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FoliovisionAs the blog has now moved completely from TypePad to WordPress, I want to give a loud shoutout to Foliovision, who made the transfer fast and seamless. They were more than reasonable in terms of pricing – and were worth every penny spent. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

If you are stuck on TypePad and want to move to the open-source world of WP – and, like me, have thousands of posts and comments – let Foliovision deal with all the headaches for you. They know what they are doing – and do it very well.

Apologies & Update

kinnon —  June 20, 2011 — 3 Comments

First, please accept my apologies for the RSS stream of old posts that you received if you subscribe to the RSS feed. This is an unfortunate part of the move to new blog hosting and hopefully you will never see this again – at least not from here. 🙂

Secondly, I hope to begin the Celebrity-Driven Church series a little later this week. I’m just in the process of finishing the first cut of a short documentary and as soon as that’s done, I can finish writing the first post in the series. It will no doubt annoy a number of people, but the hope is to begin a conversation on what the C-DC is and the role we all play in creating it. 

Welcome to the new kinnon.tv

kinnon —  June 16, 2011 — 8 Comments

It’s a little bare right now as we move into our new digs. I’ll be painting the walls, adding the furniture and making it a little more habitable over the course of the next couple of weeks.

I apologize that with the transfer, the threaded comments from TypePad no longer thread – which makes some of the conversations rather confusing. Newer comments will thread, however. I’ve asked the good folk @ Foliovision, who took me through the TypePad to WordPress process for some help in this – and if it can be fixed, it will be.

James MacDonald responded in the comment section to the 2nd of my two posts on his hyperbolic Congregational Government is from Satan post. I trust he won't mind me copying it here and responding to it below:

You seem like a pretty funny guy and I like that. You also seem pretty comfortable with overstatement etc. to make your points, I like that too. Yes I can be bombastic at times, does that make me the kettle or the pot? 🙂 My son pointed out your blog to me, Apparently he left a comment and has been following you with appreciation for some time – blog and twitter.

My post had nothing to do with WBC and we surely do trust the Lord in the outcome. There was much division in the church but hardly a word against Harvest's willingness to help when invited. Though we have six campuses only one is a former church that joined with us. We frequently have churches coming to us in their struggle to survive, direct them elsewhere and move on. We have never approached one ourselves, ever. 5000+ churches in North America close every year. I was in a meeting last week with a number of pastors in Chicago trying to discern how best to deal with this crisis in our own city. How do you believe this best handled?

I grew up in a congregational church in London Ontario and my first two churches were congregational. My convictions against that model are not new or recently inflamed. We are working with another church right now on the same issue and learning how best to serve their need while allowing them freedom under whatever system of government they use to determine their own future.

I appreciate celebrity bloggers, I realize you did not gain your level of influence without a lot of hard work and that your passion was probably content related with the greater influence you have coming as an unintended byproduct. I hope you steward your influence well and use it always for the benefit of Christ's great kingdom. Please pray the same for me,

James MacDonald

PS feel free to email me if you want to talk more – maybe God in His sovereignty wants me to have an Arminian friend

James,

Thank you for taking the time to respond here in the midst of what, I'm sure, is an always busy schedule. I've followed your blog for a number of years, cheered with you when you successfully battled cancer, enjoyed a number of your posts – and had my blood pressure raised by others. No doubt as fellow Canadians, our sense of humour (note the correct spelling, eh!) is similar. I'd be the kettle to your pot.

I take you at your word that your post had nothing to do with WBC. Note that I have struck through that text on the previous post and added a link to this one.

Oddly enough, as the former elder of a once thriving / church-planting Baptist church that sits 60 feet from my loft – where now less than four dozen folk attend on an average weekend – I don't disagree with your opinion regarding the congregational model of church governance. But I do believe, in both our cases, it is opinion based on our experiences – rather than a church polity designed by the Enemy or with no support in the Scriptures. (Note that I affirm episcopal governance with the caveat that real discipleship is taking place in that church environment.)

I also stand behind what I said at the end of the first post,

In my never humble opinion, the bottom line problem with the church in the West is not church governance. As I have pontificated here ad nauseum, the problem is discipleship and the lack thereof in the church.

The Great Commission is to “go and make disciples.” It isn’t to build big churches or large platforms for big egos. Nor is it to command and control the congregation for the “sake of the church.” Disciples are made in direct personal relationship with the discipler. If the church was creating actual disciples I wonder whether we would need to worry about church governance.

