Saturday, October 26, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

"About Time" 123 mins rated M Stunning!!

   We saw Richard Curtis' new film and I am still searching for the right words to describe how much I enjoyed it, felt 'at home' with his familiar characters, humour and pathos... was totally immersed in the story AND cried plenty!! Ironically I will be seeing it again!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Long Walk to Freedom" Nelson Mandela Film


   Looks to be everything 'Invictus' wasn't... that movie focused on the Rugby World Cup and Mandela's harnessing of it for unity an change. This looks a gritty bio pic of the broader era that shaped Mandela and made him the leader and icon he became and the book was brilliant!!
It's a good time to celebrate 'Madiba'! His name that comes from his Xhosa tribe as opposed to his early school teachers...
The theatrical trailer 2 for 'Long Walk to Freedom' Nelson Mandela here featuring the new and specially written 'Ordinary Love' by U2. See you at the movies!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 2013 Bushfires NSW

   It's going to be a long dry summer with such strong westerly winds already in October [Spring] here in NSW in Oz!! I drove to and from the Upper Hunter Valley today and saw plumes of smoke from at least three of the tens of fires alight tonight here...
   From our front verandah at Elermore Vale we could see a wall of flames at Newcastle's Link Rd near Cameron Park [a long way off but clearly enough to know how scary it would be up close] and we listened to updates fro Heatherbrae and Salt Ash and surrounds near Tomago from our brilliant ABC Local Radio emergency updates and general coverage... The flames disappeared as we think we heard the helicopters [sounded different to the Rescue chopper that is a regular over our place]
   If I'm right [alongside opening local churches for people to use toilets, for making sandwiches and coffee and for prayer or conversation] the Uniting Church part in Disaster Response is still 'pastoral care'... I think the Salvos do 'sandwiches' for example!! I'll hear more in coming days no doubt BUT my role is ALSO about resourcing locals for response in worship or as gathered communities in coming days... I fear we don't always do a good job of being 'real' and making sure we participate in our communities at these times... to this END and at risk of having too many possibilities, I share the following links from past episodes, that might inspire creativity or at least give people some idea of how to invite response... THERE MAY BE FOLLOW UP POSTS IN THE DAYS TO COME...

An excellent compilation of Resources following 2009's Bushfires
collated by colleague Darren Wright at Digital Orthodoxy here

My own previous thoughts from 2009 here and here

Uniting Church in Australia General Resources List here

Jean Mayers Reflection Poem following Victoria's 2009 Bushfires here

Uniting Church Vic/Tas Synod Bushfire Response Resources here
[includes full worship liturgies to adapt, prayers and reflections, stuff to use with young people]

NSW Council of Churches Ecumenical Resources in a PDF here

And I'm reminded of Christine Sine's reflections on the Aussie bushfires in February 2009 here

A Broad set of Resources following disasters at Text Week here

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Flipout' Trampoline Centre Craziness

Flipout Trampolines here might be the latest 'thing' though according to Pete H there's a groove being worn in the road between there and Wyong Hospital... wonder why?

Here's some footage of what I'm talking about from the outdoor Penrith version...

Friday, October 11, 2013

"MInd Your Manners" Pearl Jam

From their new album 'Lightning Bolt' by Pearl Jam
This is Mike McCready chanelling the 'Dead Kennedy's' hard edged sound and feel...
The new songs sound great and these days PJ do video clips even...

"Mind Your Manners"
I've got an unfortunate feelin'
I've been beaten down
I feel I don't believe
And now the truth is coming out
What they've taken is more than a vow
They've taken your innocence
And then they throw them on a burning fire

All along they're saying
Mind your manners
I caught myself believin'
That I needed God
And if it's hard for some
We sure could use it now
Try my patience
My patience tried
This world's no longer good enough
That makes me wanna cry

All along they're sayin'
Mind your manners
Silence save him

Self-realized and metaphysically redeemed
May not live another life
May not solve a mystery
Right around the corner
Could be bigger than ourselves
We could will it to the sky
Or we could something else

No longer sayin'
Mind your manners
Always burning

Self-realized and metaphysically redeemed
May not live another life
May not solve a mystery
Right around the corner
Could be bigger than ourselves
We could will it to the sky
Or we could something else

Go to Heaven
That's swell
How do you like it
Livin' Hell x2
Livin' Hell...

