Archive for the ‘Xtras’ Category

New website

The NZ Baptist Magazine has a new website. It looks good, and looks interesting. This is a good start. I have not played with it enough to see how easy it is to find something interesting (except that several of my articles are currently on display ;)

It lacks a search function, but readers here surely know they can google “[searchterm]” don’t you?

What do you think of the design? I’m hoping and praying people start toi use the comments feature – this alone to my mind makes it better than the paper edition, let alone being browsable on a phone :)

Happy Christmas (and byebye 2014)

Happy Christmas to all of you.

2014 has been a busy year, leaving little time to prepare posts here. I hope 2015 may leave more time. I’m farewelling 2014 now as tomorrow I head for Auckland and then on to the UK (for mum’s funeral) and so will almost certainly not post here again this year.

If anyone have topics, passages or other ideas of things you’d like me to write about do say. Ideas are the hardest part of writing for me!

Two in the top twenty (so it is prophesied)

Annibale Carracci “The Stoning of St Stephen” from Wikimedia

Peter Kirby has posted an audacious prophesy of the top biblioblogs by traffic in six month’s time (Top 50 Biblioblogs: Spring 2014 Report). I have two reasons for hoping that this is accurate, first both Sansblogue and 5 minute Bible made the top 20 (just) but even more because if it proves false I am sure some “take the Bible literally” types will be organising a stoning. I would hate for the gentle Peter to become the first martyr of Biblioblogaria!

New publication: Spiritual Complaint

I’m delighted, one of the two edited books I’ve been working on is now available and I have my copy :)

Miriam J. Bier and Tim Bulkeley, eds. Spiritual Complaint: Theology and Practice of Lament. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2013.

“Does Jeremiah Confess, Lament, or Complain? Three Attitudes Towards Wrong.” In Spiritual Complaint: Theology and Practice of Lament, edited by Miriam J. Bier and Tim Bulkeley. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2013.

Well, that WAS nice! Adobe installs rogue software :(

Adobe as rogue software installer

I allowed the Adobe Flash player to update. Without asking Adobe also installed something called “McAfee Security Scan Plus”. I already have virus protection. Unless someone convinces me I need different protection I do not want more, slowing my machine and “doing things” in the background.

How come there is no campaign I can join to persuade software manufacturers to ask politely if they want to install “extra” programs? Personally I think the time is near when I will uninstall Flash. It is used more often for rubbish than anything else now, having once been (almost) the only way to have a graphically rich interactive web…

What do you think?

Thoughts on Alpha

For a long time I’ve had ambivalent feelings about Alpha courses. They seem from all the figures and accounts to be very effective tools for evangelism. But, some people suggest the scheme works best in places with a residual Christian Culture (like the UK) or for Anglicans in NZ (who have a higher pool of people with a nominal or loose family connection). When our previous church ran Alpha we were way too busy to be involved, so my only impression was from the short promo videos. These gave the impression of something like Open Air Campaigners with ardent Christians being encouraged to accost strangers on park benches and ask “If you died tonight would you go to heaven?”

Now South City are running Alpha (and I’m running Know and Love Your Bible alongside so there is something for newer Christians as well) I’ve been going to the training sessions. The way these sessions present Alpha is quite different. The only “hard sell” is the video people watch and if Nicky Gumbel’s style there is anything like the training videos that will hardly be OAC stuff. Then in the small groups the host and helpers are asked/expected to keep quite and respond to questions and even rabid atheist attacks with things like “That’s interesting, what do others think?” Basically as the training videos present it Alpha is a scheme to allow and encourage a bunch of seekers and atheists to persuade each other with the help of the Holy Spirit into faith.

But, I imagine you asking, about the need to either badger my friends into attending, like some spiritual Tupperware party, or hardly better jumping on unsuspecting strangers? Basically Alpha NZ (at least) recommends a much lower key approach, a low demand we are doing this would you like to try the first week…

Operation Starfish: Tessa’s Story, Inviting Friends To Alpha from Alpha New Zealand on Vimeo.

Launching a book, online and face to face

We held the physical book launch for Not Only a Father in Auckland on Friday. I hope the others who attended found the conversation interesting, I especially appreciated both Sarah Harris’ comments and some of the questions that gave me food for thought, and the great way Andrew and others pulled a launch together.

Since the book is designed to be discussed this format was a really appropriate way to launch the book. I hope some of those there will take up the challenge to be among the first to comment, object or question the online edition :)  This online version is at (a WordPress plugin allows people to add comments, questions or to object to or correct things I’ve written).

People who have participated in the online launch since I last listed them include: