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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!

I need a holiday...

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm not sure why but the last couple of weeks have been a bit manic work-wise, and this week I've had to send out several emails apologising for not keeping up with commitments made! I guess I still haven't managed to master that magic phrase... "no, I'm sorry, I just haven't got the time"!

So if you're wondering why this blog has been on the quiet side recently, there's my excuse! To stop you wondering further, this blog will not just be 'on the quiet side' for the next two weeks... it'll be silent, because I'M GOING ON HOLIDAY!! Nearly two weeks camping in France with my wife and kids - can't wait (though I'm trying not to think of the pile of work that might await me on my return!) So join me in taking a well-earned break from this blog for a couple of weeks, BUT... don't forget to revisit on Tuesday 12th June when I will post again!

I'll leave you with this fantastic cartoon from Jon Birch's The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus, which resonated with me for reasons which I doubt need explaining (click on the image to go to Jon's post)...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:23 PM | link | 1 comments |

religious coercion...

Monday, May 21, 2007

I received an email from a friend in Pakistan about 'this' a week ago, but did not post anything about it for fear of making an already threatening situation worse by putting a 'private' prayer request into the public domain. However, seeing that the story has hit the news anyway, it seems right to draw attention to it.

Extremist threats such as this one are very real for minority Christian communities, and they have to be taken seriously if past track record is anything to go by. The Christian community in Charsadda is literally living in fear of imminent attack, causing some to flee their homes in search of safety. As Michael John, the head of Pakistan's Catholic Church and a minority Christian parliamentarian, says: "We are in great danger and need protection".

It does beg the question... what kind of religious belief and fervour causes one human being to treat another in this way? I, for one, cannot recognise an action like this as being in any way fuelled by a 'divine decree', no matter what faith is being observed (and there are a fair few skeletons similar to this in the 'Christian' closet too). As I've requested on more than one occassion before... pray for the peace of Pakistan.

read the full BBC report 'here'

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

a caretaker's stand...

"And so my God, I defy you precisely so as to remain faithful to you."

Pete Rollins has posted a thought-provoking parable 'here' that challenges the 'religious responses' we often see today in a similar way to how Jesus challenged those of his time. It's provocative, yes, but it gets you thinking! Don't stop reading at the end of Pete's parable... make sure you read the comments that follow too!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:05 AM | link | 0 comments |


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I've run out of words to use when highlighting the current troubles in Pakistan, but I still feel a responsibility to post them here so that we don't forget the plight of a country that could so easily be ignored by the West.

The BBC reports on the yesterday's latest bombing in a central-Peshawar hotel (I've stood in the place of this photo) 'here', with pictures from the scene 'here'. And this comes after a weekend of violence in Karachi.

Pray for the peace of Pakistan...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:19 AM | link | 0 comments |

free music...

A friend of mine has just directed me to Jamendo, a source of free music downloads from unsigned artists operating under the Creative Commons licence. Some good stuff is on there - check out Finland's Project Divinity for starters...

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:14 AM | link | 0 comments |

inclusive atonement...

Monday, May 14, 2007

"The longer I live, the more I believe that the beauty of the atonement is not that it only works if you believe it in the right way, it's that it works even if you don't understand it at all. I'm not going soft on doctrine - I love doctrine with a passion, and I spend a good slice of my life teaching it - but even I have to admit that we aren't saved by doctrine, and that God can be visibly and awesomely at work in the lives of people whose doctrine is well wide of the mark. The grace and generosity of God is, I'll grant you, completely outrageous. He seems to insist on including people in the Kingdom of God who are not like me at all. Where does it come from, this need to have doctrinal proof of someone else's salvation? I have to wonder whether that isn't precisely the kind of thing that Jesus died to save us from."

Once again, fellow-chaplain Maggi Dawn manages to find words filled with grace to express deep insights in 'this' post on the atonement. It's well worth reading in its entirety, as it is a timely contribution to a divisive debate that seems to be getting out of hand. Thanks Maggi for expressing so well what desperately needs to be heard by all.


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

the word of the Lord?...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ben Edson has posted a link 'here' to this 'prophecy' for the UK from a Kenyan conference. Ben has some helpful things to say about such 'words from the Lord', and I too share his scepticism even though I do believe in the prophetic voice and role. Ben is going to revisit the 'prophecy' at the end of next year to see if it has been fulfilled, as a way of holding this particular statement to account. However, as I commented on Ben's post, there is a typical get-out clause in the pronouncement that we, as a nation, should 'return to the Lord'. What's the betting that if mass revival does not break out in 2008 there will be another 'prophetic word' chastising us for not doing so?!

The thing I'm most intrigued about though (in a slightly cynical way) is the call to 'rent your hearts'... I'm wondering how much I'd get for my heart if I did, and whether it would be ok to enter into a short-term letting agreement!!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:33 AM | link | 0 comments |

living communities...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

this picture tells many stories...

it is a picture of one of the stations from the network service celebrating 5 years of Dream, that was held in Liverpool Cathedral at the end of April. The station began as a single-bed white sheet with a spray-painted line down the centre divided into the years from 2002 to the present. The idea was to construct a time-line of the Dream community over that 5 year period, consisting of the key events in the lives of community members. The notes that accompanied the station read as follows...

living communities

communities are made up of real people with real lives.
the communities in the Dream network are no different!

In front of you is a large sheet with a ‘time line’ dating from
2002 (the beginning of Dream) to the present…

Think back over the last 5 years in your own life…
… what events or circumstances were you able to celebrate?
… what events or circumstances led to struggle or pain?

… where were the low points over the last five years?
… where were the high points over the last five years?
… do any of these relate specifically to your involvement in Dream? -
where was God in the midst of these highs and lows?

write words or draw pictures to represent these memories
at the appropriate points on the sheet.
as you do, reflect on your life in God’s hands and pray.

here we are creating a time line of Dream…
… a living community

“you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”
1 Corinthians 12:27

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:59 AM | link | 0 comments |


Friday, May 04, 2007

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

... a great cartoon by Dave Walker (which I can really relate to!), highlighting the ridiculous predicament we've got ourselves into with labels, traditions and the like! Bring on a more 'Generous Orthodoxy' (along with the tea!)

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:25 PM | link | 1 comments |

tears of grace...

'This' is a very thoughtful contribution to the discussions and debates surrounding human sexuality from a good friend of mine, Paul Chambers. We would all, regardless of our position on this or any other issue where we attempt to apply 'Biblical Truth' to someone else's life, do well to reflect on Paul's comments...

"... before you reach for the Christian platitudes, let’s dare to sift our own souls. Is there much there that is unhealed, unspoken, unforgiven? Faith in Jesus does not exempt us from traversing the deeper chasms of the psyche. Nor does it automatically protect us from the little deaths which rehearse us for the grand one. There can be no easy conclusion to this debate – I suspect that if we don’t weep as well as laugh, there will have been a failure somewhere."

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 11:37 AM | link | 1 comments |

how to be a christian...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"To be a Christian, you have to believe three things that start difficult and get harder..."

How to... be a Christian, according to Guy Browning of The Guardian, is worth a read! I like the bit that goes...

"As a highway code, Jesus gave us his life and works, a refresher on the 10 commandments and a group of trainers (of varying quality) known as the apostles."

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 2:56 PM | link | 0 comments |