Saturday, July 08, 2006

FORGE intensive

Has been a great two days. We managed to make the old gym at Tabor College not look like a converted gym. Some art, lots of candles, some icons and nicknacks and some creative seating arrangements and we were all set.

Matt Jacoby (Sons of Korah) started the first three sessions off with three or four psalms. I enjoyed his insight on the psalms in between the songs, and I also really appreciated his love for music as more than just an emotional romantic device, but rather something born in our hearts, that can be part of our dicipleship, and our interaction with the word.

Darryl Gardiner is one of my favorite people. He did the first session on Friday night and it was wonderful. Darryl does not live in the world of Christian faerie tales, he tells it like it is. Sustainability in our walk is all about looking at the truth that it is often hard. God doesn't always do what we want or think. The important part is not to have the answers, or the magic to make things better, but rather to be present in others lives, and allow them to be in yours.

Then yesterday morning he shared about how our motivations are often far less pure than our words. We often go into ministry looking for God's call, but also looking for romance, excitement, the adulation of our friends and family. We can get caught up in the cause or the team. And though God uses all these things for good often, when we seek to have our personal desires met by ministry, we will see that it doesn't work, and we wind up leaving the ministry, or even the faith.

John Franke came and spoke to us about the theology of the trinity, and its practical application to the life of the church and mission. It was really brilliant, deep, thinkers stuff, which I enjoy even if I can't understand it all. But maybe I just liked the guy because he was an American who also is obsessed with cricket. The guy actually reads wisden.

Mark Sayers is the most insightful man I have ever met, and yesterday he was as usual brilliant. He talked about our tendency to treat our walk with God as a contract, like a mobile phone contract. In our consumeristic world we have become so used to this contractual idea that we have forced the God of creation into this box. The idea is that we do this service and that service and we expect this or that result. If our life isn't sufficiently fulfilled, if we haven't met that special someone, if we don't have all the "blessings" we earned, then we feel ripped off. God isn't fulfilling His part of the contract. How disgusting.

Olivia McClaine returned to FORGE after having her twins, two beautiful little boys who's pictures were projected onto the screen. She spoke to us about her faith community, Soulice (sp), and there journey to becoming all that God intended them. Their reliance on the ancient disciplines, not to earn Gods grace of favour, but to better understand God's purpose in their own lives.

I was beset by jet lag and looking at the long train ride home from ringwood gave my apologies to Kim, I fell asleep often on the train home, but luckily made it, where I passed out, and ofcourse woke up at five this morning. Which is an improvement on the three oclock yesterday. One more sleep and I might be adjusted.

I have much more to write, but not the time, so please keep checking in.

the rev


David said...

Another pointless love-in for Christians. What do you get out of the Christian talking merry-go-round?

Not only do I not see God engaging with the world, but I don't see Christians engaging with it, either. Aren't you supposed to be the hands and feet of God - or just the mouths?

Rebecca said...

David...what makes you say it was a pointless love-in? (Ok, so maybe it was a love-in, but how do you know it was pointless?)

And Christians don't engage with the world? Sure, some Christians don't, but some Christians do. Go look up a list of aid and development agencies. Or look through the phone directory of agencies that work with the urban poor. I'm fairly confident that wherever you are in the world, the vast majority will be Christian organisations. I wish more Christians were more engaged - but I still think Christians do better than many other groups of people. I'm yet to find an atheist organisation that cooks meals for the homeles...

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Somebody named david just left a particularly pointless post on my blog. I took a sniff and it smelled like Kieren/Donald.

I do hope this guy finds a new hobby soon.

The Rev said...

well lets see in this room Sunday was:

A man that works with homeless or introuble with the law teenagers.

Two men and a woman that work in a live in house that helps recovering drug addicts get there lives in order.

Three people that work with high school students.

One that works with mentally ill people that have run afoul of the law

One that works with the street walkers in St Kilda

One that has taken in literally hundreds of youth offenders and homeless teenagers

five that are starting churches among the poor and the marginalized

And every one of them is forgoing the pursuit of material wealth and cultural success to actually work with people in relationship, to help make a better world, and more fulfilled people.

Or what you said.

the rev

David said...

