Saturday, November 11, 2006

A hungry and receptive Wilderness

In a few weeks we will begin the liturgical season of Advent . John the Baptist’s cry to “Prepare the way of The Lord” rings loud through those opening weeks as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s Nativity.

Reports from Britain this week bring hope that the wilderness into which John cries, whilst still a wilderness, is a more receptive wilderness today. A multi-faith think tank called ‘Theos’ issued a report in London this week claiming that most people in Britain now saw religion as a force for good.

In a joint foreword to the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (head of Britain’s Roman Catholics) said that those who want religion removed from national life are themselves guilty of an intolerant position. They write that "Religiously inspired public engagement need not be sectarian and in fact can be radically inclusive”.

An article in ‘The Tablet’ says that “the report itself argues that religion will play an increasingly crucial role in society, because of growing interest in religion's part in promoting happiness and well-being”.

With Interest Rates up, the drought, talk of Victoria entering a recession, a retail slow-down over this traditionally busy next few months, limited employment and a general uncertainly about the future, John’s words speak to us today.

John’s 'prepare and repent' is a call to return to basics, to the key things that matter, to faith in a loving and forgiving God whose promise for the Earth is in the Rainbow and for us is in His Son.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Making Disciples

I have been engaged in a dialogue on a UK site about evangelism. I took issue with a blogger who stated that he “bulked at Christians who ignore the simple instruction to ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel’.”

I responded that the instruction is not “a simple instruction to go into all the world and preach the gospel” but to “Go therefore AND MAKE DICIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” - Matt 28.19 - The task is clearly defined and not easy. The promise is of course “and lo I am WITH YOU always.

If the church is going to rediscover its effectiveness and stand up in the world it needs to be a church of ‘disciples’ not just ‘believers’.

I know many people who believe in God and accept the Christian story but who are not active disciples of Christ. I think that this is why the Catechumenate process for adults, leading to Baptism and Confirmation, is right for our times. Alpha, Credo and the others have their place but we can learn much from the Early Church and their preparation for discipleship.

We must remember the instruction to us is to Go!

We can no longer just wait for people to come to us.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Evangelistic Walking - God Help Us!

Dave Walker of the CartoonChurch.com has an article on Evangelistic Walking (if you have read my comments on this on my main site, skip to the next post). This has apparently been given the blessing of the Mission Department of the Diocese of Chichester, UK. I can now confirm that this has now arrived Down-Under. Having just arrived back from the UK a few weeks ago, I went with my companion for lunch at a neighbouring village. There was a mixed group (ages, backgrounds ,drinking habits) at the next table, talking over each other and generating much don’t-get-smart-with-me banter. After fighting over the division of the bill, refusing to leave any tip, they got up to leave. As they left an older member of the group approached me, she stroked my dog Glastonbury, who was on my lap, and still looking at the dog, invited me to the old blue stone church around the corner, passing me a coffee-stained handbill that had the other information she failed to communicate – they were having a mission. When I explained that I ministered in the parish next door she apologised, explained she was from Sydney (as if I hadn’t guessed), that she was just here for the mission and then, with out looking at my friend asked me “would he like one?” Well if that didn’t confirm his views on foot-path evangelism.

Yes, I think I would hide if this group came chasing me along the street. At least with the Hari Chrisners (sic) you here them coming!

I’m waiting for Dave’s cartoon about this. I will post a link here when he publishes one.

Time for the Church to Speak Out

Although this is not directly on the subject of mission, it is about the church taking action and being a voice. I have been following the reports in the UK press today regarding the requests from at least 3 British university research departments to mix the cells of animals and humans. Both The Times and The Telegraph have covered this and I have made comments on their sites.

The thrust of my argument is this:

Any reasonable argument against the creation of Chimeric embryos is going to get shot down by various attempts to appeal to our post-modern need for absolute health.

Hollywood Stars, cut down in their prime by disease, will tug at our communal heart strings and plea for this research to proceed so that they can return to the Silver Screen and entertain us as before.

My fear is this entire debate will be focused on any potential life-saving or life-enhancing benefits the research might bring. The real issue, blending human and animal into one being, will be glossed over until we find that some notoriety chasing
scientist has gone too far and produces a humanoid rabbit.

This has must be stopped.

I trust that the religious leaders will speak up and speak out against this.

Welcome - The mission shaped Church

I have decided to create this blog as an independent instrument away from my main website. I hope that this will enable greater interaction and reach a wider group of interested people than my website. I will post a link to this on my main site and have back-linked that site here. I have also been able to link this site with Technorati for easier searching and theme challenging and this will hopefully increase the ‘hits’ and cross exchange of ideas and information.

I look forward to your comments and sharing ideas.

Kevin