Fantastic. Such a good way of thinking about the 5th act.
One of the things that I have been realising recently is the immense depth and richness that can be found in some of the age old traditions of the church. It seems that there is a global resurgence (at least amongst Millenials) to reclaim some of these traditions that our parents have rejected. I guess my one caveat is that I write from a predominantly ‘low church’ (e.g., baptist) perspective, since that is all I have really known first hand, so I am happy to be proven wrong by others who have grown up in ‘high church’ circles.
My realisation initially began with my exploration into theology, particularly reading some of the writings of the early church fathers. However, my latest exploration has been into the practice of Lent.
For me, Lent used to be something that ‘catholics’ did, and (ashamedly) I thought it was to do with a warped understanding of penance and grace. However, the more I reflected on my own baptist ecclesiology, the more I realised that I was getting more and more frustrated with the ‘candy floss’ that church had become. I totally believe we have traded the depth, mystery and richness of the traditions for a clinical, cold, and shallow version of church. Baptism and The Eucharist becomes ‘merely a symbol,’ our songs are all about ourselves and generally are musically the equivalent of pop songs. The preaching is often about changing behaviour, or how to be a better christian.
So, to me, Lent seemed like a great place to start to reclaim some of the depth that exists in the great christian tradition.
Okay, so why alcohol?
I decided to give up alcohol for the period of Lent for a few reasons. Part of the thinking behind Lent is to give up something that you enjoy, and something that you can legitimately go without. This then highlights to you (during Lent) the place that this has in your life. Do you miss it? Do you crave it?
For me, I enjoy alcohol – not the ‘boozer’ type of enjoyment, but I actually legitimately enjoy the fine craft behind a good wine, a craft beer, or a single malt whiskey. I enjoy the flavours and matching various drinks to various foods, tastes, and occasions. However, I also wanted to “make sure” that I could go without it.
This seemed like a great thing to give up. Not only would I be conducting a mini-experiment on myself, but I also firmly believed that the process would deepen my relationship with God.
So, how has it been?
I am now almost a month into Lent and I can definitively say that it has been fine. I have gone to bars, restaurants, had dinner parties with friends, and maintained my normal rhythm and routine of life – that is to say, I haven’t shyed away from places and events where alcohol is normall consumed. I have been content with my Lemon Lime and Bitters.
There have also been times when I have definitely felt like a cold craft beer – especially after a long week at the office, or spending a few hours in the sea. And a few fantastic meals I have had recently haven’t been quite as fantastic without the glass of wine to match. However, I have totally enjoyed the process. It has made me appreciate the ‘luxury’ of having alcohol, it has made me really think about why I like alcohol, it has also brought me closer to God – because in those moments when I really feel like a beer, I remember why I am doing this and the immensely rich tradition that stands behind it.
Ben Harper is definitely one of my heroes. I am working on owning everything he has ever made (i’m nearly there!). I find him totally authentic, but at the same time musically pleasing. His music style is true to who he is, but ready to experiment, to grow, to evolve. His lyrics are profound – both in the content but also the context – that is, the way he structures the sentences. I think the combination of the profound lyrics and the moving melodies, plus the things that Ben stands for make him one of my heroes.
I hope you enjoy his latest song
An Epic Tale
Does this video ring true with you? I know that when I first saw this DVD series, I was quite captivated by the concept. Life as a story? It sounded intriguing, and yet, remarkably simple at the same time. In fact it wasn’t really a big stretch to think about my life as a story. And, the more that I explored this idea, I found that 1) quite a number of other people were discussing and talking about it, and 2) it actually wasn’t a ‘new idea.’ However what really captivated my imagination was the fact that Eldredge, but also others like him, were talking about The Bible as A Story – a single, large Epic. A story that has spanned (and outlasted) thousands of years, thousands of governments, political structures, revolutions. A story that still marches onwards to an absolutely magnificent end, undeterred by the twists and turns of history. Since I grew up in Sunday school, I was very aware that the Bible contained lots of stories, but I had never really thought about the whole thing, from beginning to end, as being a continuous story. In fact, when I really thought about it hard, I wasn’t even sure that I could place the biblical events in order. I knew of the stories, and the supposed ‘lesson,’ but they were discrete units that really didn’t join together in any meaningful way for me. And so, like much of christendom I think, I (by default) viewed the Bible as a random collection of events, stories, and morals.
