Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You know you are getting old when...

You know you are getting old when the fringe you had starts disappearing up your forehead and feels decidedly thin and fragile. You know you are getting old when suddenly your midriff has a relaxed wobbly feel about it. You know you are getting old when you find yourself spending more time in the gardening section of a second hand bookshop. You know you are getting old when you intentionally tune to radio 4. You know you are getting old when you realise that the guy that you are talking to was born after you left university and that when he is your age you will be retired!

I went along to Laos the youth congregation of Nunhead Salvation Army on Sunday and it is true to say I felt pretty old. It was a good crowd and really encouraging to see and to be part of, but what I loved was the 'Laos Extreme' congregation that hung around outside 'smoking' while worship happened inside. These guys didn't come to sing songs but they obviously came for something. Popping in and out just to let everyone know they were there. It reminded me of some of my favourite times at the youth club in Poplar 'on the door'. There's a thought church on the doorstep.

I'm kind of hoping I might get along more often - the guys outside will be well worth knowing, they make me smile and I loved the tidy bit of graffiti they did to our old national leaders retirement poster. They captured the inner beauty and fun of Alex and Inge beautifully!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

On the Edge...

I went to part of the 'On the Edge' conference and I must admit to it being nothing to that I which expected. I am not sure what I expected but whatever, it wasn't really what happened! Definitely not a word of criticism but I am not sure that it achieved what it intended largely due to what people defined as 'on the edge'.

Perhaps those thinking that they are 'on the edge' are more institutional than they realise and those really 'on the edge' are further on the margins than most realise.

What was left was a vacuum where those anywhere close to understanding what it was to be 'on the edge' were left scratching their heads at a style and format that was largely alien to them.

What was left was a vacuum where those anywhere close to understanding what it was to be 'on the edge' were left scratching their heads at a style and format that was largely alien to them.

George Lings Session (the notes are here) was good and encompassed where the weekend was a success. Those with the responsibility of protecting and encouraging those 'on the edge' would have heard that any form of emerging or fresh expression is starting further back and to try and to assess and make sense of those expressions with the quantifiable tools we are obsessed with, is a non-starter. I hope they heard. They need to hear.

The style and format would indicate that the bulk of those involved in the planning and actually attending were engaged with mission to those which George Ling describes as being on the 'fringe' and the 'open de-churched'. Those who operate outside this really need a special understanding and encouragement that recognises the Post-Christian culture they are daily engaging through exploring building community that makes sense of the Kingdom.

I guess I was hoping for a sense of community story-telling, a sharing of a contextual experience beyond renting a school and singing some songs. For the sessions I was there for it didn't happen. I would have loved to have heard the Jonny Baker session (here) but I was too busy botching up worship at Nunhead SA!!

That is not to say that the weekend didn't happen for me. Concepts to think through included:
  • The difference between delivery systems and values and the danger of mixing them up.
  • Loyal Radicals.
  • Church Planting has largely been Church imposition.
  • It is worth writing thank you notes to the Old Aunty.
  • When does a church plant cease being a church plant.
  • What will revival look like in post-christiandom??
  • When 'on the edge' it will always be very appealing to jump 'over the edge'.
That with quality time with quality people made the weekend a worthwhile and an illuminating occasion. I hope that everyone took it as the gift it was - sometimes the gift the aunt gives us woodspice - but but nevertheless it is a gift!

It is the thought counts!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Great Great Grandmother...

I just found out more details how 90 years ago - a German Gotha airplane flew over Folkestone and dropped a bomb on a busy shopping street - it killed my great great grandmother. Details here.

It's funny how I've never thought about it before - but reading this account through made me feel odd!

Monday, January 22, 2007


Zirrus is an interesting to do list - web based task manager, which might be worth looking at.

Thanks to Lifehacker again.

10,000 words...

I've just finished 10, 000 words.

It is what we call review 3 for the cadets in their second year - it is a privilege to mark and comment the reflections, this time centring on convictions for future ministry and effective leadership and disciplines essential for the sustaining of such a ministry.

10,000 words since Friday may have left my brain a little addled, but reading the documents has been really refreshing.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I haven't waxed lyrical for a while about Pandora.

If you haven't explored it you really ought to if you like music. Wifi linked to my old and faithful Nad amp is a new adventure. Even if your only thing is Matt Redman you can customise your own juke box - and it is free!

My faith got stronger today...

Ok this is admission of how shallow I really am, but even Richard Dawkin's atheism would have been shaken today if he had been a Chelsea Fan.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


“People cannot survive on just three glasses of water a day when the temperature is hitting 40 degrees." Mohamed Elmi, 2006

I hope you got to see the real news tonight. You might have been distracted by the weather reports, the driving rain, the flash floods - the big news is that the drought in the South East of UK is officially over.

