Meet Alan, Tom and Billy - this weeks guest authors

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This week we have three more guests posting which is particularly welcome as Jason continues to recover from his op - if you're the praying kind could you please say a little pray for him. I hope you're enjoying as much as I am the different and varied voices conversations that the guests so far have brought to the site...

SO would you please welcome Alan, Tom and Billy who have kindly submitted themselves to an OK style indepth searching interview...sadly we couldn't afford the picture rights so you're left with the words...

First up: Alan Mann

Hi Alan, Please could you tell us a little bit about who are you/what are you doing/being at the mo?

I'm a husband to Kay, who teaches biology and ethics at a private school here in Bristol. I'm 'Daddy' to Liberty, our 22 month old daughter who I look after while Kay teaches. I'm an author/co-author/editor of books: Atonement for a 'Sinless' Society; The Lost Message of Jesus; church.co.uk bible, Faithworks: Unpacked; etc, etc. I'm an educator: I tutor distance learning students taking theology degrees through The London School of Theology. I'm passionate about the provision of clean, safe drinking water and sanitation for the developing world, and to that end a trustee of Hope International.

Thanks Alan, I can see why you might have much in common with Jason who is co-ordinator of Emergent-UK but could you please tell me how/why you are interested/involved in/with emergent/emerging church?

About 5 years ago, someone gave me a copy of Brian McLaren's, A New Kind of Christian, which turned out to be very close to the kind of thinking/writing I was doing at the time with Steve Chalke. So I arranged to meet up with Brian. That meant meeting Jason, also, and they kindly adopted me as one of their own, despite the fact that I go to a very ordinary, old kind of Christian church! I guess that's it, except that my writings are marketed as emerging theology by the publishers, but I prefer to think of them as Christian Orthodoxy through fresh language. Oh Yes, and I'm going to be (at some point in the not-too-distant future) the editor of a new quarterly magazine, which I've been working on with Jason for the past 18 months.

Old kind of christian churh goers are always welcome, it's one of the pleasures of valueing deep church. But time for a little dreaming, please could you tell us if you could be anything you wanted to be, other than what you are now, what would it be?

Something Bohemian, like an artist or poet, or something worthwhile, like an aid worker in the Sudan.

as contractual required for the Ok/HELLO!-esque exclusive please could you tell us one thing that most people would be surprised to discover about you?

I dreamed of marrying an Irish, dark-haired, dark-eyed, cello player. I married a red-headed, green-eyed, non-musical friend from east London - but she's my soul-mate!

Well now that you are well ahead on brownie points, please could you tell us who else inspires you, who are your heroes and heroines and why?

I guess people inspire me who have a story to tell that touches my soul. I don't have to know them personally, it could be someone on the radio, a story on the news, a piece of documentary journalism - anything that brings me into contact with other people's stories. Which usually means I'm inspired everyday by someone.

Finally, Theology is [always/sometimes/never] fun so please could you tell me how would you describe the Kingdom of God in 5 words or less?

Wish you where here!

Next up to bat Billy Calderwood...

Hi Billy, thanks for taking part in the guest experiment, could you please tell us a little bit about Who are you/what are you doing/being at the mo?

My name is Billy Calderwood. Since 2002, I have been leading an emerging missional faith community in the Santa Barbara, California area called Aqueous. (Aqueous is Latin meaning: partaking of the nature of water or abounding in it). I am married to a wonderful woman named Kristin. We have three kids.

California seems a long way from the UK (especially in the wet/grey of new winter) so could please let us know how/why you've ended up connected to emergent-UK or the wider emerging church conversation?

I am a missional church/emerging church practitioner/pastor. My interest in the network of all things emergent flows from a deep desire to learn from and share life with others who are seeking to live captivated by the beauty, power, and reality of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom in a post christian and rapidly globalizing context. The challenges of leading a local community of faith in this landscape are varied and I highly value the insights and experiences of other practitioners as there experiences, insights and stories shape my own. (Jason has been a regular read for a while and it is an honor to contribute to the ongoing conversation here.)

And we're honoured that you've given up your time to contribute to the conversation here! please could you tell us if you could be anything you wanted to be, other than what you are now, what would it be?

A Rock Star, a graffiti artist like Banksy, a professional poker player... Oh wait, you said dreaming right?

yes I did say dreaming, lol. Ok reality check time, what is one thing that most people would be surprised to discover about you?

I grew up in a town with a population of 250.

Now I guess 249? Could you let us know who inspires you, who are your heroes and heroines and why?

My heroes are people who wrestled deeply with what it meant to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in changing or difficult times. Deitrich Bonhoeffer is at the top of the list.

Thanks Billy, finally theology is [always/sometimes/never] fun so please could you tell me how would you describe the Kingdom of God in 5 words or less?

Here, Now, Everywhere, Joyfully Subversive

And last but not least...Tom

Hi Tom, good to have you with us! Please could you tell me a little bit about Who are you/what are you doing/being at the mo?

First, I attended Bob Jones University, a kind of “mecca” for uber-conservative evangelical Christians.

Second, I grew up in New England (USA), so my favorite sports teams are the Patriots, the Red Sox, the Celtics, and the Bruins.

Third, Cherie, my wife of 12 years, is the most remarkable person I know. My love and admiration for her are boundless. I also have three beautiful children - Ashleigh (6), Sarah (4), and Ethan (2). Through them I have learned that my heart has an almost infinite capacity to love.

Fourth, I often wonder why the church has always been tempted to rely on anything that appears more powerful, more productive, or more persuasive than love.

Fifth, one of my favorite books of all time is Elizabeth O’ Conner’s Call to Commitment. If you’re even remotely interested in what it means to be a missional church, Elizabeth’s book may be the best place to start.

Great book and a great point, mabye the beatles are right and all we need is love? So can you tell us how you heard about and how/why you are interested/involved in/with emergent/emerging church?

To be honest, I didn’t know I was emerging until we had a dozen people walk away from our faith community because they thought we were “too emerging.” That was one of the strangest ecclesiastical situations I’ve ever been a part of. The whole thing was just bizarre. It all came down to my public appreciation for some of Brian McLaren’s writings. That’s when I began to realize that Brian had inadvertently become the “poster boy” for a third way. And it was really this third way that intrigued me the most. Brian just seemed to be one of the few writers who had his finger on its pulse.

Brian and a new third way, i'd have thought the church must be like on the thousand and third way by now ;). Time for a little dreaming, please could you tell me if you could be anything you wanted to be, other than what you are now, what would it be?

I love this question. Just give me a one-way ticket to central Africa—preferably Zambia—and let me labor in obscurity on behalf of the fatherless and the widow.

Thanks Tom, i've been to Zambia, it is an amazing country!