Recently I have become aware of traditions of public devotional singing.  This is interesting as I am trying to understand what is going on either inside or outside some Australian Churches that seem to have problems with public devotional singing.  So here is my evidence so far:

1) In an article in Jocelyn Brewer describes public worship as a Hare Krishna – “On Saturday nights you could find me alternatively at a Whitlam’s gig (it was the 90’s) or dressed in a sari chanting and dancing my way up and down George Street – a practise called sankirtan, public devotional singing – believed to purify and bring about higher consciousness.”

2) While at a restaurant yesterday a group of islanders broke into song with the occasional reference to Jesus.  This was before the singing of Happy Birthday.

3) This flashmob in the UK performed by students in a college I used to work with.  I’d say at but that may sound like I was teaching there which I was not.

Each of these is public devotional singing – no question – outside of a church – no question.  Yet many of the people I know would only participate in public devotional singing if it was evangelistic.

On top of this I read this week that Hillsong United’s latest Album Zion topped the iTunes chart.  This is confirmed on the veritable source of all internet knowledge – Wikipedia at  This music again I guess will not be used for public devotional singing.

So why aren’t white Pentecostals and others doing this?

Something for me to consider?


The link above has a wonderful description of the Lesslie Newbigin’s influence on the Missional Church movement and ties together resources on both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific) well.

One thing in the article I was reminded of is that the church is a learning community.  This is why I have a fascination with the approaches to teaching & learning that we take.  I see teaching as a form of discipling and discipling as a way of teaching   This is why I completed a Masters in Higher Education to better understand ways of teaching and realise that social media tools like Facebook can be tools for discipleship and not just self aggrandisement.

So do you see your church as a learning community?

Consider it.

It is interesting to read the link above in light of my previous post about what we reward.

Organisational development argues for an empowering stance within an organisation, the movement leadership model takes that one step further.

I like the fact that David Wittenberg says

 I’m sure that God has a role in his church for visionaries and strategists like me. I’m sure that he loves to use large congregations and controlling managers, as well.

But when Wittenberg’s personal style becomes our only model of leadership in churches we lose something.

Consider it

On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B by Steven Kerr

I said I am getting the research groove back.  It may seem unusual then I suppose to post a link to this article except if you read it and then start to think about it.

What is it in church life we reward?  How much of long term hard yakka discipleship is rewarded or do we prefer to see those who can grow something quickly but with no consideration of the cost?  Or the quality of those disciples.

I said recently to a friend our effectiveness in discipleship is not how many disciples we have made but how many disciples they have made.  Most of the amazing quality overnight successes I know of had 20 years behind them in the wilderness, working quietly, doing what they were supposed to and then becoming known.

Consider it.

I had intended last year to comment on Tony Jones’s dissertation.  If time with my Kindle permits me to do so I still will.  Life took a few crazy turns last year and I did not accomplish what I wanted to.  Mind you a number of other professional projects were completed which took some of my time.  This included another Masters degree.

What I have realised is that I am starting to get my research groove back.  I am thinking in different areas and as I interact with some blogs again thinking about my own areas.

This means I am seriously thinking about what I want to write here and what will go into papers.  Stay tuned for more work.

In the last week I have had two conversations about my PhD.

That is not unusual in itself.  The unusual thing is that both of them were with people overseas.

One of them told me my thesis is now online, which I have since verified.

So if you want to see a scanned copy of my thesis – with all its errors – go to

Wishing people a Merry Christmas

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Over my holiday break I read Tony Jones, The Church is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement.

I will be blogging about this over the next few posts but want to start by laying some cards on the table to make it clear where I am coming from.

First, my doctoral studies are in Ecclesiology.  Second, I have used the work of Richard Osmer to teach Practical Theology.  I used Practical Theology: An Introduction while Jones’s thesis  uses The Teaching Ministry of Congregations.  Third the methodology in my thesis uses the work of Nicholas M. Healy as reflected in Church, World and the Christian Life, Jones uses an article by Healy and then adopts some of the terms.  My final comment is that last semester I completed a unit on Introduction to Educational Research.  This has been helpful to bring me up to speed with some of the latest methodologies in Social Science style research which are mentioned by Healy, Osmer and used by Jones.

Now I agree that Jones’s thesis is necessary and a useful one, it contributes to knowledge as all good doctoral theses do, it has good insights and good warnings to the Emerging Church movement but I am not comfortable with it.

The following posts will demonstrate where and why I am uncomfortable about what Tony has written and what further consideration I would like to see.

I was thinking this morning it was 2 years since I had last blogged.  That would be because the last 2 years have been way too busy for me.  It turns out it is less than that.

Due to a number of changes I have more time and I am really starting to think of writing again.  One debate I do not want to get into at this time is the huge Calvinism vs Arminianism debate which is really a detailed discussion on monergism and synergism.  If you really want more details of the debate look at the new blog by Terrence Thiessen.  For an Arminian view of some of the basic issues see Ben Witherington’s reflection on the loss of his 32 year old daughter.

However this morning I was wondering about God’s timing.  You know those sort of incidents when God seems to do something when you most or least want it.  My position was made redundant at the end of last year (“laid off” for my American friends) and while offered two alternative positions I decided neither of them suited me.  Before this however I had applied for a job knowing the redundancy may be coming.  A day after submitting all the paperwork I was told the job had just been offered to someone else.  Subsequently after being laid off I noticed the position was still advertised and I sent an email to be told I was in the pool of candidates as the offer was rejected.  If I get the job I will say it was all God’s timing, if I don’t I will be disappointed but argue that I (and my wonderful wife) have been praying for a while for God to show us what to do.

Which makes me think is God’s timing all about our freedom or His?

This is not just about synergism or monergism but about are we free?  God’s timing, God’s freedom to act in situations is not necessarily about us but about God and situations.  Open Theism sees God as open to the future based on the freedom of his creation.  Synergism sees God responding to the moral creature.  Monergism sees God ordering everything.   While I honestly lean to synergism, I wonder if the Open Theists, removing the flinty bedrock of Greek philosophical ideas from our understanding of God and replacing it with a solid layer of Biblical revelation, are on to something.

So what is God’s timing in the end?  Is it about us or God or the future and how free God is?  I am not completely sure yet.  I realise this uncertainty may make people nervous but I do know I am called to seek God’s will for my life, come to Christ and acknowledge him as Lord and let the Spirit work in me.  And somehow in the midst of that God’s timing works itself out.

So what of God’s timing are you waiting for?

I never thought there would be a day when something I had written would be on Amazon.

Lo and behold

So I am technically a published author.

At least the price is looking reasonable – another piece of work of a similar is a couple of dollars more!


David Morgan, lecturer, theologian, husband, father and blogger.
June 2019
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