Monday, July 31, 2006

Surrender All: A Call to Sub-Merge with Christ. Ash Barker - Personal Response Part B

Part B - Re-orientation: God’s reign as an anchorage

This section is about the kingdom of God and Ash does an inspiring job of sharing the vision of God’s reign. I found the section on shalom very informative and helpful in my understanding of how the kingdom of God would have been understood then and should be now. Jesus as the hope of shalom is a powerful image for both the poor and non-poor alike. He is hope for the poor and in many ways threat to the non-poor. This hope was and still is politically dangerous, it overthrows and turns our world’s powers upside down.

With the kingdom of God transforming as it reconciles the world back to God, many elements of society are turned on their head, most notably the place of the poor and the marginalised. By the action and authority displayed throughout Jesus life, he shows us that it is possible for the reign of God to be brought forth here amongst us. “It will take all we have to see this authority of the kingdom beat off the powers of this world, but it is possible.”1

With Jesus as the hope of shalom our task must become focused on finding him and sharing him amongst those who need him the most. We must move away from spending our energy trying to work out who is in and who is out and instead share this good news.2

The kingdom of God does not stop with people’s individual lives, but goes on to transform the rest of society as well. This means that we as God’s people cannot stand by while governments, law, businesses and cultures are unjust. We must be engaged in the task of transforming these elements of our society.

Surrender All: A Call to Sub-Merge with Christ. Ash Barker - Personal Response Part A

Part A - Diving in as disciples: A call to release

Although I’ve been involved in ministry to the New Age I’d never really considered the difference between magic and faith. “Magic attempts to manipulate spiritual forces so that the supplicant can get what the supplicant wants. But true religion is about surrendering to God so that God can do through the supplicant what God wants.” This definition brings to light much that is wrong with contemporary Christianity, so riddled with consumerism and individualism that in many ways it is no different from the New Age. It’s also a very helpful distinction to make with people who have journeyed spiritually for some time and are meeting Jesus for the first time, pointing them to surrender rather than manipulation.

While this distinction is helpful it’s also quite overwhelming as it brings to light how much of my walk with God is based on my attempts at controlling him rather than submitting to him. Thankfully Ash goes on to stress the need for community in the task of resisting this temptation which he further breaks down into the temptation for power over authority, the spectacular over God’s will and relevance over faithfulness.

Surrender All: A Call to Sub-Merge with Christ. Ash Barker - Summary, Appreciations, Reservations.

I've just finished reading this book and have to write a review on it for uni, so I thought I'd post bits of it as I go.

Surrender All is a call to radical discipleship. Ash Barker holds back nothing in his call for christians to give up everything and focus their lives on the kingdom of God. The challenge is to release all we have and reorient our lives in line with God’s reign, relocate and reintegrate others and ourselves with the poor others to serve in the task of recreating identity and belonging inside God’s kingdom. This work is filled with real stories from the journey of UNOH that inspire and encourage, practical insights into how these changes might be put in place and a depth and wisdom that only God provides. This is a book that should be read with caution, the reader cannot leave unchanged without knowing they are missing out on God’s kingdom dream and the hope for the world.

The tone of a book which calls for a radical fresh approach to discipleship from its reader is a delicate balance between challenge and humility, particularly when you have an Australian audience well known for it’s ability at cutting down tall poppies. Ash finds this balance perfectly, he has the honesty to speak openly of his failings and the ability to laugh at himself which endears him to his readers. At the same time however he has an authority about his writing that stems from both his God-given prophetic gift and the experience of tough decisions made and consequences faced. He makes it very hard for the reader to dismiss or walk away from his words, they demand a response.
Another fine balance is struck within this book that many other writers fail dismally in their attempts to achieve. There is a theological depth and an intellectual rigor found right alongside very useful practical ideas. As someone who is constantly reading I found this very refreshing, finally a book that can stretch my brain and give me practical tools to help me work through its wonderful ideas at the same time.

I feel that there is very little to write in this section other than that this book was at times hard to follow. Particularly in the ‘Part D - Recreation: Identity and belonging below the surface’, there were terms used and not clarified, such as tribe, movement, clan and others, that made it hard to follow what was being said. It seemed that Ash was seeking to develop the idea of different types of structures working together, but a lack of clarity meant that this idea didn’t come across.

Part 2 of Jesus in the Margins

More good stuff on Jesus in the Margins from John Frye here.

