Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Blog Silence: Business and Quietness

My Blog Silence has been due to both my Busyness, and quietness in the last few days. Friday of last week I had Andrea and Anna, some friends come from Yorkshire who I knew in cornwall, but unfortunatly that day was overshadowed by a tragic incident, the sinking and consequent fruitless search and rescue mission of the Meridian. This is the first (and indeed the only time in the company's history) that lives have been lost at sea while on contract. Our small office is inevitably pretty impacted by this tragedy Please pray with me for the families of those who have lost people important to them this week. There is plenty more to say on this but this blog is not really the right way to do it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daily Wanderings

Some things Ive seen today:
  • I read a very long, but worthwhile transcript of a presentation relating to the DaVinci Code by Scot McKnight, who writes the ever popular "Jesus Creed" blog, its well worth a read. Ive not actually read or seen Da Vinci Code, but I am going to watch the movie in the next week.
  • This is a major development for a tempramental country which we shoudl be lifting up, Conscription in Cambodia which it is argued is being used to curb figures relating to national unemployment crisis, which will continue to be excaserbated by the fact that HALF of the country's population is under 18!...What implications does this have for missions to this nation in the future?
  • As Wayne Rooney England Football star turns 21, check out his garage, unbelievable!
  • iTunes exncryption has finally been cracked, and although Im a big supporter of Apple, my belief in fair media distribution overrides to support this, though I wonder in the long term whether or not it may have long term implications on how willing music labels are to distribute media online, which may damage the final goal

I read through lots of blog posts everyday and list the best ones I add, every couple of days, to the the right hand bar under pick of the posts!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Second Greatest Commandment...

...is to LOVE your nieghbour. I have been playing around with the Myers briggs type indicator which is basically a psychoanalytical peronality test, not you regular bebo or MySpace quiz, the Myers Briggs have books etc all based on the theory, and I think it is actually of some use. When approach things such as this I think it is important to remember that a test for personality should not have a binding conclusion on your life BUT it does make for some interesting self assesment and contrasting to those who you are in contact with. I wont tell you all about the theory but you can read about it here What I want to go on to speak about is relationships, and more specifically than that relationships that are important to the Church. Well my immediate conclusion to that is that in some way ALL relationships are important to the church. But when we look at relationships with our fellow laity, towards leader, people in other Quote un quote departments of the church. Relationship is the key to sucess, Im 21 and it didnt take me long to work it out, and that is why Jesus gave it such prominence, and weight when he gave it as the second greatest thing we can do. In fact it seems to me to be a derivative of the first, but obviously Jesus wanted to spell it out plain and clear, and not leave us to ponder in the way of other things he wanted to communicate. The Catholic (all, not just Roman) Church is quite a mosaic these days I think it is fair to say, and unfortunatly we are not quite bound together very well, and not creating the best picture in our mosaic but I addressed that this morning, relationships between churches are based around one day ONE person decided not to be in good/right relationship with another, the church split, the church fragmented, now I know that is a hidious simplistic view of Church history and that the Church has split for it to survive (pos. Reformation) but essentially the point I want to make is that, the building didnt make a decision, the congregation more than often didnt take a vote, it was ONE person. We often go to church, meet people, and decide who we are "like", who is "our type" of Christian, who we find it comfortable to relate to etc etc, but the bible calls us brothers and sisters in Christ, and therein it implies a form of unity, and that unity is based in our love for one another. Anyone, Non-Christians can love someone they like or get on with, but we set ourselves apart from the world when we love someone that our reason tells us is "wierd" "different" " a lesser" "another type", this is when we make the impact on the world, not just by loving our friends but by loving those who should be our enemies. ref. my post on the Amish testimony of Forgiveness. Sometimes we can refuse others world view, or perspective, and isolate ourselves from them, because either we have pride in our own perspective, thinking that we have a monopoly on truth and we know best, it would do us well to remember this is how Adam and Eve first sinned. Secondly we can isolate ourselves from relationships with people who are different because it is uncomfortable for us to be around that person. Some of the greatest things spoken to me have been by people I have attempted to keep away from conversations with for my own comfort. The bible constantly is calling to us to eject ourselves from OUR comfort zones in order to further the kingdom which has its currency in Love. How often do we ponder how well our money, finances or investment would do if we did this or didnt do this, put it here or put it there. It is right to be wise with our money but how much would change if we put this type of value, effort and thought into the currency of the kingdom, a treasure that doesn't turn into dust. Love, loving our neighbour. Martin Stephen, a guy in our church spoke recently about putting on "glasses of Grace" which is a really powerful concept, the thought of seeing someone with Grace then enables us to speak to them with grace, and have grace-filled motives towards them. To be generous in our opinion of someone, to be generous in allowing them to have their perspectives, and being humble enough to hold our opinions in our hands lightly, and not to use them as weapons.

