yes that's probably a true statement but it's also the latest album from the reverend jon birch! i don't know if you caught it earlier this year but jon released an album which took old southern usa gospel samples which are over 90 years old and so out of copyright and created tracks around them. well he enjoyed it so much he has now made two more albums. there is something about gospel music that has such a wide appeal and is joyful and uplifting. the characters he has found include the likes of blind lemon jefferson - what a great name! anyway all that is by way of saying that this world's in a hell of a fix and witness are both available on proost this month. if you are a subscriber you can download them as part of your subscription... enjoy!
i absolutely love the music made by dubh. we're really excited this month on proost to have added dubh's latest somnia along with two from the last year or two that we hadn't caught up with gentle sabotage and the insurrection EP. i listen to a lot of instrumental and quite chilled electonic music anyway and jonny's (jonny mecewen that is a.k.a. dubh) is right up there for me. i've been listening to it non stop since i got it. it's emotional and for me has a warmth and a longing in it. I can't quite find the words to describe it - aching, beautiful, haunting. perhaps the title of his firet album fractured broken and beautiful is as good a summary as i can think of. i also think this music makes a great atmosphere for worship/art installation type events. i asked jonny a bundle of questions which you can read here. one was how he thought this music connected with worship to which he replied
Music helps create a mood, gives hints of what is to come. It fills the gaps, creates a coherence, fills awkward silences, or insures that any silences are intentional.I started creating music in the context of ikon, because I had a hunch that, like Lebowski’s rug, it would tie the whole thing together.
we've had a really good year on proost so far - it's always a little unpredictable who is going to come up with what each month but we are definitely on a roll. if you subscribe which is only £60 for a year you get access to the whole back catalogue and new content each month. we'll be reviewing the price later this year and putting it up a bit as it's been that since we relaunched a few years back. but for the time being the price remains the same and if you subscribe you will be able to access all of dubh's music as part of that (and as ever it's available as individual items).
it's been quite a remarkable few months on proost. wonderful content has just made its way to us as if by magic! we've had seasons before where we've had to do much more searching it out. this month on proost we have two new artists which we always love...
tim dendy is a london based freelance video maker, vj and photographer who is in moot. years back we did a series of worship images in a video tape as it was then between the ground breaking collective one small barking dog and grace. anyway he has created 7 movie loops using time lapse photography that are really gorgeous - VJ Loops 4. tim's loops seem to blend both the beauty and fast paced nature of life in the city. if you look on the VJ loops 4 page you can watch one of the loops there. in keeping with the ever shifting realm of technology we have made these loops hd size - i.e. great quality and size.
then we have an album dark matter from a feckless boy. they hail from scotland and their music is soulful, aching and spiritual. there's something in the scottish soil that seems to cultivate this sort of soulful artistry in wonderful measure. have a listen to the preview track beza's song on the album page.
chris yaw contacted me a month or so back and asked if he could interview me for churchnext.tv via skype. we explored imagination, creativity and mission. the interview has just been posted. i've not met chris but he is buidling up quite a collection of interviews around mission, church, culture and so on on churchnext
jon birch has been having fun. he got hold of some southern gospel songs over 90 years old so out of copyright and has recorded an album out on proost this month called the devil don't stand a chance. it will uplift your spirits and bring a smile to your face. here's what the 'reverend jon birch' has to say...
I do not claim these songs as my own, just the production of the tracks. These songs do not represent my theology, but i love their spirit, their humanity, their heart and the amazing spontaneity and emotion in these amazing performances. It won't be long before the original recordings on which these tracks are based are 100 years old. The idea that no one except historians and people with a special interest will hear these songs again is just too sad to contemplate. I hope you enjoy listening to these tracks as much as I enjoyed making them.
you can have a listen to one of the tracks on the album page...
we think it would be fun to do a remix album of these tunes. if you would be interested in remixing a track let me know.
i'm very excited because we have a brand new proost web site which has gone live today! proost is a site full of creative content - movies, books of liturgies, music, and worship experiences.
we re-invented and re-launched proost in August 2007. having initially been a label to release our own music, we wanted to shift to being a platform for other creative artists who fuel faith in imaginative ways. many of those artists are part of alternative worship communities or emerging churches who seem to produce beautiful art for worship that often only gets seen or heard by a few lucky people in that community. so we hoped to unearth that treasure for a wider audience. we wanted to diversify content beyond music to include liturgies and movies and anything else that caught our imagination. and we also re-launched to get with the [download] times making all our content or as much as possible downloadable.
but 4 years on and it's amazing how things change - time for a refresh. so we hope you like the new look and feel of the site. have a browse around, try it out, let us know what you like or if you think anything needs a rethink. if you find anything that doesn't work or look right let us know that too as there will doubtless be a few teething issues...
this time the site is in house designed by blueprint - the company of aad, one of the proost partners, which we're excited about. big thanks to tony especially!
lent begins tomorrow - a season i love where traditionally the church prepares for easter by focusing on what it means to be a disciple of christ. we have vastly improved the categories of content so for example you can now search through content for seasons of the year such as lent to find gems such as last year's cave movie or the seemingly timeless 40 by si smith (yes you can now also view an artist's page to see all of their content).
we have two new books this month that are both ideal for lent.
polaroids is a beautiful mix of poetry and photography. the minute we saw it we loved it. the poems are grouped under four themes - humour, crying, asking and waiting. peter christensen is new to proost - a kiwi living in thailand where he offers retreats and spiritual direction to christian workers throughout asia. poetry offers him a way of exploring faith and life without restrictive conventions. i am definitely adding this to my material to reflect on through lent.