People say that the West is not a shame based culture and they are right to an extent, but we certainly do have some element of honour and shame operating in our culture. If a drug addict walks into a fancy restaurant or tries to make friends with the those above them in our social structure they are quickly shamed away with certain looks and harsh words, putting them back in their place. The honour and shame system might not have as much of a hold on the rest of our culture (law, politics, etc), but many people work hard to be honoured and not to be shamed.

What is our response as people who seek to follow Jesus' example? Do we seek to be honoured? Without realise it are we guilty of shaming those who are blessed in the kingdom of God?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jesus in the Margins

Cool post from John Frye over at Jesus the Radical Pastor on Jesus in the Margins.

I love the question 'Who is marginalised?'

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mission Shaped vs Mission Flavoured

Found this article by a guy called Ken Morgan a while ago. I've been meaning to post it for ages.

I like this article because it helpfully pushes us to think about what mission shaped churches are really about. As with any idea that increases in popularity there will be lots of people who jump on the band wagon and use the terminology without really thinking about it. I feel several challenges to Loam from Ken's words.

The contrast between these statements causes me to wonder about how we go about thinking through our shared task of mission.

"Sought to discover and meet the needs of unchurched by engaging with them in relationship, then serving them in a relational ‘peer’ approach" and "Perceived the needs of the unchurched from a distance and opted for a ‘provider-client’ approach to serving them."

And I wonder how we are going at giving those who are new to the faith in our midst the authority to shape what we do.

"Allowed those new to the faith to influence its form and style." and "Designed its look and feel based on its own idea of what the community needed."

A helpful tool for keeping us remaining shaped not flavoured, thanks Ken.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The answers to Spiritual Formation?

An interesting post on the Christianity Today Blog about spiritual formation. It's probably nothing new if you've been thinking about the possibilities of recapturing some of the power of the monastic movement. The idea is somewhat connected to what's been going on at Northern, which should get going properly next week. It's going to be an interesting experiment to be a part of, I'm very much looking forward to getting going and hope to post more of my thoughts as they happen.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Forge Intensive Tuesday - Marcus Curnow

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Marcus Curnow. The Economy of God.
Resourcing a spirituality of engagement: Living the Word on the Street

Message of Jesus into a bumper sticker.
- finding your life by losing it.
- Jesus is a bloke.
- Jesus, don't leave earth without him.

The economy of God

... is an attempt at capturing for our contemporary context something of the subversive power that 'the Kingdom of God', the central image of Jesus' teachings, had in a world of real kings and kingdoms.

The biblical understanding of "economy" is grounded in the ancient Hebrew spiritual exercise of 'keeping Sabbath'. It is neither solely material nor spiritual, but extends to encompass all aspects of what it means to produce and consume as a living being.

Beyond money, this economy includes elements of time, of energy, of work and of re-creation, of relationship with the spiritual, the created order and other people.

Embracing the economy of God involves a realisation that abundant grace underpins an ethic redistribution that is the only way out of the spiritual and material slavery that is so characteristic of the dominant economy of our world.

how do we view time? it shows us something about our culture.
- time is money
- time management
- time wasting
- passing time

redemption of time - making it sacred, it needs to be pointed and directed towards God

language of business ... we have an abundance of time - all eternity.

Alternative Economic Voices
- Vandana Shiva
- Wendell Berry

What does the dominant market economy fail to factor into its economics?
- Spiritual, Communal, Agricultural, Environmental etc.

The art of the common place - Wendell Berry

Sabbath Economics 101
Genesis 1: God as Creator who rests, Work that is Good.

Exodus 16:11 manna ... Sabbath first mentioned
- 16-18 Gather only as much as you need
- 19. Don't store any up!! Exodus 1:8-14 Store Cities
- Have a rest Day
- 33. Store it up for what - Worship ... Remember ... Central to their spirituality

Sabbath and Jubilee
- Leviticus 25:35-42 Releasing Community members from debt (Deut 15:1-11)
- Lev 25:13,25-28 Land to original owners
- Lev 25:47-55 Freeing Slaves (Deut. 15:12-18) Lev 25:42 The land is Gods and gods people aren't to be Egypt
- Isaiah 61 Ezekiel 46:17-18

Jesus and Sabbath
- Luke 4:19 Jesus wanted to renew this tradition
- Mark 2 Conflict with the Pharisees: Who you eat with, How you eat, Where and when you eat, Feeding 5000 etc.
- Matthew 6:The Lords Prayer ... again central to their spirituality

Early Church
- Acts Chapter 2, 4-6
- 2 Corinthians 8 : Paul's Ministry of Reconciliation has an economy

Empty throne ... the forgotten worship symbol of modern Christianity ... we have no king other than God.

