The Joondalup Tapestry

I was all geared up for a long bike ride after work today, rode past one couples house on my way out of Joondalup and saw another friends car out the front so thought I’d drop in…You know how it is, you get talking and an hour has gone, you have lost the bike ride ‘anointing’ and before you know it you are back home eating chocolate cake!

The conversation we had was interesting. There was an indication that a few people have got some crazy ideas of what our Joondalup Thing is all about, and with good reason in some cases. These guys I was having a chat with (one of whom is connected to our group) had been talking to people who had said, “I have heard…” And “did you know that these guys are in to …”
What I discovered in listening to the rumors was that most of them are true…Sort of. You know what they say, all good rumor has a slice of truth!
I sometimes say some things that in hindsight I think ‘maybe that was a God picture because it’s too smart an illustration for me!’, and this was one of those times.

I suggested that what I see of our Joondalup Community Thing is a big tapestry, and depending on who you talk to from our group the tapestry looks ever so slightly different.
What happens when you pass someone in church on Sunday and they say “heard you were doing something strange in Joondalup”. Instead of pulling out the whole tapestry and showing them, which may take a good few hours, a thread from the tapestry is drawn out from the big picture and discussed. Sometimes, I like to ‘bait’ and stir the pot, so the thread pulled may be a controversial one for that person.
An example may help.

Last Sunday a rough tough young guy asked me what we were doing, I responded by pulling out the threat of organic vegi gardening. This is in my tapestry picture (not even a current reality! But I love the idea of playing together with some neighbor’s in an experimental vegi garden, building relationships, meeting new friends and having fun). But of course this young guy thinks he has just seen the whole tapestry, a vegi garden looking tapestry, a bunch of ‘poofy’ greeny blokes tiptoeing around their patch of strawberries, when in fact all he saw was a thread.
Another thread may be the way we express our ‘church services’. Maybe the way we include kids in them as well. Maybe our following of the traditional church calendar, or the way we do communion, or our leadership style, trying to avoid heirarchical traps. Another thread maybe the sharing of our goods, our lives and our resources. It could be getting involved in our community with action groups, it could become political at times. It could be the intensity of our discipleship or the way we choose to use our finances, or not use them. Maybe the level of involvement we choose to have at Whitford church, our home church. It could be the way we view our environment, or our theology of evangelism and salvation.
All these threads make of a wonderful picture, given the time to sit and explain it all and ‘show off’ the threads woven together, most people are over the moon, but it’s taken years for some of us to see the tapestry as it looks today. And many people really don’t want to know what and why we are doing it all, in fact what I find is that many people who are deeply committed to existing church structures avoid finding out too much as it simply does not fit the model. In fact even to this day when one of our core groupies look at the tapestry they see some different colours and shapes to the way some of us others see it, but essentially there are a whole lot of common threads that come from a bunch of different dreams, woven together that are slowly forming a great looking picture.

I need to be careful I guess that my ‘teasing’ ways don’t push it too much. Sometimes people just take these throw away comments about nudist colonies too far and before you know it we will be having animal sacrifices around an open fire! (we always use a gas stove!)


10 thoughts on “The Joondalup Tapestry

  1. maybe when coming across someone with a “rumour” interest, we could begin the conversation with, “tell me what you have” or “what would you like to know?” – maybe it would help us focus on the interests of that particular person, rather than second-guessing them or addressing points that are of no interest to them.

    btw – spent the afternoon with a pastor from a local pentecostal church. we have been friends for years through a common involvement in local youth ministry, but had lost touch since moving in different directions.

    he now pastors the church he used to do youth at.

    at the end of our conversation he told me he was genuinely excited for us in where we were exploring these above threads of tapistry, and he finished with a crucial point.

    “regardless of whether i think what you are doing is right or wrong, or crazy or wierd – the most important thing is that i love you and you are my brother. that has to be more important than any differences between us. i choose to love you first, and then everything else is fair game”

    pretty wise for a pretty young fella i reckon.

  2. I am considering french knitting.
    Hey you guys may all laugh but I am sooo in touch with my femanine side I just lit 2 fragrant oil lamps!

  3. Great post Mr Vawser,

    I reckon a few people, myself included, are observing the “Joondalup thing” too see how it goes. I’m not entirely sure what we should be looking for/at with the group but I suppose from my perspective it’s a bit like an experiment. Some my encouragement would be to continue to explore, both for yourselves and for us interested observers – hope that’s OK.

  4. Perspective can be a wonderful, wacky and “distortive” thing. I like what otherendup had to say – go with the interest!

  5. It’s definitely interesting how people view what’s going on. When people ask about Myriad I really struggle becasue I know perhaps 10% of what’s going on. So much of what Myriad is about is happening outside of our Sunday night gatherings.
    But if we try and control things and fit them into neat boxes it loses the real tapestry and becomes a sew by numbers thing which is really boring and uncreative.
    Also I do recall certain people asking me about “Myriam”.

  6. Yes, I thought Myriam was a new girlfriend!
    The idea of watching to see if it ‘works’ is a fun one. I want to do the same thing, but I am not sure what ‘works’ looks like in this context. (I think the Rock Dr hinted at this.) We could set up strategic plans and KPI’s but, I couldn’t be sure that what I would put down would be where God was pointing us. And I would be too unsure that my humanity would measuring things and ‘successes’ in ways that God never intended. I guess the best strategic plan and model we have to work from is found in the New Testament, so we will be sticking to that. Having said that I am not anti S.P.’s and churches who do them, nor am I saying that they do not have a New Testament model, it’s just that in our context a startegic plan would be about as useful as a brick and tile hanglider.

  7. which we were there. it sucks being an observer when we want to be part of the action!

    yes, we are having an incredible time over here and i have no doubt that this is all in God’s timing.

    hey have you heard of Epicure? They are a rock band from Aus and we went rock climbing with them yesterday. The most exciting part was that they were Aus and could speak English. i love my friends 😉

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