What a relief!! I mentioned it here first in the summer (here)

I feel I should apologise to those parts of the world who truly know what it is to lose their crops, flocks, homes and family because of drought.

At least they'll be able to sleep well tonight, being able to forget their encroaching desert for one moment, knowing that at least in the SE of England the drought is officially over.



The map - shows the proportion of all people who have died in disasters due to drought, who died there. (More here)


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)

I used a pretty simple video loop of St. Richard of Chichester's prayer today in Spiritual Formation. I wanted to keep it simple to highlight it's profundity.

"Thanks be to thee, 0 Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which thou hast given us;
for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us.
0 most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
may we know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly;
for thine own sake."

St. Richard of Chichester(1197-1253)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Supper Club...

I'm waiting to hear whether I am on the steering committee of London 2012 as I thought that was a good idea too.

I'm not sure how but I ended up as part of the steering committee for a new initiative called 'The Supper Club'. Be careful what you say sounds a good idea as the next thing you will be a signed up steering committee person! I'm waiting to hear whether I am on the steering committee of London 2012 as I thought that was a good idea too.

We had the first installment last night. The idea is that someone shares what they are thinking through and dialogue follows. Last night was a reworking of a membership paper given at the theological symposium and all the old chestnuts came out as to what should shape us as a church.

I'm happy for symbolism to remain what it is ... symbolism - but I am really intrigued how century's of Christendom have taken this symbolism and made it religious and something that should shape church beyond of that Christcentric mission.

I've taken a lot of stick in my pseudo co-hosting, organising and steering role - because it has been perceived as a elite male dominated cohort - but this is really for all who are working through theology, or who want a good meaningful chat. There is a blog here - although there are problems with it at the moment. So if you fancy coming the dates and speakers are listed there. You just need to let Adam Knuckey (adam.knuckey@salvationarmy.org.uk) or Russ Rook (russell.rook@salvationarmy.org.uk). The papers apparently will be posted at therubicon

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Blogger...

Every now and then the trendy thing for 'blogger' bloggers is to talk about how they are going to move to 'typepad' or 'wordpress' Everytime I think about it Blogger do something new that makes me want to stick around.

Blogger beta has come of age and apparently "the new version of Blogger is metaphorically bursting with features.."

I like the new dashboard and the fact that it is so much easier to see where someone has posted a comment - but above all publishing is instant.

If you get a 'switch now' button I'd say it is worth becoming a new blogger.

Take a guess... ?

So I am now the Spiritual Programme Director at the William Booth College - do you want to know what I find myself talking about most? What subject dominates? What people want to talk about most?

Take a guess ...

The Holy Spirit?
The Kingdom of God?
Personal and spiritual development?
Spiritual formation?
The Bible?
Spiritual Disciplines?




Guessed yet?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fallen Tree...

The wind was pretty gusty yesterday. It tugged on the car as I drove to pick the girls up from school. It shook the car as I waited. It took my breath as I walked into the school. When I got into the playground the excited chatter of parents and kids was all about the tree.

A tree had been blown down in the school playground. A matter of right angles and it all could have been all so much worse. The playground was full of playing kids when the tree could fight the wind no longer and it fell the only way that was safe. 'Playground tradegy' could have so easily been the headlines but it wasn't.

All the kids chatted excitedly, but Bethan - she was the closest when it fell.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

While in geek mode..

This also could be a useful tool and process - if you are looking to download clips but get frustrated that they don't work in a format you can use.

Thanks to Lifehacker


WingClips looks an interesting resource for those who like to use film clips in their teaching.

Dallas Willard on Spiritual Formation... 5/9

God's plan of redemption grinds to a halt as hearts that should be 'simple and transparent through a constant devotion to God' become hearts 'chaotically duplicitous and confused, the playing field of pride and fear'.

Transforming Will and Character

"A will transformed into Christ likeness is single-minded and joyous in devotion to God and his will"
(Willard 2002:111)

Willard, D(. 2002) Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ

This is where Spiritual Formation cuts to the core of Mission - the reason for our calling - when our inner life is so formed that this devotion saturates every atom of our being and governs our every response.

Corrupt hearts squeeze and spit out the seat of 'joyous devotion' as they become dominated by self, self promotion, self-absorption self-importance, selfishness, vanity and ego however well disguised. God'’s plan of redemption grinds to a halt as hearts that should be 'simple and transparent through a constant devotion to God' become hearts 'chaotically duplicitous and confused, the playing field of pride and fear'.

