Another well-known male church leader has stepped aside amidst allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women. At this point, these allegations appear (at least from what I’ve seen) to be reasonably well-founded.
I’ve seen some conversations unfolding online (and have now been involved with a couple of such conversations in person) concerning whether or not it’s becoming ‘too risky’ for men in positions of power to be actively involved in mentoring emerging female leaders. In the ongoing wake of #MeToo (and then #ChurchToo), concerns about false allegations being made seem to be running high, and there is a genuine possibility that this will lead to some men in positions of church leadership either giving up or cutting back on directly mentoring women leaders.
What an incredible shame that would be!
Continue reading Don’t be that guy!
Mike Frost* posted the following statement on social media yesterday:
The church has grown so accustomed to cultural privilege—a privilege it should never have had in the first place—that its erosion feels like persecution, when it’s not.
As a result, instead of meaningful engagement with society, we draw battle lines in confected culture ‘wars’ featuring praying football coaches, dissenting county clerks, and recalcitrant wedding cake bakers.
To my mind, this is one of the most piercing (and succinct!) analyses of the state of public faith (and flawed understandings of ‘mission’) in places like Australia and the U.S.—and I’m sure a number of others—that I’ve seen in a long time.
I won’t add any further comment on the statement here, but would love to get a conversation going around it in the comments section.
* Mike is a leading voice in the missional church movement, Vice Principal of Morling College (in Sydney, Australia), author, speaker, and a bunch of other things (including, some might say, provocateur).
Here’s an excellent—and necessary—response to my last post (The ‘Energy’ of Violence) from my friend Labalienne, over at her blog Seaweave: The Energy of Debate.
I’m hoping to continue the conversation over the coming days!
I’m a fan of minimalist design.
I was introduced to the concept by a friend who, noting the design of the iPhone (which was, at that point, relatively new), described the possibility of stripping back that which is unnecessary in order to find ‘perfection’ (rather than seeking the same result by ‘adding things on’). In the context of the dominance of Blackberry phones and the ‘fact’ that a business device required a full, physical qwerty keyboard, the iPhone boasted a bold, minimalist design. And it won. It became that which we never knew we always needed.
I’ve thought about the point often since then.
When I read Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, I was struck by the chapter on the ‘discipline of simplicity’. I remain gripped by this vision where my speech and actions and entire way of life is far more…simple—far less cluttered and noisy and complex.
Continue reading Minimalism
I’ve set myself the goal for 2014 of centering my thinking specifically around three spheres of thought, and the possible overlaps between them.
These spheres of thought are missional thinking and practice, the spirituality and practice of nonviolence, and the principles of permaculture. Things always look more interesting in Venn diagrams, so I’ve included one here:
Continue reading Intersecting Thoughts Roadmap for 2014: Missional/Nonviolence/Permaculture
So, word of a pretty amazing piece of research by Robert Woodberry is floating around social media at the moment. You can have a look at a summary of it here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/january-february/world-missionaries-made.html?paging=off
Basically, Woodberry’s thesis is this:
Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.
Continue reading Christian Missionary Work at the Roots of Modern Democracy?
There are a couple of issues that I consider to be crucial for Australia to address, and to address as soon as possible. One of those issues is our abhorrent treatment of asylum seekers. Another—one which is perhaps the single most important issue facing us as a nation—is the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
I write/speak/tweet/rant/shout quite a bit about the first of these issues. As far as I can see, the solution/s to the current situation is not overly complex. It begins by approaching the situation as a humanitarian crisis, rather than a small-minded, nationalistic issue of ‘border
protection’, and builds from there (e.g. directing funding to regional processing centres, community processing of asylum requests, etc.).
The second issue, however, is rather complex indeed—all the more so due to over 200 years of policy failure. While the issues are complex, and while I do not want to try to talk as if I (as someone who has benefitted from a lifetime of white privilege) have the answers, I think there is one essential ingredient that needs a whole lot more focus from those who are making decisions: Indigenous self-determination.
Continue reading The Necessity of Indigenous Self-Determination