Small is beautiful!

I think that smallness of the church community is a necissity for quality in training of disciples of Jesus Christ. For a couple of days ago I spoked with an old friend of mine. He was brought up in one of the biggest freechurches in Sweden. He and his closest friends was really into the church – arranging things and were really in the centre. But now 15 years after that time – most of this bunch of friends is not part of any church. The church of their teenage years hadn´t train them for a dicsipleship that lasts the entire life. Sometimes I think that small is more excellent in managing to form young people spiritualy. But that is not because of its smallness but in what ways it use it smallness. Being small is certainly not a guarantee for “success”. But I think it is a better chance to form teenagers when smallness and quality in the pracitces of the church is partners. Please look into a church which is quit fascinating in this area – Solomon Porch – Peace!

Deep Ecclesiology and Learning

TSK has been writing on the term Deep ecclesiology which was the first time I had come across the phrase.
The term has been picked up and used by bloggers in a number of ways one definition TSK offers is –

We practice “deep ecclesiologyâ€?– rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others, we see that every form of the church has both weaknesses and strengths, both liabilities and potential.”

For me his definition links into the Generous Orthodoxy of Brian Maclaren. I like both terms Deep ecclesiology and Generous Orthodoxy and the sentiment, acceptance and openness that they express. I have recently been doing some work on Learning and the concept of Deep Learning both for lecturing and for my own thinking about process ecclesiology (which builds on tacking). Deep Learning includes a scale that moves from “performative understanding” through “direct application to indirect application” to finally a “holistic integration”

I am left wondering if the definition TSK offers is more apt to Generous Orthodoxy and whether “deep ecclesiology” has a notion of process involved because it is evolving from the growing emerging church movement. As we move to a deeper and greater understanding of church through the praxis of the emerging church movement are we moving to towards a deep ecclesiology that is more integrated, more holistic, and whilst hopefully maintaining the openness that TSK’s definition offers is also more actualised. By actualised I don’t mean that it is a theology of church that thinks it has arrived but one that has a greater sense of holistic integration and knows itself better so it can get on with task of being the type of church that serves the world well.

Migration: Fair Trade?

As a response to news today about taking health staff from developing countries here is an article I wrote that was first published in Benchmark Magazine:

There are many aspects to the immigration discussion, but one that hits me as particularly pertinent to issues of justice is the movement of skilled people away from developing countries.
We can view this issue as a problem of trade. We don’t normally think of migration as a trade in people – after all it’s not slavery that is going on! However, when we offer an individual the prospect of a higher standard of living in exchange for their participation in our economy we are indeed trading. The unfortunate thing about this trade is that it is between a poor individual and our rich society with no thought for the community from which we take, the community which invested in that person, the community which that person was serving. When we trade with these communities in this way we are not practising fair trade, we are not giving them just compensation for their loss, we take and we do not give back.
However, it is worth saying that this exploitation is only possible because of the global inequities between rich and poor. It is only when the root causes of this inequity are addressed that the symptoms are relieved – the ball is in our court, as rich nations, to do something about this.
But where does that put us, as the church in a rich nation? What is our role in the migration of skilled labour? Well, I don’t see our role as global policeman, preventing individuals from moving where they want or even preventing societies from tapping the wealth of societies less wealthy than our own. However, I do see that we each have a personal responsibility – we, as Christians, must seek to not cause such migration. As with any form of trade, sometimes we have to be prepared to give up what is within our grasp, as we are called to be fair in our dealings.
In practice such personal fairness can be difficult to achieve – how do we refuse the caring attention of a Filipino nurse or the school education of a Jamaican teacher? Is there any way that our actions can compensate those societies in another way, perhaps by charitable support? Can you go out to teach in a Jamaican school or give your life to support the health of those in poverty in other parts of the world?
What if you are that Filipino nurse working in the NHS or that Jamaican teacher working in a comprehensive school? This is the hardest question for me, as I’m not such a person. However, one thing that I must say is that, for many of these people, the purpose of their lives here is to support their families back home, to send money home so that their families can live better lives than if they had never left.
So, perhaps our role is to take a back seat, not to judge, but rather to recognise the opportunities that are open to us to do our bit for our global community.

What Doesn’t Kill You download

Still going to a new place

For many years I have urged myself, youth workers and missionaries (with Donovan) to journey with others to a new place. See Articles on the right The Tacking Church. The reading on Sunday from Hebrews struck me as how central to our calling and history this is.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Fundamental or Liberal?

