Friday, August 30, 2013

"Labels" Reflection

   At the risk of blowing it for elsewhere I am keen to write up the reflection offered at Charlestown JY Youth Group 2 weeks ago!! 'Labels' and to some extent bullying were the topics!!

We played a number of games on the night but adjourned early for a group activity/discussion. If we are going to continue with a 15min 'reflection/discussion' for discipling input then I favour doing that early so it's not the cost of belonging or participation but happens when there's more group time remaining...

Name Bop
In a circle with person 'in' centre, pillow in hand. Simple idea, say your name and someone elses and they in turn say theirs and someone elses. 'In' from the centre of the circle at the outset then tries to bop someone with the pillow before they get both names said... Person hit becomes 'in.' Helps you and the group learn names of less familiar group members.

One person hides and everyone else searches. When you find the hider you hide with them until all have found you... repeat with first finder to hide...
Challenge, doesn't require sporting skills, repeatable...

Circle Tag
Where circles of 46 join hands with one 'in' person that they then move to protect from a chaser attempting to tip them, without breaking hands in the circle. Good fun for groupwork, cooperation and a spirit of protecting your own.

Streets & Lanes
We tried this but the JY kids don't always listen and it was just a waste of time... se we moved on...

I talked about the idea of 'labels' that can sometimes define who we are if we let them, explained what a TED Talk was and played Shane Kocyzan the performance poet/writer "To This Day" telling his story of growing up, being bullied & becoming what he loathed...
[spoiler alert] I left his one profanity in the clip but do have an edited version... it's just an honest story and I knew it would resonate and have an impact.

We spoke about 'labels' we all wear and the group wrote various labels on manilla parcel labels [to be hung on a string later as a reminder]... there were great ideas... and everyone understood the way these labels do and don't define our identity...

I told a version of the story of Zack [Zacchaeus] from Luke 19: 1-10 with the interpretation that as a short man who ends up collecting taxes for Rome and cheating people, Zack suffered with a few 'labels'... We thought about Jesus response of compassion, inclusion and standing with...

We finished listening to/watching the clip of Kate Miller Heidke "Caught in the Crowd" her own story and Daily Telegraph newspaper anti-bullying theme song.

I also had a 'Ditch the Label' video from here on hand if needed but we did well and used all our time...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pasta-ing the Pastor at Hamilton Tonight

   That slightly crazy recognition of Leaders known as 'Pastor' in the UCA was our purpose for Pasta-ing tonight at Hamilton with pasta in the hall and worship in 'Bill's Cafe' space commissioning Steve Bevis as a Pastor for his role as Chaplain to Newcastle University...
   The plan was a collaboration between Warwick, Scott and myself, drawing in other participants and significant 'voices' in the mix...
   Anyhow with a mix of students, colleagues, Presbytery folk and locals... here's something of what we did!!

Teaser trailer from the animated film 'Up' a clip about 'imagination'
The 'I Like Jesus' clip from 'Blue Like Jazz'
"Beautiful Things" Gungor [thanks Scott]

GREETING Chairperson Warwick
MATTHEW 28: 16-20 Kat Arbon, onscreen in Greek/Spanish
Began with 'I Keep Faith' Billy Bragg clip

“I Keep Faith” Billy Bragg
If you want to make the weather then you have to take the blame
If sometimes dark clouds fill the sky and it starts to rain, folks complain
And though your head may tell you to run and hide
Listen to your heart and you'll find me right by your side, because
I keep faith, I keep faith I keep faith, I keep faith in you
Yes, I do, I keep faith in you

If you think you have the answer well, don't be surprised
If what you say is met with anger and contempt and lies
No matter how hard you may want to just walk away
Reach out, you'll find me there beside you all of the way because
I keep faith, I keep faith I keep faith, I keep faith in you
Yes, I do, I keep faith in you

All the dreams we shared I never knew no one who cared
About these things the way that I've seen you
it doesn't matter if this all falls off the cliff
Together we are gonna see it through

I know it takes a mess of courage to go against the grain
You have to make great sacrifice for such little gain and so much pain
And if your plans have come to nothing washed out in the rain
Let me rekindle all your hopes and help you start again because

I keep faith, I keep faith I keep faith, I keep faith in you
Yes, I do, I keep faith in you I keep faith in you
Yes, I do, I keep faith in you
I keep faith in you yes, I do, I keep faith in you I keep faith in you
Yes I do, I keep faith in you, yeah, yeah
I keep faith, I keep faith, I keep faith, I keep faith

1. “Keeping Faith”
Trust, staying connected, maintaining relationship, living out values…
ONE way of thinking about being followers of Jesus
And living out our co-mission with Christ
[also keep faith by acknowledging indigenous connection to the land we gather on and pay respects to Elders, past, present & future'

2. MATTHEW has Jesus saying,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."

The writer and the story tell us:
- Jesus speaks and acts for God,
- The DISCIPLES are sent to teach ALL OF what Jesus had taught them
- TEACHING is important in Matthew, 
NOT so much teaching beliefs, but an invitation to live out the values of God, in purposeful community

For Bill Loader, it means,
   using their gifts to mentor, to LEAD & to encourage others…

What kind of “IMAGINATION” does it take,
TO EVEN SEE, hear or think about a different future…
NOT ‘fantasy,’ but TOOLS for new, imagined communities of faith?

