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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!

30 second bunnies...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If you're a fan of movies, you'll love 'this' - cartoon bunnies re-enacting some of the greatest movies in 30 seconds! From Star Wars to Pulp Fiction... it's all 'here'!!

hat tip... John Birch

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:48 AM | link | 0 comments |

pray for pakistan...

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's been another weekend of bombings in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province and capital city. Read the latest BBC report on the situation 'here', and the report on Saturday's bomb in Peshawar (NWFP), which killed 14 people, 'here'. A video report from Saturday can also be found 'here'. Praying can sometimes feel like such a weak activity when faced with the enormity of a situation, but it's often the only thing we can do. If you'd like to pause to pray for Pakistan you might find 'this' virtual candle-lighting station helpful.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 7:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

a senseless faith...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I love 'this' by Eddie C. Go read...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:33 AM | link | 0 comments |

holy rebellion?...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Alan Hirsch has posted an interesting reflection on the prophetic challenge to institutional religion, in which he argues...

"A prophetically consistent Christianity means that we must remain committed to a constant critique of the structures and rituals we set up and maintain. Perhaps rather than calling this anti-institutionalism, a rather negative frame of mind, we should rather understand it as a form of ‘holy rebellion’ based on the loving critique of religious institution modeled by the original apostles and prophets—‘holy rebels’ who constantly attempted to throw off encumbering ideologies, structures, codes, and traditions that limited the freedom of God’s people and restricted the gospel message that they are mandated to pass on. This is prophetic religion in practice, and it remains one of the essential elements of a true experience of Christianity. It is rebellion because it refuses to submit to the status quo. But because it is a holy rebellion, it directs us towards a greater experience of God than what we currently have."

The whole post is well worth reading - find it 'here'.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:37 PM | link | 1 comments |


Yeh yeh, I know I've been going on about it a bit over the last week or so, what with the abandoned concert and all, but I have to state here that Kylie puts on an amazing show! For pure entertainment value alone, last night was one of the best night's out I've had in a very long time! Kylie came on stage to rapturous applause at about ten past 8 and finally finished up at well past 11pm, after the usual encores and a couple of extra treats for the tour's final night! Even allowing for the 25 minute interval, that's over two and a half hours of top-rate performance, complete with revolving stages, breathtaking laser and light shows, large screen projections and the expected outrageous costumes. Value for money, especially given the fact that we'd already had an hour or so ten days before! As the t-shirts specially designed for last night wittily stated: "... it was a show and a half"!

I can stop my fixation now and get on with normal life...!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 11:48 AM | link | 0 comments |

celebrating lack of knowledge...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Last night I was in a group in which we were invited to meditate for some time on Matthew's account of the baptism of Jesus (Mt 3:13-17), trying to imagine ourselves in the scene and reflect on given questions (such as... what do you see and hear? What are you thinking? How would you respond to Jesus coming over to you after this event and asking what you want?...)

For me this was a fascinating experience (maybe I was just in the right mood for it last night!) which highlighted something quite profound. In imagining myself into the scene, I tried to shake off my received and understood Christian tradition and theology (which is of course impossible) to attempt to imagine what it would have been like then. Apart from initially wondering whether I'd have even stuck around long enough to witness Jesus' baptism at all, as my cynicism would have probably got the better of me when I saw that 'weird religious nut' (John the Baptist) preaching and dunking, I realised that I was left with more questions by this event than answers. For example... who is this man? why does he seem so extraordinary (the dove and voice from heaven thing for a start) when he's gone through a 'sinner's baptism' like the rest? what is he going to do next?...

