Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Things will probably be a little quiet here for a few days/weeks for holidays although Summer Camp may be a reason to post!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's All in the Name

I often marvel at the 'make it up as you go along' spelling of US sport stars names... often phonetic or as if people had no idea... but tonight I heard third hand about a couple of kids from the local maternity ward....

DXJ and La_a ??? Any takers?

That's DJ [the X is silent] and La dash a!!

Two different families! Great stuff!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Congrats card

I've heard this skit on a vinyl LP but I did enjoy the message of the card I received from work!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Shot of Publicity for Toyota

This dreadful advert will get Toyota all the publicity they could hope for in the next week... some of it will be 'bad' publicity though... at the risk of contributing, here's the advert causing all the hassles!!

Continued Ordination Visuals

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Ordination" 12.12.09

Here's an outline of what we collaborated on today for my Ordination. It was a cooperative effort between the Presbytery and a range of people I was able to ask to be involved... a lot of permission was sought and given [unlike the restrictive and paranoid reworking that is the Ordination Service provided by the Assembly Worship Working Group 2009 version... more on that another day]

The space was set with [4] corners, a centre table focus and three visual screens around the space
Theme: Michael Leunig's "How to Get There"

"Go to the End of the Path Until You Get to the Gate"
Opening Audio-visual "Viva La Vida" Coldplay [new version] with a range of images themed to the song and around the notion of call, vocation and journey... during which the 'worship leaders' and members of Presbytery came in with sticks and cloth carry bags of the elements of worship for the centre table... each was unwrapped and the elements set out...

Welcome and Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners [the Awabakal people] [Nerida]

Presentation of the Ordinand [Felicity]
Narration of Steps to this point [Gwen]

Communal Song "Here I Am Lord" Dan Schutte
which I can never sing thru as it associates with a range of past experiences and deep emotions

"Go through the gate and head towards the horizon"

Charge [Chris]

Prayer [Felicity]
After the opening lines we planned a few people to bring stones from the table and place them in the previously filled baptismal font... while my previously blogged about 'ballet' video played as background... while there was a minor glitch...


"Keep Going Towards the Horizon"

Micah 6: 6-8 [Maz]

"Sit Down and Have a Rest Every Now and Then"

Clip from 'Batman Begins'.... where are you? and story about the congregational prayer calling for God to speak as a sheep had entered the rural church and sounded 'baa baa baa' reflecting on how we hear God?

Rob reflects on 'Who Do You Say That I Am?'
Where I spoke about what a week it had been and who might be most surprised to be here today for THIS....
I talked about Jesus as the one who saw us for who we are and valued us...
That we are called to live out the values of God
AND that whatever step today was, which had begun in the mid 1980s with a surf convo about 'how do you get to be a Youth Worker?'.... it was a continuation, a new standpoint but the same journey... and that my delibartions had been kept honest by the bloke who wasn't there today... Dave Edwards... who would not have been taking this step, shared our humour about this being a 'turn to the darkside' and how Dave would have convinced someone to join our procession in Darth Vader costume...

Prayer and beginning of questions [Felicity]

Who wrote a new version of a Mumford and Sons track, calling it... "Timshel" or 'I Shall/You Shall'
[lyrics and tune next post]

Second Question

Reflecting on Luke 9: 18-24
Nic spoke eleoquently about the 'who do YOU say that I am?' question seeking to convey the plural in the question and the notion that we answer by our actions not just what we'd say...

Third Question

"But keep on going, just keep on going"

We believe in God
Who is never confined to our beliefs
and never held fast in our dwelling places.
Our God is the mystery of the divine and human bound together
Of power and vulnerability
of crucifixion and resurrection.
Our God is the wonder of truth and compassion
Of liberation and responsibility
Of eternal wisdom and costly grace.
We celebrate God.
[Dorothy McRae McMahon]

Question four

Ordination Prayer and Laying On of Hands

Communal Song "Holy Spirit Rain" Michael Earl/Phil Newton

Declaration of Ordination

Spoken Blessing [contemporary Aaronic blessing words]

"Keep on Going As Far As You Can"

Prayers of the People [Rah]
Who has until now been painting in one corner with a canvass on the theme of having newspaper in one hand, Bible in the Other plus iPod and other contextual connections in action...

Presentation of Gifts
UCA Stole [Felicity]
Bible [Jenny]
My own designed Stole kindly made by Karen Mitchell Lambert [Graham]
Pottery Plate and Cup [Chris from Adamstown]



Contemporary sharing fo words between Felicity and Rob in inviting Communion participation
Included singing of 'The Communion Song' from NCYC '99 and performance of 'Aboriginal Lord's Prayer' and 'Kyrie eleison...'

Communal Song "Stories of Hope" [Rob H and Phil N]
Stories of Hope ©2007 R. Hanks P.Newton

A Dmaj7
Stories of faith calling us to explore
A Dmaj7
What matters now is who we might be
Bm Dmaj7
It has to be believed to be seen
Bm D A
God’s story of love who could ask for more

Bm D A
Stories of faith [calling us onwards]
Bm D F#m
Stories of love [our example to follow]
Bm G F E A Dmaj7 A Dmaj7
Stories of hope [showing there is a way]

We can all see what love has done
Jesus stands in solidarity
Actions louder than words making history
The values of God won’t be undone


Dreams come and go around what might be
Hope against hope inspiring all things
We travel along despite our struggles
God’s call comes alive in you and in me

Story of faith [calling us onwards]
Story of love [our example to follow]
Story of hope [showing there is a way]


Plus after the Blessing there was a viral video of "Best of Both Worlds" Midnight Oil and opening comments from Peter Garrett [Waveaid performance]

Videos to follow!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ordination Saturday

If I had any energy I'd blog about some of the creative plans we have for my Ordination on Saturday but there will be a full outline 'sometime' next week!! Essentially I suggested a seemingly unrelated set of elements for a variety of reasosn ans the great bunch of friends/colleagues/practitioners I'm coillaborating with were able to see the common thread of 'journey' that was the one thing I had gleaned...
We are using the Michael Leunig cartoon 'How to Get There' in it's progression, to map the worship journey through Micah 6: 6-8 and Luke's version of the 'who do you say that I am?' story!!
Well, the rest can wait... and then I'm going to write my feedback letter to the Assembly Working Group responsible for the dreadful worship outline provided as the rules and guide for such occasions... it's practically censorship and to my mind these guides are one of the great untouched areas when it's all mission, change, new forms, context and discipleship in other spheres... then we revert to wordy rubbish for our peak moments...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Vale Michael Joyce

I heard this morning that Michael was killed in a car accident while back here in Oz on holidays from the UK!! His friends started a tribute site linked to Facebook so it's the first time I've received such major news online!! Apparently while they were driving in Tassie a truck crossed to the wrong side of the road causing the collision.
Michael was someone who did just make you smile and laugh at the thought of him... a genuine, funny, caring yet restless soul who's journey was special to have been even just a little part of... he will most certainly be missed!! The 'joystick' no doubt has left a hole in the social, pub and 'drag' scene in the UK!!
Michael's mum is in hospital so I will try to find out what's happening!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Year 12 1979

Here's a first pic of many from our Year 12 1979 Dinner on Saturday night celebrating 30 years since we left school... it was great to see some of the old boys and a very appropriate night with minimal fuss, quality pub food and a chance to chat... although I didn't catch everyone...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Looks like they're tightly controlling the embedding of Glee clips on youtube... this is one of my favourite songs and the kids do justice to Cyndi Lauper's original version. You can check it out at the link

'Glee' 2

The Club figure out 'what's important'!