Just a tool?
It was about this time as well that I took a ‘Christology’ paper at Carey Baptist College. What really blew my mind in this paper was the anemic and watered down version of Christ that I had somehow acquired over my life. I suddenly realised that there was a much bigger story at work even in the life of Christ. Unfortunately, my understanding of Christ was actually purely instrumental. I realised that in my version of Christ’s story, I had lost the first three chapters and the last chapter – and so the story didn’t really make any sense anymore. In this corrupted version of the Christ story, I saw Christ as merely a means to an end – an instrument – sent only to die, to fix Adam’s mistake thousands of years earlier. However the more I studied Christ’s life, and the more I thought about how this fits as a big story, I realised that there was indeed a MUCH bigger story at work. I even drew this diagram to explain it:
At the same time that all of this was going on, I was becomingly increasingly frustrated with the way ‘Church’ continues to be done in Western countries. Unfortunately, it seems that the Church has really sold out to the dominant story of consumerism in the west, and now, Churches are producers and dispensers of religious goods and services.
It didn’t take long for me to put 1+1 together and realise that the way we had been viewing Christ, the way we had been using and reading scripture (as a treasure trove ready to be mined of ‘objective truths,’ rather than as a narrative), created a church that had lost its sense of the big story and it’s place in it.
A much bigger story
The exciting thing for me was actually two-fold. You see, I had come to realise that the church was (unwittingly?) making me the highpoint in the story – it came down to my personal relationship with God, it came down to my behaviours, it was about how I lived my life in the world or in the workplace. I needed to find God’s will for my life, and avoid the world and it’s dirtiness. However, when I started to think about history as a narrative that God is directing – I suddenly realised it’s not about me!
God has been at work in history since it’s inception, moving history along to it’s divinely appointed end, the culmination of the plan that was started in Genesis 1:1 – not a return to Eden, but something even greater. When the New Jerusalem will be present on this earth, and Christ, the man, the first fruits, the ultimate human will rule from Jerusalem. What is more, what I do now, counts – because I am participating with God’s work, I am going along for the ride.
The more I listen to my generation (the Millennials), the more I realise that all we really want is to have a sense of purpose. We have seen our parents (and our grandparents) slog their guts out 9-5, 5 days a week, 49-50 weeks of the year, for 40-50 years, many of them hating it the whole time. Millennials look at that and say “Why do something you don’t love?” We want to believe in what we do – so much so that volunteerism is at an all time high amongst Millennials. We want to belong to something, something we can believe in, something that gives our lives purpose because it is bigger than us. Something that is the same size as you doesn’t really give you a deep sense of purpose – because, let’s face it, you came up with the idea and you could stop it at any point. Things that provide meaning and purpose need to go on without us, and despite us.
This is where I think the church has really been missing the boat. We have watered down the grand story of God’s actions throughout history, and the imagination gripping tale of his mission and his unrelentless love towards humanity into “a random collection of stories, morals, and good advice.” We have made Christ into a placid whipping boy ‘who died for the sins of the world’ and then fades from view. We have made the Bible about us, and we have made the church into a dispenser of religious goods and services. No wonder Millennials are leaving the church in droves. Give us something bigger than ourselves to belong to, to devote our lives to, to believe in. Give us something that resembles a movement, not an institution that stubbornly continues to indoctrinate people with dualism. Give us authenticity.
Until then, you will find us partnering with God elsewhere – in the movements that are actually making a difference in this world.
