Category Archives: Uncategorized

Well…I have Moved to A New Blog

Well it is an auspicious day. I have moved blogs, which is a bit sad because I like this one, but it was getting a bit crazy with all of the different web presences I have. The new site brings together my blog, my author site, the Uber site and the Red Church into one entity. Its a lot easier. We are still having some teething problems with the podcasts which a lot of you have been keen for me to get up again, but it will be fixed soon.

Also the sad thing is that I can’t move across the subscribers from this site, so if you have subscribed here you have to subscribe again on the new site which is quite easy, just click on the sidebar on the right. Often bloggers give away books or gifts to people for subscribing on new site when they move blogs. Instead of giving away books, I am going to humiliate myself for your amusement by posting a photo that I have been trying to hide from the world for years, It is of me in Venice aged sixteen and trying to look like Morrissey from the Smiths, your laughter at my expense will be your reward. If we get to 200 subscribers moving from this site the pic will go up.

Ok time to move across, there is a new article there provocatively entitled ‘Is Religion the New sex?’ for you to read, plus an amazing picture of me sitting at a collapsable table drinking water from three cups at once, it will change your life! Come across here 


The Challenge of Discipling the Fragmented Self

The Christian faith at different times during its history has had to confront differing concepts of individuality, each of which deeply shapes how we do ministry and which presents the Church with unique challenges. The Church of the early medieval period ministered in a culture with a very different understanding of self. Our modern day sense of radical individuality would have seemed strange to medieval individuals. The early medieval individual saw themselves as part of a great chain of being.

Europe was Christianized not soul by soul, but rather by decree as rulers declared their kingdom’s Christian. This sounds unusual to us, but not so to a culture with a weak idea of personal freedom and individuality. The entire shape, structure and apparatus of the medieval Church was built around this collective idea of culture and faith.

Continue reading


Ok Twitter I will let you buy me a coffee.

Dear Twitter,

Ok I will admit it, I did see you saunter into the place. At first I thought you looked like your bimbo sister Facebook. Sure you did have a sleeker style, and did not blab on like her, but I still did not trust you. Pretty soon everyone in the place wanted you, they hung on every 140 character sentence that came out of your mouth. But the more I listened the more I did not like you and your inane tweets. I did not care that you just had a mocha, or if you could not sleep at 4am.

So I settled down with my head in Postman and McLuhan books and decided to ignore you. The more I read the more I became wary of you. So I began to talk about you behind your back, exposing what a vacuous creature you were. You were reducing language, turning conversation into soundbites, infecting ordinary people with the virus of celebrity.

I should have known however, the popular ones always liked to be ignored. So used to being lavished with attention you could not resist my aloofness, you wanted to get your head around why I hated you when the rest of the world loved you.

That is when it began, you started with sweet little nothings, a few lovely tweets about my books, some kind words about my speaking. Then you really turned on the charm and started sending more and more people towards my blog. Soon you became my blogs biggest advocate.

Despite your advances however I still resisted, others around me who had held out against your cyber magnetism gave in, but I stayed strong.

I steeled myself on the other side of the room, but more and more I found myself glancing at you. After all I have had a thing going with your sister facebook for sometime. Why her and not you?

Maybe I had gotten you wrong? Maybe you could be a force for good? Maybe you could help me get my message out there? Maybe you have matured, grown up, gotten beyond the pointless Oprah retweets and mundane musings? Maybe I had to control you and not be controlled you. Maybe I had to stop using the word maybe?

So ok I am going to finally let you take me out for a coffee, just as friends. No funny business ok?

Follow the possible trainwreck here @sayersmark


Lent and Technology

Well readers, its time for Lent, and I have decided to not blog for the duration, (that and not sleeping as we have just had twins). Lately I have been thinking a lot about how increasingly in our culture, sabbath rest is about taking breaks from technology. So instead of the usual lenten breaks from chocolate, beer and coffee. Why not try taking a break from your phone, Facebook, or if you are really brave, the internet.

See you when the tomb is empty.


Selfishness, Spoilt By Choice, Hell’s Bell, and a Sad Day in Pakistan

I just read Jean Twenge’s new book on narcissism, here is an article from the Age giving an overview of the narcissism epidemic.

