“Prototype” by Jonathan Martin : A Review

ImageI married into Renovatus.

This is something I’m rather glad about.

Renovatus Church in Charlotte NC began its journey in January 2006, and fortunately for me, my (then-future) Sister in Law led worship there. Thus I first encountered the inimitable Jonathan Martin, founder and pastor of Renovatus. From the first sermon I heard him preach, I knew that here was a guy who had insights and wisdom that the church, and indeed the unchurched, needed to hear. I devoured CDs (and later, podcasts) with an insatiable hunger, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, got to call my Brother my friend. Albeit from a distance, mind you. Living in Scotland, I couldn’t exactly attend services, but, as their first official eCommunicant, I followed them from Elizabeth Elementary School, to an abandoned movie theatre in Eastland Mall to their current expanded homes on Little Rock Road and in Fort Mill. Along the way I’ve laughed, cried, been challenged and grown. And Jonathan has been the constant factor.

So when I heard Jonathan was writing a book, I was hugely excited. This could only be good. And when my advance copy arrived in the mail last week, my expectations were met and exceeded.

Prototype sets out to examine what can happen when we truly find our identity in God, just as Christ did as our prototype; when we realise and accept that Jesus was the ‘firstborn from the dead’, and that we are following his lead. It succeeds beautifully. The book is a triumph. Jonathan’s style is unconventional but so deeply rooted in the best of tradition. It can be unsettling at times, heartwarming at others, and all the time, the love of the Father is central.

This is a book one reads in a hurry, itching to get to the next line. I felt as though every sermon I’d heard Jonathan preach for the last 7 years had been distilled into 200 or so pages. Jonathan flings out transformational sentences like a warrior poet with a sack of Holy Spirit Shurikens. For anyone who’s ever heard him, this comes as no surprise. Martin is (depending on how you look at it) either the Blackest White preacher you’ve ever heard, or the Whitest Black one. Imagine if John Wesley did hip-hop? You’re close.

Along the way, we step through the wilderness of obscurity, compare old scars in the playground and poke around among the shards of Jesus’ broken bride, and as we go, these grim encounters are wrapped up with a ribbon of redemption. We meet the Jesus who knew who He was via the love of His Father and we begin to see our own reflection in Him. Our encounter leaves us with the desire not just to get spiritual dirt under our fingernails, but to get out and experience the real thing, and in a messy, sweaty, awkward, blistered way, to get the word out about the Kingdom ‘that is coming and is now here’.

This is a book that shakes you down, tenderly slaps your face and reminds you of who God actually says that you are, then spins you around and nudges you forwards into your true humanity.

“Prototype” is published by Tyndale. It launches on May 1st 2013 and is available from Amazon and other bookstores.


Iain’s Isle – From the Parallel Podcast

Well, here’s some of the stuff I mentioned in my Iain’s Isle segment on this week’s Flashforcast for those of you who would like a visual!

Here’s the writing on the bus, in English, French and an unknown (to me) Asian language –

I think THIS guy…

Is this guy: (From Wikipedia) – “Valerios Stais (b. Kythira 1857 – d. Athens 1923) was a Greek archaeologist. He was born in Kythera. He studied medicine and later archaeology. He became the director of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in 1887 and held that post until his death…Valerios Stais also became the discoverer of the Antikythera mechanism.”

And here is a reconstruction of that very mechanism he found…

Remind anyone of this?

So what did the mechanism do? Well, Wikipedia has this to say about it:
“The Antikythera mechanism (pronounced AN-ti-ki-THEER-ə), is an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as the first known mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.”

Basically, you could use this device to figure out where the planets, moon etc would be for a given time in the future.

Now, what I find interesting in relation to Flashforward is this; if you wound it forward to 1000 years in the future but between now and then one of the planets was mysteriously destroyed (Agent Al Gough?) the machine would be no less accurate in terms of where the planets WOULD have been if they’d carried on the way they were going. See what I mean?

