Yearning for India

It doesn’t take much to have me yearning for India. I only spent a couple of weeks there earlier this year but hamo’s post about eating curry had me thinking of my journey yet again.

We didn’t eat much curry there …. only curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. (You really ought to try a big dish of curried potatoes for breakfast sometime.) I wasn’t really a big curry eater before but since the trip I regularly suffer withdrawals.

The trip was an opportunity to export the ‘Bike for Bibles’ programme to the north west region of India. We worked alongside The Bible Society of India to create an even that was specifically Indian in nature. The last thing we wanted was to try to place somhing culturally relevant to Australia into India. That would serve no one.

I cycled from Agra to Delhi over several days and then cycled around Delhi for three days visiting a range of Christian churches. It was a stunning trip which was all videoed by a good friend. I’ll have to tell you some more about the trip sometime.

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And the Winner is ….. Guy

Well, it’s over. Our ‘Australian Idol’ is Guy Sebastion.

As I commented on Darren’s Blog, I hope that Guy is able to make the sort of music that he feels God wants him to. I would hate to see him pump out ‘Christian’ music just because it’s what people expect. He would probably have a greater opportunity to share his faith if he remained in the secular sphere. I hope he does.

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What a Morning

We had the morning tea today for pastors and leaders. (See below) It was excellent.

Noel’s performance is simple in that it uses no costumes, tricky lighting, no sets or amplification. It is very minimalist in it’s staging but it captures attention brilliantly.

Already a number of the pastors who were present are thinking of ways to use Noel to reach their communities. Several are looking at hooking into events in their local parks.

It was a morning that was well orth the effort.

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Presenting The Gospel of Mark

I’m still trying to get over this virus that’s been attacking my body over the past week, while at the same time arranging a morning tea for 25 or so pastors and church leaders.

Tomorrow morning they’ll arrive at my place of work, The Bible Society of Western Australia, to experience a presentation of the Gospel of Mark. It’ll be presented by a guy named Noel Christian. You could say that Noel ‘recites’ the gospel but then you’d miss the essence of what he does.

His script is purely and simply the book of Mark, but Noel brings it to life in a very exciting way. He uses the King James Version, which normally would cause me to wonder about the presentation’s validity for today’s audience, but he manages to create a dramatic masterpiece. He holds people on the edge of their seats.

When he has presented it to secular audiences they have been amazed and made comments like, “Jesus is a more interesting guy than I realised” and even ” I didn’t know that the Bible was a spiritual book till now”.

Noel has been working within churches but I’m hoping to find more and more secular venues for him to perform. The idea of getting pastors etc. involved is to try to use local churches to facilitate this.

I know it’s long, but here’s a story that Noel quotes:

Once upon a time …

Early in 2002, Noel Christian was invited to present a number of short works in pubs for the wa fringe as part of the Festival Of Perth. At the time, he was well known in the secular world as a story-teller, oral poet and performer, and among Christian communities as a Biblical Storyteller. His sacred work had not, however, crossed the secular divide. On this occasion, he offered to present three secular pieces and an extract from The Gospel of Mark. The Festival had no objection, and so late one evening in January he delivered the opening chapters of Mark to about a hundred hardened drinkers, bohemians and artists in an inner city pub. This is what happened:

Three people shouted and yelled throughout the performance. Their language was intemperate and their attitude was aggressive.

Ten to fifteen people tried to hush them.

One person shouted them down because she wanted to listen.

A number of people smoked their cigarettes and sipped their drinks politely but were not interested in the performance.

Eighty people neither smoked nor drank, but sat breathless with fascination as they listened.

Three people came up afterward and said that the Bible was always worth hearing.

Five people came up afterward, each privately, and asked for assistance with prayer, spiritual guidance, and an insight into healing.

The gathering that night included artists, public servants, pagans, prostitutes, drug dealers, office workers, goths, poets, rock musicians, bikers, school teachers, building workers, the management team of WA Gay and Lesbian Pride, a Government Minister, and members of the Hotelier’s Association.

Hey, I know it’s short notice, but if you’re in the Perth area and want to be part of the morning tea, let me know. If you can’t make it but want to find out more, call me at The Bible Society in WA on (08) 9221 3488.

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People Just Like Us

All over the world people just like us

Are calling Your name, living in Your love

All over the world people just like us

Are following Jesus

We sang this song during our Sunday service and I couldn’t help thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t only people just like us that were following Jesus?”

Sure we have people from many walks of life in our churches, our fellowship has a very wide range of members, but there are still huge gaps among our churches in general. I’d love to see a wider mix of nationalities. I’d love to see broken people coming to know Jesus and having their lives transformed. I’d love to see more desperately poor people meeting Jesus. I’d love to see the sorts of people that Jesus mixed with while on earth meeting him today. Where are the prostitutes and tax collectors?

I love fellowshipping with people just like me but I’d love it even more if we were more effective in fellowshipping with people who are nothing at all like us, even if it is more uncomfortable at times.

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