Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I've migrated! New johnnylaird blog

You've arrived at the old johnnylaird blog.

Thanks for coming

Please head to the NEW johnnylaird blog here

mi casa es su casa

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Why do you cry? He has risen

Why do you cry? He has risen

Why are you weeping? He's not dead

Why do you cry? He has risen

Why are you weeping? He's not dead

He paid it all on that lonely highway

And his anointing I can feel. He shed his blood

For my transgressions

And by His stripes we are healed



Music & lyrics by Kirk Franklin

Friday, March 26, 2010

Greenbelt



The Laird crew have pretty much decided that we're going to head off to the Greenbelt festival later this year.

It will be a first for me, and something I've been meaning to do for years now.

Greenbelt have launched a new site today, and made some announcements about the line up.

Wanna come?

HT to Greenbelt for the image

New site from Moot


Nice to see that the lovely people at Moot have given their website a springclean.

Clean lines, tidy aesthetic , pared down and simple.

I like it.

HT to Moot for the image

Ragamuffin Carlos Whittaker coming to UK?



Word is Jesus following Uberblogger and Worship leader, Carlos Whittaker is coming over to the UK during May.

Last night Los tweeted:

Hey UK. Looks like the wife and I will be heading out there for a bit in late May. Let's book some nights of worship!!!

This is good news.

Here’s hoping for a hook-up...

Ragamuffin Soul
More on Los at johnnylaird

HT to Los for the image

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lovely Atheists and Jesus followers


Last year when the UK initiated Atheist Bus Campaign was in full swing I think there was a little spike in the ancient and ongoing debate between Theists and Atheists. The argument often descends into childish or spiteful rhetoric and head honcho, top banana amongst the non Believers, Richard Dawkins is regularly described as “shrill”. I’m sure “shrill” is Dawkins’ middle name!

It can actually become quite boring. If ever you’ve read the comments section in any of The Guardian’s articles on faith you’ll know what I mean.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re getting it all wrong.

I’m sure a much more rewarding and edifying experience would be to bring together some of the less strident, but no less compelling voices...not to debate, not to argue, not to score points, but simply to hang out. You know – eat some food, enjoy a walk in the woods, make sandcastles on the beach, look at the stars...whatever.

In my head, I’ve kinda compiled a short list of Atheists who I think are completely top people – inspirational in their field, interesting and seemingly in love with life.

I’ve come up with a similar list of Jesus followers who have really informed my own way of looking at Scripture and walking the Way of Jesus.

I’d love to bring this bunch of folks together.

I’ve got a funny feeling they’d get along famously

Any thoughts?

Any obvious omissions?

Lovely Atheists

Eddie Izzard
Billy Connolly
Dr Brian Cox

Jesus followers

Desmond Tutu
Rob Bell
Brian McLaren
Erwin McManus

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rob Bell in London with Chapel Street, and Jim Wallis on the way


Kudos has to go out to Chapel Street for hosting an excellent evening with Rob Bell in Westminster, London last night.

For an organisation still in its infancy, the guys at Chapel Street were the hosts with the most!

For the record - and for the naysayers out there - Rob spoke very clearly and principally about Jesus, the Cross and the Resurrection in his “Drops Like Stars” presentation.

Clearly, Chapel Street mean to carry on as they have started as they shared news of the “Social Justice Tour” later in the year, when they bring Jim Wallis to the UK.



I once blogged that Chapel Street were “One to watch”. Perhaps more than ever this is the case.

The amazing story of the ministries of Russ Rook, and those of his friend and cohort Phil Wall is one that deserves to be told more completely and shared more widely. Through Roots, ALOVE, HOPEHIV and now Chapel Street these are a couple of men of God, who have regularly found themselves walking in places where God has been doing his stuff. Clearly there are things to be learned from their experience.

HT to Chapel Steet for the images

Friend of the geek...



One of the ways I describe myself is a “friend of the geek”. It sits in there nicely alongside “Connector, communicator, change agent, blogger & social activist... friend of the geek & radical"

One of the chief geeks I consider myself to be a friend of is Chris Hinton of Geek Speak.

Today he poses the question....” Are online friendships “real”?

I know what I think.

Got any thoughts?

HT to Chris for the image

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Media Day at The Salvation Army Kettering


On Saturday May 8th I’ll be exploring & speaking about how we can use Twitter, blogging & other Social Media stuff in ministry at a media day held The Salvation Army in Kettering, England.

Other folks will be talking about sound engineering, presentation software, the use of video etc, whereas I’ll be concentrating a little more on community, tribes and connections...and stepping outside of the Church bubble.

The organisers are also hoping to arrange a video link up with the guys from the US to talk about MediaShout.

There’s no website per se for the event, but there is a registration place here, if you want to check it out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brian Kelly Photography



I’m quite partial to a beautifully captured image, and you could do a lot worse if you wanted to see some than to check out Brian Kelly’s glorious new website. Not only are the pics themselves wonderful....the site is pretty elegant as well.

Brian first came my notice when I was impressed by some excellent shots he’s taken of Pastor and Author, Ed Dobson for a book and website project called Living Jesusly.

Both Brian and Ed hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan...as does Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church.

All 3 guys are worth checking out

More about Ed on johnnylaird
More about Rob on johnnylaird

HT to Brian for the pic

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Problogger.....then who?



Let’s assume Problogger’s Darren Rowse is your – and most other blogger’s - #1 port of call for blogging tips & inspiration.

If YOU were to choose only ONE OTHER guy to watch, who would it be?

When you make your choice, unpack it a little, and explain WHY?

