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’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 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 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 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’ll like this

Hot on the heels of the little post yesterday about Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ Augmented Reality demo (hence If you liked’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


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 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


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...