Well, we're heading up the Central Coast to Avoca tomorrow. I just love spending New Years Eve at the beach - either on or overlooking it. It has been a sort of ritual for me since I was a kid and fortunately I have quite a few mates that share my inclinations. We'll be gathering once again at my mate Scott's house with the other Sydney pilgrims. Bunking down on the floors or wherever. So don't expect an update for a few days.
John Smulo, a personal friend and fellow Community of Hope co-conspirator, has now formally announced he's leaving his job as head of the School of Apologetics at Morling Collage, Sydney, and is heading back to northern California to plant a church after the 13th of January 2006.
To provide a bit of context for my Emergent readers outside of Sydney, John works alongside Mike Frost at the collage, has written widely on contextualizing the Christian message for Satanists (i.e. the real ones rather than the fictitious characters of Christian Urban Legend and Deliverance Ministry imaginings) and generally goes for the Anton LeVey look (or at least we think so). You'll find some of his writings at Sacred Tribes. You Yanks don't know what a teriffic guy you're getting. All the best John.
My mate Simeon tells me my article on contemporary 'gentile circumcision' has just come out in the latest issue of Zadoc Magazine. Yay.
The December issue focuses on the Emerging Church and some months ago I was asked to contribute as a Sydney voice. What’s my contribution all about? Bringing the cultural imperialism critiques developed by the world missions movement in Third World contexts back home to roost in the increasingly pluralistic West. I’ve approached it primarily from a testimonial direction since my strengths lie with my field experience in postmodern discipleship and apologetics rather than academic rigor. Anyway, I am a bit nervous on how it will be received since it lobs hand grenades in various directions – including back at ourselves - but hopefully it'll be chewed over in the same constructively critical spirit which it is intended to nurture.
I am feeling even more … don’t know what …ambivalent? ... since Simeon said in the message that it follows straight after an article by Brian McLaren. Not sure how to take that. Was he joking? Suppose I’ll just have to wait for my copy to arrive. I feel like a bit of an imposter to be put next to a guy with that sort of profile. How’s that for candid honesty? Still, I need to remember that I wrote it for all those who, like me, are crying for some space to grow spiritually in Christian community. So I do want people to read it even if I feel so inadequate as a communicator.
PS. If any of you reading this are doing so as a consequence of reading the Zadoc article and want to see where I am really at home, make sure you check out my more neotribally inclined blog at http://mattstone.blogs.com/ekstasis. It makes fewer concessions for churched Christians but is probably all the more instructive for that.
John Morehead has posted a brief interview with Philip Jenkins, author of "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity" at Morehead's Musings. Check it out. Like John I consider the Jenkins book to be essential reading.