To answer your question about 5,000 churches closing, I'd point you at my post, More Disciples, Fewer Leaders, Please, where I quote your fellow Chicago import, Scot McKnight. McKnight is responding to a question about what leadership books he'd recommend. He says this,

…I want to put my idea on the line and see where it leads us. We have one leader, and his name is Jesus. I want to bang this home with a quotation from Jesus from Matthew 23, where he seems to be staring at the glow of leadership in the eyes of his disciples, and he does nothing short of deconstructing the glow:

But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Instead of seeing myself as a leader, I see myself as a follower. Instead of plotting how to lead, I plot how to follow Jesus with others. Instead of seeing myself at the helm of some boat—and mine is small compared to many others—I see myself in the boat, with Jesus at the helm.

Again, in my never humble opinion, the crisis in the church is not leadership; it's discipleship and that is the reason those churches are closing. Watch this video from Chris Wright who says it far better than I ever will – he's being interviewed by my wife and business partner, Imbi Medri:

Later in the More Disciples post, I quote Scot again,

…leadership too often places the pastor or some person in the front and having others be guided (and following) that person, and that, I dare say, distorts the entire gospel. Jesus was willing to say that his followers didn’t have a rabbi of their own, didn’t have a human father in a position of ultimate authority, and they didn’t have an instructor who was their teacher. They had one rabbi and one instructor, and his name was Jesus, and he was Messiah. They had one father, and he was Creator of all. They were to see themselves as brothers, not leaders. That’s straight from the lips of Jesus. [Emphasis Added]

The Celebrity-Driven Church may build big buildings filled with smiling people but as Willow's Reveal study showed, it appears not to build disciples. I'll unpack this more in my upcoming series on the C-DC. My words from the quoted post on disciple making,

How did Jesus make disciples – he lived with them for three years, through thick and thin, through their thick headedness and their moments of great clarity, through their closeness and their rejection of him. He didn't set up a training school for leaders, or preach from an elevated pulpit or bring in Roman business and political leaders to advise his disciples how to lead.

Jesus lived in the midst of his disciples and the impact of that still resonates. Globally.

In closing, a couple of my Calvinist buddies (and I have many who put up with me) thought your "celebrity blogger" line was rather amusing. I confess that it reminded me of Brian McLaren when he called me a "Master Blogger" in response to my critique of his New Kind of Christianity. His was a little more double entendre than yours.

But trust me, as my 20 year old daughter, Kaili said to her mother when she read your comment, "Dad's not a celebrity? He has fewer than 700 500 followers on Twitter." We will all be hearing more about and from that girl. Assuming I don't ground her forever for her impertinence. 🙂 (And I do have under 700, Kai!)

ANewPostAtMyBlog1

As I once again step up to the blog microphone and begin to infest the interwebs with my fevered ideas let me first clear something up.

They are called BLOG POSTS. If you want to shorten the phrase – then they are POSTS.

Your BLOG is the site where you publish your POSTS.

If you’ve written a new BLOG then it means you’ve created a new site for the display of your great (or is that GR8) wisdom.

Perhaps it will help to understand the etymology of the word: BLOG. it is the short form of the original WEB LOG or WEBLOG.

OK.

Comprendé?

Then.

As you were.

Dani on Couch Speech Bubble

Six years. Or perhaps that should be 42 years. At least from a dog’s perspective. With all that has happened in my life, the life of my family and our glocal existence – six years as a temporal description hardly does this passage of time justice.

Yet. In the world of Kronos, six years ago yesterday, this blog launched. (Yes this is belated – which fits with what was inferred previously about my state of mind.) We had moved to another city, five months prior (September 2004) − 2,072km from our Toronto home. (1,287.5 miles for my metric-challenged American friends.) Imbi and I had been offered the positions of Co-Directors of Communication at a mega-church and we had accepted. (We had been consulting with this church when we were enticed to move.)

I named the blog “achievable ends”. Partially a pragmatic alphabetical decision in the event that other blogs might decide to add it to their blog lists. As well, I honestly thought I’d be able to point readers at ends that were achievable. (So how did that work for you?)

By early 2005, I’d been following blogs for at least three years. People like Kathy Sierra and Doc Searls were Generous Web practitioners in blogdom. Anecdotal evidence suggested blogs were an effective way to communicate ideas in the glocal world of the interwebs. With the “achievable ends” foray into blogdom, I hoped to convince the senior leader we worked with that blogging would be a worthwhile endeavour for them. (And since I did most of the writing that appeared under that person’s byline, this blog was effectively a test-run, as it were.)

Six weeks after this blog began, we were no longer Co-Directors of anything at the church. In fact, we were informed that we were no longer welcome on the church property. (The blog played no role in that chief executive decision.)

