I have a crazy idea. I might restart this blog.

Shall we blog again?

As you know, I shut down this blog nearly 2 years ago and yet I am still getting comments and emails on issues that appear to be relevant regarding HPV jabs, Emergent Village meltdown, the state of the global emerging church despite having moved on from the name, etc If I restarted this blog, right here, would anyone be interested In discussing these thing to try to find solutions, resolutions, and possible ways forward!

Ten Years: Wordpress and me

Have I really not blogged for a month . . . . . OOOPPPSSSS!!!

Sorry everyone. I have been so busy building blogs for others that this blog has gone by the wayside. Actually, I intend to STOP this particular blog in a week's time, June 3, in fact.

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Tallskinnykiwi has been existing for ten years on the Typepad platform which happened when i switched from Blogger in 2003. Ten years is a long time and this blog is a large well containing thousands of posts and thousands of comments that I hope will act as a historical momento for future generations as well as a memory jogger for myself. 

But I dont want a well. I want a spring. So I will be pulling the plug on this platform on June and will switch over to a dashboard containing links to my current blog projects.

And speaking of TEN, wordpress celebrates ten years of existence today. Its an amazing platform and all my other blog projects, except this one, are propped up by the Wordpress platform.


5 Events at Kirchentag you dont wanna miss

Kirchentag Festival is off with a bang. Not sure how many people came out last night for the Opening Ceremony but estimates have been as high as 300,000. Who knows? Counting church people is a tricky affair, as I have blogged about before, so I will leave it to the experts.

Here are my Best Bets for Internationals at Kirchentag 2013

1. Germany's Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Helen Clark, New Zealand's ex-PM and now spicing up the UN Development Programme with some kiwi ingenuity, discuss the value of creation in a globalised world with "And God saw that it was Good". If you cant get in, which is the most likely scenario, my friend Tomas Sedlacek from Prague is discussing economics under the title "No More and No Less". Both are Friday at 11am.

2. "Night of Lights" chilled worship led by the brothers from Taize. Tonight At 8pm.

3. Get your Bonhoeffer fix with "You Say That I Am", a series of conversations about Deitrich Bonhoeffer's life, and the opera in 5 scenes based on him.

4. "Unity, Justice and Diversity" led by panel of teachers including Dr Peter Berger. Saturday at three.

5. "The Feeding of the Five Thousand" a Bible study given by yours truly (Andrew Jones) on Saturday morning.

 


Enough for All - My Bible Study

If you are in Germany then you might be joining the 100,000+ people in Hamburg for Kirchentag 2013 (Church Day) on May 1-5.

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If you make it to my session, please say hello afterwards.

The Kirchentag folk do an absolutely incredible job of organizing and hosting a massive scale festival  - the best organized I have ever seen - and they invited me to teach over a year ago. Here is the info they sent me.

Information about your Bible study at the 34th German Protestant Kirchentag from 1st to 5th May 2013 in Hamburg

Dear Mr. Jones,

"As much as you need” – is the theme for the 34th German Protestant Kirchentag. Meanwhile there are tens of thousands of people who have received a program booklet and discovered that you are holding a Bible study.
Your Bible study will take place at the St. Pauluskirche (Heimfeld), Petersweg 1, Hamburg (758 / AA1)on Saturday the 4th of May 2013, from 9.30 to 10.30 am.
You will be welcomed and introduced. Furthermore, your Bible study will be accompanied by the gospel choir Schacht-Audorf.

The topic of Kirchentag 2013 is "As much as you need", with reference to the manna from heaven that sustained God's people in the desert. My teaching will add the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6) to the mix and will focus on abundance and poverty,  generosity and equitable distribution, sustainability, God's provision and His plan to use his people to solve the global challenge of hunger. Hope you can make it. 

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Reflections on Kirchentag 2011.


Rick Warren sets up memorial fund

I have been thinking of Rick Warren all week. A dreadful loss. Praying peace on the family after the tragic suicide of their son Matthew.