HT to Darren Rowse for the pic

Stuart Pendred sings....Carol Jarvis and Murray Greig play: Celebration Concert for ANDY GREIG - Bedford - 23rd April


If you read johnnylaird regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been dragging my old carcas around various long distance runs in recent months, at first in aid of my buddy Andy Greig, and now in his honour, as Andy died in November having fought a brave, dignified and inspiring battle against bone cancer.

Another one of my dearest and longest standing friends, the wonderfully talented Stuart Pendred has done so much to push this whole thing of friends trying to help each other along, and has been invited to perform in a Celebration Concert in memory and celebration of our friend Andy, at The Salvation Army in Bedford....somewhere - as kids - Stuart, Andy, me and a whole tight knit gang of kids spent countless happy hours, days, doing the stuff that close friends do. They were magical times that have left me with some amazing memories, and friends I will love forever.

All proceeds from the concert will go towards Andy's Angels - the charity that was set up during Andy's illness.

Stuart spoke, sang and held it together wonderfully at Andy’s funeral.
Another of the musicians who offered their tribute on the day was the amazing Carol Jarvis, regarded as one of the best trombonists in the world. Carol has toured with many of the world's top orchestras and has also performed with Seal and Sting. Her playing is just beautiful. Sublime.

Andy’s cousin Murray Greig will also be featured.

As the Principal Trumpet player for Opera North as well as being Trumpet Tutor for both the Royal Northern College of Music and the famous Chethams Music School, Murray is truly one of the UK's best trumpet players.

Check out Stuart’s site for more details

Spanish getaway



If you and your family fancy a short break in Spain, here’s the skinny...

Some really good friends of mine have a great little place that I’m glad to help them promote, cause it’s a top place and I love ‘em.

It’s stylish, very comfortable and close to the beach.

They’re top folks, who’d be happy to shoot you an email more details on cost, availability and stuff.

If you want to know more, leave me a comment and I’ll hook you up with them.

Disclaimer: This is all straight & genuine, but I do get a little kick back for coffee money should you book through me....just sayin’!


Monday, March 08, 2010

I did it....just!




I managed another 13.1 mile stagger yesterday in memory of my dear friend Andy Greig.

Excellent day - beautifully sunny, but a bit chilly.

So good to hook up with old friends again.

HT to 42Run for the image. More available there.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Forge America




I was stoked to discover today that Forge are kicking off in the US.

Originally an initiative out of Australia, driven in large part by the work of Alan Hirsch and Mike Frost, who get so many mentions on my blog I’m fearful they might think I’m stalking them.

I’m not...really I’m not...I just think that between them they have the best handle on what it means to be missional in the West in the 21st Century, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on what they have to say.

My noodlings about Mission”Al”
My noodlings about Frosty

Forge America describe themselves like this:

Forge is an innovative mission training network that seeks to equip Christian leaders for mission in a first world setting.

Forge recognizes the enormous cultural shifts that have occurred in the world over the last few decades and is committed to developing leaders who can live and serve incarnationally, who have a holistic view of life and mission and who are able to re-think church structures recognizing that one size does not fit all.

Forge encourages the dreamers, entrepreneurs and the risk takers in our churches to boldly seek new expressions of church and new approaches to mission so that we can be genuinely connected to the heartbeat of our communities.

The Forge dream is to see both new missional communities birthed and established churches encouraged refocusing on the task of mission within their communities

Forge has emerged at a time when it is widely agreed that we find ourselves in a new mission context. In our present cultural climate most experienced evangelists and missionaries recognize that intentional mission responses and church planting is the most effective approach. Forge is a bold initiative that specifically addresses these challenges by linking experienced mission practitioners with emerging missional leaders. Forge aims to focus its energy on developing leadership that can understand the missional challenge and proactively develop strategies, approaches and teams, to be able to take the church onto new and uncharted ground.

You may want to check out the forthcoming Forge Missional Imaginations Conference in April, hosted by Wheaton.

Forge’s National US Director is fellow Aussie, Kim Hammond

As a double whammy bonus on this post, here’s a great little interview with Alan conducted by Andrew Marin of Love is An Orientation, and a link to Churchplanters conference where Hirschy gives a great lecture on the whole Missional deal....it’s really worth taking the time with a coffee to listen to this presentation if you want to get some perspective on this missional business (you have to give ‘em your email address)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

“Bring It To Life” Missio Dei



Now, you wouldn’t expect a member of the famously teetotal Sally Army to run a Guinness ad on their blog, but - heck - Ireland won the rugby today, so that’s my excuse!

But it’s not the rugby I want to talk about.

It’s the wonderful ad that’s been running on TV in the UK at the moment, and there’s something about the “Bring It To Life” tagline that is interesting to me.

Guinness have shifted from the “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait” slogan to the a new line of “Bring It To Life”. The ad “World” shows a bunch of guys loosely playing God and creating a world of their own - one that looks a little like LOST on a very bad weather day:

I read that previous ads based on the ‘Good Things...’ slogan were “firmly rooted in the experience of drinking in a pub”. Guinness say their famous brew is also increasingly popular at home and the company were looking to find a way to persuade more people to experience Guinness “wherever they were.”

The Creative director of the ad said this was “based on a product truth which reframes the drink making it more contemporary and relevant to a new audience” (and the way they now consume alcohol.)

The interesting thing to me is that some of the language that could slip very easily into a conversation about faith and Church.

I’m not convinced about the validity of the search for the “contemporary and relevant” in and of itself, but I am stirred by the sheer size and awesome grandeur of this world we live in, and the way it speaks to me of God.

