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I have been really busy lately and trying to figure out where I had time to blog – I have not really found the time but tonight due to technical difficulties beyond my control I have a window of opportunity.

I expect posts will return on a more regular basis in June/July to include holiday insights but no guarantees.

I have found two great new blogs in the last couple of weeks.

William Willimon has a blog – one of the most inspirational preachers in the US has a blog.  It can be found here and I recommend all bible college students, seminarians and others read his articles on ministry as Between Two Worlds and Advice to New Pastors part 2.

On a very different note is the Biblical Studies and Technology website.

Other stuff – you may see postings about some of my studies at Macquarie uniuversity but I am not sure yet where they will end up.

Blessings

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.

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.

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 has been a busy week for us here.  We had a mini-conference/camp for the students which had a huge impact on many of them.  It was great to have graduates of the college speak about what is going on in their worlds of ministry and mission.  At the same time we had houseguests who were delightful but just meant that things were a little different around home.  And on top of it all my super son had a rash and now a what seems to be a cold.  Joy.

In the midst of this all I have achieved one of my stated goals from 3 or 4 years ago and introduce a UK ministry to an Australian context.  In this case they had got to the person 1 day before I did but it was great confirmation for the Australian people.

This week has not been lots of posts or lots of reading due to general busyness.  However I have a few things to point out for those interested:

A new book by Patrick Leoncini that looks interesting

A biography about an itinerant pastor that also sounds good

A eulogy for someone I would like to be like

The challenge of being a saint over a celebrity

A new blog which I am enjoying

And a book which I think will shake some things up especially with this sort of thinking and this sort of writing

Have a great weekend.

John Stackhouse writes an article on The Reality of Sex which is great.

Have a read.

I don’t consider myself a humble person.  Too many times I know I have suffered from intellectual pride and hurt people by seeming to know it all.

This week I have been asked to take on a new unit for next semester and was told the textbooks involved.  I am happy for both and one of them is by a blogger I read, Steve Taylor.  Now Steve and I have had differences of opinion on occasion.  I am used to working with larger groups than what he addresses but the heart of what he says I fairly much agree with.  Now I have to digest it well.

This is where I am being humbled and views I think I know, I now have to check I really do know.

Wait and see what the outcome is practically, I am sure I will blog more about this but regardless I am reminded that our views can come back to haunt us and to be a little more humble in what we blog, say and do.

Jesus, in the gospels, talks about the fact that people are known by their fruit. I came across on someone’s blog (http://mark-bymaswell.blogspot.com) a graphic that looked like:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I liked this so much I clicked on the graphic and got my own which you see above.

Now I am not a big fan of personality tests and I am not convinced I am that extraverted, though I do think I am more extraverted than introverted. Yet this one in describing potential jobs (I have done these) and other aspects does for once describe me.

I don’t propose we all know each other by our personality type test results but these do give ourselves a feel for what is happening internally.

Jesus’ command still resonates though. We are to be known by our fruit, what we reproduce and what we give away.

So how do you know people?

I was pleased to see the following in a Christianity Today article:

“Whereas postmillennialists were habitually optimistic about the course of events, believing that the Almighty was overruling human affairs to establish his kingdom on earth, premillennialists were characteristically pessimistic, supposing that the only remedy for the evils of the day was the return of the king,” historian David Bebbington wrote in The Dominance of Evangelicalism. “Despite their confidence in the power of the gospel to save souls, they put no faith in the secular world around them. The newer school of opinion dropped the earlier evangelical confidence in the steady advance of civilization, replacing it with belief that the present was bad and the future was worse.”

These days many evangelicals talk like premillennialists but act like postmillennialists. They expect the world to get worse and worse but preach the gospel, lobby politicians, and fight for social justice in order to make it a better place. Jim Wallis laments poverty and Jim Dobson worries about homosexuality, but they combat these problems nonetheless. Theology often shapes the way Christians engage their world, but sometimes the world shapes how Christians form their theology. If the trends identified by Wehner and Levin continue, it’s possible evangelicals will see another paradigm shift in their eschatology.

We are living Christian lives that can not decide what the deal is with the future.  Pentecostals are particularly adept at “[talk ing] like premillennialists but [acting] like postmillennialists”.  We believe the church will be victorious but we believe we must make the world a better place.  At some level we can not have it both ways with our current theology.

The recent election shows that our dependence must be on God not on the politicians we like.  Ultimately both the left and the right hold issues that Christians think should be important.  Jim Wallis supports the left (not in an unthinking way).  Jim Dobson supports the right (I am not sure to what degree) as both believe the party they support supports certain Christian values.  As Christians at election times the issue is not between bad and good but either bad and bad or good and good depending on how cynical you are about politicians.

Will the world come to an end because a certain politician gets into power?  The answer is obviously no but we sometimes live our lives as if that is the truth.  Will the devil have a great victory because a certain politician gets into power?  In my years of watching politicians in Australia, USA and UK all sides make a mess somewhere and show the devil victorious either in private lives or public decisions.  This means no party is better than another we are just choosing between politicians.

In the end we are called to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done.”  God shows up at unexpected times, and Jesus will return at an unexpected time. We need to be faithful, ready and obedient in the interim.

In my blogroll I have the Kruse Kronicle by Michael Kruse.

I do not read Michael’s work because I always like it.  Many times I do not.  I read it because he makes me think. He is very different to me, far more pro capitalism than I am. Then I come across articles like yesterday’s Economic Fallacies: “New Creation Now”

That sort of article makes it all worthwhile.

So do you just read those that you like or those that differ from you?