Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Well, we have all been very sick here in the Tucker home this past week. It's made our time somewhat less enjoyable over the holidays. The kids have had the deep, chesty coughs and runny noses, Christy has had nausea and related symptoms, and I've had the same as the kids but with the added bonus of not being able to hear. Both of my ears went silent and finally one is back. Anyway, the sickness meant that we had to cancel two meals out with friends, as well as two sets of visitors staying with us. Unfortunate.
On the brighter side, it's meant that we've had uninterrupted time together as a family in the home - all three of them all to myself - and that's been wonderful! Recently, Neve was in her first play. She was an angel and her line was, "I'm lost. Can you show me the way to Bethlehem so I can see the Baby?" Too cute. Both Neve and Aidan had an audience with Santa and plenty of time to play with (and fight over) their newly acquired toys. One of our surprise pluses has been the fact that we've been able to do video conferencing with some family over the holidays - now that's good stuff.
Wherever you are, whatever you're up to . . may these final days of 2006 be both reflective and affirming of your telos, or purpose, in this great wide world as we enter 2007. May God surprise you in the year ahead!!!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
As part of the evening, a rising musician called Foy Vance appeared to play two songs - An Indescriminate Act of Kindness and Gabriel and the Vagabond. Foy's willingness to join us for the night was a real treat. This was only the second time I had ever heard him (the previous being one song on television). After the event I had the opportunity to get to know Foy a bit better at a Chinese with a few friends. It was great being able to talk art, faith and culture with him and the other boys - Andrew and Gareth - and share some of the vision for Dreamers of the Day. I especially appreciated the time because Dreamers' exists to a certain extent to serve artists' like Foy. Below are a few vids of Foy and/or his music. You may have caught his song Gabriel and the Vagabond on Grey's Anatomy.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
This fourth interview is with Paul Fromont of Prodigal Kiwis.
Nxt: What is spiritual formation to you?
Paul: Christian Spiritual formation, in many ways hinges on how we understand the word “spiritual,” i.e. what does it mean for us to be spiritually formed?
Spirituality, it seems to me, has a lot to do with what David Bosch describes as being in tune with what God is doing in the world and participating in God’s work (missio Dei). It also has to do with being in tune with what God is doing inwardly in us – for this too is part of the missio Dei.
At the end of the day, however, Christian spirituality has simply to do with our responding to the increasing vitality and sway of God’s Spirit within and without us.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Here is a link to a well written article on an ultimately important issue in the lives of those who tend the souls of people world-wide. It's about taking intentional periods of 'true' rest. The principle holds true for not just for those who are employed in Christian circles, but for the rest of the Body of Christ and, dare I say, for all of humanity. If it's true as Dallas Willard says that ". . hurry is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life", then many who are not in the family of God may be more inclined to receive and respond to His love and grace if only they took the time to be still and silent in solitude. If this is true of the still 'estranged' family of God, what does it imply for those of us who are now a part of the Vine? Take a moment to reflect on what life could be like . . .
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
“I don’t know of any other profession in which it is quite as easy to fake it as in ours. By adopting a reverential demeanor, cultivating a stained-glass voice, slipping occasional words like “eschatology” into conversation….not often enough actually to confuse people but enough to keep them aware that our habitual train of thought is a cut above the pew level–we are trusted, without any questions asked, as stewards of the mysteries. Most people…know that we are in fact surrounded by enormous mysteries: birth and death, good and evil, suffering and joy, grace, mercy, forgiveness. It takes only a hint here and a gesture there, an empathetic sigh, or a compassionate touch to convey that we are at home and expert in these deep matters.
“Even when in occasional fits of humility and honesty we disclaim sanctity, we are not believed. People have a need to be reassured that someone is in touch with the ultimate things. Their own interior lives are a muddle of shopping lists and good intentions, guilty adulteries (whether fantasized or actual) and episodes of heroic virtue, desires for holiness mixed with greed for self-satisfaction. They hope to do better someday beginning maybe tomorrow or at the latest next week. Meanwhile, they need someone around who can stand in for them, on whom they can project their wishes for a life pleasing to God. If we provide a bare bones outline of pretense, they take it as the real thing and run with it, imputing to us clean hands and pure hearts.”
