Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Worship Ideas

1. Choose photos from this week or months news and print them on A4 translucent paper [from art/craft shop or some newsagents]. Circle and tape the paper and place the cylinder over candles [even advent wreath candles] checking thy won't catch fire and use these images as a focus for prayers of different kinds and especially for the world

2. ABC 702 Radio Listener/Comp Winners versions of Christmas Carols on 2 CDs from the mid 2000s

3. Choose one or more of your favourite songs with a Christmas connection and use it for a reflection with photos from around your country or issues and happenings at this time of year e.g. I would choose 'Peace on Earth' U2

4. Download or use the 'Digital History of the Nativity' here

5. Place newspaper and a Bible on a focus table and comment on their informing of your worship, prayers and lives

6. Ask people to share 'what Christmas means to you' having run out into the streets today to film a vox pop video of just that question and answers from people in your community or even use the heaps of examples you'll find here

7. Advent Conspiracy
It's too late by now but this one could provide sobering reflections for next year by accessing the competition entries for this US initiative here

8. Make paper chain decorations mixing red and green paper or christmas paper with newspaper for a tree in the worship space used for your 'Reverse or Upside Down Christmas' where people bring non perishable food or tagged gifts for children to be given to community charities or known families

9. 'One Word Prayer of Thanks' invites people to call out aloud or think to themselves 'one' word summing up their thankfulness

10. Ask missional questions around the scripture about who/what it calls us to be? how it changes our lives or focus? where Christ is in our community in the light of.... etc

OK, there you go, last minute creators like myself!! Hope that saves you an hour on Christmas Eve!!

Favourite Christmas Song


"Christmas Must Be Tonight" Paul Kelly
Come down to the manger, see the little stranger
Wrapped in swaddling cloths the prince of peace

Wheels start turning, torches start burning
And th old wise men journey from the East

Chorus:
How a little baby boy brings the people so much joy
son of a carpenter, Mary carried the light
This Must be Christmas, must be tonight

A shepherd on a hillside, while over my flock I bide
On a cold winter night a band of angels sing
In a dream I heard a voice, saying "fear not, come rejoice"

Chorus:
How a little baby boy brings the people so much joy
son of a carpenter, Mary carried the light
This Must be Christmas, must be tonight

I saw it with my own eyes, written up in the skies
But why a simple herdsman such as I?
And then it came to pass, he was born at last
Right below the star that shines on high

Chorus:
How a little baby boy brings the people so much joy
son of a carpenter, Mary carried the light
This Must be Christmas, must be tonight

Paul Kelly brings a unique aussie flavour to this track originally from 'The Band' and is found as a B side to the 'Won't You Come Around EP

Happy Christmas One and All!!


Here's my favourite all time Christmas Card image!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

U2 360 Live at ANZ Olympic Stadium Sydney 14th December








"Wow... wow!!" said Bono part way through tonights second Sydney 360 concert which is really hard for me to compare to last night! They were just such different experiences!!
Last night Rah, Andrew, Ros and I [and many familiar faces I saw trooping in to the Stadium] enjoyed the concert from the stands where tonight [or more correctly today] it was Darren and I lining up with GA Standing Arena tickets. I again did some laps at Homebush Aquatic Centre in the middle of the day and met Darren around 3pm to wait in the shade until the line filled out a little. At 5.30pm we speed walked down through the stadium and onto the playing surface, to the right of the 'Claw' stage and around and under the outer circle so we were in the pit between the outer and inner circles with our backs to the rail and able to see the band side on in full view, a matter of metres away... briliant and yet surreal under such a spectacular electronic extravaganza!!

Tonight was different because of:
- different song order and choices
- watching from under the massive screen
- standing as close as I would on a good night at Newcastle Workers
- able to see band members walking the circle behind us so they are basically 1 metre away

Again the 'good news' was front and centre in this show with standards sung full of emotion and those pauses listening to the audience chime in were brief and appreciative rather than a sign the band were sick of repeating the song. Indeed I watched Adam Clayton playing tonight and he was loving it...
'New Years Day' replaced 'I Will Follow' in the running order [in fact I liked the flow of last night better] But 'Love Rescue Me' sung as an old time gospel song was a great companion to 'Amazing Grace.' Bono didn't get as many lyrics mixed up tonight and 'With or Without You' was hauntingly moving.
U2s great gift is to take old songs and reinvent them for current times. Great examples include: Bullet the Blue Sky; Sunday Bloody Sunday; and in New Zealand the offering of 'One Tree Hill' and 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' as lament and a chance to sing out your grief at the Pike River Mine disaster.
'One' has had that focus at this and the last tour, with Desmond Tutu's taped intro and invitation to join the list of those who have tried to make the world a better place.
What I love about a live U2 show is how it connects me with my past stories and experiences and also calls me to act differently in the future. They are inspiring and timely reminders. I thought tonight about the brilliant 'Lovetown' concert in 1989 at he Ent Cent, Zoo TV, PopMart and more... as Bono relived those times and even joked about the night Adam missed a show after drinking too much... I fondly recalled a simpler less busy time...
I know U2 are recording [and working on their 'Spiderman' Broadway musical but I am not at all sure they'll return to Australia... I hope so, but if not 'Wow!!'

Friday, December 17, 2010

U2 360 Live at ANZ Olympic Stadium Sydney 13th December




U2 360 Concert Spoiler Alert!!

