She: Rob Bell’s new video

I’m sure most of you have checked this out already. 

Rob Bell has a new Nooma video out, called ‘She’. For a short time you can see the preview on facebook here.

It’s all about female nature of God, and the role of women.
The video has an introduction…

“We didn’t have anything to do with our birth. We are all here because some woman somewhere gave us life. Her pain, her effort, for our life. And when a mother gives like that to a child, she is showing us what God is like. But sometimes this part of God’s nature is overlooked. A lot of us are comfortable with male imagery for God. But what about female imagery for God? Is God limited to a gender? Or does God transcend and yet include what we know as male and female? Maybe if we were more aware of the feminine imagery for God we would have a better understanding of who God is and what God is like.”

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Expectations shape our response

 

 

Recently, we had a Missions Expo at YVV.

Steve Goudswaard, from World Vision International spoke at a session.  He has worked for over 16 years in Sth Africa, Angola, Mozambique, and is Associate Director of Global Rapid Response Team, managing large scale emergency responses, including the Asian Tsunami, Pakistan earthquake, East Timor crisis, Sri Lankan civil war and the recent cyclone in Myanmar (previously Burma).

 

Among other things, he talked about the response in Myanmar after the cyclone.

You might remember that world news reports focussed on how the military government were initially not allowing aid into the country.

 

Given that situation, Steve said, in all his work with World Vision International, that he had not seen such a unique response from a people in crisis,.

He saw the communities had already begun to pull together, and were beginning to clean their own water. “The community are the first responders in any emergency.” Steve said.

 

He saw they had already begun to look at the challenge needed to solve the problem of getting salt out of the soil, as they realised that if they didn’t get their crops in by July, they would have no food supply and another crisis would be upon them.. They plant to eat, not for income.

 

As we heard Steve in this session, the question was asked:

What was the difference? What was it about the resilience in these people that was different than what he’d seen in other disaster responses?

 

His next sentence left a hush in the room as he gently said, “the people in Myanmar didn’t expect that anyone would come to help them.”

They knew they had to be the ones to create solutions as outside assistance was unexpected. They carried no expectation of help coming.

 

This image of a people shaping their response by their expectation was quite a raw, beautiful image of the human spirit.

It also had a sharp edge, which made me wonder how our faith communities would respond in crisis.

In relation to the ‘now and the not yet of the kingdom’ are we living with expectation which shapes our response to bring Jesus’ ‘rescue’ to our own communities?

 

Alan Hirsch says “a deep form of togetherness and love is found when we embark on a common mission of discovery, when we encounter danger together and have to find each other in the process in order to survive.” p 240 The Forgotten Ways

 

The Final Post (Essentials Blue Fall 08)

For: The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt (ICEWS, eb 08)

 

 

 

 This piece, Because You Are, puts the spotlight on God as Creator. He is the author of all life. Through this course, I’ve been hugely impacted by seeing in fresh ways, how our Creator God has made us in His image. We have been given the amazing capacity to gather up all that creation is doing and saying, and give voice to it, reflecting it all back to Him. We are given a mind to understand He is worthy, and therefore we choose to worship Him. (1)  

We are also caught up in the groaning of all creation, as we long for redemption. We recognise that “God Himself, by the Spirit, dwells in our hearts as we resonate with the pain of the world”. (2) We are to be messengers modelling the message of putting the world to rights, as we ourselves “are put to rights by the same healing love.” (3)   

 

We are the new creation who expresses true humanity through Jesus. We ‘realise and extend creation through human re-enactment’.(4)  As those fully alive, we respond with worship, wonder and adoration understanding that “worship makes you more truly human”.(5)  We respond with belief, embracing things we cannot see, the things of His Kingdom, to release them on earth. In doing so, we reflect God’s redemptive mission..

I would use this in any gathered worship context, as a tool to reflect on Creator God, and on the invitation He’s given His children in His redemptive story.

I plan to use this with our worship leaders, as part of extending our thinking towards including more visual/sensory expressions.