From the introduction of “Working the Angles” by Eugene
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Christy's youngest sister is visiting with us right now with her boyfriend. During their time with us we will be showing them around the island a bit and introducing them to all things Irish. I always love playing tour guide, showing people around this magnificient place we call home and revelaing a bit of history to those intrested. I'm wondering . . . if you've been to Ireland where / what are your favourite places to spend time? It may help me decide where to take them. If I use your idea you may win a free trip to the Emerald Isle! Or not . . .
Thursday, September 21, 2006
"Holistic, interdisciplinary and cross-platform: These are all buzzwords in contemporary society which point to a growing realisation of the interdependence of all life including and perhaps especially human activity. Strangely enough, one of the most resistant bodies to such an approach is the Church which generally though not exclusively tends to define its endeavours and pursuits on a higher and thus superior level, supposedly impervious to the insights of wider society. This attitude protects the Church from being susceptible to the fickle culture of the 'latest fad', which so often is shown to be over-hyped and underwhelming. On the down side, it may be that the Church misses out on the insights and discoveries made in other areas of human endeavour which might enlighten and improve its own self-understanding and praxis . . ." more
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
It's an interesting (yet understandable) world in which you'd find that Ireland is at the top of the game internationally in terms of it's economy and societal influences, so says The Economist, but also at the top of the list for the most 'lonely' country on the face of the planet (inferred). I wonder if we're getting our true first taste of the emptiness which comes from the pursuit of 'possessions'? The answer is outside ourselves . . . it must be!
Friday, September 15, 2006
A re-post by friend Ben Price on the place of artists in the Church over the last few centuries:
"I think that is exactly what we are experiencing. I think that Protestantism is still experiencing the ramifications of swinging the "Sola Scriptura" pendulum all the way to Subject + Written Word = Truth. The unintended consequence of taking out the priestly middle man from the equation is that we eliminated the need for all storytellers, which included our artists. It took a few generations, but by the late 1800's the "Christian" Artist was nearly extinct.
I think the modern age has generally engaged with religion/spirituality/faith/whatever in one of two ways--either 1)belief in God is irrational so it is impossible--end of discussion (but lets keep meeting for moral/community reasons). OR 2) if we just work hard enough we can reason ourselves to God. You see, he makes sense if you interpret Genesis 2 this way and if you reject these laws of physics and so on. This is, I think what most evangelicals have done.
But either option, I think, leaves artists on the outside looking in. Both ASSUME the supremacy of reason, one to reject faith, the other to support it. But I think art is often "supra-rational" not irrational, but beyond it. It does not rely on reason to get its message across. The hegemony did not have room for mystery (and in many ways, did not have room for prophecy either).
Whoa, I kind of went off . . . what was my point? Oh, yeah, you're right, the problem is there are no artists left and until we take control of the hegemony (the power to control the conversation) in faith communities and give space on the margins for our artists, we won't see them come back."
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
I've had a strong desire for a long time to be apart of a creative community of like-hearted individuals pursuing Christ passionately, while making an eternally significant impact on the wider world. A dream for a retreat and training facility was birthed in 1999, and the establishment of an organisation to help people create space to engage more meaningfully with God and others - called Dreamers of the Day - followed in 2003 with our first event 'Thirst'. I have longed to return to the 'glory days' of working with creative types when I was involved in concert promotion at Taylor University - I miss being with artists on a regular basis. I have been lately (for a number of years) dreaming of helping to start a festival in celebration of the arts and faith. I now see it more clearly than ever before and yet I'm more frustrated than ever because it seems so close yet just out of reach! There have been many 'promises' made from more established individuals in various life situations who would have contributed significantly to such a vision, and whom would been wonderful to work with - but alas, words mean nothing if action isn't evoked. I have lost 'faith' many times in a vision of creatively communicating Christ with the world through the Arts and time-tested Christian practices - only to be set aflame again. I am tired and weary of carrying a vision that never quite seems to materialise. But the flame hasn't been blown out . . .