I’m also blown away to think that we can experience God the creator....wherever we are; and that includes in the pub!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Church: Crowd or Community?




Mosaic’s Erwin McManus nails it with this great preach that you can catch – in audio or video* - at the Mosaic Podcast, and calls out his own community. (Who I have massive love for, BTW)

“You have to decide whether you just want this is to be a place where you come to observe or a place where you want to have community and communion”

“I don’t want you to come to Church. I want you to BE the Church”

Strong stuff. Challenging as ever. Great lessons to be learned.

Thanks, Erwin.

One of the Scripture passages quoted in this preach is the wonderful Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


(*This particular message is entitled “A Fresh Start for Mosaic”)

HT to Bluefish TV for the image

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

St Paul's Cathedral - Global Poverty Project Churches Launch

Tonight hundreds of people will gather at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral for the Global Poverty Project Churches Launch.

I’m glad to be among that number to listen, and learn more about this significant initiative.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There’s no ”us and them...”



What a deeply sad clip

Now, strangely enough, I don’t have a problem with guns per se. There are plenty of good folks in the US and beyond who use them sensibly and responsibly in hunting and sports, BUT...and it’s a big but...the easy availability of guns to the criminal world has to be addressed.

I don’t know what the answer is, and I don’t know enough about the culture to really understand it , but it’s certainly troubling that someone like Shane Claiborne is given such short shrift here and it raises all kinds of questions about Empire, Kingdom and nominal Christianity.

I wonder how many of the folks responding to him so vehemently released how well known he is, and how far his influence reaches?

Click for more on Shane Claiborne and The Simple Way

Croydon Churches: Java for Jesus



I’m looking forward to Croydon Churches Forum Leaders Breakfast tomorrow, part of which will be a presentation from the Nationwide Christian Trust where they will outline their vision – described as Living Oasis - for how some of the old Wesley Owen Christian bookstores can be reinvigorated and used for mission and ministry in their local contexts. This nationwide chain of Christian bookstores has recently been victims of the recession and have been in various stages of liquidation and flux in recent months.

Now, it may seem obvious to Christians that there is need for a high street outlet for Christian resources – books, DVDs, music etc, but I’m quite intrigued to hear more about the vision, and what impact such a retail environment would have on the broader community.

A cursory look at the associated NCT and Living Oasis websites seems to show that - aesthetically at least - the initiatives seem to have both feet planted firmly in the realms of “Churchianity”.

Good books about faith are important – so important - and I dearly wish my own ecclesia would read more often. I’m a massive advocate that Jesus followers should be well resourced and well read, yet I think we have to caution ourselves about creating environments that only appeal to people who behave like we do, look like we do, and share our cultural points of reference. Beware the Holy Huddle.

NCT also mention a move from “Maintenance to Mission” on their site.

Again, this is right up my alley, but the thought occurs that we still need to understand and explore – corporately and individually – what is means to follow the Missio Dei. Do we need to create our own Christian coffee shops, or should we be drinking our Java for Jesus in those places – those “third places” that already exist?

It can be done – and done well, though, as shown by church.co.uk’s recent Hub coffee shop review.

Please don’t assume this post is wholly negative. I’m just exploring and sharing my own internal ramblings, and committing them to the blogosphere!

Blogging Bishop of Croydon, Nick Baines will be at the breakfast, so it will be interesting to hear his views.

HT to Pernell Goodyear of The Freeway for the image

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brian McLaren in London



I’m looking forward to catching Brian McLaren speak when he visits church.co.uk in Waterloo this Sunday evening.

Having read a number of Brian’s books, long been inspired by much of what he has written and been hugely impressed by his grace when on the wrong end of criticism, I’m sure it will be great to hear what he has to say, particularly as his new book – A New Kind of Christianity – has just been released.

It’s good that church.co.uk continue to bring such vital voices as Brian to their home community of faith, and we in turn get a chance to hear them first hand. Thanks guys!

As an aside, check out the great review their Hub coffee shop got recently on the Londoner’s Eye website.

Check here for previous mentions of Brian on this blog

Number 9 Football



Yesterday evening (Sunday) my Church – The Salvation Army in Croydon – started a couple of new initiatives.

Initiative # 1

It was great to hear that 26 people turned up to take part in the first “Number 9* Football” event at the Power League venue in the town on Sunday evening. It’s so important to get out there – out of our Church buildings – and just be with people where they are. Team events like football (soccer) are so good for all kinds of different reasons – the opportunity to bond and feel part of something shared as community; the chance to meet and engage with people from different backgrounds. The sheer rush of getting out and doing something that gets the heart pumping.

...nice to hear it was so well supported.

(“Number 9” has clear footballing connotations, but it is also the ”number” of our Salvation Army Church – the ninth in existence, and the first to established outside of the Sally Army’s initial roots in the East End of London in the late 1800s)

Initiative #2

On the same evening, a new Small Group was started, which is always encouraging.

Word is it was a good night, and one of the excellent NOOMA vids was used as a resource. The NOOMA stuff produced by the guys at Flannel is just fabulous for exploring faith, spirituality and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Highly recommended.

HT to Treehugger for the image

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NYCLU vs The Salvation Army



I stumbled across a few interesting, but slightly fuzzy news pieces via Twitter this evening regarding an announcement from the New York Civil Liberties Union regarding The Salvation Army:


The NYCLU’s statement includes this staggering couple of sentences, which I would guess would fill most Salvationists with incredulity.

