Random links of interest…

  • All right, this is how academics make other academics laugh. Ben and Kim confess…you may miss half of what they are talking about (like I did), but what I caught made me laugh.
  • 10 propositions on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am inspired by this man
  • On the Rooftops: Theological proclamations
  • A brilliant article from Out of Ur by David Fitch about justice and its importance for us who say we follow Jesus. Here is a snippet:
  • If we read the accounts of justice in Ezekiel 18:5-9, Isa 58:3-7, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 3, this kind of righteousness, both vertical and horizontal, is at the core of what justice means for the Hebrew mind of the OT. We therefore should engage in practices of horizontal reconciliation for one another and those outside in our neighborhoods before we go trailblazing on the national political scene.”

Read Part one of his Justice article HERE

  • More of David Fitch here on 10 Reasons you know Christendom is over
  • And in other news almost everybody in the world has heard Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma. The car phone salesman can sing. This is a case of something beautiful in the place you would least expect. I guess that’s what we are hoping to come from the church too…
  • Erika has posted a wonderful benediction that should in actuality be a good thing for us…

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A scholar and a gentleman…(some humor)

I had the privilege of meeting renowned scholar and church theologian, Bishop Larry Newineskin, while on vacation a few years back. His contributions to theology leave many scratching and shaking their heads as his insight is both daftly astute and prophetic. His candor about all streams of theological thought have made his quotes memorable. He currently makes rounds yearly speaking at one or two conferences and he calls Bingo at his local community hall. I mention the Bishop because he has much to say about things missional and the emerging church, the predominant focus of this blog. So without further adieu, I present to you a brief introduction to Bishop Newineskin as well as an interview I conducted with him during our last visit.

The Bishop Dr Larry Newineskin is from Vagueville, England, somewhere between York and Bath.  He is an esoteric dilettante, minoring in major topics and currently finds himself as an ordained minster and bishop of the great church of Engerland. He has been on numerous short term mission trips to different parts of London, and abroad. On his longest missional journey of three weeks to Scotland back in 1984, the Bishop, upon his return, realised profound changes to western culture and began musing about how the church might be a faithful witness to the emerging culture. His great question; "What is the Church?" has spawned many a discussion that led to published articles, that led to published books, that led to quotes, and that finally led to his name being found in numerous bibliographies. Bishop Larry Newineskin is both a scholar and a gentleman and is very famous.

JS: Bishop Newineskin, what are you’re thoughts about the Church?

BLN: I love the church, She pays me and supports me. I work for her and she calls me clergy. I hatch, match and dispatch people on their way through life. She’s the hope of the world.

JS: Cool. You get payed to play Church?

BLN: Yes. it’s fun

JS: Tell me what you’re thinking through theologically these days.

BLN: Wow, good question. My thoughts are deep, somehow too deep to recall at times. All I know is that the church is declining in the UK and abroad and that God is up to something mischievous these days in the post modern world. So…to answer your question…I am thinking a lot about premillenial eschatology, you know, rapture stuff and the cessational-type things some churches believe.

JS: You believe in the rapture and cessational-type things?

No, I don’t. My thought about the rapture is that I hope it will happen soon so its adherents will finally be taken out of mainstream theological thought….it really is messing things up. I wish it would just cease. Hey, I just said cease. it’s kind of like cessationalism…they think spiritual gifts have ceased and we wish they would cease…neat.

JS: That was neat, Bishop. What are your thoughts about the emerging church?

BLN: The emerging church? That is sooo yesterday. What’s next?

JS: You mean the emerging church is already passé?

BLN: Yes, passé. You see, our times are rapidly changing and the world is going round faster than we think. Before this sentence is complete, there will be need of a new wineskin somewhere. But let me say that the church is always emerging. And let me say one more thing. We need to be good readers of our culture.  Oh, and one more thing. I don’t like how so many are reacting to the de-propositionalizing of our faith.

JS: De-propositionalizing Bishop?

