Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Pictures of You" TV Show

 Working Dog productions strike again with a new TV show here in Oz which has been on the drawingboard for some ten years... "Pictures of You" is an interview/story telling show where guests are invited to share stories, recollections and/or explanations based around a series of family photos.
   Tonights first episode featured a moving and funny recollection from comedian/author Ahn Doh and actor Shan Jacobsen [of 'Kenny' fame]. Both shared heartwarming, seminal and significant moments in their own lives.
   Brian Nankervis [RockWiz] gets it right most of the time [if a little stiff in tro-ing his guests] and nails the less is more style. I really liked it and look forward to being reminded that 'everyone has a story and everyone's story is worth hearing.'
   If I was being picky the set is a bit austere and the photos a touch small, but rightly they melt and leave a guest and host to chat and share some amazing life moments.
Check it here and watch episodes after they go to air

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook

   "Stories of Hope" is the title of my Sketchbook and a means to collect some well worn stories fro the last few years and to move on in the knowledge "there are new stories to tell." The Sketchbooks are a designer size for the project and I was just not happy with my pencil sketching and ended up using a writing font and photoshop to meet the project deadline!!
   The Sketchbook as previously explained was a gift from good friend Nicole and a great thing to work on in the latter part of 2011 in the hope of sending it away to the US.
   Many will have heard me tell or seen me use these stories in a variety of contexts and there are even a few more I couldn't squeeze in... I'm annoyed what spellcheck didn't pick up but that just shows it was my work!!
You can view the digitised version and these are the instructions [you may need to sign up to see it, I'm not sure... some of the collection will tour the world, including Melbourne later this year!!

"Your digitized project is available for viewing here: http://www.arthousecoop.com/library/6522. Please note that it takes about 20 minutes for the entire project to be uploaded to the site, so if images aren't showing up, please check back in a bit.
Viewers can find your digitized project two different ways so far:
   1) by going to your profile (http://www.arthousecoop.com/users/robhanks) and then clicking on the Artwork tab.
   2) by using the library directory and searching for your name. As with the entire Digital Library, things are constantly being worked on, and the searchable directory is one of them. Please allow up to 24-48 hours for your digitized project to be indexed and searchable."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sports Break: Rugby Waratahs v Force Sat 17th

   14,700 other fans and I 'enjoyed' the Rugby Union match on Saturday night in Sydney 'NSW Waratahs v Western Force' at which the showery rain had stayed away [along with the other half of the crowd]!!I use the word 'enjoyed' fairly generously...
I had good seats on the 10m line, it didn't rain,  there was obviously elbow room, a game of rugby was played, I had a good run in traffic both directions [home by 11.30pm] a young lady won $1000 catching a football at halftime, I got a good park in Paddington and enjoyed the best the Stadium catering had to offer [well]!! The less said about the quality of the home teams match plan, execution, the defence of the forwards and the one point loss to a cod ordinary opposition, the better... eventually!!
   The Force are an improving team, playing with discipline and making less mistakes. David Pocock is an imposing openside breakaway, Nathan Sharpe tackled well and they kicked well.
   The Waratahs have injuries but lacked the defensive sting they have built their team on in recent years, they looked lathargic and ineffectual... the opposition hardly went backwards on their own ball all night.
   We kicked ball away at two critical times and the tactic of kicking deep to build pressure yielded an initial try and little else. That try was well constructed with the old fashioned rugby with most backs joining a driving maul of the forwards and pushing their way over the tryline...
   I found myself wishing Tom Carter were at Inside Centre at least trying to bash the ball up the centre of the field and giving quicker ball than the Waratahs used all night.
   Usually the team wins 3 of the frist 4 matches and we all get excited, only to see the season derailed a little later... this was aweful football from blokes with much more talent than they showed.
Maybe it's a week or two from Barnes at 5/8 and Carter at Inside Centre.
   Replacements were made 15 mins too late and the referee should have been subbed after sin-binning Dean Mumm for being a forward.
BUT my final point would be... was it Rob Horne's fault or those around him that two crucial plays went past him as he was left grasping at an attacker, having taken the wrong bloke or missing the right one??? I hope the reported 'truth session' today gets to the bottom of that... it's the actual 'how' the match was lost... the manner of the loss could mean only 12,000 next week!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Killing Bono"

   I didn't really mention this when it came out... probably not a keen blogger for that time period... BUT
This is the story based on the writing of Neil McCormack [also the driver of the Conference in the US called "The Hype and the Feedback"] and is a really funny film.
   It's the story of two brothers dreams of rock stardom where right alongside them another bunch of locals actually and annoyingly get there...
   I chuckled about our old Easter Camp invention from a concert sketch called "U1" who promoted their "Nearly Famous" Tour ahead a celebrated one night stand in Singleton!! We even gave biker John Smith a signed U1 Tour t-shirt [kindly printed up at ONYA]!! Ahhh, the 1980's!!
   Read more about "Killing Bono" here