“Though The Salvation Army is a church, a firewall for years existed between its religious arm and its social service arm. This allowed The Salvation Army to perform its responsibilities as a government-funded social services agency in the New York metropolitan area diligently and without injecting religion into its provision of social services

??

I’m still trying to take the whole issue on board, because sitting here in the UK the story is so imbibed with a US world view and political perspective that I might be missing a trick, but the notion that we as The Salvation Army would be doing the things without Jesus being at the centre....or center...seems to be misunderstanding what we are about.

Would love to hear what you think

There are a few similar ramblings rolling around the same subject:



HT to Rob Noland at Revolution Hawaii for the image

Plywood People



Glad to see that all round top man Duncan McFadzean is part of the Plywood People tribe.

I’ve been a fan of Duncan’s entrepreneurial & socially aware initiatives for several years now as evidenced by the multiple blogposts mentioning his name , so it’s good to see that he’s has a strong connection with the equally inspirational Plywood people.*

Plywood People: An innovative community addressing social needs. We hope to inspire conversation between the privileged and impoverished through communal places, social experiments and awareness campaigns.


*I highly recommend a visit to their site. There’s a whole raft of stuff you may want to get involved in

Hoping for a meet up next week, bud!

HT to Plywood for the image

Bromley Trombone workshop featuring the Black Dyke Trombone Quartet



Although it clashes with a similar event on the same night with my home Church and we are geographically close, I wanted to give the Bromley Trombone workshop featuring the Black Dyke Trombone Quartet a little plug for a few reasons:

• The guys from Bromley are top guys, so merit my support for that reason alone.
• Clearly they’ve tried to engage with their audience by directly emailing all the trombone players they know.
• They’ve gone to the trouble to create a website, FB group, blog and got themselves on Twitter...so are using the tools available to promote the day

Now, if I’m being completely honest, it’s no longer the kind of thing that floats my boat, but you have to give credit where credit is due. They are plugging it as hard as they can, and in a way that may well result in more people attending their Workshop than had they not put the time and effort in.

For that...they have my support.

Hope it goes well, guys!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WIRED: If you liked this....you’ll like this

Hot on the heels of the little post yesterday about Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ Augmented Reality demo (hence If you liked this....you’ll like this) , this news from WIRED Magazine continues to take us into the realms of technology that was the stuff of techno dreams only a few years ago, with this incredible new interactive digital magazine hook up with Adobe. It’s really impressive stuff.

Look out for WIRED Creative Director Scott Dadich's super deep voice though! He may mash up your bass speakers!

WIRED has been one of my favo(u)rite reads for years, and has been referenced a few times before on this blog:

For old stuff, check here

Monday, February 15, 2010

Augmented Reality: This is wild!

Blaise Aguera y Arcas rocks the house at TED with this amazing Augmented Reality demo.

As an added bonus, you should visit the mindwarping “Running the Numbers” images from Chris Jordan on Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ company site, Seadragon.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Edify

This video from The Salvation Army’s Edify program in Oz is just amazing....a great work

Halogen TV: New Social Media Manager

Knightopia’s Steve Knight has announced his new role at Halogen TV. I’m glad he did, because his new gig has introduced me to Halogen, which looks like a great initiative...massively impressive.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

Halogen TV is network devoted to empowering entertainment. Halogen TV’s content, based on the core elements of justice, purpose, connection and beauty, speaks to the core of who people are then encourages and empowers them to realize their potential and leave their mark on the world around them..

Steve was another one of JD Blundell’s 10 Kingdom Bloggers to watch list at the beginning of the year. I snuck in there too!

Congrats on the new gig Steve. Looks like it’s gonna be quite a journey!

Red Letter Days...words of Jesus: New iPhone App from KORE



Today, my good friends at KORE have released a new iPhone app – Red Letter Days - for easy access to the words of Jesus... and nothing else.

The app contains verses from eight different versions of the Bible and is designed for iPhone geeks anywhere as an instant source of inspiration and challenge from the words of Jesus.

The Red Letter name refers to Bibles that are printed with the words of Jesus in red ink to emphasise His words and teaching...something that sometimes gets lost in the wash of religiosity every bit as much as any attacks from strident Atheists.

I love this quote from actor William H Macey

...in this day and age of religious wackos taking over the world I do love quoting Jesus and reading some of the things he said in the Bible. Because it's so disarming, so simple, so true. It cannot be argued with. "Let he who is without sin..." Oh man.


Spread the word!

For more references to KORE on johnnylaird check here

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Commissioner Joe Noland



I once - a couple of years back - flagged Joe Noland as one of the few senior Salvation Army leaders to be actively engaged in blogging.

Two years on, nothing much has changed, but Joe continues to churn out some really thought provoking stuff.

His latest post on uniform wearing (he says he has a love/hate relationship with it) & Salvationism has a real resonance with the way I see things – even though I don’t always feel the necessity to make mention of the liberal and conservative worldviews. As a Brit – even one who almost reluctantly accepts that label – I don’t quite connect with that requirement to show we are bipartisan, or more accurately not aligned to any number of political mindsets as a movement.

Here are a few selected highlights:

Salvationism is a two part word: Salvation + ism. The salvation part is never changing – the same, yesterday, today, forever (The conservative part). Ism, by its proper definition is “a movement” – always changing: “Mobile, fluid, robust, pulsating, progressive, maturing – Genesis in motion.”