Rick Warren just set up the Matthew Warren Memorial Fund for Mental Illness. I hope the fund does well in raising awareness of this issue that affects so many, including many ministry families. It's a hard issue to talk about without creating disrespect for the individual involved. I hope there is a way forward. 

Rick warren matthew warren fund

Rick is an incredible man and I respect him a hell of a lot. In the early days, we in the emerging church gave the seeker-sensitive pastors a hard time but they, in particular Rick, never retaliated. In Rick Warren's case, he not only embraced much of what we were doing but he also endorsed books and stood by as a resource and mentor. Some months ago I received a huge amount of love when Rick called my twitter profile "brilliant" and tweeted it for his followers. What a guy!

Rick warren and tallskinnykiwi

Over those years, God has continued to use Rick Warren beyond our imagination. 

Last week we turned up at a remote camping site in the Queen Charlotte area of Marlborough Sounds, South Island, New Zealand. Hardly any civilization anywhere. And at the campground, in a little shed used for washing dishes, someone had left a copy of Purpose Driven Life. 

I may not have actually read that book but I have boat-loads of respect for how God has used that book in people's lives. And the impact of the Warren family. 

 God's peace and blessing be on his family and church in abundant measure. And if you say anything negative about Rick this week (Mega-church pastors are the easiest target) then I will surely kick yo ass!


Thoughts on Pope Francis

GREAT to hear waves of excitement over the new Pope. I am also excited about the appointment of Pope Francis, because . . .

- he is from South America.

- he is a humble man, riding the bus to work and refusing ecclesiastic titles. 

- he has a heart for the poor.

- he wants renewal of the church, which is awesome.

- he is a Jesuit, and those guys are really cool!

- the charismatic Catholics really like him.

In Italy a few years ago, some friends and I met with Matteo Calisi, who heads up the 150 million people in the Charismatic Catholic Renewal, known as the Catholic Fraternity, and reports directly to the Pope. Lovely man, this Father Matteo, who invited us to speak in his church. Before the service, he was telling us how excited he was about what was happening in Buenos Aries, where he had visited, meeting the archbishop and seeing some of the communities there. I imagine he is totally pumped about having his South American friend living and working in Italy.

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Tony Palmer, who helped arrange our meeting with Matteo, has reflections on meeting Bergoglio, who was then the archbishop of Buenos Aries. 

"Here I am in Argentina in a meeting with Cardinal Giorgio Bergoglio, who made it very clear to us during the meeting that we were not to refer to him by 'Eminence' or 'Excellency' as these titles are not found in the Bible and that simply 'Brother' would be better . . . "

Father Anthony, quoted by Marc Van Der Woude, who was also with us in that Italian meeting, on why he thinks Francis is a surprising Pope.

Related: My experience with the Charismatic Catholics in Italy.


12 Resources for Christian Generosity

My friend Sas Conradie from the Global Generosity Movement has just released 12 Resources for Christian Generosity:

E.G. “Jay” Link’s latest book ‘Who’s In Charge Here?’ is now available. The pdf and Kindle versions of the book are free - just go to this webpage


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 The Money Revolution is a website linked to a book that helps Christians apply Christian principles to handling money. The book is one of the best practical books on how Christians should engage with money.


The Generous Business is an electronic booklet with stories of companies leading the way in giving. It also includes practical suggestions on why and how to become a Generous Business. 


Spanish articles on generosity related issues and on mission resource mobilisation.


Brian Kluth’s sermon ‘Journey to Generosity: Why Become a Generous Christian?’ gives reasons to become a generous Christian


‘Biblical Principles of Financial Giving’ is a Bible study outline from Xenos Christian Fellowship in the US that explores how to cultivate a godly manner of dealing with money and material possessions.