Dallas Willard points out:-
"Manipulation, deception and malice replace transparency, sincerity and goodwill, as exaltation of self replaces submission and service to God. In modern thought sincerity is merely self-deception." (2002:112)
Perhaps it is only in a heart of purity, (if defined in the context of on-growing spiritual maturity) that a 'duplicitous spirituality' is recognised. That only in a heart of purity that 'dishonesty, deceitfulness, two-facedness' aches with regret. Perhaps only in a heart of purity do we recognise and root out that 'hope to win our arguments, hope not to give ground, to build up our pedestals on which we feel untouchable'. Perhaps only in a heart of purity is there that discomfort with the need for 'our opinion to count; our viewpoint to be heard'; that desire 'to influence, sway, pressure people to our way of thinking.'

Willard helpfully finishes up by pointing to such a heart of purity, spiritual maturity, and adulthood being dominated by:-

surrender of our will to God we consent to his supremacy in all things.
abandonment of self will no longer holding back any part of themselves.
contentment with that will desiring nothing but that will.
intelligent, energetic participation in accomplishing God's will in the world as we recognising our essential part.


Dallas Willard on Spiritual Formation... 1/9
Dallas Willard on Spiritual Formation... 2/9
Dallas Willard on Spiritual Formation... 3/9
Dallas Willard on Spiritual Formation... 4/9

Monday, January 08, 2007

Simplistics Movie Links...

If you like a film and don't mind clicking through a whole host of YouTube links - Simplistic's Movie Links is an interesting concept.

(This post was really an excuse to use our new wi fi connection!)

The Secret Family of Jesus...

"I found it intriguing as Beckford tried to peel back the layers of Christendom that has muffled the message of Jesus...."

Robert Beckford's investigation into The Secret Family of Jesus... perhaps may have seemed a tad controversial but I found it intriguing as Beckford tried to peel back the layers of Christendom that has muffled the message of Jesus.

The core of his programme was to look into the evidence for the family of Jesus and to raise questions as to why they were 'airbrushed from history'. With the Gospel of Thomas and the Da Vinci Code very much in mind - Beckford's conclusion eventually was pretty much orthodox and that as a Christian he feels that the "greatest conspiracy in Christian history" has been the resultant "loss of Jesus' original human message that spoke out against injustice and oppression, His moral code and heralding the Kingdom of God on earth here and now". (Read the Evangelical alliance's statement here).

The power struggle between Peter, Paul and James would make for interesting research particularly on it's impact on our understanding of mission and therefore eccleisology. Beckford points out the two former apostle's focus their message about Jesus's message, whereas James' (if he was Jesus' brother) is more focused on Jesus' actual message itself. Anyway it has sent be scurrying to the 'Epistle of Straw!"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The trouble with Atheism...

I was disappointed to have missed C4's The trouble with Atheism. I've got Richard Dawkins The God Delusion lined up for a read this year and when I had seen that I had missed the show I was miffed. However thanks to Carl there are two links on YouTube here and here.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's nice watching your children grow up...

What was noticeable this Christmas more than any other Christmas was that Bethan's and Eryn's pressies had quite a lot of appeal.

Jungle Buzz has been a big hit and the girls seem to enjoy it as well! Dr Kawashima's Brain Training for the Nintendo DS has brought some healthy competition to the house, but Mario Karts has wasted the most time and brought a lot of fun to the living room. Kate however it would seem would benefit from a 'sat nav' while racing!

Yep, this year was a huge leap from Tiny Tears and Furby.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Books 2006

Books I've read this year...
Top reads
Best Novel

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Different Christmas...

For the first time in eight years we were not responsible. Christmas happened without us. Poplar is always full on at Christmas, particularly Christmas day trying to create family for those who really are on the edge in one way or another. But we are no longer at Poplar and Christmas happened without us!

I am fast realising that our eight years at Poplar formed me far deeper than I realised. We couldn't not do anything on Christmas day so we helped out at Camberwell Salvation Army. We picked up and helped out - to be honest we missed the responsibility but it was good to be a support to Southwark and Camberwell SA.

Perhaps there weren't the same characters but nevertheless as most years the kind of characters that have nowhere to go at Christmas give far more to me than they probably realise. Slobbery dentureless kisses from flirty 80 year old's are priceless!!

My highlight on Christmas day however came at the end of the day when one of the other volunteers thought I was a 'punter' and gave me one of the presents that she had just carefully wrapped!

While we were at TSA - Grandma and Grandad did a sterling job of looking after our girls, however, it seems that eight years at Poplar has shaped my 11 year old daughter, Bethan.

"Dad, can I come with you next year - Christmas didn't seem right really!!"

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year......

I could be back...!

The internet is upand running in our house - so after 7 months of being internetless I again have the temptation of switching from what I am doing to post a quick blog. Blogging at work didn't really do it for me!

So happy NewYear!

Back to lecture prep for tomorrow!