Short Reflections on John 6

This Morning I was listening to John Gillespie's reflections on John 6, He drew about many things I hadn't noticed before. John does a pretty impressive thing when he preaches by seemingly going deep but infact just illuminating simple truths to the listener. So I am just shortly going to bring out some things that he mentioned and add my own observations The most interesting points for me were drawn from the famous account of Jesus walking on water shortly after the feeding of the 5000. Im going to use Marks account of this for the first section below: Mark 6: 45Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.47When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, The first thing that I have read over before is the fact that Jesus saw them with super-natural vision, though he was on a mountaintop it would have been impossible to see them in a small rowing boat in the middle of the sea (Johns gosepl places them 3 or 4 miles out to sea), and the immediate and simple realisation for us as Christians is that when Jesus has sent us, and we dont see him like we saw him before (eg for the disciples he was no longer physically with them) he is ever present, he sees us however far away we percieve ourselves to be from him. This is a simple but beautiful truth for the Christian. Back into John's account from Verse 18 18The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they *saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 20But He *said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. It would be enough if any of us saw somebody we know walking on the sea at night to give us a scare, but JG notes a Jewish Myth that the jew would see a ghost shortly before death. Then an amazing thing happens Jesus gets in the boat, and the boat miraculously is taken to the destination, often in my own life I can see how I have struggled to do, conquer, achieve something and felt like I was failing and so far from where I wanted to be, when I gave up on my own strength and let Jesus come into the situation, my destination had been achieved by that very act. The most interesting insight JG had for this passage was that the boat and disciples are actually a prophetic or eschatological picture of the Church, floundering and failing in the World and Jesus comes to them to calm their fear, and supernaturally, and miraculously transports them to their destination through Grace, overcoming the natural hinderances of all the situations that Churches are bothered by, just by his prescence.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Weekend

This weekend I watched the first disc of Prison Break due to not managing to see the 3rd episode of Lost (which Im watching tonight) and now mid writing this post Im realising what an American Drama watcher I must seem! But I was stuck in the house on Saturday as Rachel had the car with her mum for manicures and shopping day for her mums birthday and I had to take phone calls and write emails for work, so the backdrop for that was Prison Break....and my excuse for LOST can be tracked here. I also hooked onto Matisyahu this weekend, after a taste late on friday night, stumbling over it after watching the Killers Live Sesion at AOL I checked out Matisyahu, who is producing some v cool Reggae/Dancehall/Hip Hop - Check his AOL Sessions out here, I suggest King without a crown. If you heard this you wouldn't think he looks the way he does. He's a hassidic reggae artist, eg. An Orthodox Jew, a his story is pretty cool, he seems like a pretty sound guy and one of those you'd love to have a conversation with! John was on to this way before I was, but his post from last year seems to have dissapeared and the transfer of posts onto his new typepad blog seem to have gone as well! Oh well. You heard it here second...right! I spent a brilliant sunday afternoon with Rachel having lunch at a crappy cafe but right on the beach on a beautiful winterish day, looking out over the beach at people jumping waves on jet ski's which possibly looked like the most fun thing to do......and made me wish I had a few grand to blow on a jet ski! Also this morning (I guess not strictly the weekend but seeing as this is a post full of air I thought Id add it) I read this psychological typology assesment, and took the test, came out as an ENFP which then gave a scarily accurate break down of my personality. I dont normally like to be put into boxes but personality wise this pretty much has me pinned down, and makes some interesting comments, click here to see the breakdown

