Archive for Europe
Reflecting back a bit on the recent JetSet tour, I am posting some of the influences and expressions of the influenced from Paris and France. This post is part of a much larger subset of posts which I will list here soon as well as a smaller follow-on to the London edition of the same.
Paris Picture Collage
- Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.
- Imagination decides everything.
- A witty saying proves nothing.
- Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
- Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.
- Everything has been figured out except how to live.
- God is absence. God is the solitude of man.
This week I had the privilege of participating in some interviews (behind the camera of course) offering me the opportunity to hear some good perspectives. One of these key interviews was with Ed Stetzer and Greg and Ruth Haslam of Westminster Chapel. Ed posted a piece with the video and helpful insight on “Involving all of God’s people on all of God’s mission.”
Here is some additional background information that may provide more scope and meaning for the video.
Westminster Chapel was planted in the early 1840’s. Some 25 years later, the church moved to its current location which had a large amount of poor people in the area. Some years after the church’s relocation, the word “slum” was introduced to the English language. This word was used for this area of London at that time. It had been for this very reason that the church had moved into this area according to the pastor’s wife, Ruth Haslam. Since that time the community has gone through a gentrification process.
There is a history of great preachers that led the church throughout its many years. These men include: Rev. Samuel Martin; Dr. G. Campbell Morgan; Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; and Dr. RT Kendall. In our modern day it is more difficult to encourage and observe obedience with only a preaching point as the means for discipleship. Though not captured on the above video, Pastor Greg shared that the transition he is leading to establish community groups is necessary as church participants need to be participatory in becoming more obedient to the Savior and His mission.
Continuing to enjoy being a part of the Upstream Collective JetSet Tour here in London, I hope to offer some aspects to help you be a part. As we are experiencing some of the cultural aspects, I thought it may be of value to share a bit of culture here through first a visual collage and second a literary collage.
London Picture Collage
Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend…
John Donne, “Holy Sonnet 14”
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
Come out upon my seas,
Cursed missed opportunities.
Am I a part of the cure,
Or am I part of the disease?
Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
Shakespeare, “Hamlet,” Act 2, Scene 2
In London, England with The Upstream Collective, we had a stimulating discussion today about issues of contextualization in churches that are unique to London and many other urban, global centers. Questions were raised about whether or not metaphors, music, language, accents, etc. should be adjusted for the target audience. One of the realities dealt with was the presence of trans-nationals in urban, global centers. Additionally, there are nationals and a plethora of other distinct ethnic groups, etc.
To provide one thought on this discussion, I offer Malcolm Gladwell’s 2004 Ted talk where he shares about the market research of Dr. Howard Moskowitz. His findings on product research include the revolutionary findding that there is not a perfect product, but rather there are a number of perfect products. It seems that we have Dr. Moskowitz to thank for the retail dilemma of which of 13 different Crest toothpaste flavors to choose from. And about as many Colgate offerings, etc.
These findings also, I believe, speak to the numbers of and types of churches and church plants that are necessary to reach the transnationals and different people groups of an urban, global city such as London.
By the time this posts, I should be in London. Over the next several days, I will be traveling with The Upstream Collective on their JetSet Tour here in the UK and in Paris. You will be able to find a number of interesting posts, video interviews, photos, etc. from the group that will be going. I will be tweeting and posting some links to other blogs where updates may be found in addition to posting some material here.
Following my time with the UC crew, I will be heading on to Spain to spend time with some old and new friends there. I look forward to bringing you some stories, images, and thoughts from western Europe.
Join us virtually on this trip to get a better understanding of what God is doing in this part of the world.
Slipping from this life earlier this year at 100 years of age, Miep Gies was truly a hero. Along with her husband and some friends, she had provided food for the Frank family and others as they hid from the German Gestapo above the Frank’s family business for two years. On the day that the authorities arrived to take away all eight people who had been in hiding, Gies was sitting at her desk in the Frank’s office. While this alone was sufficient to put her in great danger, she chose later to go to the Gestapo headquarters to try to purchase the prisoners’ release. She was unsuccessful in this attempt.