if you want something more immediate beat tweets by tim watson is a collection full of 140 character (or less) prayers, petitions, liturgies, dreams, hopes, fears and statements originally tweeted by @BeatLiturgist.
if you are a subscriber or registered you'll get an e-mail today inviting you to make the switch across to the new site. subscribing still represents great value on proost as you can access all the content -which has currently grown to over 60 movies, around 40 albums and 25 books, and 3 interactive worship experiences. the user experience is much neater all round. we hope you like it. do let us know how you get on and we'd love any feedback. enjoy!
this months release on proost is explorations by ned lunn. it's a poem/prayer in the pocket size book format. ned is part of the rough edge collective in durham who did the beat eucharist if you came across that on proost or at greenbelt. so this is very much in the same genre of the beat poets. as ever it's available as a pdf or physical book. if you are outsude the uk you can order it from lulu. In the contemplative tradition there are two schools of though about prayer or two paths of spirituality. one - the via negativa - is that in the presence of god what can be said - words cannot begin to express so best say nothing or very little. the via positiva is equally in awe in god's presence but responds with an abundance, an overflow of speech. so the stream of consciousness is very much in that latter tradition. ned says why it suits him
In any sentence I want to reference or expand on individual aspects of one concept or idea and everything soon becomes interconnected. The stream of consciousness style of writing helps me to journey along the many trains of thought, to detour and find my way around the network of my inner life. It makes the act of writing a process of discovery and, in reading it, you’re invited to journey with me and, as much as we can in the static product, we discover together.
The overuse of vocabulary captures, I hope, the beautiful tension between reverent silence and the drive to speak constantly about the wonder and amazement aware at all times of the limitation of our own language.
it's devotional, and quite unique.
...we have a couple of new ones on proost...
i can't quite believe it's time to think about advent and christmas but i guess it's not far away. si smith and ian adams have combined together to produce a new digital advent calendar which is available on proost. it blends 25 si smith iconic illustrations with a short reflection each day from ian. it's a pdf which you can either view on a computer, monitor, projector, iphone, ipad or whatever else takes your fancy. if you subscribe you can also access the individual images - one person has contacted us to say they are printing out one a day to put on their church noticeboard outside through advent. we also have a bundle of other advent resources which you might want to look at. here's a few for example -
9 lessons, a flash animation | nine - nine artists interpret the traditional nine readings with 6 movies and 3 songs | 25 - si smith's amazing cutout and make nativity characters and advent calendar and comic. | wait - vaux movie | silent night movie
we also have another liturgy book as well that is new this month from urban expression, an urban mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys, and networks self-financing teams pioneering creative and relevant expressions of the christian church in under reached areas of the inner city. this collection of liturgy and prayer is based around the core values and commitments of urban expression. it is inspiring and relevant whether or not you are connected with urban expression. it provides a month's worth of prayers, readings and exercises. it's just available as a download. i have all the proost pdf liturgy books on my phone and I find that's a great way to be able to use them. i'll be adding this!
jon birch has published asbo jesus as a book - both physical and an ebook. it's available on lulu here. and don't forget that if you want the cartoons as standalone high res images to use you can get those on proost.
the book is amazing - it really works well. hilarious and poignant in equal measure. the man is a genius!
the sophia network have a day today (sorry i forgot to blog about it before) - on men women and the bible. i'm sure it will be really good! a while back the network had an online discussion group exploring what the bible says about men and women. as a result of that jen has edited a book in the image of god with various contributers from that original group. it's being launched at the day today. it's a series of eight sessions, ideal for a small group.
it obviously depends on your tradition on whether this is relevant or new, but if like me your background is evangelical then it's pretty important to do the work on exploring what the bible has to say. it seems weird to say but we did a lot of thinking around this about 25 years ago now! part of jen's motivation for setting up the sophia network a few years ago was that it didn't seem like a lot had changed in the world of youth ministry which is a rather depressing thought in some ways. though the sophia network is definitely doing its part to help change that!
we're proud to have this book as our latest release on proost. as ever it's available in print or download. if you are elsewhere in the world than the uk and want a print version you can order through the proost lulu bookshop - this certainly should work in america. proost subscribers it's included in your subscription in the downloads area.
jon birch has reworked over 200 asbojesus cartoons into a format that is downloadable and printable or projectable - i.e. each image is 300dpi - if that means nothing it means they are large enough! you may (or may not) remember a while back that jon had a burglary and computers stolen so this has meant a lot of painstaking redrawing and reworking. the resource pack is available to download on proost (if you are a subscriber it's in the download section).
these drawings are simply brilliant - provocative, questioning, cheeky, celebratory and lamenting and jam packed with theology.
a while back we ran out of labyrinth kits in the uk and decided not to do another batch but make it available as a download. it's taken us a while but finally the leader's guide, movie loops and audio of the meditations is now available on proost. and of course it's made it a fraction of the price. i must admit having re-looked at the leader's guide i had forgotten that it contains some wonderful theory as well as the practical info on how to set it up. for example there is a really good chapter on alternative worship.
if you are in the US you can still get the labyrinth in a kit form as the prayerpath
if you want to experience it online you can do so here
a friend chris has started a new home spun publishing company uppttäcka press. the upcoming books look lovely. i have ordered the first. amazing what you can do these days with self publishing especially if you design your own covers rather than use the rather naff off the shelf variety. proost have now self published 15 books via lulu which i can't quite believe. got something to say? it's surely never been easier to publish and get your voice out there...
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
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.
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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.