“The biggest challenge we are going to face is a generation, who have spent their entire lives building something, letting go and allowing [Millennials] to come in and change it”
- Sam Johnson, Young New Zealander of the Year 2011
via Ethical Ocean – eco friendly products, fair trade and vegan shopping.
During the ferry trip there, we came across a pod of dolphins – there must have been around 20 to 30 of them – and they were very keen to play with the boat! It was an awesome sight – although pretty hard to get on camera, they move so quick.
Tiri totally delivered! We signed up for a guided tour with a very knowledgable guide, Derek, who took us on a 2.5 hour exploration of the island, pointing out the flora and the fauna. I was most impressed with Dereks level of knowledge regarding not just bird song but also their taxonomy, and ecological specifics. In addition, Derek was also very knowledgeable on the plant life – what species and family they were from, their “siblings” and “cousins”, and their characteristics. Not bad for a volunteer!
After our guided tour, we decided to do some further exploring ourselves. We headed round to the north eastern side of the island, where we saw some impressive cliffs and land formations, as well as a whole swarm of Tui! Not a normal sight, even for someone like me who grew up in the NZ bush.
We were at Tiri for about 5 hours. There was still plenty (perhaps even the majority of the island, actually) we didn’t explore, but the guided tour was quite slow – not a complaint though! We learnt so much from Derek. Next time though, we will probably go for an explore by ourselves instead of taking the tour. You can also stay the night at Tiri, in the “bunk house” – which would be a pretty awesome experience.
Anyway, I have added some of my photos here – nothing fantastic in terms of my camera work – but hopefully it gives you a sense of some of what Tiri has to offer!
UPDATE: It seems the icons didn’t come across :/ I will work on getting these posted soon. In the meantime, here’s a PDF version
So, I have been an avid iPhone user for about 1 year now. I have amassed quite a collection of apps, and given many a test drive only to delete them. The following is my list of ones that I recommend (as of August 2011!).
Apps I recommend:
Ok, so after months of frustration, I am still no closer to solving this issue.
Here’s the back story:
As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I am currently working on a project called “2ndcity”. Part of my role was to create the website. This worked well, until the site grew to a point where we made the call to shift to a (wordpress) multisite install. The reason for this was because we had three very separate target audiences for our product, and we wanted to customise each site towards each particular audience.
So, I made the transition to:
[ROOT SITE] – http://2ndcity.co.nz
[USERS SITE] – http://2ndcity.co.nz/users
[PARENTS SITE] – http://2ndcity.co.nz/parents
[CHURCHES SITE] – http://2ndcity.co.nz/churches
The transition went well, after following some helpful tutorials both on the wordpress codex and on some other blogs. My trouble started when I began to add ‘featured images’ to my posts on any of the sub-folder sites. The image would load, but then as soon as the page finished loading, the image would ‘break’.
I soon realised that this was a Google Chrome only issue, as it was not occurring in any other browser. I also realised that I was not alone, and many other people were having some version of this issue.
So, after months of detective work, I am closer, but the actual issue is not solved. Here is what I have deduced so far:
- This is not a TimThumb.php issue, since this is also happening to any image that I upload.
- If I reduce the image size (say to 150×150) then on some sites, it works (and the images persist). On others, some images persist, some disappear, and on others none persist.
- The image is definitely “there”, since opening the broken image icon in a new tab reveals the image, as well as the fact that it appears in other browsers.
- The file type makes no difference
- The image file size makes no difference
- Clearing the cache makes no difference
- Removing “content-length’ from the headers makes no difference.
- I don’t believe that this is a htaccess error, as all permalinks are working, the images are there, and, once again, it works in all other browsers.
- I have disabled CSS and JS, and it makes no difference
- The google chrome inspector says “failed to load resource”
The reason I love this app is it does one thing, and one thing well.
“Today” allows you to add the tasks you need to do TODAY. a brilliant
UI, and a very clever UX. tilt the device portrait to view tasks, tilt
the device landscape to add tasks.