Church leaders working together

Partners in Ministry – From relational unity to functional unity

2003. A “rookie” pastor found that churches were not co-operating as strongly as ideal, and he desired a greater unity. It was not enough to motivate Stefan Schlogl, Pastor of Victory Christian Centre, to action but when God spoke to him about initiating fellowship between ministers in the Hutt Valley, he immediately sent letters to some of them sharing his vision.

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Circa 2001: Renewable energy generation in New Zealand – State of the nation

2001. New Zealanders will be consulted this year on climate change and related issues, initiated by the Government.

According to the Cabinet paper, early decisions and directions, more public education about energy efficiency choices and actions available in the residential, commercial, and other sectors, is to be considered.

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Weight, fitness and body image

Why fat is “big business”

2000. Janeen Norwicki laughs. “The fat thing is in now,” says Janeen Nowicki. “It makes me laugh. They’re so late getting on the Ferris wheel really.”

Janeen runs Big, Bold, and Beautiful aerobics. When she started the business nine years ago, she says Continue reading

Television program induces fears

2017. Autopsy is a television series from Britain’s ITV studios that analyses the events around the untimely deaths of famous people. Dr. Jason Payne-James looks at the cause of death that is on the celebrity’s death certificate but looking closely at the evidence he concurs with the certificate or comes to another conclusion.

The subjects of the series are people well-known in film, music, and sports. The days leading up to the deaths of actors Robin Williams and Heath Ledger, and others, are analyzed.

In the episode I am looking at today, the life and death of the Irish-born, Manchester United footballer George Best is scrutinized.

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The church responds to cultural changes

Cultural shifts offer challenges for church

2004. Religious belief is not declining in New Zealand and other Western countries – the situation is increasingly described as a change from “religion” to “spirituality”, so is the consensus from sociologists, theologians, and academics from around the globe who say there is a resurgence of spirituality and belief in God outside of institutionalized Church.

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Conform?

One huge negative compels me to write today. I am sorry because there are positives as well. That one negative is, being expected to measure up to a standard of excellence that is expected of everyone.

There was an ethos to live up to, a vision to achieve. They were “building people of excellence”. An eighty hour work week was the ideal. If people did not like what they seen and heard, to go away. The implication is that we do things our way. A fortress mentality. But, what happens when you inevitably do not measure up, or if you do? And by someone else’s standard. I mean, is this for everyone? And is there guilt at not measuring up? Then, people were asked to submit to the leadership and be “blessed”. This was the final straw. Now, it was becoming controlling, one was being asked to come under obedient submission to the so-called authority. To become prosperous I presume.

But the measure of a church should be the measure shared of Jesus Christ — who loves me not for what else I can do, not for how much work I will do, and not for how many dollars I can make. Prosperity is the impossible standard for many, the domain of the business or company, but they will tell you to think big. For Jesus, the measure of success was not how much the wealthy young man had, but by how much he was willing to follow Jesus. The Christ who does not impose a vision or direction, but asks the question. Where we are free to be ourselves while listening and learning from Christ alone. And one to another share a mutual appreciation and spiritual intimacy because of Jesus in our lives.

Grappling with faith

Image Journal, as well as proving helpful descriptions about the submission process (see previous post), also provided helpful descriptions of one’s relationship to faith in their submission guidelines.

All the work we publish reflects what we see as a sustained engagement with one of the western faiths—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That engagement can include unease, grappling, or ambivalence as well as orthodoxy…

Let me say first that they are an arts journal in which faith is involved in that. What they’re saying is an engagement with faith that is uneasy, or grappling, ambivalent, or orthodox. I find their distinctions helpful and true. One can be uneasy about faith, grapple with faith, be ambivalent, or be orthodox. And one can approach art from those perspectives. These distinctions opens one up to the question of where one stands. Which way? Is one uneasy about faith? Grapples with faith? Is ambivalent? or is orthodox? I think Image Journal don’t try to convert people to one way or another, but I think they are a journal and forum for discussion, thought and illumination about the arts and faith, although I’m not directly quoting their about page.