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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

happy Christmas... have fun!...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well we're off on the family rounds later today so this blog will be quiet over the Christmas period. In the mean time, below is a link to a game that's well worth a visit! Just to say, though, that I accept no responsibility for time wasted or any incurred rsi as a result of playing this game! If you think you've got an impressive score, come back here and leave it in the comments - let's see who wins!!

Have a great Christmas!!

Miniclip Games - Winter Workout
Winter Workout

Help Santa complete four winter themed events.

Play this free game now!!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:29 AM | link | 0 comments |

8 Christmas presents...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

'This' is amazing!! Having spent time in Christchurch with Steve and the Majendie's (of Side Door) I can imagine how professionally produced this is, and the missional effect it will have in the city. I love Steve's description of the project...

"This is public mission, taking Jesus back out of church and telling his story in our marketplace, in the City Square and outside the Art Gallery and Museum."

Mission should always be public and yet we spend so much time planning events that we then invite people to (only to be disappointed by how few come!) The Christchurch project shows how it can be done... I wonder what we can do in Liverpool for 2008?!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:34 AM | link | 0 comments |

five things...

Monday, December 18, 2006

So I've been reading with interest (and a certain smug 'they won't get me') various people's 'five secrets' over the last couple of weeks, and then Laura has to go and spoil it all by tagging me! Well, here goes...

5 things you probably didn't know about me...
  1. I used to work in a casino totalling up the biggest bets of the night before and making sure that the gaming staff (not to mention the punters) haven't embezzled any money.
  2. I claim to have a good and pretty eclectic taste in music but am also a (not so) secret fan of Kylie and have got tickets to see her in Manchester in January! I'm also going to see The Killers but am much more excited about the Kylie gig (now that's an admission!)
  3. In the same vain... although I am publicly and vocally a supporter of Leicester City (my home town team) I used to support Liverpool as a glory-hunting school boy. Now I find myself living in Liverpool - oh the divine sense of humour!
  4. I was deeply attracted to Jo (now my wife) for some time before we started dating, even though I was going out with someone else at the time (I was never a naughty boy though - I believe in being faithful!!)
  5. At school I had a birthday party (with streamers, presents and other trimmings) during a class detention. The teacher was a bit put out at first but then must have thought, "if you can't beat them..."
There, that wasn't so difficult! So, it's my turn to annoy others now is it?! I tag... Richard White, Richard Lyall, Kester Brewin, Sue Wallace and Paul Chambers... have fun one and all!!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

thank god...

Thank God that the Church of England has people like Bishop Tom Wright, who has issued this measured and appropriately strong response to the so-called 'Covenant for the Church of England' that was sadly issued by some (and I stress the 'some') key evangelical leaders last week. When I read their document I was equally disturbed by the divisive tone, especially given that an organisation I deeply respect has signed up to it (or at least its leader has). Tom Wright's document, though long, is a very important contribution to this debate and must be read by anyone who is interested in the future of the Church of England. I hope that, in time, the authors of the 'covenant' are able to give an equally measured and valuable response to his paper.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:11 PM | link | 1 comments |

dream lectio...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

only three days into the new dream lectio and the participation and discussion has already been beyond expectation! Dream lectio is an attempt to read the Bible together in community without actually having to be gathered in a traditional 'Bible study' group to do so. There are no notes to follow, just the passage for the day (from 'The Message') and an invitation to comment on it. We're starting with Matthew's gospel (as good a place as any!) and are reading through the Christmas narrative at the moment. Even the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew generated 11 comments!

Join in with this by visiting 'here' daily (or as often as you want - we set out by specifically rejecting any guilt trips for missing days!), and if you want to be emailed the passages follow this link, enter your own email address, and it'll magically arrive in your inbox each day!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 4:24 PM | link | 1 comments |

keeping Christmas in 'the good news'...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Andrew Jones (TSK) makes a very important point (very well) 'here'

"... If the work of Christ was only the cross, He could have done his job in 3 days."

