Monday, March 28, 2005

Through a Glass Darkly: A New Kind of Christian

Through a Glass Darkly: A New Kind of Christian

This is quite cool. I haven't yet had a chance to read "A New Kind of Christian", but I often have a peek at Brian McLaren's blog. I think agree with very much of what he says.

I came to the TAGD page through a network of other blogs, some of them coming out very strongly against McLaren. Sad. I think sometimes it's not really a difference in doctrine, but a difference in where people are at in their development - how they perceive, understand life, and how they organise their own thoughts.

I like the name of McLaren's other book, a Generous Orthodoxy. I guess I like the sentiment, and it resonates with me. I'd better get on and read it!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Painting Israel's wall brings Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews together

It's not often you get paint being used in place of guns in the middle east. Well, it's happening.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

World Issues: Africa crisis looming

Just got this by email from Andrew Strom's email list:

-by Barnie de Wet.

In Zimbabwe... although I wasn't a tobacco farmer we all allowed
our farms to become our Idols and our farms became our "reason
d' etre". I lost my farm in August 2001 in the most violent way
and my family and I were cast onto the streets having retained
only 2 vehicles and the clothes we managed to fit into suitcases,
but the faithfulness of the Lord was always there, and we survived
although we have endured some very hard times. My family are
still in Zimbabwe whilst I work in Mozambique.

Africa has seen a massive hunger for the Lord, and congregations
can be as large as a million people (-so a lot of the TV evangelists
say). Sadly though, sermons are conducted by what I call the
"glitter and glitz" preachers, the ones who arrive in limousines and
seem to put over a message that if you join their church you also
could live in the same oppulence. In a continent where poverty is
so rife, you can imagine the affect this has on the poor, and if their
expectation is not met - what then! There is a RELIGIOUS CRISIS
brewing here.

I'm sorry for the emphasis but I do feel strongly about this, I feel
that the Lord is telling me that something needs to be done about
this situation An expectation is being created and if this doesn't
come about, the backlash may well be devastating for Christianity,
bearing in mind that the Islamic movement is also very active -- I
leave you to draw your own conclusions.The ease by which the
politicians in Zimbabwe have been able to sway good law-abiding
citizens into committing murder and all types of crimes through
a crisis of expectation is frighteneing to say the least. I fear for
the future of God's work in Africa, if "Christianity" doesn't deliver
what is being preached by some. The Moslems are going to have
an open run at the finish line.

~Barnie de Wet.

To subscribe, send a "subscribe" email to-
OR send *ANY* email to-

To unsubscribe, send ANY message to:

To send material for consideration for publication, send to-




Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Church is really happening here...

From Jeff - Want Jeff or 10 televangelists on your team? -

A bit of context - Doug Perry set up the site a while back to call the church (ie all followers of Christ) to repentance and to the reality of what church should be.

Since then he's renamed the site, and some really neat things are happening, like the conversation on this board.

Wow. It's really easy to sit back and snipe at church, but it's another thing to be church when the occasion presents itself - which is whenever we come in touch with another human being, I guess!

When Gay Activists Came to Calvary -

Pastor's Blog When Gay Activists Came to Calvary -

Very good!

I'm Vatican City

Just took the country quiz at BluePyramid (heard about it from Piece of Mind) , and apparently I'm Vatican City. Not quite sure what to make of that! All I said was I didn't like wrestling and spicy food!

You're Vatican City!

You're pretty sure that you're infallible in all that you do or say, and it's hard to say whether you're right. You have a lot of followers, most of whom will do whatever you say without question, or line up to see you ride around in your spiffy car.
Religious and reserved, you have some wisdom, but also a bit much contempt for everyone around you. You're also fabulously wealthy, no matter what you say to the contrary.

the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

gods_bumper.jpg (JPEG Image, 692x569 pixels)

These guys crack me up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Branding Churches and Religions | Non Profits Organizational Communications | branding and marketing portal | brand | brands | bran | Branding Churches and Religions | Non Profits Organizational Communications | branding and marketing portal | brand | brands | branding

Mixed feelings on this. I feel passionately that church isn't a separate entity from the people - the church is the people that make it up, there's nothing else.