How does a mother have a Sabbath with kids? So busy, etc.
- Jews did it through ritual, Friday night meal
- there is an ideal and a real ... what is realistic?
- community is essential - a very practical approach to this question

Economy of God is a paradigm - a new way of life

Economy of God and Proclamation
The economic dimensions of the parables of Jesus.
"Earthly Stories with Heavy Meanings:

What you factor into your bottom line.
How do you benchmark success?
What must I do to live a sustainable life?
Renounce your citizenship and change your standard of living
The successful takeover bid ...

What must I do to have eternal life?
- sustainable living? does that factor in?

What is good work?
Good work uses no thing without respect both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not love.

It does not dissociate life and work or pleasure and work, or love and work or usefulness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonour God, nature, the thing that is made, whomever it is made for. - Wendell Berry.

Economy of Urban Seed
- Good Work: Residents and Credo
- More than a Job we are a Mob ... but there is no mob without jobs
- Building economic alternatives
- maintaining freedom

- Pete Ward: Liquid Church and the commodification of religious product

New Monasticism ...

Danger for Forge Interns
- The only communities that work are those of necessity
- The problem of taking developing world mission models and applying them to Western cultures:
- You incarnate into a sub-culture but not an economy. Everybody still shops at the supermarket.
- Our effort at mission can appear successful but easily end up being marketing to increasingly fragmented society in a way which furthers the fragmentation rather than bearing witness to the economy of God.

What's working ...
- economic sharing
- living within walking distance
- shared sabbath
- shared work
- food coop

a taste of slow
28 August - 10 September
- rather no clothes than clothed exploitation

Make Affluence History

Some questions
- What are the economics of the community tI am working, amongst and alongside?
- How is what we are doing connecting and contributing to the local economy?
- How is what I'm involved with challenging the local economy and bearing witness to Good Work and the Economy of God.

Who, how, what, where you eat? How is the process of food production and consumption made sacred in your mission work and community life?

lord's prayer
abba (creator and sustain of our household)
Brand recognitiion and loyalty are yours
may your economy come,
may your way be sung on the sacred earth we know
sustain us this day in the simplicity of enough
reconcile our debts with your forgiveness as we seek reconciliation with our debtors
and lead us through the wilderness, away from the seduction of our vocation
that in the face of evil our life may be saved

Forge Intensive Tuesday - Baxter Krueger

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Baxter Krueger.

God is over here, big gap in between us and him. - all other religions
Jesus has come and embraced us, covered the gap in between us and him. - Christianity

Christianity is not about receiving Jesus into our life, it is about us entering into the life of God because of Jesus coming himself into our lives. We have been given Jesus.

Our job is to capture this vision of the Trinitarian, Incarnational view of God and proclaim it to the world.

John 8:12 - “I am the light of the world (cosmos). Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- Jesus makes a declaration - I am the light of the cosmos.
- exclusive, politically incorrect, arrogant ... true, fact.
- if we believe in Jesus we will NEVER walk in THE darkness, but will have the light of life.
- when we say who Jesus is then we are actually saying something about ourselves.

- the Jesus we've inherited from Western theology is very small, but in reality Jesus is bigger than all things.

John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all people.

Colossians 1:16. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
- we need to remember that Jesus created all things and holds all things together. He did not set them in motion and is now hands off.

Hebrews 1:1-3. In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
- in, with, through.

- the church is being squashed by religion (which tells people they are separated from God) and secular humanism (which tells people they can fix it all themselves) and needs to be about the task of making space for people to recognise who Jesus is.

- Jesus doesn't tell us to have peace or joy. He gives us his peace, his joy, the peace and joy that come from within the Trinity itself.

- Father, Jesus, Spirit call us into participation with him, in all of life.

- Jesus is the Father's only Son and we are a part of the family. At this point our exclusivity becomes our inclusivity.
- Jesus received the Holy Spirit as a permanent gift, without measure. He is the annointed one in the Spirit.
- Jesus is the one in/with/by/for all things were created

- what does it mean that we are include into Jesus? All these things also become true of us. Also, when Jesus died rose and ascended, this is also happened to us.

