Saturday, January 26, 2008

Today's blogroll re-jig has been brought to you by the letter J

A re-jig of the johnnylaird blogroll is due, and by happy accident three of the new additions are Jason, Jake and Jonathan.

Each of the 3 listed guys are friends of friends, and all have interesting things to say about life, faith, community and all kinds of other good stuff. They are definitely worth checking out, and if you do, tell them I sent ya!

I've also been returning to Backyard Missionary a lot lately, whichI discovered quite by accident, when blogsearching smallboatbigsea. This is edgy and challenging stuff - pulling no punches, I guess in the way you would expect from a blog coming out of Oz. Anyhow, Backyard Missionary goes on the 'roll.

...hope anyone reading this, who bounces over to these guys finds their blogs as stimulating as I do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wes Little: Bill Booth Revival Machine

In November, my buddy Matt blogged very movingly about the news he had just received, saying his Dad, Wes, had about 2 years left to live – the specialists' estimation based on Wes’ cancer diagnosis.

In early January ‘08 – less than 2 months later, Wes passed away, or as we say in The Salvation Army, was Promoted to Glory.

Wes was a wonderfully kind Christian man…funny, and generous.

By way of tribute, an album recorded by Bill Booth Revival Machine – the rock band Wes played in in the 70s - is now available for download here. Check it out.

BBRM were a great little band, and I’m old enough to remember going to their last ever gig (I believe)

Thanks, Wes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Michael Frost coming to UK

Some random Googling led me to discover that Michael Frost, author of one of my most challenging reads of 2007, Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture, is coming to the UK in Oct '08 for a speaking tour.

I haven't checked my diary yet, but if I'm free I'll try and make the London date.

I've posted about Mike here and here before.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bank as “Third Place”

Gotta give a shout out to Fast Company for alerting me to US West Coast regional bank, Umpqua, who seem to have built a lot of their business on the strength of very innovative marketing. (I guess amongst a bunch of other good stuff – it can’t all be the environment & the pretty graphics!)

Check out the Umpqua Innovation Lab. It’s like Star Trek!

Umpqua appear to have jumped enthusiastically into the Third Place idea, which also drives businesses like Starbucks and the whole slew of coffeehouses – small and large – that populate the street corners of much of the Western world. It reminds me again how important community is to people, and how ministries like The Freeway and Q CafĂ© really get that concept.

We are wired to be together – share life, spend time….and just hang out.

HT to South Waterfront , Portland, Oregon for the pic

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


There aren't many TV shows that will grab my attention so much that I'll make a point of sitting down and watching beginning to end, but there's something about Grand Designs that I really love.

Tonight a new series started it was one of those classics where everything looked like it was going to fail almost from the off, but the final end product was a triumph.

Catch it if you can...

In the corner

I’m starting to really appreciate the value of new(ish) tools that allow me to keep in touch with friends and family who live outside of the UK.

At the weekend, we went to the 6th birthday party of one of my daughter Mia’s best friends, and for most of the time we were there, the PC in the corner was hooked up to Skype so our buddies Lard & Becks, Taff and Nicky (each couple have recently moved to the States PA and FLA)could “join in” the party.

Gotta keep in touch one way or the other! We miss you guys.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Condiment Czar

I’ve always been a big fan of a nice sauce, and towards the end of last year I rediscovered one of the joys of my youth, namely a Sunday Roast – chicken usually – accompanied by a generous helping of HP Sauce, that peculiarly British condiment that can bring any meal to life. Although some would consider it almost vulgar to add such a thing to the traditional Sunday Roast, for me it adds a whole new dimension.

Although HP is imperious, I’m also partial to mustards from the Maille stable, (check out the site!) as well as the wonderful Hollandaise Sauce for Eggs Benedict.

My love of a good condiment prompted my brother-in-law to dub me the Condiment Czar, a title I am delighted to accept!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Walk On

My new blogging buddy, Jonathan Blundell was prompted by my comments against this post to ask some questions about the Walking Fellowship* at Croydon Citadel Salvation Army.

Jonathan asked

(…is the Walking Fellowship)
….Just "walk around the park" or is it more of a specific prayer walk. Is this something typical of other SA's or something your group is doing?

I had replied
The Walking Fellowship walk together in the countryside, and the individuals hang out & talk with other people from the Church who may not always get the chance to spend any good quality time with. Usually they will end up at someone's house after about an hour to an hour an a half walking. They drink coffee, eat cake, share some Scripture & prayer.

There's no particular prayer walking with this group, but we have others who do.

….but forgot to respond to Jonathan’s question about whether it was a typical SA initiative.

In response to that, no – it’s not especially typical.(but then again what is?) I guess the thing about The Salvation Army - in the UK and globally – is no longer a homogenous one-size-fits all denomination in terms of method, but rather it is a very diverse Church, where all kinds of different expressions of service & ministry sit along side each other.

The Salvation Army is ALOVE
The Salvation Army is The Freeway
The Salvation Army is Roots
The Salvation Army is Revolution Hawaii
The Salvation Army is 614 Network
The Salvation Army is The Singing Company
The Salvation Army is 2Love

(As an aside, I had always felt a bit strange about the work “fellowship”…it always seemed so “Churchy”, and had all but disappeared from regular folks’ language. I guess maybe Lord of the Rings may have reclaimed it a little, and brought it back into common parlance… )

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It’s always good to meet and eat!

I’m looking forward to this weekend when we kick off our Home Group for 2008.

We’re going to use a NOOMA DVD each month, to hang some thoughts on, and I’m going to investigate Steve Chalke’s Intelligent Church DVD as another resource. I thought the book was great, so hopefully we can get some useful stuff from the vid.

No doubt, we’ll get hit with a few surprising curveballs as the year progresses, but we will start to work with a couple of other books as we journey together: Brian McLaren’sThe Secret Message of Jesus”, and NT Wright’s Simply Christian

Monday, January 07, 2008

Danielle's Spiritual Inventory for the religious...

I've lifted this straight from Danielle Strickland's excellent ArmyBarmy Remix blog.

Danielle had mentioned that she knew of some people who use a few spiritual inventory questions to keep themselves in check. In what she describes as "the spirit of authentic discipleship" Danielle proposes some questions for consideration:

Are you friends with someone who is not a Christian?

Do you have friends in low places?

Are you aware today that there is nothing you can do to save yourself from sin? And how have you tried to produce your own righteousness?

Have you embraced a culture that is totally different from your own? If so, how?

Do you forgive freely?

Have you lavished resources on hospitality and fun recently? How did you feel?

Is there ‘dirt’ under your fingernails? Have you done something that required ‘work’?

Have you given something precious away –freely and without regret?

Have you gone swimming at the beach and rolled in the sand?

How often do you read a good secular book?
Have you ever sat in a bar and conversed with the occupants?
Do you protect the reputation of colleagues when they are criticized?
Do you own a hiphop CD?

and many more... the key is trying to live a Kingdom life - not just a religious one. The difference?

life that grows - not diminishes

life that is full - not empty

life that is abandoned - not restricted

life that is alive - not dead

This certainly challenged me...