On the Radio with Home for Good

Tomorrow morning if you’re up early you should be able to catch me speaking on local radio stations around the UK. I will be talking about children in care over the Christmas break and what we should be doing to help.

0700  CUMBRIA
0708  NOTTINGHAM
0715  KENT
0722  TEES
0738  BERKSHIRE
0745  LANCASHIRE
0752  JERSEY
0808  CAMBRIDGE
0810 NORTHAMPTON
0810 OXFORD
0815  BRISTOL

As you may know we have started a new charity called “Home for Good” to help inspire the church to action on behalf of vulnerable children through finding more foster carers and adopters and for the church to become the champion and support for those that do step forward to help.

Our charity is very small and so if you wanted a good cause to give to this Christmas season I’d humbly suggest you give to us. We promise the money you give us will help us change the lives of vulnerable children through finding them the homes they need. Regular gifts are particularly helpful to us, but anything you can give makes a big difference. Click here to give. 

Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/marittoledo/

 

5 things to learn from The Force Awakens Trailer

5 things the new Star Wars Trailer Tells Us

Possibly the most anticipated movie of the decade is due to arrive in cinemas on December 18th 2015. Today the world was given an 88 second glimpse of the opening of the 7th chapter of the Star Wars story with the global release of the teaser trailer for Star Wars “The Force Awakens.”

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1. There’s been an awakening.

The first scene of the trailer shows a terrified storm trooper on a desert planet. We are told in a spine tingling voice over “There has been an awakening” that apparently we all should have felt. This is a new phase in the story of the Force but I must admit I have always struggled to understand the Force. In Episode 1 we were told by Qui Gon Jin about the strange connection between microscopic life forms and one’s ability to discern the force’s will:

“Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.”
Qui-Gon Jinn, to Anakin Skywalker

There’s been an ongoing problem in my mind with understanding the force because the force is described in both personal and impersonal terms.  Obi Wan calls it an energy field but Qui Jon describes it anthropomorphically attributing to the force “a will.”

Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi

The force has both a good side and a dark side and can seemingly be commanded for completely different purposes at the same time. Eg. Yoda can fight the emperor both using the force at the same time.

To be honest too many people try to use prayer in the same way that the Jedi and the Sith use the force. People often say prayer is powerful. But I know that in war time both sides will often be praying for completely opposite things. So unlike the the force a Christian understanding of prayer puts all the power in God’s hands not in the person praying, nor in prayer itself but in God. Prayer is a means of speaking to God inviting him into a situation that his will is done. We pray asking not that some impersonal force is wielded by us, but rather we ask that God our heavenly father intervenes in our situation and we place ourselves at his disposal.

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2. Robots Rock… and Roll

The second scene of the trailer shows an R2-D2 like robot rolling across another desert landscape. It’s a novel design that looks like James Dyson has been asked to redesign an astro-mech droid and he has riffed on his ball vacuum cleaner theme. The droids are the only characters to survive all the way through the Star Wars films and like all good Science Fiction movies raise exciting questions about the possibilities artificial intelligence can bring. R2 D2 has been a conundrum for me as he (?) clearly is sentient – taking initiative to rescue Anakin and Luke, celebrating and even arguing with C3P0 on many occasions. Whoever designed him had the sophistication to give him sentience and yet not able to give him the ability to speak. So we get the skippy the kangaroo problem trying to communicate with him – only C3PO and Luke seem to be able to understand what he is saying.

For me I guess we sometimes underestimate the power and complexity of speech. For Christians thinking about the fact that central to our belief is a speaking God. We must be careful not to treat God like Skippy the bush kangaroo and pretend we know what he is saying and really just load on to him whatever we want him to be saying.

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3. The Empire is not over

The third scene shows sleeker and cooler looking Storm Troopers but Storm Troopers none the less. Despite the overthrow of the emperor and his fleet after a ferocious Ewok attack ( I am personally rejoicing that there is no sign of the annoying fuzz balls in this film ); the Empire lingers.

Star Wars has always tapped into the classic good versus evil epic storyline. It nuanced it with characters moving to and from both sides and had at its heart a strong redemptive narrative with Annakin travelling to the darkside and then back again thanks to the unwavering love of his son back to the light. Although episode 6 ended with a victory there is still a fight on.

