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...

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...

- 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

- 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?