I believe Jesus Christ gives life to the full like no other. I believe this world is hungrier than ever for the Bread of Heaven and the Water of Life. I believe in the influence of the arts to inspire and challenge a complacent, dead humanity. I believe in the power of first-encounters with a un-imaginable God who loves irrationally - and is Love Himself. I believe Ireland is strategically poised: geographically, historically and presently to be an ideal incubator for a new wave of God's activity to spread throughout our desperately starved world. I believe God will/is envisioning a few bold, creative, abandoning, sacrificial followers to lead the way.
Do you sense God inviting you to join Him in His work in this world in a manner that is culturally relevant to the emerging context in which we exist? Are you being stripped naked by the Spirit of God to become more of who you were meant to be and not less? Are you hungry, really hungry, for God to feed you with Himself and involve you in His mission? I am. I am. I am . . .
Are you one of these people?
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
"Honest people impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else. The Yes Men have impersonated some of the world's most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities. They currently have hundreds of thousands of job openings. Sign up today!"
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
"Not long ago Kevin Miller commented at Out of Ur that we already have a proven model for spiritual formation in the monastic movement.
Later Paul at Prodigal Kiwis commented on a new book from Cistercian publications -- A Monastic Vision for the 21st Century: Where do we go from here? The book is edited and with an introduction by Patrick Hart and due in December.
"An ancient lifestyle which has been adapted, renewed, and is still being followed today; monasticism appears to some outside it as a quaint anachronism and to others as the sanest of all ways of living. Can it survive in the post post-modern world? A dozen insiders and outsiders -monastics, academics, clergy, laypersons, hermits, cenobites, poets, and writers - offer their reflections on the future of the monastic life of prayer and community "
more of this post can be found here
What patterns or rhythms have you adopted / established that help align you with God and impart life through a more intimate, pervasive connection with our Father?
Let's get those comments rollin' in!
Monday, August 14, 2006
An excerpt from a work that G.K. Chesterton wrote (I think!) on St. Francis of Assisi:
"Now everybody knows, I imagine, that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were an awakening of the world. They were a fresh flowering of culture and the creative arts after a long spell of much sterner and even more sterile experience which we call the Dark Ages. They may be called an emancipation; they were certainly an end; an end of what may at least seem a harsher and more inhuman time. But what was it that was ended? From what was it that men were emancipated? That is where there is a real collision and point at issue between the different philosophies of history. On the merely external and secular side, it has been truly said that men awoke from a sleep; but there had been dreams in that sleep of a mystical and sometimes of a monstrous kind. In that rationalistic routine into which most modern historians have fallen, it is considered enough to say that they were emancipated from mere savage superstition and advanced towards mere civilised enlightenment. Now this is the big blunder that stands as a stumbling-block at the very beginning of our story. Anybody who supposes that the Dark Ages were plain darkness and nothing else, and that the dawn of the thirteenth century was plain daylight and nothing else, will not be able to make head or tail of the human story of St. Francis of Assisi. The truth is that the joy of St. Francis and his Jongleurs de Dieu was not merely an awakening. It was something which cannot be understood without understanding their own mystical creed. The end of the Dark Ages was not merely the end of a sleep. It was certainly not merely the end of a superstitious enslavement. It was the end of something belonging to a quite definite but quite different order of ideas."
For more on St. Francis read the book by Chesterton. Or for more on the "fresh flowering of culture and the creative arts" as Chesterton put it, read 'How the Irish Saved Civilisation' by Thomas Cahill to see what events led up to that momentous change in Western civilisation which Chesterton refers to. It may be that the Irish have still yet to make another significant contribution to the world!
I just came across this company that a guy called Travis Reed co-founded whom I met last November in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. He is an artist and has developed a very creative approach to enabling others in their worship through use of media. His company develops resources around the liturgical calendar (as well as other stuff) which have a wide variety of uses. Being fairly familiar with his previous company's (Highway Video) material, I'm sure The Work of the People won't disappoint. Check them out here. Below is a little blurb from their site giving context for their vision. I really resonate with the highlighted aspects of the definition.
Lit.ur.gy. noun. pl. liturgies.
