flying with simon, pt. 2

Okay, so I'm a few days later than I thought I'd be but here is the second installment of photos from my flight with Simon. 

These first two were taken as we were heading towards Auckland.  While flying I wasn't inspired to get my pilot's license, but seeing all the water, inlets, islands, and bays gave me a strong urge to get a good sized boat and set sail.  Maybe someday eh. 

Here's some aerial photo's of our new city!

The picture below basically contains my immediate parish.  
If you knew what you were looking for you could see my office


week 13


flying with simon, pt. 1

Last Monday a friend named Simon took me flying.  Those of you who know me know that I hate flying.  It tends to cause great anxiety and stress in me and usually I spend the whole time contemplating going down in a ball of fire.  

This is why when Simon offered to take me flying I was initially hesitant.  I figured if I hate flying in a big jet then going up in a tiny Cessna would be torture for me.  However, I figured it'd be good to face my fear in a new way and I'm glad I did. 

I don't know what it was about the small plane but I actually really enjoyed our time in the air as well as taking off and landing multiple times.  My usual anxiety was nowhere to be found... okay, maybe there was some anxiety, but nothing persistent and nowhere near as intense as usual when I fly.  I'm actually looking forward to going again.  Anyway, here are some of the photos I took during the flight.  I have some more that I'll put up after Thursday's weekly pictorial Sophia update.


week 12

Only one picture of Sophia this week. I put up quite a few last week though so I don't feel too bad. Also, Brooke's got a few new one's up over at her blog. I'll do better next week.


with regards to the previous post...

... here's some music from Auckland's indie scene.  These bands are all under the Monkey Records label. I had a chance to talk with the label manager yesterday at the Cross Street Carnival in Auckland and he turned me onto some of the bands he manages.  I found some interesting stuff.  Have a listen and a watch. 


According to Wikipedia Enculturation is "the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviours that are appropriate or necessary in that culture."  Whether this is the process I'm currently engaged in or if I'm seeking out Intercultural Competence I'm not sure.  The difference between those two phrases probably isn't that significant and neither one really captures the full essence of the mission we've embarked on.  

Incarnational is the buzz word going around the church world right now to describe what we are seeking to be and do.  To avoid going into a lengthy discussion of what it means to be incarnational let me simply say that being incarnational means that Jesus was serious when he told his disciples that he was sending them into the world in the same way that the Father had sent him.  It also means that in taking Jesus serious at that point a person realizes that their calling is to truly dwell in the place and with the people that Jesus calls them to, even as he himself did and does.  A significant part of the process of being incarnational means knowing the culture in which you live, whether it's native or new.  

To this end I've spent almost three years trying to acquaint myself with the culture of New Zealand and the city of Auckland in particular.  I've studied statistics and demographics, watched movies and listened to music, studied the history and a bit of the sociology of the country, and I've read the countries largest newspaper everyday for the past two years.  Some of this work has been very enjoyable and some has been very tedious, but all of it has been very important.  People are important, therefore understanding people is important. 

As we begin our ministry here it's crucial that we not simply be Americans doing things the way their done in the States.  We are not here as colonizers bringing our particular regional brand of Christianity.  Just as the Son of God became human in order to save humanity we too must become as Kiwi as possible in order to best reach Kiwi's.  This means we must be incarnational, or enculturated, or interculturally competent, or whatever you want to call it.  

In the Old Testament there is an account of an Israelite named Daniel.  He was taken into exile in the land of Babylon with many other Israelites.  Daniel and a few of his friends were trained for service in the courts of the king of Babylon and we are told something very interesting about their training.  We are told that instead of resisting Babylonian culture they actually sought to understand it.  At the end of their years of instruction the time came for their final exam and we find that they excelled.  Indeed, they are commended by the Babylonian king for having ten times the understanding, insight, and wisdom than any other person in Babylon.  They understood Babylon and Babylonian things better than any Babylonian.  The more shocking point of this story is that God himself is the one who gave them their great understanding of Babylonian culture.  While we're not in exile it is my prayer that God would give us the same insight, understanding, wisdom and learning with regards to the culture he's placed us in.  To this end I continue to read, watch, listen, interact, and observe trusting that he will use it all for his glory.


week 11

With all the busyness of trying to get settled I've been a bit slack with blogging in general. I've had some things I've wanted to write about, but in then I end up doing something else instead. However, if I failed to put up the weekly installment of Sophia photos I know I'd have a couple of grandmothers upset with me. So, here's our beautiful little girl.


week 10

This week I was able to get pictures up in time.  In other news, for those of you who've been waiting, Brooke is back!


first night of class

Last night was the first night of class for the course I'm teaching at Grace Theological College. GTC is  a non-denominational, evangelical and reformed college committed to training and equipping men and women to serve the Church in New Zealand.

Over the next two terms I'm teaching a course called Engaging Cults and New Religious Movements.  We had about ten students show up which is pretty good and was more than I was expecting.  There were good questions asked and we had some good discussions.  Nobody threw anything at me and I'm pretty sure I didn't put anyone to sleep so overall I think things are off to a good start. 


this made traveling fun

As some of you know I had surgery on my finger last Monday, 2 days before making our trip to the other side of the planet. I've had a couple of lumps in there for over a months and it was getting quite sore and painful. The doctor wasn't sure what was in there so like a good surgeon he decided that he should cut me open to see.

Turns out that was a good idea. He removed a dumbbell-shaped giant cell tumor from my middle finger. It had already grown around a nerve or two (causing some nerve damage that is most likely permanent) and was making its way toward my knuckle. The doc is fairly certain that the tumor was benign but I should get the official word this week.

Things are healing nice despite the innumerable times I smacked my splinted finger on various things while negotiating luggage in airports and planes during our trip. Seriously though, I think it looks much worse than it feels.