Modern Day Saints: 3 (Shirley Osbourne of Melbourne)

by John Jensen on 28 July 2011 with comments

Shirley Osbourne is one of my heroes. We met her in Melbourne while she was speaking at a FORGE intensive training session, on spirituality. We immediately realized we would be friends. She is everything I like about a missionary, loving, down to earth, grass roots, strong, courageous and above all… bat shit crazy. She now pastors a church in Melbourne that ministers to a number of needy people from the housing commission flats. She works alongside a number of aids organizations. And is tirelessly working to support her friends, the forgotten poor and marginalized of Melbourne’s inner city.

Shirley one day realized a number of homeless, disenfranchised kids that gathered on the steps of Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station. She did a most logical thing, being a young wife and mother, she started bringing them home to live with her. Starting a ministry called SOS, Steps Outreach Services has over the past 19 years provided shelter for over 300 young people often in her own family home.

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Modern Day Saints: 2 (Ray Barbee)

by John Jensen on 24 July 2011 with comments

Watch this guy skate!!! He revolutionized skating. Before Ray, there were lots of guys that did amazing tricks. Gnarly guys like Duane Peters and Tony Alva that rode like they were fighting with the pool or ramp. Smooth gymnast like guys who do amazing acrobatic stunts like Tony Hawk and Mike McGill. You had the insane weird street stuff like Gonzo and Natas, and then the unparalleled trickstering of Rodney Mullins. But it was mostly, trick, set up, other trick, set up and then another trick. What Ray did was different, it was like, “I am just going across the neighborhood, but doing it in style” His tricks were awesome, but looked so simple because of his cruising type of style. He made skating into transportation, not just skills.

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Modern Day Saints: 1 (My wife Raquel)

by John Jensen on 24 July 2011 with comments

Since I seemed to have gotten a million more hits for being a jerk than I ever did being less of a jerk, I thought I might try even harder to be more positive. I am starting a series where I will write a brief description of people who I admire greatly. And there is nobody I would be more happy to start with, than my wife Raquel.

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My vision of ‘church’ for today

by Chris Lorensson on 20 July 2011 with comments

I’ve written a couple series here on Upptäcka Network about Why I don’t go to church much and articles On community, and I wanted to follow it up with some changes I want to see—some ideas for how we could ‘do church’ in today’s culture. There were a few key points I highlighted in those series, and I’d like to use them as a starting point for thinking about how our models of church might improve in the next 10 years.

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theology (my doctrine is bigger than your doctrine)

by John Jensen on 18 July 2011 with comments

I am an insecure man, that wants to be liked. I want to be respected more than I want to be liked. And, to be honest, I actually do care about what my peers think about me. I like to believe that I am capable of acting beyond this sinful limitation, but sometimes I don’t.

For instance, I will often name drop when discussing theology. It is an especially successful name drop if I can claim personal relationship with the person. Like, “my friend Alan Hirsch” Or “My mentor Ched Myers, or Neil Cole says” See, I just did it again. In other words, I am well read, and connected, and my thoughts are the thoughts of BIG people. They are BIG thoughts, and I am a BIG thinker. I read BIG books about BIG things. And my theology is right, and correct and you should agree with me.

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Last Night

by John Jensen on 14 July 2011 with comments

Our community meets on Mondays for a communal meal, and some discussion around the bible. This last night my wife lead the discussion time, but rather than continue on in Matthew, we reflected on what we had focused on at our last time together.

Last community meal we looked at the famous story of Jesus dealing with the issue of taxation. But looked at it from a different perspective than the usual, “be a good citizen, pay your taxes, and then be a good Christian too” Rather we looked at the radical, and very subversive message that Jesus showed in the passage, and then lived out in his life. It was all an issue of identity and idolatry. By placing value on idols, “graven images” the people of Israel were losing site of their own image and identity. Jesus shows in this passage that money, bears the image of empire, and is therefore by its very being aligned with, and an idol for empire. But we, are image bearers of the creator of the universe. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and called very good. And we should worry about handing over our own selves to God, and don’t worry about a worthless idol to a kingdom we do not belong to. Read the rest of this entry »

Met Jesus on the Train

by John Jensen on 11 July 2011 with comments

I met Jesus on the train
This is from 6.5 years ago

Was going to a youth group to speak, and as is my custom here in Australia I got on the train. Went a few stops and had to switch trains at Spencer st station. Waiting for my next train I saw Jesus sitting there waiting for the same train.

He was drunk, cussing at people, muttering under his breath and smoking. He took long pulls off of his liter beer bottle. Everyone tried to stay out of his way. I was staying close just in case he did something stupid. His nose had been broken a few times it seemed so I was ready to step in and defend the public if necessary. Read the rest of this entry »

On negative wisdom

by Geoff Hall on 8 July 2011 with comments

Ever gone to church struggling with this thing called ‘an artistic life’, to then unwisely share what is on your heart with people who think ‘know you’ or at least ‘what you are about’? Ever done that and regretted it? Me too!

Wisdom is shared during those moments of your vulnerability, in those times of heaviness of spirit. This is why it has so powerful an effect on us, not a positive but a negative one, adding to the burden of our ‘momentary’ struggles.

Yes, I’ve had plenty of moments like that. I’ve shared in other places some of the wisdom passed on to me, but let’s move on with some other gems.
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Standing on the street-corners

by Chris Lorensson on 7 July 2011 with comments

I love Matthew 6—it’s one of those verses which thrives in blatant contradiction to Western culture. The issue is from whom your glory is coming. I’ll be honest here. It’s hard to truly do good things in secret, but it’s the way of the Kingdom. If we do things to be seen by others, we trade our heavenly reward for a sucky, Earthly one. (Say that ten times fast… ;-)

1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:1-6 KJV

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A crisis of faith

by Geoff Hall on 7 July 2011 with comments

In May 1944 Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote these words,

All Christian thinking, speaking and organising must be born anew out of this prayer and action…We are not out of the melting-pot and any attempt to help the church prematurely to a new expansion of its organisation will merely delay its conversion and purification…Till then, the Christian cause will be a silent and hidden affair, but there will be those who pray and do right and wait for God’s own time. May you be one of them…
‘Letters and Papers from Prison’. Edited by Eberhard Bethge, Published by SCM Press, 1986. p300.

The Church’s complicity in the Nazi horror show was something which Bonhoeffer could not be accused of being a partner in. He knew that any future the Church had must start with its own conversion and purification. Whilst Bonhoeffer practised resistance with his ‘non-co-operation with evil’, the Church collaborated.
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