Another interesting article today was about how the more choices that you have in relationships the more likely you are to end up alone. Kinda echoes what I wrote about in the Trouble With Paris about choice anxiety. Proving that freedom and options are not always a good thing.

I posted the other day that I was not going to blog about the whole Rob Bell media storm regarding his new book on hell (or lack there of depending on what he ends up saying), but a few people have been asking me what I think of it all. I don’t have time here to write a full response here (although I did write about hell here) so I reckon this article is a good summing up of the whole thing.

Lastly I wrote a couple of days ago about the need to pray for Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, who are undergoing tremendous persecution. The assassination of Pakistan’s highest profile Christian, reminds us of how dire things are getting for Christians in parts of the Islamic world.


Clubbing Jesus


New Jobs at Red Church!

It has been the most incredible year, I have travelled around the world meeting lots of you in far away places. It has been so encouraging to meet people whose lives have been impacted by my mad mumblings on this blog. On the Red front things have been growing and we now are looking for a couple of great people to join our team. If you know of anyone who would be interested please send them the link to this post or check out the positions descriptions yourself.

We are looking for an Operations Manager. Click on this link to read the position description  Operations Manager-1

and a Children’s worker. Download Position Description by clicking on this link children’s worker-2

Well I am off now and will be taking a break from work and blogging till mid January.

If you cannot think of a Christmas present for that super insightful culture vulture in your life try this, it is the greatest thing since the pyramids.

Happy Incarnation of Jesus everyone!


The Enduring Popularity of C.S Lewis

Good article over at CNN worth checking out on why such a figure who seems so old fashioned is still relevant. Read Here


Stillness and Happiness

“I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.”

Blaise Pascal


Three Traits of Gen Z

In 2010, Gen X, the group defined as having graduated high school around the turn of the millennium, might as well be considered over the hill. Likewise, Gen Yers are slowly growing up and out of their “teen” phase, paving the way for tweens to take the crown. Increasingly, pre-teens of today are becoming more savvy and in tune with behaviors and preferences normally reserved for teens.

So what is this generation — chronologically called by the name “Generation Z” — going to look like? Here are three predictions:


Truth Labs

Well its been a while, but I have enjoyed my break from work and blogging. But it is good to be back online.

Just wanted to let you know about a great event here in Melbourne, with Ron Sider that is coming up. Long before social justice became a mainstream discussion point, Ron Sider was encouraging Evangelicals to be truly Biblical and take scriptures’ command to remember the poor seriously. You can check out info here.


Crucified By Email

On 07/06/2010, at 3:34 PM, Pastor@BelmontCommunityChurch.org wrote:

Dear Jesus,

I have been praying that you are sensing God’s presence during this difficult week for us all. Last night the Church board and I held an emergency meeting and I am writing to inform you that we have come to a difficult decision. Writing this email is one of the hardest things that I have had to do at my time here at Belmont Community Church. Before I tell you of our decision, I felt that it was only fair to explain how we as a Church leadership came to our decision and for me to share with you how I have been affected by your behaviour. In order to maintain clarity I will address the various issues regarding your employment as a pastor at our Church. Before I start I really want to say how difficult this has been for me and Alison, I am not above stating that I cried before I wrote this email. Things started so well when you came on staff, it was a joy to have you around the place and the congregation loved having you. I am still struggling to comprehend what went wrong.  But here goes;

Behaviour During Church Services

I have communicated time and time again in our leadership meeting the idea that how we as leaders act, affects the whole congregation. Sundays are meant to be a fun, upbeat and inspiring time. We are trying to create an atmosphere that communicates the idea the gospel is good news and that those who put their faith in God will receive abundant life. Your constant habit of crying and weeping over the fate of our neighbourhood, completely works against this. I have been so confused by your mood swings, one minute you are full of joy – the next you will be weeping for the whole service. After talking to Dr Blackby I am more and more wondering if you suffering from a form of Bi Polar disorder or manic depression, I really encourage you to go and get this checked out. You can be so dark sometimes, which is not attractive to unchurched people and a totally different place to where we are going as a church.

Being a Good Example.

I hear things about where and with whom you hang out. I really do hope that some of the stories that I am hearing are wrong and merely gossip. But I have to admit that some of the people who you bring to church do make me wonder what circles you are mixing in. I certainly hope the stories about the party at Matt’s place are not true. As a single guy it is never a good look to be hanging around with women who work in the adult industry. To turn up to leaders meets smelling of dope can only lead others into bad places. You need to get into an accountability group ASAP.