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Generous Methodology: Evangelism

Often I cringe, and despair about some followers of Jesus approach to evangelism, and when Im in conversations with those who aren't christians I find myself apologizing for the previous acts of Christians. I wondered today, what it was that fired me up about what I viewed as wrong evangelism. It comes from a root of a similar subject I had with a colleague today. She said why is war and violence so often interlinked with religion, and I concluded that for people who consider themselves religious (using it as an over-arching term, without the negative Pharisee connotation we can often attach) it becomes a part of thier identity, or even their complete identity. This is why I can find myself (often wrongly) so protective over communication styles of the gospel, becuase I feel like if only non-Christians would see the Gospel how I see it, everyone would be saved! Because my experience of the Gospel is so positive and freeing, I cant stand any other way for it to be communicated. But at the end of all that I cant expect someone to communicate in the same way as I do, because they are not me!...and its prideful to think I have a monopoly on ways to speak of God. In terms of evangelism, I want to try and bring into my thinking a concept that apply to the members of a church. That is that everyone brings what they have to the table, for the guy who stands on a street corner condemning people to hell, God sees his heart and only he can judge him. Maybe someone will get saved through that, Im sure plenty of people at some point have, thats why more than one person does it. Then do I still think people should stop doing that, if someone has been saved through, if the Kingdom of God has been furthered through. Who I am to say the RIGHT way of evangelism is through friendship and witness. Its only A way not THE way as my pastor is often fond of saying.

My Life as the Gospel

This morning Ive been talking about goals, aims in life, hope and contentment. Unfortunatly here is a story about the lack or mis-guidedness in peoples lives. Suicide in australian farmers has risen rapidly in response to an ongoing 6 year drought which leaves farms without a sustainable future. The land was always going to be hard to work, see Genesis 3, and these stories, these lives in Australia are an awakening reminder that we are in a world that needs hope. It all boils down to where we place our trust and hope. If we place our hope in a broken world, it will continue to break and let us, as will people. That is often a very hard lesson to learn, and one continually to learn, as we meet great Godly men and women the reaction of mine is often to put them up on pedlestool, which then is literally setting them up for a fall. Thinking about worldy goals I feel immensly blessed to be able to look to a goal thats bigger than myself and bigger than the life I lead, it is a product of salvation, a freeing of earthly bondage. As I discuss my faith today at work, it is clear that even the most gracefilled and loving words as a presentation of the gospel "...is foolishness to those who dont believe" and as I attempt to be a loving, graceful, forgiving witness with my life, words and actions at work I am freed by the fact that the holy spirit is the one who draws people to himself. Lord help me to know where my work ends and yours continues, to be a light but not to drag people in your direction. Amen

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The testimony of Forgiveness

Im not sure there has been a better testimony to Jesus on such a large scale in the past few years than that of the Amish families response to the killings of their daughters a few weeks ago. As one friend remarked as we discussed it at Church that sunday "They have set themselves free...." to what, you might ask, as Josh Grogan writes aptly from "Descending the dark staircase into bitterness" Read his well thought out article on the forgiveness of the Amish in the Philidephia Inquirer here The simple people know what many of us still have not figured out, that the ever-escalating violence of vengeance has no end, and that the acid of revenge etches the human heart with deep and permanent scars. Imagine if the ethic of unilateral forgiveness could envelope the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, the Jews and Palestinians in Israel. Imagine if it could permeate the streets of America, where rival gangs kill over colors and young men settle scores over respect with 9mm Glocks. The Amish have found the road to a higher place. The rest of us could do worse than to be a little more like them.

Lost: Wow I missed this!