Forge Intensive Tuesday - Alan Hirsch

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Alan Hirsch. Forge National Director.

How does the early church and chinese church grow so fast?

- there are many elements, but some don't relate to spirituality, so they will be dealt with elsewhere.

- today - community aspect of how they grew so fast
- victor turner - Al ripped off his terminology - cultural anthropologist - studied african rites of passage - how young boys transition into being young men - 'The Ritual Process'
- most african villages had two separate sections - female and male
- children are raised in the feminine part of the village but look forward to the rites of passage
- men come in to the female part of the village and take the boys to do the rites
- this is a time called liminality - danger, marginalisation, disorientation, ordeal
- boys find each other in a significant way through this process - this called communitas
- the type of community that develops when people are dealing with some kind of ordeal and they bond together to get over it
- being reintroduced into the village - the men's side - creates renewal as the boys (now men) tell their stories
- for the church liminality and communitas are normative for the church - china/early church experienced these ...

- September 11, Tsunami = global Communitas
- we all shared in the experience and were changed by it, bonded together
- Sports teams
- normally no relationship, no connection - give them a ball and some of the same shirts, they begin to experience ordeal and are bonded together.

- The church needs Communitas not Community
- Community is safe, secure and doesn't do well at bonding us together, Communitas is the opposite.

- Scriptural basis
- Abraham
- David and his band
- Exodus
- Exile in Babylon
- 12 disciples and Jesus

- You start with Community - experience Liminality - this results in Communitas.

- Middle Class - obsessed with safety and security, combined with Consumerism adds convenience. this is then a very difficult environment for liminality to be introduced.

If a church begins with a focus on ministry they pretty much never get to mission, but if a church begins with a focus on mission then they will undoubtedly get to ministry. This is because ministry is the means by which you do mission.

How do we get past the fact that we seem to be able to consume experiences and get a false sense of liminality? These experiences make us feel as though we have generated communitas ... but have we really?

Men stay away from the church because although it is run by men it is a feminine system - receptivity, attentive is the focus, not a cause. Men are side by side creatures, not face to face creatures. Men need a cause, the church doesn't provide this.

Living systems theory.
- all living systems tend towards equilibrium
- life = that which exists far from equilibrium
- to activate a system you take it to the edge of chaos, this way it has to adapt, it keeps it alive.
- disturb equilibrium

80% of kids who go from high school/youth group to university lose their faith in the first year. they are taken out of the fish tank and put into the ocean.

It's no wonder people can't manage when they go out into the real world. The people who run our churches are only taught how to manage things inside the church, not about how to deal with the real world, so they can't equip people to deal with reality. They are expert fish tank cleaners, they know nothing about the ocean.

Second Hand Books -

Monday, July 10, 2006

Forge Intensive Monday - Daryl Gardiner

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Daryl Gardiner.

Matt 6 - the things we do in secret the Father in heaven sees and rewards.
- we are the people of the little things rather than the big things (in societies eyes)
- these little things should be a part of everyday lives and if we aren't then we aren't being true followers of Jesus

John 6:66 - Jesus had just fed the 5000 men, plus the rest ...
- Jesus does a really big miracle
- then the people are very impressed
- Jesus then preaches a sermon
- then all the people leave ... except the disciples and they would have if they could.
- at the cross he gets totally deserted

- This is so crucial is because:
- if we don't unpack the ideas of success in the eyes of society then we will have a different idea of success than the Father. We need to have the understanding of the Father.

- each of us should be hanging out with lonely people - that's where Jesus would be.

Larry Crab - 3 needs of people:
- significance
- this comes through sacrificially serving Jesus.
- "Well done good and faithful servant" Jesus.
- security
- self worth

- your heart follows your actions so get out there and do things so that your heart will follow.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Forge Intensive Monday - Mark Pierson

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Mark Pierson. Urban Seed.

Worship sustains people in the following of Christ in the world.
leader has a responsibility to sustain people in their place in the world. Not about pushing them into what you're thinking.

Worship leader --> Worship Curator
- responsible for overall shape of the whole service. absolutely everything that's involved is overseen by the curator.
- goal is to sustain people in their following of Christ in the world.

working definition of worship
- responding to god heart, mind, soul, strength.
- not just about taking on information, but responding

- something to take away is important ... paper vs digital

An Order of Service.
- opening ritual
- call to worship and prayer for blessing
- meditation or song/s (depending on participation this sometimes gets dropped)
- prayer of confession and worlds of forgiveness
- scripture reading and sermon
- (response)
- communion (brief) and offering (done with water for it's significance)
- prayer of thanks for gifts
- concerns of the church
- prayers for others (issues are shared and then 'Lord hear our prayer')
- song (depending on participation this sometimes gets dropped)
- benediction

- helpful to have a structure to hang things on, plus it becomes connected to the community.