So I don't like the whole corporatisation of church - the logo, the slogan, etc. It sucks, and it encourages competition between churches.

But the essence of branding - a clear identity and focus, with people knowing what this group of people stands for - I'm into that kind of branding.

I think the Western church could probably learn a bit about that kind of branding from the persecuted church throughout the Middle East and Asia. But unfortunately I think those churches are instead hoping to learn from us professional marketers. More's the pity.

Monday, March 14, 2005

"Why are they afraid of us?"

Around the time of the last elections, or just afterwards, lots of opinion pieces ran in the NZ Herald about this new Christian party that had won an unexpected majority in parliament, United Future.

Some were very concerned about the 'fundamentalist' backgrounds of the MPs in the party, including many who I was acquainted with working for Rhema.

At the time I thought, why on earth are they so afraid of us?

That was until I read about the Holy Roman Empire. And Oliver Cromwell. And I'm yet to read about the Spanish Inquisition.

Since then, I've formed a definite opinion on Christian political parties. Generally, I don't think they should be around. As the Anglican archbishop of NZ pointed out, they tend to just focus on a few points of the gospel to the neglect of other points. In essence, misrepresenting the Gospel.

Individual Christians in politics? Hell yeah! But it's a different thing when you form a party.

Actually I think I'm reverting to type. Ian Grant (now of Parenting with Confidence) used to say when Christians have power, generally bad things happen. Something like that. I agree with him now - but the best thing is, I know why I agree with him.

The F word

I don't know when I realised I was a fundamentalist, and that I didn't really want to be. But it was sometime in the last year.

Since 9/11 the subject of fundamentalism has come to the fore - specifically Islamic fundamentalism, but inevitably people have compared it with the conservative Christianity of President George W Bush.

It was so easy when I was buried in the Christian subculture. I could just say they had it all wrong, that Bush and the rest of us were different, and leave it at that.

But I've since learned that life is never simple, particularly when we most want it to be! Paradoxically, this realisation made life a bit simpler for me, if a little lonelier.

I used to look at things very black-and-white, and very shallowly. (I'm not even sure shallowly is a word, but it is now!) I was a lazy thinker.

Rather than think through theological, economic, political or social issues, I would just find someone who I agreed with in one area, and agree carte blanche with everything else they believed in. If I knew it, that is. Or if I didn't. It didn't really matter. It was just too much detail.

It got really confusing when two people who I both really admired expressed opposing views, and still worked together. I couldn't get that.

But now I think I'm starting to grow up, and form my own opinions.

But what surprised me was how many people have such strong opinions. I've just started really looking into all sorts of issues - philosophy, theology, politics, economics, etc. - and it takes a long time to really have an opinion after looking at all the issues. Where do these people get off? Or have they done the hard yards?

I don't know; I can only speak for myself that I am decidedly undecided on quite a stack of issues, while in other areas I have, as my friend Adam calls them, Very Staunch Beliefs.

Sometimes the staunchness of those Very Staunch Beliefs surprises me. I guess I am a fundamentalist after all!

What's all this about then?

This blog is my way of asking questions - and providing any answers that come along - about what it means to be an evangelical Christian in 2005.

A bit about me:
  • Born into and raised in the Open Brethren church
  • Became a charismatic/pentecostal when I was about 15
  • Worked for Rhema Broadcasting Group, New Zealand's national Christian broadcaster, for seven years
  • Spent about 18 months in the leadership team of a very small, quite dysfunctional charismatic church before getting thoroughly burnt out and almost giving up on church ... almost.
That's about enough to start with.

Getting burnt out wasn't entirely bad - it cured me of a lot of wrong ideas about people, and about life. In fact, you could say it's started me on this journey - a blog that is a question rather than an attempted answer.

Please feel free to comment on any of the posts if you're open-minded, ready to be disagreed with and able to hold a discussion with civility, regardless of differences.