"I don't really want to leave!" said Bono as the first of their two nights in Sydney wound down after 11pm!! There's plenty of well scripted banter in a U2 show but this was genuine response to the vibe and a shared sense that it had been a special night!!
After two disappointing nights at the 'Vertigo' stadium shows in 2006, 'The Claw' lived up to all the hype in terms of the audiences view of the band and the quality of the sound [which was almost perfect]!! The best part is that a U2 show is never just a replication of their CDs and the passion, 'edge' and enjoyment of the band were palpable tonight!
From 'Return of the Stingray Guitar' and it's pop synth energy [to get the sound sorted] to 'Beautiful Day' I felt invited, connected and inspired by four blokes enjoying their night. 'I Will Follow' reminded me of times spent in the early 1980's in a mates car [complete with handy drum sticks] listening to 'Boy' and 'War' on a cassette tape with a carload of fans hearing these songs for the first time.
The new sounds of 'Get on Your Boots' with the amazing resolution of the 360 screen showed how good this would be when we got to the 'standards' further into the playlist. 'Magnificent' is one of my favourite of the newer U2 tracks as it speaks of 'call' and Bono's using of his gift [the voice of a tenor just like his dad] to engage in the activity of God in the world.
'What time is it now?' and the theme of time ran through the show as U2 made a simpler invitation this time around, about what kind of world we want it to be and how we have the opportunity to 'have a say' in that through our thoughts and actions...
'Mysterious Ways', 'Elevation' and 'Until the End of the World' continue the journey until 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' brings tears to the eyes.
In the 'middle' of the show Bono mentioned the late Michael Hutchence [former lead singer from INXS] who died not long before their PopMart shows in Sydney but it was weird juxtaposition having just done a 'shout out' to Bob Geldof 'in the house'. 'Stuck in a Moment' [included a 'Do They Know It's Christmas' snippet] and one of my favourite songs 'Bad' [punctuated with 'Need You Tonight' and 'Never Tear Us Apart'] gave way to 'In a Little While' and 'Miss Sarajevo' with the obligatory girl plucked from the audience to be serenaded and dance with Bono while like in many songs the original clip footage played in 360 on the amazing LED screen overhead.
The dominant themes of the last two tours gave way to a celebration of possibilities in making your own meaning: 'City of Blinding Lights', 'Vertigo', 'I'll Go Crazy' [and the remix went off] before 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' became one of my highlights of the night [including the addition of Jay-Z. I had been reminded of the bands show in Auckland just after the recent Pike River Mine disaster and their invitation that at times like those in Ireland when we don't know what to do 'We Sing!!" and I hoped it had helped some people...
It wasn't tired, didn't clash with the contemporary context the way some uses of it have [others have been spot on brilliant] but the song showed passion, anger and mostly determination and it felt like we were just getting started... 'Scarlet' with it's simple refrain of 'rejoice' celebrated the release of Aung San Sui Kyi but reminded us that 2300 political prisoners remain for the crime of 'believing in an Election result' so with a thankyou, U2 played 'Walk On' the best I've heard it while young people brought large paper lanterns to the circle stage and stood, then placed them on the edges for reflection. 'You'll Never Walk Alone' didn't quite seem to fit but the crowd joined in as it had all night when Bono stopped momentarily... It was sometime around here that I commented 'OK, let's go!!' and wasn't disappointed...
The encore allowed the shift to the great footage of 'The Arch' Desmond Tutu imploring us all to be ONE as an intro to another of my favourites. Bono then sang 'Amazing Grace' and while I was lost in listening I noticed a crowd either singing or wondering...
'Where the Streets Have No Name' was the best rendition of my favourite U2 track that I have ever heard live [even better than the 'Lovetown' tour and with man tears streaming down my face I joined in the singing at the risk of all my neighbours experience [not for the first time tonight]. I chuckled at the sms I received in 2006 from a friend who had been driving across the city that night and on spec pulled into Olympic Blvd thinking the traffic will have been altered and everyone will be inside, so that sitting on his car bonnet just outside he heard the strains of this song and texted me because he knew I would appreciate the moment!!
Original footage of Bono onscreen only added to the spectacle as the entire screen and lighting turned traditionally 'red' in reference to the original concert footage at Arizona's Sun Devil Stadium where the Daniel Lanois 'Rattle and Hum' documentary turned from black and white to full colour! Is it time for us to 'make poverty history', to treate others as equals, to change the world? all invoked not in words this time but in the tunes...
'Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me' allowed Bono to show off a cool trapeze red led mic and red led jacket before 'With or Without You' and 'Moment of Surrender' just took off... the sound was just amazing and I commented later [largely due to these moments] that I didn't need to 'go to church' for another year, after that worship experience!! It all left me speechless for a few moments after as we trooped our way down the 'Yankee Stadium' styled cattle ramp exits which clear the stadium so quickly... encouraged to continue a journey of vulnerability, change and transformation!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

U2 360 was an amazing 2 nights in Sydney

In a few days I will have time to download some photos and write about my experience of 2 nights at ANZ Stadium at Homebush in Sydney enjoying the extravaganza that is U2 in 360 degrees!! I spent one night sitting in the 600s and the next standing in between the circular stage and the next ring which forms a runway for the band members to play to all areas of the arena.... In all my years of fandom I have never been only 2 metres from the band as they play!! Anyhow, lots to reflect on and share asap!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

U2 finally here!!


It's been so distractingly busy that my week has snuck up on me!! Last time U2 played Sydney the first night sound was #$%^& and our seats weren't great when it rained despite my contacts!! On the third night I had bought a standing GA ticket which redeemed things a little but as someone 189cm tall I struggled to see over people in front of me which indicated a. a sloping field and b. that the stage was too low!! I enjoyed some moments and some standard tunes BUT on the whole felt like spectator at someone else's experience!! Either that or I was not willing to just let go and enjoy myself without feeling a little self conscious?
I have 'nosebleed' seats for tomorrow night [Monday] and a standing GA ticket for Tuesday... with [3] friends Monday and colleague and friend Darren W on Tuesday so we will be getting in early and attempting to be as close to the stage as possible... something I have always reserved for 'the Oils' and sometimes then not even...
I'm babbling... because of last time I have not got my hopes up... I only expect to hear some of my fav all time U2 tracks, to cry, to laugh, to be transported, to be invited on a journey... and I hope to see four mates enjoying being in a band and stripping back the pompous self indulgence to just 'be' with us in the intimacy of ANZ Stadium [what?]
Come back for the Review!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

North Point Christmas

Linz passed on this video from the contemporary mob who did their own worship satire last year... An iPad, iPhone Christmas Band sounds aweful!!! It's NOT!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Australian Open Golf 2010





Mates Geoff and Graham weren't able to come but at least the rain held off after last years postponement due to high winds and I got to follow both Greg Norman and John Daly half way around the Lakes course in Sydney's East... a welcome distraction from the goings on with our work merger and the pain and sadness being experienced amongst my colleagues!!
Oh and of course NO cameras allowed!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

BOE and BOM Merger Outcomes

For those wondering what happened about the future of the Board I work for and the Youth Unit and my own role at work you can read the plan here
I knew my current role would be winding up by December 2011 and I have a timeline now for exploring new possibilities including at least three of the new roles...