From the Greek word λειτουργια, (transliterated, ÂleitourgiaÂ) meaning Âthe work of the people.Â
Liturgy may refer to, or include, elaborate formal rituals or simple daily activity. Liturgy unites the Christian Church; the Church comes together around liturgy to express its nature as a faithful and distinct people. Film, music and photography are forms of an emerging visual liturgy. Media has the ability to unite the Church, to tell stories shared by the Church, to mark the Church as distinct. The ChurchÂs task is to create and share in liturgy. This is the work of the people.
How has liturgy inspired (lit. 'God-breathed') you or facilitated you in reflection, adoration or expression? What forms have served you toward that end within or without the expression of the Church?
Friday, August 11, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
- Introduction to Youth Work / Ministry
- Tools of the Trade [Resources]
- Young People and Youth Culture
- 21st Century Catalysts [Confirmation Primer]
- CIYD Promo
- Space to GROW [Spiritual Exercises]
- Ancient Church / New Threads [New Generation Churches]
- Youth Ministry Tips & Tricks [Management]
- Developing Community & Belonging in Youth Ministry
- Safeguarding Trust
- Developing Volunteer Team
Friday, July 28, 2006
I read these words from Mike Yaconelli yesterday in 'Selected Writings'. I was challenged. I want to regain much of what he described here. I miss my earlier days with God at times. What about you? What thoughts / feelings do these words stir up in you? What decisions will those thoughts / feelings lead you to make? How will those decisions lead to your life changing? In what way? Have a great weekend. (click on images to enlarge)
Thursday, July 27, 2006
For the Love of God, Slow DownI was serving lunch at Applebee's the other day, and I had a couple sit in my section. They were probably in their 70's and it soon became apparent that the man was recovering from a stroke. He walked slowly and gingerly to his booth, talked slowly, very softly, and stuttered. They ordered their drinks and I brought them out, then they said they needed some more time to look over the menu. I came back a few minutes later and he was still looking. I came back a third time and we was still studying his options. Finally . . . more
Anyone who knows me well can attest to my love of history and therefore the intimately related field of archaeology. My interest in history really didn't manifest until after graduating from Taylor University, but my interest in archaeology probably had it's genesis much, much earlier . . with release of the Indiana Jones films! Anyway, I'm on the cusp of excitement at the moment because I met one (his wife is too) of our village archaeologists last night (who's my age and is heading up our film club as well!) and I've come across this significant find for Ireland and the midlands (where we live)! Check out this potentially significant Christian find that could attest to Ireland's significant role in the spiritual heritage of Europe in the last millennia.
|You Belong in Amsterdam|
A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here is a picture of a schwancky t-shirt I received from a podcast I listen occasionally. It's called BustedHalo.com and although the presenters are a bit on the 'happy' side too often for me, it's still got some fairly interesting information on it. Such as a prevous post where I mentioned the podcast interviews they hosted with LOST screenwriter Carlton Cuse. It seem sthat God has been revealing Himself to me as a fire a lot in the last year or two - the shirt was no exception when I received it.
Spirituality Session Outline:
"If a man [or woman] will begin in certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties." - Francis Bacon; English philosopher (1561-1626)
The Yearning of Humanity
Seeking Beyond the Five Senses [Hunger]
Pre-Recorded History and Religions
Expression through the Arts & Action
Recorded History and Religions
Chronology of Religions/Faith Systems
Main Strands of Religions/Faith Systems
Maslow Hierarchy of Needs [Hunger]
Stages of Faith [Fowler] pg. 4
Belief and Faith
Stages of Faith [Fowler] pgs. 11, 14
The Substance of the Human Person
Diagrams: soul, spirit, body, etc.
The Quest for Meaning
"To have reason to get up in the morning, it is necessary to possess a guiding principle. A belief of some kind.
A bumper sticker, if you will." - Judith Guest; American author
Faith and Questions
“Nagging doubts about God [faith] aren’t faithless, but proof that our faith is growing.” –
Dr. Winfried Corduan
Stages of Faith Development
Eras of Life Cycles [Levinson]
Stages of Faith [Fowler]
"You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it." - Samuel Butler
Philosophical Implications on Faith
sol·ip·sism n. Philosophy
1. The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.
2. The theory or view that the self is the only reality.
"We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality." - Iris Murdoch; Irish author
Identity and its Sources
Contingent and Necessary Entities
No Doubt About It [Corduan] pgs. 110-113
Eastern / Western philosophical emphases
Greek [dualist] against Hebrew/Celtic [inclusive]
Propositional vs. Meta-narrative
Contemporary Societal Influences on Faith
Technological Advancement [Information Age]
i.e. ‘Drive-in’ churches
The Arts as the Currency of a New Economy [Creative Age]
The Arts as a universal language
Narrative [story], dialogue, questions, journey, etc.