In other words, our methodology needs to stay relevant, inclusive and flexible in order to reach the last, the lost and least (The liberal part).
you will find that good, calculated, risk-taking begins to dissipate as mission metamorphosis into institutionalism. Early day Salvationists were risk-takers for the right reasons. Let’s take this primitive concept and make it contemporary, sans the traditional, institutional regulations and regalia. For many that’s too scary (risky) to even think about.


I also like the quote he includes from Commissioner Harry Read:

"Salvationism is an engine-room kind of word, for within its robust, energy-exuding frame pulsates the heart of the Army. Here, the essential beliefs of the Movement, its active, maturing and progressive concepts, its love and service-centred ministries, all reside in a living, quick-to-respond balance for the benefit of mankind."


HT to Joe Noland for the wonderful pic
Follow Joe on Twitter

Synod on religious broadcasting



I’m interested to hear that the Church of England’s Synod will be discussing broadcasting on faith issues today. It looks like the premise is that there’s not enough, and that the BBC (and the other channels?) is in some way marginalizing Christian TV output in the UK.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time – not so much about the amount of time devoted to Christian shows - but rather the quality and content of whatever is presented, and indeed how authentically representative it is of the Christian community in all its breadth and diversity.

Where is the good stuff going to come from?

Can we see some more radical voices?

When you consider too the way Christians are depicted in TV drama, documentary and film, we are left with a fuzzy caricature of reality with few genuine sightings of regular Jesus followers on the box.

It’s largely Dot Cotton, the stuffy English vicar archetype and a bit of Cliff Richard thrown in for good measure.

Here’s hoping today’s discussions throw up some good points.

Salvation Army Tee for Haiti




...loving this fabulous Salvation Army inspired tee from Orlando based designer Hydro74.

The best part is that profits from sale of the product will go to support The Salvation Army's ongoing relief work in Haiti.

Thanks to the guys at WARdrobe for bringing this good lookin' tee to my attention, and HT to Hydro74 for the pic.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hat Tip to theWeir



I’ve been doing a lot...A LOT...of reading blogs about blogging in recent days. There’s some excellent stuff out there, which has been helpful, inspiring and tangibly positive as I move ahead in the journey I’m on at the moment.

(If you don’t know anything about the journey, there’s some stuff here and here, which will at least give some background)

I’m working on a post that will summarize the places that I’ve found personally useful at some point very soon.

That said, it was refreshing that one of the blogs I’m finding myself completely blown away by is Chris Guillebea’s quite brilliant The Art of Non Conformity – Unconventional Strategies for Life Work and Travel.

This is not about blogging per se, but is the more expansive story of Chris’ life as a writer, traveller, and un- conventionalist. There’s so much good stuff that I just have to keep going back.

I have to say a big
Thank you!
to theWeiryeah, I know! I don’t get the name thing yet either - for introducing me to The Art of Non Conformity, as well as reminding me that I really must get round to reading Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents

Hat Tip to theWeir for the image

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Kore

It was really good today to share some time, some coffee and some spectacularly varied choices of cake - beetroot & seed, orange & lavender or prune & armagnac - (Google it. I had to...) with Matt and Juls Hollidge from KORE.

There’s something really inspiring about people that you feel an immediate connection with, so when I first met the guys at Digimission a few months, I knew there was a good deal of common ground.

So, today was an affirmation then of that original inspiration for me, as we were able to explore quite how many points of connection there really were – books read, events attended, many mutual in-the-flesh and online buddies, a passion for mission, a desire for the Church to connect with culture. It was exciting to be in the same space with so many ideas fizzing around.

KORE has a wide portfolio of creative resources and other initiates for Jesus following communities.

I’d suggest you explore the site to see if there are ways they could support you.

Check out Shibboleth:

Following in the tradition of master storytellers, Shibboleth is a series of modern parables for a church tucked up in bed..............................zzzzzzzzzzzzz............


Wild Thing from KORE uk on Vimeo.



Great to hook up, guys!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Missional in 2 minutes

This is not the whole story, and obviously only a two minute snapshot which largely ignores the Biblical roots of missional Church, but I think it’s a reasonable starting point to get a notion of what missional is all about.



If you want to go deeper – and you really have to if you want to really understand the roots and reality of missional Church - go and read some Hirsch and Frost, or check this vid out over a coffee.

Here’s a more expansive explanation from Alan Hirsch

I always try to give an acknowledgment the source of any video I post on here, but I struggled a little to find the precise source. I was kind of in the same quandary at The Well Mission’s Andrew Feil, whose cheeky wee comment made me smile.

...found this on Tim Chester’s Blog, but he got it from the Missional Church Network Website, who found it the twitter feed of Alan Hirsch, who got it from Jeff Maguire’s YouTube...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Charles Lee Double Whammy



I’ve been meaning to give my friend Charles Lee – the brains behind the Ideation and the Idea Camp - a little shout out here for some time now, so knowing he’s the latest featured guest on the wonderful Something Beautiful podcast gives me a reason to do this. It’s bound to be worth a listen.

Charles has also given a really interesting assessment of his recent speaking gig at a Salvation Army’s Boot Camp for Youth Leaders on this recent blog post.

I was stoked with this particular observation:

In addition, it was encouraging to see a diverse movement of people working together to do good in the world. By far, it was one of the most culturally diverse gatherings I had ever been to. Loved it!

...Something Beautiful...

HT to Charles for the image

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sensational Salvationist Soul



Massive...massive...MASSIVE thanks to Eric Himes, who posted this incredible vid featuring Swedish Salvationist Samuel Ljungblahd, on the WARdrobe Facebook Group*.