Just picked up on the Tall Skinny NewZealander:

Isn’t it odd that the term fundamentalist (at it’s most basic interpretation) implies someone who adheres to the fundamental (and therefore ‘core’) truths of their faith. So doesn’t this imply that they don’t get carried away with peripheral (less obvious) aspects of their faith?

Isn’t this liberalism? Where you are more open to different, previously unexplored truths surrounding the core beliefs?

When did the term fundamentalism become something that encompassed more than core belief?Oliver & Company on dvd

Thinking Out Loud

Is social action evangelism just poor mission but with good PR?
What would be a good way or word to replace the word “leader(ship)” for the way we need to start thinking about this in post Christendom?
Why hasn’t the house sold?
The difference between knowing of God and about God, how they inter relate and each help sustain a relationship with God. How one comes to prominence at different times.

Government propose treating young people inhumanly

I have pasted an article by my boss, Dave Wiles from FYT.

I want to share a brief personal response to this ridiculous idea on the basis that I have been getting increasingly concerned about the way that young people (especially those who have got into trouble) are being portrayed, labelled and treated in our society.

We routinely display disdain and dislike of teenagers in press stories, for example, ‘Young People Now’ conducted some research which found that in a given period across a wide range of media reporting 71% gave a negative view of young people. I am fearful that we are entering a period of irrational knee jerk actions against young people based upon biased and misleading propaganda. Another recent example of this is the banning of hoodies and baseball caps in the Blue water shopping Centre which The Children’s Society has called a “blatant discrimination based on stereotypes and prejudices”. here

So what about the notion of a uniform for young offenders to wear when they are involved in community service? I think this is demeaning, humiliating and offensive and possibly more importantly it will not work in terms of doing anything constructive about offending. It reduces human relations to the kind of humilating tactics used by Victorian educationalists who inflicted dunce caps on some youngsters.

If a ‘uniform for young offenders’ ever becomes a reality I promise to wear the same uniform through out my work as CEO of Frontier Youth Trust (obviously hoping very much that it becomes a fashion statement!!!!!) I will do this as an act of protest against a government that has lost touch with the notion that young people’s behaviour is more complex than the actions of ‘bad’ individuals who are to be castigated for their ‘bad choices’ and which seems intent on responding to populist media fear factories by endorsing inhumane ideas and actions.

This governments responsibility under Article 37a of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that, “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Mosquito the Rapist aka Bloodlust download

Fantastic Four psp

Church Amongst Churches

Further to my ‘Denomination Domination’ post I would like to speculate that we can be church amongst

Bewitched movies churches. I.e. just because you want to change your pattern of fellowship with other believers, you don’t have to exclude those in your current church (i.e. the church that you ‘attend’).

However, what does seem to be necessary is a re-prioritisation of how much time you are going to spend with who, but this is a long way off from dumping anyone entirely. Our mission of discipleship (internal church activity) should still be a priority in the situation we find ourselves – I tend to recall the passage around:
1 Corinthians 7:20
Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

and imagine that this could apply to continuing to participate with the church we are in, whilst we allow ourselves fellowship with those from outside ‘our’ ‘church’.

Naturally there is a danger, if we practice this slightly subversive form of church, that existing church leaders might have a problem with us… but one would hope not! I imagine it would only be a problem if they were particularly territorial or possessive!

Denomination Domination

OK, any one denomination doesn’t have a monopoly on church, however, perhaps we have a cosy cartel?!

Well, I’m probably going a bit far there – no one has a monopoly on following Jesus. But isn’t it strange how the presence of denominations or distinct groups does pressurise Christians to either be part of one group or another and people who cross boundaries are called spiritual gypsies.

Submission to leadership appears to be a major sticking point. Crossing established boundaries does not mean that one is unsubmissive to all, but it might mean that one is more responsive and less neglectful of one’s wider set of brothers and sisters (I perceive that moving (permanently) from one group to another often includes unnecessary acts of rejection and exclusion).

I wonder if crossing boundaries and participation in multiple groups (albeit a small number) is an alternative to the two most popular ways of change:

  • Church renewal
  • Church planting

Perhaps there is a third way?

CPR for Youthworkers

Welcome to Sunday Papers if you are visiting after reading the CPR pages in Youthwork magazine. If looking for the Visualisation exercise it will posted later today on the right hand side. We are in the process of setting up a dedicated space for CPR to make the site easier to navigate, so please bear with us. In the meantime please feel free to browse around there are already quite a few youth related items and links.