There's good and bad in it, issues dodged and decisions avoided but there are also new possibilities and it's strength is the Team approach... but public social media is not the place for that discourse!! Happy to email and share with anyone wondering!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

U2 Remember the 29 miners in 360 #2


Pretentious, tosser, self absorbed, rockstar, peaked in the 80s... hypocritical yep, yep... and your favourite band sucks too by the way!! I know people are sick of hearing about them but I'm part of a community/organisation/mission which is struggling to have 1% of the authenticity, impact, reach, transcendence, emotion, heart and gatherings around the same values, outlook and faith which is shared by this band... While a top ten single may ellude them despite that aspiration still, theor contextual skills are 2nd to none...
Look beyond the big stage [the usually frustrating huge outdoor venues] the screens and effects and onstage you'll see four schoolmates having a great time playing music which speaks to their ideas, their lives and invites us into a story much bigger than any one of us...
One of the features of U2 is their ability to hold lyrics 'lightly' and to perform well worn tracks from the 1980s until today with different tone and relevance to todays news and life. 'Bullet the Blue Sky' and 'One' are great examples... for a deep and rigorous take on this read Steve Taylor here
After I blogged about their offering to recognise the loss of life at the Pike River Mine I caught the actual clips rather than just media reports...
Notice the genuine unspeakable grief and sharing, notice the lead singer not bouncing around, booting a camera, or drawing attention to himself, rather inviting all to 'just sing.' The band invited people to open their hearts and 'sing out' their experience, lament and sorrow... and the red balloons were a perfect symbol of 'tears running to the sea'...while the names of the miners scrolled down the 360 screen!! No pretention, no tosser, just genuine feeling!!
When I head to Sydney on the 13th and 14th for a nosebleed seats and standing room double header I look forward to an all too rare experience!! As someone with a pretty tough exterior I am ever the person of contrast... stoic or teary, rarely in between!!
While I ponder the dilema of Bono's billions of dollars raised for HIV research and to 'make poverty history' cf the French Riviera lifetsyle and movement of band income offshore to minimise tax in the face of new Irish laws taxing artists, musicians and creatives... I will attempt not to overintellectualise my experiences and just to allow the music I love to work in me for the good of others and the world as I am again inspired to live out the values they espouse, in my own little corner of the planet!!
On your tribute to the NZ miners and attempt to connect in a real way with the mourning nation, well done U2!! On stadium shows, money and all the celebrity hoopla... please come back and do a gig indoors at Homebush or the Ent Cent one day... a space where God truly 'walks through the room!!
In the meantime I return to exploring the current top 40 ARIA chart for tracks to use at NCYC in January... Pink and Eminem already have a spot!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

U2 Remember the 29 miners in 360

Commenting that when the Irish experience such grief 'we sing' U2 offered up 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'One Tree Hill' [a rare track inspired by the death in a motorcycle accident of Steve, Bono's friend and assistant who happened to have been a Maori] at their opening NZ 360 concert... if there's one thing they bring to their songs it's lament and this would have had echoes of the 9/11 names on cloth screens at the Superbowl half time show in 2002!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Cold Cold Change" Midnight Oil

"Cold Cold Change" Midnight Oil 1979
Cold cold change, we were so excited
But you came and went so soon
Cold cold change, we were not invited
We smiled all the while we were taken in

Cold cold change, bringing in the winter
Freezing up the water, closing up the mind
One more danger, gonna have to deal with
One last moment fading all the time

But no lasting change, well we were turned around
We jumped in the air to see over the wall
No master plan, it's a bad design
Significant time in spite of us all

Cold cold change, we were so excited
Waiting on the outside, waiting to begin
Left us all angry and bewildered
Laughing at the way we were taken in

You better lock the door, turn it off (the light)
We'll leave the nights alone, better keep me hoping
That the change is over, the ice is gone
And when the weather's warmer you can hear me shouting yeah
(hirst/moginie)

This song was released in my final year at High School when I thought the 'the Oils' were that endless noise my surfie mates listened to... then came '10,9,8....1'!! Amazing!

This clip was the JJJ Youth Refuge fundraiser at Wanda Beach!!

The era is different yet some of the themes still describe the interesting times in which we live!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Greymouth Miners Lost


It appears a second and larger explosion in the NZ coal mine where 29 miners have been trapped for 5 days has led mine officials and Police to feel that nobody could have survived the blast!!
In the wake of 'successful' rescues across the world and the frustration of families and rescue workers that gases in the mine shafts prevented any action... this must be devastating news!!
I was fascinated on the weekend with our News Ltd tabloid 'Daily Telelgraph' inviting people to 'Pray for Them' on its front page and have listened to the coverage over several days as people have wrestled with this tense situation...
My prayers are for the families whose anger will exacerbate the pain of their experience and that they would know these are not things God does or allows but things God stands with us in and seeks to help us through... I hope the community surrounds these families and helps them make space, deal with their loss and move on as they are able!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Change, Budgets and the Future!!

Some regular skimmers of my musings may be interested to know:

In our Uniting Church NSW/ACT Synod there have been months of discussion around merging our Boards of Mission and Education due to two factors 1. the need to trim our bidget by some 13% plus and 2. the fact both Boards forecast this over 2 years ago and the decisionmaking bodies who heard, took that as information they could do nothing about rather than facing the questions and plotting a more holistic answer to the question of how we find our missional reinvention through ministry and consultancy which will never generate it's own budget... the final motive is that in this continuing challenge, other ideas have been tried, and if we change [and demonstrate being able to let go of precious stuff] then other thinmgs may change!!
On the coming weekend a Combined Boards Working Group will present the chosen of three canvassed options for the future shape of the new Board and then on Monday 29th we have a meeting to be told of the outcomes!!
My role was reviewed recently and it was a very positive review [much better and more affirming than I expected] but of course the best offer was to the end of 2011 in the wake of the merger [fair enough]!!
I should make it clear I have and will spend months thinking and praying about my future direction and wait for what options emerge and what things wise people invite me to consider... including what creative and suited options might emerge from this weekend [certainly don't want to burn my bridges there]!!
But because I'm sharing out loud and about this topic I have to say I wish we'd had our meeting this week as scheduled so as to be told what was going to be presented and recommended, with a follow up on the ouctomes. I believe we are mature and invested enough to gain from knowing what was put forward and then how that decionmaking body dealt with the suggestions and what emerged... we have been asked and facilitated in sharing our ideas, concerns and suggestions... very much so... but what has been missing is any feedback loop sharing 'here's what we've heard' from your various papers, ideas and discussions... anyhow too late now!!
So if you're of a mind there are tens of people waiting to hear on Monday whether their role changes, disappears or is available for them to reapply given some change of focus, staff numbers or emphasis... all of which are possible and likely in a mix of changes... a few of us plan a quiet lunch and beverage afterwards to commiserate... I say that because any reduction in what these two Boards have been offering, based on funding squeezes, is a huge waste of past work, gifts and team.
It's unhelpful for me to speculate about likley scenarios but on the whole I feel deflated, pessimistic and disempowered about the future for a dedicated Youth Unit!!
Anyhow, hopefully if it simply isn't a good idea the decionmakers 'knock it back' and ask for different work to be done rather than making some noise and a few harmless edits!!
The tricky thing for me is that I believe we need 'change' motivated by our missional imperative but robust up against the funding problem and I have interest in some areas of what could be future work [yet might not be]... and while ministry with young people remains a huge challenge I accept that it needs the co-operation of all ages, needs to engage public spaces and is about experiments and trials which don't seem to be the culture we'll build!!
Partly I want to delete this post and start again BUT essentially I am inviting all comers to take me on over ideas, to pray for my colleagues and to think again about what it would look like to focus on growing people of faith...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rev.


