on saturday a few of us went to the grail, a retreat centre nearby to spend a day in silence. this was mainly inspired by watching the tv series the big silence. i found it a really good experience and i hope it's one we repeat. the lounge there was full of books. in a section called spiritual writings i was looking at a few by thomas merton. i vaguely knew that merton was a photographer which was somehow close to his being a contemplative. but i stumbled across a chapter in a book called thomas merton: a master of attention by r waldron which has a chapter on merton's photography. i had taken my camera with me because for me it is very suited to silence or contemplation - it is about paying attention, it helps me look at things. so i was re-assured to know that my own sense about photography was shared. i jotted down a few quotes from the book...
to become a contemplative one must develop the spiritual eye of attention and what in modern life symbolises more fully and exactly what the life of a contemplative life entails than the camera
solitude and silence are the sine qua non of being a contemplative. in fact a photographer is a contemplative in his own right: he too must become a master of attention
if we had to reduce merton's 'a vow of conversation' to one theme it would be 'learning to see'
for much of the world's beauty we have only one chance to look
all that by way of an intro to this set of photos a day of silence - i took these in the silence on that day trying to capture something of that silence and attention. no idea if they succeed...
grace last was a wonderful mix of stations for our christmas nine. just to recap 9 artists/groups took a reading from the traditional nine lessons christmas service and created an installation in response. they had to a) choose a piece of music to play and b) use a 2m square frame. for mine i laid the frame flat and filled it with soil and wrote the words your kingdom come with candles in response to the prophecy in isaiah 9:2, 6-7 - the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. above the frame i had a screen projecting the video unwrap our darkness that i made last advent. the tune i played was robert plant's satan your kingdom must come down. lots of people were taking photos of the various stations which will follow at some point but here's a movie i took...
it's the first of december - wow! i am so not ready for that... here's our proost news for advent which has links to advent and christmas resources
Ten Thousand Places is this month's proost release. It's a delightful collection of poems from Chris Goan spanning themes of humanity, faith, wilderness, community, mission and family. Chris is part of the community Aoradh in Dunoon, Scotland. It's available as a pdf download or as a physical book.
Today is the beginning of advent. Just a quick reminder of some of the resources on proost for this season...
9 lessons is flash animation . Run the flash file (in a browser or flash player) and there are 9 animating loops corresponding to each of the nine lessons and carols from the traditional Christmas service. But here's the brilliant part - each one loops for as long as you like while you do the reading and whatever else. Then you simply click on the play button in the corner to move on to the next image.
nine - nine artists interpret the traditional nine readings with 6 movies and 3 songs.
wait - Vaux's simple but powerful movie and liturgy on waiting in advent.
silent night - a movie that's ideal for pretty much any Christmas service
If you are a subscriber the movie Unwrap our Darkness (inspired by Cheryl Lawrie's Christmas confession in Hold This Space which has some lovely advent prayers in) is a free bonus movie in the downloads section.
Then of course lots of liturgies and songs on the advent theme elsewhere in the books and audio sections...
If you subscribe of course you can access the content in the downloads area as part of your subscription. if not you can buy the individual items or subscribe now...
Have a great season of Advent!
Jonny, Jon, Aad
cheryl shares some tips on designing stations
we have 3 amazing new animated parables on proost this month. they are the lost son by joel baker, benny the boss by jon birch and the gaga samaritan by andi mac. watch the promo below to get the flavour. this project is a partnership with stapleford house who will be producing lesson plans for secondary schools to use with the movies at the beginning of 2011. you can download the movies through proost and if you are a proost subscriber they are in the download section on the site.
you may remember i took photos for festival annual at the big chill festival this year. the launch party is in london on monday night but it has just landed at the designers back from the printer - nick kindly sent me a few snaps. it looks like i have a few photos in there which is great! looking forward to seeing it on monday.
i said that every so often i would update the reviews of curating worhsip in one place which i have done. thanks to those people who have read and reviewed it so far. if you review it or see a review do let me know. these are the latest...
james porter says it's the finest book about religion/worship/Christianity he's read this year (though does point out he hasn't read many!)