Well the Lost Series is back in full swing, 2 episodes in and Im already planning my week around the next one being released, and coming out in cold sweats when the downloads dont go correctly. I pride myself on being pretty into the show, having discussion with my fellow Lost wathcing locals (Rachel, Jane (the absent), Fraser (absently sunning himself while the 3rd season kicks in!), John (In Hawaii himself..but I suspect not watching LOST), and new member Leslie Stephen (purveyor of Lost episodes in Chief)! about the show, and all the details, but I missed this. JACK IS CLAIRE'S HALF SISTER, !!!! - READ HERE This excerpt from an interview with Terry O'Quinne (Locke) A: "I have no doubt that Claire is Jack's half sister. Trust me — the people that are creating this story do not throw (stuff) like that around lightly. He knocked on a door and a woman said, 'You're not being a part of her life. I want you out of her life.' People who pay really close attention to the show know that that woman is Claire's mother. And that's why Christian ended up going to Australia. That was put there for people to think that specific thing and so therefore I think that we will find out that that is absolutely true and in fact that her child is Jack's nephew. In my mind, this is a slam dunk! To find out they are actually related by the same father and they don't have any idea — after all their moments during the birth of the baby, is really great stuff!" Terry O'Quinn (Locke) UPDATE: Also here's a pretty comprehensive list of things still not answered in the Series 3 yet whic I grabbed from comments in lost review: First and most important, the numbers. I think alot of people have forgot about them. Second, the monster. Third, the mystery of what this island really is. Fourth, what the Darhma initiative originally had planned for this island and are these others taking that plan in a new direction. Fifth, the mystery behind Walt and the special powers he possesses. Sixth, why this island has "healing" powers, hence Sun is fertil again, Locke can walk, Rosemary doesn't have cancer anymore, etc. Seventh, if there is a link between all these losties, since they have all seemed to have crossed paths a few times right before the flight. Eigth, what Henry, aka "Ben", plans during or after the two weeks he mentioned to Kate in Episode 1 Season 3. Nineth, why was Libby in the mental institution with Hurley. Tenth, how will Desmond's ex girlfriend play into finding Desmond. If you remember, in the last minute of the Season 2 finale, two people out in some arctic area call her and tell her "I think we found him." Perhaps she is the key to their escape and how we will find out what this island really is. If its missing anything, then someone please add to the list here in the comments UPDATE 2: Here is a pretty convincing story in relation the numbers: The Meaning of the numbers

Our little neighbours

A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"Little Johnny replied, "Because people are sleeping." Often in our church there is the sound of kids talking when they "shouldn't be" and babys wailing, and in the last few months God has given me enough grace to love it, I love its irreverance to human plans and neatness, and whenever I see a kid running down the aisle of the church when the "shouldn't" be I always think the Kingdom of God belongs to them. When I see people looking aggravated at some kid across the church saying with their eyes "Get that Kid outta here coz the important things are happening now" I think, Jesus would be welcoming them right now, pleased that they were even there. We often choose for things to annoy us more than they need to, so when a child makes a noise that "should know better", in our minds we attach it to every other time kid's have done that and make a huge deal about it, instead of holding our pristine order lightly, and enjoying the ups, downs and realities of the family life of church. Im not making a case for out and out chaos contrary to 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. BUT....I think Paul here is talking about a service a good deal more chaotic than most of the meetings of the people of God that I have ever attended. We are fustrated mostly by children, because they are not adults, but never seemingly fustrated at adults because they won't be like children: Matthew 18:2-5 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Adults can engage themselves in long attention span activities like 40mins of music, and 40mins of preaching, but this is different for children. Needless to say when Jesus spoke, Children were attracted to him. We can only speculate why this was but I would say it was for two reasons: 1) The way in which Jesus spoke, story told etc 2) His spiritual prescence which transcended generational boundries. This would maybe give us an insight into how to engage children in our church services? There is something missing in Church's in relation to ministry to children, it seems lip service is paid to teaching children in childrens church etc, when the prevalent attitude is how to get them out of the way of the real business of church assemblies. I love children....one at a time, but I admit I struggle with great hordes of them, It is a mission field/oppurtunity which is outside of my comfort zone, it is not having a intellectual, theological exegesis with cognitive, educated individuals. It is the essence of the gospel that is required, to LOVE our neighbour as ourselves, even, well in fact especially the little neighbours. Matthew 22:36-40 36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." God, give me more of a heart to love children BECAUSE there is nothing in it for me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nothing so crazy as Sandwhich Art

