Monday, August 29, 2011

"Someone Like You" Adele

Wow!! She just gets better and better and this live this morning on the MTV Video Music Awards [VMAs] was amazing!! I'll wait for that live clip but here's the original official video now...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greenbelt Festival 2011 looks great

It took me just over 20 years to get to the Greenbelt Festival [now at Cheltenham Racecourse] when I made it in 2008. It was a bittersweet experience because it was everything I expected and more and so I've watched and read about it each year since and seen our exploration groups and wished I was joining them. For the trip to London? The visits to interesting communities engaging in contextual mission? Well, that's part of it.... but it's actually because it's a space and a community of people 'who get it' and whose creativity, experimentation, faithfulness, humanity and story are just so inspirational and challenging at the same time!!
The Festival and each of the groups we've visited in recent years are part of those 'thin places' where our awareness of God and our lives touch and where the artificial gap between the secular and the sacred is challenged and breaks.
My trip was full on for a number of reasons and 2008 was an eventful year besides...
It's August bank holiday weekend and a bunch of aussies from Victoria are there experiencing the wonder that is Greenbelt and you can check out the action here and here.
This is an aweful year [energy sapping, boring, de-energising, uncertain etc] counting down to the end of my current role and thoughts and memories of that 2008 trip and al the amazing things I saw and heard about still fuels my thinking and energy for mission, creative endeavour and 'shaping the future.'
Wonder whose playing mainstage in 2012?
I'm also aware that I'm writing these thoughts in a public forum... so trust me it's edited and restrained... but mostly [for me] blogging is one aspect of me processing thoughts and happenings and moving forward [some might call it venting, I think I'm more varied than that] anyhow... no need to respond because I really write for me and anyone finding this in anyway interesting. well that's a bonus... tomorrow is another day!! I will get my camera out tomorrow and express my own creative side and that'll be a nice break!!

RWC 2011 #02 Wallbies v All Blacks

I haven't had my second viewing of the match BUT last nights win in the rugby is good news for the Wallabies who will still need to conquer NZ conditions but who showed if they are totally committed they can win big games. the team mix was good, they kept their heads and the power forwards were up to the task. The coach almost left the replacements a little late but we finally got some second half possession and defended well in the end. Our scrum had some trouble they'll ramp that up should we meet again and they learnt a lot from going up the middle when under pressure.

I still think we kick too much and the tactic of Genia box kicking is suspect, especially given two charge downs and one where he kicked his own player and captain in the head!! I'd have more to say on that after a second view to check alternative options and a look at individual players to see who was still contributing after 50 mins and how much better we did at the breakdown...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

'Kondoot' about to go viral globally

' Come up with a simple idea of how people everywhere can access and add content to the world wide web and set up a website user friendly interface and you could make your fortune and satisfy your creative bent all at once!!'
The Aussie boys behind 'Kondoot' have come up with a website where you can upload and ''broadcast' live and saved video footage for all to see...
Imagine your club, group or friends producing a weekly TV show styled video, sports reports, presentations etc and loading them up onto Kondoot. It's more than youtube/vimeo, different to Facebook and Twitter [yet linkable].
I could do a weekly sports report, youth work resource clip etc and load it onto youtube but Kondoot opens up different ways of sharing, including live...
Looks really interesting but uses flash so I'm still not sure if it was my net connection or my Mac which had a problem but my desktop PC worked well with it's netcam!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

All Blacks v Wallabies Suncorp Stadium

What are the chances? The last time these two teams met was the opportunity to break a long drought at Eden Park but the Wallabies were not able to do it, despite their opportunities. They failed to build any pressure and were denied space and time by the ruthless Blacks defence.
Tomorrow night is not about the World Cup, it's not even about the Tri-Nations... it's about whether the Wallabies have learnt anything and are capable of adjusting their attack to give themselves the time they need. Let us hope the chip and chase does not seem like the answer!!
The blueprint is to control the ball... it has always been the case in big rugby matches... treat it like gold and hang onto it when you have it... tackle, tackle, tackle to get it back when you don't and take any opportunity which comes your way.
The All Blacks should be unbackable favourites but our mob could just put up a better showing with the change of leadership... allowing Elsom to do what he does best without having to try to work out how to steer our backline... double dutch to the non enthusiast? I guess so...