BLN: Yes, de-propositionalizing. You see, many have constructed the gospel in a scientific and propositional way…like there are truths about God that exist is some vacuum as spiritual laws or something. That is akin to trying to map an outline for how to fall in love with a girl. It is not a scientific process, but a mysterious one that can’t be controlled or packaged into a neat little product to be sold for a tithe at the local megachurch that people drive across town to get to. So the de-propositionalizing of faith is a good thing…I just don’t like how people are trying to take the mystery out of the gospel by reducing it to simple ideas or propositions.

JS: Wow, that was a loaded paragraph.

BLN: Yes it was loaded, wasn’t it.

JS: Care to explain further?

BLN: No, not really.

JS: How do you feel about reformed theology?

BLN: You mean Calvinism? I love Calvinists, they have genuine and wonderfully modern adherents. I once had a reformer try and convince me to see Jesus and faith her way. At the end of our conversation I was convinced of her adherence to the scientific method of rationalism and argumentation. It was the first time that I had someone take God’s love letter to us (the Bible) and change it into some scientific document about how to go to heaven, how science is wrong, how the world was created, and how it was going to end. It was weird. She might as well have charged me and run me through with a sword, crusade style.

JS: What do you think the gospel is?

BLN: It’s not about me going to some disembodied heaven to float on some cloud after I die. It’s about God and how he is about healing all of creation through Christ the Victor; even sick kittens and puppies. It’s about the reconciliation of this good creation under Jesus as King and that reign has already begun with the climax of history in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus at Clavry. Now in these end times with the release of God’s Holy Spirit, Heaven and earth are interlocking and it’s the Church that is the instrument of God, called to be the community of new humanity and participate in God’s great project of healing.

JS: That is different to much of mainstream understanding of the Gospel and end times.

BLN: Yes it is…that is why i wish they would get raptured.

JS: What are your thoughts about ecclesiology?

BLN: I think every church should have one.

JS: I see. Thank you for your time. It was nice chatting with you.

BLN: It was nice to chat with you too.

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On Martyrdom…

“I’ve thought long and hard about the question of Christian martyrdom. After serious study and reflection I’ve landed at the realisation that I am 100% without question a post martyrdom Christian. That explains my fondness for the emerging church.”

~ Bishop Larry Newwineskin

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the missional encounter…

“The missional encounter……is like having the right prescription for a particular ailment. That can only occur via careful examination through listening and asking the right questions. In a world of rapidly mutating viruses, it sometimes requires that new remedies be created. Popping Advil may appear to work, but will not lead to a lasting cure, only surface-type numbness to the real problem”

~ Bishop Larry Newwineskin

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Some Sunday Humor….about mascots

I just couldn’t resist posting this comedic blurb from the blog of non other than the comedic Brant Hansen. If you don’t regularly read his blog…you should. IN addition to astute theological reflections, he posts thoughts – like the following – that are humorous. In it’s entirety and for your reading and musing pleasure, here it is…


Twinkie_the_kidIf I were marketing a food, I would not choose a mascot that was that food.

This is my opinion.  It is my opinion because of my quirks. One quirk is not wanting to snack on self-conscious beings.  “Twinkie the Kid” is a good example.  Hostess has unwittingly presented me with a dilemma I’d rather not confront. 

He’s clearly a “self”, a Twinkie-in-full, engaging in autonomous decision-making, and — I think we can presume this — even engaged in a career arc.  Twinkie the Kid uses his lasso to rustle up other twinkies.  He smiles.  He makes fashion choices.  He even engages in questionable moral behavior.  (As a winner of the evolutionary lottery for arms and legs, does he now have license to “round up” other, armless Twinkies?  Also problematic:  One cannot choose boots, but remain pantless.  I’ve learned this the hard way.)

Consider, as well, the “M&M Guys”.  Clearly capable of friendship,  they truly seek to know, and to be truly known.  They demonstrate loyalty, and a brotherly “phileo” love, and possibly eros.  They are alive, sentient, and other-centered.  All this, and the Mars Company merely assures me they will not melt in my hands.

