- Prodigal -

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling we shall not cease from exploration... (T.S. Eliot)
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Thursday, December 11, 2003


I decided that I couldn't write about "positioning oneself to engage the senses" and not as a minimum be able to post text and image. Thanks to Andrew Hamilton for the encouragement, and jonny, Bob, and Andrew Jones for leading the way (from my perspective)....and Rachel for the offer of technical help...

We'll see how things go...

Paul Fromont 12/11/2003 02:27:00 AM
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Nothing much to say today...sitting here, Vogel's toast and marmite in my hand...coffee just poured...raining outside...nice and warm though...T-shirt weather...catching up on a few blog friends...Father's Creech and Rains have their big fly-fishing adventure this weekend...Steve, Lynne and family are here on Saturday - other friends from church - Maybe Rachel & Regan - Godly Play experiment - BBQ - friendships deepening...

Aside from Baxter, and Riddell, I'm re-reading chapter 8 ('Transition, Culture and Leadership') of Alan Roxburgh's book, Crossing the Bridge: Church Leadership in a Time of Change

Loved this quote on the top of Mike & Amber @ the What is Church site:

When Jesus announced the kingdom, the stories he told functioned like dramatic plays in search of actors. His hearers were invited to audition for parts in the kingdom. They had been eager for God’s drama to be staged and were waiting to find out what they would have to do when he did so. Now they were to discover. They were to become kingdom-people themselves.” - N.T. Wright

Paul Fromont 12/09/2003 11:14:00 AM
Monday, December 08, 2003
Back safely from Wellington. Great time - art (Stanley Spencer exhibition with talk by the curator / Wim Wenders and his amazing photographs - see link / Te Papa) - great food (French / Malaysian / Indian) - wine - movies - reading - relaxation. Thanks to those of you who left a note below. Checked out the cinema which hosted the world premiere of "Return of the King." Watched the final installment of The Matrix, and the UK movie, "Love Actually" (following Andrew Jones' lead). Unfortunately I didn't think it was better that "Notting Hill" but it was a very watchable movie.
I spent part of the weekend reading the script of Mike Riddell's play, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" published Bucket Press and available from Mike Riddell - what a wonderful play. I would have loved to have seen it acted as the script really moved me. Actually, pretty much most of my reading over the weekend and the week prior has been work either by Baxter or about Baxter - there's something in there, something connecting with my Jesus-following journey. More on that maybe...It's been important, especially Mike's essay, "God was His Problem". Available from Mike website. Thanks Mike.

Made a couple of book purchases - The Collage of God by Mark Oakley, and After Religion by Gordon Lynch.

Paul Fromont 12/08/2003 12:04:00 AM
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Wedding Anniversary

Today, 10 years ago, in the presence of God, family, and friends, I married my best friend and the love of my life, Kathryn. Wow! Those 10 years have sure flown on by - we've learnt alot, we've lived a lot, our lives have been truly rich. We have so much to be thankful for. We're off to Wellington ('Middle Earth') for a long weekend - some French champagne, fun, and relaxation - some time out together just to rest, to enjoy one another, to be 100% present to each other without all that being parents, working etc. add to the marriage mix.

I love you my darling. Happy Anniversary. May we be blessed, nourished, and enriched over a lifetime of being husband and wife. I'm so grateful for you. We're a fantastic team.

Paul Fromont 12/03/2003 10:26:00 AM
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Flightless Kiwi - A Sad Decision

Well, in the last couple of days I’ve had to make a very sad decision I was hoping I wouldn’t need to make…but I’ve had to postpone my trip to Kentucky and Cincinnati for “Mayhem.” The key component was the unavailability of seats, other than one seat that was going to cost NZ $3,500 + internal US flights + taxes…other issues entered into my reflection and searching for God’s wisdom. It’s been an insightful ‘journey.’

My HEARTFELT thanks to those who pledged funds towards my airfare. I was deeply touched by your generosity…nothing like that has ever happened to me before…and to think it was expressed through a wonderful group of people who’ve never met me.

I was profoundly excited about moving from virtual friendship to embodied friendship. There are so many of you I was looking forward to ‘hanging-out’ with. Being on Alan and Kevin’s home turf was a wonderful opportunity, but one which will now have to wait a little longer…

God-willing I’m hopeful a future opportunity will emerge…maybe towards the end of 2004 - or Spring/ Summer in the States one other year...

Paul Fromont 12/02/2003 10:30:00 AM
Monday, December 01, 2003
The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch.

