Month: December 2006

PAF Songs

This is the index to our new hymnal. We’ve been trying to add more songs of adoration and worship because we didn’t have enough of those. (We have had a lot of songs about our identity as a church, which are so crucial; this is a balancing out.)

Whoever turns up with an instrument plays; sometimes we have two or three guitars, a viola, drums, a flute, and a tambourine; sometimes we go acapella.

Ascribe greatness…………………………… 15
Asithi Amen……………………………………. 16
Be present at our table…………………….. 1
Be thou my vision…………………………… 17
Bind us together…………………………….. 37
Bless the Lord………………………………….. 5
Bless those who hate you…………………. 9
Come and see…………………………………. 10
Come what may……………………………… 38
Create in me a clean heart……………… 39
Face of the humbled poor ……………… 40
For God so loved us………………………… 18
For we are strangers no more…………. 41
Freely, freely………………………………….. 42
Gathering Call…………………………………. 6
Greatness of the small……………………. 43
I exalt thee……………………………………… 19
I will sing, I will sing…………………….. 28
I owe the Lord a morning song………. 44
It’s no longer I that liveth………………. 45
Jesu, Jesu……………………………………….. 46
Jesus Christ is present here……………. 29
Jesus remember me…………………………. 7
Jesus took a towel…………………………….. 2
Jesus, name above all names………….. 20
Kum Ba Yah……………………………………. 11
Lead us in your light……………………… 47
Let there be love……………………………. 48
Lift up your heads………………………….. 21
Lord, fill us with thy pulsing joy……. 49
My Lord, you wore no royal crown… 50
O healing river………………………………. 51
O Lord You’re Beautiful………………… 22
Place at the table, A…………………………. 3
Praise the name of Jesus………………… 23
Prayer of St Francis……………………….. 52
Prince of Peace……………………………… 53
Psalm 23………………………………………… 24
Psalm 81…………………………………………. 25
Rejoice in the Lord always…………….. 30
Seek ye first……………………………………. 54
Servant Song………………………………….. 55
Surely goodness and mercy……………. 56
There are many gifts……………………… 57
These are the days…………………………. 58
This is our God, the Servant King….. 26
This is the day………………………………… 31
This little light of mine………………….. 12
Thuma Mina………………………………….. 32
Tree song, The……………………………….. 13
Trees of the field……………………………. 33
Turn your eyes upon Jesus…………….. 27
Unity……………………………………………… 59
The Upside Down Kingdom…………… 60
Vine and fig tree…………………………….. 14
Virgin Mary had a baby boy………….. 34
Wait for the Lord……………………………… 8
We are people of God’s peace…………. 61
We are the new humanity………………. 62
We come announcing his peace…….. 35
We have decided to follow Jesus……. 63
We thank thee Lord…………………………. 4
When peace like a river…………………. 64
You are salt for the earth……………….. 36

Vincent Branick – The house church in the writings of Paul (Wilmington, USA : Michael Glazier, 1989)

While Paul affirms the existence of the private or single family house church, and while for Paul that house church remains the basic cell of the local church, he clearly wants those house churches to form a body with each other within the city-wide church. Instead of a group of house churches closed to each other or even hostile to each other, Paul envisions apparently a kind of federation of several house churches forming a local church. The Pauline local church existed thus on two levels, both connected with households, 1) a household assembly of an individual family and those associated with that family, and 2) a city-wide level meeting in a private home but consisting of several families. (p. 26)

This quote sums up Branick’s account of Paul’s understanding of church.

· The household churches might start with the head of a house converting to Christianity, and with him – or sometimes her – many others in the house. (Branick makes the excellent point that not all of the household were converted in each case – and this is why Paul has to address the issue of unbelieving spouses; this is why the runaway slave Onesimus was not a Christian when he ran away from Philemon.) Singles or poor people or even other couples would then attach themselves to this household and form a worshipping house church.