"Blue Like Jazz" The Movie

   Like many books I didn't get all the way through Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" but what I read did capture my imagination and helped me see why it had been a best seller in the US for an extended run. I enjoyed how it spoke about my own story and how it was easy to devour pages at a time...
   The film is loosely based on the book and it is out in US cinemas by April 13 after Film Festival success... It's independently made and funded and almost didn't get there... it'll be interesting to see where it might screen here in Oz if at all initially... I'll ask Dendy!!
Check the films official site here

"Blue Like Jazz was extremely well-received at its World Premiere at Austin's Paramount Theater as part of the SXSW Film Festival. This is a powerful film about a young man's spiritual journey from an unthinking fundamentalism to trying to develop a better understanding of his own self. The story is loosely based on Don Miller's book about his own spiritual journey from an evangelical upbringing in Texas to the "Godless" Reed College in Portland, Oregon. It is a coming-of-age story about a man searching for his faith in the most unlikely place possible. This independent film is well-written and well-acted and keeps the viewers engaged. The story mixes quirky characters into a film that might otherwise feel heavy. The film's themes remind me of one of my favorite films, Saved!, which also deals with a character's spiritual struggle to find her own faith. This is the kind of provocative films that one wishes Hollywood would make, but which usually end up being produced by Independent films." User Review IMDB.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things My Church Didn't Teach Me #02 Missio Dei

   Growing up in the 1970s and still participating in a local church congregation meant a mix of Youth Group, Small Group and Sunday Worship. The approach to discipleship was a mix of relational ministry and Christian Education. They were great times and my overall memory was of being valued, feeling I belonged and yet being full of questions and wonder... that and feeling I didn't quite fit easily in some other groups and places outside the church because of the different outlook and values systems...
   My reflection on the culture is that people saw it as important to build a community around their understanding of who God was calling them to be and inviting others to join in that community. The invitation was becoming increasingly hard to make well and less welcome...
   It was just at a time when people felt a heightened sense of the hypocrisy in many churches... preaching holiness and practicing judgement or just not living up to a projected high standard... calling all but looking very middle class. A divide between those 'in' and those on the edge... usually because of divorce, divergent views etc. I oversimplify I'm sure...
   By far the biggest thing happening was that the invitation was there to join this movement and to be 'forgiven' and to encourage friends to come along. Mission was very much seen as sending believers and teachers, nurses and helpers, to share the good news with those in PNG and the Pacific. Evangelism was about sharing a message about which many people became increasingly sceptical, resistant or dismissive.
   The context in society has changed radically since that time and the number of people now outside the sphere of church has made real the writing of David Bosch and others in describing the invitation into .missio dei' or God's mission in the world as being the invitation to evangelism, service and living in the world right where each of us lives in our own neighbourhoods... an invitation to rethink and reimagine church, faith, the gospel and the shape of our 'ownership' of discipleship out of our culture and context.
   I learnt growing up about how to change me to fit in but I didn't learn about how to live as me and make sense of discipleship in those relationships and places outside the church seeing them as OK, valid, good to be part of and the stuff of life.
I was/am an exile...
   Today my call is to be me wherever I am and for that me to not divide secular and sacred. It's about meeting God where God is and engaging in action God is taking. I need to be fallible, honest, authentic and open, a servant and someone who asks questions, shares stories and wonders... just to begin with anyhow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Things My Church Didn't Teach Me #01 The Pub

Sounds a bit negative I know but this is a series around how to make sense of life and faith in my world with a mission and ministry with young people edge...
   Growing up in the Methodist Church and my family meant a choice for 'no alcohol'! This is an understandable and sensible conservative choice and flows out of the history of the beginnings of Methodism. The Wesley's made their name in mission and ministry amongst drinkers using some well known drinking songs as tunes for some of their best songwriting...
   Trouble is, drinking or not, it means 'the pub' was a foreign culture to me and and in many ways still is... I know enough to be aware of regulars, customs, 'the local' and how different venues have a character all their own. I know enough to be aware of what I don't know and yet these days pubs are still a popular gathering place, serve some great meals and although many have too many poker machines the smoke free environments are far more hospitable and even family friendly compared to many restaurants.
   Thanks to rugby union culture, friends and now even my own family's regular birthday meal celebrations I am way more familiar with and 'at home' at the local pub...
   The deeper reflection on this is the conflict around 'being in but not of' the world, whether attendance is tacit approval of some of the behaviour of drunk people or whether it's actually about being present and comfortable in the lives, spaces, discussions and rythmn of life in the world where I live. I suppose it's a first world problem too... but hey it's just the first in the series!!

'Devozine' Website

Faith practices and themes that connect with teenagers are central to the simple and underrated resource 'Devozine'!! It now has a website presence here and it puts basic discipleship exploration directly in young people's hands and could extend into group day or weekend camps...
The magazine has North American and Aussie writers with daily explorations and developed themes on weekends that all engage young people in a small colour magazine style which is available in Oz through Mediacom here

'BIG' Games Book

   Just some reruns for local Hunter Leaders who may have missed it!!
If you don't yet have a copy of 'The BIG Games Book' it can be yours for just $20!!
Built on a variety of collections it includes: icebreakers; group builders; wide games; competitive and cooperation activities aplenty!! Makes it easier to 'get on with' relationship building, discipleship and other aims alongside a variety of fun staple activities!!