Some quotes from Michael & Alan’s recently published book that made me stop, reflect, imagine, and pray. They are from the introduction and chapter 1 (“Evolution or Revolution?“)

Right up front we want to confess our belief that the planting of new, culturally diverse, missional communities is the best way forward for the church that views itself in a missional context…While some established churches can be revitalized, success seems to be rare from our experience and perspective. We believe that the strategic focus must now shift from revitalization to mission, i.e. from a focus on the “insiders” to the “outsiders”; and in so doing we believe the church will rediscover its true nature and fulfill its purpose. Perhaps an established church can plant a missional congregation within its broader church structures. Others might sponsor and support the planting of new congregations on their doorstep to reach those not interested in the conventional church. But it does seem to us that the real hope lies with those courageous leaders who will foster the development of alternative, experimental, new communities of faith. (Introduction, p. X)

We open this book with our impressions of the Burning Man phenomenon because it and festivals like it around the world seem to be saying something important to the world in general and to the church specifically… It’s a cry from an emerging postmodern generation for a community of belonging, spirituality, sensuality, empowerment, and liberation (p. 5)

[There is a] desperate yearning that has been unleashed in the Western world over the past ten or so years. During that time, the advent of postmodernism has raised within the West many expectations for an experiential, activist form of religious, mystical experience. (p. 6)

The Gospel and Our Culture Network (GOCN) says, “The missional church represents God in the encounter between God and human culture. It exists not because of human goals or desires, but as a result of God’s creating and saving work in the world. It is a visible manifestation of how the Good News of Jesus Christ is present in human life and transforms human culture to reflect more faithfully God’s intentions for creation. It is a community that visibly and effectively participates in God’s activity, just as Jesus indicated when he referred to it in metaphorical language as salt, yeast, and light in the world.” (p. 7).

“…Such a church makes its mission its priority and perpetually asks itself, “What has God called us to be and do in our current cultural context?” The issue of cultural context is essential because the missional church shapes itself to fit that context in order to transform it for the sake of the kingdom of God. By definition, the missional church is always outward looking, always changing (as culture continues to change), and always faithful to the Word of God. (p. 7)

“…Boxlike thinking simply cannot solve the problems of the box…” (p. 7)

The missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. By incarnational we mean it does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the gospel. Rather, the missional church disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don’t yet know him. (p. 12)

The missional church adopts an apostolic, rather than a hierarchical, mode of leadership. By apostolic we mean a mode of leadership that recognizes the fivefold model detailed by Paul in Ephesians 6. It abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces a biblical, flat-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy, as well as the currently popular pastoral and teaching gifts (p. 12)

We believe the missional genius of the church can only be unleashed when there are foundational changes made to the church’s very DNA, and this means addressing core issues like ecclesiology, spirituality, and leadership. (p.12)

The church is worse off precisely because of Christendom’s failure to evangelize its own context and establish gospel communities that transform the culture (p. 14)

Says John Drane, “No persecutor or foe in two thousand years has wreaked such havoc on the church as has modernity.” (p. 14)

It is time to move on and find a new mode of understanding and engagement with surrounding contexts. We can no longer afford our historical sentimentality, even addiction, to the past. Christendom is not the biblical mode of the church. It was/is merely one-way in which the church has conceived of itself. In enshrining it as the sole form of the church, we have made it into an idol that has captivated our imaginations and enslaved us to a historical-cultural expression of the church. We have not answered the challenges of our time precisely because we refuse to let go of the idol. (p. 15)

It will require that we adopt something that looks far more like the early church in terms of its conception of the church (ecclesiology) and its core task in the world (missiology) (p. 15)

What is happening now [in the cultural milieu] is entirely outside of any discernible Christian influence (p. 15).

We propose that what will emerge from the chaos of the current social-historical shift to the postmodern is likely to be a second reformation as the church rediscovers itself as an apostolic movement. In fact, we suggest that if the church in the West does not embrace such a radical recalibration, it will find itself increasingly imperiled (pp.15-16)

The church should abandon its role as a static institution and embrace its initial calling to be a missionary movement…Whereas Christendom has unraveled because of its seduction by Western culture; the emerging missional church must see itself as being able to interact meaningfully with culture without ever being beguiled by it. This is the classic task of the cross-cultural missionary: to engage culture without compromising the gospel (p.16)

Forging apostolic movements…requires a different kind of thinking that innovates new modes of doing and being church and recasts its notions of leadership, structure, and mission (p.16)

Christology determines missiology, and missiology determines ecclesiology … it is Christ who determines our purpose and mission in the world (discipleship), and then it is our mission that must drive our search for modes of being-in-the-world (p.16)

This is not a time for evolution, as if another desperate reworking of the old model is going to fix our problems and start a revival. It is time for a revolution in the way we do and are church p.16)

Paul Fromont 12/01/2003 10:39:00 PM

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