"Pillow Fight"

Could the staple activity of 1980s youth stuff become the next craze after 'planking'? Channel TEN here in Oz think so... or at least their researcher who trawls popular youtube videos does... no doubt if it takes off we'll soon be warned against hitting strangers who bypass the pillow and just give you a belting, or idiots who walk out into traffic while distracted by each other flailing away with the tontine!! Looks like fun though!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Ban Exports of Live People to Malaysia"

What an embarrassing and shameful policy Australia is currently pursuing in relation to 'boat people' who attempt to seek asylum here by travelling from Asia or the sub-continent on leaky boats. We have set up funded 'detention centres' on various island nations [as well as here in Oz] and more recently signed a deal with Malaysia to take 900 people [in an exchange]. This after a pre-emptive announcement about a deal with East Timor went quickly sour. The logic is we'll stop the trade for 'people smugglers' and choke off the demand...
What it really represents is a government which has lost control of the 'politics' in the situation and teeters on the brink as a minority government trying to plug huge holes in policy to appease middle voters.
Colleague and friend Craig has found a creative outlet for his opposition to this idea and you too can purchase one of his t-shirt designs [subtle or not so] and show support for another option here.
I don't think we fully understand the long term negatives of:
- children in detention
- anyone in detention
- how 'terrorists' win every time we deprive someone of basic freedoms
- the long term harm to these nations as we prop up their economy to pay for this

What would be so wrong with releasing people into the community, testing their claims and allowing them to stay if they are genuinely under threat elsewhere? The economic arguments that "they'll take our jobs" are without basis... you mean they'll start out doing the jobs we don't stoop to do and by becoming contributors and consumers they create demand for products and services just like the rest of us... each person who consumes, creates a job for those who supply...

'Scmap' for London Tourists

So when I was in London in 2008 I took a few photos and one of them ended up on a touist map and info site [with permission] as it came to light on flickr. The site is here and my pic turns up here where they seem to have recently revamped things and let me know I was still featured!!
I'm only a little jealous that lots of people I know and whose blogs I read are heading off to the very same Greenbelt Festival and exploration trip for this weekend!! Leartn lots on that tour in 2008 and do hope to return soon!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Chaperone Dad" in 2012

When 'Hamish & Andy' met Taylor Swift on their 'Gap Year' TV show a couple of weeks ago they encouraged her to write a song on the spot, about those Dad's who accompany their daughters to Taylor's concerts... a huge number of them given Swift's fanbase... and I laughed knowing that I had promised Lucy I'd take her the next time Taylor Swift toured here in Oz...

That's be March next year and we're doing what we've done for years and ignored whether a Newcastle gig will be added later [at the local tin shed called an Entertainment Centre, which even cruelled an 'Oils' show and sent Silverchair into fits with the echo and muddy sound... but I'll save that for a rant another day] and signed up for Acer Arena in Sydney on March 9th!!

I wonder how many more boys will have cruched her heart by then... by all reports we're talking five guitars/ukele and piano, nine different dresses and various stages across the venue to bring her closer to the fans!!

Dad's first live concert with daughter Lucy [who is now 10]!! If you don't count the Wiggles!! I suspect Ellie will be more a Pearl Jam fan!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Elermore Vale Mosque Stopped for Traffic Reasons

A Regional Planning Panel knocked back the plans for a new local Mosque this week after what has been a drawn out process of review and study. It's a difficult issue because I am completely supportive of the idea of a Mosque in our area [with the group already present in a local Wallsend hall but hoping to expand]. My issue is that it was being planned for completely the wrong location...
It's a suitably large block of land [with some bush at the rear of the site] nestled in the local neighbourhood and just off the road for traffic from the city and Glendale/Cardiff etc. Entry/Exit from Croudace Rd would add to an already painful and dangerous short stretch of road.... otherwise...
Despite the discipline and level headedness of a local community group, there are still plenty of prejudiced people who were hoping for this outcome and I am uncomfortable being counted amongst their number... I really hope that Lake Rd or Glendale could provide a suitable alternative and that plans move swiftly but it's hard to say.
I made it my business to checkout the plans for the Garsdale/Croudace Rd roundabout at our access point which drives me nuts twice a day trying to turn right... that was Christmas and it's still not built... it was no panacea though... we have hassles without a new development!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'Miniature Earth' Newer Version

Thanks to Craig for highlighting this new version of the simple but significant 'Miniature Earth' clip... I've seen it with John Lennon soundtrack and would be tempted to sub in 'The World is a Picture' Josh Pyke for a younger audience!!