Colleagues put me on to this brilliant BBC TV series of an initial six episodes of Rev.
It's about a newly appointed country Minister and his inner city London congregation. It's pathos, irony and humour are sharp and gritty as the leader in this small congregation attempts to navigate the 'missio dei' [or God's activity in the world] around him! Bring on the second series...
The minister, Adam Small Bone, confronts a struggling congregation in a post modern society, the demanding Arch Deacon and my favourite episodes are a. when a neighbouring evangelical congregation 'borrow' the church for Sunday worship and smoothies and when Adam has self doubt after a mystery sermon review in the newspaper... there are two great expository scenes in those episodes... one about Adam's thoughts on what worship is and how he views the Bible and the second about who are his friends c.f. those he ministers to...
Comparisons with the Vicar of Dibley are short sighted... this is more reality than farce while both have something important to say... or is that just me!!

Catch explantions and previews here

Macbook Fun!!

Well, as they say 'back up your computer!'
So I had a 1TB My Book at home with everything up to a few months ago on it from my PC and Windows Laptop BUT I had been dithering about what hard drive to buy so I could use it exclusively for the Macbook Pro...
Away working I must have bumped a key so the cursor disappeared and when I clicked the spot I was up to it began to 'think' and 10mins later was still doing that... One forced shutdown later it wouldn't reboot... hard drive issues!!
Turns out the 'geniuses' at Apple replaced several components including the hard drive, only to discover it was a flex cable fault... which means my data has been migrated to the new drive and appears to be OK... I will know when I pick it up tomorrow and run some files!! Phew!!
I will also not leave the Apple Store without aformentioned external drive for backing up the entire machine!!
Normal transmission will soon resume!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Top 100 Aussie Albums

It's a 'no brainer' that Midnight Oil's 'Diesel and Dust' would be number one but also seeing '10 to 1' on the list confirms these critics judgement!!
Check out their task here and keep your eyes out for the book and the CD colelction with one song from each choice... let the fun begin in finding who missed out!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

"Thin Places" and Powderfinger

Other colleagues have written about and designed liturgy around the celtic notion of 'thin places' or places where any space between the sacred and the secular is 'not really there.'
I had been reflecting on this last week and remembering that I don't think there is a gap but rather it's our experience of the world, worship and God. The 'thin places' can be a surprise, are not under our control and are something I try to help people see from our culture and context when they least expect it.
To this end in recent weeks I have been showing people the clip for Powderfinger's "Burn Your Name" with it's location of an asian market festival letting fly 1000s of paper lanterns!! and I've since seen it in the media in various ways and hoped that those at ACOMP, Adamstown Camp and my Presbytery colleagues might have seen that...
So tonight I'm tuned into the ARIA awards [with it's millenial flavoured presentation right across the outdoors of Sydney's Opera House] and what song should Powderfinger play for their final TV performance.... but "Burn Your Name"...
It's about a girl I guess, but could be a 'worship song of confession, redemption, adoration and at least has a mood of vulnerability and honesty!! I sit on my lounge [yet again in tears] wishing we had the connections and langaueg to share faith with that rawness and naturally... a thin place between creativity, God and God's people...
I'm not even describing what I am trying to say very well but it was a gift for me to listen and I hope someone somewhere whose heard me banging on about it in recent weeks was watching and thought 'hey isn't that the song........ wow!!........'
I look for these thin places wherever I am... not just inside church building.... I encourage you to do likewise...

“Burn Your Name”
I was stumbling right by
Like a wreck I came to you
So I staggered through the night
Seeking out your rescue blues
Gonna burn your name right across the sky
So I never forget what the feeling's like x 2
I want every single soul to know
That I love you for what you are
So I sound the bells that praise your precious heart
So tomorrow will arrive
And I burst a broken light
And a spell will hold us back
Shattering like glass
I want every single soul to know
That I love you for what you are
So I sound the bells that praise your precious heart x 2
Burn your name right across the sky
So I never forget what the feeling's like x 4
I want every single soul to know that I love you for what you are
So I sound the bells that praise your precious heart x 2
Gonna burn your name x 2
Universal Music 2009 Powderfinger ‘The Golden Rule’

Friday, November 05, 2010

Bi monthly or so Board Report for November 2010

Byron Bay [East Coast] "Bluesfest" Easter 2011

1st artist announcement for next years 'Bluesfest' has a few reasonable musicians on it....
Bob Dylan
BB King
Michael Franti
Ben Harper
Indigo Girls
Kate Miler Heidke
Elvis Costello
The Cat Empire
Saltwater Band
and my highlight from 2010... episodes of 'Rockwiz' from SBS TV

Keep in mind there will be 2 more major announcements with tens of bands in each one...

This year three of us made it to enjoy the weekend but also to experiment with how you'd do a young adult weekend.... it would be brilliant [if expensive]!! I don't yet know what I'll be doing but we're being 'merged' so nobosy knows the implications of all that yet!!
Fundamentally my point was that to do a young adult weekend and focus on engaging in the world where God was active it made less sense to put on your own event when something so brilliant was available [cost aside!!].
There were plenty of transcendent moments, opportunity for mornings together before heading into the fray and brilliant music besides!!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Row 'M' Seat 30 "The Social Network" rated M


Here's a JPEG image of my 'Resource/Review' for this film which will soon be available for download as a PDF here

Saturday, October 30, 2010

'Culturemaking' Sunday #4


Sunday was similarly time pressured as everyone moved slowly and embraced the 'getaway' part of the weekend... the 3am Scrabblers were a bit dusty!!
I introduced the ABC Radio high rotation response song in the wake of the events of 9/11 as words could not be found to describe much of that time... but were well directed in Jewel's "Life Uncommon"...
Today was about our part and how culturemaking will change us and not just those we engage in God's mission with...
'The Blind Side' was a great story about this...


But we also talked about the uncertainty and what we might need as 'tools' to be culturemakers... where I borrowed [from Dave Male] the image of Wallis and Grommit where they lay down spare railway track one length at a time to catch their protagonist... what wil be our track and how will we proceed one length at a time???

We went off to groups with scarcely enough time to decorate and write on our 'speakerdogs' by way of response... the japanese inspired folded paper creatures you cut and paste with your creativity all over it...