The journey from an emerging giver who gives primarily because of relationships, tax savings, public recognition, or a feeling of obligation to a giving champion is explained in Journey of Generosity: Emergent to Generous Giving’ 


The MBA in Biblical Stewardship and Christian Management has information on the MBA in Christian Management and other courses taught through the Center for Biblical Stewardship at the Asian Theological seminary in the Philippines. The goal of this program is to equip leaders and managers of Christian non-profit organizations in the areas of strategic thinking, good governance, management and effective resource development.


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The Future World Giving report examines the potential for emerging economies to transform their societies through philanthropic action. I also posted an article on the report and a progress report on the international Giving Pledge. 


How America Gives’ has a link to a fascinating report on giving in America. One of the most interesting tables is a generosity ranking of US cities. If you are living in the US, see where your city is ranked. How encouraging would it be to see the percentages increase as you encourage generosity in your community!"


The UK Giving 2012 report is not as extensive as the ‘How America Gives’ report but provides a picture on giving in the UK.


The Generosity Spiral of Giving and Receiving is an illustration of the growing interaction between giving and receiving - starting with giving to impose (values, ideas and beliefs) and receiving to manipulate through various phases to ultimate giving (giving of your life) and spiritual receiving.


Can I bleed on your carpet?

A great mystic and dear friend of mine passed away a few days ago. He was not feeling well and laid down on his wife's lap. He didn't get up.

Steve Malakowsky, or Steve M as most people knew him, was a poet, mystic, a Jeremiah-type prophet, a father and a builder.

He was an unique mix of humanity, at odds with the church and passionate about lifting street kids out of destructive lifestyles and onto the path of Jesus. Steve dressed hippie, acted punk, wrote goth and expressed himself with post-industrial urban grunge. His more recent work mixing street art with words seemed to bring those disparate elements together. His early poetry was dark, often ink-black but always punctuated with the hope of a God who was waiting to heal what was broken and restore outcasts to Himself. 

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 I met Steve in the late 90's when we were both trying to reach throwaway kids on the streets of USA. He in Phoenix and I in San Francisco. With the support of Dr E.B. Brooks and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and Tim Andrews of SomeKids Lunch we produced a small movie that explored the plight of the broken generation in Atlanta. That movie touched a nerve and opened doors for ministry all over USA.

Steve M was the author of Tattoo, the founder of Beauty for Ashes, Outcast Press, Hope Thru Art (Facebook) and the co-founder of the Underground Railroad, one of the very first networks of ministries among the alternative scene. I have often referred to it as one of the earliest emerging church networks in USA and possibly the first to go international. By the time I hooked up with trevor M and Steve M at the Underground Railroad Roundtable at Cornerstone Festival in the late 90's, there was already strong links to similar movements in Europe and beyond. The idea of roundtables inside festivals was something that our ministry has used extensively and successfully over the past decade.

Steve M wrote poetry that explored the deep brokenness of a generation unacknowledged by the mainstream world and unwanted by a church that he felt was more interested in carpet than kids. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of these incredibly insightful and penetrating poems were printed as "street sheets" and distributed in inner cities around the world. They were profound. They connected with people on a deep level. They brought tears and understanding and a small glimmering light at the end of a dark tunnel.

I have read a few of his poems aloud inside churches, but there is one that will always stay with me. Its called "Therapy".

can i take my addictions into your church

can i sit on your padded pews

can i bleed on your carpet or do you want

me when i'm clean and not now.

can i take my addictions into your theology

is it big enough to face my pain

or will i stain your glass with street smells

and sweat

where can i go

where can i go when i'm addicted . . .

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 Both photos by Alexa Gibbon

 Hope Thru Art will be continued by Steve's kids and his lovely wife Barb who could use your prayers and support.


Mermaids

We are in Lower Hutt at an Anglican community. Our truck is parked outside and we are listening to Nic Cave's new record Push The Sky Away as it spins around on Josh's 1957 Astor. Nice album. Reminds me of Jonny Cash, gospel, blues and Proverbs, especially those struggles around relationships and temptations of Mermaids.