Go read the full post...


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

john franke's missional theology...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the following quotes are taken from some notes of John Franke's October '06 address to the Westminster Theological Seminary Emerging Church Forum, and carry resonances with a discussion I was having with someone last night when I was trying to explain that the emerging church conversation and biblical theology are not polar opposites!

The reason for doing theology is to serve the church in becoming missional. The impulse comes from notion of mission as central to character of God (missio dei). Mission is at the heart of biblical narratives. Example: Israel was the recipient of covenant in order to bless the nations. Mission continues today in the global witness to the gospel working toward the eschatological redemption. "As the Father has sent me so I send you" (jn 20:21). God is missional by nature; he is sent and sender in Jesus...

The western church has not formed itself as missional because it grew up in a culture that considered itself Christian. Christendom was so pervasive that even when it is undermined as in modern North America, the patterns continue. The church now lives in functional Christendom. Maybe that is a better category for discussion than modern vs postmodern. Mission had become just one of the many programs of the church (mission boards). Only place we need to go is to the pagan nations, and we'll civilize them while we're at it. Home missions were merely attempts to prop up and preserve Christian culture. Now we must realize that mission isn't peripheral, it is central to what the church is. [We must] Move from church with mission to missional church...

Commitment to missional theology entails ongoing interaction with local culture. All forms of thought are embedded in social conditions. Those conditions don't unilaterally determine knowledge, but they inevitably shape it. Theology always bears the marks of the context in which it is produced. Therefore it is not the task of theology to set forth a timeless and non-situated dogmatic for all times and places. Systematic theology doesn't fall out of heaven, so we need a human and earthly dogmatics, formed in the community of faith and seeking to bear witness to the God of that faith and speaking in and to the culture in which it finds itself..." (bold highlights mine)

Now before some might say... "there, that proves it, accommodation to culture is the mark of the emerging church", Franke does recognise the danger...

Theology throughout history has shown itself remarkably adaptable in many times and cultures, but also there have been many bad accommodations. So we must be culturally aware but also aware of the danger of becoming captive. How do we account for the situadedness [sic] of theology without succumbing to cultural accommodation?"

It seems to me that there are two responses we can make in response to the danger. One is to remain safely wrapped in our received (modern) 'orthodoxy' and defend it at all costs as
THE gospel, even if it fails to make any meaningful connection with the context in which we are seeking to proclaim it. Here we simply (and, I would suggest, naively) refuse to accept that our theology has been shaped in any way by cultural context - it is held as pure Truth. The other possible response is to take the risk of re-thinking that received 'orthodoxy' while trying to remain faithful to the central message of the Kingdom of God (that was Jesus' central message, after all). Yes, it may be risky... yes, it may sometimes feel like we're out at sea longing for the security of the past... yes, it may lead to us being misunderstood, even cast out, by our Christian brothers and sisters; but for the sake of participating in the mission of God and his work of redemption it's a risk worth taking.

Indeed, wasn't it St Paul, the theological champion of Reformed theology, who led the way in contextual mission when he chose to quote from the pagan poets of Athens instead of the Old Testament, knowing the former would connect far better with his hearers? This was the same St Paul who wrote, "
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." (1Corinthians 9:19-22, TNIV) Would St Paul in the early 21st century western world also have added... "to the new-age spiritual I became like a new-age spiritual... to the post-modern philosopher I became like a post-modern philosopher..." and so on, or is this pushing the analogy too far? I guess the key word in all this is the work 'like' - we become 'like' the other as we engage in mission, we don't become the other.

So to my friend who I was chatting with last night, and to many others who are critical of the emerging church, I ask... please don't write us off as heretics or as people selling out on orthodox faith. Please listen to us as we seek to listen to your challenges, and see that we're simply seeking to follow the biblical missional call of God.

Read the full notes of Franke's address 'here'
Hat tip - Paul Fromont

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:56 AM | link | 2 comments |