Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heroes of Mine

The crew from nitechurch of The Salvation Army and the community of the North East Valley in Dunedin. Heroes who ran from the peaks of Treble Cone to the surf of Dunedin to fundraise for the local hospice... that's some 250km in the name of justice and neighbourliness.

What is happening where you're at? Who is your hero?

Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Movement of Enough is Enough

Radical, eh. What do you think? Would you join this movement?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a day to collectively remember how we think of ourselves and of what makes us interdependently 'us'. We remember a story that is potentially open to each gender, every generation and to both Maori and Pakeha. The Anzac story is a deep story and a multifaceted source of identity that we can share in together. John Bluck says this:

"Our identity as peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand is emerging, for both Maori and Pakeha, and the Anzac story is part of that journey, more thoughtfully, with less jingoism and flag waving than ever before. Increasingly, Anzac is a word that more New Zealanders, young as well as old, can claim. It is a story that acknowledges fear as well as courage, outrage as well as obedience, skepticism as well as idealism, disaster as well as brilliance, horror as well as great beauty. Anzac is no longer a story told to the beat of drums of war."
(John Buck, 1998, Long White and Cloudy).

"Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends."
(Jesus, the King James version)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


What can we say?

What should we be saying to our brothers and sisters in Fiji?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shifting Sand

I'm encountering everyday a classic debate. Its the historic chicken and egg dilemma. What or who is the agent of causality in society? Should we blame the individual or should we find fault in a sick environment that fosters social problems? Is there an alternative to this dualistic thinking? Does it matter where our thinking starts? What is the interconnection between individual behavior and the nature of the society in which we live? The Salvation Army has tried to stand in the middle of this dualistic debate and has tried to keep it in tension with its mission statement of
- caring for people
- transforming individuals
-reforming society.

However, what gets the most air time? Which gets the most emphasis? Why? What is that saying of our own thinking?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We came, We walked, We conqured. Thank You!

The Oxfam Trailwalker- in my books, a grueling experience! We completed 100km over 32 hours on 4/5 April in Taupo. Our team, through its highs and lows hobbled to the end with the support of a crew who supplied our every need. This walk, I labeled 'epic' by the end. Epic for many reasons. The physical demands on our un-athletic and inexperienced bodies and the sheer mental determination that edged us on was overwhelming (and still is). More over, Epic, in the way that this event went far beyond ourselves, it was the partnershpip we had with those all over the country who encouraged us, sponsored oxfams work, and thought of us over that weekend. I feel as though, I am just one in a team of over a few hundred who have journeyed through this experience with us. You, our team have raised over $5000 for Oxfams work. Priceless.

This is what happens when we are connected, when we simply give what we have, when our values override our financial concerns. Thankyou, keep going, we have work to do!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Resurrection Starting Now

"The earth shook and the stone in front of the tomb moved”
(Matt. 28.1-15).

The Christian narrative of the Resurrection is not some death-defying futuristic hope of a new “…life without space, without history, without environment, with no sensuous elements in it…” (C.S. Lewis); nor is it a matter of hitching a miraculous ride to some happy other-worldly paradise suspended in the sky. The Resurrection narrative "earths" the possibility of God remaking and renewing the present today, starting now. The early church clearly got it and they drew from the Resurrection the resources and strength they needed to form counter-cultural communities with a radically new “concrete social and economic reality” (Rob Bell). The old and tired categories of economic division - master and slave, rich and poor - and the older categories of prejudice and religious violence - Jew and Gentile, male and female, in and out - lost what imaginative and political grip they had on these communities. A newer, gentler, fairer and more inclusive world started to emerge right under the nose of the incumbent economic and political regime. The Resurrection narrative signaled the end of the old political order ruled by violence, fear, suspicion, and initiated in these alternative communities a newer re-imagined order of economic generosity, embrace, and social justice. These new communities, literally a collection of collaborating households in neighborhoods, were characterized by a distinctive practice of:

- economics (Acts 2.44-45; 4.32-37; 5.1-11; 6.1-7;11.27-30; Romans 15.22-28; 2 Corinthians 8.13-15; 9; Galatians 2.10)

- justice and a gifting of voice to the voiceless (Acts 2.1-21; James 2)

- hospitality (Luke 24.13-35 – two discouraged disciples make space for a “stranger” who turns out to be the Christ; Acts 2.46-47)7

- a new humanity (Ephesians 2)

- reconciliation and strengthening community (Acts 6)

- seeing God, private property, others and the world (Acts 2.42-43; Acts 4.34-37; 5.3-4; Philippians 2).

