Archives For Allelon

During the Rick Meigs’ initiative Missional SynchroBlog, I wrote a post on The Long View. That post was partially prompted by a conversation Alan Roxburgh (A-Rox) and I had while wandering a beach in Portugal this past spring. I had the HD camera with me and recorded Alan against the ages-old Atlantic Ocean cliffs of the Algarve, encapsulating our conversation in this video below. (RSS Readers may need to click through to the actual post to see the video.)

As Alan says above, we have the privilege of being called to be a part of shaping a future we are probably not going to see. In light of that, I was struck by this comment from Kevin Kelly riffing on Freeman Dyson (in the NYTimes).

…while progress runs on exponential curves, our individual lives proceed in a linear fashion. We live day by day by day. While we might think time flies as we age, it really trickles out steadily. Today will always be more valuable than some day in the future, in large part because we have no guarantee we’ll get that extra day. Ditto for civilizations. In linear time, the future is a loss. But because human minds and societies can improve things over time, and compound that improvement in virtuous circles, the future in this dimension is a gain. Therefore long-term thinking entails the confluence of the linear and the exponential. The linear march of our time intersects the cascading rise and fall of numerous self-amplifying exponential forces. Generations, too, proceed in a linear sequence. They advance steadily one after another while pushed by the compounding cycles of exponential change. [emphasis added]

Missional communities have within them the potential to exponentially infect the communities where they have been strategically placed by the hand of God. As they live out their lives now, embedding themselves into the very warp and woof of the community life – they embody the profound possibility of working as leaven – permeating the entire “loaf” of their community.

As Alan says in the video, this way of thinking runs counter to the ROI mindset of much Western church planting. (We have an expectation of Return on Investment when we provide funding for church plants.) The McDonalds/Consumer Church mindset of numbers now is what kills the spirit of missional church. As Dave Fitch writes, (blogging about missional leaders)

In my opinion it takes at least 5 years of “seeding a community” before one even begins to see an ethos of community and new life develop that can be a cultural carrier-transmitter of the gospel.

Only a long view allows us live in the midst of the now and the not yet. We have a real expectation and hope of seeing the Kingdom lived out in our communities – but we recognize that we may be like those in Hebrews 11 who do never see the fruit of their labour. Does this mean we abandon the life and return to a consumer church model? God help me, no! As I’ve said before, Hudson Taylor and David Livingston did not see the overwhelming harvest that continues to come from the seeds they planted as missionaries in China and Africa, respectively – but they lived with both an expectation and a hope for that harvest.

As the Christendom model of church wheezes to an end, not with a bang but a whimper, this next reformation sees us following the Spirit of God back into the neigbourhood – realizing that He is on the move – building his kingdom amongst the people in those neighbourhoods. As Colin Greene insists in Part Two* of the Allelon Metavista Café interview, this still means we must be able to effectively communicate the Gospel story – but much of the communication will come in how we live our lives amongst our neighbours. Might I again suggest that Luke 10 provides us with the Jesus-model of neighbourhood “ministry”.

Kevin Kelly reminds us that long-term thinking entails the confluence of the linear and the exponential. We must live our lives faithfully amongst our neighbours. Not avoiding gathering as believers as we live our lives out day by day, but realizing that we, the tangible Kingdom of God in the midst our neighbourhood – exist for those very neighbours. And though we may not see it in our own lifetime, we have a real expectation for the exponential growth of the Kingdom of God in our neighbourhoods.

Fitch says this at the end of the aforementioned blog post,

Like a fermenting revolution evolving out of a tired and reified ancien regime, these tiny bands of Christians have come on the scene committed to live a life together of worship, spiritual formation, community, hospitality and service to the poor (of all kinds). In ways never imagined by the machinations of the mega church, many of these bands are already infecting their neighborhoods with an embodied gospel that cannot be denied, only responded to. Knowing Christendom is gone, they carry no pretension. Instead they embody the gospel in its most compelling, authentic, non-coercive form. This new wave of Christians is small in number and possesses little to no resources financially. Most do not impress with their grandiose visions. They do not hang in the halls of power. They do not make a show of their successes. Yet their vision of a simple Christian habitat as witness in the world reminds me of the Irish missional orders God used to effect a profound conversion of European society in the 4th century. We have seen the world changed like this once before (read How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill). Could we be in the early stages of seeing God move in a similar fashion once again? Let us pray it be so. [emphasis and link added]

INFORMATION: Note that the A-Rox video at the beginning of this post is available as a downloadable HD or SD file here. The Colin Greene video *mentioned above will not be available until after July 15th.

Part One of the interview series, of Colin Greene talking about the book he wrote with Martin Robinson, Metavista – is up at Allelon. Part Two and Three will go up over the next month or so. Martin wanders over to the café in Part Three and joins the conversation.