And the next stage in our family’s life journey began.

We retraced the 2,072 kilometres back to Toronto. I was profoundly depressed – though I would not acknowledge that for a couple of years. The blog became my therapy as I began to question the church world we’d been a part of for too many years.

Bill balloon

As a result of this “church experience” Imbi and I had to restart our production business – after telling our clients less than a year before that we were making a dramatic change in our lives and going to work for a church.

Knowing the restart would take time, Imbi took advantage of available hours and began to work on her Masters in Theological Studies at the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe College. Her oft-mentioned documentary on Church Leadership for the 21st Century came out of her studies. (And it is not finished because of me – the editing load is huge – more on that in another post.)

The blog initially covered many things I was passionate about – media technology, production, leadership and yes, the church.

My two posts in the fall of ’05 and beginning of '06 on Killer Ideas vs Idea Killers will give you a sense of how my thoughts on leadership were developing. (I must note that much of the content of this blog is a direct result of conversations with Imbi – and the things we both read. Liam, Rylan and Kaili – the next-gen Kinnons – have also provoked much.)

In early 2006, my warped sense of humour was in evidence with a viral post I wrote, Microsoft Abandons PowerPoint. It was the direct result of a church service experience where PowerPoint assaulted the eyeballs of those gathered.

2006 was a year of theological change for me. Sixteen hours after returning home from a six week teaching trip to Kenya, Imbi and I were on our way to Boise, Idaho to provide production services for an Allelon Missional Church conference. In spite of having known Alan Roxburgh for 20 years, the “missional conversation” was not even on our radar. Pat Keifert, Craig Van Gelder, Mark Priddy (the first actual missional practitioner I ever met) and others (including Roxburgh, of course) changed that.

By that fall, I was working half-time with Allelon. And the focus of this humble corner of the pushed-pixel universe was firmly the church and it’s call to a mission-shaped reality.

One of the richest benefits of blogging has been the people I’ve met – both virtually and in 3D. Dave Fitch is one of these gems. His first book, The Great Giveaway further developed my changing theological understanding. We began to talk via our blogs and then I arranged to meet him (and interview him) when he was in Toronto in late March of 2007.

That interview turned into a four hour conversation about the Western church. And that conversation informed by others with bloggers like John Frye, Darryl Dash, Jamie Arpin-Ricci and Brent Toderash aka Brother Maynard, became the viral post, The People Formerly Known as the Congregation. It was a post that triggered many others. Many years later, it is still eliciting responses.

And that post is probably the most responsible for creating the group of friends known as the Missional Tribe 'Gators – Peggy, Linda, Sonja, Brad, Brent, Rick et moi. True friends for this journey. (And there are rumblings that we may launch a new MT. Stay tuned.)

Michael spencer

However, of all the fellow bloggers who have influenced me, the one who had the greatest impact was Michael Spencer – and it hurts to write “had” and “was”.

I can’t easily pinpoint when Michael and I became friends but I can tell you that that friendship had a profound impact on me. Yes, Michael’s links to a number of my posts drove much blog traffic to what has become kinnon.tv. But what I truly appreciated were our email conversations. When I called the iMonk my iPastor, I wasn’t kidding.

Michael’s creative output was staggering. His writing at the InternetMonk could and should fill many books. His prophetic voice of one calling out in the post-evangelical wilderness drove many people crazy – but was fresh cool water to those of us parched in the midst of the Western evangelical circus.

Michael loved to start conversations – and willingly engaged in them deeply. The rowdy virtual pub known as the Boar’s Head Tavern was evidence of Michael’s desire for and encouragement of great conversation.

One of the BHT fellows, Bob Myers wrote this recently,

…there’s just no one on the web or leading in Christian circles like our beloved Internet Monk, Michael Spencer. He was willing to look at all angles of questions, had a healthy doubt of all the stuff Christians like and flock to, and yet was generous and gracious and kind even to those who were not any of those things.

He also could stir up a hornet’s nest of response, and much of it very, very, constructive. And of course, in the midst of it, sometimes it made me lose my drink laughing, snorting it out of my nose right in the midst of serious theological banter.All from a Kentucky school teacher. God sure placed him in an unusual ministry to make such a splash on the internet.

Anyways, I miss him a lot, as I know everyone in here does. I’m glad he left behind great writings, but what we miss is him alive and stirring us all up, questioning stuff, passionately confronting us with honesty that came from taking his mask off and by doing so removing ours too.

I could not express the sense of loss any better than Bob.