'Culturemaking' Saturday #3

This was our 2-3.30pm time after lunch and after the kids had been swimming... I was too descriptive in talking about the 'graveyard shift' where previously attenders had fedback that a full afternoon off was too long and so this session had been timetabled.... I was not complaining or suggesting we change it...
I was just making sure people knew that I knew it was a tough time to be focused and 'working'!!
We started with a bit of my own story and the stunning U2 360 dvd live at LA's Rose Bowl choosing 'Where the Streets Have No Name' on the big screen and loud!! to get into a communal and shared story vibe, exploring the meaning behind the song [or the two oft quoted alternative stories]
We asked what we would do if 'we ruled the world?' we reflected on 'communities' of culture-makers' using a movie show clip about the film 'As It Is In Heaven' and we went off to groups to create 'junk sculptures depicting a world lived according to the values of God!!

U2 was a little like this... and I talked about th struggle with them as culturemakers between the tremendous work for 'Make Poverty History' and their own lifestyles and choices around tax, th french riviera etc... an ongoing bettle for us all too

'Culturemaking' Saturday #2


Coming back to the whole group we needed a fun start so we watched someone who takes their 'culturemaking' seriously in the Cadbury scientist...
Next we played the well known dramatised performance 'Woman at the Well' without that intro as I asked 'who is this woman?' and the group responded with a range of insightful and important characterisations while also 'getting' the context...
There were other plans but we reflected on the story of this and other people whom Jesus met and how we are invited to be 'counter culture - makers'...

I introduced Rob Bell's NOOMA DVD 'Rythm' 11 mins about the metaphor of God as a tune/orchestra/song and all that image allows us to reflect on in joining it... journey motif!!
We 'wondered' and I encouraged groups to wonder about some of those biblical characters Jesus met and themselves with a contemporary photo and a blank page... then to work as groups...

'Culturemaking' Saturday Last Week

At Adamstown Camp we spent a number of sessions on Saturday and I knew we'd need to be tactile, creative, succinct and engaging [try to anyhow] While I now know where I'd add stuff to engage kids as well as young people I didn't quite nail that... but close!!


- Kicked off with the clip of "Burn Your Name" Powderfinger
- As per previous posts I introduced this as a 'missional' clip and a stunning song of what worship could be and must be...
- I shared about my encounters and the story of Juan Mann and his example to us as 'culturemakers'
- I invited the group to understand culture using Andy Crouch' definition of 'what we make of the world' and juxtasposed that with Kester Brewin's writing about the 'greatest commandment' as an urging to 'love self, God and neighbour' and to think about those as "Other" the title of Brewin's book being "Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures"
i.e. what do we make of the world when we focus on concern and action for the 'Other'?

I ran out of time to show 'Missional Church Simple' as we were sent off to groups to make a COLLAGE around how we might make 'culture' by loving self, God and neighbour...

Collage [basically French for glue]!!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Culturemaking" at Adamstown UC Weekend Away

This last weekend I spent a challenging but fun and rewarding weekend with some of the core group families and individuals from my 'home' evening congregation! I was asked months ago to provide input and 'facilitate' the weekend and felt the reading and thinking I'd been doing about 'Culturemaking' would be a good direction... I'd been thinking mostly in terms of change, context and missional congregations so I spent some weeks thinking about how the topic might connect with our stories and connect us with 'the story'!
The plan was for a relaxed/laidback weekend with 'something to take away' and of course it needed to engage a wide age range...

Here's some of what we did [I may add more posts]:

Friday Night
Group Building Time
-Share [1] thing about yourself for every M&M you took, was pretty funny
I introduced the topic of 'culturemaking' based on the book by Andy Crouch and shared about culture as "what we make of the world" and Alan Hirsch' definitiona of what it means to be missional as 'a community of God's people that defines itself, and organises it's life around, it's real purpose of being an agent of God's mission to the world' which is close to as simple and clear as I'd like... I'd use 'in' or 'within' instead of 'to' and take may chances in talking about Paul's writing
We watched a scene from 'Cars' as a reminder of the context in which contemporary communities of faith find themselves...
video

Saturday and Sunday to follow...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Speak Now' Taylor Swift


My 9 year old Lucy can't wait for the release of Taylor Swift's new album on 29th October and I notice today the publicity machines have just cranked up the story of 'Dear John' as being about Swift and John Mayer who collaborated on some recordings and a little more than that by the sounds...
Keep in mind she knows how to sing autobiographically and her music is hugely popular [and is not bad listening compared to some other 9 year old high rotation tracks]... but the whole 'Speak Now' concept is about crashing a wedding uninvited and suggesting the groom meet you at the exit door 'now'!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Youth Ministry in the Uniting Church 2010

Alongside preparations for NCYC [our currently biennial national youth event] at the Gold Coast in Dec/Jan I have begun reading and reflecting on and writing a little about the directions, issues and 'out loud' stuff I think is needed for our ministry with young people in the UCA to grow a better future...

Challenges:
- Our desire to live up to the diversity encouraged in our Basis of Union/identity
- Seeking to be contextual/incarnational
- Different theological and ideological affinities
- lack of resources
- congregations working out of 1950s understandings [maps]
- lack of connection to UCA ethos and ownership amongst many in our 'Youth Worker' network
- the differences between rural and urban settings
- 2nd generation migrant ethnic youth issues

Possibilities:
- the strengths of Collaboration
- 'Reculturing Youth Ministry' dialogue/workshops
- Training opportunities thru CSU/UTC and St Marks
- learnings from the 'fresh expressions' movement in the UK about congregations giving 'space, permission & validity' for things to happen
- the need to galvanise decisionmakers, regional workers and central thinking around values, strategies, models and ideas
- a simple goal like 'working towards a culture of effective youth ministry'
- good understanding of young people and our context/s and culture/s

OK... much more to come!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reflection... Missional?


Here's the reflection I shared this week at the beginning of our 'Advisory Committee on Ministerial Placements' [ACOMP] which attempts to match vacancies for ministry agents with places available according to gifts, mission and timing!! I used a double sided A4 worksheet to hand on any aspects we couldn't cover in the time!!
I suggested that of the hundreds of definitions of what it means to be 'missional' it was worthwhile trying to have a simple understanding that reflects our context... I offered Alan Hirsch' working definition despite some quibbles with it...

