A reason to get out of bed every day of your life!



In our past was an age, a culture that defined itself by compliance and unity, going with the flow.  This afforded those with power to corrupt and co-opt others.  We ended up with wars that never should have happened, barons of manna ($) who formed and manipulated systems to abuse and take advantage of others, for which God will judge.  It also led to a cultural pendulum swing towards individuality…  self determination and defining.  Now as we end 2017 though I find something interesting… a lot of millennials define themselves in some “indie” (independent individuality) against the tide of culture… What I note though is that they do want a tribe of other “indies” with them and they too, like other generations before, have tribal rules of dress, habits, foods, music and value systems.

I have the joy of living in a socially progressive nation and the capital, Wellington, is the point of that value system, which has many positive aspects for the collective society.  It also has its blind spots.  The “indies” all say they are for “free thinking” and individual freedom of thought…  until you have a different value or opinion.  They’re not new at this, but they are so social media consumed that most cannot see how intolerant they are.  I’m around a very well intended tribe that truly wants to do good things in society, and they are great people, whom I love.  What they can’t see is the typical millennial blind spot though of living rough and simply in several areas, then getting on jets and touring the globe, or eating rough, yet indulging in the banquet of luxury afforded in our affluent society.  I’m not attacking them… mine did the same, as did the Gen Y’s.  As did the boomers before me.  It’s funny, each generation thinks its different though, while being the same…. human; therefore self absorbed, blind to its foibles and destined to repeat the human condition.

Funny in being the latest “indie” tribe though is the very cultural distinctive identifying markers they value from independent thinking, which the rest of the tribe ascribes to… because it’s communicated this is how one does….  fill in the blank.  Yet, if that cultural “indie” more became the centre of the culture and other tribes adopted what this present “indie” crowd defines itself by, they would abandon that more because it’s not really a more, but an identifier to mark them, define them, against the others.  We’re funny that way, aye?  It’s like the cartoon movie, The Incredibles.  When everyone is special, no one is special.  In the human condition, especially today in the most broken, dysfunctional, amoral, purposeless, meaningless, self absorbed time in history – at least since the later Roman Empire, we never more undefined, unaware of the inherent value inscribed upon us in our Imago Dei, for whom we are created to relate.  In our post-Christendom pluralistic, globalised, secularised do-it-yourself spirituality as long as there is no god whom one must engage or be accountable, no definition of ethical or moral outside of our own design, age we find ourselves not having a d*** clue as to why we’re here, what is truly deeply fulfilling.  We get hints of it, but can’t seem to find the source of that aphrodisiac fragrance…  Therefore, we seek to define it and create it in our own efforts.

The challenge:  first, how do we (those of us who claim to know and follow and be under the loving reign of Christ) actually become a people so in love with, so transformed by, so aligned to our calling and purpose in this world as salt, light, ambassadors, priests, fragrances to a world so d*** lost and unaware?  How can we first be transformed and actually in love ourselves – before we “fake it” to convince others of a love for Him for which they do not see in us.  You can’t fake that.  If it is real, they see it with no confusion before you ever utter His name.  Secondly, rather than us, His people, trying to get them to say “uncle” and mentally ascend to facts we hold true, let them first smell that aroma and be undeniably drawn to seek its source.  Let us love, sacrifice, be inconvenienced, forbear, practice deference that they want to know these truths plainly.

the past few years tattoos and skinny jeans have marked the “indie” and next will be the return of the bell bottom or baggy jean, from short to long, to short hair…  Blah, blah, blah, blah….  Who cares!  Rather than chase such vain and empty things, maybe we can chase the lover of our souls and then maybe our lost culture, which we love, will want to chase us?

Nga manãkitanga katoa i roto ia te Karaiti
[All of Christ’s blessings to you]

~ MichaelIMG_6297


Mourn, grieve, weep. Let us Lament.

I offer this link.  I have no words other than to exhort that we abandon our self absorbed and self actualising understanding of life and life in the Kingdom.