This is the craziest stuff! Check it out HT: Beckie

Technology Review: Google, Google, Google

Ive alway quite enjoy web based applications, that includes email and FeedReading which is maybe more traditionally used offline after connecting to an online source. Since back in the day (mid nineties for someone my age) I used to use hotmail, BEFORE it was owned by Microsoft, and loved the fact I opened email the same wherever I went, who evers computer I used. Hotmail used to be underground, and everyone else I knew had a yahoo address. Then SPAM became a big problem and there were no other Worthy web based /free email provider, until gmail, and I love it, a very timely fusion of web2.0 and webmail. Searching for stuff, although it took my folder orientated computer comfort zone away, was great.

So, yay for google. Anyway I noticed reader when it was released in beta and got an invite, so have been using it ever since due to having problems using the RSS reader in thunderbird, Firefox's web application. Its been a good reader, if not a little simplified, but they just released a new upgrade and while its had a little teething problems (undertandable in beta pre-releases) it is something I can definatly recommend. Reading the blog post about the new release of reader and google being the guys actually producing web2.0 while others were dreaming a philosophizing about it, I notice their aspirations are moving the right direction, with their web 2.0 rating having the top end as flickr. With the release of the new Google reader, and Google's aqquisition of Youtube, brought up another bitter wound. Its one of the blips in AJAX/web2.0 history that google let yahoo! snap up Flickr. Flickr, is about the only web service outside of google, that I really live with, and everything good about it has already been said by someone else, so I wont say anymore. So moral of the story is....Google congrats on a good buy with youtube, nice job on reader, but get some kind of huge-ass bank loan and buy flickr off Yahoo please.

I need to lighten up

Its Friday the 13th and I am 100% not superstitious, but if I wasnt afraid that like so many bloggers before me I would get fired for letting you know the craziness that is happening at work today (and at 330am last night!).....needless to say I am 3 BIG cups of Coffee in, and the admin girls bought me a kitkat. Meanwhile while the Scottishg Oil Industry goes crazy I cant stop thinking about my automobile. Rachel, beloved, trusted, faithful, safety concious girl friend past her test a couple of days ago. Having passed my test a few months ago I knew the best congratulatory present I could get her (bar buying her a car) is to insure her (which is a bigger deal here in the UK than elsewhere) on my car. So to give her the best of it, today I passed up the independence and comfort of transport, grabbed a lift with my ex-commute partner Marty Stephen and let her take the car to work. Despite the real crazy situations at work right now, and my complete trust in Rachel's driving (shes probably 3 times safer than me, but shhh dont let her know I said that) I cant help but worry that right now, the alloys are being scratched against the side of the kerb, a scratch is being made down the side of the car because of parking to close, the wingmirror has been ripped off because the car was parked too far off into the road. Wo, I need to lighten, its just a car after all

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Pain of Football, The Joy of TV

FOOTBALL (Yes, the first one, no shoulder pads!) Oh the pain of it, Scotland having a great warm up for Euro 2008, and England, blundering there way to another cry of, "Why have we ever kept faith from 66!" Read the whole Debacle here MY COMFORT: Is that Episode 2 of Season 3 of Lost is on the cards this evening. Not having a TV, I dont watch alot obviously, but I think LOST is brilliant, well it definatly managed to hook me anyway. A touch of fantasy while keeping realism is my perfect mix for any Drama.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blindly embracing diversity will damage unity

As so often happens, more intelligent people put into words things that are in my heart to say but never make it there with my lack of eloquence. NT Wright writes on "Blindly embracing diversity will damage unity". Two Years ago, shows how behind I am, but still worth a read.

