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
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.
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!
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?
“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!!!

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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

U2 Presale

So, I have purchased my tix to U2 in Sydney through the fanclub presale!!
Sorry I wasn't able to call around and help people join in... the fanclub is limited numbers... I have a second code that might help someone if you meant to contact me... it's all happened really quickly... either way public tix 3rd September!!
Now, like many of my friends I am horrified at the prices and Ticketek's $18 fee!!!! robbery!!
I know the RED Zone is for charity BUT $400+???
My seats are 'nosebleed' 610 area and aren't cheap... I might go 'standing' for Saturday or Sunday when announced if I'm gonna be in Sydney for work!! I hope the 'Claw' works because I didn't like their last Tour show... stage was too low and made it hard to look over lighting and peoples heads!!
So, this is my last stab... if they keep doing stadiums and it sucks then that's it for me!! If they do indoors I'll be there on a zimmer frame!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blake Prize for Religious Art 2010

I read in the weekend papers that Chris O'Doherty aka Reg Mombassa has entered an artwork for this years prize [it's not a new work so I'll check this story but for now here it is!
The Blake Prize is an innovative prize themed around religion & spirituality and check it out here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Lungs" Florence and the Machine

This is an amazing album of thoughtful and catchy tunes which all evoke images of alt.worship experiences right from the first listen. It's emotional, deep and inspired!!
Part Tori Amos, ENYA and yet modern in sound, the welsh lilt creates a transcendent mood!!
I look forward to developing some experiences around several of the tracks

U2360 in Oz Stay tuned...

Maybe even todays Sunday papers will have a story....

It's likely Ticketek will handle Sydney....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Row M Seat 30 "Scott Pilgrim v the World"

'Scott Pilgrim' comes from a 6 part series of comics drawn by Canadian Brian Lee O'Malley and the movie is poignantly and artistically great fun!! Rolling Stone magazine calls it a 'game changer' as it picks up on the arcade game motif of the film and gives us a story of a young man who is still getting over a tough break up as he dates a high schooler but falls for a girl he both sees in his dreams but finds in real life at a party!! Michael Cera is great casting in a film with a grainy independent feel and a fantasy story of adolescence/youth and relationships. I was also struck by the complete absence of adults in the film and story.
The young cast do a great job and bring their comic book personas alive with echoes of 'KIck A@%s' and also 'Juno.'The film is about the power of making the 'unselfish' choice! The premise of Scott Pilgrim having to defeat Ramona's seven evil exes sets up some fun gaming action and quirky dialogue. Music plays a key role in the storytelling which is a bit jumbled at various points!!
Some of your ecclectic young people will be checking it out and loving it!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thoughtful about Work and Leadership!!

I was reminded in recent days of a few instances of seeking to collaborate with various leaders, keen brainstormers and/or colleagues from around various networks....
The instances I was reminded of roughly follow the line that a group has been invited to come together willingly to dream, plan or think out a future for some event or program and after some 'small talk' and an opening reflection the question framing our discussion is.... 'if you were part of the organising group for a Camp focused on high schoolers, running for 5 days annually around the winter time.... what would you plan, include, ask, wonder....?
On the ocassions I'm thinking of.... someone in the initial hubub... usually says "what, you mean do your job for you??????"
As a person working in the state and territory wide sphere of the Uniting Church this indicates what an unhelpful view some people have of such roles.... it's your job to do all this stuff!!

So while I could easily acknowledge:
If you don't do everything by collaboration it takes getting used to
The invitation may not have been clear
There is a real skill to igniting people's enthusiasm for plans and ideas...

But essentially, I'm wanting to advocate for and encourage and continue to embrace collective efforts... to ask people for their ideas... and to seek the gifts and skills of younger people whose voices are so often unheard in the church!!

My leadership style is to be an encourager, to try to create spaces for people to exercise their leadership and to run interference for them, to encourage good ideas and to listen hard. On top of this I have learnt more and more over the years about what does and doesn't need to happen in ministry with young people and how marginalised people would prefer us to be... the prophetic voice, the agitator for change and anyone genuinely wanting space, permission and validity for young people will eventually be 'banging their head against the wall.' It's really just a matter of how hard.... collaboration could break that down and be a force to knock over some walls!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quade Cooper!!

I guess the caption should be "phew, glad to see you're here!!" at the Wallabies Coogee base for training ahead of the [2] Tests at altitude coming up!!
I wasn't going to waste any blog space on Quade Cooper's reported offer from the Parramatta Eels to switch to Rugby League!! It's contract time and his manager is up-ing the ante on an offer from the Australian Rugby Union... however the Eels are silly enough to sound like they believe he's really interested... If he is then he hasn't really matured as much as it appeared.
Cooper was a schoolboy prodigy, has great skills BUT hasn't done anything in Rugby yet... hasn't even played the All Blacks!! If he's holding out for more ARU top up money then I hope they bill him for all the help they gave during his drunken robbery and then his driving offence!!
He's asking top dollar just when contracts are being reigned in with incentives boosting players earnings... just how it should be in a changeover time!!
Anyhow.... we need him so I hope it's all bluster and is resolved within the week!! South Africa here we come!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Curating Worship" by Jonny Baker

Inspired by the same conversation/presentation with Mark Pierson as many others of us, Jonny Baker has continued to play with the idea of worship envisaging, planning & leadership [in it's broadest sense] as being like the other uses of the term 'Curator'!!
This book is in part an exploration of that idea and then also a series of interviews/chapters from a range of practitioners!!
Steve Taylor has beaten me to the punch with a review which you can read here

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Salt [Factory] small missional community

Salt [Factory] has it's own blog, Facebook space etc...
But we've had some struggles in getting a handle on who we can be and how... !!
A big part of that is me needing to give organising the time it needs...

