Be a Difference; Make A Difference – Podcast by Tom Sine

Here is the latest podcast that Tom has done talking about ways to make a difference and be a difference.  He was interviewed by Jonathan Blundell last week on Something Beautiful

Heading to Holland

Tomorrow Tom & I leave early for a flight to Amsterdam and a 2 week tour of the Netherlands.  We are mainly working with an organization called Time To Turn

However we have several other speaking engagements and are particularly looking forward to the opportunity to catch up with friends we have not seen for many years.  To me catching up with friends like this is a foretaste of heaven.  It reminds me of a line from one of the Narnia books “There is nothing like a joke that has been forgotten for 400 years. ”  Now it may not be 400 years since we saw most of our Dutch friends but it is still wonderful to reminisce and share fellowship together.  Much to my delight an Australian friend that I went to medical school with will be in Europe too and she will come and spend a day with us in Delft.

We would appreciate your prayers as we travel

Here is our complete itinerary. If you are interested in attending one of these events please contact Wanda Schuurman Time to Turn, Faustdreef 183, 3561 LG Utrecht
tel: 030-2621969: wanda@timetoturn.nl

The New Conspirators Tour

with Tom and Christine Sine

morning afternoon evening
Wed 15 Oct 07.00 arrival / free time / / free time /
Thu 16 Oct 10.00Interview with Maarten Vermeulen for Nederlands Dagblad) 15.00Interview with Frank Mulder for magazine CV Koers / free time /
Fri  17 Oct 15.00-20.00 Symposium Evangelical Alliance + book launch (continued)
Sat  18 Oct 14.00-17.00Emerging Network Utrecht

Utrecht

Sun 19 Oct 11.30 and 14.00Dutch Reformed Church Houten

2 services

(continued) Meeting in Utrecht Overvecht
Mon 20 Oct Gerard Kelly lunch or coffee 20.00Workshop Imagine That Amsterdam
Tue 21 Oct Rik Zutphen Gouda
Wed 22 Oct 10.00Emerging Church Foremen

Utrecht

20.00 Meeting with protestant Christians in Best
Thu 23 Oct 10.00-16.00 Youth for Christ, training for youth workers (continued) 19.30-22.00 Dutch Reformed Church Utrecht
Fri 24 Oct Jeff Fountain 19.00Time to Turn festival, Delft
Sat 25 Oct Time to Turn festival workshop Time to Turn festivalfree time Time to Turn festivalservice
Sun 26 Oct 10.00Christ Church Amsterdam

service

(continued) Leadership meeting Christ Church Amsterdam (optional)
Mon 27 Oct 09.55 departure

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

Tom Sine Podcast

Thought that you might be interested in this podcast that Tom did last week on The New Conspirators.

Still Reading

These last couple of weeks have been a feast of reading for me. I have gone through two books by Tom DavisFields of the Fatherless and Red Letters. Great books with lots of stories about how to share the joy of compassionate living. In Fields of The Fatherless I was particularly impacted by the chapter on “What Does God Look LIke?” – My favourite quote is

“I think for the first time I saw the face of God – I saw it in the elderly woman who was lying on the ground in need of someone who would show her compassion.”

I been thinking a lot lately about the faces of a God who entered into the pain and suffering of our world in such a personal and intimate way. We are so used to looking for God in the prosperous and happy that we forget God is also reflected in the abandoned and despised – very profound and moving experience that will change our lives and hopefully force us to do more than just reflect.

In Red Letter I particularly enjoyed the chapter How to Bleed which gives practical suggestions on how to get involved on how to be Christ’s hands and feet in our world. I would highly recommend both these books to all who are interested in being God’s compassionate response to the needs of the world

I must confess however that my favourite book of the week was Isabel Allende’s The City of the Beast, a novel set in the Amazon basin that looks at issues of exploitation of Indians who have lived in the area unchanged for thousands of years. It is marketed as a book for young adults partly I think because it is also a coming of age book about two young teenagers on an expedition to find the Beast. However it is also a fascinating look at the so called “primitive” culture of the Amazonian Indians.

I also feel I should mention that my husband’s book The New Conspirators, is getting quite a bit of attention on the blogosphere. You can check it out on the official New Conspirators website

Byron Borger from Hearts and Minds bookstore in Pennsylvania has done a particularly in depth review. And the bookstore is even offering a special price for those who have not yet bought a copy.

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

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.

_________________________________

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