dave pollendine suggest that i have curated a book about curation
rach's blog picks up on what seems to be the most quoted quote so far -
In many church circles the only gifts that are valued for worship are musical ones (and even then of a small range of music) or the ability to speak well (preferably in a good English accent). This attitude needs shattering, and opening up so that poets, photographers, ideas people, geeks, theologians, liturgists, designers, writers, cooks, politicians, architects, movie-makers, storytellers, parents, campaigners, children, bloggers, DJs, VJs, craft-makers, or just anybody who comes and is willing to bounce ideas around, can get involved.
rob ryan likes the notion of creating space for others to discover god as an approach which counters his experience (and frustration) of something very different with someone controlling the message and the outcome.
the silent pilgrimage was a site-specific sound installation at greenbelt that took the participant on a reflective journey around the festival site. you donned a set of headphones and a transmitter meant you could listen to the track at the appropriate place. five groups were commissioned to write the meditations: frunt, molten meditation, beyond, spirit walk and gloopy music. the meditations, of both words and music, provided a unique soundscape for the festival site. the good news is that if you missed them they are available on proost this month in the audio section or in the download area if you are a subscriber. ben edson has also secured some funding so that meditations are going to be used around the city of manchester in the mind body spirit festival which is another move to take alt worship typr stuff into public space - exciting stuff!
also on a meditation/reflective theme pall singh of sanctuary in birmingham has recorded three meditations sanctuary peace in his unique fusing of asian music with alternative worship. again these are available in the audio section of proost...
i don't quite know how i missed this before but maybe seth godin posts so much stuff it's easy to do! anyway via mark sayers i spotted this very short e-book/pdf - really bad powerpoint and how to avoid it. what he says is so obvious that it's amazing! the one thing it made me realise that i hadn't realised before is how much i dislike giving people my presentations - because they are best experienced. so that's it - in future you have to be there and you'll get a handout summary...
it's three years now since we relaunched proost at greenbelt 2007 diversifying content and artists involved. i can't quite believe that we've managed to put out new content every month bar one (where we had a computer theft) since then. proost now has 13 books in the pocket size, around 60 movies or movie loops, maybe 30 albums or mini albums and a few other bits and pieces. thanks to anyone who has been part of the journey so far enjoying, creating, sharing, using, or creatively remixing content. subscribing which gives you access to all the content is so much better a deal now than when we re-launched!
this month we have a new addition to the pocket liturgies series from visions in york put together by sue wallace. it's available as a physical book (and will be in the greenbelt shop if you are there) or as a download.
here's a prayer from it called generous god to give you a flavour and that sums up our thanks...
You have done so much for us.
Yet sometimes we feel
We have very little to give You back.
Snatches of our time,
Our money and talents,
Yet we own nothing
That wasn’t already given us by You.
And yet God, we know
That when we give the little we have to You
You multiply it!
You take the tap-water
Of our songs, our prayers
Our love and our worship,
And change it into vintage wine.
You multiply everything we give to You
And turn something small into
For all You give us
For all You inspire us to give You,
For Your multiplying miracles
looking forward to greenbelt this coming weekend. hope to see some of you there. our big news from proost is that the greenbelt shop is going to be stocking quite a few proost downloadable products - audio, movies and books. it's not particularly profiled on the site but the link is here. it will be great to develop this partnership and put the stuff out to gb punters, a wider and different audience. i think this will gain momentum after the festival but the infrastructure is there. it makes great sense as so many artists on proost are greenbelters doing things at the festival and it fits with the creative gb arts, faith and spirituality vibe.
as for proost ourselves lots of artists and communities will be doing stuff but we are not doing any exclusive proost events this time around. grace have a service on monday at noon in the big top which is going to be amazing - a lot of effort has been going into it! landskapes gets an airing in the hub on friday at 10pm. and i will be chairing a conversation around curating worship on sunday at 2pm.
this may seem crazy (!?) but after greenbelt we have a couple of days in oxford with dave andrews and mark yaconelli - who obviously are over for the festival. this is on the weds and thurs the week after. details below. please book in if you are coming so we know numbers for catering! details below. book online here
Join Dave Andrews and Mark Yaconelli in an exploration of rootsy youth and community work and radical spirituality.
