Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holidays!!! and Biggest Game of Cricket Picnic

NO 'work' blogging until 31st January!!
Maybe one note about and the 'biggest cricket match picnic' 1pm empire park, bar beach for youth, young adults and adults grabbing sponsors to play and in doing so supporting the recipients of help from the Ricky Ponting Foundation!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mission... 'a little more' than thinking aloud...

I quite like the kind of conversation that Alan Hirsch' working definition of 'misional' generates...

“So a working definition of missional church is that it is a community of God’s people that defines itself, and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of God’s mission to the world. In other words, the Church’s true and authentic organizing principle is mission. When the church is in mission, it is the true Church. The Church itself is not only a product of that mission, but is obligated and destined to extend it by whatever means possible. The mission of God flows directly through every believer and every community of faith that adheres to Jesus. To obstruct this is to block God’s purposes in and through his people.”

   And it's unfashionable and surprising to many that I find common sense in the underpinnings of early Kenon Callahan writing about the unhelpfully labelled '12 Keys to an Effective Church.' Kenon's wisdom is jargon thick and sounds like corporate growth planning... but of the few 'church effectiveness/growth/missiologist types/consultants' I've encountered, his ideas are grounded in simple ideas with relatively simple measures that tell a story.

   Much more important than this is he is the one who begins his conversation, understanding and urgings, grounded in fundamental human life searches... not in the church. Bandy is aggressive and will jam reforms through, Bill Easum is inspiring but allows me to stay big picture where I gravitate BUT Callahan does have 'keys' to simple ideas for 'congregations' or faith communities seeking to be better at responding people and God.
   I read a great review of his stuff that was an exercise in completely missing the point. The reviewer focused on missing underpinnings which would have weighed the material down to no good cause and rather than allowing the ideas to breathe and speak, would have tied any conversation to one or other part of the theological spectrum. Callahan's work explains often what is, in a way that allows what is to not hold a group back from growing. It also tackles our tendency to want to figure out what we are 'crap' at and fix it... when if it were that easy we probably would have. Instead he's looking for communities to discern their passion and gifts and things present in their life that are there but could be more effective, more central or create more energy... connecting all that to what fundamental life searches are happening amongst people in their community.
   It's not really about car parking spaces, signage and egress... but then again it is...just in proportion to mission, vibrancy and focus or purpose [for more than 40 days though]. In a wierd way Callahan's ideas come back to me as vignettes when I read other inspiring material including Andrew Root's ideas about 'place sharing' in ministry with young people... Anyhow I digress, which is why I kept other lists simple...

Motivated by missio dei, understanding something of it's call as a community and trying to share place with people in their lives and community... what are some simple ideas which live out mission. They will have much in common with 'good citizenship' because they are about contributing, but they will also sometimes be subversive and counter cultural because the underlying values are different...

I'm not trying to explain them, I'm just trying to simplify, example and inspire...

Seeing a need in your community and it's intersection with what you believe to be God's hope or an expression of God's grace and testing it out by serving/acting

Buying Dairy Farmers milk
Opening a 'Soul Food' cafe
Providing sandwiches for a local senior citizens volunteer grafitti clean up squad
Opening a hall space for youth drop in or a homework centre
Seeing property as a community resource to be used/worn out/shared
Collaborating with other groups and individuals on projects that meet basic human searches and needs in your community
Collaborating on celebrations e.g. Community Carols

A useful filter is to look for that thing you really want to do that if done well could develop you a 'legendary status on the community grapevine' not for that aim but because that's not a bad measure of how your going at helping.

Anyhow... just thinking unformed half ideas aloud, just playing... just writing stuff I can recant later

and just avoiding other work...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Favourite TV of 2012

1. The Newsroom on Foxtel
2. Homeland
3. Rev. Series two [on the net]
4. The Good Wife
5. The Mentalist
6. The Big Bang Theory
7. Gruen Planet/World/Olympics
8. Qi
9. The Hampster Wheel
10. Rockwiz

Honourable mentions for 
Offspring; Graham Norton; Rugby Union on Foxtel; NCIS occasionally; and 'Howzat'
Q&A was rubbish and I dumped it... too frustrating!!

I haven't watched Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Redfern Now, Parks & Recreation, or Game of Thrones and I have to catch up with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on DVD in the holidays!!

So much TV so little time!!

Songs or Albums I've Enjoyed in 2012

The Top Ten Songs or Albums I've enjoyed in 2012
in no particular order:

"Little Talks" Of Monsters and Men
"Babel" album Mumford & Sons
"Skyfall" Adele
"Eyes Open" Taylor Swift from The Hunger games
"Essential Oils" album Midnight Oil
"People Help the People" Birdy
"The Temper Trap" album The Temper Trap
"Shake It Out" Florence & the Machine
"The Black Keys" El Camino
"The Ol Razzle Dazzle" Missy Higgins

with honourable mention to Lisa Mitchell and Paul Kelly

Most Enjoyable Movies 2012

The movies I enjoyed most in 2012 include:

1. Skyfall
2. Blue Like Jazz
3. The Avengers
4. Brave
5. Dr Seuss' The Lorax
6. Men in Black 3
7. The Dark Knight Rises
8. Moneyball
9. The Amazing Spider Man
10. The Hunger Games

Others I saw:
The Tree of Life
End of Watch
The Bourne Legacy
Twilight Breaking Dawn 2
The Expendables 2
Total Recall
Ice Age Continental Drift
Project X
Madagascar 3
The Dictator
American Pie Reunion
The Three Stooges
The Pirates Band of Misfits

Argo, The of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Life of Pi are still on my list and although I will see 
Les Miserables and The Hobbit that won't be until 2013 unless it's in Russian

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advent Stuff for those still planning

Stations Ideas
[1] I'm not using it but I had an idea about wrapping some things that would be fun for the congregtaion/s or could be used during Christmas Worship and having the parcel there and referred to somehow each advent Sunday
[2] Nine photos of Gaza and Israel [including those of the artwork on the concrete wall] make a great Prayers for Others 'station' thinking about how many thousand years on and still they throw rocks at each other... maybe adding salt to water like tears
[3] Offerings of gifts in one bowl and money in another
[4] Printing off that week's Biblical story and inviting people to read and then write questions or thoughts on the spare space on the sheet

I'll upload my traditional Farside Christmas Cards

Advent Bits n Pieces
Liturgy, Resources,Comment, Art etc TextWeek Ideas
Creative Advent Resources
Brilliant collection from various sources at Jonny Baker's blog
For traditional settings Fresh Worship
Rethinking Youth Minsitry gathering a variety of stuff
The Worship Closet is a recent find
Advent Conspiracy has a couple of great videos for rethinking Christmas
Then there's the Digital Nativity
OR Social Network Christmas
Brick Nativity was a contest winner
Check out Darren's Digital Orthodoxy Storybook ideas
plus "Light the Lamps"
 AND generously the rest of Darren's colected ideas and some resources shared... here

Songs that are a Bit Different [listed here before]
"Christmas Must Be Tonight" The Band covered brilliantly by Paul Kelly
"How to Make Gravy" Paul Kelly for  reflection around what's not great about Christmas
"White Wine in the Sun" Tim Minchin asks great real questions for a young adult discussion
But 'Songs for Christmas' Sufjan Stevens has so many different vibes and themes it's great
I'm using "O Come O Come Emmanuel" as a backing for 'stations' this week...
Get the idea, I don't really like Christmas music... the above helps me make it through