I struggle mightily with this.  Briefly.  Their taste pleases me.

If I were marketing a food, I would not choose a mascot that was that food.  I would design a talking, bipedal rabbit that desperately wants that food, but is — for reasons we cannot fathom — not permitted to eat it.


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I’ve been tagged…again

Nick over at Contemplative Charismatic has tagged me with a round of questions different from the ones I tagged him with a while back.

1. What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why? (two sentences max)

I’d have to say the most fun work I’ve done had to be commercial fishing. Although not fun all the time, there were times when we would have a blast working as a team to bring the fish in with the nets.

2. Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did? (one sentence max)

During my youth when I was on the other side of 30 years and 200 lbs (not that I’m far over) I really enjoyed playing soccer and wish I did (or could?) today.

3. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting it off? (one sentence max)

I’ve always wanted to get in better shape, but seem to be really good at putting it off…

4. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why? (two sentences max)

Writing and following Jesus. Writing because I love words and poetry and following Jesus because there just aint no turning back to where I came from. (I should probably reverse the order on these two things).

5. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn? (two more sentences, max)

I would love to hang out/learn from/be mentored by Lesslie Newbigin. I would love to learn more about the gospel and culture and how to live the Christian story more publicly and prophetically.

6. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you?

playful, funny, and likestobuybooks

7. Now list two more words you wish described you…

ubercool, dropdeadgorgeous

8. What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes– three sentences max)

God, the Church, familyandreading, (if i was allowed a fourth, I’d say playing with my new macbook)

9. Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone (with answer in three sentences max).

What is your heritage (birthplace and nationality)?

I was born in Vienna Austria to an Austrian mother and a Croatian father. We lived in Vienna for a year after I was born and then moved to Croatia for a short time. We came to Vancouver Canada when i was two and have lived here locally ever since.

Let’s see…I will now tag

Jerry Falwell

Tim Lahay

Chuck Swindall

John McArthur

and...Brian McLaren

(PS: I can’t tag anyone else I know because I’ve tagged them already)

(PPS: I hope people see the humor in who I’ve tagged…)

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e-hem…slight change….

As many of you read this blog and are perplexed at where musings from a hack like myself might come from, you may have noticed a slight error in the title and URL of this blog.  It is an error so subtle but nonetheless big enough to leave a grammarian with their knickers in a twist should they have encountered my blunder.  As you can see, the new banner reads TOWARD HOPE, and not TOWARDS HOPE.  This was a slight oversight on my part and I shall at my earliest convenience submit my confession and apology to none other than Lynn Truss, the most reverent Grammar Stickler Vicar of the Church of the English language.  I am prepared to do penance.  She would be surprised that such an infraction was in fact discovered in a country where they speak American and not English.

To whom do I owe a jewel from my heavenly crown for gently being the Lord’s servant and pointing out my oversight?  The violation was spotted by none other than Michael Spencer via the Boar’s Head Tavern.  Should he have identified the infraction after a few pints at the Tavern, I would have to believe that this grammatical atrocity is in fact a more obvious one than initially thought and in fact feel much worse.  Nonetheless, thank you MR Spenser for first enjoying my blog and then for being the Lord’s servant in such a matter.

The resolve?  The banner has changed; the URL stays the same.  Those of you that do have a link to this blog on your site, please change it to read Toward Hope, or simply link to my name, John Santic.

Chuckling at myself,


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Worst Album Covers…

Alright, now there are some things that we should leave buried never to be seen again, but in this case I couldn’t resist resurrecting some of the worst Christian album covers of all time…

nothing missional….strictly for your amusement.


Swingin THAT gospel axe is gonna get people saved….


Can someone say bad spoof on the Righteous Brothers?


I wanna go to his Church….I bet he preaches a nasty sermon…


Take heart my brother…the resurrection WILL happen…


I guess they need one there as well…


This one gives me a NO feeling…


These guys (and gal) don’t really look like the crusading type… a little to square.