(*Adding Salvo gear such as tunics, epaulettes, crests, shields, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and hats to supplement your daily wardrobe)

Samuel’s dueting with Gospel legend, Kirk Franklin..or rather with one of Kirk’s singers Nikki Ross, and they just hit it completely out of the park! Awesome R&B tinged gospel.

Delighted, too, to see that Samuel gave the “Salvation Army salute” at the end of his amazing performance: a finger pointed heavenwards to indicate that what he did in performance...was actually an act of Worship to his God.

I was just noodling around in the FB group because I love the imaginative and creative way some folks are mashing up The Salvation Army uniform these days, recalling those early, rootsy days in our movement’s history when the uniform was perhaps an outward sign of the renegade, and less of the bowing to convention or internal culture, so Samuel rocking an old style “stand up” Salvation Army tunic with blue jeans got a mention.

Discovering Samuel Ljungblahd was an immense bonus.

Sartorially, the whole WARdrobe thing reminds me a little of Bill Booth Revial Machine in the 70s.

If you are a Salvationist, you might want to check the group out. I hope it makes you smile.

If you’re not a Sally – just enjoy Samuel’s Sensational Salvationist Soul

You Have To Check It Out!

8BIT



I’m just taking a few moments to give a quick shout out to the guys at new Church hotspot and community at 8BIT.

Here’s what they say:

“The 8BIT Network’s Mission is to resource the Church with timely, relevant, practical, and exceptionally valuable content.”


ChurchCrunch – currently their flagship blog- is a place I’ve been checking out under the radar for a little while, and I like what I see, so I’m excited about this initiative.

One of 8BIT’s head honchos, John Lee Saddington, who blogs at Human3rror, already has a raft of cool looking stuff out there in the cloud, so I’d say we’re going to see some really useful, clean and aesthetically pleasing stuff coming from them.

Sounds good to me…ones to watch!

Hook yourself up with 8BIT via Twitter

HT to 8BIT for the image

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New tools & woodshedding



Having alluded to my plans to initiate
“some kind of increased & enhanced online activity”
in this earlier post about my life in 2010, I thought I’d sneak out a little about where I am with this, outline some of the useful resource sites I’ve been frequenting and explain – in case anyone reading this doesn’t know – what “woodshedding” is.

First up, my good friend JD Blundell was kind enough to make mention of me planning to beef up my online activity on his post “10 Kingdom bloggers to watch in 2010”, which in turn has turned up on Darren Rowse’s influential Problogger site.

New tools – resources I’m exploring:

Wordpress

A migration to Wordpress is looking likely for my new main blog. It seems to be it’s going to give me what I’m looking for aesthetically and in terms of the bells & whistles I'm looking for. Thankfully I’m picking the brains of buddies who have the technical nonce and good design taste to help me pull together a smokin’ new look!

Problogger

Problogger has been a regular landing spot for me these last few weeks, as it’s quite probably the best single resource out there for anyone trying to intelligently explore how to create revenue streams through their blog. What I like about Darren is that he’s not a fast buck, “get rich quick” huckster, but rather someone who seems to operate with an impressive level of integrity.

Recently I’ve read a post by respected online buddy Fernando Gros about “Pure Blogging”, transparency and honesty where he asks the question
“How upfront are we about our reasons for being in this game?”

This is a timely reminder for me in this transitional period for me and my blog.

Will my new site have a commercial element? Yes it will.

Web Worker Daily

Another great site for resources, ideas and inspiration is Web Worker Daily – great for someone who has recently migrated from office to home office. It’s rammed with good stuff

Freelance Advisor

At this point, I’m spending a little less time with this than the other sites, but Freelance Advisor’s local – i.e. UK - perspective is helpful, and I suspect may be increasingly so. There were a couple of podcasts that were interesting light relief during those early days of this journey when the UK was on lock down because of the January snow.

If it floats your boat check out “Making a living without a job” Part 1 and Part 2

Woodshedding

...perhaps a little off topic, but it you ever were a jazz aficionado, you’ll be familiar with the concept of “woodshedding”, that preparatory time when a jazzer takes them self away to the “woodshed” – a place of privacy and seclusion; hones their skills, works on their chops, does the ground work, practices like fury, getting ready to come unleashed themselves to the world.

I doubt any “unleashing” is going to go on, but this is the place I’m at right now. I’m woodshedding.

The first time I heard the term, I think it was in relation to the mighty genius that was Jaco Pastorius.

You may not want to check our any of the sites, podcasts or links I’ve suggested above....but you really do need to check out Jaco. For me, there has been no better bassist.

Never forget....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti: A response from this Salvationist, a response from The Salvation Army

I’m posting this with a slight sense of hesitancy.

I’ve struggled to say anything at all about Haiti. It’s almost too bad, too horrific..beyond my understanding.

To tell the truth, l was pretty angry with God. I simply didn’t - and still don’t - understand why things like this happen.

However, I have been heartened by the World’s response.

The optimist in me hopes that somehow the future will be better than the past has been for my Haitian brothers & sisters who are hurting and grieving so much right now.

It has been inspiring too how my tribe has once again geared up, rolled up their sleeves and found themselves in the front line, trying to serve those so desperately in need.

In all honesty, I don’t much care if you decide to direct any help you can give for Haiti to The Salvation Army – just help any of the great agencies involved - but I’m happy to promote The Salvation Army’s efforts by including a vid in this blogpost.

Haiti Disaster Relief 60 sec PSA from Communications Bureau on Vimeo.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hoot!

I’ve stumbled upon the excellent work of locally based uber photographer Phil Aylen.

The pics are really....really brilliant. Top quality stuff.