To this end I have [2] events in mind for our next scheduled gatherings... a food and discussion night where I am hoping to book a room at 'The Joy Cummings Centre' for us to meet... because I think we will best discover all we need to know by getting on with it... modelling options, ideas etc and inviting all those who've expressed an interest but haven't all made it along yet!!

Then a movie night with [2] options to explore further... either...
'Tomorrow When the War Began' or 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' plus unpacking discussion... stay tune for promo material...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"A New Kind of Youth Ministry" Chapter One

'Reculturing Evangelism: From Carnivals and Bridges to Sharing the Journey"
In this first chapter Chris Folmsbee's main point is a questioning of 'event based' evangelism. In programs it doesn't really model how to live out and share your faith except in further events. It really relies on 'someone else' doing the work.There are questions about how you measure success.
This has often led people to shift focus to 'friendship evangelism' which can also have an impact. Often labelled as 'bridge building,' Folmsbee conetnds the issue there is the imagery of conencting two points which otherwise coudn't. It doesn't allow space for God to move and for authentic relationships to be a basis for sharing.
What Folmsbee calls 'life dynamic evangelism' is really just young people seeking to be part of God's mission and activity in the world, not seeing people as 'them' and 'us' and living honestly committed to God.
It means being: inclusive; active; honest and humble; and joining others on the journey. This is about living out your faith, not just special events.

AND more specifically in the aussie context:
a. young people needing to see how faith connects to life
b. teaching faith practices [portable faith] not relyig on 'high' moments
c. rediscovering faith language that makes sense
d. remembering young people don't know the 'story' and need help to see how it fits together
e. faith needs to be experienced in community and rediscovered through relationships for their own sake and not so as to exert 'influence' [see 'Unfiltered Relationships' Andrew Root]
f. Balance your agenda with a learner centred sensibility
g. answer questions people are actually asking
h. by all means share 'Jesus' but in actions and words
i. look for where God is already active in the world and join in...
and so on...

Monday, August 02, 2010

My Wallaby Team vs All Blacks in Christchurch 7th Aug 2010

1. Robinson
2. Faingaa
3. Ma'afu
4. Sharpe
5. Mumm
6. Elsom
7. Pocock
8. Brown
9. Genia
10. Barnes
11. O'Connor
12. Giteau
13. Faingaa
14. Mitchell/sorely tempted to choose Shephard instead
15. Ashley-Cooper

Beale [in the ideal world he'd be my 5/8th]
Holmes [I know Burgess is in the squad]

Wallabies closer than it looks

Another frustrating loss to the All Blacks on Saturday night in the Rugby Union!! That makes [8] in a row to the respected rivals from 'across the ditch.' I remember when it was considered Ok to wear an All Blacks canterbury vintage jersey [with the steinlager logo] to training because although Australia enjoyed the game we just knew they were better, so you were seen as a fan of the game, not a traitor to the cause!! Then along came the Ella's, the QLD teams of the 1980s and a golden era including [2] World Cups and a few Bledisloe Cup victories... suddenly we were 'fair dunkum'!!
Since that time the All Blacks have continued to ebb and flow, peaking between Cups but dominating world rugby most of the time and we have entered a rebuilding phase and employed a Kiwi coach [best man for the job, given the ARU rejected my own CV]!!
We are bringing through our Under 21 World Cup winners and blending them with 'old heads.' We are changing to try to play ball in hand rugby with a few players struggling to adjust and on Saturday night we lost the match before a ball was kicked.
Once Quade Cooper was suspended we were in trouble and they should have selected Barnes at 10 and left Giteau where he belongs. That said, we really only lost that game when 'idiot' Drew Mitchell was given a second 'yellow card' and resultant red card 'send off.' You cannot win Test rugby one player down with 40 to play!!
Cooper's absence blunted the wide running of Elsom [who looked out of sorts and Captained frustratingly] it meant we reverted to standard attack without the unpredicability AND we lacked composure and patience in the tight. The commentators noted some 15 phases of play at one point and I suggested it didn't matter if went to 23 as long as we held the ball... we didn't!
How can I claim we're not far off... If we held our ball in that game we got the closest of any team to beating them but once Mitchell went off they only needed to go wide from side to side and we couldn't keep up... 15 on 15 I think we still would have lost but they weren't perfect!! Bring on Christchurch... if only the weather stays dry and warm and the new Robbie Deans Grandstand inspires some more 'mongrel' which we showed the week before!!
I also would have subbed a few of those players at half time, not with 20 to go, just to stir things up a bit!!