Sunday, December 31, 2006

farewell blogger, hello wordpress!

that means that after one year blogging on this platform, i'm making the move to wordpress.
blogger have been having troubles in their upgrading, and i can't be bothered with problems of this type as i'm not particularly techy-minded. i'm not the only one suffering with blogger, as the message boards are chocka-block with complaints. shame really, as you get used to working with a particular platform....

anyhoo, my new site is here. the new address is

please amend your rss readers and bookmarks accordingly, and thanks for journeying with me.

i'm wondering what the new year will bring. i trust that you'll enjoy the adventure in your own lives, and will continue to journey with me. god keep you all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The longest night of the year

i really liked this post from james hawes over at sunday papers.
it resonates strongly with me: being in tune with the natural rhythms of nature and adjusting our lifestyles accordingly.
as we draw to the end of the year, maybe its a time to reconsider how we approach the way we live in relation to the seasons of the year.
here are another few links i found that relate to it:
national geographic video
Winter Solstice Celebrations for Families and Households

Friday, December 29, 2006

tradition continued

one of our current, and fairly recently invented, traditions, is to go to the movies as a family on boxing day. it all began in 2002, when we went into the city on a whim, just to wander about, look at the city and its people, drink some coffee, and enjoy being together after christmas day. i don't even remember what the movie was that year, but the following ones are more memorable:

2003 - the lord of the rings: the two towers
2004 - the lord of the rings: the return of the king
2005 - the chronicles of narnia: the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe
2006 - the prestige.

and i think for me, its become a way of giving my family a present that we can all enjoy together, that exists for that moment but is always talked about later as being a good time together.

tradition in itself is not necessarily a bad thing.

what traditions do you have?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

arise (hon) 'sir' bono

yep, its true. bono's being awarded an honourary knighthood for "his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work".
you can read more on U2's website here, and the beeb's site here.
i think that's great, and i think its an honour for him - a great man.
i think 2 of his great quotes are:
"celebrity is currency, and i want to spend mine well"; and
"we can't do everything, but the things we can, we must".
congratulations to him.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

juliet turner

last night zoe and i spent a really nice, mellow evening at the concert of juliet turner, held on the southbank in london.
it was great to be able to drive in to london with hardly any traffic on the roads, park underneath the concert venue for minimal fee, listen to some great music in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and then go out for pizza with juliet, her guitarist brian, guest cellist harry (and wife), and other friends of juliet's.
'twas good to meet up with her again.
wish all concerts were as stress-free as that....

Friday, December 22, 2006

podcasting queen

yep, its official: the queen will be podcasting her christmas message.
it will be available via itunes on christmas day at 3pm gmt.
you can subscribe to the podcast via the monarchy website here.
go queen....can't wait!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


emily has tagged me, which means i need to share 5 things about me that you probably don't know.
this has started through roger von oech who tagged jonny baker and so its gone on.
happy to oblige....

1. i deferred a place at ballarat uni, where i was going to do a b.a. with the idea of becoming a journalist. i never did take the place at uni, as i found the surfing lifestyle far more agreeable than that of a student.
2. back in the 1960s, i played for geelong in the little league on the hallowed turf of the MCG during the half time game that entertained the crowd back in the day.
3. from 1994-99 i worked for john smith in australia, as a pastor in his church, and as part of the vfl (values for life) team.
4. my wife (who is right into genealogy) says that i have real convict blood in me that goes back to the days of sending convicts to australia.
5. its only been in the last 2 years that i've discovered the joy of cooking. i could never understand the idea of spending ages preparing food for it to be gone in 10 mins, and the net effect was the same as that of eating cheese on toast - the net effect being a full belly. my repertoire is not large, but it seems i'm not bad at what i do...

so now, i'm tagging kirbs, lewis, john davies, antony hanson, mark mossa s.j.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

save paper at christmas

great tip from friends of the earth about saving paper:

It is estimated that over Christmas as much as 83 square km of wrapping paper will end up in UK rubbish bins, enough to cover an area larger than Guernsey! Use less by re-using gift wrap, or wrap gifts with unwanted posters, wallpaper, pages from glossy mags - or even spare pieces of fabric. Use string instead of tape, so that the paper can be re-used.