Michael provoked good and important conversation. Listen to Michael in this clip from Drew Marshall’s show that includes Darryl Dash and me. He’s brilliant and funny. (And yes, I wish I’d spoken half as much – with Michael filling the thus provided space.) Go back and listen to Michael’s podcasts . (And no, I don’t’ share Michael’s love of baseball but all the other content is very, very good.)

I had lunch with Darryl Dash recently and he asked me whether Michael’s illness and death had directly impacted my writing. The answer was and is yes. As much as I can intellectually understand that in a fallen world, as a consequence of that fall, millions get sick and die. Emotionally I struggle with the reality that God neither healed Michael nor prevented the illness in the first place. (I do not believe that it was part of God’s plan from the beginning of time Michael would get sick and die at age 53.)

Blogging has not been anywhere near as enjoyable as it was with Michael’s thoughts and provocations.

But Michael’s writing still impacts me. In his book, Mere Churchianity, he writes this;

The Holy Spirit transforms individuals into Jesus-followers, but Jesus was explicit about the purpose of the church, which is to make disciples. Does that mean the church replaces the Holy Spirit? No, it means the church is a community that the Holy Spirit uses to bring individuals to mature Christlikeness and genuine Kingdom usefulness. The balance between an individual’s faith, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is vital and delicate. Once lost or distorted, it must be corrected, or a counterfeit Christian existence will grow in place of the real thing.

If you’ve read me in the last six months, you will see the influence of that statement. It resonates with what Chris Wright says in this interview clip from Imbi’s doc – paraphrased ‘before we worry about raising up leaders – we need to worry about making disciples.

So, on the day after this blog’s sixth birthday, what will be it’s future. I really don’t know.

Kablamm Get The Hell Out

I do know that I will continue to write as long as I have breath and can form a coherent thought. Some of what I write (and occasionally mash up in Photoshop) will offend some and make others laugh. (And then I will probably write something that will reverse the audience effects.) I will continue on the occasionally quixotic quest to convince those in places of positional authority that their primary role is to disciple. The consumer church will remain in my sites.

As I bring this much too long blogiversary historical post to a close, I’d like to thank the folk who have encouraged me to continue in what may be my role as a Christian gadfly (in Triple D’s words). I especially appreciate the encouragement from a recent email. Thank you, Mark B.

And if you've made it this far in the post, I apologize for it's length.

Quoting Chesterton

kinnon —  February 21, 2011 — 3 Comments

I did not intend to once again wander away from this humble corner of the interwebs. Would that I had an intriguing and marvellous reason for not writing. I don’t. The deep-hued, mid-winter blues are not intriguing. One does not marvel at laziness.

And so. Here I am. As faint hints of Spring reveal themselves in longer days. And shorter nights.

And I return to the pushed pixels of blog thoughts by quoting Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. . . . It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom—that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.

From Orthodoxy, Chapter 6, The Paradoxes of Christianity as quoted by Kevin Belmonte’s Quotable Chesteron

I’m reading, and enjoying Belmonte’s Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton. The wonderful book blog of Byron Borger (of Hearts and Minds Books) makes me aware of a lot of very good books. I wish there was a way to purchase Kindle books from Byron’s store. (And since much of Chesterton’s writing is available for free or quite cheaply, I’ve loaded up said Kindle with GKC.)

And I will be back on Wednesday to celebrate the 6th blogiversary of what were once “achievable ends.”

A Return to Blogging

kinnon —  September 8, 2010 — 19 Comments

Laptop-with-kinnonDotTV-writing-on-it.jpg

If you were to ask me what I love to do the most, it would probably be writing. Opinions, thoughts, ideas and characters dance inside my head, triggering impulses in my fingertips with words appearing on the page in front of me.

My words.

Always in need of editing.

Sometimes worth reading.

I wrote my last blog post two months ago. I did not mean to wait two months to write the next one. In fact, I’ve sat down in front of this 24″ screen numerous times and begun to write. But 140 characters seem to be about my limit. Today I will attempt to write a few more.

The easy explanation would be that I’ve had writer’s block. ‘But why?’ one might ask. There are a number of reasons.

The first is the death of my friend, Michael Spencer. I have spent hours trying to write about Michael’s impact on me and how much I miss him. One of those hours was today. I am still not able to adequately express how much Michael’s friendship and encouragement has meant to me – not to mention the influence of his writing on my life.

