This blog has moved

I'm now being hosted by The Geneva Push.

The RSS feed is:

Why've I moved?

  1. I think it's good for Geneva to have a really human element.
  2. I think hosting a personal blog is a great way for us to support grass-roots media, rather than just the church whose pastor has a blog on the site that he never really updates!
  3. I hope it might draw a different type of person to the Geneva site.
  4. The media guy for Geneva was asking me (as the 'young techie guy' on the committee :-P ) to write more 'filter the web' articles for the site anyway. I felt that I it'd be dumb to double up on what Christian Relfections is already doing... and that the people who'd be interested in that kind of content would already be subscribed to Christian Reflections.
But don't worry, it's still my blog, it doesn't belong to The Man, now.

In fact, Geneva is an important part of my life and ministry. I think Geneva is a very exciting, relevant, important thing for me, my peers, and those who will go into ministry after me. So if you like getting to know 'Mikey' through Christian Reflections, you'll know that Geneva is a part of who Mikey is.

Hope this helps you understand the move a little better and looking forward to seeing you over at the new site.

Christian Reflections has moved

I'll now be hosted by the Geneva Push site - see you there!

A Tour of Hunter Church's Uni Package

A good program and a fun extended meatphor - different programs = different tickets.

It's important, isn't it, to provide a range of ways for someone to become a part of a new group, find their place, meet people. I think we need to keep thinking how well we do this, as a church and as campus ministries.

What integration events, programs, camps and ideas does your church use regularly? What works best?

Grumpy about Avatar

Seems like when I hear Tasmanian Christians get grumpy about Avatar, it's cause it's too blockbuster, and cliched and simply CG eye-candy.

Seems like all the noise I've heard on the net from American Christians getting grumpy about Avatar (like Driscoll and Southern Baptist Seminary) it's more because it's about nature worship and anti-capitalism.

So there's some truth to both. Although I reckon the Tassie Christians are being a little snobby and the American Christians are being a lot reactionary (I'm aware of the fact that comparing a State of 500 000 and a country of 300 million is ridiculous, btw).

I reckon you'd have to be a bit silly to think anyone will be moved and influenced deeply by Avatar's anti-capitalist message and even sillier to think Avatar is a powerful advertisement for animism. In reality, these things are merely the background presuppositions that give the film some thin semblance of a narrative. It's not really about either thing, as far as I'm concerned.

In my mind, the film is a documentary. And a beautiful portrayal of a wonderful, fantastic world. As a celebration of human imagination and a display of our deep longing for paradise, it's a huge success. As a vehicle for animistic or primitivist ideology its ordinary and definitely not something for Christians to get too worried about.

What we hunger for in suffering

Fi tries to nail down some of the things we are longing to know while we suffer:

  • there was some good reason for my trouble. Even if I've been wronged, I want to know that there is a bigger picture that brings sense to all this, that there is some good reaching over it all. I want to know that my suffering didn't just come from randomness, negligence or cruelty.

  • something good will come of my suffering. I don't want to go through all the pain and it be for nothing.

  • it won't always be like this. I want to know that, one day, it will be well, and it will be good.

It's a good list. There's real value, I think in prising things apart so we can see what's going on in our experience. Sometimes our 'sicknesses of the soul' can be better treated once they are carefully diagnosed.

Needless to say, preachers need to work hard at this.

Positive relationship with the university

One of our values for student committee members is: "We are not a parasite, we are dilligent in our studies and involvement in the University community"

I'm always on the lookout for ways to help students and graduates integrate their faith and studies.

Here's a post from Scott McKnight which speaks at length about these issues: Missional Campus Ministry.

His charter for campus ministry is that we help students:

"1. Come to faith. This is rather obvious, without a commitment to the gospel there is no faith to defend. Campus ministries must be concerned with presenting the gospel and living the gospel.