See :  http://archbishopcranmer.com/christian-missionaries-aleppo-crucified-beheaded/

Why We Can’t Fit Into The Shapes In Other’s Minds — John Siddique

A VLOG from Wise Words Festival, Canterbury, on creativity, meditation, writing, presence, and the thorny subject of why we can’t fit other people’s ideas of who they want us to be.

via Why We Can’t Fit Into The Shapes In Other’s Minds — John Siddique

Two poems by John Siddique — John Siddique

Originally posted on And Other Poems: Orpheus as a Child Everything is bright to his eyes. The spaces between the connections of life. Each sound is music, whether it is factory thrum, or spider web vibration. He loves raindrops falling into puddles, tiny ripples, reflected skies. Rocky outcrops and tree silhouettes outlined against the light.…

via Two poems by John Siddique — John Siddique

Saying what we’re not allowed to say

IMG_2763I’ve watched the events unfolding in the Middle East MY ENTIRE FREAKING LIFE!  It’s ALWAYS BEEN chaotic; always multifaceted and many guilty parties.  My conclusions, to date anyway, are not popular with anyone.  I reject taking up “others’ views” to simply be accepted within a “tribe”, to belong.

We see a region, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, across Israel, Palestine, to Egypt and all the way to Morocco.  The recent events with super powers involved in an effort to “destroy ISIS” without being on the ground is futile and we all know it, but no one is satisfied with allowing ISIS to continue, nor to commit boots on the ground to stomp them out, either.  Peace seems a virtue ISIS scoffs towards and uses it only to outmaneuver for treachery.  What a mess!   It feels surreal, like the summer of 1914, a world war waiting to happen for no clear reason or worthy sacrifice for what is about to be demanded to pay death itself.

Look, on one hand – and many will NOT like what I am about to say, the mess in the Middle East has been fostered by a century of imperial meddling from many countries, the US, UK, France, Russia and now the latest, China.  The lust for oil, control of a geographic key region has driven people to fight over this area for the history of mankind.  The past century directly lays ground work for internal strife, and the chaos of today.  We continue to define “our interests” at the expense and lack of voice by those who “get to” endure our will played on them.  In other words – a big part of this mess is OUR FAULT (the western powers, and I’d throw Russia and China into this complicity.

BUT, and here is what is not allowed to be said….  BUT…  the core of this mess is a violent culture, a violent predisposition that has fought amongst itself from all of history.  The Old Testament reveals a history of war, genocide and racial dominance and NON-STOP bloodshed.  Many site the curse of sin and the nature of the races that God told Israel to wipe out because their DNA was evil.  Others will say they are merely working out the internal defining Europe did centuries ago.  Some will say it’s all our fault, making money off warfare, war we participate in and we sell to when and when we’re not directly involved.

I think all of it is true.  What is not allowed to be said is that the Middle East, from the Persians, to the Arabs, to the North Africans – they have some deep cultural VIOLENT and literally murderous tendencies that they are not owning up to.  Life is cheap, “my way” or die (the eternal fallen human disposition) is real there.  They choose this reality and as a people and region are not willing to come to terms and compromise to co-exist together.

The unbridled freedoms of the west, what liberals insist will bring harmony to the Middle East, are exactly the core of what they hate – despise, loath and froth at the mouth over.  They do not esteem freedom at all, but concrete and clearly defined boundaries of absolute obedience.  Free thought, critical thinking and a willingness to tolerate any dissent is odious to the Middle Eastern cultures.  Hence, reason does not work and why democracy is ludicrous and a waste of time by the right and the left persuasions.  The right simply wants to lull them to peace with profits and markets.  It’s a mere temporal anesthetic that will not be effective long, as so many realities of the region reveal.

So, what do we do?  Great question – no clear answer or answers.  The first step though is realising NO answer will fix it.  There is no “right” choice.  There is NO fix to this region.  Dour?  Yes.  Yet the entire history of the region is dour and I’m not allowed to say that either.  The Kingdom of God is the ONLY fix to the region.  Yet, a helicopter marketed shiny western evangelism of celebrity isn’t the way either – rather an upside down kingdom approach of humility – but we’re not patient enough for that, are we?

*Thank you to my nephew, Joel Knight, for this beautiful photograph (Wellington, New Zealand, 2015)

Coffee and Inhabiting Christ in the normal non-exceptional world of anyone’s reality

Havana Michael Coffee Tasting 05 2015

Why does “the church” exist?  COFFEE OF COURSE… Huh?  Read on!


