I live in Australia where it’s usually assumed we’re all largely apathetic about traditional religion in general and the Christian church in particular. Maybe that’s because we’ve never had a civil war, or fought off an enemy land invasion ...

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I’m no music critic, which will be immediately apparent as you read this meditation on Leonard Cohen’s new album. I’m a longtime fan. And I strive, with varying degrees of success, to be a spiritual man. I admit that being both those things makes me biased when it comes to this exquisite new album.

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Anthony Bourdain’s suicide at age 61 has got me thinking. I know suicide isn’t the exclusive domain of any particular age group, but recently I’ve been troubled by the number of well-known and highly successful men who have ended their own lives in their 60s. The reasons for Bourdain’s suicide aren’t yet known. He was working on a new series of his television show when he died. He was in a new relationship, was exercising, and had given up his two-pack-a-day cigarette habit. All good signs. And yet…

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We do need more Christians who can think differently, innovate, break the rules, disturb the status quo. But not in some undisciplined, chaotic sense. If you think radical, eccentric Christianity is all just wild and carefree rule-breaking, think again. All the great Christian rule-breakers of history submitted themselves to rigorous instruction and discipline as part of their journey into eccentricity.

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Like the US forces in Vietnam, we’ve been counting our way to oblivion. As long as we focus on numbers, we’re not focusing on what we’re meant to be doing as the people of God. What the church needs is a fresh new metric for determining its effectiveness, a measuring device that releases church leaders from focusing on how many people attend, and starts mobilising them to greater missional effectiveness in their neighbourhoods and communities.

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