The Semantics of Christian Healing Part 1

Yesterday I pondered with 5 others guys in a class room, the healing miracles of Jesus, and the concepts around Christian healing (Semantics: refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language), people shared there about their own experiences, and within such a small group there was amazing stories around healing and its different occurances. Two of the most interesting, impacting and notable stories where about Mothers, One student's Mother died from Cancer last year and detailed how there was healing in her life but not a cure for her condition(I will talk about this later) and the second was a Mother who had been inflicted with M.E. for over 10 year but then was healed miraculously and completly! Both Stories glorified God in their own ways and both gave us real, tangible food for thought when looking at Christian Healing and its connotations. We tried to pin down a description of Christian Healing, and couldnt come to a consensus around any particular concept around healing, but I came to my own conclusion that healing is based around reconciliation, although this conclusion is a work in progress! By Reconciliation I mean the concept that the pain inflicted (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental or social) is removed from affecting the inflicted. Within this description there is an under lying clause that healing is not alway a cure. In many cases of illness, particularly in my mind is emotional hurt, the infliction can not be healing as thoroughly as we view physical infliction and therefore the individual can be healed by moving away from the source of pain and being reconciled to something greater. This is not a quick fix, or straight removal of the source of pain, which could be an incident, a conversation or even a person but for the Christian, Christ can overshadow the pain with his love, and be a greater influence on the persons emotional wellbeing than the pain originally inflicted.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Calling us On: Extract from Epistle to Diognetus

I was given this by someone from our Church, when I popped over their house to pick Rachel up, It really calls to me: Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country or language {living in such places} as the lot of each of them has determined and following the customs of the native sin respect to clothing and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries but simply as sojouners. As citizens they share all things with others, and yet endure all things as foreigners. Every land is to them as their native country, and every and of their birth as a land of strangers.... They pass their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed lays and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives.... They are reviled and they bless. Unknown Author: Second Century

Quick Note Worthy's: Deliver Us from Evil/Move to Wordpress

Ive no time to be long winded today but here are some noteworthy things today: - I watched this trailer today "Deliver Us from Evil" Its about Catholic Priests Involved Sexual Abuse, there is no way we should protect clergy anymore than any other paedofile should be protected. (Found through A's Post, an issue a little closer to him on the catholc side of things) - Also I very probably will be moving to Wordpress soon, liambyrnes.com an .co.uk will continue to get you to the blog but the blogspot address wont. I know Ive been threatening this for a while, but keep coming, It wont be until I have my (blog) house in order.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Music News Oct 2006

In Music News just now: - Coldplay is NOT retiring due to them all but one becoming parents, you'll be g lad to hear though they don't have plans to record the follow up for X&Y yet READ MORE - Yes, Jay Z is officially not retiring, and his new album is out in November including, the usual rockafella suspects: Kanye, Timbaland, Pharrell etc but also Chris Martin from Coldplay apparently. Jay Z is currently touring in support of Water for Life Foundation with the United Nations. Jau Z commented when questioned about his so called Retirement by EW "It was the worst retirement, maybe, in history, I believed it for two years." READ MORE - Switchfoot have a new offering coming out in December titled "Oh Gravity" check the cool artwork here, but have pre-released a song in the states available at the usual places online. READ MORE - Jeff's friends are in a new band that I think are pretty cool, and deserve to be big. Delta Spirit, Check out their MySpace for some songs or straight download them 1, 2 , website, Label site (for buying their EP, which is on its way to me right now!) and last but not least awesome video on youtube - Last but not least...err again The Killers - Sam's Town, their new album is OUT NOW, Get it at CDWOW @ £7.99

Fujitsu - Dreaming of the Future

I often, probably fairly deservedly get comments that some of my posts descend into such Geekery that they are non sensical, using abbreviations and acronyms , so the following post has definitions in the forms of links on thw words you may be unsure of. Hows that for accesibility. At work right now I have a nice 17inch LCD Screen but at home my huge 19inch CRT screen takes up not just my view area but about a foot behind that too. Fujitsu have just proto typed a paper thin screen to the size of A5, as an ebook reader. But this will be the technology that in 10 years time our computer monitors will be as thin as booklets (including the casing for these paper thing screens). Read the prototype breakdown for yourself here at MacWorld