"GLEE" on TEN in Oz

I'm not sure how it works for you but I only have room in the week for a certain number of TV shows... and usually a 7.30pm program doesn't make the list with 2 girls who go to bed after 8pm!! However the little bits of 'Glee' I've caught have been dangerously tempting [I know I know] but their talented and the stories have 'soul'... there's the occasional sitcom moment but they do a pretty good job of capturing the angst and other adolescent emotions while tossing in the odd stunning performance of a song and entertaining along the way. I bet it has a loyal audience and then whole other groups ho 'just don't get it!'
This week it moved to 7.30pm Sunday and I'll be interested to see it's figures vs the average 'Idol' audience... are your young people watching it... are they dealing with relationships, teenage pregnancy, sexuality, self esteem... the ins and outs of competitive creative talent!!

Aussie Politics, ETS and Malcolm Turnbull

Tough choice for Malcolm Turnbull this week if he chose to see it this way... principle and common sense or integrity and some gains vs politics, weasel words and unity of an inherrently divided Party which is yet to fully embrace it's comprehensive defeat last Election.
On Channel Nine this morning Malcolm Turnbull spoke passionately, coherently an honestly about his own outlook and the Party decisions around the Emissions Trading Scheme. He made it clear that despite close decisions, both the Cabinet and Party Room endorsed their work and his leadership. This does mean that at some point Nick Minchin and others finally had enough of holding the line and want to wreck the Party as climate change naysayers who haven't got their way. It must be true that not only would Joe Hockey be seen as a more palatable leader, but he'd have to toe their line, otherwise why change!!

Laurie Oakes tried to put the case that Turnbull would lose on Tuesday and that likely it would be to Joe Hockey... would it not be better if he stood aside for the sake of the party. The counter is of course that this would leave what remains at the whim of those who would take 'no position' on climate change [despite their claims its all about waiting until after Copenhagen] and would lead to decimation at the next election either way!!

Interesting territory for an interview between one persons principle, a pretty straightforward choice on a complex issue and whether politics or a persons real convictions will hold sway!! Ihave always been impressed with what I see and know of Malcolm Turnbull and that was only enhanced by this interview... whatever happens on Tuesday!!
The government on the other hand has done terrible job of explaining the issues to the Australian public and on this and so many other fronts the Rudd Government comes up short on susbstance and very busy with spin and grand gesture!! This is a shame because their agenda is sound and their perspectives are forward thinking... it's just gloss in so many ways however!!

Advent Conspiracy

I came across this video clip at 'Rethinking Youth Ministry' and although it's almost too late for this year YOU may find it useful and could check it out here on Youtube

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Festivities, celebrations and Sport!!

Well, it's going to be a big day today!
The girls are all away in Forster and so I start the day with putting up the outside Christmas Lights [a little early but reflecting how busy we are in coming weekends]!! Maybe there's a lawn mowing in there somewhere, then a walk or swim [gotta love this weather with 38 predicted today] I need to finally add a mark to some essays I've been reading and then probably watch the cricket for the afternoon resting up ahead of my 30 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION!
Yep, the Maitland Boys' High class of 1979 are gathering at Rutherford's Bradford Hotel [Looms Restaurant] with nearly half our group but also lots of former teachers [amazing]... I have to say it's not really my thing but 30 years seemed long enough and we were a reasonably tight bunch with some great sportsmen, thinkers and creative types in the group. I guess I'm keen to see who we've become... if little annoyed that after my healthy year last year I have gone backwards a little... anyhow!!
Then of course comes the final match of the Wallabies depressing but predictable tour of the UK with a Test debut for Kurtley Beale [albeit on the bench and potentially as a winger]... Quade Cooper was in the same schoolboy team and has shown his ability and flair this and last year... Beale has had injury and fitness issues but is a naturally gifted footballer who if he maintain recent gains could just be a significant piece of the Rugby World Cup puzzle for 2011

2009 ARIAs on NINE

The Australian Recording Industry Awards [ARIAs] were held last night and telecast, after a long period of uncertainty, by the Nine Network!! This signalled a return to an 'ordinary' and 'boring' night. 'Empire of the Sun' were big winners as Jessica Mauboy's seven nominations yielded one for Single sales. This means she failed to win support or admiration from the industry alongside most other 'Australian Idol' artists!!
The show failed to repeat the recent and creative approach of teaming artists for impromptu duets or collaborations... with Lisa Mitchell, Kate Miller Heidke and Sarah Blasko coming close through a medley...
Anyhow, there were heap of talented Aussies on show and we should be proud of the ability of best an most creative... the rest mirrored the choice of two soap stars as hosts in Guyton Grantley and Kate Ritchie!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fundraising for a Cause

I know or have seen lots of blokes entering into the spirit of 'Mo-vember' as they grow a moustache during this month to raise funds for prostate cancer research. From time to time I also see and hear about other efforts to raise funds for needs, tragedies, whole countries and natural disasters. I wonder if there's a group of motivated young people or young adults in the Uniting Church somewhere around NSW/ACT who would be interested in a walk, concert or dinner to raise much needed funds for a world, national, regional or local worthy cause... in response to their 'discipleship'?
It might even be able to be linked to some kind of work party or trip where ongoing help is offered in a 'hands on' way as well!!
I'm sure some 'name bands' would be willing to support a country or region or group in need and it might galvanise a group, provide opportunity for action> reflection and faith shaping!!
BUT it's not something the Youth Unit should do in isolation... if you're reading this and think a group you're connected with might be into this in 2010/2011 then comment and let me know!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Row 'M' Seat 30 "Twilight NEW MOON"

Discussion Guide to follow...

Installment 2 of the Twilight film adaptations 'NEW MOON' is an engaging depiction of adolescent angst made all the more real by the secrecy around the world of vampires and werewolves. The setting for this incedulous story allows each character to grapple with growing up, identity, how they interact and effect each other and all the uncertainties, challenges and story shaping action of the average teenagers life.

Watch the film with a cinema comfortably full of schoolgirls [if you can] so you know what's supposed to be funny or poignant, gripping or hilarious!! Perhaps the gratuitous 'shirt removals' are taken less seriously this way!!

Bella struggles as Edward decides she'd be better off if he left. Asking her to promise 'not to do anything reckless' he appears at those tempting moments and creating an incentive to 'push it' in Bella's despair and loneliness.

Jacob is experiencing quite a transformation as the teenage male hormones kick in and he represents the 'what's good for you' choice in love.

NEW MOON explores the world of the vampire, werewolf and the world of a whole peer group of different characters.

Not having read the books I was bored almost to sleep by the DVD of the first film in the 'Twighlight' series. I thought the angst was a little false and the incredulous stuff was too understated to creat the smile humour that lifts these stories to another level.

However in "NEW MOON" by all reports the Director and storytellers have made a much more engaging film.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ordination: A lot of fuss about ?

I've been part of a few interesting dialogues over the the last few months about 'Ordination.' From conversations with Panels, a Formation Intensive, colleagues of varying views, peers, young people, family, acquantances and those with a casual interest.

What does 'ordination' mean? What's different for me? What does this mean?
What are your next steps?
Does this mean free weddings and funerals for family members?

This post will probably be saved as a draft more than once before I post it as I recall different aspects of this and help myself form some thoughts for my 'brief statement of faith' on 12.12.09.