Christianity has always posited a good verses evil perspective to human existence. Like Star Wars redemption has always been part of that story with God’s looking to redeem a fallen and broken world. Christianity also sees redemption made possible by the unflinching love of a son. But this time the son was not saving the Father but instead working with the Father to save creation.

daisy_ridley_official_star_wars_verge_super_wide4. Women are heroic

Right from the original episode IV women have not been treated as damsels in distress in need of rescuing. From Princess Lea to Padme there have been strong women at the heart of the Star Wars narrative. With the fourth scene in this teaser trailer we see a young woman gunning her land speeder and jetting off into the distance.

I have read too many Christian books arguing that men are to be the heroes and women like to be rescued. Sadly this is not bourn out neither in the Star Wars Universe nor in the Bible. What do you do about heroines such as Deborah, Ruth, Jael or Esther with such a strange understanding of gender roles.

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5. The past will be honoured

The barrel rolling Millennium Falcon complete with the JJ Abrams trade mark lens flare is a good sign that Abrams is going to honour the past Star Wars canon. He shows a reverence for what went before and yet looks set to innovate.

Theologians for a long time have been talking about the way in which the church plays out biblical truth by both honouring the canon of scripture and extemporizing in a reverent way its performance in the world today.

Dr Krish Kandiah is President of London School of Theology and you can follow him on twitter at @krishk. His latest book is Paradoxology : Why Christianity was never meant to be simple.

 

Melbourne Calling

Dear friends, I am doing a number of international speaking trips in the next few months. Whenever I am travelling I am always keen to make connections with people who have a passion for working with vulnerable children. Last month I had a very helpful meeting in Cape Town with a whole bunch of people from a range of churches and agencies including Message Trust South Africa, Arise Ministries,  Hill Songs and Jubilee church. We met to explore what might be done to engage the church with the the huge fostering and adoption needs across the city. I shared a bit of the Home for Good story not that we might have a franchise in another country but just to see if it might spark a local movement that is appropriate for the South African context. We had a great conversation and I ask for your prayers as a fledgling network develops in Cape Town. Next month I am travelling in Australia with the National Youth Ministry Convention. I am going to be in Brisbane (6th of November) , Perth (8th of November  and Melbourne (10th of November). I will helping to equip youth leaders and workers in equipping young people for Anti-fragile faith by drawing on my book Paradoxology. If you know anyone that would be helped by this do encourage them to book in.

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The generous people at NYMC have pulled together a couple of meet ups form in Melbourne. The first is with  theological educators on the Novmber 10th I’ll be sharing a bit about London School of Theology and exploring partnership opportunities as well as picking the brains of my Australian friends on how they see the future of theological education.

In Melbourne and a special lunch to meet ministry leaders with a passion for working with vulnerable children and so we’ll be sharing the Home for Good story and again learning from those that come insights that will help our UK team in our work to find vulnerable children adoptive and foster families.

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If you can think of anyone that would like to come to that ( spaces are limited as there is food involved )please drop me an email or Facebook or Twitter message or post a comment below.

Finally on the way home I have some time in Singapore and will be doing some work with OMF there then meeting up with the Home for Good Singapore network. Again if you know someone that should be invited to our gathering let me know. Here are the details.

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Home for Good Singapore

You are invited to a special consultation with Vivienne Ng from Home for Good Singapore, Focus on the Family Singapore and Dr Krish Kandiah President of the London School of Theology (www.lst.ac.uk) and Founder and Director of Home for Good (www.homeforgood.org.uk) a brand new charity mobilising the UK Church to care for vulnerable children through adoption and foster care. Dr Kandiah has seen a huge response from the UK church to the need of vulnerable children with hundreds coming forward to provide loving homes for children who have experienced neglect and abuse.

On Tuesday the 11th of November  from 12-2 PM (at a downtown venue to be confirmed) Krish will sharing Home for Good story and looking to hear from the Singaporean Church and learning from their experience in this area. We are praying that from that conversation, we may be prompted to think together about how a similar movement might occur in our churches.

We are hoping for a small group of passionate and influential local leaders to participate in this informal conversation and would like to invite you to join us. Please do RSVP so that we can prepare appropriately. You may already be thinking of someone else you would like to invite – please do so! Feel free to share this invitation with other key leaders in the Church who are passionate about seeing vulnerable children in families. Just remember to help us by sending a quick RSVP [email protected] .