Miep Gies would not see Anne Frank again, but she was able to present her diary to Otto–Anne’s father upon his return from Auschwitz. She presented it to him on the occasion when he learned of his daughters’ deaths. She shared, “here is your daughter Anne’s legacy to you.” After the second printing, Gies finally was able to read the diary. She was not reading a story about someone’s life, she was reading about this little girl that she had known, identified with, and protected. (HT)
Gies was a hero for a some very basic reasons. She cared deeply. She acted courageously. Eloquent writing or speech would have done nothing to aid the Frank family in hiding for two years. But putting her life in danger on a daily basis to find, buy, and at times barter for food, she was a constant, faithful hero.
I am reminded of the heroes that are mentioned in Hebrews 11. Yes, several are named with brief accounts of their story shared. But for so, so many they are listed as the faithful–the heroes. Some of these were tortured; some “were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword…the world was not worthy of them.” These were people of action. Talking about being faithful was not enough. They lived it out daily through to the end.
May we be a generation of heroes….
Sex trafficking globally generates $58,000,000,000. That is 58 BILLION dollars. This is some 6 times more money than the entire U.S. movie industry’s annual ticket sales. The sex slave trade produces a staggering and escalating amount of revenue with trafficking being the fastest growing industry in the criminal world. With that, the number of lives being stolen silently is a staggering 2,500,000 victims. That is more people in slavery in 2010 than the populations of Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined.
Currently, Anne Jackson, author and blogger, is working with a group to raise awareness on the sex trafficking plight of so many. She is traveling in Eastern Europe finding and telling the stories from the area where two-thirds of the 2.5 million victims are snatched. Please check out her stories and links as she shines the light on this dark reality. Also, for more information on the facts, go here. (Thanks to Justin Long for the link.)
While this topic is not the normal fare on my blog, it fits rather well, I believe, with what Michael Frost shares about the purpose of the church in the latest video I posted. As the church declares the reign of God by showing kindness and helping to restore shattered lives, it begins to look very much like Christ. Feel free to leave your thoughts on how this plight and the church should or does intersect.
Finally, I am including a video that journalist Misha Glenny delivered at the TED conference this past year. Though a bit lengthy, it gives a broad overview of today’s organized crime world and the challenges facing the world today. It helps give understanding on how sex trafficking and other crimes on such a global scale is possible.
Here is the second installment of an interview with Michael Frost–co-author with Alan Hirsch of The Shaping of Things to Come and REJESUS. In this segment, he speaks of a majority in the west that are “disgusted, repelled, disturbed, [or] want nothing more to do with [an attractional model of church].”
The U.S. State Dept (2004) estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are caught in international human trafficking every year. A majority of those are female and half of them are children. This unthinkable crime is happening on an epic scale.
Anne Jackson, author of Mad Church Disease and prolific blogger, is increasing awareness about human trafficking in Eastern Europe and Russia–some of the main exporters to Western Europe and the U.S. prostitution industry. Please check out her thoughts throughout the week to learn more about the modern day slave trade and possible ways to be involved in acts of mercy and justice for those involved.
Last month I had the privilege of spending some time with Michael Frost and his lovely wife. One of the primary reasons for this time was to shoot some video for an upcoming project…more on that in the future, but it will be great! During the video shoot with all of the normal professional video gear, I plopped a little Flip Video cam up to capture some of the content and make it available sooner and to this audience. The upside is the videos will be made available in short clips over the upcoming weeks. The downside is that there were constraints on the editing that can be done which impacts the audio a bit. Also, it required some creative video editing that gives Frost a bit of an angelic appearance. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. (smile)
In this first piece he identifies some of the problems faced and insights available for those that have been about disciple-making and church-planting in cultures that are a little further down the road of secularization and appearing more and more as a post-Christian context. At this point, let me make a brief plug for readers to consider the issue of disorientation that is facilitated by being involved in international and/or cross-cultural engagement.