One thing I know is I don't know everything there is to know about what it means to 'be ordained' and I seek permission to be sketchy, to change my mind and to speak only for myself and to take an approach of 'working it out as I go' for the next couple of decades and you can ask me again then!!

Here's what I reckon:
-there isn't any difference between the call to discipleship and the call to ordination, certainly not in terms of power or status, 'seriousness' of your commitment etc
-I think it's important to reflect that it's a call 'to' something not just about 'title'
-in the UCA it's a call to Minister of the Word, or Deacon AND I believe Youth Work [amongst other things]
-ordination doesn't have to be a denial of your baptism, it might just be a choice to live that out in a way the church asks or that makes sense in terms of the time and place you find yourself in or want to be in for the future.
-it's got something to do with time and something to do with place [or standpoint]-Its' got something to do with taking a new standpoint and being 'called' by the church and your own journeying
-It's not a career move but it has implications
-It's continually under examination by the context
-It's problematic in that symbol and tradition both inform us and hold us up e.g the Alb
The alb [in our case the ecumenical alb or long white fairly plain robe] symbolises many things and one is that "it's not about YOU", there's an identification with the ordinary, a recognition in the community at large it represents something of the transcendence of God and the mystery of what the person is 'leading' when they wear it on occasion.

Yet, are some of those things barriers in a time when normal or ordinary dress is so different. Are we in danger of the deity from 'Red Dwarf' TV show or the story of the Friars cat in Chapel [another day perhaps]

-I'm not interested in convincing anyone else they shold be getting ordained. I am interested in listening, encouraging them to explore and helping them ask 'different questions' to the ones giving them the answrs they want to hear
-I'm as surprised I'm being ordained as I am most times someone asks me to offer some form of leadership
-Yet I am as reserved and circumspect about this as I am about what I truly believe about my own intellect, gifts, persona and journey
-I already sense plenty of pressure about 'how I will go in a traditional congregational setting' despite peoples best efforts to envisage a new future for this ancient faith and church of ours
- I'm glad I'm not doing anything different for the first 12 months [most likely] to demonstrate a point
-I wil take seriously the caring question from this last week about what 'preparation' I am undertaking for my Ordination... which in my frame of mind I interpreted as being about organisation... when it was always about identity, time out, relfection, spirtual prepartions. I'm making a plan!
-To those considering or avoiding or questioning ordination I say "......." what do YOU make of it? Rather than everyone or anyone else? What are your questions and how are you seeking the answers? -It's something that in the past I have said 'no' to or 'not now' or 'not in this way' and somehow this time is different? Does it seem like 'selling out', 'domestication?' YET what are your gifts, what do you know you would contribute or do and is there an inkling for you that the questions are prompted in you by more than human interest?
More later perhaps...

[10] Resources to Change the World

Here's a sneak peak of a fun article for our next MESH Magazine... which will also include my previous post. In this case it's a reflection that simple ideas can build on what's actually important in relational ministry and mission...

[10] Resources to Change the World
While resources are important for events, programs or groups, there are some simple ideas which can open up limitless possibilities for ministry and mission with young people. To illustrate the point, here’s [10] resources to change the world. What [10] would you list?
They are a reminder that it’s actually about much simpler notions than entertainment, expensive nights out, continually trying to ramp things up or Bible Study only instead of having some fun!!
Youth ministry is inherently relational but even morseo in the current era it’s about asking ‘who God is calling us to be at this time in this place’ and helping young people engage in ‘mission’ helping others and changing the world. This and mature mentoring, exposure to new ideas and positive affirmation are well on the way to helping young people develop holistic wellbeing.

1. Soccer Ball
 Only the holder of the ball can speak in a group ‘icebreaking’ or discussion circle
 Play endless games of ‘poison ball’ with elimination and non elimination varieties
 [2] or [3] teams can play catch where you can’t run while touching the ball but you’re team scores a point if you can catch 10, 15 or 20 consecutive passes on the full
 Use it as the ‘bone’ for British Bulldog
 Oh yeah, play soccer [football]
 Sign it and give it to the young person leaving the group

2. Length of Rope
 Tug o war
 Tied in a circle, pick it up and move to a circle, the rectangle with eyes closed and others guiding
 Play ‘survivor games’ where last to be holding the rope is winner
 Set ‘initiative’ or group building tasks using the rope, getting over the rope
 ‘Trust exercises’ leading groups with eyes closed
 Sit around the egde in a circle no further than the rope away
 Abseling [and it’s great stories]

3. Ream of A4 Paper and Pens
 Sharing sheets answering Questions
 MySpace Pages
 Quizzes
 Scavenger Hunts
 Faith Questions
 Reflections and writing
 Bible Study Questions
 Feedback Sheets
 Group or Activity Programs
 Database of Group Participants
 Lightning Self Portraits
 Camp Rego Forms

4. Stick of Chalk
 Teams Chalk Chase
 Footpath Graffiti
 Drawing shapes on the floor for musical shapes
 Marking Goals
 Writing rosters on a chalkboard
 Prayer Wall

5. List of ‘Get to Know You’ Questions
 Hundreds of questions can help groups and individuals move from ‘icebreakers’ to deep sharing
 Camps, Discussion Nights, New Members, Re-shaping group, Leadership Team building
 Leaders ‘getting to know’ individual group members better
 It’s not all about physical games

6. Peoples Hats
 Keep the sun off heads
 Share stories, memories or anything about you and that hat
 Hats NO Hats Games
 Bushwalking
 Organise Embroidered Group Hats [especially for trips to wider events]

7. Video Camera, TV and DVD Player
 Films
 Discussion
 Viewing Discipleship Resources
 Video Scavenger Hunt
 Vox Pop Video
 Intergenerational Interviews
 Claymation and Lego worship resources

8. Bible
 Reading
 Discussion
 Creating ‘portable’ faith
 Q and A
 Storytelling
 For use in asking ‘what difference God makes?’
 For holding up as a mirror to explore who we are

9. A Pillow
 For sitting on during long talks
 Name Bop Game
 Only the person holding it speaks
 Camping
 D and M question time

10. A CD/MP3 Player
 Background music
 Music for reflection/discussion
 Worship
 Games soundtracks
 Musical chairs etc
 Party
 Talks
 Young people choose, explain and share a song
 Social Justice anthems
 Reflective worship

Missional Youth Ministry Ideas

Lots of ideas floating around for me this half year about 'mission' and ministry with young people... where my 'working definition' of mission is action we take to help with the hurts and hopes [the fundamental human needs] of those where we live!! It's about contributing to healthy community where we can and stopping negative influences we're known for as well.
My posts will be 'out loud' thinking, undeveloped ideas and glimpses [what's new] as I work through to a paper or a more considered resource.
So your in on the ground floor of my usual process i.e. I usually write any article, paper or resource over and over as new and deeper thoughts crop up... kind of like my minimum three week preaching prep cycle!!

To effectively engage in God's mission in the world where you live and particularly in relation to connections with younger people

To share the 'good news' of God's love and grace with all who'll 'hear it' and some who won't
To share the truth and impact of how God has been active in my life and world while discovering how God has been active in their life and world before I came along
Helping to create a world lived according to the values of God [joining the dance, hoping to get my song in tune with the rythmn of God etc etc]
Taking seriously the communal nature of faith, these goals and life as it is
Helping young people find: identity; meaning; belonging; and faith shaping

Mission Possibilities:
These need to be tested for contextual and cultural relevance wher you are
These are subject to the resources, gifts, collaborations and passions at hand

Background Resources:
Exemplar Youth Ministry Study
Which explores the characteristics of mature Christian faith pointing to shaping tasks, experiences and relationships making that possible
Search Institute Assets/Tools
Any writing by Pete Ward from the UK
"Threshold of the Future" Mike Ridell
"Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling" Andy Crouch
It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture.