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quade Cooper

   Injuries and his own attitude have prevented Quade Cooper from developing into the rugby legend he could have been. The Gen Y swagger and opinion of himself and others is not so new but team culture and respect for senior players and understanding of the overall endeavour have reeled in always present egos in the past.
   Even David Campese understood that at the end of the day it's a team sport. Campo had his non existent tackling technique to keep him humble, Cooper just shifts to fullback!!
   Schoolboy heroes need some hard yards in senior rugby to learn to use their gifts and skills against similarly gifted players or on the whole better teams because the opposition play together.
   I think the same has been true for Kurtley Beale who won everything at St Josephs and must have found it hard in the early stages at the Waratahs. Only now after the stint at fullback is he causing sufficient buzz with the Wallabies that they could afford to only offer Cooper an incentive deal [unthinkable 18 months ago]!! Michael Hawker is obviously enjoying the post John O'Neill perspective...
   I hope Quade Cooper gets his head sorted and actually signs the contract. He will not be a hit in rugby league... French rugby maybe or Japan!! On the other hand he could knuckle down and learn a thing or two from coaches and use his expansive game and once in a generation ability to threaten defences and grow as a player.
   Blokes his age do go out drinking, bingle cars, even steal the occasional laptop as a joke... most of them don't get to lay rugby for Australia though... don't be an idiot!!
I've no doubt the Wallaby game plans frustrated him as coach Deans had to decide that the team was clearly incapable of playing with flair so adapted match plans to suit our inability to catch pass and kick [effectively] we have no trouble kicking... we just do it too often and get the same lame results.
Take the game v England on the weekend. The early kicks were better', the short up and unders were used to turn the defence around but then later they kept kicking to nobody and brought England back into the game by giving them the ball...
   If it were up to me I'd pick Cooper at Inside Centre with Beale at 5/8th and Berrick Barnes at Fullback. This is the challenge schoolboy coaches had with Cooper and Beale and could use the best skills of both...
Anyhow, Quade, good luck to you whatever you choose to do!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Liberating Visible Communities of Courage and Hope"

At our Presbytery [regional meeting] [3] of us on behalf of the organising committee responsible, organised a worship/discussion around this theme from the Presbytery vision statement...

1. Indigenous Acknowledgement [15sec]
Tonight as we begin,
we acknowledge and give our respect to
the traditional owners of the land on which we gather,
who have cared for it since time immemorial.
The Darkinjung people were here at the time Cessnock was established...

2. [3] Voice Call to Worship [2 mins]
Voice [1]
Here in this time and this place
God waits for us to be aware of God’s calling.
God of the anxious and calm alike knows
There are moments of clarity and moments of fear for us all.
How can we participate in liberating communities of courage and hope?
This is our worship. Not a concert or a play, a conversation with God and each other.

Voice [2]
We face difficulty with mixed feelings,
Are we slow to change, aware of the need, uncertain in direction or impatient for action?
We are a people on the way and that way is hard.
Fear can paralyse and it takes courage to act, to move, even in our grieving.
God is in action in the world, inviting us to join in ways small and large.
“It has to be believed to be seen”*

Voice [3]
Our loss of meaning and community is palpable
We need the Spirit of God to lead us
Make space to be a community, seeking to engage in God’s mission
Find ways within your worship and community life, to practice hospitality and grace
Bring reconciliation to all people because “hope only offers when justice is coming”*
We must practice the imagination required to bring on the change*.
*”Window in the Skies “ U2, “Time to Heal” and “Bring on the Change” Midnight Oil

3. Movie Trailer Clip
“Up” Pixar Teaser Trailer [43sec]

4. Prayer [15sec]
Missional God,
Give us the empathy to listen, the tools to imagine and the courage to act,
In the face of change help us be a pilgrim people, on the way…

5. Song
“The Wood Song” The Indigo Girls [4mins]
Lyrics onscreen

6. Stories of Courage and Hope
[a] Quotes [1min 15sec]

At the National Museum in Canberra,
the ‘Eternity’ display includes windows depicting stories around different emotions including ‘Hope’
and it says,

“To hope is to dream. Of what might or will be.
Of the possible and the mere possible — hope against hope.
To hope is to strive for the best. To build on glimmers of new beginnings.
To hope is to never give up.
To remain expectant, against hopes dashed, disappointments, falsities.
To hope is to believe there is a way.”

Just last week Barack Obama, returned to the theme of ‘hope’ saying,
“I'm not talking about blind optimism,
the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead
or the road blocks that stand in our path.
I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence
to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching,
to keep working, to keep fighting.”

[b] Stories on Tables [7 mins]
Stories on ‘some’ tables to be read aloud at a mic by [1] person from the table
1. David
2. Esther
3. Gideon
4. Kylie Sambo
5. Ahn Doh
6. St Nicholas Church, Leipzig

[c] Movie Clip Finish [49 secs]
“Shawshank Redemption” hope

7. TABLE DISCUSSION AND PRAYER [30 mins total until 6.20 or 6.25]

[a] Introduce the table discussion around how we live out the Presbytery Vision re:
‘liberating communities of courage and hope’

[b] Questions Discussion at Tables
Outcomes pinned up on wall

[c] Prayer at Table Groups
Maz explains Prayer Activity writing on paper squares/mix/pick and pray at tables

8. SENDING OUT by 6.30pm [9mins]

Only if time allows
“Stuck” storybook [4 mins]

FINISH with Communal Song [4mins]
“Holy Words Long Preserved” Lyrics on DVD

Cardinal Pell Gets It Sooo Wrong

This week here in Oz the government [under some pressure] announced a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse [yes there will be a more technical title and terms of reference]. It's really in response to a building story here about instances of abuse by Catholic Clergy that there's no doubt the media have increasingly highlighted as victims and support groups have seized on instances and ramifications to put pressure on governments.
It's clear from responses yesterday that Cardinal Pell [Sydney Arch Bishop] just doesn't get it...
For years the Church's institutional response has featured denial, punishment, legal advice never to admit liability, silence and 'moving Priests on.'
In more recent times ther church has put more transparent and fair processes in place, made settlements and sanctioned Priests BUT they continue to hold up changes, mediation, settlements etc as somehow meaning that things are OK...

Maybe there should be:
- apologies not encouragement to 'move on'
- acknowledgement of fallibility and mistakes rather than pronouncements of change
- humilty in the face of being shown up rather than cliams of media witch hunts
- openness and cooperation rather than constant minimising...
- Someone who hasn't been accused of cover ups and ignoring the truth might be a better spokesperson

Maybe everytime an announcement, question or comment is made they would do well to acknowledge the past and those effected even when the systems now in place would be much better at unearthing the truth and helping people move on...

Anyhow,having added their voice to the call for the Commission to be wider than just the Catholic Church, I would expect the Church to begin to focus on confession, humilty, transparency and letting better actiosn speak louder than shrill words!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


   The Uniting Church in the Hunter has enjoyed a rich tradition of edgy [sometimes annoying] and dynamic ministry with young people since it's beginnings. The Youthleaders at the time of Union in 1977 chose to launch 'something new' to work on together... Easter Camp 1978 at Glenrock Campsite... and we have witnessed several 'waves' of young people, leaders, events that filled calendars, worship and that experience of various places being the 'latest' congregation to enjoy a growth spurt across the years....
   The Hunter UYF rode the wave of social change from the 1960s and 70s because of a radical discipleship vision and story. It became something more of a maintaining the energy beyond the 1980s and into the 1990s with Youth Workers funded or not at different periods and 'groups' of young people in their hundreds experiencing all that this had to offer.
   Over the last 5 or so years generation Y have come through into young adulthood and have wrestled with increasingly busy working and studying lives. They have embraced opportunities beyond the increasing generation gap in mainstream congregations but have engaged in those to greater or lesser extent along the way. It's true of the Hunter community but even moreso of our churches, that numbers thin around the age of 20 and certainly in our churches there's a gap in the age range which means that group of young adults have not been able to [and sometimes unwilling or unable to] hand on responsibilities to a next group of young people. It's been some years since the UYF had a raft of activities for all UCA youth alongside Easter Camp during each year. Thise events which have happened have often been attended by particular peer groups.
All this work has left a group tired, moving on to 'the next thing' or just 'moving on' in some cases and it's been tough for some. Youth Groups in the Hunter are mostly High Schoolers, at the younger end of the scale. Many are just 'dipping toes in the water' of faith and other have little or no concept they are part of a Uniting Church... To reinvigorate regional ministry with young people in the Hunter will require a unifying vision that excites young people and draws them in 'right where they are.' It raises questions way beyond 'will we or won't we do Easter Camp?'
   What to do about the UYF and regional ministry with young people in this scenario, especially having seen the enthusiasm of a group of adults lead to 'trying' Easter 24 as a measure for 2012 and it being 'not quite Easter Camp' and only attracting low numbers?
   This would have been a burden for the younger leaders who would have managed but would have needed to work pretty hard to sustain a 24hr+ program with 30+ people as a 'fun' event for those registered. It was cancelled very late in the scheme of things...
   There are at least three fronts to work on...
[1] growing a vision and identity for regional ministry
[2] equipping and encouraging young adults to be disciples in the next stage of their lives e.g. in congregations, new faith communities or experimental approaches to being people of God with an underlying goal of growing people who live out their faith in daily life whether they find a community to connect with or not
[3] to work with existing youthleaders to grow regional ministry that unites and multiplies their efforts... these things will or should determine the WHAT of this challenge...