Stanley Hauerwas writes,
"Christianity is not beliefs about God plus behavior. We are Christians not because of what we believe, but because we have been called to be disciples of Jesus. To become a disciple is not a matter of a new or changed self-understanding, but rather to become part of a different community with a different set of practices." 

OR AN ATTEMPT to change my IDENTITY as a ‘lethargic academic’
[or recognising that you can't have an original thought but have to attribute it to someone whose written about it before]

“Threshold of the Future: Reforming the Church in the Post Christian West”
Mike Riddell offers some [15] hints & hunches about shaping community,
THINGS like, honesty & being real, worship reflecting participants culture
dynamic ecumenism, ability to laugh & cry together and Scripture respected as having layers of meaning and relevance

or MICHAEL FROST’s broader brush, missional community
in “Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post Christian Culture”
1. Trinitarian in theology 
2. Covenantal in nature
3. Oriented to being part of the church worldwide
4. Missional in intent

[1] RECOGNISING that tertiary ministry & UCATSA, communities like ‘The Commons’, missional caf├ęs like “Bill’s Place” & networks of young people beyond existing congregations imagine well our missional shaped challenge

[2] AFFIRMING in Steve, the gifts & abilities for leadership, 
in this particular time and place, & for sharing the invitation to ‘follow’ and prophetically challenging us to ‘go and do likewise’!! In imaginative ways
Keeping faith…

Words about Call, about everyone having gifts & a corresponding service
QUESTIONS and response reaffirming and agreeing about call

'If prayer was enough...'

'The Earth is Yours' Gungor
Great SONG from 'Sons of Peter' 'O Freedom'


Monday, August 26, 2013

Yurora "Installation" Idea

  So I think I might be working on an 'installation' for the upcoming Yurora NCYC 2014 picking up on the word/theme of the day with ways to interact, a bank of screens, some reflections, art and tableau stuff to help unpack IDENTITY, PASSION, SENT!! I'm particularly keen on the idea of a video booth where results become part of the installation...
   I say 'might be' as I liked the idea when it was suggested [thanks Amanda] then spent bits of the next three days brainstorming on a worksheet when I had loads else to do... guess that means the idea captured me!!
   The space would neighbour 'The Common's pop up cafe so that's good synergy as well... and the images above are the space... minus the tables and chairs and art... It also means some local Hunter mob who plan on going, could form a small team to work on this...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Missional Moves: 15 Tectonic Shifts That Transform Churches, Communities and the World" Rob Wegner/Jack Magruder

I keep picking this ebook up again and again in recent weeks pondering a few places I'm working...

The 15 Tectonic Shifts described in Missional Moves

1. From Saved Souls to Saved Wholes
"The Gospel has been radically reduced under the influence of modernism, consumerism, and the enlightenment. Most people think of the Gospel as Saved Souls instead of Saved Wholes."

2. From “Missions” to Mission
Missio Dei 

3. From My Tribe to Every Tribe
Tracing God's mission through Scripture and part of a global story

4. From Or to And
Being missional AND attractional

5. From Center to Margins
God active on the margins and speaking from the edges

6. From Top Down to Bottom Up
Grounded action, ideas and shared leadership

7. From Diffused to Focused
Calling, DNA, ethos

8. From Transactional Partnerships to Transformational Partnerships
Healthy strengths based partnerships

9. From Relief to Development
Partners not imposed

10. From Professionals to Full Participation
Involvement for all availabilities

11. From Formal to Fractal
Releasing people to live out what drives them

12. From Institution to Movement
How they must work together

13. From Mega + Multi to Mega + Multi + Micro
Missio Dei with already mobilised people being equipped

14. From “We can do it, you can help!” to “You can do it, we can help!”
 Training hub

 15. From Great Commission to Great Completion
Becoming a local church that is strategic about the completion of the Great Commission

It just promotes thoughts each time I dive in...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Six" at Whitebridge

   The "Six" worship experiment happened with the generous community at Whitebridge UC on Sunday night. The premise is not new to many but was about me choosing six songs that would evoke a response as we gathered around tables, including soup and bread... no communal singing, 'hearing' through group interaction etc. Here's what was planned/happened:

Tables cafe style with various resources for groups, screen and projector, computer and audio
Welcome slide with 'six' graphic
Pre music track if needed "Guitar, Flute & String" Moby

Words of Welcome/Words of Explanation
About the experiment, activity, not worship of songs, to ask what God might be saying to you