Missional... "a community of God's people that defines itself, and organises it's life around, it's real purpose of being an agent of God's mission to [in or with maybe] the world" or as Brother Maynard put it in 2008 "Live your faith. Share your life."
We listened to "Burn Your Name" by Powderfinger as I shared the story of it being a transcendent moment for me in their farewell concert and as an example of the thin line betweeen the secular and sacred and my motivation and hope for the world to be a place where it was natural to use these forms to express your faith...
The worksheet included a map of NSW/ACT and people spoke in 2s and 3s about 'what's happening in this/your place' as we come from all over the state... futher I suggested I have good hearing and would get narky if I heard anyone talking about the church...
I then shared very briefly about the story of Juan Mann of 'Free Hugs' fame in Pitt St Mall and my contact with Juan and our coffee conversation and email exchanges and how inspired a story it is...
Then I had selected a shortlist of some of the shifts we need to make in the current context
  • attractional to incarnational
  • programs to practices/faith shaping
  • worship connecting real life
  • style over substance
  • inerrancy of Bible to how does it give my life meaning
  • Bible holds answers but as ‘mirror’
  • decisions to disciples
  • focus on stories of transformation
  • ask, what story are we telling?
  • where are we located?
  • institution to movement
  • strategic plans to new maps
  • practice the radical inclusion of the Spirit of God
  • New models of leadership.........
  • rediscover the foolishness of the Cross & bits of Bible that can’t be explained
  • God’s story out of which I live the story of my life
  • from how do I prove to how do I live in the light of...
  • propositional truth to experience of God
We then heard Luke 13: 10-17 [the story of the woman 'bent over'] as I reflected on ministry and leadership with lots of young people living as 'bent over' and the priviledged task of trying to help each of us together 'straighten up'!!

I didn't deal with but had listed Luke 13: 18-21 and a set of missional questions modified from a Global Network list...

Missional Questions

How does this text send us and equip us for witnessing to the world?

How does this text share with us good news?

How can this text convert us in personal and corporate life?

How does this text call me to a new way of life?

How does text call me to participate in God’s work in the world?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking News: Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed in November

From the 'I'll believe it when I see it!' department here it's being reported that Suu Kyi will be released in November [albeit after the Election she and her party are not contesting in Burma!!

Alberto Contador tests positive

Wow, this should have been bigger news on my TV sometime today!!
Check it out here... contaminated meat hey!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Reality' TV Stuff Up on Fox 8 for Sarah Murdoch

Somewhere between the verbal cue from the OB van and the autocue Sarah Murdoch announced the wrong winner of the public vote for 'Australia's Next Top Model'!! Conspiracy theorists can forget including Murdoch in their rumours... just an honest mistake I'm afraid!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"What Makes Us Tick" Hugh Mackay


While I usually find Hugh's work insightful I also find it verbose [that's perhaps the pot and kettle] but I'm interested in this book spotted at my third most common source of seeing new books [the aiport]!!
Scanning the contents I think the list is a useful one and so if I can wade past Hugh's stories or examples there's probably some great truths to explore!!
While on this my second best source is the newspapers and the next book I'll have a dash it is Michael Chugg's biography... Michael is one of Oz legendary rock concert promoters whose well known for his onstage profanity in seeking the cooperation of crowds... it's actually a tactic of taking on the 'idiot' tag so the crowd get a laugh, lighten the mood and comply!! My friend Tone talks about a meeting for a cooperative venture with a room full of promoters where Chugg sat glued to his mobile phone screen for an hour but never missed a word of the arrangements despite appearing totally disengaged!! Looking up once to drop the 'f' word and then back to the phone screen, taking calls, texting etc!!
The quotable quote highlighted from the article helps make sense of this complex bloke who says "I'm at my happiest when I see a crowd of 40,000 young people having fun and feeling safe..." Oh and he was almost singlehandedly responsible for the Wave Aid tsunami fundraiser at the SGC, MCG back in 2005!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Art & About Sydney CBD




Art meets public space is something of the theme for Art & About this September/Oct with it's focus on 'Sydney Life'!! Check it out here
I enjoyed a brief glimpse today of some of the themed statues around Macquarie St and outside the QVB!! There's more in Martin place with a ferris wheel made of bicycles and then a sound stage and festivities in Hyde Park!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Volunteering' as an Entry Point for Missional Activity

We recently saw the celebration here in Oz of ten years since the remarkable Sydney Olympics!! This included a bbq and celebration for thousands of the legendary volunteers who 'made' the event and our reputation that year!! I do confess to the running joke about still seeing people in the polo shirt and some certainly looked in mint condition on the news footage of the bbq!!
It reminded me of the enthusiasm aussies have for volunteering and the renewed interest on the part of lots of young adults in 'doing something that counts'!!
I'm imagining not so much that we overload already busy volunteers with more to do but that any local congregation could be a hub for galvanising locals to volunteer for a whole range of community projects, including church programs in a wider matrix of activity and in doing so automatically put the church in direct connection with the community in positive and helpful ways!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NY Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays


Everyone knows I mix my life, sport and youth work observations here at Pumphouse... I am resting this morning doing paperwork and watching NYY v TB on the day they celebrate the life of abrasive owner, the late George Steinbrenner [even Larry David took potshots at George thrugh his characters in Seinfeld]!!
They are playing for top of the table in a four match series an it's at the NEW Yankees Stadium in the Bronx...
Anyhow I've followed them since I was a kid when all we used to see was the Finals, now it's on [3] channels all season!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

'Burn Your Name Across the Sky' Powderfinger

One of 3 or 4 absolute highlights for me from last nights show!! This could be the opening clip for my NCYC venture!!

'Why do you still have faith?' 2


I started my fireside story with the occasion when Jesus was taking 'time out' with his inner circle and enquired... 'who do people say that I?....'who do you say that I am?' I talked about having grown up in the church and always feeling the connection of a relationship with God but being confronted by this question in Year 9 confirmation... having to answer this question in a worship setting... and I was able to speak about what I believed.
I spoke about how I did spend some time away in Year 11/12 and returned to regional activities and friendship groups in 1981 after 'the HSC and a girl' imploded...
This was period of being called on as a leader, discerning a call to full time Youth Worker ministry in a surfing conversation at Forster in about 1984...
At that time I began to be exposed to lots of social justice focus and a vision for a world 'lived according to the values of God' and my place in that... including a significant shaping experience with regular visits to my Bar Beach flat from 'Peter this n That' a rough sleeper who turned up one day to wash windows [we bought hamburgers for breakfast instead] and Peter spend hours at my place watching DVDs while I worked etc etc... through to the sobering day after a clean out that he turned up wearing my clothes out of the bin he'd been sleeping in...
I shared about the challenge to make the 'God' choice and to be Jesus to Peter in the way the transformative stories of Zack, Drew and others play out in the NT... I randomly met Peter this n that in Lambton some years later... clear eyed, in a relationship, living locally and having taken the final option to sort himself out... the army!! Amazing lessons in who Jesus is and calls me to be...
I rounded off by talking about being called to leadership, using my skills, dealing with esteem issues and staying on an even keel and how my contextual gifts, love for music and creativity helped me find evidence of Jesus action in the world and that when I found myself part of that action I saw change and understood that I can still answer the question...
I finished by talking about a picture I have of Bernard Fanning behins an old fashioned queenslander smoked glass window looking in with hands out and that this is an image I draw whenever asked for my picture of 'God'... It's a picture of invitation, of watching, of looking at different parts of life and showing presence... Bernard Fanning is not JC, he just sang about him once or twice...
I ran out of time to add a final punctuation... who do I say Jesus is? as I answer the question of why I still have faith....