The Jewish Thing

I totally understand that you were raised in a Jewish home and in the Jewish faith. We loved the service that you put on during passover it was great to hear you sing the psalms so beautifully  in Hebrew. The ladies at our Golden Gals ministry loved you teaching them Jewish Dancing. But I really do not understand why you continue to wear your prayer Shawl and yarmulke to church. At the interfaith city dinner Rabbi Rosen told me that you attend synagogue weekly??? He was under the impression that you were a practicing Jew and did not refer to yourself as Christian??? For goodness sake you need to work out where you stand, and who you identify with! Are you Jewish or are you Christian, what team are you playing on? Where do you loyalties lie??? Your behaviour just makes things confusing for people.

The Night at @tomic.

After ripping my hair out for months wondering where to place you, I finally thought that our emerging young adults congregation @tomic would be the best place for you. It is edgy, justice focused, andthey love conversation, it is in a bar, and filled with Christians who don’t like the vibe of our sunday services. But then the morning after you speak – I am inundated with emails from angry young adults telling me that you got all ‘hellfire and brimstone’ on them. They even started a facebook group to keep you away from the bar! Seriously what were you thinking telling them that ‘they will always have the poor with them’.??? Don’t you know that half that crew work for Christian aid organisations? I had to promise them that you would not come back! They said that you were too full on, too fundamentalist.

The Incident at Belmont Reformed Church

After the @tomic incident I was totally at my wits end of what to do with you. I mentioned the incident to my friend Rev Peterson and he said that he would love to have you come and spend a month preaching at his church and that he loved a young preacher who had the guts to talk directly about hell and eternal consequences. I thought all of my problems with you were solved. Then you go there and deliver a bunch of confusing stories that seem to skirt around the issues. Half the congregation walks out and you end up in the car park with the remainder explaining yourself. Rev Peterson is still rope-able, he not only thinks you are unable to preach the gospel he has serious concerns over your theology.

The Incident Last Sunday

And now to the straw that has broken the camel’s back. You know as well as I that it is so hard to get a Preacher like Pastor John Rosetti to speak at our church, he is world class. Ok even for me he can be a little ‘prosperity focused’ but he is such a gifted speaker and the Church was packed. When you overturned his merchandise tables I wanted the ground to eat me up. The damage that you caused to our ATM cash machine in the lobby will put the church back around $10,000. I can put up a with a lot, but vandalism I cannot. Your actions were a direct undermining of my leadership.

So I am writing to inform you that we will be making you redundant. I have with great difficulty convinced the Church board to not press charges and we will not be referring the matter to the police.

I am so heart broken, you are one of the most gifted young men I have met. I find you maddeningly frustrating. I have barely slept since last sunday, I keep wracking my brain trying to figure out why you are like this. I wonder if it is your age, 32 is pretty young for a pastor role at a church our size. I can’t help think that it must be mental health issues, probably the bi polar condition that Dr Blackby referred to.

We don’t want to turf you out on the street so we will be giving you a generous severance package, plus Jane has sent you a card that the staff has signed which includes a gift voucher to Brysons Christian Bookstore.

It will always perplex me why things did not work out. In your heart I  know that you mean the best.

Sadly Jesus we must ask that you never come back to our Church.

Yours in him

Pastor Craig Clements

The above is a fictional piece I wrote that was inspired by my friends Al and Deb Hirsch’s book Untamed.


Prayers For Nashville

Last year I had the privilege of visiting the beautiful city of Nashville and visiting my friends at Thomas Nelson Publishers and ministering at Harpeth Community Church. In the last week Nashville has suffered what experts have described as a once in a year 500 year flood. Here in Australia the disaster has received viritually no coverage (apart from the facile ‘Are Keith and Nicole ok?’), the same has occurred in the States. I have mostly learnt about the disaster from facebook. So if you have time, spare a prayer for the people of Tennessee.

You can read more here


What is Uber Up To?