The video was shot by Imbi and I in Lisbon, Portugal this past spring during the Eurochurch Conference. We set up on the patio of a café and the interview begins with Alan Roxburgh (now known as A-Rox according to Ryan Bell on Twitter) asking Colin about the origins of the book.

One of the historical interesting parts of the interview is in the discussion of the 18th Century earthquake that devastated Lisbon – and the impact that earthquake had on the Enlightenment. The issue of Theodicy was raised, as thousands of people were killed while attending church. (Oddly enough, the earthquake happened on the Feast of All Saints Day, 300 years to the day before I was born.)

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Long Holiday Weekend

kinnon —  July 1, 2008 — 2 Comments

Other than being in Toronto to finish an Allelon edit yesterday, I’m enjoying the extra-long Canada Day weekend @ the Lake. Skies are blue with a few clouds, the Lake is calm enough to go kayaking (Liam and Abby just circumnavigated the island in a two-person version) and the tensions of the previous weeks are simply melting away.

Happy 131st *141st Birthday, Canada. Happy upcoming 4th of July to those wonderful Americans who stop by – and to the rest of you wonderful people, may your day be filled with all things good and true. (*Thanks to Peter B from Germany for the math correction. I must be waaay to relaxed.)

In my not particularly humble opinion, one of the more important aspects of Allelon is the MiWCP – the Mission in Western Culture Project.

It is designed as a global initiative to address the question of a missional engagement in Western culture from the perspective of the local church (local church means congregations, house and simple churches and para church groups in a specific context) in order to understand the critical issues facing leadership development, discipleship, formation and witness in modern Western culture.

For the last two summers, the gathering for that event has been in the Northwest US. This year the gathering is in Lusaka, Namibia. One might wonder why – and how, MiWC relates to Africa. Alan Roxburgh explains,

Modernity, technology, globalization and the power of the media are creating huge transformations not only in NA, Europe and Austrailasia, but also transforming and undermining the nature of Christian life in Africa. A missionary engagement with Western culture is no longer just a challenge to these areas, it’s also a huge challenge to Christian life in Africa.

Frederick Marais, a theology prof at Stellenbosch University (and a great guy) states,

African leaders find it very difficult to network. They simply do not have the funding to come together African leaders in order to learn, share and plan with one another. The Lusaka Summit this August offer a critical moment and time for us to connect in ways we would never be able to on our own. We don’t have the means or infrastructures to develop networks – Lusaka will give us the chance to do this. Every single African we have asked to attend said this is a unique opportunity they don’t want to miss. African leaders are hungry for this chance to meet; they are enthusiastic because such an important conversation will be held in an African setting with an African agenda and style to the gathering. They feel most comfortable in a global conversation where they are free to be themselves not as the West would expect them to be – by holding these meetings in Lusaka we will achieve this goal.

Allelon is asking for support to bring African leaders to this gathering in Lusaka. It would be great if you’d read Al’s post @ Allelon and then consider supporting the work Allelon is doing with the MiWCP.

McLaren & TSK in Conversation

kinnon —  March 25, 2008 — 2 Comments

Andrew Jones posts a great conversation he had with Brian McLaren on Brian’s book, EMC. You might also find Al Roxburgh’s three part interview with Brian interesting at the Allelon site.

A Link or Two

kinnon —  February 27, 2008 — 2 Comments

I’m really, really busy. (Which is not a bad thing – I’m really thankful that Imbi’s and my company, MKPL is getting busy again.) I’ve promised to respond to BD on the post below – and, after working ’til 3am this morning, I realize that I don’t have the needed mental horsepower to engage in an argument with someone I highly value. (But I will respond in the next day or so.)

I have thousands of unread posts in GR, and had over 400 unread posts in my "christian" category of the feed reader. I’m down to 243. (I’m very thankful for the J key shortcut in GR that lets you skim, mark as read and advance to the next post.) Unread #243, (well, actually, now read) is a Thinklings post from Jared, from a couple of days ago. It’s a great quote from Eugene Peterson on leaders being Augustianian in the pulpit and fully Pelagian the rest of the time. Here’s an excert (please read the entire quote),

 

Pelagius was an unlikely heretic; Augustine an unlikely saint. By all accounts, Pelagius was urbane, courteous, convincing. Everyone seems to have liked him immensely. Augustine squandered away his youth in immorality, had some kind of Freudian thing with his mother, and made a lot of enemies. But all our theological and pastoral masters agree that Augustine started from God’s grace and therefore had it right, and Pelagius started from human effort and therefore got it wrong . . . How did it happen that Pelagius became our master?
 
  Our closet Pelagianism will not get us excommunicated or burned at the stake, but it cripples our pastoral work severely . . . it is catastrophic to the church’s wholeness and health.

