Three Quick Things

Here are 3 quick things …. FYI-IMHO (for your info – in my humble opinion)

1. I’m now an ex-Apostolic ex-minister. We joined the Apo church in 1985 & I was ordained in 1996 – so the Apostolic Movement has been part of our lives for a long time. I’ve always believed that we shouldn’t leave a church or denomination unless we are kicked out, or it becomes apparent to both sides that it is best all-round if we leave.
In the last few years it has become apparent that my beliefs and values don’t align well with NZ Apostolics, and that I am asking questions that they don’t think need to be asked (or they think are already answered).
I got a nice phone call from one of the national leaders a few weeks ago, in which he gently asked “why are you still in the Apos Movement – with your obviously different values etc”. We had a nice discussion – he was careful to ensure he wasn’t pushing me, & I made it clear that I didn’t want to cause them any problems … & so I offered to resign.
It doesn’t really make any difference to us – we are still committed to helping establish the Kingdom, particularly here in Devonport, and acting ‘missionally’.
I guess I can now add these two ‘ex’ things to the long list of things I’m ‘ex’ – now when people ask who I am, it seems easier to say what I ‘used to be’ (ex-engineer, ex-missionary, ex-Bible College Principal, ex-director of alternative education schools, ex-church health consultant, ex-minister etc)

2. The BOOK to read this Christmas – the MUST read for the holidays – IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion) – is “Everything Must Change” by Brian McLaren. This new book is GREAT. It addresses the big issues in the world – the subtitle is “Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope”. It is easy to read, but raises important challenges to individual disciples, faith communities, and the global church. It’s available from Amazon, Epworth Books in NZ, and hopefully other good book stores. It would be a great book to read & discuss in a small group, where you help each other address the challenges the book raises (it even has group discussion questions to help you).
This book is unique – it addresses issues & concepts in a very readable way. The title is accurate – everything must change ….

3. Christmas Challenge – this Christmas, can we (you, I) care for the poor as much as we do for the rich? Is it possible for us to spend as much on the poor at Christmas as we do on the rich? (our selves, friends & family) ….
We Jesus-followers are called to love the poor, give to the needy who can’t repay etc etc …. (If you’re not convinced about this, let me know & I can point you to the multitude of Bible verses on this topic)
Can you / we / I … spend as much on helping the poor this Christmas as we spend on giving to the rich.
OR … if you / we / I don’t have enough $ to do it that way around, what about trying to only spend as much on the rich as we’ve already spent on the poor ….. (ie give to the poor first …)
As we celebrate Christmas, which is typically linked to over-eating & indulgence, can we remember, AND do something about, the people starving in the world, including the 30,000 children that die of starvation every day (including Christmas day).
Personally, we’ve been trying to move further that way … our children & relatives are getting used to being given goats & pigs & toilets & orchards for Christmas (we gave our son John a ‘john’ (toilet) J )… through the gifts for the poor programs of World Vision & Tear Fund … a couple of years ago my mother-in-law said the goat she was given was the best present she received (she got a photo of a goat which was given to a poor family somewhere) – she now looks forward to something similar each year.
At the end of the Christmas season last year, Margaret (my wonderful wife) said ‘so how did we personally do’? We sat down & did the sums, & figured we needed to give a bit more money away … & then we had managed to meet this challenge (to care for the poor as much as we do for the rich, at Christmas).
Please – join us for this challenge this Christmas – for the sake of the poor & hungry, and for the sake of our own souls. (resisting the ‘gods of materialism & consumerism)
… have a good week … & a good Christmas
Blessings
David Allis

Followup re ‘Ex’ & the Poor

Thanks for the encouraging feedback regarding my last email … particularly
1. my now being an ex-Apostolic, ex-minister &
2. the challenge to love the poor this Christmas

FYI – here is some of the feedback (with a couple of comments from me in pink)

1. Re ‘EX’

– speaking as an ex-Baptist, ‘ex’ is a good badge to wear

– Congratulations on your new – but hardly surprising – status as an ex-apo ex-minister…! They used the A word (alignment) on us when they gave us the ex (or is it axe)… It’s not a smart move from their side. Kudos to the Baptists who will at least engage with you…

– Perhaps you were just to ex-citing, ex-treme, and ex-uberant for the denominational heads at apostolic. J

– It’s a great pity that more support and encouragement is not given to those who take “Apostolic Initiative” and investigate and experiment outside of existing models and structures, particularly if they – (as you do) seek biblical support for what they are doing.. Has anything changed since Martin Luther – maybe we have just become more refined in how we exclude people.