I’ve also been dealing with depression. (That’s not easy for me to write – as the line from 10CCs I’m Not in Love, “Big boys don’t cry” plays in the recesses of my right brain.) After avoiding it for much too long, I finally sat down with my GP (who has known me for a quarter century) and talked to her about this. The conclusion was that I’m simply exhausted – largely based on my work schedule from this past late winter/early spring. She prescribed novel reading, walking and eating properly. (With the need to come back and see her in mid-October if my depression doesn’t lift.)

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Imbi and I also realized that we had no choice but to update our company website – and we spent a chunk of time working on that.

I’ve also being editing away at the 50+ hours of HD footage we shot for Imbi’s documentary on Church Leadership for the 21st Century. (Interviews with folk like Tom Wright, Dave Fitch, Andrew Jones, George Lord Carey, Pete & Kath Atkins, Graham Cray, Bishop Linda Nichols, Joe Manafo, Dick Staub, Eddie Gibbs and many, many others.)

And then, three Sundays ago, taking the shortcut to the lake front at our summer place, I slipped on wet wood – both feet coming out from under me – the resulting point of forced contact being my coccyx… landing on a rock.

As there’s not much one can do with a fractured tailbone (other than lie down and take it like a man), I have managed to read four novels (the Steig Larson Salander/Blomkvist Millenium series and the latest Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley book), an interesting book on Beer and books by James Davison-Hunter, and my friend, Dick Staub. All of them on my new cheap (WiFi-only) Kindle 3 that arrived two weeks ago – I love it. Particularly the ability to grab quotes as a text file – no more transcribing!

All of this to say that this is my first post of a number I have planned for September. I will be reviewing Dick’s book, About You and including some video I’ve shot with him in that review. (Dick is one of Imbi’s and my favourite people on the planet.)

I will also do my best to finish the post honouring my friend, the (one and only) Internet Monk.

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I’ll be responding with humour to the Christian Conference addiction – partially triggered by this important post from J.R. Briggs.

Based on this FT article, I’ll once again engage the topic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and church leaders. (My last was a year and a half ago, It’s All About Me, NPD and Church Leaders.)

I’m also somewhat in shock at the life of The People Formerly Known as the Congregation – written in March of 2007. This past Spring it appeared in a couple of Western Canadian newspapers (along with comments from Jamie Arpin-Ricci) and then last week excerpts from it showed up on a blog connected to a St. Louis newspaper as pointed out by TSK. I’ll share my thoughts on the post, 3.5 years later.

Hip_Gnosis.jpg

I also may finish a post called Hip:Gnosis that I began in February – though I am trying to listen to a good friend who asked me to return to blogging butnot just when your p-o’d.”

Though there are lots of things that p___ me off – grist for the mill at this small corner of the interwebs.

Back soon.

I’m Five, How Are You

kinnon —  February 21, 2010 — 6 Comments

MuddyKidHand-Vortex.jpg

This blog turned 5 today.

Happy Birthday blog!

You’ve certainly been acting your age lately.

Transparent Self-Absorption

kinnon —  October 23, 2009 — 2 Comments

I have a friend who is a gifted and prodigious writer; often expressing both his deep love for, and deep frustration with, the church – writing openly as a flawed and broken individual.

He recently received an unsolicited email accusing him of being self-absorbed. This from a writer who wears his hubris on his sleeve, mouse clutched tightly in angry hand, stained grey by his clicks on Photoshop menus. My friend’s interlocutor – the trusted sidekick of one who is self-enthroned on the Judgment Seat of God, offering insight as to who is in and who is outside the Kingdom – the sidekick similarly infected.

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My friend’s great sin, he writes transparently. He reveals himself, warts and all. His struggles, his passions, his musings, his diatribes, his insights – offered freely to all who are interested. And many of us are. His audience is one of the largest in the Jesus-focused blogosphere.

Baseball loving writer, Red Smith once said, “writing is easy, you just open a vein and bleed.” And this my friend does. Which is problematic for those who insist they have all the answers or follow another who does – reflecting the too-often binary nature of blogdom’s pushed pixel universe – one’s and zeros, black and white, in and out.

I am reminded of Jesus’ story of the tax collector and the pharisee. [Luke 18:9-14 from the Message]

He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’

“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'”

Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

Like the tax collector, I am a flawed and broken man in desperate need of a Saviour. And when I climb up on the soapbox that is this blog with my latest pontification, it is obvious I am no pontiff. My writing simply the bleating of a wounded sheep still trusting in the love, care and mercy of the Good Shepherd.

As to my friend; he is no more self-absorbed than any good writer. He reveals himself to his readers – in the true sense of the word – and makes those who hate personal revelation uncomfortable. More power to him.

[Image purchased from iStockPhoto.com]