There were 14 people in out truck coming away from Passionfest. Most of those people are still with us. Headed north. Hoping to find some work in the vineyards for the Germans among us.

 


5 things I am learning about social justice

PassionFest is going well. About 350-400 people here for this Christian based social justice festival. I spoke last night on 5 things I have learned and am learning about social justice. For those of you ask me to blog it, here they are.

1. We won't solve the problems of our city by loving the poor but despising the rich. The poor need resources and the rich have resources. Lets bring them together.

2. We won't solve the problem of hunger by throwing cans of food at people without empowering them to grow and cook their own food.

3. We won't solve the problem of homelessness by sentencing people to a lifetime of unaffordable mortgage payments for a house that is too large for their needs and too expensive to heat or cool when we can offer sustainable building solutions and alternative residential communities.

4. We won't solve the problem of unemployment by crippling people with student debt for a qualification that might not actually land them a job when we could assist them to become creative and successful entrepreneurs.

5. We won't solve the problem of global poverty by sponsoring people to do nothing except to look poor and needy for our photos (somebody say mission porn) without freeing them to live sustainably, creatively and to put their gift into the world.

Last year was awesome also and I made a little video of PassionFest 2012

 


Wedding Day

Today is the big day for our family. Our Number One son Sam marries Jenna White. All very exciting. Lots of airport pickups. I got to bed at 3am last night.

In a few hours we host the wedding ceremony. The pig is already on the spit. Yes, we are taking lots of photos and video. Show you in a few days time.

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If I was Pope

Wishing Pope Benedict XVI a smooth transition into his next phase of life as simply Joseph Ratzinger. What a surprise!!

I was thinking of running for Pope.

Change is good. I have been a Baptist, an Anglican, and a Presbyterian, but never a Catholic.

And besides that, the Catholics have the coolest church buildings, especially those from the 1950's and 60's. Of course I would need a retro suit to match it.

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If I was Pope I wouldn't live in Vatican City or Rome. I think I would stay in Tuscany on a vineyard. Maybe Assisi. Its lovely there. 

If I was Pope I would have strong words with my bankers. Those guys have been naughty.

If I was Pope I would commend the South Americans for their great innovations. Maybe even move the HQ down to Sao Paulo.

If I was Pope I wouldn't change the robes. But mine would need to be longer than the last guy.

If was Pope my Popemobile would be 4X4.

If I was Pope I would start an Italian pizza chain and use it to support mission efforts among the poor. 

And that's just a start.

How about you? What would you do if you were Pope?

Related:  3 Things the Emerging Church took from the Catholics

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Remembering Richard Twiss

My friend Richard Twiss just passed away from a massive heart attack. He was a great man, activist, thinker, a pioneer and spokesperson for First Nations people in general and Native Americans in particular. Cody L. has some good thoughts and links

I first met Richard 24 years ago in Vancouver, Washington when I was a very young associate pastor and Richard purchased our church building for his congregation.

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The last time I saw him was in South Africa at the 2011 Cape Town Lausanne World Congress.

Very few people know this, and perhaps the story will never be fully released, but Richard and a few of his (our) activist mates felt the Lausanne Congress could have done better in addressing the needs of First Nations peoples as well as owning up to the past transgressions of apartheid, a subject they felt was conveniently ignored at the Cape Town meeting. They wrote a paper for the participants (I still have a copy) and for a while, there was the possibility of a kind of public disturbance that would bring these matters to the whole Congress. They decided on a different path, however, and nothing newsworthy happened. Which was good because Richard had actually roped me into video taping the proposed events, if and when they happened, and I was quite relieved that Richard and the others chose a more long term solution of tackling this blindness. 

What a guy. He refused to rest on his accomplishments but was still pushing for more justice. Once an activist, always an activist . . .