– Congratulations on gaining the great Ex factor! I suspect it was always going to happen. I am not sure you can challenge the status quo and win without having to start again. Even Jesus found that out the hard way. There are too many vested interests to overcome. Anyway, you lasted much longer than I did, so well done.

– There was obviously some disquiet with the national leader (whoever it was) and a reluctance to accommodate different ways of doing things. It doesn’t bode well for others of us who want to reinvent the way we do church, does it?

– I find the question asked of you interesting – ‘why are you still in the Apos Movement – with your obviously different values etc’. I’m going to be naughty here in asking this but what ‘values’ do you think you have that are different to the Apo Movement? I would have thought that the issue is model or style rather than values… but I could be wrong & often am!
(NOTE – he is usually right, but wrong on this particular thing. At its heart it is a values issue, rather than a model/structure/style issue. I initially thought the house church thing was a structural difference …. but soon came to realise that structure is less important than values – as Churchill said “we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us”. Hence, for organised churches, there are limitations to how much they can change their values because of the constraints of their structures…… more on this topic another day – David)

– You will never be an ex-minister

– Isn’t Jesus absolutely wonderful. Looks like even more exciting times are headed your way as you continue your journey as an “ex”. Don’t know if you have come across the web-site http://www.thegodjourney.com/ but it is well worth a visit. Lots of fellow “ex’s” to share thoughts and experiences with.
(NOTE – this is a good site – worth looking at. David)

2. The Poor

– Appreciate your Christmas challenge.

– We don’t do presents much anyway. Part of the reason we left institutional church is we wnat to give direct to the “poor” via world vision (long term contributors) and Habibtat for Humanity (the latter in our time and finance locally) instead of paying to repaint the church roof and replace leaky windows and maintain the building….. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a guerilla fighter and now my dream has come true. We are a small platoon and we are now on the move!!!!!!

– As for Christmas, I actually think the tide is beginning to turn just a little. Instead of us Christians wining on about the commercialism of Christmas while continuing to spend like everyone else, I am noticing some growing momentum among people to give in the way you’ve outlined. (We) hardly want to be considered paragons of virtue on this count, but the pact that we made at the start of our married life not to give each other Christmas presents but instead to give money away, is something we’ve never regretted and it helps us gain some balance to living in extended families where the value of doing this may not be universally shared or accepted. We too aim to give away more than we spend on the Christmas event. That way we keep things in perspective and at least have a better chance of experiencing the real Christmas.

A Christmas Challenge

Greetings.I want to wish you a blessed Christmas …. before I ‘switch off’ until sometime in the New Year. I have more great articles ready to circulate next year, & also ideas for more articles I might write (God & time willing) … on things like “Do Christians need to gather together?” “The problem of ordained/professional ministers” etcChristmas – a great time to remember Jesus, friends & family, & the POOR.I’ve been reading “Exiles” by Michael Frost – a great new book that I highly recommend for Christmas (or 2007) reading …. One of the things he says is that every culture has ‘gods’, whether they are overt or hidden. He suggests (I agree) that one of the main ‘gods’ in the west is materialism (& selfishness) … he says we need to confront / challenge this ‘god’ … particularly by living counter-culturally. We ‘rich’ Christians are typically as rich & materialistic as those ‘non-christians’ around us … or at least there aren’t overt, highly visible differences between us …. Could you spot who are the Christians in NZ / US / UK society by only looking at their use of $, spending on themselves, the poor etc???? … I suggest that this would be very difficult … as typically ‘we’ aren’t much different (apart from possibly giving $ to our organised church, which spends typically 90% on providing wonderful ‘services’ for our own use – a bit like ‘non-christians’ paying to be part of the golf club etc) … we’re not radically counter-cultural enough to draw the world’s attention to our different allegiance & values …Here’s a challenge …. for christians who are called to love the poor, give to the needy who can’t repay etc etc …. Can you / we / I … spend as much on helping the poor this Christmas as we spend on giving to the rich (our selves, friends & family) ….OR … if you / we / I don’t have enough $ to do it that way around, what about trying to only spend as much on the rich as we’ve already spent on the poor ….. (ie give to the poor first …)As we celebrate Christmas, which is typically linked to over-eating & indulgence, can we remember (& do something about) the people starving in the world, including the 30,000 children that die of starvation every day (including Christmas day)

Blessings

David Allis