We are excited to see what God might accomplish through this gathering and what new networks and partnerships might form. Thank you for considering being a part of this event!

Photo CC fromhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/ethanhunt2009/

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Can you Spare Two Minutes?

The Home of Good charity that we have founded is calling the church to reconsider putting adoption and fostering centre stage as part of our calling to serve the world. Our aim is to help the whole church: young and old, married and single to know that we need to respond to the needs of the vulnerable children in our communities who need new families. Sometimes our job as a charity is to shine a light on what is already being done by families in the churches and making sure they get the practical support they need. Sometimes we are challenging congregations to open its eyes to the children in need around them. Sometimes we are calling the Christians to refuse to turn a blind eye while children in our towns and cities suffer.

Help us put adoption on the map by taking part in adoption Sunday. Its very simple thing to get involved with. Here are five things you could do –  any one of which would be a great way to get involved.

1) Two minute  Option

Could your church pray on adoption sunday for more adopters and foster carers?  Simply pray as part of your regular Sunday celebration.

2) Two and half minute Option

Could you show our amazing new Adoption Sunday Video? Just sign up on the Home for Good website and we will send you a link.

3) Five Minute Option

Why not interview someone in your congregation who has adopted, fostered or was fostered or adopted as a child.

4) 15 minute Option

Why not show the new Home for Good video and then do our all age children’s activity in the #AdoptionSunday pack.

5) 30 minute Option

Show the Home for Good video and then use our #AdoptionSunday sermon included in the pack.

Sign up here to get hold of the exciting Free adoption Sunday pack. 

This Sunday I will be in my home town of Brighton and speaking alongside Joel Virgo on Adoption at there three satellite sites of Church of Christ the King.  

Would love to see you there. Click here for details. 

Photo adapted from Nicksie 

Home for Good South Africa

Arise, Adopt Love, and The Message Trust are hosting an afternoon of collaborative learning with Krish Kandiah President of the London School of Theology (www.lst.ac.uk) and Founder and Director of Home for Good (www.homeforgood.org.uk) a brand new charity mobilising the Church to care for vulnerable children through adoption and foster care.

On Saturday 27 September from 2-4 PM, Krish will be at the Arise Family Centre in Heideveld to share the Home for Good story and hear from the South African Church and learn from our experience. We are praying that from that conversation, we may be prompted to think together about how a similar movement might occur in our churches.

We are hoping for a small group of passionate and influential local leaders to participate in this informal conversation and would like to invite you to join us. Please do RSVP to [email protected] so that we can prepare appropriately. You may already be thinking of someone else you would like to invite – please do so! Feel free to share this invitation with other key leaders in the Church who are passionate about seeing children in families. Just remember to help us by sending a quick RSVP to [email protected].

To reach Arise, it is generally best to exit the N2 at Duinefontein Road toward Heideveld, then take the first right into Ascension Road, the first right again before a Shell garage into Postern Road which bends 90 degrees, then the first right into Groenberg Road. We are immediately on the left at the first gate on the grounds of St. Thomas Church. The physical address is 68 Groenberg Road, Heideveld, if you will be using a GPS.

We are excited to see what God might accomplish through this gathering and what new networks and partnerships might form. Thank you for considering being a part of this event!

Meltdown on Bake Off

Anger management lessons from Ian Watters

Apparently it wasn’t just the sponge layers on the Tiramisu that involved dodgy cutting last night on the BBC 1. The editing on last night’s now infamous edition of The Great British Bake Off may have unfairly pointed the finger at Dianne Beard (69) for sabotaging the amateur baking competition. The show depicted Dianne taking Iain Water’s ice cream component of his Baked Alaska out of the fridge at a crucial stage in the preparation. It lead to a gloomy mess rather that Ian threw in the bin rather than present to the judges. Iain’s reaction lead to him being ejected from the competition as he failed to present anything to the judges for their evaluation.

Like many of the viewers of the programme joined twitter to protest his treatment.

 

But I have been reflecting on what happened and want to commend Iain for the way he conducted himself. I think there are four lessons about handling anger that we can take away from the show.