Faith and Necessity
Crutch, Catharsis, Chrysalis or Catalyst
"God is dead" (Friedrich Nietze)
"Religion is the opiate of the
masses" (Karl Marx)
“. . traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” (Isaac ____)
“Traditions are the living faith of the dead . .” (Isaac ____)
Faith as a Hypostatic and Nascent
hy·pos·ta·sis n. pl. hy·pos·ta·ses (-sz)
1. Philosophy. The substance, essence, or underlying reality.
a. Any of the persons of the Trinity
b. The essential person of Jesus in which his human and divine natures are united.
1. Coming into existence; emerging: “the moral shock of our nascent imperialism” (Richard
[Latin nscns, nscent- present participle of nsc, to be born. See gen- in Indo-
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
- William James; American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910)
"Love is not one of the attributes of God, but the sum of them all." - Gibbon
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I am very proud to finally reveal a new reflective journal for young people and young adults. We have called it fuel. fuel utilises a time-tested, ancient Christian tradition known as Lectio Divina (spiritual reading). We have borrowed the contemporary idioms that The Message: Remix attributes to this process of hearing and responding to God. It refers to Lectio Divina as Read, Think, Pray, Live. I developed a series of six questions to help young people work through this process and included an introduction to bring some clarity. There are 31 sessions in fuel, but with no dates, prescribed readings or detailed exhortations on what meaning can be drawn from the Scripture. Young people can choose when and where they want to read and can apply the same questions to each reading. fuel can conceivably last for a month (if used everyday), or for as long as necessary. Therefore, the guilt sometimes associated with 'normal' reading notes/journals is decreased because fuel is not prescriptive in it's guidance and can meet anyone wherever they're at on the journey toward Christ.
In my estimation, fuel is a counter-balance to the plethora of materials currently available which often major on inductive Bible study and determine to understand the original meaning behind a section of the Bible. fuel is more of a guided journey into learning the process of listening to and responding to God as He reveals Himself to each person - particularly through the holy scriptures. Finally, at the end of fuel is a section on 'Finding Your Own Thin Place' which leans on the Celtic Christian notion of those areas where heaven and earth seem closer to one another - where God is seemingly present more strongly than elsewhere. I try to encourage young people to find those places in their life, and in conjunction with fuel, to spend time listening and interacting with the Lover of their souls.
I am so excited about what fuel can mean for each one of us as we uncover, follow and feed our un-ending hunger for God as revealed most clearly in Jesus Christ. My personal hope is that God will allow me to play a part in Ireland reclaiming it's title as "the land of Saints, Scholars and Artists" - which happens as we make space to encounter the Great God who has loved us supremely in Jesus and facilitated our becoming through our co-operation with the Holy Spirit. The best is yet to come (Ephesians 3:20-21)!
Copies can be ordered from me or from the Church of Ireland Youth Department. Updates will be made to our website in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Well, the family and I are off to Summer Madness tomorrow morning. It's Ireland's largest Christian youth festival held in Belfast. Christy and the kids will visit with friends while I camp - yes camp - onsite with 5,000 other young people. I'm excited! It's always a good time to connect and network with many people from around Ireland and the globe! Please pray for the young people attending and all those involved in the event. We want young people to connect with Jesus and continue that relationship long afterwards. That's where fuel comes into its own . . . more later. Blessings!
This is our church. The images aren't the greatest but it's a beautiful church. God is at work and we're privileged to be a part of His plans for this community! The inside has quite uncharacteristically been renovated 10+ years ago (short for our standards!) with fresh paint, new surround sound system, new carpets and most interestingly - bog oak art from a local 'liturgical artist' called Fergus Costello. You can see some of his work online.