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Goodbye old friends September 24, 2018

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This August, I said goodbye to my well loved camera equipment. I have been a fan of the Olympus DSLR 4/3rds system and have valued the exceptional quality of their lenses, both kit and prime, in the last 12 years. 30822304408_fa5c33faea_mThe e-500 and the e-520 have been great workhorses and have accompanied me on my travels in my ‘digital SLR years’ after the c-5050 zoom, a fixed lens digital camera. (Still rates as one of the best ever lenses on a fixed lens camera).

The trade in was easy and has enabled me to transition to a Canon DSLR body with a Tamron lens. So far, the switch is a positive one but there is a little sadness in leaving behind a system to which I had become accustomed and having to learn new dials, settings and options. In time, the new set up will grow and I will learn the details – thankfully taking pictures is just the same….just need to get better at composition and light!!

Quotes June 8, 2018

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“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
J.K. Rowling
“The bravest people are the ones who don’t mind looking like cowards.”
T.H. White

Top 10 Basketball Players of All Time May 11, 2018

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The fabulous SLAM Magazine have recently published another great collectors magazine citinTop100-Cover-IGg the #100 greatest players of all time. It is a major undertaking and one that will never receive unanimous agreement.

The challenges to any list like this are memory, type of stats we look to and the make up of the league at any one time.  Stats only tell a partial story, the league has had regular expansion which changes the challenge for titles and our memories usually gravitate to the players we remember best. The current players in our league are exceptional and in a couple of years time, the top 10 may well change.

My Top 10 of all time are:

#1 – Michael Jordan and Lebron James (Tied) – These players are stand out and clearly ahead of the field but I do not believe they can be split at this stage. There are so many ‘Ifs’ with Jordan but in a list like this, he took 3 years out and that damages what may have been. Lebron may well sneak ahead after a couple of more seasons but at present these guys are the top of the pile.

#3 – Bill Russell – Words cannot do justice to all that Russell achieved and the way he played the game. He found ways to win and with an unblemished finals record of 11-0 and was a great team player.

#4 – Magic Johnson and Larry Bird (Tied) – Without each other, neither would have reached their heights, the challenge to beat one another rescued the league, brought rivalry to a new level and once again brought the ‘team game’ to basketball. It is more than stats, the aura they brought to the floor, the expectation of winning challenged any competitor before the first tip. As individuals, Magic rises ahead, with the team ethic, Larry marches on – overall – impossible to split.

#6 – Kobe Bryant – The Black Mamba was exceptional and achieved at times when he should not have done. His mentality and drive changed peoples perception of the game and he consistently delivered.

#7 – Wilt Chamberlain – A champion who came second. His failing was being in the same era as Bill Russell but he may have matched his counterpart if he played better team ball. He controlled the rock and dominated so much…but was just a step away from that top 5.

#8 – Hakeem Olajuwon – A powerhouse of a centre who may have won more finger jewellery if it was not for a certain Bulls legend. He brought fear to the opposition and won games with both offensive and defensive intensity, even getting that elusive quadruple double.

#9 – Tim Duncan – Mr Consistency who delivered without the support that other teams had. He led when necessary and took a back seat when necessary – he had it all and the rings to demonstrate it. One of those players who was technically brilliant – with a little more flexibility and support, he may have been in that top 5.

#10 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – He should have been #1 and perhaps could have been. However, that mid career blip that needed Magic to re-invigorate him denied him that stand out brilliance. You can never doubt the talent, the brilliance but the lack of career long intensity denies him so much.

In future, will Kevin Durant or Steph Curry be in the mix? What about Shaq or Dave Cowens?  No list is perfect and all are arguable but we can all be grateful that these discussions are a lot of fun. What about you? Who would make your top 10?

Quote from Mike Breen April 25, 2018

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“Reaching the world requires us to release the church to penetrate society, rather than simply offering more centralized services. Such a church, gradually infiltrating subversively through all the networks of society, will birth genuine city transformation. As church history proves, this is the sort of movement that people will give their lives for. This network of tribes will share common values and the same dream, yet each will find unique and tailored ways to express and live them out in their place of service.”

Mike Breen

Everything has a cost….doesn’t it? April 17, 2018

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In this digital age, we have become accustomed to having things that make us more connected, maybe productive…at no extra cost. Or have we? The recent privacy debacle with Facebook has shown that there is a cost to the ‘free services’ that we inhabit. It is the data we give away, without thought and seemingly without care. Facebook is not alone, think google, yahoo and others…think of credit card companies who know our movements and purchasing….think of store cards that mean changed store layouts based on our habits – the customers. We are in the Brave New World….these things we get for free have a hidden cost. These days that cost is becoming a little more visible.