This past weekend I was at an urban church leadership conference for a half day in another Canadian city. I walked in as the morning worship drew to a close. It was more than I could handle – I walked back out again (and retrieved my coffee that I’d set down – as food and drink were not allowed in the "sanctuary". Only JIMB worship done manically and guilt-producting scriptures were allowed that morning. There ought to be a law.) Bob Hyatt identifies some of my discomfort.

 

…I’m beginning to realize just how far removed I am from the experiential side of evangelical worship.
 
  Honestly, it’s begun to feel downright cross-cultural to me…
 
  Yesterday was rough on that front. It’s been a while since I did the smoke-machine, colored lights moving, everyone clap your hands if you love Jesus kind of worship… since this conference last year, in fact.
 
  And every year, it’s gotten harder to engage with that aspect of things. I’d get cynical, or just not really participate…
[Bob does not trash the entire experience in the post – as I am wont to do.]

I’m a Jonathan Brink blog fan and he has a good post on Love in the Burbs that I would commend. He ends it with this,

 

It’s actually quite easy to go down and serve the homeless or at a soup kitchen. We can arrive with our lattes and leave when we want to. We’re in control and can look like a hero. But loving our neighbor next door, when every time he looks at us with an angry stare, is another matter. Our neighbor isn’t likely to leave tomorrow, meaning we have to love over a long period of time. Our flaws are likely to show and then we’re no longer the hero. We’re simply human called to love. And the question isn’t which is better. The question is, where God is calling us to? And what if God is calling us right back to the space we find ourselves in? What if God is calling us to address the poor right next door?

And a final link to my blog buddy, Susan Arnold. She has an interesting post that deals with the "where to next" issue for graduating seminarians,

 

…the fact remains that the movement of God’s Spirit in up-and-coming-leadership is very often at “odds” with the existing ethos and modus operandi of the local church. Lets face it. Lots of churches are led by old poops in my age group who don’t have a clue how to disciple anyone because they were told they were supposed to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and be CEO’s in order to “grow the church.” I’ve seen more than one exceptionally gifted young leader get barfed out of the local church for reasons as simple as they just don’t “fit,” don’t have the “chemistry” and so on. Fresh leadership is not all that welcome: it’s rather threatening, actually. It reminds the old guard that they are, well, old, and are supposed to be multiplying and empowering others in their maturity… but they haven’t a clue how and apparently see nothing immoral about such a refusal to be fathers and mothers of a new generation of leaders who will lead in ways they never dreamed of…

I think the answer to Susan’s questions (around seminary students and their vocation) is answered well by Eddie Gibbs in this Allelon interview I shot just over a year ago (with Alan Roxburgh.)

Paul Walker asked a question of whether “blogger’s block” exists. In the comments, I assured him it does…and I think I’ve been suffering from it. So here are a few disjointed thoughts as I take the advice of my friend, Roy Williams, and just begin to to write (with some idea of what direction I’m going in).

First, today is a new holiday in the Province of Ontario (where the Centre of the Universe is located – that being Toronto). It’s called Family Day. I’m looking for instructions on how to celebrate this new holiday. Especially as our oldest, Liam, is at school in Nova Scotia, the epitome of a middle child, Rylan, is skiing with his girlfriend’s family in Austria and our youngest, Kaili (pronounced Ky-lee – accent on the first syllable) is asleep in her bed – as is her mother – who was up all last night looking after her own mother. So what’s a Family Guy to do. (I wrote this @ 9:30am – they are now both up… and painting.)

Actually, I have lots to do.

I’m in the middle of two large projects where I’m the creative director on one and the producer/director on the other. In both cases, I’m also writing the scripts. These projects for different arms of the same large high-tech company are a challenge as they are being presented without audio – which means I have no clever voice-over to write – but also means I can’t fall back on clever voice-over to tell the stories. And the deliveries for both projects are staggered over the next six weeks. (The beta-version of one video has to be on client screens by February 28th.)

On the evening of the 29th, Imbi and I begin teaching a diploma course at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto on church and media. We are both looking forward to this, but it does add to the work load. I’ll also be doing a seminar at Wycliffe’s Refresh event in May on “Church in the Digital Age”. Graham Kendrick is one of the keynote speakers @ Refresh and it will be interesting to catch up with him – after our March for Jesus work together, so many years ago. (Note: the Wycliffe site is down right now.) I will attempt to interview Graham on the missional conversation for an Allelon Netcast in June.

Alan Roxburgh is in Toronto this week and it’s great catching up after not being together since before Christmas. Alan is spending time here writing – and is also in town to discuss the regional Allelon Training Centres that are being established in Toronto and Hamilton this year (along with other sites that will probably include Philadelphia, Seattle and Kansas City.)