I have intentionally chosen a form of media (i.e. Movie Maker) that I have personally not ever used before (normally, I would invite someone “skilled” to do this for me). I felt that it was part my commitment to this learning adventure, moving into areas that I am not necessarily familiar with.

1. NT Wright, Simply Christian, Part 2, Staring at the Sun. Wright amplifies this thought based on the activity of worship in Revelation 4 and 5.

2. NT Wright, Simply Christian, p 139

3. NT Wright, Simply Christian, p 175

4. Levinson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil, p xxi

5. NT Wright, Simply Christian, p127

 

 Should the above YouTube link not work for the video go directly here to view it.

 

Postscript:

I have been really challenged about how word-based our expressions of worship can be. I have been struck by some people in our community who are unable to read well, and considering how to find ways to engage their expression. There’s also been a challenge for me personally, as someone who loves words…to live with restraint at times. This piece also symbolizes my personal reminder and pursuit to live in simplicity and restraint.

Themes: God as Creator, Humans as Sub-Creators; Creation Theology; God’s redemptive story.

Lyrics:  because-you-are

Credits:

1. Music and Lyrics by Because You Are, Simon Carter. Simon is one of the worship leaders at Soul Survivor Melbourne, so if you’re interested in checking out more of his music go here.

2. Epilogue The Prayer of the Trinity by Tom Wright

 (Originally published in New Tasks for a Renewed Church, 1992, London: Hodder.  Also published as Bringing the Church to the World, 1992, Bethany House, U.S.A., 209-15.)

3. Emerging Grace Posters (HT to Grace)

 

 

Ready for Action (ICEWS eb 08)

For: The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt (ICEWS, eb 08 )

 

“Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!”

Ephesians 5:13-15 The Message

 

Are You Awake?

NT Wright says: “As with ordinary waking up, there are many people who are somewhere in between. But the point is that there is such a thing as being asleep, and such a thing as being awake. And it is important to tell the difference, and to be sure you’re awake by the time you have to be up and ready for action, whatever that may be. With the resurrection of Jesus, the world was being invited to wake up.” (NT Wright, Simply Christian p176)

 

As the Essentials Blue course concludes, I personally needed to put a ‘stake in the ground’ or these big ideas and discoveries might get neatly packed away and gather dust. I was reflecting on how to wrap this rich gift of discovery in a way that will be perhaps translate to my own context, with those I walk alongside in my community. On many levels, hanging the ideas on being awake sits well for me at the moment.

 

Consider those who are heavy sleepers! In ‘sleep world’, I am envious of their ability to sleep through all sorts of drama.

 

Have you ever had to wake someone up?

Sometimes, a gentle shake is needed. Others may need a rousing shout.  

Some need shocking tactics, others need simple whispers.

So while our levels of ‘awake-ness’ is diverse, so is our depths of sleep.

 

Sleeping and waking is the most basic image used in early Christianity for what happens when the Good news of Jesus impinges on someone’s consciousness.

‘Sleep’ was a regular way of talking about death in the ancient Jewish world.

In the New Testament we also see it as a metaphor for spiritual dullness and lack of watchfulness. (even referring to laziness in Proverbs!)

 

The awake metaphor offers me the ‘reminder’ personally towards this end…

 “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” (Irenaeus of Lyons. Dan Wilt, Rise of Worship Artisan, p 5)

 

It also anchors what NT Wright writes about in Part One of Simply Christian, in the Echoes of a Voice, raising a shout to us to continue to engage in our search for justice, in the quest for spirituality, in our deep-seeded longing for relationship and in the yearning for beauty in our world.

 

There are many references to sleep and being awake in the Bible.

I’ve included a handful below that have shaped some of my reflections.

Notice some of the ‘effects’ and ‘responses’ and ‘action’ that come through being awake.

 

“And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15

“Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.” Psalm 57:8

“Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendour, O Jerusalem, the holy city.” Isaiah 52:1

“Stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up.” Matthew 24:39 The Message

“Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.” Luke 9:32

“But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break.  Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” Romans 13:11-12 The Message

“Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts.” 1 Cor 15:34 The Message