John Stackhouse Intensive

What’s so special about John G. Stackhouse? Why would you want to go to his intensive here in July?

 

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7 sayings, 7 prayers

candlesIn this Lenten journey towards the cross and empty tomb, I continue to be reminded that, whatever else the Gospel is, it is God’s story. That’s important to remember; it is difficult to remain detached from story, since by its very nature story beckons involvement. Eugene Peterson says that theology as story becomes a “verbal [act] of hospitality”,[1] leading us not “to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s.  God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves”.[2]

So in my Lenten meditation I have sought to see my story in God’s through contemplating Jesus’ seven sayings from the cross, and attending to some possible prayers that arise. Perhaps, amidst the pre-Easter flurry, you might also like to come aside and ponder with me.

  1. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
    How am I oblivious, Lord, to the ways in which I hurt, betray, dismiss, scoff, judge, malign, belittle, stymie, or show indifference to you? To others? What incarnations of ignorance does your forgiveness need to touch?
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
    What is your promise of deep fellowship for me? What is the shape of our communion into which you are calling me?
  3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother (John 19:26–27)
    Who are you giving me to care for, Lord, to become as family? Who have you given as carers for me?
  4. My God, My God, have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
    In what ways am I experiencing your absence? Where do I wish you would just show up, God? What am I to do with this sense of abandonment?
  5. I thirst (John 19:28)
    What does your raw humanity, Jesus, mean for me? For my physicality? Whose thirst are you calling me to quench? What am I deeply thirsty for?
  6. It is finished (John 19:29-30)
    What has your cross, Jesus, ‘finished’, moved on, dealt with in my life? What remains ‘unfinished’?
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)
    How is your consecration to the Father becoming my own? In what dimensions of my life is your love further wooing my unfettered devotion?

[1] Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2005), 5.

[2] Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2006), 44.

 

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Don’t Stop Them

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” 50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50, NIV)

Recently, part of my role at Tabor has changed. As well as being a lecturer here, I’ve also began working to find ways that Tabor can better support and empower Adelaide’s churches and parachurch organisations.

What I’ve discovered in this role is that Adelaide is blessed with an abundance of great Christian churches and parachurch organisations. We have a host of exciting, innovative, courageous, gospel-driven groups, powerfully and effectively revealing Christ and His Kingdom. I’ve also seen that these organisations are more than “organisations” – they are people, working incredibly hard (with the empowering of God’s Spirit), and with tremendous passion and focus. Read More

Book Review: Re-describing Reality: What we do when we read the Bible

Author: Walter Brueggemann

Publication: London: SCM Press, 2009.

Summary:  In this book, leading Old Testament scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann describes the methodological approach he uses for interpreting Scripture and provides a number of extended examples from the Old Testament. He argues that the biblical text creates a world where YHWH is the key character, a world that is not as others say it to be, and that reframes all our understandings in its light. Interpreting the text therefore involves the imagination, as we seek to bring this text into contact with the world as we have previously accepted it. He deals with some of the dangers inherent in biblical interpretation including the temptations to reduce the text to a “closed package of settled truth,” or to privatise it as a resource for personal life and overlook its communal dimensions.

Read More

A wind in the house of Islam: how God is drawing Muslims around the world to faith in Jesus Christ

22586927Author: V. David Garrison

Publication: Monument, Colo.: WIGTake Resources, 2014

Summary:   David Garrison’s book is based on interviews he conducted over a two year period of 1,000 Muslim background believers drawn from at least 17 of the 49 countries which are dominated by Islam. The respondents come from 45 of the 60 plus Christian “movements” in the past 30 years (a movement is defined as either having at least 1,000 baptised believers in a region or having at least 100 new worshipping fellowships formed in 20 years).  This research is unprecedented. The structure of the book is built around the nine Islamic “rooms” (or regions) as he attempts to investigate similarities and differences in the faith journeys of these Muslim converts from across the world. Ten “bridges of God” (ways God is working among Muslims today) are identified, and he addresses a number of barriers to seeing movements like these flourish, along with practical steps to see them grow. Some common threads are identified like the word of God and the encounter with the living Christ.

Evaluation: Not surprisingly, this book has attracted much attention. The comprehensive data and maps give a unique insight into the Muslim faith and a basis from which to respond. As Ramadan draws to a close it is a fitting time to reflect. The events of the past 12 months can provoke fear and concern but this book demonstrates that God is reminding us of His power, work and control, which some would think has been lost. Integral to this is the rise of prayer movements focusing on the Muslim World. (It needs to be recognised, however, these prayer movements cover up to only about 1.5% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.) The challenge for us is to support such prayer movements, in whatever form we can, while continuing to educate the Christian community through this narrative about how God is at work, and thus, how we might be at work win the world today as well.

Reviewed by: David TurnbullAvailable at Koorong: http://www.koorong.com/search/product/wind-in-the-house-of-islam-a-david/9781939124036.jhtml

Book Review: Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church

many colours

Author: Soong-Chan Rah
Publication details: Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL.

Summary: Many Colors presents a framework for developing cultural intelligence employing theological, anthropological and sociological principles grounded in a biblical worldview. Cultural intelligence (or competence) incorporates “knowledge, experience and ethos” (p. 14) and provides the environment in which multicultural ministry can be developed and nurtured. The book is organised into three parts: a biblical theology of culture as a corporate social construct based on the imago Dei and the missio Dei at work in all cultures; the concept of cultural intelligence and its importance in multiethnic church; the application of cultural “intuition” (p. 192) when working cross-culturally, the challenges that need to be addressed and systems thinking for systemic change.

Evaluation: Rah has written a thought provoking book strongly challenging our mono-cultural church paradigms from his perspective as a Korean-American, a pastor and a professor of church growth and evangelism. Although the book is written in and for the American context, the central theme (developing cultural intelligence to build multi-ethnic churches) is relevant to Australia as we grapple with ministry in our increasingly diverse, multi-cultural communities. Rah challenges readers to reflect on their own cultural assumptions/frameworks and develop a multi rather than mono (i.e. western) cultural worldview. He suggests a ministry model where the knowledge, experience and ethos from experts within ethnic communities is sought rather than imposing Westernised cultural concepts of ministry onto the marginalised. Many Colors is a helpful resource for those seeking tools to understand cultural diversity and engage with the multi-cultural Australian community.

Reviewed by Lesley Houston- TESOL Coordinator Tabor Adelaide

Available at http://www.amazon.com/Many-Colors-Cultural-Intelligence-Changing/dp/0802450482