You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

I’d like to say I have read a really good novel recently that I would like to review but none of them come to mind.  Instead I will try and wax eloquently about blogs and their usefulness to me.

Before Christmas I read Getting Things Done by David Allen.  This is a good read for someone like me who usually has a messy desk but everything under control.  Now I have everything not so messy and just as much under control if not more so.

The way I found out about this book was through some blogs.  Similarly for the books of Seth Godin and the book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.

The way I found out about all these books ideas and then was able to research them was through the web, particularly blogs.

One of the advantages of blogs is that they can tell you not only in an unbiased manner what the book is about but in a distinctly biased manner why the book appealed to the author.  This I find gives me a better idea as to why the book is useful and whether I need to get it through the library which I did with most of these books or if it may need consideration for purchase.

In the end this is one of the reasons I like blogs – they let me know what people think.

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Over the last few weeks we have been renovating with new pergolas, painting a pink bathroom vanity and replacing our retaining wall.  And while I’d love to admit I am doing it all only the painting was my work.  In the mean time different friends have moved house, finally purchased a house after a year of negotiations with a US bank,  had kids at their house and been in hot houses.  I had to make a weather comment after all it is 40 plus degrees celsius here today.

But this got me thinking to the old question what makes a home?  A home is more than a house.  I know many people who live in a house but it sure does not feel like a home.  For some reason their is no warmth or something intangible is missing.

I think our house is turning into our home.  This is partially because the more we live their the more we like it.  Partially it is because we have a united vision of what the house is and is to become.

It was those reflections that made me realise that unity is one of the things that make a home.  It also makes a team work better and projects go better.  Without a sense of what you want the house to be there is no way it becomes a home.  It is just a glorified motel room where you are allowed to cook food and maybe have pets.

So what else do you think makes a home?

My super son was in a very active mood on Saturday and his mother was not.  I took the brave step of going out with him shopping to get his uncle’s birthday present and then to Brighton Beach.  I have now seen the famous beach sheds that appear in all sorts of photos of Melbourne Beaches.

Sunday was the birthday party and we all got there after a short outing.

Monday was a big beach day, we went to Mornington and had a wander around and lunch and then my super son went for a dip in some very clear water.

One of the things I do enjoy about Melbourne is the accessibility of the beaches.  We have found many of them easy to get to and easy to park at (for no or little cost).  This is unlike Sydney and California beaches which seem to charge an arm and a leg or have no parking.

So just another good reason to be in Melbourne 🙂

My series on holiday books didn;t get far and I am trying to get back into bloggin in the midst of moving from an open plan desk to an office/cubicle arrangement.

Regardless I was musing what to write today when I read the latest blog posting of Greg Boyd.  Now before you decide I am a heretic because I read Greg Boyd’s blog be aware I do so because I think much of his research is solid even if I don’t totally agree with the conclusions he reaches.  Anyway I read:

Nowhere in the New Testament does it say we’re supposed to spread the Kingdom by inviting people to our church services. We’re supposed to spread the Kingdom by bringing the Kingdom to them. What better way than by throwing the best parties in town and doing it on their turf!

For those unaware Greg is a mega church pastor, a theologian, a musician and a bit of a stirrer to put it in Aussie parlance.

I love his heart which I understand as lets get the Kingdom out in amongst the people, have the Bible as truly our standard as we try and follow Jesus more faithfully in this world.

And that is enough good stirring to make me a fan.

In the last few weeks with it being holidays and talking to people someone asked me where I have enjoyed living the most.  Out of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane it was easy for me to decide which was number 3 but less so for 1 and 2.

Now if I did a simple comparison I could say:

Best waterway(s):

a) Sydney Harbour
b) Yarra River + the Bay
c) The Brisbane River + Moreton Bay

That’s easy – Sydney Harbour.

Best places to eat:

a) Melbourne – all over
b) Sydney – all over
c) Brisbane – all over

I’d have to say that all are close but Sydney while I am most familiar with and find it easiest to get to stuff I think I’d go for Melbourne.

Best place to drive:

a) Brisbane
b) Melbourne
c) Sydney

So I am not sure a comparison is fair.  If I think about more exotic things like interesting markets and include places like the UK and the US where I lived Berlin;s Christmas markets win but for day to day it has to be Melbourne.

So in the end the winner for me at the moment is Melbourne and thus I start a new trend in the blog of reflecting on Melbournian experiences each mid-week.

I tried to make a comment on David Fitch’s blog but was not successful as the comment editor does not leave me enough room to draw some of what I wanted to say.

Read David’s post and then read this rambling reply of me doing theology on the run:

David,

I love your questions and thinking.

The use of Hauerwas is helpful but maybe we need to go back to the God question.  Jesus was sent by the Father from the Trinity into the world, so the Church was sent by God from the people of Israel into the world.  Both start with an act of God’s sending.

The epistemological issue is how do we know God?  Well we know God through Christ mediated through the church and scriptures.  So the knowing (al a Volf) comes from encounter with the church. “All members of the church create the ‘plausibility structures’ in which the communication of faith and life in faith become possible.”

This implies to me a twofold issue to use Len’s shorthand:

> Church
God
> Mission

Going to Trinitarian theology God the Trinity’s mission precedes Christology as there is no need to send Christ with no mission.  Thus we have:

> Church
God’s Mission > Christ
> Mission

God’s Mission also creates more than just church it creates God’s people amongst whom Christ is incarnated and from whom his human identity is derived.  Thus:

> Church
God’s Mission > God’s people > Jesus Christ
> Mission

Now the epistemological questions seem to disappear as it is in the what is the relationship of the Church and Mission to God’s people we get an answer.  God’s people were always supposed to be on a mission thus:

> Church
God’s Mission > God’s Missioning People
> Jesus Christ

Maybe we need to summarise not as the church is a missiology but:

The church does not have a mission, the church is missional.

Epistemologically we may not be God’s people if we are not missioning.

Thoughts?

It seems appropriate at the beginning of a new year to reflect on books that have impacted me in what I do as much as in what I think.  The work of Lesslie Newbigin I read as a young Christian.  When I was working on my doctorate I re-read some of his material and remember saying to my supervisor, who had known Lesslie when he was alive, “I had not realised how much impact he had on my own thinking.”

Newbigin himself would argue he took some of his ideas from Michael Polanyi but his seminal idea is that the West is not a missionary sending field anymore but one needing the gospel again.  For many people this comes and remains as a shock.  It has been implemented more widely though as the missional movement – making sure churches see themselves as following Jesus into the world as David Dunbar discusses the idea here.

Newbigin’s impact though is how do we conceive church?  Do we see it as an oasis in the dessert a place to relax and turn it into a resort?  Or do we see it as a place to be empowered to soldier on reaching the world for Christ?  One place we want to stay in forever due to fallen human nature, the other we feel uncomfortable about, but then when was the point of the gospel to make us comfortable?

Newbigin’s work has never made me comfortbale and continues to challenge me on what to do day to day for church and in teaching about church.

For those who know Biblical Greek or think they should this YouTube movie is for you.  Thanks Jay Merrick at Theology Forum.