Cultural and Contextual driving forces:
Multigenerational activity
Cross Cultural activity
Communion or deep community connections
Affinity or networked interest groups

1. Schools healthy breakfast programs
2. Federal Government School Chaplains Program
3. Joining local community action and social justice groups rather than starting a 'church version'
4. Work parties and social justice action exposures or full on programs including mentoring
5. Balanced programs or groups which include age and context appropriate faith explorations using 21st C resources
6. Conneect with and enact advice from 'Project Green Church'
7. Learn about and support Fairtrade/Fairwear
8. Offer mentors for local school programs
9. Engage in sporting team comps/coaching
10. Support someone running for local Council
11. Homework Centre at the church property
12. Contribute to community centres/drop in centres
13. Run Camps aimed at all young people in your community BUT around AFFINITY with particular activities
14. The HSC: Study Camps; Care Packs; Tutoring; Retreats; Exam volunteers; community venue based worship marking points on the journey
15. Run an Easter or other Camp through an existing community event
16. Regular community BBQ
17. Boys version of a Men's Shed [open to girls also]
18. "Living the Questions" reworked for young people and run on Alpha style with meal
19. No 'one size fits all' children's or youth ministry, rather activities around 'affinity' with links to sensitive faith exploration possibilities in other layers of activity
20. Creative, contemplative and experimental worship experiences [special efforts]

OK, there's 20 to begin with...

Monday, November 16, 2009

POMO Ministry and Mission 'Rites of Passage' etc

After the modernist decades we have a brilliantly 'shaped' church community or institution for it's time BUT the world and society have undergone seismic shifts and we are yet to adjust except in rare cases, emerging initiatives and where the creativity and experimentation of gifted people is encouraged. Don't be fooled... the great shifts in the response of the church and it's shape have always followed societal change and finding ways to 'share the gospel' in the 21st C is no different.

Random Ideas>
  • People won't simply walk through an open church door
  • Schools are the last great gathering place and we need to see and engage in that mission field
  • In the confusion over when a child becomes an adult we can play a role through cross generational interactions/mentoring/'Belonging' or other exploration of faith and belonging etc
  • The HSC is a huge opportunity to build pre> during> and post> encouragement, resources, support and time out
  • Year 6 to 7 is well targeted by resources like 'Priority One'
  • Young people need encouragement towards 'portable faith' or faith practices and spiritual disciplines which aren't reliant on a local faith community connection yet encourage that from time to time
  • Sports programs for boys could connect local male coaches and boys in pratical and effective mentoring
  • Bible Study and discipleship material could name and open up the issue of the blurred 'rites of passage'

Alongside this our 'preaching and teaching' need to access many mediums and rediscover narrative and the connection of stories and Scripture, plus....

  • Ask open questions
  • Explore resources like NOOMA DVDs
  • Encourage 'experiences' not just learning
  • Invite participation of young people in creative planning and leadership
  • Use all the vivid imagery at your disposal
  • Build connections and community
  • Hearing God's word isn't just about 'speaking'
  • Start with story and move to Scripture
  • 'own' and 'ground' your statements e.g. your views are your views and beliefs or theology are often 'the view of the early church' or 'many Christians' or scholars... say so...
  • encourage play, intimacy, immediacy
  • Retell the ancient message for a new age [reframe]
  • Use acceptance of juxtaposition to advantange

More next time...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"This is Who I Am" Vanessa Amorosi

This is an impressively edgy and poignant song from Vanessa that would generate plenty of conversation amongst the young people you are in ministry with...

Post Modern Youth Ministry and 'Rites of Passage'

In teaching this semesters course "Youth, Culture and Mission" we've just done a series of weeks around the contextual and cultural issues for ministry with young people in terms of: evangelism; mission; faith shaping; and rites of passage. This week it's preaching and teaching! I'm still pondering the really practical implications more broadly and also specifically in the 'rites of passage' area...

"One of the recurring themes in postmodern youth ministry circles is the lack of strategic points at which young people are recognized as becoming more than children. The church can be a place of recognition and communal rites of passage for youth."

Markers are external signs of our progress along, in Kierkegaard’s lovely phrase, ‘the stages of life’s way’
David Elkind

This topic is about the way we might help or hinder young people [adolescents] make the transition to adulthood and in the case of the Christian faith this might include the transition to mature Christian faith.

Changes in the child to adult transition
The relatively new concept [100+ years] of youth
‘stretched’ adolescence with part time work, study, living at home, late marriage, 50/50 church v civil ceremony and those simply 'moving in' together
Belonging, Meaning and Identity, Faith Shaping but also ‘recognition’
How do we ‘pass on’ the faith in this context?
Post modern interruptions… is ‘confirmation’ a graduation ceremony?
Spiritual and faith practices to aid the transition [portable faith]
What significant points can/should we mark and celebrate?
Membership and Leadership in a post modern context
1.5 and 2nd gen issues
In terms of ‘mission’, how/what will be meaningful entry points for connecting with young people in your community… what rights of passage could/should the church offer?
Issues around new understandings about sexuality
Divorce Single Parent Families
Year 12
Appropriate discipleship

How do we encourage creativity and imagination?
Can adults value children and young people offering then space, permission and vailidity?
Move from propositional faith to imagination

What are the commonly accepted ‘rites of passage’ in your church? In your family? In the youth sub-culture of the young people you work closely with?
Do you agree with Elkind that there is a lack of markers in our society?
Why? Why not?
If you were to construct a ‘rite of passage’ for the young people you work with, what would the purpose of it be? Who would you involve? What would you do?

"It is no longer possible to effectively present the Gospel in the way it was successfully preached in the first part of the 20th century. Understanding the postmodern worldview is not a luxury for a sociologists. It must be an essential insight for all Christians.”

From Rick Warren at
Post-modern evangelistic methods versus modern methods
Multiple encounters — less single encounters
Listener-centered — less witness-centered
Dialogue — less monologue or ‘telling’
Gospel story — less Gospel presentation
Story then proposition — not proposition then story
Asking good questions — not giving lots of information
Community integration — not individual isolation
Soft — not loud
Consideration — not argument
Guided tours — not ticket sales
More supernatural — less supersales (natural)
More earthly benefits — less eternal benefits
More relational validation — less evidence validation
More percent of time seed planting – less percent of time harvesting

Sharing Christ can be fruitful and rewarding, yet it will be ever adapting to the changing culture. After conducting hundreds of interviews with lost people, it was easy to determine that the cries of the confused are many and varied. The lost people reflect many of the concerns and views of those around them. However, there is a common cry of the confused. It is found in the title of a Styx song, "Show Me the Way."

