Faith on Film Festival

An interesting event at a few Hoyts cinemas around the state (particularly at the Fox Studios Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park) showcasing films relating to Christianity. It’s probably been created as a response to World Youth Day, but the selection of films looks rather conducive to church groups getting along for some sort of event of their own.

Find out more here

A snapshot of American religious belief

Some interesting findings have come out of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in the US, especially some of the viewpoints of 1 in 5 people who call themselves “atheists” (namely their belief in God, which would of course be in complete contradiction to what they call themselves). Also it seems to indicate that some people are all too happy to mould their own God, preferring his attributes of mercy and love over judgement.

Source: News Limited

Smiley face biscuits

Rarely would I call such a simple activity a lot of fun, but making smiley face biscuits this afternoon with the kids at our church’s J@tz group was just that.

The premise is simple – spread coloured icing on arrowroot biscuits and adorn them with suitably shaped lollies to make faces. Below is a simple picture of some of my creations – I am especially pleased with the one that has an elongated banana nose. The aim of the activity was to get the kids to make smiley faces representing important people in their lives that they could serve, and give the biscuits to those people (based on Jesus’ saying that he did not come to be served but to serve)

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Just goes to show how much of a blast kids’ ministry is!!

iPod Jesus v Peter Jensen

Matthias Media has gained the publishing rights of the book The Future of Jesus, originally published in 2005 by ABC Books as a transcript of Peter Jensen’s broadcast as part of the Boyer Lectures series.

The original publication feature on the cover a silhouette of Jesus, holding an iPod – in a way implying that Jesus is relevant to today’s world and his message integrates with the current popular culture. The Matthias publication is a bit more sedate, and features a portrait photo of the Archbishop on the cover. Both covers are shown below.

                                                     

I think that the original may have a greater appeal to curious readers who may be looking to find out more about Jesus, because it sort of looks interesting. Not to say that Dr Jensen doesn’t, but for those who are inclined to judge a book by its cover, they may be more readily drawn to the older style. The newer one is a bit more indicative of Matthias’ cover designs, however I am a bit surprised to see a picture of Dr Jensen on the cover (the first time that I recall seeing a book published by Matthias with the author pictured on the cover).

Feel free to agree or disagree – regardless of what is actually on the cover, it is a book that gets to the heart of Jesus and his significance in this world. A download of the first chapter can be found via the above link.

The Lord’s Supper – can all come and receive?

Gordo’s written about this on the Sola Panel blog. I’ve left a comment that is yet to be approved  as of now – basically I said that in my opinion, based on the “protocol” behind it in Scripture, I don’t know whether I can see the value of an unbeliever participating in the Lord’s Supper if they have not yet embraced the significance of the meal. If I had not yet been saved, I would feel very awkward going up to the altar to partake in a meal celebrating the death of one I did not have faith in.

If you have thoughts, I encourage you to take them to the discussion at the Sola Panel as well as (or in preference to) here.

Witnessing to Westboro

For the unaware, Westboro Baptist Church in the US are infamous for their protests at funerals, and at other public gatherings where they hold aloft signs such as “God Hates Fags”. I consider their methods to be rather disconcerting and manipulative of the truth of God’s message of salvation through repentance (although they would adamantly say that they are doing the right thing in their exposure of sinful behaviour, forgetting that God shows no favouritism between different types of sins).

Here is an account of a pastor attending the Southern Baptist Convention who took the step of “witnessing” to a man who was part of a Westboro demonstration. An interesting part of the discussion is that the person whom the pastor was speaking with responds. He links to a Westboro Baptist blog, where (not surprisingly, in my opinion) comments are not allowed. It seems like the authors may be to confident in themselves to allow for rebuke (and some would agree with me that there is a lot of rebuke that could be made).

(h/t Craig)

Church photography groups

I was having a chat to one of the ladies from my church at Lifeworks tonight whilst I was taking photos of some of the goings on. She has the same camera as I have (a Canon EOS 400D) and was telling me that she would love to be able to find out the best ways to get the most out of the camera, since it’s a digital SLR.

One of our congregation is a professional photographer who works with Fairfax, and we have a couple of other people who are serious when it comes to having a camera in their hands. We agreed that it might be a good idea to think about having some sort of photography group within the church, with the aim of not only getting to grips with our cameras, but inviting friends with similar interests on picture taking excursions as a different sort of link to church. We could start with a seminar hosted by our pro photographer, who could give us tips on how to take the perfect photo, and then use those newly found skills on these excursions. In a church atmosphere that usually does out reach ministry based on gender interests, it could be a refreshing change that could embrace families as well as couples and singles.

Just curious to know whether any churches out there have started up a group based on this particular hobby. How did you kick it off, how is it going now, and have you seen any new people coming into the church through that group?