Friend, example, transformer, bringer of hope and inspired listener and carer offering unconditional acceptance despite our flaws!! Calling me/us to engage in God's mission of bringing hope/grace and transformation to a world [or my corner of it] in need!! God's Spirit...the 'dangerous and liberating memory and presence of Jesus' is visble to me in people, places, the arts and life everyday... because I choose to look and see and know and feel...

Powderfinger at the Sydney Ent Cent



Wow!
So many years ago I had commented that 'The Finger' could just fill the void of going out to see 'The Oils' live after they'd broken up. I LOVE music and find good loud live music transcendent at it's best!! Bands that sing about something I can relate to... about changing the world... about real emotions from genuine experiences... and/or with aussie rythm and sound are just magic!! Trouble was despite brilliant albums Powderfinger didn't our smaller venues enough, I got busy and we missed tix a few times... so it was brilliant and sad to be at the Ent Cent last night in Sydney [as opposed to the tin shed at home in Newcastle]...
There is a difference for example [for me] between that and Hillsong or bands of that ilk... I can see what they're doing but I personally don't relate to that image of God or pursuit of faith... If that's what works for others then as long as they are critique-ing the 'images portrayed' and shaping a growing discipleship then fine... !!
There was a little bit of audience singing in the classics but not too much... in the bleachers, the mixed age of the crowd meant a brilliant seated experience for all but 2 or 3 songs [sweet] and this night they saved the classic 'These Days' for the final encore. I heard 'The Metre' and a couple of other soulful numbers. There were tracks from 'Double Allergic','Odyssey Number 5','The Internationalist'
It was worth noting so little material from their final two albums and I did miss laughing at the lyric from 'All of the Dreamers'... 'when you come down to the barrio, to get a feel for the people's scenario!'
It was a great night of music enjoyed with friends and I look fwd to the iTunes live recording and the DVD!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

'Why do you still have faith?'

What a great aspect to a four week evening worship cycle!! At Queanbeyan UC last Sunday it was that week where a 'guest' is invited to share with the group gathered around the fire drum outdoors, followed by questions and food!! Actor/comedian Stephen Fry in a recent speech reminded us that cultures from the earliest times shared their stories around the fire or focus/hearth and in doing so passed on what it means to be us... I love the activity...
Tomorrow I'll post what I shared [including the extra 2-3 mins I didn't have time to finish and quite close out the story!!

My World Cup XV for 2011

Just an early start on who makes my side at the moment... I'll update these during the spring tour [even if only I'm reading this...]

1. Benn Robinson
2. Stephen Moore [only just ahead of Faingaa]
3. Ma'afu Salesi [but this spot is up for grabs]
4. Nathan Sharpe
5. James Horwill [currently injured]
6. Rocky Elsom
7. David Pocock
8. Ben Mcalman
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Lachlan Turner [James O'Connor is close but needs not to kick]
12. Berrick Barnes
13. Adam Ashley Cooper
14. Drew Mitchell
15. Kurtley Beale

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And my best ever Sporting Highlight

video
It's only missing the great work of Bruce Mcaveney or ABC radio!!

What a Day September 11 [local time] 2010


I drove to Canberra today and it meant I heard almost all of the ABC radio sport celebration of ten years since Aussies triumph in the Sydney Olympics. What a gift ANC TV and radio are as government funded media... podcasts, iView, innovative programs commercial free!!
We were lucky enough to win tix in the lottery to be there on 25th September when Cathy Freeman won the 400m sprint race... the culmination of a massive career fro Comm Games, through World Championships and finally this pressure filled race...
It was amazing to listen to the reminiscing of Ian Thorpe, the tears from Susie O'Neill as she listened to her 200m freestyle win and reflected that she'd never adequately celebrated it as it overshadowed her missing out in the 200m butterfly [Madame Butterfly remember!!]
Then Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst as they spoke about the mental build up and surrounding themselves with 'gold' for months... there were many more highlights, all covered today!!
Then tonight it's the Rugby Union Wallabies v All Blacks... I made it to a TV but am really tired today... hope I don't fall asleep!! I don't want to miss the Old Boys Rugby Choir whose goal I applaud.... to see the anthem sung 'straight' without harmonies and vocal gymnastics... 10,000 facebook signatures agreeing it was time to do away with Idol runners up and talent school hopefuls doing their best Mariah Carey!! Good one boys!!

Then 12 months after the amazing vibe of the Sydney Olympics came 9/11 in the US and from about 10pm tonight local time most people would be able to recall 'where they were'...

The reflective pool near the twin towers footprint should be ready by next years tenth commemoration!!

More on these things in coming entries and days!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Gruen Transfer Selling Religion

While I was out last night at the movies I knew I'd miss an insightful episode of 'The Gruen Transfer'!! With a segment and some aweful adverts from now and the 1980s they were looking at the selling of religion... which using the "Jesus All About Life" campaign as an example, could be summed up as 'Jesus good but Church bad'.... we might strike a chord but the shopfronts would let us down!!

For OS and other readers the 'Gruen Transfer' is a great ABC TV program from Andrew Denton's creative mind and his production company 'Zapruder's Other Films.' Andrew's work always drips with irony as this program examines the world of marketing and advertising!!
The Gruen Transfer is named after an architect and describes that point at which shoppers begin to respond to the disorienting cues set up within the design of a shopping centre.
Zapruder's film is the silent colour motion footage of JFK being shot. 'It's a wicked sense of humour to be promoting 'Zapruder's Other Films' I guess!!
Anyhow I've no doubt the segment will get a run in some future input I'm able to offer somewhere... about our 'brand'!!


See the whole episode on ABC iView or podcast it in a few weeks!!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

God ability to make of us what God will... the Potter's House

Not sure I'll end up using this on Sunday night so here it is in case others need a clip at the last moment... the focus is on discipleship and the OT reference is Jeremiah and the reflection on what the potter can do in re-throwing a poorly shaped pot compared then to how God might redeem Israel... lending itself to fun with air dry clay, play doh ro at leasta reflection clip of the Potter at Work!!