For more practical advice, competitions, quiz and discussion forums see:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

U2 "Window in the Skies"

check this fab vid of U2's new song.
and here are the lyrics, courtesy of @U2.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Virtual Christmas Card

hi all,
hope this christmas is a ripper for you, that you enjoy the festive season, and that in the new year you become a little more adventurous than you were this year.
you can click here to go to flickr to see other photos that didn't make the mosaic.
this saves on a lot of paper, cardboard, and postage, thus doing our bit for being a little more environmentally friendly....
meeeerrrrry CHRISTmas,
with love and best wishes,
tony and zoe.

a song for advent

watch it through to the end.
this is the kind of stuff that stirs me.
this is the kind of stuff that is dangerous.
danger is involved when you want to change the world.
changing the world is at the heart of why jesus was born.
if you're into dangerous living, then check out the next soliton gathering here.
Lazyb - Underwear Goes Inside The Pants

Sunday, December 17, 2006

merton and advent

“The certainty of Christian hope lies beyond passion and beyond knowledge. Therefore we must sometimes expect our hope to come in conflict with darkness, desperation and ignorance. Therefore, too, we must remember that Christian optimism is not a perpetual sense of euphoria, an indefectible comfort in whose presence neither anguish nor tragedy can possibly exist. We must not strive to maintain a climate of optimism by the mere suppression of tragic realities. Christian optimism lies in a hope of victory that transcends all tragedy: a victory in which we pass beyond tragedy to glory with Christ crucified and risen. …

But the Church in preparing us for the birth of a “great prophet,” a Savior and a King of Peace, has more in mind than seasonal cheer. The Advent mystery focuses the light of faith upon the very meaning of life, of history, of man, of the world and of our own being. In Advent we celebrate the coming and indeed the presence of Christ in our world. We witness to His presence even in the midst of all its inscrutable problems and tragedies. Our Advent faith is not an escape from the world to a misty realm of slogans and comforts which declare our problems to be unreal, our tragedies nonexistent.”

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1950: 88-89

Friday, December 15, 2006

support the cheerleaders!

below is a message i just got from the director of the ascension eagles cheerleaders. they need financial support in helping them to represent england in the 2007 world championships.

Dear AEC supporters,

I wanted to let you know that Ascension Eagles are appearing on the X-Factor Final this Saturday, 16th December. Very exciting!

Despite our success, we aren't raising the funds we'd hoped for -- 58 people texted CHEER in November and 23 have texted in December. Please can you help us circulate our appeal and get more people to support us?

Encourage people to visit this link, where they can see our performance from An Audience with Take That, and remind them to text their support!

Thank you for all you do!

Email your MP about the killer in the kitchen

here's something practical you can do this advent, as in your waiting for the return of the lord, his changing of your hearts leads to practical action in the way your behaviour affects others - particularly the poor and powerless (see luke 3:7-18)
follow the links that show the text of the early day motion, and which mps have already signed. if yours isn't there, then follow the next links to send them an email.
i've emailed my mp, neil gerrard today.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

blogging set to peak in 2007

the bbc report here that the rise in blogging will end next year. there are 2 main reasons: those who have a predisposition to blog will have already started; and, others get bored with it and move on.
interesting to see this, as i've been wondering lately when blogging will become yesterday, and how long the rising phenomenon can continue.
i've gotten bored with it at times myself, as you can see from the archive list for the middle of the year.
and sometimes i wonder what the value of a blog is if its not generating discussion. i know that there are some folks who like what i write, and some who look in everyday would be disappointed if i stopped.
i wish i'd started it 5 years ago when jonny baker was telling me about it when he first started. i could've done some good stuff then about the community work and the garden cafe that i was heavily involved in.
the main reason for starting this year, was actually so that i didn't have to write an end of year newsletter as those i would send it to could keep up with what's going on throughout the year. but even that hasn't happened very well.
it's also been interesting to see how many others have put down their blogs over this year for all manner of reasons, including the time it takes (tho a real good bit of advice is that 'if it takes longer than 10 mins/day, then forget it'); boredom; and the subtle one of idolatry.
i'm still open-minded about whether its worth it as my readership is not large, and my mood can swing.
but for now.....

The Moon- 2: Genesis 37:1-11

Like David, Joseph was a shepherd, a dreamer, and probably a poet. He must’ve known his brothers hated him, so why continue to stir them up by telling them about his dreams? Either he was thick, a stirrer, or he had a deep trust in God that his dreams were from God and intended to be told. Perhaps he really believed the dreams and that they would come true, so whether his family liked it or not, Joseph would actually rule over them one day.

Dreamers, poets, adventurers, and kings….

Jacob must’ve sensed God in there somewhere because verse 11 says, ‘…he observed the saying’. Two shepherd boys, David and Joseph, believed in God, spoke confidently in the name of God, were tested severely by God, and rose to become extremely powerful people blessed by God, and who in turn, were a blessing to his people.

The imagery Joseph uses is, like David’s, that of creation: wheat sheaves, sun, moon, and stars. God used dreams as recorded in the Bible to speak to his people. There is no dualism between God’s Spirit and his creation, however marred by sin creation might be. Creation theology is so important. Is that why I love being amongst creation? Is that where I am truly closest to who I am meant to be?

The sun, moon, and stars bowed down to Joseph. David said we were crowned a little lower that the angels, and that all creation is subject to our dominion. O that we would take care of it all properly!