STUFF to be sharpened before my next post on this:
In addition to the general Warren list...
Faithmaps [] mapping known reference points, not every answer
Story and it's importance
Enquiry not information
Relationship relationship relationship
Affinity and Mission [Oestericher]
Described by Mark Oestricher in "Youth Ministry 3.0" as the 2 focuses of the pomo era [I tend to agree, especially on the praxis value of engaging in 'mission'
People not programs
Celebrations, liturgy, events, community engagement/partnerships cf 'church versions of same'
Respondi and remembering to help young people engage in stories for the first time
catering directly to peoples issues, ages and stages in life
Intergenerational activity and relationships
Discipleship material across the age ranges recognising pilgrimage or journey
Transition focused resources like "P1" for Yr 6 to 7 transition
Camps, retreats, celebrations [not books for attendance/membership]

Youth Ministry 3.0 Mark Oestricher from
The reviwer says....
"We need to develop an ongoing conversation about youth ministry.
Marko's book provides for us a virtual history of youth ministry in the last 50+ years and does so clearly and simply. [in the US]
We need this book."

As you read this post, think about whether or not you agree with his 3-fold scheme.
Maybe you don't agree with it all, but in general. What do you think of his 3.0 proposals?

Here are the characteristics of Youth Ministry 1.0 according to Marko's new book,
"Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We've Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go":

The 50s gave rise to a youth culture and this led to ministries like Youth for Christ and Young Life.The major emphases were on two things:


Youth ministry 1.0 was proclamation-driven.
It was fixated on identity formation and a theme verse would have been Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter through the narrow gate ...".

Youth Ministry 2.0 focused on autonomy (youth culture had confidence now) and discipleship programs and creating a positive peer group. 2.0 was not so much proclamation as program-driven.
A theme verse was Matthew 28:19-20a: make disciples and teach them.

Youth Ministry 3.0, call it a "third way," realizes it cannot meet this generation's needs with a 2.0 set of assumptions and methods. Youth culture has become the dominant culture in our world. And it is powerfully fragmented. It gives rise to the need for affinity groups. He says we need cultural anthropologists with relational passion. The themes are

Communion or affinity

Big idea for Marko: if 1.0 was proclamation-driven and 2.0 was program-driven, 3.0 needs to be not-driven. It wants to be Present. Marko thinks some prototypical Bible verses will be Acts 2:42-46

More to come...

Friday, November 06, 2009

New York Yankees clinch their 27th 'World Series'

As a sports tragic I have followed US baseball since I was in Primary School! There was just something about this game which we saw fleetingly on Wide World of Sports or the occasional network coverage of the finals. From that early age my fascination with New York had begun and thed Yankees were my team. Back then, pre internet, the occasional peer with a relative in the US or very rich parents, would appear on the scene wearing an authentic 'New Era 59 Fifty' cap [not a Parklea Markets or Hong Kong copy].

Then came the sports importers stores like the one at Miranda Fair and I had an adjustable Yankees cap for years until it fell to pieces.
This is a team which played a significant role in peoples recovery from the events of 9/11. They are the 'famous pinstripes' and home to the legend of 'Babe' R.uth

More recently via or the Yankees Clubhouse Store in Manhattan and now on Broadway near Times Square I added an authentic cap then a 'World Series 1998' edition!! We saw them play Atlanta Braves early that season in the Bronx and they later went on to win!! Yesterday Hidecki Matsui batted in 6 runs for the Yankees to win the 'best of seven' grand final 4-2 in the inaugural season of the new Yankees Stadium... high drama!

While the 'World Series' is a grandiose title it has a historic background rather than just being a claim to global status... anyhow...

We do plan on taking our girls back to NY sometime in the next 5 years so I look forward to the twizzlers, crack a jacks and expensive Heineken once more!! Still it's just a game!

Monday, November 02, 2009

"Oh My God" A Peter Rodger Film

One persons exploration across 3 years and 23 countries in search of what God means to people and now it's a movie! You can participate in the conversation here on the website!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

U2 webcast on U2tube last Monday

I break my U2 embargo [until Australian dates are announced] only to acknowledge that this event happened earlier in the week and if you already know how to capture clips from youtube it's all there on their official Youtube Channel, live from the LA Rose Bowl.
I will not be writing about the gig, songlist, the claw, NASA, Desmond Tutu, red zone or the vibe...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Bluesfest" Easter Camp 2010

We've just started to circulate an 'expression of interest' form for the idea of having a young adult focused 'Easter Camp with a difference' by participating and staying over at the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival... with group building, reflections and discussion on 'what's the good news' and 'how does the Easter story make sense in this context...

Mind you, even with a buddy ticket, between Festival and camping it's close to $600 pp plus food!! They have just announced the first late of acts which includes: Crowded House, Jimmy Barnes, Jessica Mauboy, a whole list of old stagers and interesting solo artists from former big name bands... plus the travelling "Rockwiz" doing three shows over the weekend...

My aim is to let Hunter, Sydney North and Kuringgai folk stick with their regional events... and whoever else has a regular activity.... but to offer something for the rest of NSW/ACT if people are keen...

I probably need 4-6 punters keen for it to all go ahead... so when you see the details, let me know... I am seeking subsidy for all participants but that could be $100-250 each...

Check it out here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wallabies v All Blacks in Tokyo [Saturday]

What a few weeks in rugby with all the bluster about the squad, the likely team v The All Blacks etc etc. The leather elbow brigade are well known for self interest, factions and the old fashioned quote that when it comes to team selections, tactics, coaching etc "opinions are like 'backsides'* everyone's got one!"

Over recent years the Spring Tour has been trumpeted as opportunity for change, a chance for the coach to experiment etc etc... Eddie Jones was roundly criticised for not doing so and the result was that despite having to prize the Cup out of our clasped fingers with our last breathe, the Wallabies played sub par in the 2003 Cup and were soundly beaten and then again in 2007!!

Enter Robbie Deans [the messiah according to some] and when he brings on generational change [albeit patiently and having given people opportunity] we are in uproar... what happened to "I'll play anywhere just to get a game!"

Giteau, pull your head in... despite being trumpeted as the next big thing he is a natural inside centre trying to play 5/8th and should accept the obvious!! He reminds me of Ricky Ponting... a legend, a high achiever, but somehow unable to extract that from those around him... Berrick Barnes is a more natural 5/8th and Kurtley Beale could be better than either if given time to develop...

Stirling Mortlock didn't travel to Japan to explore clubs for fun... it's time... let him play for his place and if he's still number #1 for 2011 World Cup good luck to him but he's now injury prone and as such needs to be under the gun... there are others to be trialled and to be mentored by him!!
Anyhow, here endeth my rant... perhaps if we were winning you wouldn't read about the machinations, but don't ever believe that everything is smooth sailing when that happens... these blokes are always in competition for their spots and so be it... it's the nature of the game!!

Finally: message to the coach... keep it up!! But also please gives Hoiles, Beale and Ioane a good run... and let's see if Pocock is the man!! Hopefully Rocky can do an Owen 'melon' Finegan and blossom on this tour as a ball player and skipper!!
Saturday night 7pm EDST in Oz *not the original word used of course!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm probably slow off the mark but this gadget was previewed on tv last week and I could see that cost aside this is yet another potential electronic marvel!!

I'm the sort of reader who finds one book so compelling I can't put it down but then the next 5 or 6 get added to a pile of 'one I'll get back to that' books. Consequently bookshelves at my place are filled with half read but in some cases important learning or stories...

The Amazon KINDLE is basically an electronic book set up to for mass storage including your own pdf files and other information... brilliant and apparently taking the US by storm!! You download books from Amazon.

Then comes the larger DX with deals amongst newspapers [US so far I guess] attempting to replace the daily visit to the newsagent and the black inked hands of the avid reader!!

No doubt Amazon's 300,000 titles will increase and with ability to load 3,500 books it's a lot of reading. So far the screens are seen as small, buttons a little clunky, actual device a little heavy etc etc but no doubt it's the beginning of this or an alternative device being the one book you need in your bag!!