The New Spare Room

We've been dealing with, trying to fix and now finally restoring a room after water leaks in the downstairs study.... the half without my desk etc!! It's looking good thanks to Simone's design skills!!

RWC 2011 #01 Plenty of Positives from Springboks v All Blacks

18 days to go...
From now on my rugby union musings will carry the RWC 2011 #xx markers so you know whether or not to bother!! Being a tired old bloke after a long week I waited to watch the replay this weekend rather than stay up for the SA v NZ match from Port Elizabeth.
The 'All Blacks' did what all the sides are this year and chose a 'B' team to have a look at World Cup squad players... that said the match was informative and scary...
Watch for the Springboks attempts to kick themselves to a World Cup, with plenty of physical aggression thrown in... they did the work to win, if helped by a poor referee decision and a let dropped ball.
What impressed me with this mixed All Black combination was the shape of their attack when they went wide with the ball. The try in the 37th minute saw a backline move where the flat wide ball allowed 2-3 players to straighten inside and hold defenders... then the ball went wide but was switched back inside to a straight runner who went through a gap and the support play allowed a terrific try from there to Richard Kahui.
It was used a few times from so called 'set pieces', in this case a lineout which went long and created speed and questions.
What you do is try this 2 or 3 times a game BUT the players play who/what is in front of them and pass to a different player depending on how the defence reacts... pass to one of those inside runners, do what they did or keep going wide as needed...
The other thing they did well was to pass two wide of the ruck and have 2 or 3 forwards queue-ing up to drive him forward in the tackle and make sure they secure the bal and make metres... this is where they beat us in Auckland...
So, what does all this jargon mean... despite the loss, watch out for the 'All Blacks' and watch for the Springboks to implode over tactics and selections!!

Looks like brand O'Connor has been a little tarnished over a 'no-show' at the team announcement this week but hopefully Beale and others cop a serve for being out late too... they just had a louder alarm clock apparently...

Worship Unplugged # 64 Latest Music

In recent months I've enjoyed using a number of songs in a variety of worship settings:
- 'Beautiful Mess' Kasey Chambers reflecting on the parent/child relationship
- 'Light Today' Eddie Vedder from his 'Ukelele Songs' CD as a reflection time
- 'The World is a Picture' Josh Pyke for a photo reflection
Colleague Darren would want me to mention the clips from the new Goyte [Goy-tee-ay] CD!!
- 'Rolling in the Deep' Adele [great set of lungs] as a rollicking prayer about life in general
- 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall' Coldplay...
the clip is a great attention grabbing opener for media driven worship

I feel a walk from the office to the Opera House with the headphones on is in order!!

What are you listening to and finding useful for worship or youth ministry?

'Space, Permission and Validity'

Ministry and mission with young people [and new forms of church or contextual missional experiments] are given 'oxygen' and the chance to grow when they are given SPACE, PERMISSION and VALIDITY. This thought struck at least one peer this week at our 'Messy Ministry Context' Inservice this week at Nth Parramatta!! Graham suggested I submit a guest post to 'More Than Dodgeball' and I may yet do that... but in my current tired state I'll try a 'rewind' with a wordy reminder to help me sharpen my thoughts...
These three elements became clear to me in the lead up and during my 2008 participation in our Youth Unit 'Greenbelt Festival/UK Fresh Expressions' trip. It was true of a number of 'new experimental faith communities' including some exemplary ministry with young people. Many learnings on that trip echoed the same needs for youth ministry.

Any group, event, program or activity involving 'gathering' needs dedicated space in which to happen... not a damp room the size of a box, not the locked crockery cupboard or anywhere you need to borrow keys to access. Shared use is fine if it's marked by generosity, resourcing and a willingness to 'live and let live'.

With space comes the need for permission to 'be' and to use it. Is it easier to seek 'forgiveness' than permission... it's often said BUT is it true?
Your using the hall, but is it a hassle? Are you always 'copping grief' for tidyness, the power bill, leaving things alone, the 'special' cups or tension over scheduling...
Alternatively, permission means respect, genuine access and shared enthusiasm for your use of the space. You have keys, alarm codes and space to store what you need. Permission is about genuine ACCESS to SPACE.