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

'That's Church' Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple BUT focused on being 'missional'!!

A church and a people SENT by God to participate in God's mission [activity] in the world, an activity of reconciliation and renewal of the whole creation.

A bit like Eugene Petersen's rendering of John 1:14 in 'The Message' where "the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood."
Are primarily 'attractional' models of church 'dead'? 
Well no, but in most places [some clearly more than others] there are significant cultural post Christian barriers for people or communities AND A focus on enculturating people to 'be like us' can make it harder to speak into our own contexts...

We are sent to 'go and be' rather than exclusively inviting people to 'come and see'...

  The Anglican Church in the UK and other places talk about 'The Five Marks of Mission' but I'm uneasy about embracing these marks' as sufficiently bringing 'change.' I can't quite articulate my issues but they still feel inward looking or as if they describe a slow to change institution, not a movement...

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 challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth 

I guess my focus is more on:
An ethos or values that understand us as a community and individuals sent
Seeking to be followers of Jesus and inviting others to do the same
Seeking to meet the hurts and hopes of people in our community
Working for authentic relationships and purposeful communities of reconciliation
Sharing the story of a world lived according to the values of God
or something like that....

'I Keep Faith'
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…
Billy Bragg from 'Mr Love and Justice'

Monday, October 07, 2013

Sochi Olympics 'Torch' Relay

   I love a the normal 'retentiveness' of clockwork like Olympic stage managing and the now regular 'torch relay' is usually no exception. A well crafted ceremony takes place in Athens with white clad women using a metal bowl lens and oil in the sunlight to ignite a flame that then travels by air, sea or land [and this time even to the International Space Station. On the way cauldrons are lit, the flame is stored in a lantern and runners relay the flame to Sochi for the next Games!!
   Well, not this time... down a lane/hallway at the Kremlin the torch goes out... running alone the carrier signals a security guard ahead who quick as a flash whips out a cigarette lighter and it's all systems go [doh!!]

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Sinead's Open Letter to Miley Cyrus!!

Sinead O'Connor's Open Letter
Wow, be in no doubt what Sinead was thinking all those years ago when she shaved her head!
Seems to have started a media war though as Cyrus obviously objects to 'the bleeding obvious'!

Here in 'Rolling Stone' is where it got started

or was that here...

Stay tuned I guess,
Is it a story about a young Disney star seeking to leave that behind, a celebrity trying to figure out how to leave her relationship, or a lens on hyper modern individualism and everything that's wrong about body image, celebrity, fame and the modern music 'industry'?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

“What is youth ministry?"