As YOUTH MINISTRY DEVELOPMENT WORKER my role in part encourages me to engage in ministry that will...
- facilitate communication between different networks
- encourage the youth & young adult network to initiate intentional and creative ways for discipleship building and belonging
- resource, mentor and train youth & leaders towards mature discipleship with leadership skills for their roles
- assist the Youthleaders to develop their combined activities
- equip congregations to develop youth ministry
-facilitate connections with the wider church and community
-work towards connecting smaller groups in
There's a focus on 'sustainable' events or programs and leadership practice...

  As someone whose life and leadership were findamentally shaped by Easter Camp I too grieve it's loss in 2012... for me it's not about doing what ot takes to hold Camp... but doing what it takes to encourage young adults in their journey and to fashion what might work for the next generation. The younger generations already feel the pressure of being involved for a 'whole Easter Weekend', working part time, needing to fund University studies at some point and living. These young people have a more tenuous sense of belonging within the UCA and are at present mostly early to mid High School age so rely on parents and others for transport etc.
   These young people value choice and lots of activities compete for their time... entertainment is sought in lots of places so the church needs to focus on it's uniqueness and what will excite and motivate young people to invest, not just opening the doors or the flyers and expecting them to come... it's tough...
- individual conversations with those who've given UYF leadership to care for and encourage them
- a celebratory event with food, to celebrate all things UYF and thank lots of people for their recent years of engagement and allow some to 'let go of' feelings of responsibility and in some cases 'guilt'
- a gathering or series of gatherings of any young people and young adults who do want to continue offering regional leadership, to see if we can't envisage some possibilities alongside the Youthleaders and their local groups
- equipping and supporting local group leaders to build grassroots ministry with young people so regional connections make sense and help grow beyond local borders
- we now know some significant adults would help with whatever is tried... but the shaping of that needs to be generated by the young people or we are just floating our own version. However valuable it has been or could be,
ownership of what is planned is crucial to it's chances of success...
I'd welcome questions, comments, offers, energy, waiting, prayer and encouragement in this important time!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Upper Hunter "Muster" October 21st

This is a terrible phtot but the adults and kids were hooked in...

Here's what we did before a BBQ and Salads Lunch to mark about 12 months of the agreed Upper Hunter Resource Ministry approach across Merriwa, Muswellbrrok and Scone and Districts... there's some great progress, some hard work ahead and some slow moving transformation in train!!

We changed the 'outdoors' decision taking account of musicians we knew we had vs those we hoped to have and so moved [4] pews etc to create a Godly Play story space and room to move

1. CD/iTunes music x 3 in lead up to 11am (Rob)
Though we ended up using instrumentals from the band
2. "on New & Risky Paths" CALL TO WORSHIP (4) Voices
“New and Risky Paths” Call to Worship” [4] Voices

Voice ONE:
Now is the time to worship.
We come together today in hope and expectation.
We bring ourselves, we bring our lives.

Voice TWO:
Today and every day we are called to be the people of God.
We wait and listen for God’s Spirit in our world.
Called to new and risky paths we aren’t always ready…

Voice THREE:
Look for God’s action in the world.
Feel the need for change and have courage.
Know God is with us always, even in our questions and doubts.

Voice FOUR:
Today let’s celebrate.
We are part of a ‘big story’ and God offers us reconciliation and grace.
How will we live in response?

3. PRAYER (Ross and others)
With a confessional response to close
Come now is the time to Worship
Gather Us In TiS 474
On New and Risky Paths
6. GODLY PLAY STORY Leonie O'Keefe (10-15mins)
'The risk of leaving Egypt'
includes Video Camera attached to projector for those who won't move closer
7. SHARING STORY 'the new paths'
including "Stuck by Oliver Jeffers with images onscreen and sharing about what motivates me to 'keep going' in encouraging 'missional thinking and action'
then opportunity to REFLECT on pictures spread around the space as a Prayer for Others
11. SONG/S
On New and Risky Paths
Here I Am Lord TiS 658
Go out from this place,
With less fear of ‘new and risky paths’
Aware of God who sends you,
Jesus Christ who goes ahead of you
And God’s Spirit who gives energy and spark for the journey…
including explanation of GTKY cards/activity
13. Band play instrumental [no sung blessing]

It was what, after some feedback on earlier 'stations' plans, we felt people could cope with being stretched by...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Idiot Footballers and their Club!!

   I wasn't at the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 'Mad Monday' so called celebrations the other day but I have read some of the media reports about their boorish behaviour and sexist and inappropriate interactions with the media who showed up for post Grand Final coverage.
   Surely in 2012 the Club, the minders and the players themselves have this 'sorted'... assemble at an arranged time [costumes and all] and do some interviews, pose for the TV news and then politely remove yourselves to a secure private location for whatever antics, food and fun times you choose. This should include security/welfare minders who help players enjoy but not overdo the partying. Some will drink to excess, others will be sensible and enjoy a 'let down' party but stay within reasonable limits.
   There's no doubt the media's desire to 'get the story' the day after a Grand Final [win or lose] is a provocative and silly opportunity to show players in tights/costumes/drunk/being silly. Maybe they could be left at that point to just be a team and mark the end of months of hard physical work themselves.
   Either way the insensitive players/staff who've done stupid things should be accountable for their actions and should be fined and warned about the consequences of any further foolishness.
   I've been part of some amazing, euphoric, consoling, bonding and fun celebrations in 25 years of rugby union and seen the occasional idiocy of over indulgence and I understand the significance of the chance to 'let your hair down' after months of hard work' but stupidity doesn't have to be part of the deal!! Canterbury Bulldogs club didn't do enough to prevent what happened and the players shouldn't have done what they did!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Lots Been Happening in September

 Ok so not entirely sure why I wrote and saved the following blog entry the other day BUT here goes...
  I've been quiet on blogging as family and vocation have taken up a busy time this month...
I've also been working on my monthly Dynamo email as an annual edition that's taken plenty of time but will be emailed out tonight!!

September has been a busy time:
- the VMAs highlighted Psy's Gangnam Style
- Bernard Tomic tanked at the US Open Tennis
- 'Trolls' hit the news, not just their twitter accounts
- another 9/11 went by
- Kate Windsor nee Middleton became even more popular
- several serious car or bus accidents cost lives
- Quade Cooper played his last game for the Wallabies
- US Presidential hopefuls came [and perhaps went]
- ABC Melbourne staffer Jill Meagher sadly lost her life
To name just a few...

   I'm getting back into catching up with people who need support, ideas, encouragement and challenge!! There are some important threads to draw together in what's left of 2012 and it's also been a sad and tough time!!
   I read lots of the quotable quotes, platitudes, cliches and frankly 'crap' people write all over Facebook and other places. I'm aware of the struggles, mishaps and issues faced by lots of people alongside some outstandingly celebratory moments for others!!
But if some of what I read is our best effort to understand the mystical, the creator and the spirit amongst and within us, no wonder we are in trouble!!!!
   It reminds me of the wisdom of reflection, listening and taking pause... it reminds me to think of 'others' and to take ideas to their sometimes logical or illogical conclusions and it helps me know that the search for meaning in the middle of all this is a journey accompanied [not manipulated] by God and truly explored in all dimensions by a the son of a tradie in the middle/near East over 2000 years ago...
   Who is Jesus Christ in our lives and all it's happenings? How can I best tell that story? How do I best allow others their story, though we often cannot share the same path... especially a 'path of least resistence' Hmmnn... might save this post and let it sit for a day!!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Worship/Reflection Time at 'Unfiltered'

Here's what I put together for Thursday Worship/Reflection at 'Unfiltered'
I had been pondering something with a large sheet of newsprint and paint, or stations, or a traditional framework with communal singing BUT it's always a chance to do something different so that's how I ended up with music, again...

Before worship/reflection time the 'vestry prayer' was a clip of Midnight Oil "The Deadheart" recorded live from Canberra Theatre as a 'rehearsal' for Sound Relief.