An Upcoming Event

There's probably much more to write about the fact that having entered into a 'flexible discernment process' within the Uniting Church for those already 'specified' as Youth Workers... it has just been agreed that I be ordained a 'Minister of the Word'!!

Therefore 12.12.09 is the day and YOU are invited... hope YOU can make it!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Award

Fascinating response in the US and beyond to the announcement of Barack Obama as recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize!!
In one way it shows what a poor year it's been for peace... and yet his tour of muslim countries, scale back in Iraq, efforts in the middle east and call for no nukes are somewhat remarkable. I wonder if the reaction is a lack of belief in the aspirations or just the short time and the sense it's a little premature! Perhaps the same is true of Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe who would have also been a worthy winner!
Perhaps the whole scenario relates to Nobel himself, who on realising the destructive potential of his invention 'dynamite' did not want to be remembered for it's violent uses but rather wanted a legacy rewarding science, advance, peace, thought etc...

Friday, October 09, 2009

"Sound Relief" DVD Out Today

The selected highlights [4 disc 9 hour] from the Melbourne and Sydney Sound Relief bushfire benefit concerts held earlier this year!! Money from the DVD sale goes to the Red Cross and they are an affordable $35 AU!!

It happened to coincide with the delivery and installation at my place of a new TV [pennies from Kevin] and I can say the footage and sound are great!! "Oiillls! Oiillls!"
Check it out here at Liberation Records

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"All of the Dreamers" Powderfinger

It does look like 'The Finger' had fun in home town Brisbane making the clip for their single from the upcoming album "Gold Ring' [due out Nov 13th]

BDO tix go onsale tomorrow and they're playing!! 22 January in Sydney

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tck Tck Tck Climate Change

The Oils reworked 'Beds are Burning' clip is now ready to raise awareness ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit later this year!! Check out more about the campaign here

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NZ PM on Letterman last week

Welcome to my first pumphouse post from my new MacBook Pro... fittingly the NZ PM doing the Top Ten on Letterman's Late Show last week!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Worship Unplugged #62 'Plan Be' at Salt Factory






This Tuesday night 22nd from 7pm to 9pm at 'The Dockyards' cafe at Newcastle's Honeysuckle Wharf we'll be sharing a meal and our reflections on pictures related to the Beatitudes and specifically the single words related to them through Dave Andrews simple but brilliant 'Plan Be'.

Above are 'some' of the pictures and you can check out the book and all related resources here and Salt Factory is here

The rest of our time will be discussing dates and plans for the rest of the year!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

U2 Embargo: Only Annoucements about a Tour

Stay tuned in the next few days for an announcement about extra U2 Tour Plans [with rumours active about Israel, South America, Oz in March - May 2010 etc] and keen observers will have noted a short return season of U23D at Sydney's IMAX with details here.
Check out here for band announcements!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Beds are Burning" for Climate Change

So it seems you'll soon be able to download a version of the celebrity recorded and re-worded version of the 'Oils' "Beds are Burning" reworded for climate change and explored at least on the Tck Tck Tck website and/or MySpace here!! I look forward to hearing and seeing how it helps a vital campaign in the lead up to Copenhagen!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Row 'M' Seat 30 "As It Is In Heaven"

I have had some space this week to write some resources I've been meaning to catch up on... including this discussion guide and resource for the great Swedish film "As It Is In Heaven."
The film operates on lots of levels and is only enriched by the direct messages for those engaged in 'church' community!!
A pdf will be downloadable soon from the Youth Unit website here but is here for saving as a gif file!!

I look fwd to a group discussion again this coming week with colleagues at the 'Formation Intensive' at Nth Parramatta!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9th September 2009

Bar Beach, Newcastle, NSW Australia
Here's a photo of my second favourite place in the world at 9.09am on 09.09.09!!

And I was just thinking that this time last year I was in my favourite place, New York City, spending four days exploring work, fun and sport!! In the 1970's they exported sand from this stretch of the beach between Bar and Merewether to improve the eroded Hawaiian beaches!! The far end is the home 'break' and still residence of four times world surfing champ Mark Richards!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

'Salt Factory' 22nd September 2009

My 'experimental' group gathering called 'Salt factory' has gathering number two coming up as per the jpeg included here and details of 'Salt factory' are here!!

Young Adults who are interested are welcome to join in/check it out... etc

Sunday, September 06, 2009

"Water" Themed Worship this week

Did some work this week on a 'water' themed worship or really 'living water' and used some things from recent ocassions but put them together in specific ways to be the happening that followed a 'workshop with the key group from East Maitland Uniting Contemporary Worship.

Pre worship live clip of "Ocean" John Butler Trio [youtube]
Four Voices Call asking for volunteers on the spot

This is our worship
This is not a concert, a film or a play,
We set aside time to ‘be’ and to ‘know’

What difference does God make?
How will we be the people of God in this place?
In all places?

What do we celebrate? What do we lament?
How is the metaphor of ‘water’ meaningful for us?
God make yourself known to us

We own up to being less than we can be,
We accept the promise of God to forgive us,
May we live as forgiven people, with grace and freedom to share
God be with us in our time together...

Then introduced my Photostory 3 reflection on "Magnificent" U2

Having already used a 'confession' or 'owning up and being forgiven' word, we added reflection time with tracing or pouring in a tub of water while listening to "Wash Me Clean" Bernard Fanning

The Band led Communal Singing

Read part of "Previously" storybook as a reminder that we all have a 'previously' or a story of what went before...

"Woman at the Well" video from youtube and the Twist DVD
[5]questions.... who is this woman? what else strikes you? what did jesus mean? who else is this woman? how should we respond?

John 4: 7-15 read in [3] parts


[9] Stations

[a] Words on Cards, to react/reflect on
[b] “Previously” to read
[c] “Water” doco/”Water” Blue King Brown clip AV write ‘post-it-note” prayer youtube
[d] Magnetic Poetry
[e] “NOOMA” DVD 'Today' looped
[f] Bible Passage on paper/further reflection Qs
[g] ‘Who is this Woman ?’ picture reflection
[h] “Pasha Bulker” Bob Evans looped with lyrics on paper
[i] Leunig Prayer OFFERING


Give us a blank piece of paper God
On it we will write our hopes and our questions.

Shape us, guide us, through distractions, poor choices
and our own agenda
Help us find meaning in your story and make it our own through your Spirit

Send us out to share our humanity, ourselves
Help us be sources of ‘life giving’ water in Jesus example

Help us a create a new and different story,
So we move ourselves and others from “quietly screamed desperation”
To a different place.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"Mac-over" here we come...

For a while we've had plans at work to update my laptop. While some wierd audio-visual issues had been resolved there were still some hassles and the more I tested out creative stuff the more the limits have been obvious... my DEll is to become a second AV laptop and for use around the Unit in various more straight forward projects!!

Because we are well resourced for equipment and given permission to have the tools we need to do our tasks.... much appreciated John and Sally!! I am able to venture into the 'light' and start using a Mac!!

As I said on facebook... now for the shaved head, 30kg weightloss, Dr Martens, black framed glasses, Howies jumper etc etc... the 'Mac-over'!!

