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The Pastor as Cultural Exegete

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(This post first appeared in Missio Alliance)
One thing that I am usually wrestling with as a pastor of a suburban church in Sydney, is how the church can embody the narrative of the Kingdom of God story in a culture which displays so many false narratives. In a culture of pragmatism, to what extent do we ‘market’ the church? In a society which displays such narcissism how do I make sure I am not preaching a merely therapeutic gospel? In a context where busyness and distraction dominate how do I explain the complexities of the gospel and foster a reflective community? In a city which is defined by consumerism, how do I cultivate a value of commitment to the local church? These questions and more continually swirl in my mind as I lead my church in a post Christendom context in Australia.

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White Picket Fences

I spent a few hours the other day walking around suburbia noticing and seeing the little things that we usually walk past everyday without paying any attention.

‘The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise.’ Annie Dillard.

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Practicing Simplicity in the Suburbs

Can you be radical even though you live in the suburbs?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately as I hear people tell inspiring stories about people who have given it all up and gone to live their lives in meager circumstances. I hear of people who leave suburbia with all its comforts to dwell with the poor in lower socio economic towns, I hear of families that pack up and go to work and live in slums in the majority world, I hear of people who move to more dangerous parts of the world, live their lives there, raise their children and love the community they live in all so that they might be a light in the darkness to that place. Continue reading Practicing Simplicity in the Suburbs