- having a liturgy/structure is helpful in terms of sustainability
- in mission.
- multifaceted - different for different people - individual paths
- scripture, prayers, journalling, retreats

Is Urban Seed a Christian organisation?
- the Christian faith, worldview, lifestyle undergirds what is done by Urban Seed rather than imposed over the top of it. It's not that it sets out to be a Christian organisation but rather that it happens to be.

Forge Intensive Sunday - Alan Hirsch

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Alan Hirsch

All vices are virtues misdirected. We must direct our life toward the One.

- understanding that we have Jesus and his work on our behalf.
- Christology determines Missiology determines Ecclesiology.
- Christology lies at the heart of the renewal of the church.
- if the church wants to renew itself then it has to go back to its founder.
- Show me your Jesus and I'll show you who you are.
- Jesus doesn't go well with religion.
- Jesus is divine, but he is hidden, he invites us to discover him through his humanity.
- Christianity - Christ = Religion
- What is good about the Pharisees?
- they were bible people
- missionary minded
- holiness and purity were serious issues
- zeal, passion, put bodies on the line
- disciplined
- prayer life
- tithe
- feed poor - social justice - custodians of Israel
- believed in miracles
- We do these things as evangelicals, but the Pharisees are the people who put Jesus on the cross ...

- the great commission is actually about making disciples, not believers, it is not seeker sensitive.
- so the early church was actually obsessed with making disciples, it wasn't so focussed on making believers, it wanted people who would love and follow Jesus.
- raised the bar on discipleship, lowered the bar on church - Neil Cole.

- the Church is like a dandelion, we all are seeds, we have ecclesia within us. If God blew us and we were spread out over the earth, we would still be the Church.

- the connection between Jesus and the disciple is the critical connection. discipleship is about becoming like Jesus - becoming little Jesus'.
- the conspiracy that God has is that he wants little Jesus' on every corner.
- Christlikeness.
- it's about embodiment. we live it out. Jesus takes up residence in us.
- spiritual authority - this is directly related to our ability to embody our messages, which is directly related to Christlikeness.
- leadership - it is an extension of discipleship that is based on Christlikeness.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Forge Intensive Saturday - John Franke

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

John Franke. Emergent. Seeks to bring missional thinking to the teaching of theology.

To talk about being missional is critical to the heartbeat of God. God's very nature is missional, he doesn't not only have a mission.

- we could gain a better understanding of God and his purposes. (head)
- to have our hearts grow in passion for God's mission. to desire to participate in that. (heart)
- to become more reflect and intelligent about the ways in which we are going to participate. (hands)