The plan would be to offer this as a backdrop to 3mins of creating your own 'pot' [in playdoh on this occasion]

The clip is courtesy of youtube and the song is "Band of Gold" Seth Lakeman!!

video

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Story Cubes


As you know I love a good story and used to enjoy making up bedtime ones for Lucy who would get to nominate what must and must not feature... courtesy of the creative and inspired Steve Taylor I bring you 'Story Cubes'...

Throw the dice and start with "Once upon a time..." and feature all nine symbols... or use one of the other methods featured.... or use the iPhone App [about $2.49]...

Steve reminds that it can be used to grow creative Biblical storytelling also... check that out here

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Should We Care for the Poor? Social Justice Worship






On the 20th I joined in with Gordon UC Youth Group [thanks to Youth Worker Graham Baldock's invitation] to put together their 'quarterly worship' with a social justice focus and particularly looking at the question: 'Why should we care for the poor?'
We're going to put the outline and resources on our website here
It's one of those occasions where I developed new material and now know how the timing works and broadly who the young people are... so of course the next time will be better... we were just a bit pushed for time in the end...

The set up included [2] screens with data projectors, punters sitting on the floor in a semi circle, half lights off and [5] stations around the edge of the space for a planned 15-20min space...

I took a few minutes too long to explain what people were being invited into but once you start that it's hard to know where to stop... then..

1. Spoken Introduction/Call This is our worship. This is not a concert, not a game Not entertainment or an excuse to disappear… This is an opportunity to ‘make time for God’ And to reflect on social justice, Or this particular time, to ask… ‘why should we care for the poor?’ You are invited to listen, to think, to respond, to create… We will experience some thing together, be asked to talk And later to choose ‘stations’ and activities… Before finishing together… This is your time, but others time as well, Give each other the space to connect with God or to wonder… Let’s worship God…

2. "If Everyone Cared" Nickelback from youtube
3. Four Voice Liturgy
Read aloud from where you sit/stand to the rest of the group…
Voice ONE: God cares about issues of poverty and justice… This emphasis on justice flows through the Bible like a river. It’s no coincidence the Bible mentions poverty 2,100 times. This oral and written history of God’s attempts to be in relationship with humanity is filled with examples of God’s values of ‘siding with the poor or those on the edges…’
Voice TWO: Why should we care about the poor? About those who lack our choices? Through history, culture or circumstance? Is what Nelson Mandela reminds us of true? ‘That ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’… God, we give thanks for all we have…
Voice THREE: How do we contribute to poverty worldwide? Cash crops instead of food? Cheaply made shoes and t-shirts? Violence, selfishness, and consumption ahead of clean water? For those things we do or leave undone, we are sorry!! For judging others externally and settling for less, we are sorry?
Voice FOUR: What would you do, if you ruled the world? How would people know what you valued and hoped for? What would you complain about? And who would you choose? God, stir our world… Let’s think, create and pray…
[shared aloud by four punters]
4. "If I ruled the world..." vox pop clip and then discussion in 3-4s
5."What is Poverty?" we spent a few minutes with punters putting together a collage
6. Then 'What is Poverty?' clip and if we'd had time 'What is Social Justice?' clip
7. Dramatised Reading with the story of Zacchaeus...
Dramatised READING: Zacchaeus Luke 19: 1-8
NARRATOR:
It was a pretty unremarkable day in most ways really. This place is only a small town, with a long history, but you pass through here because it’s the only way to the city… It’s not unusual for a crowd to gather but the word was this character had created a stir wherever he went and the ‘usual suspects’ were out to see who all the fuss was about.
ZACCHAEUS:
You couldn’t see, I don’t know what everyone else had come to find, but there was something about him. I seriously almost fell out of the tree I’d scrambled up, when he looked up and invited himself to my place.!! I was up there for my own safety and because I couldn’t see… I didn’t even really hear what he said at first… I was too busy trying to hold on to the flimsy branch. The fact he even looked up was a huge shock! He looked straight at me, no mistake!
BYSTANDER:
Scumbag!! That’s who he is… ripping us off every tax year! Lining his own pockets… I thought someone was going to get crushed when the crowd surged forward. I didn’t hear it, but the whisper went along that the bloke asked to have lunch with that lowlife, Zack!! It’s not bad enough the Romans have ‘their foot on our necks’, but he’s financing them!! He’s the whole reason we’re poor! Jericho would be a different place without Zack! NARRATOR:
Zack hurried down from the tree, sandals flying, I think he fell down the first three branches… The crowd at first were grumpy but slowly drifted off, The disappointment was obvious! BYSTANDER:
Have you heard the rumours? What happened at that lunch? Later that day apparently Zack started giving money away. Te same crowds that jeered earlier were dancing in the streets. Is it real?
NARRATOR:
“I will give half my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated.” That’s what was overheard!! ZACCHAEUS: He didn’t just look at me, he really saw me… for who I am? In the face of that I really couldn’t keep cheating people the way I had been… You can’t buy self respect and I was tired of being alone in a crowd… This town will have to blame someone else for it’s troubles from now on…

8. Didn't have time to show "Teenage Affluenza" World Vision clip
BUT did speak about some Biblical stories about God's values and Jesus obvious siding with those on the edge including the poor... and how it's also our call... including the notion of how close we all are to poverty... one choice, one argument, one mishap!!!

8. STATIONS TO EXPLORE [20min]
1. Map and tealights World map on the floor/table with candles Place a candle anywhere in the world that needs our prayers. Could be infront of existing big screen or DVD Sarah McL ‘World on Fire’ on loop
2. Photo Reflection 6-8 laminated A4 photos What do these images say to you about ‘poverty’ Write a post it note response Maybe a think global act local, a prayer [stick on the wall]
3. Mural Projected on the wall The data projector image is on a bed sheet/calico Punters use fabric textas or ??? to draw what’s projected and colour in but to add comments, signature, commitments, or questions, prayers
4. Bible Passages/Snippets on canvas Writing about the ‘values’ of the Kingdom of God And how we/you might live them out…. On the canvass
5. Make Poverty History Have some $2 MPH bracelets plus photo frame scrolling images
Have fairtrade chocolate there for people to eat while they reflect on what you could do to think global act local e.g. 40hr Famine> Donate old clothes> Buy copies of Big Issue Simply Sharing Week> Lent Event> Fairtrade> soup kitchen etc

We finished with a glimpse of a world celebrating change and equality through "Dancing" Matt Harding clip