Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Looking back...
So that's it - the end of being an "official" part of Back to Reality. (Yes I know I've been going on about it - last post on the subject - really!). But it is wierd, especially as I'm not really starting anything "new" just expanding my other role (with London's Baptists). Anyway here's a picture of me from when I started leading worship at Back to Reality events:

Anyway looking forward:If you are a baptist involved in emerging culture church then I'd love to hear about it (leave a comment) as part of a piece of work I'll be doing!Cheers!
Theme for the day so far seems to be unity among Christians/churches. 2 meetings revolved essentially around that.
Why is it hard and will it ever work? I guess the answer to that is as much about my attitudes as anything else!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Feeling a bit strange today.
Just handed over files and stuff that represent 9 years of work and investment in an organisation and area (and setting the thing up). Somehow that was harder that doing the last "event". Still lots to look forward to with London's Baptists!

Meanwhile my neighbour has just got a new stereo after the burglary. It sound like its working OK from down here!!

Monday, June 28, 2004

I sent an e-mail to London Baptist youthworkers today - and as usual copied to myself. I realise now it all went a bit wrong - one I tried to stop (with attachments) went at least twice as did the one I thought I'd sent! I blame the server. Sorry if that's you and you got lots of junk from me!

I'm enjoying Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton. Very helpful - and ties in with some thinking about "health and wealth" teaching.
More on that another day - although its hard to resist being unhelpfully critical of brothers in Christ.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

I was in charge of my last Back to Reality celebration on Saturday. This is a monthly youth worshipy event we've been running in Ealing since 1996. We talked of doing 3 to see if it would work and 8 years later here we are! Lots of encouragement from the young people both on Saturday and over the years - good to be part of something God is using. And a great team of young guys and girls running the sound and lights etc. faithfully month after month. I hand over the "mantle" to Tom who I'm sure will do a great job as the youthwork scene in West London evolves.

Friday, June 25, 2004

While researching for Sunday (at the useful I stumbled across something truly wonderful:
Christian Outfitters - Resources & Gear For The Journey.
I shall be buying all my presents from there from now on - lovely!

Obvious subject for today: having made it through the AGM of Back to Reality (a charty I have worked with for a number or years - but only for one week more!), we got to the pub to see Portugal equalise, England get one back (disallowed) and all the drama of extra time and penalties. Seems like a English tradition carries on!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Spent some time yesterday on a prayer retreat thing with some people from my church at Ealing Abbey guest house. Good to get some time out and "regroup" as it were, especially with stuff that's been going on (see yesterday's post). There was a copy of "The Rule of St Benedict" in the room I was in, which was a mixed bag - some excellent stuff, and some clearly from another era (and theology!), such as the instruction to beat children who recite the psalms incorrectly!

Some interesting stories from the Anglican Church planting conference over at Jonny Baker's blog. I was encouraged and I'm Baptist!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Turns out that some nocturnal disturbances on Sunday night were the flat above us being burgled. Our neighbors came home early this morning only to discover their lock was jammed and their stuff was gone. We're feeling bad for not realising what was going on. Tired from Sunday, and tired from this morning's discovery.

Added to that a trip to meet people from the airport on Monday (late) and sleep deprivation is here!

Property in London is so expensive, but what happened so close to home has only strengthened our desire to think about alternative living accommodation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Global - Urban - Postmodern
This article at Theooze kind of sums up much of my thoughts on emerging church stuff - that we need to get beyond postmodern in terms of Western definitions and begin to look global and urban as well (I know I've gone on about this before.)
I may be biased but London seems to me to be the supreme melting pot of global-urban-postmodern, so here is where we should (and are) be seeing lots of church experiments and mission inventiveness, yet somehow we need more!

Monday, June 21, 2004

God as a stranger
Interesting discussion today about God coming as the stranger, based on Emmaus Road story (Luke 24). Do we sometimes become over familiar with God? What does it mean if the notion of relating to the stranger becomes the "norm" for our relationships? What does this say about hospitality?

Meanwhile elsewhere its another big match - will England make it through to the next stage?
Come on!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Nice to have a quiet weekend - without any work or "ministry", it'll be another 6 weeks or so before that happens again, so you have to grab space when you can (or the wife will not be happy!).

Theme from today: Global - at church we were praying for 5 or 6 people going to other parts of the globe in various capacities. Being in London you feel strong connection with the wider world.

Elsewhere everyone is talking about Big Brother as it all got a bit hectic this week! The papers are full of stories on the so called "experts" and academic advisors - who some claim may not be as expert as we are led to think! My tip is Shell or Stuart to win - although Victor is a London lad in ways that make me smile!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Come or go?
Mission question on my mind at the moment: can you work with those outside the church and then hope to get them in? For example if I do some outreach youthwork with a group should my aim be to plant a church where they are or to aim to get them to join my existing church (and existing ways of doing things)? Or is there some "third way"?
This has been an issue I have pondered on for a while and my opinions swing. It has proved controversial with some people when I have raised this previously. But why are we some people so afraid of church planting and new expressions of church?
I shall ponder some more!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Fangs for the experience...
Back from my dental experience - still a bit numb - but surprisingly pain-free (except on the wallet).
All that's left to say is C'mon England!
Another link to Tall Skinny Kiwi - Southern Baptists and the POO is his comment on the SBC decision to pull out the BWA.
If you don't understand the initials then its probably a good thing! But as Baptist this is not a great leap forward in many ways.

Meanwhile I'm off to the dentist today - open wide and get out your cheque book!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The post below leads me on to a strange phenomenon - a kind of guilt people in "paid ministry" can get when they get new things.
A kind of inverse status anxiety. In some cultures the expectation is for the pastors etc., to be driving Mercs and having a nice life - but my background says mission and ministry people should live "simply", hence worry that people might think you're suddenly loaded because you have a new gadget/car/trainers etc.
Comes back to a previous post - Christians often don't deal with money well!
New Toy!