Uber has been up to quite a bit lately check out all of the happenings in our newsletter Uber News


Lost Sunglasses and Lost Causes

If you came to my Melbourne book launch and left behind some Bolle Sidewinder sunglasses like the ones worn by our gorgeous male model Glen, shoot Sam@uberlife.com.au an email to arrange picking them up.


Secret New Project

Well as those of you who were at the Melbourne Book Launch will know I have been working on for the last 18 months on a new project that I have kept secret. I can now reveal a little bit of info with a teaser page, where you can register your interest and stay in touch with what happens when we launch, which should be any day now. Click Here


Getting Vertical in Adelaide

Thanks to all who turned out last night for the book launch here in Adelaide. It was amazing again to see so many people taking such an interest. Although as with all of the launches it was stinking hot and humid, and I ended up drenched. I think I am going to have start speaking with a T.D Jakes issue towel if this humid weather continues.


Book Launch Pics

Well the The Vertical Self book Launch was amazing last night. I was surprised and humbled at the turnout and the amount of people who came forward to help make such an incredible night. It’s such a privilege to be surrounded by so many wonderful people. Thanks to all who came and took the White Stone. Let the journey to our true selves begin!



iSalvo

Tonight I will be sharing at iSalvo, the Salvation Army’s online corps/church. You can log in and watch here or participate here. I will be on at 9m Tuesday Australian Eastern Standard Time. Will be interesting, first time I have shared in a virtual church!


Reviews & High School English Class

One of the most nerve wracking things about writing a book is waiting for the first reviews. I always get flashbacks to high school reports. Fortunately the first two have been great. (One day I will get over you English Year 11 Class!)

The Vertical Self: How Biblical Faith Can Help us Discover Who We Are in an Age of Self-Obsessions Mark Sayers (Nelson) $14.99  Sayers wrote a stunningly important and woefully under-appreciated book and DVD a few years ago, a clever and engaging study of consumerism (The Trouble With Paris.)  This is a perfect follow-up (or perhaps it could be read first) to that fabulous book about consumerism, false hopes, disillusionment and grounding a realistic faith in the doctrines of creation and incarnation.  What a book (and contemporary DVD) that was!

In this postmodern, hot-wired culture, where we are offered the plastic promise of “being whatever we want” Sayers reminds us of the fundamental truths of our identity, and our placed-ness in God’s good but fallen creation.  Our carefully cultivated personas just frustrate and confuse us, finally, and this book invites us to rediscover the one thing that can really fulfill—radical holiness, and a desire for appropriate health before a loving God.  It has a blurb on the back by Chris Seay and a forward by Len Sweet (which is one of his more interesting ones, and he is always a great foward-er!).  It is not another self-help book, in fact, he teaches us howthat view of self is itself part of the problem. A quick skim of the footnotes, showing forth deep and important stuff like Richard Middleton’s vital work on the image of God, The Liberating Image, Rushkoff’s DVD The Merchants of Cool, the acclaimedThe Saturated Self, Neal Gabler’s Life: The Movie, and the very important work of Christopher Lasch.  And nearly any book that cites Walsh & Keesmaat’s Colossians Remixed is worth reading. Fun, informed by the best scholarship, culturally-relevant and deeply spiritual.  Perfect!

Hearts and Minds Books

The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers, Thomas Nelson, 2010, 224 pages, ISBN 0849920000

Mark Sayers has written an engaging study of the way modern people struggle with the question of identity. And when I say “engaging, I mean I couldn’t put it down. We live in the age of the “horizontal self”, pressured to create public personas based on the images around us. We brand ourselves in order to become socially acceptable and relevant. We compartmentalize our lives to fit in with different groups. Our horizontal selves worry about what others think, about status, about achievement, about today.

Whether we realize it or not, we’ve lost our “vertical selves.” The vertical self is concerned with character, holiness, contribution, eternity. Even believers and churches fall prey to the trap of the horizontal self: we want to be Christian and cool too. We’ve chosen self over soul.

What is the answer? Discipleship and accountability. We must rediscover what it means to be holy.

I found the history of how we arrived here fascinating: when did it become cool to be cool, how the definition of “sexy” has changed, how we’ve traded spiritual holiness for secular holiness. I will never look at another advertisement, movie, or staged political event the same way. I highly recommend this book for everyone, Christian or not, because Western society is playing us for fools. And we’re playing along.

The Cypress Times


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