Alan will also be leading a session with Pernell Goodyear called Growing Missional Leaders, at the TrueCity Conference in Hamilton, later this week. I’ll probably shoot it and have it up on the Allelon site as soon as possible. Oh, and Pernell is back blogging. (And I thought I’ve had a few health issues. Oy!?)

I should also note that the second interview in Al’s Wandering Around LA series will be up at the end of the week. Make a point of listening to the first interview with Tom Hughes here or via iTunes. [Clicking on the iTunes link will open iTunes – or at least ask you if you want to open iTunes.]

I’ve asked Al to take a look at Pagan Christianity and, though I doubt he’ll blog about it, I will try to get some comments up here on his view of Viola’s and Barna’s book. And if you haven’t already, you should drop by Brother Maynard’s blog for his in-depth coverage of the book, as well as a three part interview with Frank Viola.

While I’m pointing you at things, check out David Fitch‘s new post, The Bridge Illustration, An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone? It’s a good post, that’s getting some push back @ the BHT (for the Lutheranized comment). Kingdom Grace is blogging on the Fitch video we recently put up @ Allelon. (It’s a very good post on the great content in David’s video.)

I also want to introduce you to a new blogger, Elle, who’s blog, The Best Parts, shares some of the best sentences/paragraphs from her favourite books.

I have a post percolating on what I perceive as The Low View of the Holy Spirit that infects much of evangelicalism (including the charismatics) – and I’m finding it interesting that it seems many of the reformed folk have a higher view of the Holy Spirit than the rest of the Christian world. (I’m thinking of people like Jared Wilson, Darryl Dash, Dan MacDonald and Tim Keller here. Not those who would more accurately be called Truly Reformed – in the pejorative sense.) If you have a moment, pray that I might get a moment to finish my thoughts – with clarity.

Allelon Updates

kinnon —  February 16, 2008 — 2 Comments

The latest update to the Allelon site has gone live. Alan Roxburgh has a very interesting interview with Tom Hughes of Fusion @ Christian Assembly Eagle Rock. In many ways, it deals with the question of whether large churches can be missional – CA is about 1,800 folk with over 500 a part of Fusion. And the interview would suggest they can. Tom is a leader in his early thirties – and he makes some very strong statements about those of us who have chosen to “love Jesus” outside the four walls of a church.

One of my favourite parts of the interview is the last section where Tom talks about their “Year of Discernment” process regarding new leaders. He tells two stories – one where the process reveals the ministry leadership skills of a young woman and the other that reveals a young man is not called to church-based ministry. It’s good stuff. You can listen to it on the Allelon site or via iTunes. The iTunes version is in stereo, has graphics and weblinks. (And if you’re wondering what my speaking voice sounds like, you’ll find out by listening to either version of the podcast.)

I’ve also cut an eight minute video of Al talking about his recent trips to the UK and South Africa for the Allelon Mission in Western Culture project. This video outlines the work of the teams in these two areas and introduces us to Dr. Frederick Marais of Stellenbosch University, as well as Dr. Sara Savage of the Faculty of Divinity @ Cambridge. (Sara was featured recently in an audio Allelon Netcast with Alan.)

This update also features a relaunch of the Missional Journey blog with a great post from my Australian shopping buddy, Andrew Menzies. (Who is the person sitting to the left of Frederick in the MiWC video, oddly enough.)

The combination of working on this update, working on two large video projects for a long-term client, putting my back out – and still recovering from the Sundance cold-blessing, has seen my not blogging to the degree I’d like to. My schedule until the end of April is wonderfully crazy – so I’ll continue to point you at interesting stuff as I find it – but won’t necessarily be writing as many substantive posts as I’d would like to be.

Allelon Updates

kinnon —  February 4, 2008 — 1 Comment

The Allelon site has been updated with a great new article from Alan Roxburgh – that uses the movie, Atonement to discuss Missional Leadership.

Alan’s interview with Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, from last year’s Allelon Missional Schools Project event in Dallas, talks about her engagement with the missional conversation as a female theologian within a reformed tradition – in light of the AMSP.

über-Blogger and missional thinker, Len Hjalmarson shares Hope, Memory and Waiting in a Place of Exile – as both an article and a podcast.

And Allelon Publishing has made the workshop, Understanding Missional Church, An Introductionavailable as a free download.

A little later in the month, Allelon will be re-launching the Missional Journey blog with some very interesting writers. Stay tuned.

In early December, we had a great Allelon weekend in Vancouver with a number of team members from around North America. I was there with a couple of cameras, as is my wont.

This interview was shot early Saturday morning on our last day together. (The weekend began on Thursday.) Sally and Al talk about her book, Worship Evangelism, the problems with how her book was applied and where she finds herself today as part of the mission-shaped conversation. Let me know what you think. And please also comment on the Allelon site.

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