Just got a new toy - an pocket PC PDA!
I was unsure at first but had some birthday gifts to spend. Lets hope it transforms me in to "Mr Super Organised Admin-man" - although that might take prayer and fasting!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Intersting post and responses When we stop emerging over at Tall Skinny Kiwi (Andrew Jones). Worth a look!
Meanwhile the sun is shining and I'm about to go to a basement office to sort out paper work - what fun!

Monday, June 14, 2004

BT come good!
Despite being warned when I reported my phone line fault that it might be ages before its fixed, they did a grand job and my phone is sorted - and I'm back online!

Highlight from the weekend:the weather!
Lowlight: the football!
Still we won the cricket (but lost the rugby).

Alternative highlight:while preparing for a training session for a church I was struck by the realisation (that I already knew but you know how sometimes things go "ping" and sink in!)that ministry has to start with theology - with a realisation of who God is. Mission Dei - its God's mission. This was re-enforced by a visit to my home church (a service I was involved in) of the BMS India 2 Action Team - a team of young people who had been doing short-term missions in India. That only makes sense in the light of the God we worship as Christians.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

My phone line has gone down - so sorry if I ignore your e-mails or don't blog much this week! It could take a while to fix too!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Just had a visit from one of those annoying energy sales people. "You do know you're paying too much sir" - and I thought door-to-door evangelism was losing popularity!
Still Dean was friendly and has promised me significant savings...
Its Friday!
For many people Friday is still a day to "thank Crunchie" for!
But for me it generally means a panic to make sure stuff is ready for the weekends events.
Right now I'm preparing training material for Saturday evening for a church in Tottenham, and thinking about a service on Sunday morning (actually I'm blogging to distract myself!).
Not moaning though - would I really want it any other way?

Big sporting weekend though - lets hope England can continue their success in the cricket and finish off the Kiwi's. As for football vs the French...due to be watching it at my church after a bar-b-q which should be fun!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Multi-cultural emergence?
Attempts to re-new/re-invent church for the postmodern emerging culture are to be applauded. I think we need these experiments (while acknowledging the role of "historic" churches). But one concern I have had of the emerging church stuff is that is often white, academic (ish), middle class (ish) or at least led by those! This is illustrated by the audience at various events.
Others have commented on this:
"it seems to me that the "emerging church" discussion has essentially grown out of a cleavage between sub-cultural expressions of the church within Anglo-Saxon cultures".
(from Jonathan Finley at
In London (as I have blogged before) the exciting thing is the melting pot. Scratch the surface and God is at work and there are some exciting new churches and forms of church appearing in many (sub)cultures.

Matthew Glock sums my thinking up:
"a fundamental challenge of the worldwide emerging church is learning to talk about the emerging church in a way that respects and honors all its diverse expressions".
(also from
Some friends sorted me out about Corpus Christi.
Apparently: "in very traditional churches communion is not served during corpus christi because Christ's blood was shed at this time so none to drink (to put it bluntly). Petals scattered instead". Thanks Tricky & Karen!

Just spotted this:

at Relevant. Sure to be full of quirks from the US Christian scene - but looks amusing anyway!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Well the forecasters were right today and it was hot! And I was out and about in London town meeting people.
It was actually nice to be out in town (avoiding the tube). Good to remeber how good it is being in such a vibrant city!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Corpus Christi
Been trying to find out about the festival Corpus Christi!
At the wedding on Saturday the vicar (rector to be precise - what's the difference?) mentioned we would line up after the service and throw rose petals - like at Corpus Christi (this Thursday). This confused all the evangelical non-conformists (myself included).
I have since discovered its about the body and blood of Christ, traditionally being paraded to the church, while people throw rose petals on the ground. But have not discovered the significance of the petals (red for blood is my best guess!). Anyone know any more about this?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Back from a little tour of Kent and Sussex!
Started off going to Dartford to see family - including my nephew Toby's debut acting performance as one of the children in Oliver! He's following his father's footsteps of childhood productions (and has the family trait of shaved head and glasses, even at age 8!). Also good to see his younger siblings - mad as ever!

From there to Sussex for the wedding (mentioned previously) of Ellie (who was the female best "man" for my wedding!) to Erik. They met through YWAM in the Gambia. This was also a great chance to catch up with other friends from the illustrious university TVU.

The visit to Sussex also included a trip to Petworth House. Lots of great historic artwork to see - Turners etc. One that struck me was a picture of John Knox preaching in the house of Lords - a powerful image and a reminder of the UK's heritage.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Off to a wedding this weekend. Frantically trying to sort outfits (me not the Mrs!) - discovered my suit didn't fit as well as it did for the last wedding - too many burgers!
Should also be a good chance to catch up with some old friends.

Been thinking a bit about last Sunday - going to church as a "punter", at a Vineyard with friends. It's a nice church and had a good time, but I'm increasingly not a fan of "all songs" worship times - prayer and scripture add something, before you even start thinking about other forms of participation. Or maybe I just wasn't "engaged"?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Good to be getting some time out. Caught up with some friends in Birmingham at the weekend - and even got to go to church as a "punter".
Hard to know what is time "on" and "off" when you do a "ministry job" (couldn't think of a better phrase!). For example - is going to church/reading etc. work?

Got back into reading Dave Gormans Googlewack Adverture.
He's just meeting a creationist in the USA. Surprisingly well argued interpretation of creation from someone who claims to be not religious (Dave not the person he visits). Too liberal for some I'm sure!