Adding a reprint from my 'Dynamo + Annual' 2012
   This is the question that came up at some point during every Youth Workers Inservice Conference we held in the 1980s. Those pioneers of ministry with young people were always able to turn any skills based session, walk through a new resource or discussion about models into the bigger question of what the heck we were aiming at or doing in the first place. Whatever nuance the conversation had it always boiled down to remembering that youth ministry is ministry. 
   This was the decade beginning to respond to the massive societal shifts of the late 1960s and the organic movement that was ʻYouth Workʼ which recognised the relational skills of some younger leaders but also began the ʻoutsourcingʼ of ministry with young people by congregations missing their 25-45yr olds and beginning to lose whole families from their faith communities. In too many places the answer was to try to do more or better of the same while the world had become a different place.
   Since G Stanley Hall described ʻAdolescenceʼ as a constant state of ʻstorm and stressʼ it has been too easy to buy into what is after all a social construct of just over the last 100 years. In many places, not much is expected of young people. They are the ʻinbetweenersʼ or the ʻnot quiteʼ people. Itʼs true this is a critical time of identity formation. The locus of young peopleʼs influences and role models changes, their mobility and independence are tested and at this time the worldʼs most tech savvy and informed generations have the chance to respond or remain ambivalent about the truly global context in which theyʼve grown up. Families have never been busier but the gap between rich and poor is wider and more socially obvious. We are a multi-cultural country with a patchy record in understanding that as our identity.
   Discipleship or shaping faith is more formative than informative and this might mean at least: 
- engaging as a community across all ages 
- building relationships around an ethos of participation seeking to join Godʼs activity in the world 
- encouraging creative questions, doubt and imagination 
- sharing our stories and connecting with the story exampled and taught through Jesus Christ 
- embracing reconciliation, grace and service as hallmarks 
- curating worship that reflects your context/s and culture/s 
- being less focused on programs and more about sharing 
- more praxis 
- remembering current generations of young people are largely Biblically illiterate 
- becoming better equipped adults by ʻteachingʼ what you believe as your story 
- seeking to help young people answer the ʻwhy should I choose the Christian faith?ʼ question 
- As Andrew Root reminds us, exploring together how we find Christ in the good and hard times 
- remembering young people can ʻmake meaningʼ and respond for themselves 
- what worked for a previous generation isnʼt the default setting for the current ones 
- itʼs less about what the Bible says and more about how we might live in response

   “Mission comes home” was the UCA Synod Board of Mission slogan recognising we have needed to become missionaries not missionary senders BUT decades on we are still not coming to grips with this seismic shift and the visionary invitation it offered...
   The idea of missio dei [the mission of God] and our invitation to join Godʼs actions in the world is a recognition that our focus on Sunday worship and creating community within the collected group of ʻbelieversʼ and families is a limited picture. God is active outside the church as well as in and we miss opportunities to live lives shaped by our Christian ethos if we avoid the world.
   A new book including a range of stories advocates for the following SHIFTS to become a missional movement engaging well in ministry with people of all ages: 
“Missional Moves” Rob Megner Jack Magruder

“if you want to change society, then you must tell an alternative story” Ivan Illich

- Undertake holistic ministry and mission rather than a narrow ʻgospelʼ imperative 
- Rediscover our mojo as a mission movement engaged in our world by living in it 
- Recognising we live in a global context 
- Becoming missional as well as attractional in balancing our activity
- Moving from the centre to the margins and changing our understanding of ʻtransformationʼ 
- Sharing power and decisionmaking, listening and embracing experiments 
- Focus on ʻless is moreʼ and specialise around the gifts and passions or assets present 
- Collaborate with others around what ethos and motivation we have in common
- Cooperative ventures growing strengths 
- From professionals to full participation or building teams and fostering participation 
- From formal to fractals or a well known leadership theory using a starfish metaphor and how split
starfish regenerate and keep on living. Itʼs about different leadership for the context 
- From institution to movement which is about a new kind of community life and focus with freeing
structures and shared power 
- Fostering lots of different models and styles 
- from ʻwe can do it you can helpʼ to ʻyou can do it, we can helpʼ 
- Growing the kinds of leaders we need to ʻcompleteʼ the great commission

Too theoretical... 
Then try, 
- treating young people as people and listening to seek understanding not compliance 
- mentor young people and allow their participation to change how decisions are made 
- invest 50% of your resources in ministry with younger generations 
- Everything is different today: context; generations; busyness; work; making meaning; how
leadership emerges; faith shaping; and new ʻground upʼ need resourcing & support 
- Share your life & story, be real 
- Work on missional taskgroups not compliance committees 
- Ask ʻwho is Jesus Christʼ? in the middle of where you are and what you are doing 
- Build relationships not just programs 
- Inviting [cajoling] young people to exercise their ministry and share a common story 
- Have young people present in worship so it changes what happens to reflect this

There's a book here somewhere with a few stories thrown in...