Quick Quotes April 16, 2018

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“Life involves commitment, responsibility, dedication, persistence, and hard work”
Zig Ziglar
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“A sunny disposition is the very soul of success, enabling a man to do double the labour that he could without it, and to do half the physical and mental exhaustion.”
William Mathews
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“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton
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“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they’ve never failed to imitate them.”
James Baldwin

 

More short book reviews April 10, 2018

Posted by thehutch in book review, books, church, leadership, mission, ponderings.
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41msZhS8f1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Haverim – Paul Clayton Gibbs 

I read this one on recommendation and came away encouraged but not blown away. This book is a great place to start if you are new to leading a small group bible study and will give plenty to get your teeth into, practically as well as for thinking. It lays out good practice, handy tips and a philosophy of learning that would be good for more people to adopt. 7/10

 

Image 10-04-2018 at 09.29Canoeing the Mountains – Tod Bolsinger

A book on leadership that bounces off the story of explorers, Lewis and Clark, and utilises the experiences of the author in dealing with new and unexpected challenges. There are the usual aspects of leadership theory, good practical helps and a solid framework on which it all hangs. A well written book that will provide good resonance for leaders who need a level of creativity. 8/10

 

Book Review – 4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers March 7, 2018

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We have a calling to reach out to all people and yet there are some who feel isolated, condemned and unwelcome in our churches. The LGBTQ teens have often been pushed aside and the stories of mental health issues, suicide, bullying etc. are never ending. As Church, we need to do something…our arguments are alienating people from the love of Christ and the fellowship of faith.

4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers is a book published by the Youth Cartel that wants youth workers/ministers/pastors etc. to rethink how we engage with youngsters on the margins who are often isolated and avoided by church. Whatever your theological positioning, the Church does not have a good track record and something has to change, or we will continue to abdicate our responsibility leaving vulnerable young people further condemned and judged.

This book steps into a space to try and help those engaged in Christian youth ministry think through how they may be better equipped to honour those who find themselves in a place where a welcome is less than welcoming.  The book takes a conversational style which includes testimony and practice from one practitioner and has a response from a second contributor. This is done remarkably well although it does not provide all the answers, nor attempt to provide a theological treatise, but rather seeks to begin conversations. It is not possible to join the conversation and not change practice. It is not possible to avoid being humbled by our own failings whilst engaging with our LGBTQ community – this has to be good news! Reading this book and joining the conversation has changed my own thinking and is nudging me towards being a better ambassador of Christ.

The main contributors do a good job of seeking to share their perspective without forcing  a personal agenda although that struggle comes through on occasion. Each viewpoint gives insight to the difficulties faced when pastoring LGBTQ youth and highlights the personal struggles that a pastor goes through when seeking to support the very people they are called to serve, especially when a church congregation holds a traditional conservative approach to sexuality.

I would recommend the book because it opens up conversation – there were moments when I wanted to thank the contributor and give them a pat on the back and moments when I wanted to say, No Way! This for me, makes a good book. It is impossible not to  tread on toes and there were a few moments when I wanted to challenge theological thinking but this does not take away from the importance of the contributions.

Thank you to all involved for beginning this journey. I am looking forward to see how it will unfold.

Personal scoring 4/5

To buy a copy in the UK – follow the link from Gemma Dunning page here

Changes in the Missions World October 3, 2017

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There have been significant changes within the mission world, during the last 2 decades, that are beginning to re-shape our world. Like all things, some are ahead of the curve and others lagging but they are happening as the para-church agencies, and churches, are grappling with seismic shifts that are enforcing new ways of working.

3 of the most important moves have been:

a) a move to partnerships – there is recognition that we are unable to work alone and have to begin working together. This is apparent in both mission agencies and church denominations.

b) Church being central – Agencies in particular are realising the need to work with and alongside the church, rather than ‘for’ the church. For some agencies, this is a change that has radically re-ordered their ministry.

c) Equipping – many mission agencies are moving beyond the ‘doing’ to equipping the saints for works of service. This allows and provides opportunity for a greater contextual ministry in a globalised world and helps the church seed new initiatives. Training is in vogue again!

How these changes are being managed is open for debate but they remain essential. These are exciting days.

 

 

We cannot avoid dangers and troubles…. September 22, 2017

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If the highest aim of a captain was to preserve his ship,

he would leave it at port, forever.”    Aquinas

Too often, we seek for safety and security at the expense of living life to the full. We want the great celebratory moments without the stepping stones of effort, pain and hurt that get us to this point. We should not avoid danger, we should not discount how the difficulties of life mould and shape us and we should never forget that the smallest of things can have the profoundest of impacts in life.

If we were to bleach, clean and remove all dirt and germs from our children toys, they would never develop a healthy immune system. In fact, they would be more at risk of the things that we fear, not less.  In life, do not fear the difficulties and problems, instead learn from them, grow from them and flourish in the new found skills and attitudes that will result.

Your job is not to stay safe on the shoreline but rather to explore the new horizons and the new worlds that are over the sea. Happy sailing!