Church Urban Fund, CMS and the Centre for Youth Ministry are hosting a couple of days in September at CMS House in Oxford to explore further useful ideas, thinking and practice to do with radical community and youth work. Inspiring and practical, with time to dig deeper and discover more, each day will help to equip you in the work you do. We’re really pleased to welcome Dave Andrews on Sept 1 for a day on community work, and Mark Yaconelli on Sept 2 for a day on youth work, spirituality and young people. Both Mark and Dave are well known and highly respected practitioners making rare visits to the UK.
1st September 10am-4pm: Growing Radical, Rooted, Distinctive Community work, Dave Andrews
This is a great opportunity to reflect on your own community work with a rootsy activist working at the grassroots. Dave is particularly interested in radical spirituality, incarnational community and the dynamics of personal and social transformation.
During the day you will:
1. Explore frameworks for effective community involvement that don’t assume large numbers or funds.
2. Develop skills to encourage and mobilise others in ongoing community work.
3. Provide perspectives to keep the fire in the belly, avoid burn out and help sustain ourselves.
4. Confront questions and seek answers about work.
5. Connect with other activists and organisations involved in compassionate community work.
Dave and Ange and their family have lived and worked in intentional Christian communities with marginalised people in Asia and Australia for nearly 40 years. With their friends they started Aashiana, Sahara and Sharan - three well-known community organisations working with slum dwellers, sex workers, drug addicts and people with HIV/AIDS in India; and they are currently working alongside Aborgines, refugees and people with disabilities with the Waiters Union, an inner city community network in Brisbane Australia.
Dave is an educator for TEAR Australia and an elder for Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor. He has written many books including Christi-Anarchy, Not Religion But Love, People Of Compassion and Plan Be.
2nd September 10am-4pm: Wonder, Fear, and Longing: Tending the Adolescent Soul, Mark Yaconelli
How do we slow young people (and ourselves) to the speed of God? How do we help young people discover their capacity for love, generosity, compassion, and kindness? How do we cultivate the heart and life of Jesus within the young people of our communities? How do we as youth workers, ministers, pastors and parents become transparent to the suffering and needs of young people without burning out? Through story, discussion, and spiritual practice Mark Yaconelli will share his experience and practical research from twenty years of ministering to the souls of young people and the youth workers who serve them.
Mark Yaconelli was the founder and director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project at San Francisco Theological Seminary which received attention across the United States for its ground-breaking integration of spiritual direction, contemplation, and ancient spiritual practices within adolescent spiritual formation programs. Mark is author of four books including Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus and most recently, Wonder, Fear, and Longing. Mark currently serves as Project Director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology.
You can download a pdf with the information on here. Please spread the word - e-mail it to your friends and networks. Drinks and lunch are included in the ticket price.
this year at the big chill i was on a photographer's ticket which was fun and a new experience. i've taken photos for the last few years anyway. this photo was taken for festival annual 10, commissioned by independents united. festival annual is all about the festival goers, the people who make it. lots of fancy dress and craziness all round makes for a lot of fun... this i think is my personal favourite photo out of the many i took.
i added a set of my favourite 25 to flickr. then there are around 165 of mine in this album of big chill photos on festival annual. mine begin in the middle of page 6 of the album with the photo before this one. the others were taken by jess.
highlights for me were seeing thom yorke, roy ayers playing everybody loves the sunshine and spencer tunick's shoot.
then there were the letters the big chill being rearranged | the inevitable sky lantern | a beautiful rainbow | dudey kids | massive attack of course | the beautiful illusion installation | fairies | frogs | gorillas | and other crazy outfits | bubbles and more...
the new issue of flip magazine has just landed and is on the theme of lesiure. one of the features of the magazine is a section of individual photos on the theme. this photo which i took in scotland last summer is published in that section. if you are not a member of LIP and you're into photography (you don't actually have to live in london either) then why not join?
on a photography note, i would normally instinctively make the horizon line straight or correct it afterwards. but in this photo it takes away something as soon as you do that. i much prefer it slanted. i guess rules are always there to be broken...
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.