Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Restoring the 'Scandal' of Christmas

"The Advent Conspiracy – the name of the movement – calls on churches and their members to give simpler but more thoughtful gifts that foster relationships. Christians are then encouraged to use the money they would have spent on expensive gifts to help the needy around the world.

'It’s called the Advent Conspiracy, because Jesus’ birth - his coming or ‘advent’ – was done in secret, almost hidden,' said Rick McKinley, senior pastor of Imago Dei Community Church in Portland, Ore., and an organizer of the movement. 'His coming was scandalous. He didn’t come parading as a king. He didn’t come posturing for power. And he gave himself away to others.'

Read on . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Talking Jesus Hits It Big!

Talking Jesus nearly vanishes | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Religion

Talking Jesus nearly vanishes

The toys have sold out at Wal-Mart, and there aren't many left at, either

09:01 AM CST on Sunday, December 9, 2007

There's been much written about the scarcity of Nintendo's Wii this holiday season, but last week Wal-Mart sold out of another popular toy: the Talking Jesus Messenger of Faith doll. The 12-inch doll is made by one2believe of Valencia, Calif., which also sells Nativity scenes and other Bible action figures such as Samson and Goliath Spirit Warriors.
[Click image for a larger version] one2believe
The Talking Jesus Messenger of Faith dolls won't be restocked before Christmas. The toys were sold at about 600 Wal-Mart stores and online at, and almost 20 percent of the Wal-Mart stores that sell Talking Jesus are in Texas.

"We sold out at Wal-Mart, and the toys are still available in a very limited supply at," said spokesman Joshua Livingston. The company won't restock again before Christmas.

The toy company's press release says there "were doubters who wondered if a 12-inch tall talking Jesus doll that speaks Bible stories and scripture would sell well."

Click above for full article - what a strange world.

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The Wayfarer

This is a melancholy poem written by Padraig Pearse, one of the Irish revolutionaries (and no doubt connected with our own Tomas McDonagh of Cloughjordan) hours before his execution by the British. No one writes as clearly as the man who beholds his own hour. It was on the wall of my room in the Hotel Isaacs in Cork last night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Machiavellian Musketeers

A few of an emerging troupe of leaders chatting about Machiavelli, ethics and leadership gathered in Cafe en Seine in Dublin tonight. we've been having great conversation around Os Guinness' book 'When No One Sees - The Importance of Character in an Age of Image'.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sneak Preview - U23D

U2 3D is heading for cinemas later this year – and a preview airs in US cinemas this week.

The feature length film, shot during U2’s visit to South America on the Vertigo Tour, is directed by Catherine Owens, with additional direction from Mark Pellington. The movie will arrive in specialist 3D cinemas in the autumn and a trailer has just begun airing alongside the only other 3D film to come out this year, Disney’s ‘Meet The Robinsons’.

Owens, longtime collaborator with U2 on live-show visuals, says 'this was the ultimate challenge in presenting U2’. But the results, she predicts, will startle audiences.

'There is no comparison with a traditional concert film seen in 2D. One minute you are on stage with the band and the next you are at the back of the stadium. 'The best way I can describe it for the viewer,' she adds, 'Is that it's like being on the wings of a bird flying around the concert stadium - it's really something else.'

As the web is not yet in 3D, our 30-second clip has one dimension less – that’s plain old 2D.

Watch it here

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here's a promo video for a project I'm involved with that is about active faith (shouldn't that be an unstated reality??) on the streets of Dublin with hundreds of teens in July 2008.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Good Friends

The saying is true, "Good friends are hard to come by."

I came across a photo of myself and one of my very closest friends - Paul Rutter - recently. It was from this past summer when my family and I were in the States.

Paul & I were placed together as roommates at Taylor University back in 1994. We met for the first time at an orientation weekend in a girls' bathroom in English Hall (where some of the guys were staying at the time). Prior to meeting, I had been asking God to make a good 'matchup' between myself and whomever I was placed with. Thankfully, it was golden.

Paul and I have shared many experiences. From rooming together for three years in Wengatz Hall where so many ladies came to visit and comment on a good smelling room, to trips home for the weekend (we both were from Columbus, Ohio), to road trips to Nantahala National Forest Park where we backpacked for three+ days and Paul rolled down the mountain in the dead of night, to hob-nobbin' in Nashville, to hitting innumerable people with water balloons launched from our sling shots, to being in each others' wedding . . . we have had some good times together.

Paul has always been a friend I can be myself with - completely. He has been faithful to stay in touch in spite of our distance these past nine years. I am very grateful for a true friend who has stood the test of time and no doubt will continue his track record in the years ahead.

Here's to you Paul. May you find as much joy through your friends as I have with you brother. The best is yet to come!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Very Interesting

I thought this video was very well done and also potentially a very soul-provoking opener to the discussion on spirituality - the understanding that "We are not human beings on a spiritual journey but we are spiritual beings on a human journey." [unknown source]

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Coming to Town

"Tony Jones is Coming to Town . . ." [to the tune of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town']

So Mr. Jones arrived this past Friday to settle in for a whirlwind speaking tour of Ireland. I collected him from the airport and spent a few hours with him referencing one another and establishing a prelim friendship. On Saturday Tony shared on the 'Global Emerging Church' in the crypt in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The response was great and people seemed to engage well, asking questions regarding all sorts of issues. As Tony well said, the issues with Emerging Church are not primarily methodological but theological. We need a change in how we 'do' theology - how we understand God and how we live our lives.

Saturday night and Sunday morning an organisation that I'm involved with - Dreamers of the Day - hosted a gathering of practitioners' to chat about the work of a fresh theology in a changing cultural context and some methodological concerns. It was a small group of about 15 people in a back room of a restaurant in Dublin city centre. I was happy with the direction the conversation ended up taking by Sunday morning. An analogy was offered that the institutionalised church is like the Titanic and you are Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the ship and you spot an iceberg. You rush to the captain and try to warn him of the immanent danger ahead which he cannot see due to the thick fog. The captain replies to your earnest warnings by patting your head and telling you to not to worry and that you can go back to whatever it is that you're supposed to be doing.

Do you decide to keep up your routine and go down with the ship? Or do you abandon the ship and get in a life raft with a few sane others? If you choose the life raft which items from the 'mothership' do you decide to take with you? Speaking illustratively, what is worth preserving for the new journey ahead? And when you reach the deserted island in your life raft with your new community, what will you build / do with your raft and the other materials you saved?

Tony then went on to speak at Belfast Bible College on prayer which 120 people attended. The same night (Mon) he attended the last supper with a few people from IKON and went through an Inquisition.

Finally, Tony has been presenting at a joint residential retreat between the Methodists and the Church of Ireland in Monaghan, Co. Monaghan on the theme of Body, Mind & Soul - a holistic approach to life. A number of the spiritual practices have been introduced including Lectio Divina and Body Prayer.

All in all, I think we have made good use of Mr. Jones during his time with us and, on top of it all, I have gained a new friend.