Without this the other two are only ideas!! If ministry with young people is genuinely embraced and valued then equal partners will thrive in a shared space. If on the other hand, even space and permission are given begrudgingly and withdrawn at every opportunity... if what's happening is viewed as not 'real' ministry, then lack of being seen as valid will limit the long term possibilities!!

My EXAMPLE is St Laurence, Reading. A regional review, hierarchy and finance were crucial in allowing a heritage church with 9 parishioners to be transformed through the catalyst of a Minister and a Young Adult mission team. Over ten years later its a reinvigorated all age congregation in mission and ministry with young people, building a new form of church and impacting it's local community and the world.

BUT it's not about the millions of pounds as the key factors have still been space, permission & validity. Any congregation willing to dedicate some hall space and a bbq, finance/training/promotion/website and who see what's happening as their call and mission... could do likewise with a coat of paint and an LCD TV...

Seinfeld Highlight

Here's a link to one of the great Seinfeld moments in what to me is the funniest show ever!! The plot complexity and agony of 'Fawlty Towers' with the dry humour and introspection in the writing of Larry David who lives vicariously in the George Costanza character. I enjoy the more edgy and grainy 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' but my fun theory is that life is full of Seinfeld moments and I'm often reminded of an episode or scenario in life's more crazy moments!!

Couldn't embed so check it out here

I might crank out a few episodes as I could use a good laugh!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wallabies World Cup Squad!! Wow!!

There will continue to be a few posts interrupting the stream of mission and youth work posts here at Pumphouse!!

The Rugby World Cup starts September 9th and there were few surprises in the leaked squad [given the walking wounded fitness tests at Coogee yesterday!! Yeah right, except we've changed Captain a few weeks out... well done Robbie Deans!! I reckon Rocky Elsom will rise to the challenge and be better for the lack of responsibility!! James Horwill is a great choice... a hard nut, a competitor [dare I say it, a Queenslander!!] BRING BACK BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the Australian squad:

Backs - Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Drew Mitchell, Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Anthony Faingaa, Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper, Nick Phipps, Luke Burgess, Will Genia.

Forwards - Ben McCalman, Radike Samo, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Scott Higginbotham, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Nathan Sharpe, Dan Vickerman, Ben Alexander, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, Salesi Ma'afu, Stephen Moore, Saia Faingaa, Tatafu Polota-Nau.

I've never been a Matt Giteau fan... only because his solidity and skill have always been shackled by an overblown sense of importance... he has sometimes not listened to the game plan and just done his own thing... and especially coveted 5/8th when he is clearly an inside centre... Barnes, Palu and others owe the coach big time... hopefully they are aware of that...

Read more here

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wallabies v Springboks

I stayed up to watch the Wallabies drop so many balls, miss a few goal kicks and yet still get away with a win!! A hard fought win is much better than a loss and some individual players stood up in a week where the Aussie squad for the World Cup will be announced... I enjoyed staying up for the game but think we still have so much to learn about how to win games. As an aside the Referee was an unpredictable factor in the match [and we took a caning in the penalties]!! He's our referee vs Ireland in the Cup so look out!!
I don't envy the coach the need to select our best 30 players for Thursday... bring on the net game v All Blacks in Brisbane in 2 weeks!!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Run Out # 05 Haunting Questions

I'm reading 'OMG Youth Ministry Handbook' and it does a good job of framing a way to think about the 'failure' of youth ministry over the last thirty years in western mainline denominations. There's much more to read but this part is suggesting that the models we've used have not delivered the hoped for results of young people shaping a mature Christian faith and that is true... many have BUT it's not a success story generationally.
Enculturation, community building and keeping young people busy with in-house activity has lots of positive outcomes but does not automatically lead to faith being 'caught' or 'tools' for shaping faith being passed on... It especially in my 'experience alone' does not necessarily prepare anyone for the 'stuff' that happens in life and how resilient faith survives such questioning.
The 'haunting questions' are questions about authenticity... they don't deny enthusiasm, commitment or longevity but point to the fact that we are [as colleague Duncan would put it] 'good at belonging' but passing on the 'tools' for young people to make meaning and explore faith for themselves is less effective... fire away with counter examples... they certainly exist BUT the evidence across the globe delivers low numbers.
One of the pitfalls is that a goal is still to get young people joining the Sunday gathering to pray and sing... this is instead of asking, 'what does Jesus look like 'where they are', how is grace or good news experienced and how can we bring that presence to the world we live in? It's not just about the club we retreat to... we don't need to train leaders to be like 'Bondi Rescue'... we need to form leaders to live out their faith in the world and to invite others on the same journey... right where they are!!