At start time we played the clip for "Default" Django Django
[3] Participants read aloud the [3] Voice Call
Voice ONE:
Like it or not we are all on journeys…
And imagination fuels our faith.
We know we are called to be people who participate
in God’s action in the world,
inviting others to recognize the same sense of call…
This worship is an opportunity to reflect and wonder…

Voice TWO:
This is not a concert,
not entertainment or a movie.
This is our worship.
We are people, responding to God.
We bring ourselves,
seeking to shape faith and to share love.

Voice THREE:
We are part of a ‘BIG story’ !!
God offers us grace and reconciliation and is in action in the world…
What will we do? Who will we be?
Not ‘what does the Bible say?’ but how will we live in response?
Not who can we get young people to be,
But how will we share ‘places’ with them?
Let’s worship God…

People were invited to reflect/pray while listening to "It's Only Life" The Shins
with lyrics onscreen

“It’s Only Life” The Shins
Dyed in the wool, you've been cornered by a natural desire
You want to hop along with this giddy throng through life
But how will you learn to steer when you're grinding all your gears?
You've been talking for hours
You say "time will wash every tower to the sea"
And now you've got this worry in your heart
Well, I guess it's only life.
It's only natural
We all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole
The things they taught you
They're lining up to haunt you
They've got your back against the wall
I call you on the telephone
Won't you pick up the receiver?
I've been down the very road you're walking now
It doesn't have to be so dark and lonesome
It takes a while but we can figure this thing out and turn it back around
You used to be such a lion
Before you got into all this crying on my lap
Back when you never thought I'd never get this far
But did you really think I'd shut the door?
The futures calling and I'm going to answer
The wheels in motion
I never drank your potion and I know it breaks your heart
Open up your parachute
Something's got to stop the free-fall
I've been down the very road you're walking on
It takes a while but we can figure this thing out and turn it back around
It doesn't have to be so dark and lonesome

Hearing the Story
We watched "meet Me in the Middle of the Air"

Paul Kelly Live at Sound Relief

Then [2] Participants read
Luke 13: 10-21
Luke 7: 36-50

Clip: Liberty Mutual "Humans" Advert

Then the [7] Characterisations of Young People/Young Adults and we spent time reflecting on who they were/weren't reminded of AND what they'd learnt this week...
It was a prayer time as well

Soundtrack 1/2 volume:
"Sweet Arms of a Tune" Missy Higgins
"Light All My Lights" Seeker Lover Keeper

Sending Out
"Cannot Buy My Soul" Kev Carmody

Sunday, August 26, 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong is the complete opposite of the dominant idea of fame today!! Human endeavour? US Politics? either way amazing!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Some great Youtube Clips

I've found some new songs and a couple of impressive time lapse videos BUT I'm using them in the next 2 weeks and then I'll post here...

Beyonce at the UN

It's amazing what lots of money can do!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Battle within: Castrol Edge Rugby Championship

   The new rugby comp in the southern hemisphere that includes new team Argentina pales compared to the interest and the pages of newsprint generated by the Bledisloe Cup clashes within it that start on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium in Sydney (shouldn't they all be held in Brisbane?)
   It should be a great challenge... Next phase of the Wallabies 'development' and a the post Rugby World Cup retirements All Blacks!!
Please stop writing about:
-the work the forwards are doing
-the new immovable scrum
-Wallaby favoritism
-All Black nerves
-skills sessions about kick and catch etc etc

   I'm sick of it.... Let's see it in the game, shut up and deliver!!!
Media, please stop writing about it and team.... Time to play!!!
Kurtley Beale please stop kicking non tactical ball away
Scrum, stop going backwards...

Otherwise we'll see one close loss, one gutsy win and one thrashing at least...

Looking fwd to Pocock v McCaw, these miracle scrums, Barnes at 5/8th with a full strength line up....rain and storms go away....... Please be sunny all day!!
 Anything less and it'll be just another night out for the ABs.... 
If we can control ball and get on the front foot of course we can win... We just need to do it not talk about it as though we have done anything other than train together!

Very glad Brad Thorn et al won't be out there and I have a funny feeling that SBW with a settled future will be a huge danger in our 22m zone...

Sunday, August 05, 2012

"Blue Like Jazz" The Movie

   I've just ordered my DVD copy of the film based on Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" [a region 1 from the US] and have the pdf discussion guide...
   It's likely there will be a viewing at 'ministry Unfiltered' at the CFM in a couple of weeks BUT I'm also planning one or more Newcastle/Hunter viewings... just need to check the dates with a few people to avoid clashes where possible... I ordered here through Atomic Movies!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Combined Worship at Wesley East Maitland 29.7.12

We took the opportunity of the normal 5th Sunday practice of a combined happening, to gather a small team of young people and leaders to plan worship as they envisaged it! We met with about 3-4 weeks space BUT started with a BLANK SHEET...

'Givens', venue, who we would expect to attend and what they were used to or could cope with were noted, then people were asked to share:
What is worship?
What would make that meaningful or significant for you?
What would you like to see happen?
What themes do you sense emerging?

Of those ideas what will we do?
A theme of "Imagination.God.Life" emerged and the challenge of including:
Lego, computer games, Harry Potter, contemporary music, imagination, and a U2 song
[which could have been teased out further to include how those would reflect the gathered group but some clear themes emerged.

We wanted to include a video vox pop around:
What books, movies, stories inspire?
What is it about them?
How might they teach/reflect the nature of God?

We took the risk of inviting some musicians to set up so the band included violins, piano and vocal with others who may join in future [that was the hope]

Using Macbook Keynote [a much better alternative to Powerpoint]here's roughly what we did:

Pre worship music
[1] A single slide with 30sec 'A Hopeful Transmission' Coldplay to catch attention
[2] Announcements & Concerns
[3] A Call to Worship for [3] Voices
[added soon]
[4] Communal Song "Dreams & Visions"
[5] Greeting/Welcome/Words
[6] LEGO Prayer with brief words:
LEGO was used as a symbol of 'building blocks' oflfe and belief' but participants were invited to collaborate and build a symbol of this through discussion together, then bring those to a front table... some brilliantly simple symbols resulted.
[7] Movie Clip Collage 2min 40

[8] Communal Song "Faith, Hope & Love"
[9] Scripture reworked Hebrews 11:1+ and Luke 13: 18-21
[10] Reflection on 'Imagination.God.Life'
[11] Communal Song "God Version 1.0" including Offering
[12] Prayers for the World choosing from 80+ photos stuck on the side walls
[13] Communal Song "Here I am Lord"
[14] Spoken Sending Out
Followed by opportunity for all planners/participants to shake hands at the door

In my role I'm available to work with other groups and places to develop capacity to put together linear experiences like this, alt.worship or other styles etc through workshopping, discussions and curating across the UCA in the Hunter!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'Yurora' or NCYC 2014... the wheels are beginning to turn...

NCYC - Yurora 2014 Promo from UCA Assembly on Vimeo.

London Olympics Opening Ceremony Rumours

Daniel Craig, Sheep and Sir Paul McCartney may be locked in to Danny Boyle's extravaganza... but what else can we expect...

David Beckham
Mary Poppins
The Industrial Revolution
Armed Forces
The Rolling Stones
Not sure about a 7 months pregnant Adele
The Spice Girls
Red Buses
National Health Nurses
London Cabs
It seems Coldplay are in for the Paralympic Closing...

Who will light the cauldron? And where is it if as is claimed it's not part of the red art tower...
Steve Redgrave, Daly Thompson or Roger Bannister...???

Oh well, Saturday morning Oz time I guess!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'They Became What They Beheld'

Hat Tip: Tristan and Rah

This clip is a clear reminder and inspiration around creativity, theology and engagement that would be a great intro to a workshop about communicating faith, curating worship, discipleship, running youth Camps etc.... as well as a personal reminder about what I'm creating/doing and hoping not to 'sell'

Australian Olympic Uniforms 2012

   Who cares really, but in about 4 days I will be consumed by the endeavours of the athletes at the London Olympics... I love sport!!

   I will have chuckled at the naysayers and about the event being 4,000 security staff short, the rain etc. I will be exasperated by the Nine Network commentators and the aussie obsession with swimming. I will be driven crazy by the advertising and be grateful for t-box and Foxtel IQ so I can record and fast fwd footage...