It sounds nice - helping disadvantaged people - but is it really going to make a difference beyond patching over problems resulting from societal/legal/systemic problems that really require political change

And why help drug addicts? Drug addicts chose their lifestyle, chose to take drugs - let them live with the consequences (preferably in the Western suburbs). Seriously, this may be better than "helping" them - helping druggies sends out the message that it's ok to take illicit drugs because someone else will bail you out if you come out second best.

Rebecca said...

I don't know who was at this Forge gig, because I wasn't there. However there are definitely many movements of Christians that don't just offer band-aid solutions but seek to challenge the systemic problems. Just personally, I work in emergency management research, from a perspective that analyses the root causes of vulnerability to civil conflict and natural disaster. One of the 'founding fathers' of my discipline was a Quaker. Outside my paid employment, I'm involved with Christians who are influenced by the radical discipleship movement, which is certainly very much about identifying and addressing root causes of injustice, whether it be ecological, social, political, economic...

As for your second point...umm, how many drug addicsts have you known? Sure, I've got friends who "choose" to take drugs, but they're generally what you'd call "recreational" users. Most addicts I've known started taking drugs as a way of escaping from something, and sooner or later found themselves in a place where they no longer had much control over or choice in the matter. In fact, I'd say that the degree of "choice" exercised by some people who are recreational users is a bit debateable too...

I have to say, that given the tone of your other posts, I don't think you really believe drug addicts choose to take drugs. I think you're just shit stirring, and I share Keith's suspicions. If you are in fact Kieren/Donald, at least have the balls to use the same name.

urbanmonk said...


Why do you continually shift your position to suit your arguments?
At one time its the fault of the gamblers they are addicted to gambling, at another, it is society that needs to change..

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

It's better for society as a whole to help drug addicts overcome their addiction. If you're morality is a social contract based morality, you must still support rehabilitation, maybe more so.
Also, drug addiction is not a choice that perfectly healthy people just make one day. It tends to be a symptom found in hurting people many of whom were abused, though of course some have addicts have problems that are less obvious. Not being one to hurt myself to that degree I can't accept that it's ever a well considered choice made by a healthy person.

Interesting this conversation should come up now. In the last week I re-established communication with two dear friends from High School, one who spent most of the last 12 years in prison due to problems stemming mostly from severe alcoholism, and the other a recovering (at long last) drug user who almost died several times before finally getting straight. I am so glad that there were programs and caring people around for these two when they finaly were able to start healing. I love them both.

And that last paragraph wasn't for David, or for the sake of arguing. Just something really great that I was compelled to share.

Rebecca said...

That is very, very cool Keith.

David said...

"It's better for society as a whole to help drug addicts overcome their addiction".

That sounds like enforced participation in some standard of public morality funded by taxation.

Not everyone (including me) wishes to be taxed to help people they don't know. It reduces their financial ability to help others by personal choice. I for one resent governments unnecessarily interfering in the life of citizens; I resent the punitive taxation burden, a sizable proportion of which goes to income transfer and social security arrangements - and there are fundamental moral problems with this that seem to have been ignored by the above commentary.

If I wish to help others or support charitable works, I believe that must be the individuals choice and not forced through the taxation system.

I do not support the communist philosophy or Jesus, Karl Marx or the local church pastor.

Rebecca said...

I have no problem with the state supporting these things, but I don't believe anyone raised it until you did.

Like I said, you're being a shit-stirrer, and that gets boring, very quickly.

The Rev said...

I don't get any state money to do these things, and I don't ask you for any money to do those things. You have no basis for moral indignation over my actions, nor any moral basis to suggest my actions are right or wrong. Like everyone has pointed out, you are being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Which is just juvenile. Have no idea why you come here if all you want to do is stir.

If you are that lonely why don't you email me and I will come have coffee with you, but please stop with this stupid shit stirring, it isn't interesting in the least.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

The state spends money on such things because it would cost the state more money not to.
Enlightened self interest.

It's a big jump to say that I suggested you be taxed to pay for these programs. It's not what I said. It's these big jumps and your pugnacious style of argument that make this more of a talk radio type "debate" than an actual, usefull exchange of ideas.

Maybe we'll smarten up and just start ignoring you. Probably not. We're pretty hard headed.

and thanks Rebecca. It is very exciting to get these friends back. Something I didn't ever expect.