Yoof and the Church/Communication of the Gospel

Now when I say Youth Im actually wanting to discuss generations and the implications for the Church. This generational interaction is fast becoming one of the most contentious issues in modern western classic church set ups (Im alluring to the evangelical/charasmatic, born or heavily influenced out of 80's Praise and Worship Movement in most cases). I have always been taught, and really believe that the local church (group of followers of Jesus in an area) should be able to meet, and interact cross generationally. In fact I think often it is what is so special about when God's people come together, that young can relate to old on the plateau of Christian faith. But when we look at the reality of Church services how is this worked out. Most of our sunday services (though planned with and full of good intentions) are set up for middle aged Christians. The facts of it are normally, 20-30 Minuites Singing, 20-40 Minuites speaking/preaching/teaching, 10-20 minuites fellowship, possibly an response oppurtunity. The durations and activities are all geared towards the audience of a middle aged adult. This prognosis isn't a slagging of these activities within a church service but we have to look at how there done, and if we really think about it they are normally set up in line with how the leader/leader's age group would recieve the most from a sunday service. But unfortunatly sunday services aren't set up for the leader/leadership teams benefit. In fact they are not even set up for the congregation, or any "target audience" within that. They are there to be a corporate expression of love to Christ. Within the congregation there are going to be as many thoughts as to how that expression is best acheived or outworked as there are people, but as in all things workable generalisations need to be established. Firstly we can identify a common Youth culture which spans the sub-culture within that umbrella of youth culture. This Teens/Youth/20's Culture can be seen as quite distinct from the culture of 40+ (of course there are exceptions to all these generalisations but lets just try and work with these ideas). The approach or communication is what I see as the key issue or difference between these two generations. Communication is such as massive thing as it affects the expression (how people express/outwork their love to God and to the people around them), communication of values (how the bible is taught in an effective, penetrating way), communication of Character (how people are discipled/progressing in their lives following Christ through the examples they are given). Communication models within the Church need to be addressed in order for this generational chasm to be bridged. At some point the pre-dominant Church model (within the disciplines outlined at the beginning of the post) emerged from the model of Church that most of the leadership aged people grew up in, and so for them to deny this emergence to the Y generation (a term Im not fond of but fills the gap for now) would be short sighted, and probably jepordise the effectiveness of the Y Generation for the Kingdom in the long run. A long sighted approach would be to ensure building effective foundations for the Teens/Youth/20's to be able to stand on, to go higher and better than those that preceeded them, too often unfortuantly when we look at many churches we can see an expression of church that looks to build a personal (particular leader) and/or stylistic (a way of doing things that has worked in the past) empire, this empire creation is then ensuring that cultural ideals and values (which are not inextricably linked to Gospel, but more a way that the particular generation/group have chosen to outwork the gospel) become "sucessful" within the terms mostly based within the common terms of sucess for business eg. Numbers (financial and body count) or longevity. This may seem like a particularly pessimistic view of the current status of many churches, but I would like to counteract it with the fact that there are many Y Generationers who LOVE the Church, LOVE their leaders and see their Godly authority and character but want the oppurtunity to develop Church models which enable them to be as missionally effective as possible to their fellow un-churched generation. Dan Kimball puts it nicely when he says the Frodo's need Gandalfs, and with this I agree entirely, The Church needs to work with all generations involved and needs to inter-relate in order to be a healthy representation of the body of Christ. So this post is in no way trying to advocate some poorly planned youth break off/church split situation, but is an appeal/answer to Pastors who are maybe wondering why there seems to be so little Teens/Youth/20's in the church, and the one's that are, are often disillusioned with Church (and therefore often their faith which will be linked to the status of the church, as it is for most young Christians who havent matured beyond this...which is fine, nobody has made it yet and were all on a journey). The ones that are in Church are bored because were trying to feed them in a cultural way that doesn't relate to their real life experiences, but allure to a world that they only see in their parents lives, thus resigning Christian community in their minds to being a middle aged (and often middle class unfortunatly) occupation. In church often we present the gospel, and invite people to come, invite Youth to be captivated by Jesus and live life for his Glory, and then set up endless cultural hurdles and hoops in order to achieve the goal. Which many are not willing to do as they hurdles seems so many that they crowd out what ever was so attractive about the Gospel.

