Friday, March 26, 2010


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, 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’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)