· On special occasions, all of these households came together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and worship with their spiritual gifts. It is to these events that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 – where he warns about the greedy rich shaming the poor and thus making it no longer a true Lord’s Supper – and 1 Corinthians 14 – where he sets out the way to have an orderly meeting in the Spirit. (Maddeningly, he never answers his own problem – he notes that these meetings couldn’t have happened too often; there were too many people to fit into a normal house. But how did they ever fit into one house for these meetings?)

· But this didn’t happen in all cities. He points out that Paul never addresses the Romans as a city-wide church, believing that the different Christian households had not yet formed a federation (p. 70). Similarly, Branick believes that there were multiple house churches in Anitoch which did not have a city-wide gathering. Instead, Peter vacillates between the Greek faction and the Jewish faction (p. 25, referring to Gal. 2:11-13). (Were there perhaps two alliances of Christian households, then?)

One fascinating part of the book is the way he traces the role of Priscalla and Aquilla. These Roman Jews were banished from Rome by imperial edict, and went to settle at Corinth. However, later they were in Rome again, and still later in Ephesus. They owned a house which was the basis of a household church in Corinth. As a tentmaker, Aquilla would not have had enough money to allow them to come to Corinth and buy a house straight away. And why is Priscalla mentioned first many times? Partly because she clearly had a leadership role in the church; but maybe had a high social standing and wealth which Aquilla married into.

The great thing about scholarly criticism of the NT is that it allows us to see developments in the church and significant differences between different writers representing different communities.

· For Branick, Paul sits between Jesus’ openness to outsiders and the Johannine community’s closed attitude to outsiders.

· He sees the deutero-Pauline letters as moving away from house churches with the rise of (paid) bishops and the move ‘toward a city-wide organisation where teaching can be carefully monitored.’ (128)

Meeting report : 10 December 2006



We met at Don and Marianne’s house in Maddington this week.

The main discussion was about the possiblility of helping Bessie, the director of Oikos ministries to come over to the Anabaptist Conference in January. I felt it would be important to have her there, as she can encourage people who are interested in beginning house churches – the best way, we are convinced, to have a chance to ‘live Anabaptism’ (the theme of the conference). I wasn’t sure how everyone felt about this idea, but when it was time to write down pledges toward the cost, we quickly had nearly enough to cover the airfare, and so this showed real enthusiasm!

A lot of house churches, I have heard, avoid money altogether. Yet we have been glad to have the opportunity to take up a weekly offering and help people with it. When we’re just spending our money as individuals, we lose the corporate nature of the decisions and have less accountability. To know that together we can enable ministries makes us feel like we’re doing something as a church. We’ve kept it simple, though – we take up an offering and then instantly give it away to the things we’ve decided it should be used for. No bank accounts and no bureacracy that way.

Meeting report : 3 December 2006

We met at Tim’s house in Huntingdale, and were lucky enough to have three visitors – a German couple, Daniel and Katerine, and Kristo Newall. One of the things that came out of the discussion was a desire to improve our prayer life.

In the top photo are Brad, Katerine and Daniel. In the bottom phot are Ian, Nathan and Kristo. Thanks to Marcia for the photos.

Katerine and Daniel are travelling around Australia and are hoping to find models of being church and living in Christian community to take back to their ministry to youth in Stuttgart.

Kristo is a Christian activist looking for a church.

Body Politics Simplified

I have just posted the simplification of John Howard Yoder’s Body Politics : Five practices of the Christian Community before the watching world.

www.geocities.com/savageparade/body_politics_simplified

Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder published Body Politics in 1992. The five practices he writes about are the framework for the 2007 AAANZ Conference’s theme of living Anabaptism. Yoder recovers the Lord’s Supper and baptism as essential parts of the church’s common life, practices with political and social importance. He adds to them the ministry of all believers, admonishment and discernment, and the open worship meeting to give us an exciting picture of living Anabaptism together. I have simplified and shortened the book to make it easier to understand and more relevant. It includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

In order to get the most out of the conference, we suggest you try to read the simplification so that you can come ready to share how you think we might try to live the practices today.

Print copies will be available from January and at the conference for less than $10.