Now come the endless questions for colleagues, hackers, and officianados!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

'Wattle Day' in Australia

Typical of my preferred forms of transport and activity [e.g. I love walking but that means urban footpaths and even the pathway adjacent to the beach from Merewether via Bar Beach to town] I know it's 'Wattle Day' because today and for the last few weeks the wattle deliberately planted alongside the F3 Freeway are in full bloom!! They are a blatant attempt to make the regrowth look native and special... it works!!
The weather is unseasonally warm but I hope it continues!!

In celebration of all such things Australian I add the following from the Monty Python team

This sketch is the origin of the 'sprig of wattle' chant still used by the Aussie cricket team after a victory and led by an annointed team member. It was the source of the choker hold by Simon Katich on Michael Clarke after Clarke reportedly requested an early rendition so as to join Lara Bingle and family for dinner.
What the heck does that have to do with 'Wattle Day'...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rugby Finals Time

From time to time here I share a photo as a way of telling part of my story so random readers [all four of you] learn something you may or may not know about this writer and maybe even why stuff gets written here!

It's the end of August and here in Newcastle, Australia it's local rugby union finals time!
I'm in reflective mood and missing playing...
That in the past meant:
  • warming but fickle weather
  • if you're not fit now it's too late
  • magpie attacks when you are out doing extra km's of training
  • Friday salad bar lunch at Sizzler when it existed here and pasta dinner
  • my club and team all still in training
  • contributing something to about 12 Premierships in 20+ seasons
  • my entire family and social schedule is in disarray while we wait to see if we play and if it's Saturday or Sunday on succeeding weekends, then recovery and celebrations!
  • In 2009 all Wanderers senior open men's teams and the women's team have made the semi finals [dare I say, as usual]. A building 1st Grade team are Minor Premiers.

I have seen none of this except vicariously through the newspapers 'every week'. I stopped coaching in 2007 to have some more time for other stuff and because it was still painful not playing. I hope to go back next year [and you never know, World Golden Oldies is in Sydney this time next year!]

I took up rugby at the invitation of Gary White [BHP Time Office] at University when I thought I was going to Rugby League training [until lineout practice]. I discovered under those rules my weakness in one on one tackling was not, because as long as you halted your opponents progress the contest for the ball became 'live'. I loved it but after 2 years hurt my knee and had a season off. Lots of my team mates retired and all my mates from other parts of life were playing for the idiots at Wanderers Club [one O swore I'd never play for after a high tackle split lip and various big noting egotistical opponents.... still my mates couldn't be all wrong could they?

23 or so seasons later, 270+ games, 10 direct and 2 assisted Premierships we owned the Fourth Grade comp... if you wanted to win it you had to take it off us and occasionally that happened. I love rugby... belting people, running, passing, tactics, coaching players, time with the lads, endeavour beyond your own capability but possible in teams. As "Wanderer of the Year" in 1994 I was fortunate enough to Captain Coach my team to a premiership after finishing Minor Premiers as Captain/Coach first time up in 1993 but missing the Grand Final due to some nervous finals and poor decisions on my part.

In the summer of 1993/4 I lost some 15kgs and came back smaller and better but also scored a try in the Grand Final with 15 seconds time left and the nervous conversion kick by Brad put us in front for the first time in the whole game [against University] WIN!! We did the same to them again the next year to the strains of the Uni Club song as Les Sherwood scored in almost the same spot and Peter Harvey banged over the goal, game over!!

The toughest encounters were against Maitland [as many knew I grew up there and gave me hell] and our arch rivals Merewether [we hate the slime!!!!] 1st Grade plays them this coming week in the Qualifying Semi [I feel it my duty to attend and vent my spleen at the green fiends]!!

I have previously blogged about being unfit and on prednisone for food allergies in 2003 when I was hit in a three man tackle and ruptured both my kneecap tendons [surgery, 7 weeks in hospital, 3 months off work etc etc]. I had begun to say I intended to play until I couldn't anymore and pretty much lived up to that... but like anything you enjoy that you lose, I still miss it and 23 years of memories are fond but do not equate to sitting some smart mouth opposition player on his backside on the ground, driving a scrum backwards, hitting a ruck, or running the ball into a 80kg inside centre and leaving tyre tracks up his back as you lay the ball back for someone with skills to score the try!!

Anyhow, go the two blues, and I'll enjoy reading about their endeavours and shouting at idiots in green for a few more Saturdays this year!! There are literally hundreds of characters and anecdotes. Chief among them the Ian Maytom line after a 2nd grade loss to Boolaroo at Boolaroo [nobody in the sheds or the crowd could recall the last one... we played very badly]. In the pained silence Ian suggested it was time for him to "go home, run a hot bath, get out the razor blades, and put on a Tracy Chapman record!" I guess you had to be there but it instantly broke the mood as black humour so often does.

My final story is of Ben Ryan [1st grader with loads of ability but a few issues] who travelled with us to Merriwa for a 5th grade game and while running rings around the opposition, struck up a verbal battle with the granite table on legs who held up the Merriwa scrum... jokes about his mum, inbreeding, playing tips, catch me if you can etc etc... Benny also gave away free kick after free kick and the big bloke kept taking the tap and hitting it up into us 10m away.

I had to tell Benny it was funny, but to stop[ because cranky Frank was belting the daylights out of me every time I had to tackle the steam train...] still, the sight of Benny jogging off to the 'sin bin' for 10 mins in white joggers, for inciting a fight, still giving Frank a mouthful was pretty funny... until he ran into me again!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Mighty Angus Burger from Maccas

Just as I am seriously getting back into my diet, the friendly folks at Maccas introduce two burgers promoting and using prime angus beef, with baps and a home made or gourmet feel!!

The "Mighty" comes without tomato and lettuce so sign me up!! Damn
Of course I look forward to the greenhouse gas offset program for beef production so my burger consumption can be zero impact on climate change!!
Read about it here

What a Week for East Timor

Ten years on from Independence the bike race, concert and ceremonies this week celebrate the world's youngest country. There's between 40-80% unemployment but also slowly improving economics and increased security and policing [since the attempted assasination of Jose Ramos Horta 18 months ago]!!
Australia played it tough with oil and gas contracts early on but hopefully the resource rich little territory can begin to benefit from it's resources and move beyond the pain and disappointment of the world's inaction at the time of the Indonesian invasion in 1975.

Take a sobering moment this week if you catch any of the celebratory footage and get yourself to the cinema to watch "Balibo."
I wasn't quite aware enough in those years [Year 8 but not very worldly aware] of the 5 Aussie journalists and the editor who were killed by the Indonesians as it's supected they had captured footage of the invasion in progress from their Balibo base. The house they shared had a painted Aussie flag on the wall. It was painted by Greg Shackleton who we heard about when he disappeared and were reminded of ocassionally when in later years his wife, Shirley appeared on a weekly kids TV show doing craft and then popped up on other peograms to share the unknown part of her background.
The film is distressing but significant and is a story which must be told. It's framed in the film as part of a young woman's sharing with the 'truth and reconciliation' processes undertaken in East Timor.
Anthony LaPaglia plays ABC correspondent Roger East who is drawn to East Timor by a young Horta and who is determined to explore what happened to the five journo's but ends up in the firing line in the 'Dili massacre.'
There are some very human and very real characters and a touch of humour in this otherwise sad but important story. Make sure that the framing of the film reminds you that while 6 Aussie journos lost their lives, it was part of an intervention where thousands of East Timorese were killed and held under miltary rule from then until 1999.
The whole story is a follow on from the so called Western New Guinea "act of free choice" or vote against independence from 1969 and characterised the miltary rule of Indonesia in various territories of the region. Like the film, these stories need to be told in the interests of truth and reconciliation.
"Act of Free Choice" is the title of a David Bridie album where the mood of the music is all about who we are as societies and countries, our values, how we treat each other and captures the emotions of such history reflectively.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cadbury looks like going Fairtrade with Dairy Milk Chocolate

In a victory for people power it would appear Cadbury's decision to go 'Fairtrade' in the UK will rebound into other markets like Australia and NZ!! There is probably still work to be done on other cocoa based consumption BUT wow!!

