Tom Sine Travelling in Turbulent Times

I just talked to Tom who is now in Manchester England on his book tour for The New Conspirators.  Amazingly he has not gotten lost once and is having a great time reconnecting to old friends and making new ones.  Here is a podcast from Moot in Oxford where he spoke over the weekend

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Coming to Australia

Tom & I will be in Australia April 6 – 26. I will mainly be there to visit my family but Tom will also be doing speaking at various events. Here is our tentative schedule.

Monday 7 Morling College – Baptist ministers – ‘New Conspirators’ (Mike Frost MikeF@morling.edu.au)
Tuesday 8 ——–
Wednesday 9 3pm – Macquarie Christian Studies Institute – staff, faculty, board, uni student leaders – ‘New Conspirators’
Thursday 10 Driving from Sydney to Melbourne
Friday 11 Evangelical Alliance, Engage Project (Melbourne) – Social and Cultural Trends
Saturday 12 Forge Conference (Kim Hammond kim@thejunction.info); Philip Hughes & Peter Brierly 2-5pm at Tracy Centre (Lausanne) (p.hughes@cra.org.au); Evening – dinner with 8th Day folk
Sunday 13 Forge Conference – attending?
Monday 14 Forge Conference – attending?; PM Solace group (Emerging Church) – 8pm
Tuesday 15 Morning free (Philip Hughes 1-2 hrs); Urban Seed (Gordon Preece gordon.preece@urbanseed.org); Dinner with Andrew Menzies (Allelon Project) et al
Wednesday 16 Driving from Melbourne to Sydney
Thursday 17 Evangelical Alliance, Engage Project (Sydney) – Social and Cultural Trends
Friday 18 ——–
Saturday 19 ——–
Sunday 20 Speaking am – Hornsby Baptist Church (church is basing its studies Living on Purpose) – followed by lunch; PM ‘Teleconference’ round table – Anabaptist Network (AAANZ)
Monday 21 Confronting the Powers – New Conspirators – TEAR/EA/AAANZ/World Vision 7pm
Tuesday 22 AM Tom flies to Perth; Afternoon – meet with Jarrod McKenna; Evening (TBC) – Newbigin group on your version of ‘public theology’
Wednesday 23 Jarrod McKenna
Thursday 24 Jarrod McKenna TBC
Friday 25 Jarrod McKenna TBC; PM Tom flies to Sydney
Saturday 26 ——-
TBC – To Be Confirmed

The New Conspirators – final countdown

Our first international traveller Mark Pierson has just arrived from New Zealand (with a new supply of tea and vegemite for me) and we are on the final countdown for The New Conspirators: What in the World is God Doing.  This is shaping up to be the most exciting conference we have ever held  Our speakers come from a broad array of backgrounds and our registrants from an even broader spectrum.  We are looking forward particularly to the opportunities there will be to brainstorm together and to imagine new possibilities for life and mission.  If you can’t join us make sure you check out the website for updates throughout the conference and for the MP3s that will be available afterwards.

As well as this Tom’s new book The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed At a Time,  was released last week so we are juggling conference & book… what a week!

Monks, Community & Rule of Life

Yesterday the Boston Globe printed a great article The Unexpected Monks, on the move towards monasticism by many evangelicals.  It is something that resonates very deeply with me personally as well as with all of us at MSA.  In fact we are in the process of reimagining MSA as a network of communities with a common rule of life.  We believe that God calls all of us to embody an incarnational faith in all aspects of our lives but we all need spiritual disciplines that enable us to live that out.

After the New Conspirators conference we plan to spend a extended time fleshing out what our rule of life should look like.   Below is an outline I wrote for our Board meeting last Saturday that outlines some of our reasoning on Why Community?    Even though we have been working on this for years we feel we are still very much in the early stages and would appreciate your prayers and comments as we move forward.  Tomorrow I will post some thoughts on Why a Rule of Life?  Lent – the season for reflection and self examination seems a good time to grapple with these issues.

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In the standard non-profit organizational model, staff are expected to fulfill a professional role with clearly defined job expectations but rarely are they expected to also embody the values of God’s kingdom in their entire lives.  We know of numbers of Christian professionals who don’t go to church or maintain regular spiritual disciplines.   Increasingly however we find Christians want to see a more authentic incarnational faith modelled by those they work and live with. 

 Why Community?

 Early Christians believed that God comes to us in community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a perfect harmony of relationship.  They reasoned that as the essential nature of God is love and because it is impossible to practice love in isolation, God the Trinity must be a model of perfect community.   Augustine believed that living together with others is necessary for the cultivation of spiritual formation and maturity especially for the discipline of love. “Perfection in the spiritual life is impossible to attain as long as a person lives alone, for how can that person learn how to love?”[1]   The purpose of monastic communities became not just to establish a regimen of discipline but to nurture spiritual growth and so “help facilitate the restoration of the image of God in sinful humans.” [2]  As well as this, the Celtic monasteries were “colonies of heaven, planted on earth to point as a sign and harbinger of the Kingdom that was yet to come.”[3] They offered hospitality and provided a sacred space in which visitors could develop a regular rhythm of prayer and worship in the midst of their everyday activities.  They also became educational and resource centres and the centres out of which mission was accomplished. 

