Posts

Showing posts from August, 2009

i'm afraid i was disappointed

I read a portion of scripture at an ordination event yesterday, for which the words were projected on the screen. This is for people with hearing difficulties. I don't think I like it. I was looking out, trying to meet people in the eye as I communicated this part of their Sacred Story to them, and they weren't looking at me at all. They were distracted, and disconnected from me, and I have to wonder, then, if they weren't also disconnected from the story? I'm all for providing the words for hearing impaired people, but I wonder if it would actually be better to do that on sheets of paper that people can choose to take, because by putting it on the wall, it's a distraction for those who can hear. If you're going to communicate this important story, which has found its way to your heart through your preparation to read or tell it to the community, you need to connect with the listeners. I did not feel connected at all to that group of listeners, and I have to sa…

the search for a spiritual practice that works for me

how to put the learning / self discovery of recent weeks into words? I think it begins with my chiropractor, and his teaching about breathing and the body, and encouraging me not to hate or be angry with my body, but to like it and to care for it. Then there’s the discovery that I am a feeling person – all this time I assumed that because I’m academic and introverted I must be living in my head. I’ve been ignoring the way I actually go about my academic work – I feel my way through. I do the reading, and I let my subconscious sense its way through the argument I want to make. I don’t intellectualise it. This was on the first weekend of the introduction to spiritual formation course I'm enrolled in that this knowledge of myself fell into place. On that weekend I also rediscovered labyrinth and lectio devina. Labyrinth is a bodily meditation. Lectio devina is word / Word based, but is still stillness and reflection. And then last week when Gordon and Stephen were teaching about the …

update - Esther project

The Esther Project now has a website all of its own - from now on most of the blogging about our journey will be at estherproject.unitingchurch.org.au
Looks like we're moving towards developing a small group who will focus their reflections on the community side of the Project, which will be a great help to me, but also offers that group of people a chance to own the Project at a deeper level, and shape a Christian community from scratch. So we'll look at our roles, and I'm hoping mine will be of gentle guidance, working with the team, though still, as 'the minister' ultimately responsible for it. It's an encouraging development.
The play comes along very slowly, which is frustrating. I really need to hand over some of the jobs I've been getting started so that I can concentrate on that task. The website could be managed by someone else, for example, the finances will be managed by someone else, and the searching for financial partners by others - I've b…

my first wedding

Image
oh, here's a photo of me in a borrowed alb (thanks Jenski), about to perform my first wedding last Saturday night. It was a wonderful night, and I was grateful to have my friend and mentor, Anna, guide me and the happy couple through the preparations for the wedding. I have to say, honestly, I felt right at home leading that ritual, and feel very privileged to have had the chance to lead the ritual for such dear friends. What a special first wedding! 

Seminar - Focus on the Bible and worship

I am at a seminar week in Sydney at the UCA Centre for Ministry, focussing on the Bible and worship. Gordon Lathrop is they keynote speaker, and his reflections on the interface between the shape of the Gospels and the shape of the gathered assembly have been interacting with my reflections on the shaping of the new Christian community that is The Esther Project. I'm still not satisfied that the question about what happens when the Gospels aren't proclaimed in a worship event has been answered. Gordon weeps when the Gospels are absent. I wonder if, in the overall life of the worshipping assembly, the Gospels are present, enacted, proclaimed, even if they are not explicitly present in one worship event they are still present and real in the life of that assembly.  I've become more convinced at the purpose of alternative forms of church engaging with someone who is less convinced, because of his negative encounters with emerging worship. I am really sorry he hasn't had th…

learning about leadership

As I've been reflecting on how I'm going with The Esther Project I've been looking back over each day in relation to the Key Learning Areas for the field education placement. One of those areas is leadership, and Sandy and I talked a bit about this area a bit this week. There is a tendency, in ministry, when it gets hard, when there are people far more talented or intelligent or whatever than you, when breaking new ground is back breaking work, to get caught up in the negative. I've been teetering on the edge of that with certain aspects of the process lately, the placement process, the candidating, studying process, etc. And I was running the risk of dwelling on the frustration. Sandy reminded me that it is important to be alert to these thoughts, and to constantly bring my frame of reference back to the positive. So that all the changes and uncertainty that comes with it around college and the processes at the moment do cause frustration - but if I look at it through…

[re]generate

On Monday night, I went to [re]generate, with Steve Taylor sharing about his experiences with church and mission. I really like the model of church they have at Opawa Baptist – many congregations under one umbrella. They have a shared seven practices, as opposed to shared doctrine, which along with mission activities, teaching opportunities, and shared meals for the congregations and/or leaders, give a sense of‘unity’ as one person at dinner tonight put it.  We talked about the need to shift the understanding of the congregation about what church growth is – away from the idea that the church is growing if there are more bums on seats on a Sunday morning, towards the idea that the church is growing if the people are growing in their faith, their relationship with God, their discipleship; the church is growing if those who attend worship are engaging in the mission of God in new ways, are discovering God in the world outside, sharing this experience with those who worship in their cong…