   But with this many days to go it's time to talk Oz uniforms [although I know UK friends will be obsessing over beating Oz to the Top 5 in the medal tally and we will be sick of hearing about PBs]. Adidas and others have the gig... and this time athletes got a say...

   I like the official uniform and don't mind that they look like lawn bowlers... it's a classic old style with name lined faded green blazers and off white clothes... the Dunlop volleys are great!! the casual polos could have actually benefitted from the three greem stripes on the plain canary yellow shirts but otherwise the traditional colours are good!!
Now comes the Opening Ceremony but watch out for athletes 'on the juice' and 'The Spice Girls' et al in the Closing Ceremony!!

Qantas and Daniel Johns

   The weekend newspapers all featured the story of the roll out of QANTAS new music/Olympic advertising, put together by Daniel Johns and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, in search of a grand international sound.
   Daniel's creativity is boundless for a vegan hippy who could be bumped into outside Merewether's 'Prince of Wales Hotel', mid winter, barefoot and wearing a tea cosy, late evening, walking his small dog as we left various rugby victory parties on
a Saturday night. Oh yeah and of course onstage with 'Silverchair' for some stunning live shows!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

IDEAS only in Need of Collaborators

- Monthly Cafe Space Faith Community of Young Adults built around music/discussion
- Local version of 'Live at the Chapel' because we have plenty of talented musos
- U2 360 Live [in LA] on the big screen
[both raising funds for social justice action]
- Using a local UCA with no existing PM worship for a monthly regional worship
[day and time negotiable, maybe schedule 3 to see how it goes]
probably including a focus on 1. discipleship and 2. social justice action individually or in groups
Not sure which are 'pet' projects or must have collaborators to 'fly'...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tim Hart Solo Album "Milling the Wind"

  "Milling the Wind"is the solo album from Boy & Bear's Tim Hart [due out August 17th...]
The single "A Number of Us"sounds like an interesting 'story' and is also proving more accessible to me than Angus Stone's latest effort in search of a tune!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Youth Group Programs: What do you want to do?

"What do you want to do?"
   As anyone knows, that's usually the completely wrong question to ask a group of High School kids who will answer anywhere from "dunno" to seeing the latest horror or MA15+ action flick to Laser Tag or  a raft of other expensive options none of them have the budget for... but the hope is to create 'ownership' of the program on their part and/or the opportunity to express affinities and connections.
   There is a simple alternative that might help [especially with groups of 10 - 50 punters] with groups of any size...
   Develop a series of categories or sub categories with options and set a number of activities from each with votes collated and a final draft program produced. This is a chance to set a limit on expensive choices but they re still choices, sports, craft, computers, team and group building, no or low equipment activity and a balance between 'in house' and away options etc... you can also have the group use the famous 'yes' voting to half each list plus one and a list of preferences will emerge.
   In the current context it's harder than ever to rely on loyalty and belonging as reasons everyone in the group will front up most nights... part time work, just not liking some choices and plenty of accessible alternative options create a 'culture of better offer' and render the RSVP a quaint historical artifact in most Youth Activities...

Examples: [not necessarily described this way on the whiteboard or voting sheets]

+$10 Laser Tag   Bowling   Movies   All U Can Eat   Live Concert
[Vote yes for up to three, 2 to be chosen]

Social Action   Fundraiser   Guest Speaker   Simulation game   Slave Auction   Exposure Visit
[Vote yes for up to three, 2 to be chosen]

In House   Board Games   Master Chef   Amazing Race   Team Games   Indoor Sport   'Build a' Night
DVD   Go Kart Build   Theatre Sports   Nintendo Wii    
[Vote yes for up to six, 5 to be chosen]

Leaves one Food Night, a worship planning or the actual planning night or one 'Life and Faith' Night where the whole night has a discipleship focus vs the struggle to do a 10min talk consistently... The 2, 2 and 5 most popular should easily emerge or be discussed from one 'yes' voting and then you can space them according to known calendar events, time of year, spreading the cost evenly etc...

   The same could be done with a list of themes, questions or issues for doing 'faith practices', discussions or input on with the group...
Peer Pressure, self esteem, who is Jesus? God Questions, Bullying, Sexuality, identity, design and hold a worship, plan for annual camp etc...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SoD 2012 Sleep, Reconciliation, Recreation and Great film clips!!

I went to the 'School of Discipleship' over the weekend despite having been unwell with a respiratory infection for the week... I knew it would restrict my experience but I would get more sleep than at home at the same time... It was good on the whole!!
I have not been before because it clashed with Winter Camp which has come to and end after nearly 20 years of Camp and it's precursor WAC!!
    I was disappointed not to spend enough time chatting with other Novocastrians but did resolve some things, get annoyed by some things, enjoyed the... space, affirmed some things and enjoyed seeing people empowered, challenged and stretched...
    I knew I was still underpower when I had no energy to muster an act for the 'Songfest/Vision/Storytelling' Night!! Not even the 'Frog' joke...
Some tweaking would refresh SoD and it's impact, including rewidening it's promotion next time.       There seemed to be a missing 'variety' of punters from recent past events and I wonder if networkers passed on details beyond their tertiary sphere. Sometimes families and a range of the various attenders can be 'busy' all in one year and back again the next year... who knows... It was a very anglo event too... to do otherwise begins with organisational colaborations and shared leadership.

    In the big picture it's another of those spaces that confirms what's possible if we reordered priority, resourcing and focus with those under 30!! For me that reinvention is not just about one cohort but recognises it's connections with younger people as well and shares a passion for context, mission and discipleship 'with' young people!! Bringing that about involves talking to those who can change things and being 'in' processes that bring it about...
    There's a myth that the main SoD crowd want 'heady academic Bible Study'... that's true for a core. For the most part I think SoDs greater strength is that they actually value it's affirmation of questioning, desire to mesh life and belief and to be able to think, not just be told... it's a subtle but significant difference!!
    Anyhow, I am reminded of who/what my ministry and mission point to... am affirmed by the use of liturgy, visuals and music so creatively and go back to my corner of the world without having to worry about those bigger questions except as I can join God's action where I am...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


OK so it's about my 7th week of feeling less than 100% although for a change it's my first set of antibiotics!! A bit of travel in the last 2 weeks caught up and I'm resting at home but geez... it's time to feel better... weekend in jeopardy still at this stage!!
Little blogging break in order I feel!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where the Hell is Matt Harding? Now

Thanks Andy Crouch for highlighting Matt Harding's new clip and the article that takes a great angle on what's different about the 2012 version!! Read the article here
Regular readers [both of you] will remember the original posted here several times... agenuine glimpse of how the world could be with Matt's unique dance all over the world. His new clip is great and could also double as a great contrasting image of imposing culture or learning from culture yourself in a mission context... or it's just another great clip from Matt Harding whose story and clips are all here

Thursday, June 21, 2012


day 01 your favourite song ‘The Dead Heart’ Midnight Oil
day 02 your least favourite song ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ Billy Ray Sirus
day 03 a song that makes you happy ‘I Know What You Need’ Shane Nicholson
day 04 a song that makes you sad ‘Better Be Home Soon’ Crowded House
day 05 a song that reminds you of someone ‘Khe San’ Cold Chisel
day 06 a song that reminds you of somewhere ‘King & Country’ Seth Lakeman
day 07 a song that reminds you of a certain event ‘When Love Comes to Town’ U2
day 08 a song that you know all the words to ‘Dreamworld’ Midnight Oil
day 09 a song that you can dance to ‘Stayin’ Alive’ The Bee Gees
day 10 a song that makes you fall asleep ‘McArthur Park’ Donna Summer
day 11 a song from your favourite band ‘Walk On’ U2
day 12 a song from a band you hate ‘Sacred Trickster’ Sonic Youth
day 13 a song that is a guilty pleasure ‘If I Can’t Have You’ Kim Wilde
day 14 a song that no one would expect you to love ‘Speak Now’ Taylor Swift
day 15 a song that describes you ‘Outdoor Type’ The Lemonheads
day 16 a song that you used to love but now hate ‘Living Thing’ ELO
day 17 a song that you hear often on the radio ‘Rabbit Song’ Boy & Bear
day 18 a song that you wish you heard on the radio ‘Four Chords’ Axis of Awesome
day 19 a song from your favourite album ‘Beds are Burning’ Midnight Oil
day 20 a song that you listen to when you’re angry “These Days” Dave Grohl
day 21 a song that you listen to when you’re happy ‘Burn Your Name’ Powderfinger
day 22 a song that you listen to when you’re sad ‘Sometimes’ Alex Lloyd
day 23 a song that you want to play at your wedding ‘One Country’ Midnight Oil
day 24 a song that you want to play at your funeral
‘Melancholy & the Infinite Sadness’ Smashing Pumpkins
day 25 a song that makes you laugh
‘Hey Christina’ The Pigs ‘All of the Dreamers’ Powderfinger
‘The EBay Song’ Weird Al Jankovic
day 26 a song that you can play on an instrument ‘Light Today’ Eddie Vedder
day 27 a song that you wish you could play ‘World Upon Your Shoulders’ Silverchair
day 28 a song that makes you feel guilty ‘400 Miles from Darwin’ The Whitlams
day 29 a song from your childhood ‘Let It Be’ The Beatles
day 30 your favourite song at this time last year ‘Rolling in the Deep’ Adele