As I thought a bit more about these questions, three things in particular struck me...
  1. Jesus was not afraid of being misunderstood by people. He voluntarily went through John's baptism which was a baptism for the forgiveness of sins. So in this act he was seemingly communicating "I'm just like the rest of you with the same need of forgiveness" even though the 'signs' that followed suggested that he was anything but 'like the rest of us'! My guess is that very few, if any, of the people leaving that scene would have 'got it' and Jesus didn't seem to bother about this. In fact, have any of us 2000 years on fully 'got it' so to speak?
  2. This event is not alone in this in the gospels. It seems that many, if not all, of the key events concerning Jesus would have actually generated far more questions in the minds of the onlookers than given them answers; far more scope to misunderstand than to correctly understand.
  3. On the one hand I could begin to answer my own questions from what I have grown to understand about Jesus, his mission, etc. I know who Jesus is... Son of God, God Incarnate, the Christ... but on the other hand I don't know who Jesus is at all. I've only grasped the minutest details about who he is. Likewise with my questions about why he was baptised in this way... on the one hand I know the theology but on the other hand I'm not sure I've even started to grasp the significance of this event.
All of this brings me on to my 'thought for the day' (and since you don't get these very often you'd better make it last for far more than a day!)...

Our knowledge is always counter-balanced by our lack of knowledge. On the one hand we know but on the other we really don't know. Maybe that's where we've so often gone wrong in mission; we've been very happy to shout from the rooftops about what we (think we) know, but very reluctant to acknowledge our lack of knowledge. And I don't know about anyone else, but my own experience is that the closer I walk with God the more I am aware of my lack of knowledge. So I'm ready to shout about my lack of knowledge too; more than that, I'm ready to celebrate my lack of knowledge, because it's here that I find room for wonder, awe and an encounter with the unfathomable God.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:17 AM | link | 0 comments |

emerging church as mystical communion...

Ben Edson, drawing on Ian Mobsby's research and Avery Dulles' Models of the Church, has some interesting reflections on the possible weaknesses of the emerging church 'here'. Paul Roberts also comments on this 'here'.

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

conversation & right v wrong...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Scot McKnight has an excellent post on the art of conversation 'here' in which he suggests that many evangelical Christians don't know how to hold genuine conversations because of what he calls the 'right vs. wrong risk'...

"Orthodoxy is right; anything else or less than orthodoxy is wrong. With that looming behind every conversation, when a person raises a question there is immediately a worry if what the person is asking is orthodox or not; whether or not by participating in such a conversation a person will be seen as harboring doubts about orthodoxy; and whether associating with such persons calls into question one’s reputation. Quickly, in many cases, the conversation stops being conversation and becomes instead a quick lesson on what tradition teaches the Bible says and that if one strays from that one is questioning the Bible and, there you have it, it all becomes a reduction to whether or not a person believes in inerrancy."

Read the whole post and make up your own mind...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 12:16 PM | link | 3 comments |

a happy human...

'This' put a spring in my step last night!!

P.S. I will get back to proper blogging at some point honest... this hasn't turned into an unofficial Kylie blog!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 11:38 AM | link | 0 comments |

i'm only human... and so is she...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Having posted this on Friday, I guess I have to comment on last night's show! It's now common knowledge that Kylie had to stop the show half way through due to having flu. I've got to say, she was pretty brave to give it a go in the first place - it was obvious she was struggling not only with her voice but in her general energy levels. I'm sure I noticed her stumble at one point in the opening set (though if she did, she managed to hide it pretty well). So after 3 sections of the show (with long costume changes between each) it didn't really come as a shock when she announced that she would only be doing one more song and, for the first time in her career, would have to cancel a show half way through. The final song, though, was a bit special - her sister Dannii sang 'Kids' with her and it was all a bit emotional!

Yes, it was disappointing to a certain extent, though we did get an amazing hour of Kylie (and our seats were amongst the best in the house!) and we had a unique experience (of the 'were you there when...' kind!) There's even a rumbling rumour that we might get a re-scheduled date though I'd personally be amazed (but VERY happy) if that happens. Kylie was visibly gutted at having to finish early and most (if not all) of that came from the desire to not let her audience down.

I don't for one moment blame her for taking the decision that she took - I know when I've had flu that I have felt pretty crap and I can't imagine going on stage under hot lights in heavy costumes to perform to 12,000 people when feeling like that! It goes to remind us that the people we put on pedestals are human after all. Hats off to Kylie for trying and I hope we do get a chance to see the full show - what we did see last night would make going again well worth while!

Kylie's management released this press statement late last night.