What does it mean to say that God is missional?
- most fundamental way to do this is through the Trinity.
- God is triune.
- but what difference does that make?
- well what was God doing before creation? what was going on?
- Augustine and friends. Preparing for people asking these questions ...
- God was giving, receiving and sharing love. In the Trinity God was doing this, through the three persons. This was concrete, real activity that God has been engaged with forever. Well God is love - love is a verb, God has been doing love for all of eternity.
- in this action God is relational, not solitary. God is a relational being, this is show in this action of giving, receiving and sharing love within the Trinity.
- God is missional.
- God extends this love from within the Trinity outwards - a missional activity.
- Creation is a missional activity because it is about sharing this love beyond God. Inviting us into this relationship for all of eternity.
- He created humanity in his image, people of relationship (Adam and Eve). Eve was created out of the very being of Adam, to participate in deep intimate relationship.
- Pericorosis (sp?). The relationship within the Trinity, total interdependence. Humanity was created into this environment. In this way we image God. Giving, receiving and sharing love. Humans were told to be fruiful and multiply. God's love overflows into an activity which multiplies, extends, creates this relationship.
- What does it mean for humans are created in the image of God?
- Rationality? Unlike other created beings, humans have rational capacities. But that suggests that each individual has this and can manifest it for themselves. Very individualist ...
- Exercise of dominion over the created order? - as God does this. Again this assumption comes from the framework of individualism.
- These views are from a western theological framework which tries to understand the Trinity and has an individualist bent.
- As individuals can we really image God on our own? Outside of community? We have been created for an in community, as individuals for community. Without community is there the image of God ...
- Sin entered the equation. Where did it come from? Problematic.
- Flaw entered but God's missional concern goes on. Things are not left in the state of rebellion/foobar. Because of His character of mission, God will not leave things at that. So he enters into covenant (maybe first covenant is in the garden - picture of Christ extinguishing evil). Israel's covenant - I will make you a great nation to bring blessing to all nations of the earth. Jesus comes to fulfill God's mission - "It is finished." Covenantal Climax in Jesus death and resurrection.
- Jesus delivers a surprise when he sends us into the world to participate in the bringing about of the Kingdom of God (John 20). He inaugurates the KoG (the already) and calls us to participate in foreshadowing the fullness of the KoG (the not yet).
- What is this mission?
- to be the community that God intended. Not just hanging out, but being the type of community (interdependent as imaged by the Trinity) that God intended.
- what kind of community?
- identity - interdependence - we see something of God in interdependent communities.
- one that doesn't live to serve itself - this is a Christian community because it is inherently missional
- one that wants to promote the gospel (which is - in Jesus Christ God is reconciling himself to the world)
- a community that is intentional about understanding who it is in Jesus. a missional community that is based in Christ. Christocentric in it's activities. Phil 2:5-11 for more thinking. Emptying self of rights and privileges of God, gives up for the sake of sharing life with us - What are the implications of this for us in the Christian life? Jesus even experiences death for the sake of sharing life with us (mission - giving, receiving and sharing life). The end of these communities is the things that Jesus is on about. Christotelic.

- How does being a Christian community influence our engagement with other beliefs/religions/world views?
- Newbigin - We are exclusive in the sense of affirming the unique truth of the revelation of Jesus Christ. But not in the sense of denying the possibility of salvation for those outside the Christian faith. Inclusive in the sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians. But not in the sense of viewing other religions as salvific. Pluralist in the sense of acknowledging the gracious work of God in all other beings. But not pluralist in the sense of denying the unique and decisive nature of God's work in Jesus Christ. (this quote is found in the foreword of a Generous Orthodoxy - Brian McLaren.)

- The Christian community is not just about its specific community. The Body of Christ is global, all who are seeking to be disciples of Christ. 1 Cor 12 - speaks of body with variety of gifts given by the Spirit, given so that none can say it doesn't need the other. This is true on a global scale as well as a local one. A church is at its best when it knows how to give and receive gifts from other churches generously. Jesus prays that all would be one. John 17?

- Our mission is to proclaim/promote/live out now the KoG that will be consummated in the final return of Jesus.

- Bosch. Mission is participation in the mission of God to reconcile the world, wagering on a future that present experience seems to belie.
- will we be fools for Christ?

- so what does the community as imaged by the Trinity look like in our context?

Mission - giving, receiving and sharing love.

- The terms we use to describe God (Father, Son, Spirit, Light, etc) are metaphors to help us understand. Analogies that help us understand who God is. God is a father, but a father unlike any father we know. God is a king, but again unlike any king we've known. These metaphors are important, but a single metaphor does not dictate and dominate all others. God has given them all to us. There are feminine metaphors also. Even the label God is a metaphor for Yahweh. God is God - yes, but unlike any other God that we know.

- all other characteristics of God are only expressed in relation to something that is not God (Holiness, Wrath, etc). Love is fundamental because it is primary - expressed first within the Trinity.

Who do we worship? God ... Yahweh, we need to be more specific.

The Doors of the Sea. Where was God during the Tsumani?

Forge Intensive Saturday - Mark Sayers

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.
Mark Sayers. Discipleship.
This intensive about our heart's motivation, not only our heart's but the heart's of those we seek to lead.

There has been lots of reshaping of how we meet and what we do, but very little discipleship, very little radical follower-ship of Jesus.

Are we producing robust disciples for our missional environment?
- often it seems that discipleship is measured by attendance at church programs.
- maybe we don't really have much of an idea about what a disciple of Jesus really looks like in the western world today.

Often the people who are leading emerging missional churches are on fire, but the people they are leading aren't that keen. So the key is to be able to engender in people a missional excitement, not just trying to to do it all yourself.

Our culture is full of supposed freedom, seemingly endless pleasure, but the reality is that people are often trapped.

So people in our churches hardly remember their call (conversion/call to mission) and they are distracted by this world that seems to promise everything but delivers very little.

