OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

Why YOU Should Plant a Church

In the early days of our church planting adventure I spent some time seeking out other church planters, hoping for some wisdom and encouragement. Man, did I get a wake up call.

There seem to be two distinct schools of thought in the church planting community. The first is “This is hard. Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t look like you’ve got what it takes… I’m not so sure you should do this! Have you prayed about it?”

Gee… thanks.

The second school of thought starts off sounding much like the first, but then takes a dramatic turn: “This is hard. What do you need? How can I help you? Man, what an adventure! Let me pray for you.”

London gathering 22nd May

I've put this at the top of the page again in case anyone missed it. We'll meet in Waterloo mainline station at 3.00 pm on the concourse above the Eurostar entrance. This map shows the location.

Since ericboehmer is passing through London in May on his way to Mozambique, we'll take the opportunity to have an informal gathering of people in the vicinity who are interested in open source theology, emerging church, NT Wright, London pubs, risky encounters with people they've only met on the web, etc. We've fixed on Sunday 22nd May for the date, but time and location are open. I imagine it would be best to meet in central London. Afternoon? Evening? Afternoon and evening? If it's just 4 or 5 people, an evening in a pub would be fine. If there's more interest, perhaps we could find a room and do something a bit more organized with lectures, seminars, coffee breaks, powerpoint presentations, corporate sponsorships, T-shirts (OST-shirts?) - the possibilities are endless. Let me know what you think.

what's the worst that could happen?

Andrew, I really appreciate what you are asking us to look at in your timely analysis of Jesus. For me the heart of your comment offers a delightfully thought-provoking encapsulation of your radical approach to Scripture:

A pretty ambitious attempt at synthesis of many ideas

Andrew’s image which helps to govern a way of thinking about Christian theology is of the glass door of history: we look at it from one side, but we need to try to approach it from the other side - as the early church went through the process of experiencing events which underlie the N.T. texts.

The glass door image is helpful - because it also suggests how our side of the door tends to reflect back our own historical experiences and circumstances, which may distort our perception of the unfolding events of N.T. history. Similarly, the glass door suggests another image which recurs in Andrew’s approach to N.T. history - something like a governing ‘myth’ - which is the eschatological ‘crisis’ of the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in A.D.70, and the fall of the Roman Empire in the immediate centuries following. The glass door is the ‘crisis’ which the believing community went through - to emerge into the spacious landscape of - well, what?

Will anyone share my appal?

One of the joys of this website is consistently being asked to see things from a different point of view.

The recent “Jerry Springer - the Opera” issue divided Christians sharply: from those who were so opposed to it that they went as far as issuing personal names and addresses of BBC employees; via a mobilised multitude who opposed it, quite legitimately, without having seen it; to those who were disinterested and finally, to those who saw it as a prime opportunity to engage in “conversation” with post-modern culture, as well as to critique those who failed to see or grasp such opportunity.

Nevertheless, can anyone fail to be shocked by this latest twist to the morality of Europe?

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Revelation 12 | Marian Significance

Are there any other Protestant-rooted individuals out there who have taken the time to really examine the significance of Mary to the Church from a Biblical point of view? I was reared in a strictly Evangelical home and brought up to believe that all Catholic doctrine (especially Marian devotion) was heretical hogwash. Now I am convinced to the contrary.

Having read Presbyterian-turned-Catholic theologian Scott Hahn’s amazing spiritual biography, ‘Rome, Sweet Home’, I was presented with Catholic doctrine in a way I had never considered it, i.e. Biblically-based arguments to defend their truth. Consequently I was lead to do a lot of digging of my own and realised that Mariology is as much Bible-centred as any other cornerstone of the faith.

A 'Lamb'-centred atonement theory

Having spent my entire adult lifetime as an learner of Jesus, the Messiah, in all that time, I've never been aware of having any dependency upon a theory or even an understanding of "atonement." It just hasn't been an issue.

However, provoked by all this discussion about the subject, I wanted to test out my own convictions about the Sacrifice which is so central and vital to the Messianic faith, while endeavouring to avoid typical evangelical jargon, primarily to help in giving a fresh look at things.

Wound up by Springer?

I only discovered the raging controversy surrounding the screening of the “Jerry Springer – the Opera” show on BBC television, around about the actual time of its screening, last night.

Initially, for some reason, I was surprised to discover that the BBC had chosen to ignore the complaints of thousands of its licence-fee payers (ceefax quotes more than 45,000, the largest number in its 78-year history.)

Having discovered that it was essentially religious voices who were protesting aginst the broadcast, I was also initially heartened to hear about the fairly militant demonstration of disgust which had been duly levied.

Was this wrath?

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, reportedly pointed out that the tsunami could well test people's faith in God. This theme was picked up in an interesting online BBC magazine article, which represented the views of a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim and an Atheist, (why not a Jewish viewpoint, however?) "coming to terms with events in SE Asia." Appropriately enough, in our supposedly postmodern, pluralistic age, the final and probably most balanced comment was by a pagan, urging people of all faiths and beliefs to continue in them as well as in the strength of the human spirit.

Cultural hostility

The following quote is taken from a Times Comment article in which Michael Gove discusses cultural hostility towards Christianity in the UK. It was prompted by the recent fuss over the Madame Tussauds nativity tableau that starred 'David and Victoria Beckham as Mary and Joseph with Tony Blair, George Bush and the Duke of Edinburgh as The Three Wise Men and Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant and Graham Norton as shepherds, not forgetting Kylie Minogue as an angel' (you can see Kylie in the background).

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