I once mentioned Richard in an article I wrote for Christianity Today.

"What do we go out to the desert to see? Do we see cheap fireworks, casinos, and tacky souvenirs? Or a special people called out by God for global missions in this new millennium? That's what my friend Richard Twiss sees.

Richard is a member of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Tribe and President of Wiconi International. "No other people group is so uniquely positioned for global missions as First Nations people are today," says Richard, whose mission sends out teams of "Native men and women who follow the Jesus Way and are skilled traditional drummers, singers, and dancers, to communicate the love of the Father with audiences worldwide."

In the past three years teams from Richard's mission have seen thousands come to know the Creator in outdoor events and house meetings in the country of Pakistan. It seems God is raising up a post-colonial mission force out of the margins of our own culture, out of a people who have felt the sting of colonialism themselves.

Andrew Jones, What did you go out to see? 


Wilf and Jan and 50 years of marriage

Wilf and Jan Wright have been married 50 years. They invited us to their wedding anniversay and we had a hoot. Their photographer forgot his camera but I had mine - yes someone donated a camera to replace my old Panasonic which was stolen by Christians in Egypt (another story) and I now have an awesome 5 year old Canon 40d which is my first DSLR ever.

Anyway they asked me if I had taken any photos of them and behold, I actually did snap off a couple, including this one which they really liked. They are such a great couple! Click on the image to enlarge it and check out this couple who got married in 1963 right across the road at the quaint little St Andrews Church, and are still deeply in love and enjoying life together.

Wilf and jan 50

Wilf and Jan still run the Reikorangi Pottery Park and Cafe which turned out to be one of the favourite haunts of the LOTR crew. There is a story about Aragorn and Legolas and a midnight river swim in the freezing river outside this cafe which, btw,  will also be the venue where my son gets married in a week's time. 


Living Lighter

We just finished volunteering at the Organic River Festival. It's an amazing thing to set up a village out of nothing, share a great experience with a lot of people, and then pack it all down again. 

Organic river festival ecofest

Highlights were hanging out with young people from Germany and France (WOOFers) who were the main volunteer force, hearing some good music, meeting some house truckers, and thinking through what it means to live lighter on the earth, so that others who share our planet can also live.

Our truck is fully solar powered and we have been collecting rain water,  all of which is good, but our next step will be to convert it to vegetable oil sometime this year. 

Thinking global. Trying hard to act local.


Tapu Te Ranga with Bruce Stewart

"I got out of jail with $25 and a dream", Bruce Steward, Stuff

At the invitation of Bruce Stewart  we are parked up at the amazing urban Marae Tapu te Ranga, a creation of Bruce and friends who built it out of recycled materials in the 1970's. This "living marae", which can accommodate 300 people, sits on 24 hectares of land given by the Sisters of Compassion next door that is being restored to its pre-human state. 

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It's an amazing place and Bruce is a living legend. He is still working tirelessly 16 hours a day not only on running the Marae and its humanitarian interests but also looking into new projects to bring housing and environmental restoration to the land he loves. 

"We need all people to have a place to practice their kaitiakitanga within their own community" Bruce Stewart

Recently at the Ngatiawa monastery, Merlene (who has now lived at both Ngatiawa and Tapu te Ranga), presented us with a painting of the Tape te Ranga Marae by Sir Michael Fowler. Its a fabulous painting and we are looking for a way to reciprocate the gift. Which is another reason we are here.

bruce stewat, tapu te ranga

Bruce Stewart is an activist, a writer/poet and a playwright. One of his more recent poems is written about Te Raekaihau Point.