There's something about this advert...
It's a clever way of describing the gaming experience of the new PSP VITA but I'm also thinking about what captured my attention in the idea. Is it something about authentic experiences so real you are really 'in' them? Is it what it takes for that reality? Is it a quirky theological thing... dunno... maybe it'll occur to me!! Oh, OK it's somewhere in the 'come play and change the world' invitation!!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

KONY 2012

   What an example of viral social media, harnessed intentionally by someone passionate about global and community action in a cause they believe in. The short story is that in the last 24 hours here in Oz [and presumably right across the globe... 'Invisible Children's' video, attempting to make the infamy of Joseph Kony a well known story, has invaded Facebook and other media. This includes a Channel TEN special screening by 'The Project' [apparently without advert breaks] on free to air TV.
   Then follwoing the initial wave of online sharing came the questions, 'what's all this Kony $#@t? and a few well placed blog posts about the untold story of 'Invisible Children' and the alledged percentage of money donated which makes it past the 'machine' promoting the issue. But then it's all about making the story known and putting pressure on governments [namely the US government] to care and act!
   I look forward to reading more and wonder how it'll go in April with guerilla night raid banner and sticker placement to spread the word even further.
   The video acknowledges the role of twitter in 2011s biggest political movements amongst ordinary people and uses everything we know about social media to exploit it's reach...
   Stay tuned I guess!!! www.kony2012.com

Movies Coming Soon

Some will be worth a look, some will be worth showing the young people you engage with and some will be "21 Jump St"!! The dates are here in Oz and some have advance ticket sales:

"21 Jump St" 15th March
Jonah Hill spin on the Jonny Depp TV Show
"The Hunger Games" 22nd March
Post apocylaptic American 'fight to the death' reality TV Show from the books
3D "Dr Seuss The Lorax" 29th March
Animated feature that looks great
"American Pie: Reunion" 5th April
Remember that one time at Band Camp...
"The Avengers" 25th April!!!!
3D "The Amazing Spiderman" 4th July
The gang gets together...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Easter 24 Visible Tweets

  To connect with this unique Hunter event Easter "24" you can tweet using #Easter24Hunter and your tweets should be 'visible' onscreen between 7-8.30pm on Saturday 7th April 2012!...
Send your messages of hope, connection, worship, whimsy and creative fun and remember the teenage and adult audience at 'The Willows' Uniting Church!!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Why or is it How Videos go Viral

A simple sharp and quite true explanation of how clips 'take off'!!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Better than Average Ventriloquist

It's a long clip but it's not too bad!!

E.P.I.C. Worship with Young People

   Few young people will resist the urge of the comfy seats in their loungeroom, the local cimema or the Pub for the promise of plastic chairs, cordial and a few zzz's in the backrow of their local church.
   Starting early with the goal of curating worship experiences that genuinely arise out culture and context can be helped by some basic ideas about how many young people might respond to an invitation to be involved in shaping just that. I'm not talking about tokenism but genuine engagement!!

A number of years ago Leonard Sweet used the acronymn EPIC:
EXPERIENTAL or an experience not just a lesson or information based time
PARTICIPATORY inviting participation in planning and facilitating what happens
But also asking 'what is the participant doing?' as you put things together
INTERCONNECTED or IMAGE DRIVEN visual and auditory experience of story and response
but also connecting life and faith
CONNECTEDNESS or promoting authentic community

There are a few more helpful concepts beyond these:
- Seeking to explore questions young people are actually asking
- moving from a Christian education model to 'presence' and reflection or shared meaning making
- juxtaposition or things alongside one another that nromally wouldn't be
- play, sensory activity, simple instruction, stations, drama, informality
- intimacy
- using data projectors as more than glorified overhead projectors
- curating spaces as well as order
- evaluation
- liturgy genuinely being 'the work of the people'

   Experimentation in worship that reflects those gathered can be testing and fun but above all asks 'what are we trying to do here that allows people/ a person respond to God and helps them live out the possibility of 'following' Jesus Christ...

   As 'Ship of Fools' mystery worshipper questionairre might remind us... did the worship remind you of Heaven or 'another place'? much like their question about the post service coffee... more soon...

Friday, March 02, 2012

Human Foosball

   There are loads of activities you may only be able to afford once a year or as a contribution to a local Fete but they can add a spark to an otherwise standaryouth event or program. 'Human Foosball' is just one option alongside: horizontal bungy, barfly, Sumo, Boxing etc.
   Planet Entertainment is just one provider here in NSW whose catalogue I receive but there are other companies with similar array or options.
Warning: one colleague has reminded to be careful in referring to an 'adult' jumping castle and clarify that I mean a normal jumping castle rated so adults can safely use it rather than a questionable inflatable shape more akin to the Hell's Angels Annual Picnic or Summernats in Canberra!!