Not the institution(s) – needed to cooperate, communicate, encourage, partner, etc… but I’m talking about the church, as in “the people”…and not universal, but your own world, city, community, neighbourhood; your oikas (extended household – whanau {pronounced Fanow} in NZ)…  why are we here?

Simple – God is about redeeming the creation He started…  did God ever say He was cutting His losses, saving what He could – a Dunkirk in the cosmic, eternal, battle?  He will complete, redeem, reconcile and restore what He began and intended!  AND we “get to” be a part of it!  Read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians – the creation itself groans awaiting His return to complete it !

So, again, why do we exist as “the church”?  He co-labours with and through us to complete His plan (Exchatology).  So our mission (purpose) is to be about His plan:  Our Missiology must be centred in His Eschatology!  AND the church must organise, function and be about living out a missiology that fulfills Christ’s Eschatology…. our Ecclesiology (how we do church) is informed by our Missiology, which is informed by His Eschatology….


But what’s this to do with non-exceptional world and me blabbering on?  See the link…  One of the places I’m doing this is not in a place that’s not a part of my daily life, but is centred in it!  AND if I don’t act, smell, value, love, speak, have the right communication in my “eyes” even, I’ll be seen as a fraud, but if I do – they’ll see Christ in me, they’ll smell Christ and be drawn to Him.  I and my tribe(s) have lived this way for years and we rarely ever initiated a conversation on God – BUT – they brought Him up!  They were drawn to Him.


For me – that’s coffee.  I’m a coffee nerd.  I used to scoff at it, but it grew on me over years, partly from being with other coffee nerds.  I’ll drink okay coffee, but I love good coffee.  In Wellington, one of the best coffee cities on the planet, that’s easy.  I have literally 25+ great places I frequent, but I inhabit two:  Havana Coffee Roasters…. the main roaster and shops (2) on site, and People’s Coffee (a hippie café grown up).  Both respect each other and are friends.  They are different, but both also have shared values with me (fair trade, organic, etc).  As I re-entered life here in Wellington, began hanging out, getting to know staff, etc, I began to be invited behind the “curtain” to their real world…  I see the roasting, conversation (on their terms) goes deeper, wider than just coffee, and I get invited to their rituals and celebrations.  I was invited and now am a regular (them asking if I’ll be there this week) for their weekly “cupping” – a ritual to blind taste and evaluate coffee.  Recently in one of those “cuppings”, a closed internal staff one, a photographer came, also a coffee nerd, and did a shoot and study.  He even included me in his pics! 🙂  See Article!  Today, showing up early, I helped set up, and the head roaster began inviting me into his life story….a new layer deeper.


Look, it doesn’t take rocket science… be authentic, be a real friend, listen tons, let them dictate the pace (which will vary).  Don’t rush it… western evangelicals so want to rush it!  In our post-Christian world you just can’t!  The Spirit loves them more than us and He is conducting this cantata!  It’s not information, it’s a relationship with a person – Jesus.  It’s not theology, nor a system – it’s a relationship!  Remember the thief on the cross – He only knew Jesus – never passed a Catechism test.  That’s all later.  Just love them, in your normal world, where you’d be anyway… be real – take your time – enjoy them – let them invite you into their rhythms and life.  Sacrifice, care…

They begin to give you gifts.  They begin to want to bless you… one step deeper into being really human…  give, receive, enjoy the journey.  See the bag of coffee below… a special selected tiny batch of special beans the head roaster got on his last trip hunting great suppliers.  This small African nation will probably be in a civil war (again) soon, but to help the people he went there hunting and came back with something special – and included me – a gift this morning after the latest “cupping”.  Why?  Because I enjoyed this one the most in our time together.


What’s next?  Baking!  Get Susanne doing what she does and bake great food that goes with coffee and will bless them also!  After we finally get out of camping mode and live nearby… dinner party – good wine, late night – laughs galore!  Wait for one of them to be in need and us to be in the right place to bless them!


Joy… Perspective in a life of First World Problems