These new communities“… made the grace of God credible by a society of love and mutual care which astonished pagans and was recognized as something entirely new. It lent persuasiveness to the claim that the new age had dawned in Christ. The word was not only announced but seen in the community of those who were giving it flesh. The message of the Kingdom became more than an idea. A new human community had sprung up and looked very much like the new order to which (Jesus) had pointed. Here love was given daily expression; reconciliation was actually occurring; people were no longer divided into Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female. In this community the weak were protected, the stranger welcomed. People were healed; the poor and dispossessed were cared for and found justice. Everything was shared. Joy abounded and ordinary lives were filled with praise (and a new sense of wonder)” (Michael Green).

What could this look like where you're at? What if we were to rehearse something of these stories of reorganization, renewal and resurrection where we live, study and work? What if we were to reinvent something of the economics, something of the hospitality of sight and space of these stories in our own neighborhoods? What difference would that make? What would our neighbours see? Who could we collaborate with to make a stronger neighborhood possible? The narrative of the Resurrection is the only prophetic alternative we have to the same old same tired stories of the “solution gridlock” tyrannizing our world. “It is (now) up to us to produce (new) signs of the resurrection in (our) present social, cultural and political world” (N. T. Wright). The story of the Christ-event, Jesus resurrected and the world reorganized and renewed, now lives on in you and me. Take that thought with you next time you go shopping, to study, or to work.

Kiss of the future

I caught a glimpse this morning of the future, the "future that needs a big kiss" (Bono). Ebonie, our littlest, freely gave everyone the biggest, longest hug and sloppiest kiss I've even seen. We felt embraced, included, loved, and... slightly wet... and this from a kid who can prove completely impotent the most polished of parenting techniques. I felt a surge of hope. What or who have you kissed lately? What is the future looking like from where you're at?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Are you joking?

The G20 have generously pledged a phenomenal trillion dollars to solve the global recession (that's $1,000,000,000,000; that's 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point; a trillion is a million million dollars. I'm thinking where is the money coming from? and if its possible to magically "find" this kind of money, why haven't we dipped into these "funds" before to eradicate global poverty?). Do the numbers stack up?  Is it going to make a difference, or is it simply the cruel humouring of politikal speak? What do you think?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

God please...

God help the G20 rediscover and remember.... reveal to them the life-giving words that can re-describe and remake our shared future possible.

Gordon Brown's speech at St Paul's

Dr Chris Marshall sent the following link and email saying: 'Can you imagine our current PM, or anyone in our government, being able to articulate such a vision? I do understand that the structural injustices in the world cannot be remedied by soaring rhetoric alone. But I am grateful that the Obamas, Rudds and Browns of our day speaking the way they are. Would that our own leaders were capable of the same depth of insight!'
Here's a teaser...."And I want to suggest to you today that this most modern of crises, the first financial crisis of the global age, has confirmed the enduring importance of the most timeless of truths - that our financial system must be founded on the very same values that are at the heart of our family lives, neighbourhoods and communities.
Instead of a globalisation that threatens to become values-free and rules-free, we need a world of shared global rules founded on shared global values. I know it’s hard to talk about the future when you’re having a tough time in the present. You don’t redesign a boat in the midst of a storm.
But we need to talk about the future - because it falls to us to shape it. When Dr Martin Luther King talked about the fierce urgency of now, he asked us to awaken to a tide in the affairs of men which if missed means you can end up being literally too late for history.

See: 8 0- accessed 1/4/09