  1. Take yourself in hand

I was impressed that Iain showed incredible self-control by taking himself out of the situation. Rather than reacting with vengeance, as I might have been tempted to do – there was a flamethrower and meringue swans close by. Walking out of the glare of the lights to compose and gather himself was definitely an excellent way to handle the pressure.

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  1. Take the time you need

My mother always had a count to ten strategy when things were getting a bit heated. It gave her the thinking time she needed to get herself together rather than losing her cool in the heat of the moment. Too often in the heat of the moment we react rather than respond. After retreating to a safe distance to gather his thoughts Iain came back a more composed person than when he left.

  1. Take responsibility

Rather than spitting with fury and rage and making sure the other bakers got their “just desserts.” Iain didn’t point any fingers at anyone else, he took responsibility for what he had done wrong in the situation. I found that very inspiring.

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  1. Take a bit of perspective

Now that the weeks have passed since this particular incident was filmed. Iain could have been steaming away with anger like a pressure cooking ready to explode. But instead he has gone out of his way to be gracious and kind to his other bakers – including Dianne. He apparently phoned Dianne to make sure she was ok and even tweeted support of her as the twittersphere was lighting up with anger. In the end this is a amateur baking competition and people are more important than cakes. Iain models something powerful in his gracious and measured response to this situation.

 

I would love to see Iain being given his own show perhaps called “Appetite for destruction” or “Meltdown “ where he helps people handle their anger management problems. What say you friends?

 

 

Not too late for a new theological adventure

What a Summer it has been. I have just come back from Momentum a massive conference for 20 somethings that takes place in Shepton Mallet . Its the last of the events in the New Wine &  Soul Survivor family of conferences on the site this season.

Packed in for an exposition from Ephesians at LPO.

Packed in for an exposition from Ephesians at LPO.

It will have been one of the last major events that I speak at as an Evangelical Alliance Director as I have just taken on two new jobs. It gave me opportunity to reflect a little on the transition. As I have had the honour of working for the Evangelical Alliance these last 7 years I have travelled the length and breadth of the UK and met so many people hungry to go deeper in their relationship with God, eager to relate their faith to their professional work and life and passionate to serve God in their communities and churches. When the opportunity to become the President of London School of Theology came up it seemed a natural next step to try and respond to that hunger so many people are feeling for depth in their relationship with God.

Powerful talk from Katherine Welby-Roberts about God and Mental Health

Powerful talk from Katherine Welby-Roberts about God and Mental Health

Theological education is an opportunity to think hard and deep about God’s word so that we might know God better. I have been writing and speaking a lot recently about the need to push beyond the simplistic answers and so it has been exciting to see packed out seminars at Keswick and Momentum this summer with people young and old wanting to invest time to beef up their theology. Hundreds had to be turned away at both festivals  this summer as we literally could fit everyone in the venues as we did some serious theology together. There was always a queue of people wanting to discuss rich theological questions afterwards whether it was about how to interpret scripture, how to answer friends’ difficult questions or how to reconcile difficult theological concepts together.  I also spent a week teaching at Le Pas Opton in France and decided to try and stretch guests there by taking a look at theology, technology and the book of Ephesians and tackling the book of Esther in the evenings. I was so encouraged to find all ages hungry for more of God’s word.

The hunger is there – maybe its in you too?

Great chat about space, time, free will  on the paradoxology sofa

Great chat about space, time, free will on the paradoxology sofa

So I would like to invite you to come and study with us at LST.

It’s not too late and we have a range of very exciting programmes. Let me just mention two to start with:

BA in Theology

Why not make your first degree one in theology, its not too late to get into the programme this year if you act quickly. come and study at the largest theological college in Europe with a great faculty and students from all around the world.

MA in Integrative Theology

I love this programme. This is theology for the digital age – as academically credible as possible but now more accessible than ever before. Study completely online or mix it up and spend time with us at college. Choose from seven exciting specialisations: Social Justice, Christian Worship Studies, Old Testament, New testament, Systematics and Public Leadership to get an MA in theology that will do you good and equip you to do some good in the world. The MA is flexible enough to allow you to study full or part time anywhere in the world. 

There’s still time if you act quickly to come and join us here at LST this academic year.  We’d love to help you on your theological adventure.  

The amazing photos from Momentum on this post are by Alex Moyler .