Monday, October 02, 2006

In the News (well my news really)

  • I have just started this semesters course: Spirituality, Health and Healing, with a focus on Mental Health. Should be interesting, but probably pretty in depth, the reading I have done already for it is pretty full on, but the lecturer is meant to be a cool guy, and pretty respected in this field John Swinton.
  • Work is going well, though very busy
  • Church is going through some stuff at the moment really, but Im being challenged to keep my perspective wide angled and not to be pulled under/in by issues, but to focus on the fact that Jesus will build the Church.

Conservatives: The Unrealism of it all!

David Cameron is in quite the predicament within his party just now. Hes worked on being the Conservative 2005 answer to what Tony Blair brough in 1997 if that makes sense. He's attempting to give the young charasmatic renewal to the Conservatives that Tony brought to the Conservatives. The only problem seems to be is that David Cameron is not standing in front of the same Nation that Tony Blair was in 1997. The UK in 1997 had been under the conservative hold and people were more than ready for change, New Labour presented through the media a perfect refreshing face for politics which called people to be optimistic about the nation and as they looked towards the 21st Century believe that Politics could be as fashionable as the world of show biz. Almost 10 years on the country seems much more desgruntled by a war they feel were dragged into by the USA and disenchanted with Politics in a way that any politics PR campaign would struggle to revive. The mounting pressure on David Cameron to come up with the Policy goods is a real error in my view (not that Im bothered about the state of the Conservatives election popularity) but for the Conservatives to commit to policy, especially tax cuts if they are announced are entirely unrealistic. They have no way of telling what the state of the nation will be by the time the election comes round, and trying to play a classic conservative move of the tax cut will not win the day in my opinion as Gordon Brown has already ensured that this middle ground is covered, and a few waivering middle England voters wont be swayed, well heres hoping anyway!

Dreaming of the New iPod

I stumbled across some new fangled iPod Designs that enthusiasts had come up with, they've been collated here by Cnet. Like the phone designs but Im not so sure that Apple will release cell/mobile phones to be honest. Still enjoying my 30G iPod, Although connecting it to my car (its main use) by a tape and a naff little cable is less than ideal. When my budget is a little better balanced I think I may invest in an Alpine iPod Head unit. Oh how the mighty anti-capitalist has fallen!

The Challenge of Surprises with Rachel

A classic Story....Rachel is the most impossible person to surprise in the world (sligh overstatement...but only slight) refusing to be kept int he dark about presents, plans or well..anything. But this time I'd done well, kept all notion of this surprise away from her twitching ears.... She thinks shes just going for a meal, and then BAM big surprise were off to see Paolo Nutini instead, that was the plan. Hurdle Number 1: Rachel calls saying that she is getting alift in and will be there an hour early. So I try and ring round and ACTUALLY book a meal so as not to rouse suspicion, only problem is the place I said were going to is booked up, but say I should turn up and check it out, only problem is that this is soooo not conducive with the "Its been booked all along..." thing and the other restaraunts which would be a step up (and therefore a better option without broching why we couldnt eat at the original restaraunt) are all fully booked for Friday night. So I guess the only option is, is to show her the tickets straight away and then see if she still wants to grab something to eat, she does, and is suitably elated at the surprise tickets. Hurdle Number 2 Appearing on the horizon: We end up actually getting into my original Restaraunt intention and have a really nice meal, which stretches well past opening doors at the concert, as we figure we'd just miss the opener, who would probably be some crap Aberdeen band anyway. So anyway we leave the restaraunt and make our way to the venue...we walk and hear sounds of a pretty RAAR band playing, which makes me think, Oh we didnt miss the crappy opening band, but willing to put aside out little timetabling issue we move ahead to the bouncers/ticket guy who first takes my ticket and rips off the stub then Rachels and looks puzzled. Que Hurdle 2: Bouncer: "Paolo Nutini, sorry that tomorrow night"....I could not believe it! All this hard work for a month trying to hide tickets and spin stories of going out for Dinner, while saving the plan and actually getting into the Restaraunt...to be told the tickets Ive had in my posession for weeks said Saturday all along!...Anyway I took it pretty humourously as (fortunalty) did Rachel who remarked the blunder meant that our date was streched over the Weekend! Saturday night, second trip to Aberdeen for Paolo Nutini.