What practices will bring life to this?
How can we be people who bring grace, reconciliation, forgiveness and more... to all we meet!!

OMG picks up Andrew Root's ponderings about 'place sharing' and I'll continue to read and be inspired by the developing wisdom coming from the discipline of practical theology and some rigour brought to what for me are hunches and intuitive questions... Get a copy!!

My Wallabies Team

1. Sekope Kepu
2. Stephen Moore
3. Ben Alexander
4. James Horwill
5. Dan Vickerman
6. Rocky Elsom [c]
7. David Pocock
8. Scott Higginbotham
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Digby Ioane
12. Pat McCabe
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
14. James O'Connor
15. Kurtley Beale

16. Luke Burgess
17. Tatafa Poluta Nau
18. Rob Horne
19. James Slipper
20. Rob Simmons
21. Ben McCalman/Beau Robinson
22. Drew Mitchell

All Blacks too Good

One more post about this weekends rugby union! The All Blacks were once again too good for the Wallabies. The 'men in gold' improved and it took some time to be out of touch on the scoreboard but in truth we were never in the match. The All Black opening 20mins [venting their spleen at being written off] was too aggressive and targeted and we didn't respond well enough!
The game was gone by the 43 minute when we missed another penalty goal and nailed in the 52nd minute when having scored, we allowed a return try from the ensuing kick off... criminal!!
Start well, contain the ball and convert that 60% of the ball into points and it's a different game with Horwill and later Higginbotham and 'Vicks' taking the ball forward and Genia and Cooper with space to put Beale and Ioane in space. Instead Conrad Smith and McCaw killed us...

- Good scrum
- Stephen Moore and Kurtley Beale
- Charge downs and front on defence were good
- Kick 3 goals and at 17-9 you can turn it around
- Subs were strong
- It wasn't for 'Bill Ellis'

- No plan B
- Too slow
- Back row beaten
- Cooper looked ordinary under pressure
- not enough commitment of 2s and 3s to going fwd [too much one out running]
- 26 years beaten at Eden Park unless that changes in October

OK, back to my working week!!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Bozo Macansh plays 500th Game for Wanderers

While on a rugby theme... Andrew 'Bozo' Macansh played his 500th club game for my club Wanderers in the Newcastle and Hunter C Grade today v University at No5 Sportsground!!
One of my favourite team mates and a member of the generation 'just' before me in the club [after my 2 seasons with University] Bozo is an evergreen bloke who enjoys the playing and the social side of the game...
I have enjoyed playing with and coaching teams with Bozo in them!! I couldn't get there today but as I've said elsewhere I wish I was not only there but still playing!!
Two ruptured patella tendons put paid to that in 2003 and I miss that every Saturday in winter still. If two good mates coach C grade next year I will offer to help out and re-engage in 'the game they play in heaven'... though as the old joke goes, I have always been sceptical about that, purely on the strength that if that were the case then there'd be no referees!! 511 is Sammy Lee's club record and that should tumble next year... I'd like to be there...
Read Bozo's story here

Rugby Mind Games this Week

You can tell when the All Blacks actual rate the Wallabies as a genuinely tough assignment. The media mind games go into top gear!! First there was Justin Marshall in an article talking about the awakening of the sleeping giant that is Australian Rugby between World Cups [they who peak in between them would know I guess].
Then came reminders of Quade Cooper shoving Richie McCaw in Hong Kong last year when we actually one a game [the dead rubber junket]!!
Now serial pest Steve Hanson brings up the 'they don't show us respect' chesnut and various comments to and fro... all revealing how much of the game is played between the ears. Graham Henry and Ma'a Nonu were in good form, pretending to be either surprised at the use of Digby Ioane as defending at 5/8th or claiming knowledge of how many tackles he made last match as having been gleaned from the newspapers.
Make no mistake, the All Blacks will have been studying video of that... of Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale... where the foolish chip kicks happen, whether our scrum is better and what lines to run in attack to best pressure our defensive structure. I think we are odds on to implode this afternoon and to lack the polish to convert pressure to points [but we would learn a lot from such a game] yet there is a chance, if the forwards play with aggression, that we could actually do something great.
It's interesting to think that when I first took up an interest in Rugby Union [early 1980s] that it was OK to own and wear an All Black jersey... a sign that you respected the best of the best and somehow knew we were at best happy to be having a stab... who wore golden yellow anyhow!! But as we began to get competitive, suddenly that was no longer OK and you'd be mistaken for a kiwi instantly, why else would you wear that...
I keep thinking 27-16 to the Wallabies.... let's see!! Is it raining in Auckland?