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:16 PM | link | 3 comments |

i'm only human...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Maggie writes...

"That's what makes blogging good I think - unlike a website which is purely official information, a blog gives the capacity for the person giving the sermon and the information also to be able to give you a bit of their humanity - like adding the coffee time chat to the lecture."

So in that spirit, I have to confess here that I am soooo excited about seeing Kylie live in Manchester tomorrow. There, that's a bit of my humanity!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

a voice of reason #2...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Further to my post earlier in the week about Malcolm Duncan's statement concerning the 'Sexual Orientation Regulations', his full press release (which is somewhat more helpful than the article about it that I originally linked to) can be read 'here'. Malcolm also responded at length to the discussion prompted by my post, and his comments are well worth reading. He writes:

"It is my distinctive Christian ethos and my values and convictions that cause me to be unconditional in service. It is also those distinctives that give me a view of right and wrong, good choices and bad ones. Whilst I am free to express those, I must also recognise that I cannot force people to follow them. I must serve unconditionally and love extravagantly and be willing, in words and actions, to be faithful to Christ and his teachings. But I must also remember the importance of allowing God to work in another person's life and not assume that I am the Holy Spirit. He is the one who brings about true and lasting transformation - not me. I am, and the church for that matter, is a vehicle. Broken, cracked and tainted - yet a vehicle for grace and love and truth."

Read the original post and discussion 'here'

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

telling God to butt out...

Interesting post 'here' from Pete Rollins about the Biblical hermenuetics and epistemology...

"even if it were possible to get a God’s-eye view it would be most unwelcome. For perhaps what is more important when reading the bible is the debate, the multiple play of interpretations, the challenges it holds and the power it possesses to transform our lives. In other words, perhaps the truth of the bible is not some propositional affair which can be handed down from above like a magisterial dictate. Just maybe the truth which the bible contains is not some mere objective epistemological system which can be affirmed or denied by the mind any more than the source of religious truth is able to be objectified via an epistemological system."

Read the full post and enjoy more of Pete's Rabbinic parables!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:10 AM | link | 1 comments |

mere mission...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

For fear of looking like a Tom Wright groupie (see 'here' also), I love this...

"The Gnostic conspiracy theory says that orthodoxy hushed up the really exciting thing and promoted this boring sterile thing with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And of course there's a great lie underneath that. In the second and third centuries, the people being thrown to the lions and burned at the stake and sawed in two were not the ones reading Thomas and Judas and the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary. They were the ones reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Because the empire is perfectly happy with Gnosticism. Gnosticism poses no threat to the empire. Whereas Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do. It's the church's shame that in the last 200 years, the church has muzzled Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and turned them into instruments of a controlling, sterile orthodoxy. But the texts themselves are explosive." (bold highlight mine)

It's taken from a Christianity Today interview with Tom Wright, in which he talks about his latest book Simply Christian, and how to present the Gospel in a post-modern world.

hat tip... Brother Maynard

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:16 AM | link | 0 comments |

a voice of reason...

Malcolm Duncan (Faithworks) gives an intelligent and well reasoned perspective in the midst of the planned Evangelical Christian demonstrations concerning the governments 'Sexual Orientations Regulations'. He warns against what he calls 'virulent' and 'aggressive' behaviour, and reminds us that...

"Christians are called to follow Jesus’ example, and he says remarkably little about sexuality in scripture. Rather, he treats all people he comes across with love and acceptance, and does not refuse his service to anyone, even if he does not agree with their lifestyle"

Read about Duncan's statement in more detail 'here'.

hat tip... Maggi Dawn

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:45 AM | link | 6 comments |

happy new year...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally I get round to posting after the excesses of Christmas! Don't hold your breath though - it's enough simply catching up with the pace of life again without having to come up with a profound blog-post (I'll try to do that early next week)! I have at least got round to upgrading my blog to the new 'blogger' system, which means that I can now add tags to my posts - click on any of these to find other posts in the same subject area.

However, the main purpose of this post is to simply resurface, and to link to Maggi's excellent 'stuff happens' post which I like very much! Enjoy...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:27 AM | link | 0 comments |