 Thinking of God as community that embraces not just the Godhead but also the international community of God’s people forces us to rethink everything:

1.      To become a disciple today does not necessarily mean that we all need to live together in a residential community but it does mean reorienting our thinking to more of a community world view.  In this world view discipleship is not about giving assent to a set of spiritual laws but rather means we are drawn into this community of mutual love and relationship. We become part of God’s international community with sisters and brothers from every tribe and nation, with the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the sick, the lonely, the disabled, the homeless, the marginalized and the abandoned.  If God comes to us in community then it is impossible to reflect the image of God unless we too are willing to share life with others in God’s community. “The people of God are privileged to belong to this community through the redemptive work of Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.  Such an experience of love inspired early Christians to share it with others…they believed that Jesus Christ came to redeem and reclaim the fallen world, which involved even the most ordinary and routine matters of life, such as marriage and family, stewardship of money, treatment of friends and enemies and daily conduct. ”[4]

2.      To do mission is no longer seen as wanting to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of others.  Rather it is about learning to “love our neighbours as we do ourselves”.  It is a recognition of the fact that we cannot share life with other members of God’s international family as God intended unless we are in loving relationships willing to enter into the life journeys of others – to share their pain and their sorrows, to celebrate their joys and their triumphs

3.      Spiritual disciplines become those shared practices that renew our faith in God and God’s kingdom vision for an eternal shalom world in which there will no longer be any pain or suffering or oppression or disease – as well as reconnecting us to others that hold the same beliefs.  A rule of life then becomes the vehicle through which we are able to develop practices that connect us to God, to God’s world wide community and to God’s world.  

 It is because of our conviction that we are called to reflect, albeit very inadequately, the image of our loving God and to model something of God’s shalom kingdom vision that we believe we need to become a community rather than a programme based organization.   Though everyone involved in MSA does not and never will live in residential communities, we recognize that there is a need to foster a sense of shared spirituality and commitment in order to accomplish our MSA goals. 


[1] Gerald L Sittser, Water from a Deep Well, (Downer’s Grove, Il, Intervarsity Press, 2007) p105

[2] Ibid p103

[3] Ian Bradley, Colonies of Heaven: Celtic Christian Communities Live the Tradition, (Kelowna, BC Canada, Northstone Publishing, 2000) p18

[4]Sittzer  p60

Course Credit for New Conspirators

We are really gaining momentum as we move towards our MSA conference The New Conspirators.  We are particularly encouraged by the fact that several local universities and seminaries are giving course credits to their students.  Though we are hoping for a broad scope of ages, denominations and backgrounds we believe that young people are the main ones who will lead the new conspirator parade into the future.  Check it out

Upcoming Events

Thought I would let you know about upcoming events at Mustard Seed Associates. I have already shared about our conference The New Conspirators, but we also have some smaller events coming up before the end of the year.

Restoration Village meets MSA at the Shafer Baillie Mansion 907 14th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112, November 3rd, 2007
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Suggested donation: $10

Come hear the musical stylings of Tracy Howe of the Restoration Project, a vision of musical and artistic partnership: “[The Project] is founded upon the eternal hope of a loving creator and a belief that artists able to express anything about this hope and creator become a vehicle for spiritual and relational restoration.”

We will also be showing my photography & cards as well as the photography of Eliacin Rosario-Cruz  I hope that those of you who are in Seattle can join us.

For another opportunity to interact and learn more about MSA, visit our booth at the Skinner Auditorium  St. Marks Cathedral 1245 10th Ave E, Seattle Wa 98102, November 17 10am – 6 pm or November  18 9am – 4pm for their non profit fair.  You can also support other local non profit groups and ministries offering international, fair income holiday items that benefit social justice, environmental sustainability and cultural diversity.  


Tom and I will also be conducting a seminar at Washington Cathedral October 27th.living-on-purpose-washington-cathedral.jpg

If you are interested you can register at http://www.wacathedral.org or 425 869 5433

The New Conspirators

The New Conspirators

We are just starting to get ready for our conference The New Conspirators: What in the World is God Doing? February 28, 29 & March 1 next year. I am really excited by what we already have planned. Shane Claiborne will be with us again & Mark Pierson will be coming from New Zealand. We are hoping to have a good representation of speakers from the 4 streams of renewal that we want to emphacize – the emerging, missional, monastic and mosaic streams.

I find that preparing for a conference is always a challenging & stretching process that forces us to rethink why we do what we do & how we are going to live out our values in spite of the pressures to make ends meet financially and to conform to participants expectations of what a conference should look like. We want to highlight our commitment to creation care, our concern for the marginalized and our desire to see all God’s people live their lives to the rhythms of wholeness and completeness that God intends for them. I will probably be reflecting on this a lot more in the coming weeks.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on how we can emphacize these values – apart from holding seminars on all these topics that is.