When I spoke to Phil Hawthorne about Test Rugby he talked about the ebb and flow of momentum and how simple things can turn a match and you just knew in an arm wrestle that something was going to break the tension... we have not had the ability or application to play that way for a few years... now we have close to our best side available... we'll see if we can compete!! I for one would not be telling the All Blacks they are old and slow... that will come back to haunt!!
Do not bother phoning me between 5.30pm and 7.30pm tonight!!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Photographic Idea takes a step forward

Having decided to invest in a new camera I've done the whole compact v interchangeable lenses v 3/4 camera exploration and with a hat tip to Justin I have decided to start with a Canon Powershot SX230 HS [a good competitor for the Panasonic Lumix TZ20] and maybe next year if I'm still exploring projects and need lenses and effects I might go the Panasonic G3 for those specific ideas [if I'm employed that is].
For now we are talking 12MP, big zoom wide angle lens and good for low light but it'll still fit in a pocket for family snaps and my NZ trip in October. Best part is they started at $490, were in the US as low as $309 [but not posting to Oz] so the best I could do was $366 in Sydney next week. At JB it was $449 last week, $396 this week and they matched and did it for $360 for me today!! The Panasonic would have cost me $450-500!!
Sure if money were no object I've have bought this and a Canon EOS or probably the G3 and used them for specific tasks with extra zooms but... and it'd be set on auto for some time to come until I had headspace to do some learning!!
Anyhow stay tuned for some snaps and my 'Where is God?' project unfolding on a weekend before years end somewhere near you!! I like the vivid, super vivid and fish eye menu for a small digital it just may do the trick!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

School Chaplains> Ethics Classes It's all Happening!!

As our societal shifts and changes continue to hurtle the Christian church in Australia towards the status of another 'helping institution' which continues to shrink [according to it's own main game] there are a few consequent challenges which require careful responses, not just 'kneejerk' protest.

1. School Chaplains
In NSW [apart from private schools] it's by and large true that remunerated Chaplains have only become a presence in our schools since the Howard government initiative to offer $20,000 per funded position. Some 'Youth Workers' practiced 'Godly loitering' or other lunchtime connections to build links [others for years helped run ISCH groups or Christian Fellowships] but essentially this is a new thing.
It was a political move around a set of values and a political landscape where conservatives were seeking signs of commitment to Christian values from our pollies.
On the whole, if a Chaplain offers pastoral support, any effort to improve the lot of our school kids is a good thing. When 'some' groups have crossed a line and inevitably seen this as an evangelical opportunity [or a space for more controversial views] you have a conflict. This conflict adds fuel to the fire that is an upcoming High Court action to rule the practice unconstitutional.
Federal Labor has taken the policy position that by and large the project has shown benefits so 'why rock the boat'... this is an interesting part of the mix!!
I wish the charter/rules for Chaplains were more broadly agreed and adhered to... and that if we were serious the roles would be full time... allowing the development of student welfare structures, missional meeting of hurts and hopes by mobilised churches and positive press for real value in those learning communities which represent the last great gathering space of the aussie population.
I for one would grab such a role and certainly encouraged churches with part time Youth Workers to consider $20,000 extra funding and hours that built on their existing efforts through relationship and authentic connections, not sheep stealing!! Alas the idiots always spoil it for the rest!!