When I was in the UK last year I was struck by the number of businesses and church's displaying the fairtrade logo as a seemingly obvious part of their mission. It seemed a really great outward sign to the community that thoughtful people were part of that place.

What a shame I am trying to get serious again about cutbacks, otherwise my annual dairy milk consumption could have saved whole continents let alone countries... perhaps I can still prop up a few villages with fair wages for work.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rob's Wallaby XV vs South Africa this Saturday

Here's who I'd play in the side to take on South Africa in Perth this weekend BUT it might be different v NZ next time around as I think one mistake we make is they require different strengths!!

1. Benn Robinson
2. Stephen Moore [only just]
3. Ben Alexander
4. James Horwill
5. Mark Chisolm
6. Rocky Elsom or Dean Mumm
7. Phil Waugh
8. Richard Brown
9. Patrick Phibbs
10. Kurtley Beale
11. Lachlan Turner
12. Matt Giteau
13. Ryan Cross
14. Drew Mitchell
15. Adam Ashley Cooper

16. Tatafa Polota Nau
17. Matt Dunning
18. David Pocock
19. Will Genia
20. James O Connor

I haven't dropped Al Baxter because of his scrummaging woes because the idiot referees have no idea what they're watching. It's because The other two need to start and Dunning can play both sides of the scrum.

It's time for change and not manufacturing Centres in the absence of Mortlock so I'd bring in Beale for a 'go' but back him for the rest of the series, leave Ashley Cooper at fullback and try Cross who also should be picked for the rest of the series

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Jesus: All About Life"

I note the newspapers are taking the perhaps suitably satirical approach in bringing it's introduction to this Bible Society and ecuemnical partners project... 'Jesus: All About Life." The campaign is built on solid information about how in our wider society many people are skeptical or have had a bad experience of 'church' but that Jesus is perceived very positively.
My struggle is that no matter the media campaign/however clever/with viral video & race cars etc... the journey of Christian faith is so much about 'relationship' and 'community', connections admittedly to the core values and message of Jesus [but you then need to define this]. For those effected by the promotion they will still discover the church as it exists today when they show a crious interest... the same mixed bag of faithful expression, struggling and dying congregations, etc etc... at best the TV spots etc serve to fuel our stereotypes and while some will be motivated into action, others will see it all pass by in a blip and wonder 'when does it start again?'
Or is that just me... ?

Burnside Cafe Eavesdrop!!

Last Friday I was doing some work at the ubiquitous Burnside Cafe opp UTC in North Parramatta!! A cosy little cafe where you're guaranteed to bump into a colleague, a student, a friend and/or one of the extended familiyt members of the hard working tribe who run the establishment.
I was doing admin work in between catch ups and 'could not' seriously 'could not' help overhearing at least the tenor of the conversation amongst a group of six thirtysomething women in the centre of the indoor cafe area.
They were a cross cultural group of differing social background where there was clearly acquantence across the group with some closer friends than others. At one piont they could havebeen indicating they were a Fete taskgroup or canteen mums from a local school or the like.
I was struck by their conversation about former alternative partners and how they came to be in their current relationships, with the ocassional intimate detail or double meaning joke and lots of laughter. There was clear reference to one of the women's recent or at least still acrimonious break up. Keep in mind I was just reading my notes, making a few additions and quite focused on my stuff but you could sense the pain in the sharing.
At one an anecdote about one of the women led to a story of a former hobby of tarot and palm reading, followed by an encouraged reading of each persons palm. She knew some of these woman well and I was tempted to interupt and suggest a neutral example...
As is often the case in my experience, quite randomly the woman with the most recent relationship turmoil was last to be 'read' and tension was in the air as it was the most strained and cautious commentary of the group.
I write about it here because I was fascinated by the topics, vibe and the dynamics of this morning tea. I wondered what I would say given the opportunity of a throwaway line of a sideways look from one of the group just checking their volume in the space.
The group broke up leaving the now slightly strained looking woman and her closest friend from the group who shared about the specifics of the recent hassles. I tuned out but was so aware of just 'pain'... pain shared, pain not yet understood and one person attempting to steel themselves 'not to be walked over' in relation to some joint decisionmaking.
Keeping in mind I was not actually part of the conversation I will continue to reflect on 'what I was really hearing' for some time... sacred moments of group sharing, caring and journeying together!! Some of the women went home with stuff to ponder from their 'reading' and one went home after a long embrace from her friend. I have known something of that lonely need and the places you go when stuff gets hard. Interesting morning!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Interesting Music: New and Not So

And "Breakeven" The Script with disabled embedding code but view able here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

UCA Cross Cultural Youth Praise and Worship

We had a great night on August 15th at Bankstown Uniting with a cross cultural mix of drama, music, dance and reflection around the theme "Living Water: Thirsty Land" taken from our national Assembly theme. Since being asked to deliver the 'reflection' months ago I knew straight away I'd be showing the Twist "Woman at the Well" dramatised performance as an opening clip and asking questions from there. I knew I wanted to speak about being honest about doubts, questions, disappointments and the struggles of being someone on the edge of community... despite the confident, celebratory and somewhat triumphal feel of most 'dance and music' group items at such events!! My other contemporary example [to remind us that in the face of struggles, Jesus greets us with compassion, grace and love... not judgement and condemnation] was Jamal and the teacher Erin Gruewell from the film "Freedom Writers". Erin enters this south LA School a little naively and yet qucikly adapts to the challenge of reaching the so called 'no hopers class'. She invited them to journal and if they placed the journal in the set cupboard she agreed to reda them as recognition she did not 'know their stories' but wanted to. Jamal wrote of feeling invisible in his family with a drunk mum and criminally involved older brother. Erin fronts him about his self assessed 'F' in an assignment and makes it clear "I see you, do you understand me... I see you and you are not failing...." I lifted that clip from a behind the scenes doco rather than the film itself... My point was in our honest moments, in the space between the lyrics of our songs and the moments at home alone, we can be honest BUT will also find a Jesus honest with us... in grace, comapssion and love!! Highlights for me included the mix of groups: Bankstown; West Epping; Sydney Korean; Armenian; Wagga Wagga; Garuda Indonesian; Tamil; Peteli Tongans; and more. One performance struck me for the honesty of the rap about being in church asleep and unsure why you're there, wearing black, looking cool but how it was all a bit false.... very powerful honest statements!
This is drawn from the encounter of 'the woman at the well' whose name we don't know but who engages in spirited conversation in the heat of the day at 'Jacob's Well' and has a theological question to ask. Jesus doesn't name her relationship history as a moral judgement, but simply to begin with honesty and have a deep conversation, not a superficial laugh and moving on...

"Youth Ministers" Rethinking Youth Ministry

Saw this clip on "Rethinking Youth Ministry" that with a few cultural references changed [and a few verses added for all the other stereotypes I could think of] is a bit of a chuckle about this crazy task in which we engage!!
The fun of stereotypes is that there are plenty of examples that just don't fit but it's funny nonetheless!!