Broad daylight, suburban London, across the road from a primary school, a young man is hacked to death and into pieces, whilst his murderers encourage others to take photos and film them.
“The apparently random target is not random, buts its appearance as random causes public anxiety and fear and change in behavior, which is exactly what the terrorist wants to accomplish. Terrorism is also a public act. The act must be such that the greater society will see it and react to the attack. The terrorist will choose targets that have symbolic value and/or economic value (WTC for example) or targets that have public value (buses, restaurants, etc.) in order to get public attention and public behavior change.”
“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I find myself as I live in London, sickened, angered, and in shock. At the same time I hope and pray communities in London, people of all faiths and none, can come together, to work together, instead of reacting in anger.
May real people of real faith lead the way.
We have Graham Cray heling lead our explorations. So to find out more and book for the event, see here.
Also Neal Sweatman who is organising the event has made this blog post explaining more about what we will be doing.
I will be speaking and presenting/leading at the event too.
It’s been wonderful to see some of the tributes pouring in for Dallas Willard, after his death yesterday.
Back in 2000, I got take part in a conference organised by Vineyard Churches US, that had Brian McLaren, Stanley Grenz and Dallas Willard as speakers. They also led us in small group seminars.
It was one of those events that change the course and direction of my life and ministry. In particular Willard spoke about atonement, and the problems of reducing the gospel to penal substitution. Then in my seminar group with him, one phrase from him stuck with me (at least this is how I remember it); ‘there are facts and we have theories about the facts, but we must never mistake our theories for the facts’.
My wife asked me on the phone if the event was worthwhile and I replied that just hearing Willard at the start had made the trip worthwhile.
A few years ago, I got to meet him again and say thank you in person and share how he had impacted my life. He was warm, gracious and kind in response.
A life so wonderfully lived, and a man who died so well.
I was overcomes with joy and delight at seeing the first LGP students receive their doctorates last weekend. It was a privilege to spend 3 years learning with this first cohort, at the intersection of their lives, ministry and research.
Thank you LGP1 for taking the risk of being the first students in the LGP, for being guinea pigs for much of the program, and helping us make it even better for new students. You rock.
The current and incoming students to the LGP continue to be some of the most amazing people I have met. I look forward to being at their graduations!
Some exciting developments in online learning and education with the development of massive open online courses (MOOC).
‘A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.’
I wrote and presented this paper at the Society of Vineyard Scholars last week.
It’s shared under a creative commons licence, so please do reference/cite it, if you use it.
Very interesting article by Rick Richardson on ‘Emerging Adults and the Future of Missions’ in the latest IBMR. You can download it free here (you will need to enter your email to receive it, but it is free).
Do take a look at their free back issues too.
I’m looking forward to this conversation that starts online 1st of May for several reasons.
1. Respectful Conversations: Harold Heie has hosted some previous conversations around a model of respectful conversations. The mission of Respectful Conversations is to create better ways for those who disagree to converse. The topic of Evangelicalism’s future needs such conversation spaces.
2. Contributors: No doubt people will complain at the line up of primary contributors as lacking something, but they are great people, engaged in the future of Evangelicalism and able to contribute great discussion starting materials. The focus is by their own admission US centric but many of the issues will translate across to UK, and other western contexts.
3. Sub-topics: The topics up for discussion within Evangelicalism look wide ranging. It is a shame that ecclesiology (the church) is not one of those topics, however!
I’m looking forward to participating and presenting at the Society of Vineyard Scholars annual event this week. The full schedule of presenters is here.
Will be good to catch up with friends in my tribe, hear their theological refections and try out some of my ideas on them.
I’m particularly looking forward to Ken Wilson’s paper on homosexuality on Friday. I’ve just read it and it really is superb, in terms of theological engagement and pastoral reflection.
Then I am a respondent to Amos Yong friday morning. His work has found it’s way into my PhD research, and it will be great to interact with him.
My own presentation is Saturday morning and is titled, ‘Worship as re-narration: The unique problems and possibilities of Charismatic Evangelical Worship in late capitalist society’. I’ll upload it here later this week.
Wonderful sermon/talk by John Stott on the marks of a renewed Church. Text and audio available from Preaching Today here.
Tom’s focus is on the special services US churches put on for ‘guests’ at Easter, in the hope they will return. The suggestion by Tom is these special service have the opposite effect and make it more likely people will never return and be involved in those churches.
His reasoning is simple and compelling. People like the special event of a special service and won’t come back until the next one (i.e next year), they get a shot of comfort in the Easter message that keeps them going for another year, and they like the status of being a special guest and don’t want that to change.
It made me reflect my own direct church planting experience and observations. I’ve noticed the same, and not just for Easter, but also for Christmas and other special life events for Christians with no church.
1. Exiles: There are a whole group of Christians who are post-Church and will remain post-Church. Alan Jamieson in his ‘Churchless Faith’ and ‘Stories for the Journey’ tracks and highlights a growing group of Christians who grew up in Church, but are now well outside it. They enjoy and establish themselves in a beyond/post-church identity. Festivals and special events are where they get an annual fix of christian input with others.
2. Vampire Christians: Luke Bretherton highlights in Remembering Our Future (Deep Church) the irony of a whole generation of Christians who grew up in church, who had the training from regular church life and worship to access the resources of the Christian faith, who no longer need church to access those resources.
I am woefully behind on completing my paper for the Society of Vineyard Scholars event that takes place later this April. My abstract and outline for my paper are below.
My paper addresses the current situation of where Evangelical belief and worship practice is understood by many, as intrinsic to and giving rise to the most pathological practices of late capitalist society. Within this Evangelical worship is often viewed as the apogee of this problematic; something irredeemable and to be turned away from. My own denomination is often cited as an example of such worship practices. I suggest that despite its many culpabilities, Evangelical worship, and in particular that of my own denomination as Charismatic Evangelicals, offers the greatest potential to remedy and respond to these problems.