General Store have gotten onboard with a range of designs specifically aimed at attracting the potential $5500 fine!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Jesus Walks" for World Youth Day 2008

In case you have been living under a rock, the oddly named 'World Youth Day' is about to kick off in Sydney with Pope Benedict expected to 'walk on water' on Sydney Harbour on about Thursday 17th July, Stations of the Cross in the CBD on Friday, Festival day saturday and the Papal Mass at Randwick on Sunday!

There has been heapos of bad press here along the lines of what the government is investing and what inconvenience it will all be... I suspect like the Olympics until the vision of lots of exuberant smiling multi-cultural youth are available for photo op's and afterwards we'll retrun to stories about the 'real costs' and undelivered benefits!!

The program and plans sound brilliant and we have tried to be helpful by finding accomodation and meals for 'pilgrims' cash strapped once they get here...

In the meantime, no doubt inspired by the Nordic fibreglass cows... there will be a "Jesus Walks" art project involving about [33] figurines that will hit the street during the festivities!!

"JESUSWALKS is being staged to coincide with World Youth Day and will see the fibreglass sculptures, each measuring just over 170cm, displayed at key points across Sydney, including Bondi Beach, Cockle Bay, The Domain and North Sydney.

The artistic designs have been created by more than 40 Australian artists who hail from a range of backgrounds - including "Catholics and non-Catholics and Christians and non-Christians of a variety of inclinations".
Some, like Teho Ropeyarn, have drawn on history as the inspiration for their creations, decorating Jesus' traditional robes with colourful designs from the Torres Strait Island culture.
Others have used a range of techniques, including print-making, graffiti and digital media, to translate their ideas on to the body of the Catholic saviour, who is depicted clothed, with arms outstretched.
Director and curator Helena McCarthy said the exhibition aimed to "demonstrate the connections between young people as pilgrims, young people as artists and young people in need".
The exhibition will be open for the duration of World Youth Day, which takes place in Sydney from July 15-20, and at the conclusion the pieces will be auctioned off, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being donated to Father Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets program.
Ms McCarthy said the works attempted to "engage with the idea of faith in the contemporary cultural context".
"I thought it would be a great opportunity for young and emerging artists to have an audience of over 300,000 young people," she said.
"Each artist submitted a proposal outlining their ideas - however abstract - and how they would express them on a fixed, three-dimensional form. The rationale of the of the exhibition is very simple - young talent, young audience, with the proceeds going towards a youth-specific charity." [news limited]

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Hancock" The Anti-Hero

I have been looking forward to this Will Smith film called "Hancock" since the first previews! It seems not a bad pipe opener while we wait for 'The Dark Knight' to see this fun piece about the superhero who really doesn't want to be... rated 'M' and 92 minutes

More once I've seen it!!