Volume 9 Number 3

Great warnings to bloggers and blogophiles alike can be found at Bernard and Katie Cane's blog:

A Reflexive Post: On Blogging your reflections

Also check out Katie's thoughtful post on being a Bible College student's wife:

'The Wife'

Volume 9 Number 2

Quote from a friend:

"I am listening to a serious, but often funny, program right now on radio national about how christinatiy has become a dirty word. The show profiles various people - authors, priests, everyday christians - who discuss the often extreme reactions people have in the wider secular world when they mention their faith. It's about the blemishing of language, the 'polluted stream of language' and the baggage that gets attached to these concepts, "god" being a dirty word etc. Anyway, this one woman has started a thing called the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity which has been developed in contrast to institutional christianity. She considers herself to be an active and proud christian and i think she works as a priest or something like that. But occassionally she will be in a social situation where she is meeting new people but she doesn't want to have to deal with the shock and repulsion that a lot of people have when she mentions that she works for jesus. SO instead she often tells them that she is employed as a public relations consultant for a middle eastern organisation."

Retrospective: Volume 1 Number 1

From 1st December 2003:
1. Don’t forget about cold-contact evangelism. It doesn’t seem to work but it is so good for getting to the gospel, taking risks for the gospel, getting to know people who are outside the church. It’s also a great way to bond with Christians, cause you then feel like you’ve been in ‘Nam together.

2. If you ask people to read out a passage for you during a sermon, make sure you thank them before you carry on blasting away (Nikki rebuked me for not doing this!

3. If you won’t to have some input in people in your church’s life but have no idea what to “do” with them to stretch them in some way, get them to do sermon reviews. This is great: the preacher benefits, they listen carefully, they have a say in how teaching is done, they learn a little of how to preach and its easy to organise.

In Presidential election debates (so someone told me) you can tell who is the more insecure speaker by the way he modulates his voice to follow the patterns and rhythms of the more secure speaker…. Does this have any relevance to anything? I dunno.

5. If you are invited to speak or lead at a camp or church as a visitor try the following:

  • Set “ministry of the pew” goals: eg, I will speak to 3 people and one of those I will aim to have a spiritual conversation with
  • Look out for people to have long-distance ministry to: maybe I could put someone on my newly born “christian reflections” mail out?
  • Look out for someone to give something to: e.g. at the end of the conversation say, I have a great book on that topic, give me your address, I’ll buy and send you a copy…
6. In this book “Christ our righteousness” by M Seifrid he deals with James 2 – works and faith. He says that the difference between what James says and Roman Catholicism is this: Roman Catholicism says faith makes you a bit righteous and works adds the rest. James doesn’t say works adds a little. He says works adds the lot: we are justified by works alone. That is, from the perspective of conversion, we are justified only by faith in Christ and made 100% righteous; while from the perspective of the second coming we are justified only by works that have been produced by that faith and by the spirit of Christ working through us which will make us able to stand on the last day 100%. Sound alright?

Volume 9 Number 1

1. I sat under a great sermon last week. It has motivated me again to work hard at preaching. When you are reminded of how powerful and encouraging and rebuking listening to preaching is, it motivates you again to work hard at preaching.

2. So I hae gone back to one of my favourite books on preaching: expositional preaching by Haddon Robinson. Should I call my next child Haddon (regardless of gender)?

3. Haddon reminded again of the big thing: the Scriptures must govern my sermon. My sermons shouldn't just be biblical or jumping off a Bible.

4. Haddon urged me to try to find the big idea with crispness and clarity. A big idea is a subject (What I'm talking about) and the complement(s) (What I'm saying about what I'm talking about).

5. On top of that I should know what functional question I'm answering: is it a truth question? A relevance question? A practicality question?

Volume 8 Number 7

1. A thought came to my while I was attending a 'Ten Days on the Island' forum thingo. I looked around and saw that the room was 'filled' with middle-aged arty women. And I thought:

'I wonder how well the church is going at reaching this group'

And then I tried to do some (no doubt flawed) assessment of how this audience would respond to the average church: male leadership, famiy focused, not very high brow...

And I thought that you would need a sort of specialist women-minsitry to reach them.

And I thought: It's hard to balance the rightness of building and healthy biblical model of Christian community, and yet also encouraging the church to have a form that is accessible for outsiders, whose cultural structures are vastly different.

And I thought of the teenager emo's who were turning up for the next forum, no doubt because they were on an excursion with their art class. And I thought: yet again, the form of community they are used to is the absolute opposite of Sunday morning church with lots of kids and mums and old people.

On the one hand, the countercultural nature of the church community is ultimately appealing, that's true. But in the first place? I wonder...

2. At the church planting conference that I have referred to in previous posts, Martin Robinson talked about how to church plant in regional areas. He suggested that perhaps 'cluster planting' was a good option, so that from the word go, you have a network of churches that can support one another.

This is an interesting idea. I wonder what other contexts might suit this strategy?

Reflecting on Reflections

1. Is it working? Are people reading it? How many? How do you download those 'hit counters' to tell?
2. Is it worth the time? Should I give more time to it?
3. Is the text too small? Is the blogger template ugly? How do I change it?
4. Does it still serve its original function? When Xn Reflections started in 2003 as an email, I did it:

  • to keep contact with people I don't see so often and share some of my thoughts about theology and ministry
  • give another type of input to those Christians I see everyday
  • have a way to record those random reflections that come to you that you don't know where else to file them
5. How many people have I lost now that it's not an email? Do less internet savvy people just see the hypertext in my occasional reminder emails and swoon?
6. How many people I don't know read this?
7. Would I get more hits if I wrote about my internet girlfriend? (blogger in-joke referring to this blog)
8. Should I do something else with the material that goes up here?
9. Should be active in getting more of the local church crew reading it?
10. Did the guy who left a comment and recommended I visit his casino site *really* like Xn Reflections, or was it just spam?