On a clear winters day to the East there is often a sprinkling of fresh snow on the Orongorongo...
to the south in the foreground, Tapu Te Ranga Motu and far far beyond The White peaks of rise out of the horizon…
Every now and again it all comes together…
extreme beauty...
ahhh it is indeed absolute beauty beyond words…
if only I were a painter...
it is so close to get so far…
I go there often to refuel the soul…
these days as I can no longer fish and dive or even walk…
I wind down the window so I can hear and smell and feel this special place where surf, sand, seagulls, and the sky play together.
I let the healing winds of Te Rae Kaihau wash over me…
sometimes I snooze…
it is my outdoor Cathedral.

Egypt: 2 Years Later

So it's 2 years after the historic Protest at Tahrir Square and things are still really really dodgy in Egypt. Some great stories, but much suffering and hardship.

As you probably know, we went to Cairo in 2011 during a very difficult patch for the church and were there to witness the historic all night prayer meeting with 70,000 people. 

We also met with Christian protestors and activists who were trying to bring peace. 

One of them we have been trying to get out of the country but have failed. He asked me yesterday how it was going and I told him that the immigration lawyer working on his case has left his job and there is no one to help him. I felt awful when I said that but it's the truth. Someone else will have to pick up his case and I just dont have the resources to do it. 

Another young Christian activist we met was almost killed a number of times recently but managed to escape the country last month. His beatings were so severe that he has fainting spells and has spent much of this week in an Asian hospital. I managed to asked an Aussie friend to spot him some money to pay his hospital bills which he did. We now owe Aus$200 and more is needed to get our friend's hospital's bills paid and for him to get to a safer country. $1500 would go a long way.

If you can help, send me an email at tallskinnykiwi at gmail dot com and I will give you more details.

He is still making videos to expose the corruption and brutality going on in that country, as well as the miracles of God, but I cant show you anymore until he arrives in a safe country.

Here's some pictures of his injuries. Pray for him. Please. If he gets sent back to Egypt he will not live very long.

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Tallskinnykiwi interview with Frank Viola

My friend Frank Viola just posted an interview he did with me a few months ago. Its about blogging and the early days of Christian blogging.

You might have noticed that I have only been blogging once a week at the most and over the past year I haven't spent much time at all in the social media world. This is because we have been on the road without wifi, hanging out in a monastery, or sometimes just enjoying those REAL face to face relationships and down to earth moments like fixing our truck, taking long baths, cooking and being human. 

But I do plan on putting my blogging hat back on pretty soon. Just not right away.

Back anyway, have a read of the interview. I am going over there right now to read it myself.

And if you get the chance, check out Frank's many books. He's a great writer and Bible teacher, as well as the co-author of Pagan Christianity.


Catching up

A little catch up with me . . 

- Our family has just spent a whole year in a monastery, enjoying the prayers three times daily and being. We leave here in a week or so and will be back on the road, and hopefully with more time to blog and write. It was a wonderful time and a good transition from our overseas wanderings

- Our son Sam gets married next month to Jenna so there is lots of preparation and planning to do. 

- One of our Christian Egyptian friends managed to escape into another country but the injuries he sustained from a beating last month have left a medical bill of US$600 which needs to be paid. We are hoping to get him to a European country soon. Another brother who we were trying to help leave the country is still there, much to our disappointment.

- Interesting to hear Steve Chalke's announcement yesterday on the homosexual issue. I had just emailed his daughter when I read of it. 

- Emergence Christianity event with Phyllis Tickle sounded interesting. I must have a listen when I can. 

- Yesterday we recycled some doors from the toilet block into a kitchen cabinet for our truck. 

- More guests coming over today to camp out with us in the paddock we are in. We have two fire baths now so we can offer a nice hot soak under the stars. 

- I might stop over in USA on route from Europe in May, where I am speaking at Kirchentag Festival. 


Synchroblog: Serving the homeless

This post is part of today's Synchroblog on Serving Others in the New Year

"We can't solve hunger by throwing cans of food at people. We can't solve the homeless problem by sentencing vagrants to a life of unaffordable mortgage repayments." I said that a few months ago, as part of our Worldwide Dinner Party.