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 30 A song that was my favourite this time last year? "Rolling in the Deep" Adele

It was a pretty disengaging time 2/3rds of the way through June last year... I didn't have a role for this year, we couldn't do much new or anything long term... our little Team was rolling up the rug and this song could be played very loud!!!
She has a fine Welsh voice, seems unfazed by worldwide fame from what I've seen/read and think she was great to speak up about her body shape and image in the face of ignorant comment from a so called fashion 'expert'!!
Either way this album persists in the charts... I think it'll still be featured at the London Olympics in TV coverage along with Coldplay and others...
There's a depth and gravel for such a young voice and it's not over produced... she has handled throat issues well and is willing to walk away for a year or two if it all gets too crazy!!
Adele's music looks great danced to in contemporary form and is great for reflection and backing spiritual practice...

AND that is IT!!!! Summary file tomorrow!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 29 A song from my childhood? "Let It Be" The Beatles

Gotta have this band in any list of thirty songs I think. In truth we are talking early 1970s and the dominant Band of that any many years since... was it the invention of the passenger jet airliner that allowed them to be the big supergroup? e.g. ability to jump on a plane and head to the US [and beyond]quickly...
These songs were on TV, radio...on vinyl LPs and 45s and so on. I chose it because I recall watching 'The Beatles' cartoon in childhood [Saturday mornings I think] where they got into all kinds of adventures and played songs in each episode, had great accents, peppy cartoon selves and it was fun to watch... This clip has a sense of tension about it, with Yoko on the scene, scruffy and tired looking players and hints of little or no collaboration on these tracks?

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 28 A song that makes you feel guilty? "400 Miles from Darwin"

This is perhaps somewhere near my answer for Day 28... Whether I should have been more aware at a younger age, been more active on the issue and certainly in recent years I had hoped to get some partnership trips going through Uniting World [and will at some stage]... very pleased to hear of others partnerships and awareness of the sad history of occupation in Timor Leste [East Timor]... inspirational people alongside their leaders...
I'm also a fan of Tim Freedman and his many guises. Writing as he says 'about stuff that matters that others don't often write about'... couldn't find a clip so I put one together... might have to 'Ken Burns' it when I have more time!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 27 A song you wish you could play? "World Upon Your Shoulders" Silverchair

Silverchair were a band made up of very young Newcastle lads who were talented musicians that happened to attend Newcastle High School. Theirs is a great story... following the influences from their dads record collections they were exposed to an array of classic rock.
From sets at Jewells Tavern to Battle of the Bands and hooking up with manager John Watson, they went from the 12 yr old songwriters unkindly known as 'Nirvana in Pyjamas'to a mature world famous band...
In the end Daniel John's desire to break out and try a variety of musical styles led to their 'hybernation'...
Meeting them at Launceston Airport having seen them live the night before I still laugh about them being so excited to meet someone who played for the same Rugby Clu as their legend school mates... Wandereres Rugby Club... using Chris Joanou's dads laundry for our jerseys... Science Laundry at Merewether!!
We also won tix to their secret Luna Park gig with 300 others for what was an amazing concert so early in their fame!!
This song is exquisite in it's detail and musicianship... love Ben Gillies drumming!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: day 26 A song you can play on an instrument?

Since I can't play any instrument beyond Year 7 recorder [Farewell Aunty Jack and God Save the Queen] or comb and paper... I am left to choose one I'd love to be able to play... I have always wished I was a drummer but I think ukelele is 'more' likely and this would be a very cool achievement!!

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 25 A song that makes you laugh?

I'm cheating but I can't split three songs...they all make me laugh!!
The first by 'The Pigs' is a 'tribute' to an ex I guess...
The second is 'All of the Dreamers' by Powderfinger...
I love their music but from the very first time I heard this song I laughed at the lines about coming 'down to the barrio, to get a feel for the people's scenario'... are you kidding me!!

And lastly the oh so apt ode to EBay by Wierd Al Yankovic...
If you're an EBay regular you get it...

Friday, June 15, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE DAY 24: A song you'd play at your Funeral? 'Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness'

Not only would I not actually play this at my Funeral because I'd be dead, but also because try as I have [a little bit] I cannot play a musical instrument [nothing beyond Year 7 Recorder or paper and comb anyhow] BUT I love music so much that I marvel at and revel in great creativity...
Yes there are Oils and U2 tracks for part of the service, but at an appropriate reflective time or for the walking out I would include this piece of music demo'd in this file by Billy Corgan. Sarah McLachlan would also get a look in somewhere or 'Sound of White' by Missy Higgins.
I'm caught up now so later I will post a song that make me laugh...

Try as I might I have yet to include a few bands in my 30 Days or at least not enough of them:

ZZ Top
Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Indigo Girls
Sleepy Jackson
Elton John
Alice Cooper
10,000 Maniacs
The Dugites
John Butler
Crowded House and so it goes on...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Brave" Featurette

Tee up a special holiday youth group outing to see 'Brave' then adjourn somewhere for food shared and help build group away from the pressure of a Friday Night!!
It's true sometimes kids need financial help to participate [and others seek it and then spend the whole film texting their mates on their prepaid mobile phone just to annoy you!!] BUT make a choice about what you're doing and why and follow up accordinagly with subsidy, work for subsidy or other creative possibilities...

Monday, June 11, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY TWENTY THREE A song you'd like to play at your wedding? "One Country" Midnight Oil

Not would like to... did... pre data projectors on a large box TV perched on top of the piano!!
The song was chosen as part of the worship theme about community and connections...

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY TWENTY TWO A song you listen to when you're sad? "Sometimes" Alex Lloyd

   I love Alex Lloyd's music... it's so honest and it's simple but emotional. I don't know how to articulate that you just know he's from Balmain [well Roselle] [can you help with that Nic?].
   He does interesting things with most of his film clips and he has music for many occasions. The songs sneak up on you!!
   The other reason I like Alex Lloyd is also hard to explain because it's probably an 'in' joke... is it just me or the members of my household who understand the idea of "a fat man in a thin man's body?" Over the years Alex Lloyd has appeared 'solid' or carrying a bit of weight and then next single he's trimmed down and lean... but secretly I know he'd rather be eating all the pies!! It's like the lead singer of 'Eskimo Joe'... who moving on from the 'Cardigan Song' got a hair style, lost heaps of weight etc etc... but of course it's all about the music!! Clear as mud... well, the quintessential example might just be Warney!! or perhaps only us 'big fellas' understand... especially those of us who only have to look at a block of chocolate and we put on 5kgs... let alone vacuuming them down at the sound of silver foil crumpling.... ok ok... There are other great versions of this track but this one is from 'Dancing with the Stars'... only spoilt by Daryl's intro and outro...
It can either lift your mood or tell you it's ok to be sad sometimes... that might be for good reason!!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY TWENTY ONE A song you listen to when you're happy?

Just brilliant Powderfinger with a great clip!! There are other up tempo numbers but I just enjoy this song though I can't split it with.....

It is possible to hear this song too often... but it's been a while!!

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY TWENTY A song you listen to when you are angry?