SONG #01 “LANTERNS” Birds of Tokyo
“Lately I've found when I start to think aloud
There's a longing in the sound there is more I could be
In darkness I leave for a place I've never seen
It's been calling out to me that is where I should be”

At your table group, share what strikes you about the lyrics or mood of this song…
Take turns to finish these [1] line prayers:

Creator God, You are… Today I’m saying ‘thankyou’ for… At the moment my journey is about…

Intro to track + 
As you listen to this song, there is salt and a bowl of water on the table,
Add a pinch of salt to the water symbolizing tears of grief and lament,
What should we lament, what sense of loss is made real for you…
What do we need to ‘own up to’ and be forgiven from…
God’s Spirit speaks on these edges and in these life experiences…

Paul Kelly’s song has been covered by Tripod, Megan Washington and others
But this performance at Melbourne’s Bush Fire Relief Concert is transcendent and reminds me of what are sometimes called ‘thin places’
I don’t see any separation between secular and sacred, most of the time,
But ‘thin places’ in Celtic spirituality are those where it almost seems like there’s a muslin cloth thin space between us and God.
When God walks through the room in a U2 concert, the smile of a child, The excitement of winning a grand final, good listening from a friend…
In this case Paul Kelly offers a crowd of 100,000 + the viewers, words of comfort & hope 
from Psalm 23.
You’ll see where the mob get a bit restless and he holds his hands out to still them as he closes out his set with words for all those suffering in the fires…
We hear God’s word in the most surprising places!
It just beat Mumford & Sons to a place in this worship experience…
After we listen, discuss… Where are your ‘thin places’?
Where do you experience God as most real?

As we think tonight about ‘who is our neighbour’?
I’m reminded of the Awabakal People
And acknowledge and pay tribute to their Elders past and present
Recognising their relationship with the land over thousands of years
It’s interesting to hear a politician in ‘invavded space’ claiming,
“it’s our country, we will decide who comes here and in what circumstances”
When aboriginal people didn’t have the same choice…
We won’t all see that the same way…

- BUT, this next Band is predictable, but the song has a story…
- ‘Diesel & Dust’ 1986 Midnight Oil/Warumpi Band tour West Des/Top End
- indigenous issues of poverty, health & alcoholism
- Book “Strict Rules” Andrew McMillan
- returned to Sydney writing songs addressing indigenous people.
- a worldwide hit with unique blends of rock, folk, didge & brass
-  Still grieve the loss of the transcendent experience of live ‘Oils’
- ‘The Deadheart’ live gig challenge re “duh do do do do do do do do”...

Talk at your table group about the place of music in your life…
Maybe a favourite style of music or perfomer…

READ the Luke 10 Bible story,
What does “love God” and “love your neighbour” mean to you
And how does it challenge you?
WRITE your answers on the ochre paper/black textas

- Turning our attention to the world/others
- Whether Dublin Streets or Ethiopian towns
- Rattle & Hum documentary from b&w to colour RED
- The song & that RED imagery transport us through various tours/contexts

As you listen, explore the photo set on your table.
When the song finishes, TALK ABOUT AT YOUR TABLE and I’ll be asking you to call out aloud
People and places that need our prayer and our action to change the world
How could we act differently to bring that change? [While we make a newsprint list]

Actually calling out and making the list

Any local announcements/concerns/thoughts

We cut to the end here and played the sixth song more quietly over chat

- This song SENDS US OUT
- Rustic, pastoral, history inspired folk/rock from Portland, Oregon
- This track feats REM guitarist Peter Buck, released 2011/12
- For me it’s a song that reminds me about the church                             
- [plinth mounted monument] whose future can’t all be on my shoulders
- where is God in the future of God’s church
- I can focus on participating in God’s mission in the world…

Go out from here to be the people of God,
Looking, Listening, thinking about being inspired by God’s Spirit
To live as a follower of Jesus in relationships, ethics and actions

- People gave plenty of +ve feedback about the idea [whether they got anything out of these songs or not] and could see the potential in six locals choosing one song each in future
- Concerned that people might not 'get it' I took too long over the initial introduction and most songs as well... but I feared that would happen so I had made the notes so I know what to cut at least in half next time
- I wasn't completely happy with the depth of the response activities but that's where my brain went when creating this set. People were happy with them but needed more time at some points. I misread some actions as being ready to move on.
-It's a winner with potential for other places, it went too long this time...
- I wouldn't use U2 next time as it's a better song for use 'stand alone' and this one needs to be more overt about the issues it evokes...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Great Speech from Ashton Kutcher at TEEN CHOICE AWARDS 2013

Ashton Kutcher at the same awards Rebel Wilson wore the black and pink wetsuit, making what he must feel is perhaps his last 'Teen Choice' speech for the 'old guy' award!!
The whole awards show is a fascinating study in millenial culture...

Saturday, August 03, 2013