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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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_(Hillsong_United_album).  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?

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http://missionalchurchnetwork.com/history-of-missional-church/

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.

 

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.

Wishing people a Merry Christmas

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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 http://www.amazon.com/Priesthood-Prophethood-Spirit-led-Community-Practical-Prophetic/dp/3843356637

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!

I admit I have not seen Avatar yet.  This Christmas it was a challenge just getting my super son to the movies but we did see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs which I now want on DVD.

Recently on Facebook there has been the wonderful group IF MR. BEAN WAS IN AVATAR HE WOULD LOOK LIKE THIS!!

Now another amazing insight into the mind of James Cameron can be found on Indexed

Enjoy.

I remember Sheryl Crow’s song “All I Wanna Do” is about Santa Monica.  I am not sure my memory is completely accurate but I am fairly sure that Santa Monica gets a mention a few times.

It was Saturday.  We were having brunch with my wonderful wife’s old room mates and then thinking about Santa Monica.  Well we had a great brunch at Marie Callendars though the service was a little dicey.  We were all full had a great catch up and then went our separate ways.  We took one of the room mates to the last remaining Valley Book and Bible and I purchased one more book and then dropped her off.  My wonderful wife wondered the state of Christian bookstores if this one had so little stock.  I put it down to Amazon.com and iTunes.

Our next destination was Santa Monica and the beach.  It had always been our plan for the holiday that we would spend a lot of time down the beach.  In the end we decided to stay in Los Feliz where we could afford to stay.  However this was to be our beach day.

The drive to Santa Monica was easy but the parking was hard as I was shocked to find the Santa Monica Mall being rebuilt.  I am not used to the American way of shutting down a mall and then gutting it and completely repopulating it.  We went to the beach – it was hot and noisy and not in a way we were used to.  There just is something different about American beaches to Australian beaches and we did not feel as comfortable as usual.

To finish off the trip I had to go to Hot Dog on a Stick for the Lemonade and found my son has a soft spot for Corn Dogs.  Oh well like Father like son I suppose but I was frustrated at the amount of sharing I had to do.

After that we went to a little place called Cafe Bolivar where we purchased Arepas which are a gluten free bread/roll which were great.

We rolled home and played ball games with our landlord and her guest including a twisted form of cricket which meant that many people were injured in some form or other.  The injuries were the end of night so that was that.

Next Post: Teddy Bear’s Picnic

We were in Los Angeles, Los Feliz area, a stone’s throw from Hollywood and we had a good night’s sleep.  We were finally starting to relax and decide what we would do.

My wonderful wife decided to send me on a book buying spree and she and my super son would relax at the apartment.

I returned from Pasadena with far less material than I expected but enough to keep me happy.  I finally had books to read for the trip.

We then went to the sensitive baker which produces Gluten-free and lactose-free food.  It advertises itself as a cafe and my wonderful wife hoped to have lunch there but it was a vain hope.  Instead I took my son to buy sushi – a new desire of his as he had seen it being made on television the day before – while my wonderful wife decided in peace what to purchase.

I was stuck for where to go for lunch and thought of one place – Souplantation in Beverley Hills.  Now while we had no map I thought I could get us there successfully.  In the end on stop at a gas/service station and we were set.

We walked in and the staff were in a bit of a buzz.  Michael Jackson had died.  It reminded me of the word’s of Don Mclean’s American Pie “the day the music died” about Buddy Holly.  For each generation there seems to be a musician or musicians who define that generation and I know for many people Michael Jackson was their’s.

From there we slowly headed home to get some groceries and allow my super son to play with his new playmate the son of our apartment’s owner.  While the groceries took far longer to get to than expected we at least had new supplies.

Tomorrow: Clueless