Frustrated, annoyed, over tired, but I don't get angry very much if at all... so maybe a song I listen to when I'm very annoyed... is 'These Days' by the Foo Fighters... I don't know Dave Grohl, but what I read and see in the public eye says I like him... unassuming, shouting the Beaconsfield Miners a beer, enjoying and wanting to be on Roy & HGs 'The Dream' Olympics show/s because 'he got it.' He seems to have a healthy perspective on the place of 'Nirvana' in music history, an appropriate memory of Kurt Cobain.
In this I find the music of Foo Fighters to be clever, honest and funny [especially Dave's willingness not to take himself too seriously in his clips... So here it is anyhow...

"Curious" not George, but many young people...

Mr Rogers is a US TV legend who pioneered a softly spoken version of taking kids seriously and encouraging them to use their imaginations... Mark Oestreicher's FB entry pointed me towards this funny remix clip that will get a run somewhere... I liked it so much I wasn't going to share it... but others will find a funny or appropriate place to use it I'm sure. I know some of the meaning is lost in Oz translation BUT if you get it you get it...
For me it fits with some thinking I had been doing about discipleship [or education] and imagination. Young people won't all make sense of the Christain faith or helpful faith practices without some shared wisdom but there's a real importance around allowing for imagination or questioning before attempting to 'educate' with 'jug and mug' facts...
I think what I'm saying is young people won't work it all out for themselves BUT encouraging curiosity,imagination and questions is a way into sharing, teaching and interpreting experiences that's more helpful than teaching 'facts'... that's what I think today anyhow...
"Curious..." is yet another good theme for an event, camp, reflection...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY NINETEEN A song from your favourite album? "Beds are Burning" Midnight Oil

'The Oils' had always done things 'their own way'... band meetings, the Office running it's charity and band business out of Glebe, reforming for 'Sound Wave' and the Bushfire Concert, taking 12 months off just as they were about to break big world wide after this album and even wanting to perform a new song when they were asked to play at the Sydney Olympics. Perhaps Ignatius Jones and his team sold them on the 'behind the scenes' work that was being done to represent indigenous culture so brilliantly... so instead they agreed to play this song "Beds are Burning" and collaborated with their usual costume designer to fit the velcro covers to the word "sorry" on their overalls.
   The album represents the bands experiences travelling through remote parts of Australia and traditional communities. It's a great story that these 'pioneers' found out that no matter how far they journeyed into the outback with NT legends 'The Warumpi Band' they discovered that Slim Dusty had been going there for thirty years!!
   This is a driving album, a colelction for when your annoyed, a reminder of a white perspective that makes room for other voices and a band absolutely on fire, producing a unique Australian sound.
   Nobody plays guitar like Moginie and Rotsey, Rob Hirst' drums and harmonies make their sound and the other guy can't sing [but he has 'something']!!

"Beds are Burning"
Out where the river broke
The bloodwood and the desert oak
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
Steam in forty five degrees

The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty five degrees

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY EIGHTEEN A song you wish you heard on the radio? "4 Chords" Axis of Awesome

This is 'The Axis of Awesome' at their funniest... the premise they haven't had a hit song because they hadn't written one with the stated four chords!! This is a 4+ min version of the original 6min 20sec song!!
I wish I heard this on the radio... Oh hang on!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY SEVENTEEN A song you hear often on the radio? "Rabbit Song" Boy & Bear

Boy & Bear are 'flavour of the month' on a few local radio stations though I listen to ABC Radio way too much to know many alternative options I could have chosen...
Clever band, fun music and I think will get even better as they continue to gig and write!!
At the very least his 'tied' walk from Wollies to the QVB in Sydney reminds me of the many characters I'd regularly encounter on my trips across there day and night over the last 12 years... the lunch run or the wal back from Greater Union George St!!

Monday, June 04, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY SIXTEEN A song I used to love but hate?

   There's probably no such thing as 'used to love but now hate' for me, although there probably have been a few songs cruelled by too much air play, too close an association with a relationship or when it was co-opted by a tv advert [poor Alex Lloyd and the New Radicals]...
   On the other hand this song perhaps comes closest in the sense that we all thought ELO 'The Electric Light Orchestra' were just brilliant!! and for me at least the music hasn't aged well... It's a curiosity but not a great listen! At the time we had not heard anything like this before and their songs were all big for singalongs!! I do wish I'd seen them live when they toured their big stage show...
This is the stuff of High School enthusiasm and marks the era of infatuations, unrequited love and teenage angst!! I was in Year 9 when this song came out!!


   TEDx is an event associated with the [2] annual TED events held in the US and the Sydney one has a creative team behind it that's headed by Remo Guiffre. REMO is well known in Sydney for his now Bondi based online store. It was originally an iconic retail location in Oxford St.
   The TED slogan is 'ideas worth sharing' and revolves around TALKS presented by interesting people without a corporate agenda. The basic idea is an 18 minute talk but different people are given anywhere from 6-11 minutes with some a full 18 and very special presenters might be given longer as an incentive to 'step up.'
   TEDxSydney was again held at the former Eveleigh Railsheds known as 'Carriageworks.' It's across the railyards from Sydney Technology Park and there are various Bays or large sheds set up as theatres. The front area provides a massive foyer to front end any event or make for community space as part of whatever is on.
Bay 17 had a large black stage with screen and red velvet curtain. At each end were simple LED lights and it was backed by an ARKAOS curtain. The seating was traditional tiered theatre style for approx 800 people and the building had a great side door design to several stairwells to quickly move a crowd in and out.
   There were approx 15 verbal presenters who spoke along with images or short video clips as part of their TALK. These were interspersed with approx 6 musical acts or soloists. A number of creative groups had been approached to make short videos for the day and they were exceptional. Some will appear on the TEDx site and I'm going to chase others via the companies listed in the program...
   Registration was smooth and well organised with tote bags and name tags to collect. You name tag was the front and back cover of the program and info book for the day, with a lanyard and hook keeping it together. The totes had minimal paper, a cool water bottle and two pens... one which was made to clip to a nametag lanyard easily and securely.
   Two MCs shared simple introduction duty and the musical acts broke up sessions otherwise puncuated by morning and afternoon tea, lunch and finger food dinner for ticketholders. 800 punters were selected to create an 'interesting audience' and we were asked to pay $160 for the priviledge...
   The day began with a simple but effective 'acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land' with clap sticks, words and 'sorry' for National Sorry Day... the first music was then provided by the 'Stiff Gins.' Amazingly one song was in the singers traditional historical language and was written based on a blessing she discovered in a book about the 1880s. In the end it meant it was a song about words that would have been used to bless her own great grandmother... poignant and moving!!
   The atrium/foyer was set up with big screen so punters could turn up and watch 'outside'. It was also simulcast on the TEDx website and recorded by ABC Big Ideas... Radio National broadcast live post lunch at the rear of the foyer.
   ZIP water provided a chilled water [4] tap station to refill water bottles, coffee and snacks were for sale through the venue kiosk.
   While your name tag invited conversation around chosen topics there was nothing 'organised' to prompt that except space to initiate it yourself. The theatre was darkened for the TALK sessions and no time was left between talks for 'small talk'... conversation time was in the breaks...
   As a super introvert that was fine with me!! I did think it strange that the theatre was so dark as to be using your ipad, Mac etc made you shine like a beacon...

   This was a group of 800 aged 18-80 with most in the 25-40 age range by my guess. You self select to be there so I guess it was a group keen to listen but I was struck that the format was still 11-18min TALKS with a few pictures and maybe three presenters introduced a youtube type clip as part... interesting...
   The food was all healthy, recycling was in play and most products fostered Australian companies [the water bottles were good enough to be a cute exception.
   Presenters were all exceptional... what some lacked in lively presentation skill they made up for with the actual topic... others thrived in catching the audience attention with wit and personality. Each had one central idea to share and made a 'proposition' that their wisdom spoke to.
   Many were intuitively addressing other than religious perspectives in their topic and making a case for wonderment for it's own sake, not as the result of a sense of the creator. Some openly delighted in science, thought and ethics for their own sake or from their early Greek roots as opposed to a Judeo-Christian apologetic. In this sense it was engagingly refreshing and reinforced for me the importance of giving the listener credit for doing the listening. It's OK to 'teach' wisdom or give people tools to unpack or question or act on things themselves... just don't patronise or 'preach' in the sense of a manipulative agenda...
   Lastly my highlights included: Mandyam Srinivasan talk about his research into the cognitive functions of bees, and the exciting new prospect of monitoring physiological responses in bees to determine if they feel joy, fear, anxiety and love and Kate Burridge's talk on euphemisms was brilliant!! Tim Freedman stole the afternoon with just two songs and Katie Noonan was better than I expected. That said perhaps the most poignant music was 'Four Play' rendition of "Sabotage" covering 'Beastie Boys' as a tribute!!