Why "Hoot"?

Check out Phil's Twitter handle.

Love it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Beautiful: Pernell



Something Beautiful is always worth a listen. The guys have for a couple of years now been putting together a really excellent podcast every single week which is a fabulous resource...that has become a community.

Right now, the latest showin fact the last two shows – feature a good friend, Pernell Goodyear.

Pernell is one of the key guys at the amazing Freeway community in Hamilton, ON, and has brilliant things to say about Jesus stuff, deep community and missional Church as he shoots the breeze with Thomas on this Something Beautiful double whammy.

Absolutely definitely worth checking out Pernell’s story.

It’s real.

HT to Pernell for the pic

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Forge Vid: Frost, McLaren and Mr Bass

Check out these snippits of stuff from Forge Australia Dangerous Stories 2 National Summit for the emerging missional church from way back in 2007:

Powerful stuff that had slipped under my radar.

TEDx Orenda



It’s a little late, but...just a little catch up on the TEDx event I attended this week in London, compered by leading technology writer Bill Thompson, and with a pre-recorded video introduction by Howard Rheingold, the man credited with coming up with the phrase “virtual communities”.

The speakers & video presentations had been lined up with three headings in mind; Fun, Funding & Functional

FUN

Pat Kane


Talking on the subject of “The Play Manifesto”, and taking his cue from the iPhone cupped in his palm, Pat was cerebral, passionate, engaging, erudite....but ironically enough, not particularly playful. That’s not to say Pat wasn’t dealing with the subject at hand. He was...and with some authority, but it seemed he was pitching a little high, perhaps influenced by the expectation that he was presenting to a room of tech savvy educationalists. My guess would be that the gathered group was perhaps a little more diverse than that, and would have been entirely comfortable with a degree of “fun” and silliness.

However, I’m going to go away and dig into Pat’s website on the subject. He’s clearly got a lot of important and viable things to say about play and technology, so I’m sure it’s worth investigating further.

I’m also going to dig out some of my old Hue and Cry albums. Mother Glasgow will forever remain one of my favourite ballads, and no one does it like the Kane brothers!

The full text of Pat’s talk can be found here.

Hadley Beeman

With a subject of “The Muppets and the Nature of Innovation”, Hadley Beeman explored the universality of those furry creatures, how learning and Human–computer interaction often handled in different ways across the generations and the subsequent tech developments as a result of those studies. The inclusion of the Muppets was at once a clever device for a section headed “fun”, also a tacet acknowledgement that Jim Henson’s Muppet Show alumni and their cousins over at Sesame Street (now 40 years old) have had a massive impact on Western society, particularly that of my generation. I’ve seen mentions already of Barack Obama being the first “Sesame Street President”

Lilly Evans

Next up – via Skype which worked like a dream – Lilly Evans (self described on Twitter as "Late night maven, practical IT geek, telling truth to power, rebel with cause, mother, mother-in-law and wife but teenager at heart") began her “How to let children take part” presentation with a challenge for each of us to find one word to describe ourselves and share with someone sitting close to us in the room. I have to confess, I become so embroiled in the train of thought that question provoked that I largely missed the content Lilly presented. I guess I’ll have to wait for the vids to appear somewhere online to catch up.

James Proud

18 year old (yet looking even younger) entrepreneur and founder of Giglocater was refreshing in his simple, stripped back & straight to the point single slide presentation of “Why school didn’t train me to be an entrepreneur”. James struck me as someone who’d be making his mark whether digital technology was available to him or not. This young gun is a confident and smart cookie, and one to watch in the future.

FUNDING

I’m not sure either Alfie Dennen or Dougald Hind’s slots had much to do with funding. They were both much more inspirational that the dullish “funding” title they found themselves in.

Alfie Dennen

First up, Alfie was able to offer up a raft of creative & sometimes quirky web initiatives he has “given wings” to over the last few years. I can imagine many of these projects were cooked up over late nights bouncing mad ideas around, reaching a conclusion of “wouldn’t it be good if we tried this” or “you, know it might just work”. I like Alfie’s way of thinking. He was more fun than funding!

Dougald Hine

Dougald’s subject of “Engaging the community in meaningful purpose” was the talk that seemed the most natural fit for my word view, and he didn’t disappoint. There was simply so much I could try to recall, that you’d be bombarded with more links and references than you could cope with, so in the interest of getting straight to the source suggest you head here - explore and engage. One thing Dougald did talk about that really resonated with me was his urging that we rethink what shops are for. A lot of shopping now takes place online, so we need to think about how shop spaces will be used in the future. Dougald’s assertion is that “markets” in are as old as human settlement, and are not going away anytime soon as physical places of congregation dialog and exchange. (Perhaps to the some allusions to Ray Oldenburg’s Third Place?)

I would love folks like Something Beautiful’s JD, Thomas and Stewart to have been able to hear Dougald if no-one else at TEDx Orenda . There were so many points of connection that would have been fizzing ‘round the room.

..also kinda reminded me in many ways of the mighty Shane Claiborne. Maybe someone can organize a hook-up?

Check Dougald online for more background.

Sara Haq

Next up was the previously unscheduled yet inspirational Sara Haq came to the stage to talk about her globe spanning journeys exploring creative learning, humanity, social media and shared connections. Good stuff!

FUNCTIONAL

London cabbie Lee Cox talked about the type of learning that is required to acquire “The Knowledge” – the almost mythic and encyclopedic grasp of London’s spidery and organic mess of a road system, as well as giving a useful plug for @tweetalondoncab

Caroline Bosher

Caroline – self styled – “Special Agent on a mission to transform businesses through exceptional branding & connections” seemed somehow a little out of step with the TEDx ethos. There was a small reaction in to the corporate and squarely commercial language in the #TEDx live Tweets.