These readings have got my mind going because of the creation/dreaming aspects. The Australian Aboriginal creation stories came from the ‘Dreamtime’. Did God dream creation before he spoke it? How connected are some of our dreams to God, and should we speak them, thus doing our part in the creation/re-creation of the Kingdom of God?

Does God give us a glimpse of some of our future through the dreams we have? I suspect so!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

reflections on institutionalised religion

i wrote the following about 4 years ago following a visit to an anglican church in the suburbs of london. i think that even after all that time, it still sums up where my heart is.

My reflections

The church seems to have an underlying, and perhaps unconscious theology of pastoral care and maintenance, which doesn’t find creative, risky, thoughtful, and proactive ways of getting the congregation to engage with the local community.

It is good at having social clubs, is very welcoming to new people who come, and is probably characterised by a ‘belonging before believing’ approach. This does seem to produce some fruit.

The high church ritual is done well, and so is attractive to people who want that sort of worship. The teaching was very short, unimaginative, thin on content, and designed for an encouraging feel-good factor - more along the line of moralising, and of how to live a good life than grappling with the alternative vision of the Kingdom of God here on earth now, as it is in heaven.

I felt that the church was very much stuck in the Christendom paradigm – particularly around the idea that ‘being a good Christian means being a good citizen.’ So in their context, church was a place to come to be encouraged and confirmed in maintaining the treadmill of their middle-class mediocrity. There didn’t seem to be an inherent theology of mission at the heart of the church.

I couldn’t stand it.

In reflecting on what that experience means for my own future ministry, I could only pray that I don’t end up in that kind of situation. It looked like a treadmill that would slowly grind me to death.

It confirmed to me that I’m interested in exploring non-traditional forms of ministry, though I’m not sure I can adequately articulate what that might look like in practice.

What I do know, is that at base level there must be at least 3 core values:
1. a theology of mission that actively engages in creative, organic, and contextually meaningful praxis;
2. a prophetic heart that is willing to speak of the Kingdom of God to both church and world;
3. an active pursuit of spirituality that is given time and space to explore my relationship with God at a mystic level (without wanting to sound pretentious).

I want to find a community of people who are willing to explore these values and who encourage one another in their exploration of ‘life in all its fullness’.

I know that I’m good at conducting the ‘hatch, match, and despatch’ ceremonies that non-religious people want the religious community to perform for them. I know from what people say, that they sense God when I shepherd them through those times.

But I don’t want to walk on a treadmill.

I know that in church my teaching and preaching is able to articulate for people the joys and pains of life, and my stories connect with their story so that they are unsettled, comforted, challenged, and intrigued enough to want their lives shaped by the Jesus I speak of.

I love to administer the sacraments, and watch the ancient story come to life in people’s responses as they partake in God’s goodness to them.

I enjoy the exploration of new and different forms of living the story; of working with others who are different and far more creative than me; of seeing the untamed wildness of God in people when they realise that being who they are is what freedom actually means; of listening to the poetry and art of those who seek God outside of the forms of mediocrity which says, ‘but this is the way its always been done.’

I want to live in commune with the rhythms of nature’s seasons, and feel the movement of the ancient Christian story as it swells and ebbs with its own seasons. I want to see people’s lives shaped and re-shaped year by year as they connect their life story to the Jesus story, and allow their own lives to be moulded by his.

But I don’t want to walk on a treadmill.

I want to be involved in the unstoppable mega-swell of the ocean of God’s change, and be swept up in the waves that will sweep the beach clean of the edifices humanity has erected, leaving only driftwood, pebbles, sea-weed, and sand…and children to play in the gently lapping wavelets under an early morning sun.

I don’t want those children to be oppressed by the weight of faceless committees, to be denied the fruits of their forefathers’ stewardship, to be abandoned like unwanted babies by a mother who knows she is dying but who lives in self-centred denial. So I want to be in a position where I can help the children acquire the resources they need and which are their rightful inheritance.

I want to listen to the children as they speak of God, and watch how they play as his Spirit bubbles up in them. I want to speak into the halls of power to ensure that the children have the resources of their inheritance that their Spirit-bubbling requires. And I want them to feel the freedom and encouragement from a changed mother to explore new forms of living the gospel.

So I can’t walk on a treadmill. My heart is restless, yet aches for rest. My history shows that I am constantly moving, yet I yearn to settle and put down roots.

I live in the tension of the ‘here, but not yet.’

I am a traveller.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Inspiration for the Week

Eric Prydz Vs Floyd 'Proper Education'
a great vid that turns the idea of little urban rats into little urban agents for positive environmental change.
how would christian youthworkers inspire their kids into radical acts of subversion done in the name of god?
thanks to sanctus1 for the tip.