Archive for January, 2006

Alan Hirsch Reflections

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Alan Hirsch recently spent an evening in our home with a handful of younger CRM staff.

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National Director of Forge in Australia, Alan – along with Michael Frost – is the author of The Shaping of Things to Come, in my view, one of the best books on the emerging church and the future of Christianity in the West. I highly recommend it.

The following are a few of the more poignant highlights from my notes during our evening of conversation …some are quotes and some are close, but all are used with his permission:

Missional effectiveness is determined by: 1) Apostolic environments, 2) Disciplemaking and 3) Organic systems (there are two others but they might be too much to explain). These are the most self-evident ones.

The West has complicated the church and made discipleship simple.
China has a simplified the church and made discipleship complicated.
Good disciples produce good leaders.

Apostolic leadership draws out the innate leadership in all of us. The management of meaning is an apostolic function.

The centralization of power institutionalizes a movement. (more…)

Steve Addison

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Steve is my peer and mate and directs CRM-Australia.

His blog, Worldchangers: On movements for renewal and expansion of the church is a must for any missionally minded person. Check it out at www.steveaddison.net

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Until his book on this topic comes out, Steve’s site is one of the most comprehensive places on the web to tap into some of the best missiological thinking regarding movements. It is choked full of great stuff and his insights are the best!

Wandering Prayer

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

“…prayer is a form of thinking. In long wandering prayer, we let our subconscious generate our thinking in prayer, we open up our vast personal wilderness before God.” - David Hansen

I am not a contemplative. Nor will I probably ever be.

I’ve struggled over the years with prayer and particularly with the guilt of not being able to spend large blocks of time in focused intercession. Some of the popular concepts of spiritual formation (as I understand them) and the templates for what really spiritual people do when it comes to prayer and solitude simply have never been a fit for me.

So it has been with great pleasure that I finally found someone else who understands and can identify with my frustration and sense of failure. David Hansen, in his book, Long Wandering Prayer, has introduced me to a whole new perspective on intimacy with God that defines and approaches prayer in what, for me, is doable. It’s liberating.

Essentially, he advocates utilizing the body and the physical world as an integral, essential ingredient of extended prayer …running, walking, being outside in nature, and actively engaging God in my thoughts and thinking in the process. It’s what I’ve done for years but never considered legitimate. He writes:

We have construed prayer as something so preposterously body depriving, so mind-numbingly inactive that it is impossible to imagine praying for eight hours and still have a heartbeat. (more…)

The Role of the Supernatural in Radical Contextualization

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

We are witnessing a roaring debate in missiological circles these days over the issue of contextualization with the particular flashpoint being the appropriate and respectful engagement of the Christian movement with the Islamic world.

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One of the seminal articles about this is found in the the proposal of the C-1 to C-6 scale (which I heartily recommend) that specifically addresses how Christianity can and should respond to the challenge of Islam, which is by most estimations the paramount challenge to the worldwide Christian movement in the coming century.

Most astute and experienced cross-cultural workers have a bias that good ministry inevitably moves toward C-5 to be optimally effective in any given context. That’s been the genius of biblical Christianity from the beginning and one of the keys to its effectiveness and expansion throughout throughout history.

But I have a question that I have yet to see addressed by those who advocate radical contextualization …those on the far end of the scale. It’s a question prompted by a recent experience in Africa where I was invited to attend a mosque, have my own space to kneel, worship, pray, and participate during the Friday service. Because of a schedule conflict, I had to declined. But the opportunity forced me to reflect on what happens on the C-4 to C-6 end of the scale.

(more…)

Why a blog?

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Why a blog?

I’m not an outstanding speaker. There are many who have real gifts in public rhetoric: Tony Campolo is astonishingly capable; John Stott (in my parent’s generation) is one of the best of an era when it comes to biblical exposition; and John Piper has studied and emulated the great preachers and combines solid theological insight with superb rhetorical ability. The list could go on.

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But that’s not me. I’ll probably never be on the public speaking circuit and such public notoriety and visibility is not what I have ever aspired to. When I do speak, it is usually “one-night-stands.” My prophetic edge is not exactly endearing and few find me entertaining or humorous. I’m not a popular repeat performer for institutionalized American Christianity. So I’m rarely asked back.

However, part of God’s clear calling on my life is “to challenge the Church to holistic obedience and giving of our sons and daughters to a missional life.” That’s what I do in the warp and woof of daily life and relationships. And through a blog, I hope to utilize the pen (or actually the keyboard) to stimulate, influence and perhaps provoke on a broader level.

So welcome to Under the Iceberg where one discovers that reality is rarely as it seems on the surface.