But what what can we do to serve the homeless?

I suggest in the New Year we rethink ministry to the homeless by taking a step closer, getting to know some homeless people as friends, not as targets of compassion. Maybe that means inviting them over for a meal or even better, get yourself invited to one of their meals. Hang out with them. Hear them out. Find out what their needs really are, not what you think they are. 

Here's a crazy idea: Instead of a summer holiday in a nice safe place, why not go homeless with your family for a few weeks? Go to a squat. Park at the beach. Stay in your tent. Sleep in your car. Go without showers. Turn up to church smelly and unshaven. 

And then try to tackle the problem of homelessness and the one billion people who live in the world's squats. 

Many years ago, I met a homeless guy in Portland Oregon and he became my friend. 

Paul had set up a tent in a large forested area near the Willamette river, about a mile away from our house in Sellwood. I invited him over for a meal but he actually didn't need food. He was quite capable of cooking for himself. Paul was a Vietnam vet and knew how to look after himself much better than I did. Food was not his problem. Neither was accommodation his problem - he was quite happy in his tent and had lived this way for a long time. 

But he did have some needs. Two of them, actually.

Firstly, he wanted to use our washing machine. Washing clothes by hand is easy enough but when you don't want to be spotted on government land then hanging up clothes to dry can be precarious. Especially when you have a big load. So he turned up with a big bag of dirty linen and took over our laundry. Afterwards, he insisted on chopping some wood for us so we could be even, and stay even, in our mutual friendship. 

Secondly, and more importantly, he needed a mailing address. Could he use ours? This was more of a long term commitment but we realized how incredibly valuable it would be for him so we agreed. Whenever mail came for him, we would put it aside until he turned up, which was every few weeks. It was a great gift for him. It was something he actually needed. He never stayed for a meal. He just took his mail and asked if he could chop some more wood.

That was 20 years ago when I had a house. These days, I am mostly homeless myself, with my wife and kids, as we travel from one country to the next on our itinerant mission. In the past 4 years we have spent most nights wild camping at beaches, parking lots, farms, gas stations, squats, and occasionally, when we have the money, a camping park. 

I have become voluntarily homeless for the sake of the gospel. But that doesnt mean there is a shortage of places to stay.

Being nomadic and often homeless places me a little closer to those without shelter or the one billion people living in semi-legal or illegal temporary housing - thats one in every 7 people on the planet. I don't feel like I have all the answers but by taking living in a similar fashion, I can talk to them as one of them and we can discuss solutions together. 

And thats a start.

This month we are heading up an experiment called Tent Village. We have invited people to join us in living in a paddock for a month. We managed to raise $1500 (not the $5000 we were looking for) to build an outdoor kitchen and we are about to buy the materials to construct it. If you are in New Zealand this month, come over, pitch your tent and join us in rethinking the problems of the world. 


25 Years Ago: Shipwreck of the MV Logos

25 years ago the mission ship MV Logos hit a reef in South America. Debbie and I had been sailing on the Logos for 2 years but had left some months before the tragedy. We were deeply saddened to hear of the loss of the ship but thankful that our friends on board all got off safely and without injury.

Logos shipwreck

Our time on the Logos (1985-1987) was amazing, difficult, challenging, eye-opening, wonderful and unforgettable. It was also pretty intense on the tiny ship with 130 people so we kept sane by finding the weirdos and alternatives on board. Our group of crazies started an underground newspaper called "The Dukes of Logos" and we were able to keep our identity hidden because Debbie and Claire work worked in the mail room and Tom was the printer. It was quite BLOG-LIKE, actually.

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This is our group of crazies in 1987, after a game of "PUNK UNO", which, if my memory serves me correctly, we held in the big walk-in freezer because it was the most extreme place on the ship. 

I am pretty sure that this is the only photo of me taken in the 80's where I was not cross-eyed. Or maybe I was but the glasses covered up the evidence.