I missed Maz Nadjim

I had to leave before the end of Caroline’s spiel just to be sure I wouldn’t get delayed as I headed back to deepest Surrey on this first day of being able to safely travel through the snow, so sadly I missed Maz Nadjim.

Another one to catch when the TEDx videos are posted.

...love some feedback from you guys...

Big HT to Digital Maverick for pulling together this excellent evening.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shalom and Shalvah



Today I read these words written by Eugene Peterson, and in the process learnt a new one – shalvah.

...The words shalom and shalvah play on the sounds in Jerusalem, jerushalom, the place of worship.

Shalom, peace, is one of the richest words in the Bible. You can no more define it by looking up its meaning in the dictionary than you can define a person by his social security number. It gathers all aspects of wholeness that result from God's will being completed in us. It is the work of God that, when complete, releases streams of living water in us and pulsates with eternal life. Every time Jesus healed, forgave, or called someone, we have a demonstration of shalom.

And shalvah, security.

It has nothing to do with insurance policies or large bank accounts or stockpiles of weapons.

The root meaning is leisure - the relaxed stance of one who knows that everything is all right because God is over us, with us, and for us in Jesus Christ. It is the security of being at home in a history that has a cross at its centre.

It is the leisure of the person who knows that every moment of our existence is at the disposal of God, lived under the mercy of God.

If I – and Eugene – have understood shalvah correctly, it works for me, and it’s the place I find myself in at the moment.

Shalom and Shalvah!

Book Haul 2010



Now that my luggage has finally arrived – a week and a half since we got back from the US – I’ll be able to dig into my annual book haul.

Here are my new reads:

The Year of Living Like Jesus...by Ed Dobson

First off the bat, I finally managed to get a hold of a book that I’ve been looking forward to since last year, and have mentioned here numerous times: Ed Dobson’s The Year of Living Like Jesus. Already it’s proving to be an inspirational read.

Clearly, for someone who tries to be a Jesus follower, there’s going to be a lot in there to grab the attention, (Ed starts a book with the words
“I don’t like the word Christian”)
but I think it would be a good read for anyone. As you’d expect from a Pastor, Ed is a great story teller, and he conveys the journey through his year with wit and grace. The guy’s got some smarts too! So far, I’m loving it!

HT too to Brian Kelly for the excellent cover shoots. Brian is a quality photographer!

Then, three titles which explore an area that’s really floating my boat at the moment – blogging, social media tools and how they are affecting the world we inhabit.

Crush It! ...by Gary Vaynerchuk

Only today, I discovered that both Steve Knight & Jason Clarke had given Crush It! - which I bought on the basis of a shout out in the Inc magazine I’d picked up along the way – a thumbs up, so check out what Steve & Jason have to say. I respect their opinion.

Socialnomics – How social media transforms the way we live and do business...by Erik Qualman

I picked this up on the basis of a tip off from Krish Kandiah at last year’s Digimission event. I’ve not had the chance to dip into it, yet, but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a goodie. Erik was kind enough to reply directly to a Tweet I sent when I bought the book, so he gets props for that if nothing else.

Viral Loop..by Adam L Penenberg

I’ve skimmed through Viral Loop already, having been drawn in by the cover (I know, I know....you can’t judge a book....), but I did start to wonder if this one was a little behind the beat in terms of the corporate examples it cites, but I’ll hold that in reserve until I’ve read it properly. Penenberg certainly has the credentials, as a Professor at New York University. I’m kinda hoping my reservations will be blown away, but we shall see.

The essential

Obviously, I had to get myself a new Moleskine diary for 2010, and a stash of mags to read – Fast Company, Inc, Trailrunner, and couple of editions of DWELL.

Let’s see how long it takes me to get through this lot.

What are you reading at the beginning of 2010?


Check here for more of my ramblings about books.

Headphonaught’s Pix



I wanted to give a little shout out to my good friend & Something Beautiful Podcast co-host Thomas Mathie AKA Headphonaught, who’s experiencing a bit of overdue success with his photography with being used for album artwork and featuring in a book about Glasgow.

I love it when I see friends’ creativity and enterprise being recognized, and Thomas is one of the most creative and enterprising out there!

Good to see, mate..


HT to the Headphonaught for the image...

Reclaim

Reclaim Promo from Communications Bureau on Vimeo.


Today in Atlanta – and into the weekend - The Salvation Army holds the RECLAIM event.

There’s an outstanding roster of speakers and workshop leaders, including missiologist, author & all round top bloke Alan Hirsch, the wonderful Phyllis Tickle and Pete Rollins, who has recently made the move to the US from Northern Ireland.

Hirshy has had numerous mentions on this blog because of the impact of his writing – together with his buddy Mike Frost – on my understanding of what it means to be a missional – sent – people.

I love it when our tribe reaches out to other wise voices to help inform what it is to re-engage with mission...so important for a movement that sometimes struggles with the balance of it's calling as a radical Jesus following mission movement and the challenges of also being a massive global social service agency.

It’s good too that some of the workshop themes are taking on the hot potato of human sexuality. I’m willing to be knocked down on this, because I haven’t researched the facts on this, but I can’t remember a time when a Salvation Army conference has dealt with it in such a head-on fashion. I’m glad the initiative has been taken.

We’re on a journey.


Wish I was there!

I’m looking forward to hearing how it went...