Things I want to remember for other events or for their own sake:
- 800+ people sustained their interest and listening from 9am to 6.30pm
- the interspersed music was a brilliant way to do information heavy sessions
- the Zip chilled water station was a winner... as would $4 bottles/$1 refills be
- food kiosk open all day for food/drinks was great
- the inner and outer spaces served different crowds and different forms of connecting
- the table of newspapers with seats was winner and wasn't overrun
- video shooting and other displays modelled interactive sidelights
- Open source input or a variety of speakers is helped by an application/selection process
- bench seating or stackable individual chairs would have helped on breaks
- good coffee and a cafe space give people social space to hang but still engage
- the simple but effective 'acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land' with cap sticks, words and 'sorry' for National Sorry Day... and the follow up music was worth modelling on
- I did spend the day thinking lots of random thoughts about youth event worship or gathering ideas despite trying not to...

   TED has launched a new brilliant idea called TED Ed where they are giving great teachers access to animators and graphic people to produce material of their best stuff and put it on the web so the world can share their lessons. They are also offering tailored space for uploading videos and group modified questions or tasks for groups...

I'd be interested to see if stories, talks, discipleship materials, leadership sessions etc could be added with discussion/follow on tasks... [that may be too agenda driven or may OK].

It was a great and inspirational day cappd by cheeseless pizza from Newtown and a relatively quick trip home with one quick view of a 'Vivid' Opera House...

"Lego House" Ed Sheeran

Fun clip from Ed Sheeran!!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Some TEDxSydney fun... more soon

"The Kings Speech"

I like Steve Taylor's ideas and inspiration around the notion of "finding voice" prompted by the story and the film "The King's Speech" for which I will use the trailer this Sunday in Scone!! We are focusing on the story of Nicodemus question and the replky that 'we need to be reborn' or every age sees us needing transformation for the task and context we have... it's the challenge to 'find our voice' in mission...

I'm also wrestling with the 5 Marks of Mission, which I like the idea of but still find too internally focused in their expression and attention... or is that just me?

Mission - The Five Marks of Mission

The Mission of the Church is the mission of Christ
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
(Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49, Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p101)
Reviewing the 'Five Marks of Mission'
At its second meeting (Ely 1996), MISSIO began reviewing the 'Five Marks of Mission' as developed by the Anglican Consultative Council between 1984 and 1990. We recognise with gratitude that the Five Marks have won wide acceptance among Anglicans, and have given parishes and dioceses around the world a practical and memorable "checklist" for mission activities.
However, we have come to believe that, as our Communion travels further along the road towards being mission-centred, the Five Marks need to be revisited.
Mission: Announcing good news
The first mark of mission, identified at ACC-6 with personal evangelism, is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus' own summary of his mission (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22; cf. John 3:14-17). Instead of being just one (albeit the first) of five distinct activities, this should be the key statement about everything we do in mission.
Mission in context
All mission is done in a particular setting - the context. So, although there is a fundamental unity to the good news, it is shaped by the great diversity of places, times and cultures in which we live, proclaim and embody it. The Five Marks should not lead us to think that there are only five ways of doing mission!
Mission as celebration and thanksgiving
An important feature of Anglicanism is our belief that worship is central to our common life. But worship is not just something we do alongside our witness to the good news: worship is itself a witness to the world. It is a sign that all of life is holy, that hope and meaning can be found in offering ourselves to God (cf. Romans 12:1). And each time we celebrate the eucharist, we proclaim Christ's death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26). Our liturgical life is a vital dimension of our mission calling; and although it is not included in the Five Marks, it undergirds the forms of public witness listed there.
Mission as church
The Five Marks stress the doing of mission. Faithful action is the measure of our response to Christ (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; James 2:14-26). However, the challenge facing us is not just to do mission but to be a people of mission. That is, we are learning to allow every dimension of church life to be shaped and directed by our identity as a sign, foretaste and instrument of God's reign in Christ. Our understanding of mission needs to make that clear.
Mission as God-in-action
"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world... So mission is never our invention or choice." (Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121). The initiative in mission is God's, not ours. We are called simply to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news. The Five Marks of Mission could make that clearer.
The Five Marks of Mission and beyond
We commend to each Province (and its dioceses) the challenge of developing or revising its own understanding of mission which is faithful to Scripture. We suggest two possible ways forward.
  • The Five Marks could be revised to take account of comments like those above. This has the advantage of retaining the familiar shape of the Five Marks.
  • Alternatively a holistic statement of mission actions could be strengthened by setting out an understanding of the character of mission. This would affirm the solemn responsibility of each local church to discern how it will most faithfully serve God's mission in its context. An example of such an understanding is given below.

    Mission is the creating, reconciling and transforming action of God, flowing from the community of love found in the Trinity, made known to all humanity in the person of Jesus, and entrusted to the faithful action and witness of the people of God who, in the power of the Spirit, are a sign, foretaste and instrument of the reign of God. (Adapted from a statement of the Commission on Mission of the National Council of Churches in Australia.)
Whatever words or ideas each local expression of our Church uses, MISSIO hopes that they will be informed by three convictions:
  • We are united by our commitment to serving the transforming mission of God.
  • Mission is the bedrock of all we are, do and say as the people of God.
  • Our faithfulness in mission will be expressed in a great diversity of mission models, strategies and practices.
Discussion Question
If you were to ask people in leadership positions in your Province (diocese, parish) whether they see mission as "the bedrock of all we are, do and say as the people of God", how do you think they would answer?
Anglicans In Mission (MISSIO report 1999)
It's a bit like this...

"As Johannes Nissen has said, “A missiologically relevant reading of the Bible will not lead to any universal missiology but (as in the New Testament itself) to a variety of missiological perspectives. Different theologies of mission do not necessarily exclude each other, ‘they form a multicolored mosaic of complementary and mutually enriching as well as mutually challenging frames of reference.’ Instead of trying to formulate one uniform view of mission we should rather attempt to chart the contours of a pluriverse of missiology in a universe of mission.” (Nissen 1999:16,17)"

 and this

  1. The missional church proclaims the gospel.
  2. The missional church is a comunity where all members are involved in learning to become disciples of Jesus.
  3. The Bible is normative in this church's life.
  4. The church understands itself as different from the world because of its participation in the life, death, and resurrection of its Lord.
  5. The church seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all of its members.
  6. A missional community is indicated by how Christians behave toward one another.
  7. It is a community that practices reconciliation.
  8. Peoples within the community hold themselves accountable to one another in love.
  9. The church practices hospitality.
  10. Worship is the central act by which the community celebrates with joy and thanksgiving both God's presence and God's promised future.
  11. This community has a vital public witness.
  12. There is a recognition that the church itself is an incomplete expression of the reign of God.

Frost and Hirsch propose three additional overarching principles that give energy and direction to the above:

  1. The missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. It does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the gospel. Rather, the missional church disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don't yet know him.
  2. The missional church is messianic, not dualistic, in its spirituality. Instead of seeing the world as divided between the sacred (religious) and profane (nonreligious), like Christ it sees the world and God's place in it as more holistic and integrated.
  3. The missional church adopts an apostolic, rather than hierarchical, mode of leadership. It abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces a biblical, flat-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy, as well as pastoral and teaching gifts.

Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch, in their book The Shaping of Things to Come, refer to the Gospel and Our Culture Network (GOCN) which defines the missional church as one that "seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and all of its members." p.11-12

and this

"How can this strange story of God made flesh, of a crucified Savior, of resurrection and new creation become credible for those whose entire mental training has conditioned them to believe that the real world is the world which can be satisfactorily explained and managed without the hypothesis of God? I know of only one clue to the answering of that question, only one real hermeneutic of the gospel: a congregation which believes it." – Lesslie Newbigin