From left, Debbie Cosper, who would marry me later that year, Freddy Kammies, Andrew Jones (me) with the life jacket, Sara Valand from Norway, Crazy Tom Seward from Winnepeg- who ended up working with Youth Specialties Mark O. [thanks Marko for the correction] and is now in North Africa, and Claire Church from Wales who we think spoke English but were never sure. 

Great times! I saw Tom Seward at Cornerstone 2 years ago. And most of the original Logos crew have connected with each other on Facebook. Strangely enough, this is my most active Facebook group.

More of the Logos story here.

Thanks Kobus for this photo of me.


2012: Muslims, Marijuana, Mormons and other things that make you go mmmmmmm

I kept a pretty low profile in 2012 with some pathetic sporadic blogging and only the occasional dip into blog controversies surrounding the church. But despite my silence, I was doing my best to keep up on the conversation. Here are my big M's of the Christian blogosphere in 2012, all of them stemming from the USA, which was by far the most interesting country to follow on the blogs in 2012.

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Muslims.

During the year there was a lot of heated discussion about Muslims who follow Jesus but stay inside their culture. Words like Chrislam, Muslim background followers of Jesus, secret believers, and insider movements which were compared to emergent church. A movie called Half Devil Half Child was released but has made no splash. In fact, the whole conversation has fizzled since November, and summed up by Cody Lorance who said, in response to John Piper's video on the subject,  "There is no insider movement". But the conversation regarding Wycliffe and their Bible translations will continue into 2013. 

Marijuana.

I remember 20 years ago when I was a young pastor in Washington State, asking another pastor what his stance on marijuana would be if the State legalized it. I dont think he took my question seriously. But now that has happened in number of States, including Washington, and the church will have to reevaluate its position. What will Driscoll do??

'Mergent.

If the emerging church label is dead, as some have suggested, then Phyllis Tickle has rolled away the stone with her book Emergence Christianity. And if the label makes a comeback, we will have Phyllis Tickle to thank. For the record, and for those who have read Phyllis's book I didn't actually ask if "2009 was to be the end of the Emergent ethos". If anyone is interested, I might write a few posts about the Great Emerging Pivot of 2009 and why dozens of emerging church networks and ministries (I have visited them in over 30 countries since 2009) dropped the emerging terminology while continuing to expand, grow, [emerge], and move forward into 2010-2012. That is  . . .  IF . . . anyone is interested.

Mormons. 

When some evangelical Christian leaders suggested we vote for Mormon Mitt Romley, the Church of Latter Day Saints was downgraded on the list of dodgy sects and even removed from the "cult" list on the Billy Graham EA website. Which left Americans asking the question,  What do we in post-election USA now think of Mormons? Richard Mouw suggests "For many evangelicals, Mormonism has now been "de-demonized."

Money

As this YouTube video "The Charitable Deduction" Loophole or Lifeline? points out, charitable status for non-profits is not to be taken for granted and it might already be too late. While I applaud the efforts of the Charitable Giving Coalition, I believe that preserving this privilege will only be possible if mission leaders and ministers start living more simply, if we expose the abusers and call them to repentance, and if we offer more transparency. Which is why I am encouraging everyone to join the Exposed 2013 campaign. On top of this, ministries MUST develop other income streams and move away from dependence on donations. Many of us have already done this. 

Mike Bickle

In the wake of the terrible and almost unbelievable murder-tragedy in Texas, Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer (IHOP) are under the ecclesial and doctrinal spotlight. Ex-IHOPer's are coming forward with stories of cult-like practices and dodgy doctrines. This could have a domino effect on parachurch ministries and short term mission organizations who are a little removed from the mainstream. Truthspeakers post "Open Call to all ex-IHOPers" and the comments it generated, was an important read whether you agree with them (Charisma Mag doesn't) or not.

For a better summary of global missions, see Bill Bray's Top Indigenous Mission Trends of 2012