2. The NSW State legislation allowing for religious instruction 'should churches wish to take it up' creates a second live issue. The practice here is that if classes or seminars are offered then the alternative open to parents is for their kids to do 'other non productive activity.' The St james Ethics Centre and other partners have developed and trialled and now offer an 'Ethics' course for students and it is being offered at that time.
The church's problem is that many demand the 'right' to teach scripture or believe the very fabric of our society will rupture if it doesn't happen BUT a not necessarily small band of willing volunteers are hamstrung by others with little or no educational skills, again abusing the privilege or at best boring students with poor methods [never could spell pedagogy].
My problem is I would like effective discipleship education to be happening but don't believe in our inalienable right to have it and especially bemoan bad teaching!!
I love the example of an effective Youth Worker whose SRE is so creative and engaging that a neighbouring school have asked them to consider being their 'Ethics' teacher. It so happens the other school has a tight group who handle the SRE there and so this is a non confronting way to be 'present' at both schools and grow connections for what does happen at the local congregation, but through appropriate relationship building not a concerted effort to draw a crowd.

1. I think School Chaplains can be a good thing BUT it must be done authentically and ethically as focused on student pastoral care and engagement in God's mission in the world
2. School SRE should be provided by skilled and resourced volunteers and not poorly by keen amateurs. I also believe God is BIG enough to withstand the withdrawal of a right to teach in favour of a desire to do so... I especially think any content needs an overhaul and people need to understand their goal and the 21st C ways of getting there... e.g. not jug and mug info transfer but contextually relevant storytelling and meaning making...

It's not just about delivering content and 'saving souls' but could be an effective part of any church's engagement if it's backed up by genuine involvement.

When it comes to Chaplains and SRE are we so committed to inclusion of young people in God's mission or are we afraid of who we are without them?

UCA NSW/ACT Synod Meeting 'On New and Risky Paths' #01

This is my first pre annual meeting post [to see how much trouble I can get into I'm starting a series] and today I'm wondering what some people I know would say about our theme... a creative, interesting and enticing idea which reflects our context... but so rarely our reality!!

What would they offer as our actual theme:
- On old familiar paths worried about our grumbling elders
- Forming a committee to explore a few alternative paths
- Looking for those maps of the path we thought we've been on
- what paths???

Not me, you understand, just some people I know... OK that's enough to get me rolling... more when I read a mailing of papers about what we might be doing... one thing I do know is that local efforts in the Hunter to engage younger members and visitors and the arrangements in general will be spot on and worth a look!!

One disappointing thing for me is that 'knee deep in a restructure' and finishing my role at years end sees me focused on current work, what's next and anything but the creative possibilities of a home town synod... worship, young adults stuff etc... hopefully there's still time to make some meaningful contribution!!

Check out details here

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

All Blacks v Wallabies Eden Park Auckland 6th August 2011

I'm marking this date and match because for the rugby union tragic it's the latest significant contest in the ongoing fortunes of a developing Wallabies team vs the worlds best team who are hopeless at winning World Cups!! They only win the ones they host i.e. 1987
We have not beaten the All Blacks at Eden Park for years [1986?] and will need to if we are to win the World Cup in late October... doesn't mean it has to be this weekend, but it does need to happen this year.
What's going to happen on Saturday?
I have no idea...
I know we need a superlative performance from our forwards if our growing backline is to put in a mistake free display of what they are capable of doing...
What would be great is if our scrum held it's own, our lineout worked smoothly [spot on throws and no errors] and Pocock secured some 50-50 ball and exposed McCaw as the offside cheat he's so good at being. This would allow us not to do those stupid chip kicks, sideways runs etc...
If we could post some tries then we will see if the All Blacks can click or let the pressure get to them... if it rains a lot we're screwed, if we drop ball in our own half, we're screwed... etc etc
In one way I don't mind if we lose, as long as we step forward and do some fundamental things well... It'll likely be close or we'll get belted and wonder what our best combo is... I hope it's the former. The final question mark is whether being in hard training leaves us with weary legs like in 2007 but that would stifle our development and so is a risky approach...

Of course the more likely scenario is that the All Blacks go up a notch on last week, do enough to disrupt our ball at scrum, in the loose and at lineouts. The loose forwards will push up on any turn over ball and crowd the inside backs... if they get possession they'll run straight at Quade Cooper who won't then be hiding on the wing or at fullback... he will need to tackle...

From there it depends whether Carter dominates with the boot or the AB centres and wingers can get combos going... if they do it'll get ugly for us... can we run their forwards off their feet?

I note the All Blacks have unveiled their new 2011 jersey, with the slimfit version of a white collar [the look of their old style heavy jerseys in 1987... it's just missing the Steinlager advert...