2. Understand the faith. This really means understanding the essence of the faith and developing an ability to separate the essential from the peripheral. It also requires a background that places the faith within historic Christian thinking. What is, to borrow an illustration from Keith Drury, written in pencil, what is written in ink, and what is written in blood. This provides the breathing room to actually engage and eventually integrate. (Read his story and use it to start a conversation. I've found it a powerful tool.)

3. Own the faith. Move past a faith that is defined by boundaries and propositions to a faith that is believed and owned. Understand what is meant by the core Christian doctrines and why they are important. This is an ongoing process.

4. Integrate the faith. A faith that is possessed, understood, and owned (or at least where progress in being made on understanding and owning) is capable of integration and defense."

Andrew Heard on baptism

Sam Hilton linked to this article months ago and I have been meaning to link to it ever since.

There's some really good comments here to help infant and believer-baptism people understand one another, and admit the weaknesses of their own view:

I think it is important to note from the start that both sides of this debate are faced with very few NT statements that support one view or the other.
Believer's baptists might find it an extraordinary thing to lump them in with infant baptists at this point. Baptists make much of the fact that infant baptism is not commanded anywhere in Scripture and so is apparently lacking in any biblical support. It is certainly true that there is no command to baptise infants but the point that needs to be strongly
stated on the other side is that it is equally true that there is not one single NT verse that says we are to wait for the infants of believers to reach a certain age before baptising them. Not one.
It may be said in reply that there are many statements concerning baptism that strongly imply we ought to wait until a child reaches adulthood before baptising. Perhaps so, but it must be acknowledge that these statements at best may only 'imply' such a practice and don't actually command it. Therefore they need to be applied with caution. This is especially so because of the context they are given in.
Consider a very popular starting point in the debate, the words of Peter at Pentecost. "Repent and be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 2:38)... His context is the missionary situation surrounded by Jewish adults who had yet to make a first response to Christ. It goes beyond his intent and his focus to insist that he was here deliberately laying down a principle that must be applied to a completely new situation – the situation of what to do with children born to those who have responded to the gospel....

The fact is, there is no scripture that says we are to wait until the infants of believers get to a certain age before we baptise them, not one scripture at all. If we insist on only baptising children when they reach a certain age we do it without any explicit and direct statement from the Bible on it. The same of course can be said with the baptism of
infants. There is no direct statement that says we are to baptise infants. My point is simply this - the Scriptures are silent both ways. Any practice we develop therefore will necessarily be based on principles drawn from texts written for other situations. We are wise therefore to apply them and hold them with humility.
I believe far better relationships between godly Baptists and godly infant baptists would be encouraged if everyone were to acknowledge this simple point.

I'm a cautious advocate of infant baptism for these kinds of reasons. It seems arbitrary to delay baptism until later, it seems misleading to somehow think of kids born to Christians as not part of the church in some sense, it seems important to acknowledge that their rejection of the gospel is different to the rejection of someone hearing it for the first time as an adult...

Slightly different note (and making for a slightly longer post): This article is one example of why I reckon Andrew Heard is such a great asset to The Geneva Push. The guy is very sharp and theologically insightful. He's not just a surfy guy with a big church (although it's sad that we love listening to Americans tell us about their big churches, but get a little annoyed when Australians start doing it!). Andrew is able to provide a strong and deep theological mind for the Geneva network, which is a major bonus, I reckon.

7:30am student committee meetings

Coco Pops.

Youth Ministry Stereotype

Pretty funny. H/T Dave Miers on this one.

I liked the 'always someone breakng their arm, did you really tell them to pull the fire alarm?' and the bit about the messy car and the house smelling like feet. Lol.

Prolly some overlap between youth workers and uni evangelists so I need to listen up a little, I guess. I am working pretty hard to brand and plan the uni mission in a deliberately 'we're not a youth group' way. But still.

Some advice on piracy

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I feel uncomfortable about a neat and simple distinction between piracy and theft. I don't think it should be assumed that copyright law is always correct in its understanding of theft.

Here's some advice on the topic on AFES' webSalt.

There's some good advice here, but it draws the link to tightly and also only recommend cheap ways of buying Microsoft software, rather than recommending open source stuff.