OK, Now for the monsters…

Here’s the Not-Hydra!

It’s from the book “Histoires prodigieuses” by Pierre Boaistuau. The text below reads: “This Hideous Serpent has 2 feet and 7 crowned heads. It was embalmed and sent to Constantinople by an African merchant. it was bought by the Venetians for 2,000 ecus.”

Notice, it has 7 heads, just like this next chappie…

He’s from the very same book, and the text accompanying him talks about this being a “Monstrous creature born to honourable parents”

I reckon the 7 heads thing could be a reference to the 7 rings, although the fact that the serpent has 7 CROWNED heads makes me think it’s a tie-in to the mysterious Crown Cheese Steak menu thing we’ve been wondering about. If you look closely, above the “Us” in “Help Us” there is a tiny crowned head. Any ideas?

I’m Back!

Yet another insanely long break from blogging, but here we go again!

With a re-style, a re-name and an avowed intention to avoid controversial political issues relating to countries I don’t belong to, I’m ready to rock.

I intend to post a lot of Flashforward / Lost related stuff here over the coming months, so I especially welcome any fans of http://www.flashforcast.com who may find their way here!

I’m currently filling the Flashforward hiatus by rewatching the first 10 episodes. I’m part way through Episode 101 and already have picked up a handful of interesting little snippets I missed the first……. um….. 20 times or so. More to come on that as I go along.

I am also speculating like crazy about the stunning news I had confirmed from executive story editor Quinton Peeples. Apparently I’m getting a shout-out on episode 15! No idea what that might look like at this point. I’m keeping my expectations low!

Anyway, I’ll leave it there for now. Hopefully I won’t slack off as badly as I did for the last three years!


Best Story EVER!

After a long blogging hibernation, I felt I had to share this one with you all. I was listening to a podcast from my sister-in-law’s church in Charlotte NC when this story was told, which originated from her husband. I laughed very loudly and publicly when I heard it and I’m still giggling now…

There’s a youth pastor who’s gone to a pentecostal church event in Georgia. This youth pastor is particularly hefty. Just a really big guy. Anyway, the meeting is progressing as one would expect. Towards the end of the meeting, things are starting to heat up a bit and people are praying and casting out spirits and all sorts. One woman in particular is getting right into this. She’s calling out spirits and demons left, right and centre.

She walks up to the very large youth pastor and says, “Spirit of obesity, in the name of Jesus, I command you to come out right now!”

The youth pastor (a particularly sharp witted guy) puts on a demonic, raspy voice and says…

“I will for a cookie!”

Guth a Bhiobaill / Voice of the Bible


guth a bhiobaill

Originally uploaded by Frogey

The overlay is part of an old Gaelic hymn where the Bible itself tells its own story.

The steeple is that of Martin’s Memorial Church of Scotland in Stornoway, which happens to be my place of worship!

Here’s a rough translation…

“And I will go to the ends of the Earth
telling of a victorious saviour
and I will spread the banner
so the people will gather around
I will speak in every language
I will declare the way of salvation
And they will honour and love the Lamb

Many a person without hope
Wayward, not knowing peace
Did I enlighten and direct
towards an inheritance and a glory without end
Many a sad heart
Did I make joyous with knowledge of Christ
And I made wise the fool
And turned many who were enemies into friends”

Ballad of the Lazy Blogger

I used to be a blogger
but it’s grinding to a halt
There’s lots of things to blame for it
It’s really not my fault.

Replying to Obama posts
has brought me to exhaustion
I can’t get round to writing blogs
with all the time it’s costing.

I used to write insightful stuff
on life and on religion
but now I seem to spend more time
sweeping dog hair out the kitchen.

The stuff of life has caught me up
like a fly in spider’s webbing
And like the fly that’s hanging there
my strength is slowly ebbing.

At least for now I’ve managed one-
Another post’s been captured
Perhaps I’ll write another blog
sometime before I’m raptured.