The beginning of radical discipleship is by taking steps out into the unknown to begin with. People are standing back where you were, looking out at you walking into the unknown and wondering what to do. How do you encourage people to follow you out into the unknown? How do we challenge people to come with us on the dangerous journey into the unknown?

Often people grew up with a view of God that is either about Control or Conversion. God's love is linked to either of these things. But maybe now people have a more Contract sort of view, if I give to God then I'll get such and such back from him. A Contract view of relationships turns other people or God into tools for the individual to use.

We need to move away from the Contract view towards a Covenant mentality. Contract is based on 'if' - if you do this for me then I'll do this for you. Covenant says that each party will deliver on their promise regardless. The Covenant is done in a spirit of submission, a Contract is done in a spirit of greed. The Contract is about what you can get, the Covenant is about what you can give. A Covenant is about all of life, a Contract is limited. A Covenant is almost anti-individualist. A Contract is begun with the end in mind, a Covenant is eternal. Covenant is principle based and Contract is sort of law based.

Forge Intensive Saturday - Olivia MacLean

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Olivia MacLean. Spiritual Disciplines of Solace.

- Book. Remaking - a workbook for Spiritual Formation.

- Make manifest the glory of God that is in us.

- Solace exists to bring out the 'fabulousness' in people. And they believe that every person has that within them.

- Be remade, be part of remaking.
- The gospel is the invitation given by Jesus to join God in remaking the world starting with yourself. We do this with faith and in faithfulness.
- The focus is doing - discipleship based on a correct found of being and believing.
- In order to do and be in wholeness we are invited to belong first with God, within God and with other people.

- Jesus' focus is discipleship
- Why do you call me "Lord, Lord: and not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

- Paul's focus is discipleship
- Col 2 and Gal 5 - only two examples
- No magic rituals but plenty of discipline
- Grace but not rules or cheap grace

- 4 important things we MUST NOT take as primary objectives:
1. External conformity to Jesus teaching
2. Profession of perfectly correct doctrine
3. Faithfulness to Church activities
4. Seeking specific and special experiences

- 2 primary objectives:
1. Be enthralled by God
2. Remove our automatic responses against God's community

- Action-Reflection Training
- 5 dimensions of the eternal kind of life
- love, confidence and reliance upon Jesus
- a desire to be his apprentice
- exploring abundance in obedience
- deeper inner transformation
- power to work the works of God's community

- The Ways that are explored by Solace
- The Way of the Everyday
- The Way of Contemplation
- The Way of Relating
- The Way of Learning and Understanding

Forge Intensive Saturday - Daryl Gardiner

I thought I'd post up my raw notes from the intensive ... totally unedited I'm afraid, so please excuse anything wrong, offensive or unintelligible.

Daryl Gardiner. YFC NZ.

When we bring the things to God that we know are wrong/bad, he knows that, in fact he knows how they are even better than we do 'cos he sees sin as it really is.

In confession we are really just agreeing with God. When we do agree with God about our sin, he makes us clean.

We can use mission to give the appearance of a totally pure motive when in reality we're lucky if it's 10% ...

We talk about doing ministry/mission for Jesus, but in fact there is usually a whole bunch of other motives at play.
- romantic myth
- loneliness
- ambitious
- romance/pickup
- esteem/glory
- etc

If we are going to continue in ministry/mission without being honest about our motives then it's going to burn us. Our expectations, that we aren't honest about, don't get met and we get jealous, angry, disappointed, upset, etc.

Some people manage to survive this, often it seems by accident.

They move on to sticking around because of the team of people or because of the cause that you're on about.

One of the problems with causes is that people try and make their's look sexier than yours and so you leave to join theirs, but aren't honest about why you're really leaving.

If we stick at it for long enough then maybe we'll get to the point where we are doing it more for God.

What seems to happen is that over time the pyramid turns upside down. You move from doing it 10% for God, 20% for the cause/team, 70% for other motives to the opposite.

Is there burnout? Or is it just us not being honest for too long and that coming back to bite us?

When we say 'create in me a clean heart oh Lord'. What we really need to be saying is 'create in me a new way of looking at the world, show me the misbeliefs I have at the moment that I need to change, etc.'

The loneliest point in a person's existence is when they get the thing they desire most and find out that it doesn't satisfy. - Hindu Proverb.

We have many beliefs including some misbeliefs, we just don't know what those misbeliefs are yet.