enjoyed faithless at brixton last night. they really are an uplifting act live. we come one was euphoric... i think faithless are fascinating because they seem to manage to combine a deep message - of justice, liberation, unity, respect for all people and faith - with real celebration. a lot of acts/bands with a political message end up a lot more intense. maxi jazz is a unique front man - he comes across with real authority and spirituality. there is nothing quite like several thousand people leaping up and down being led by him singing this is our church this is where we heal our hurts... i'd love to find out more about his spirituality/faith/worldview. it's not christian but there is a lot of common ground for sure.
richard sudworth has been exploring the lament tradition in his studies and preaching. he suggests we need to delve into our dark sides in prayer and worship. i couldn't agree more. i have often thought and said the same thing. it's there in the psalms, lamentations, job etc... i also tend to love artists /musicians that explore that side of things. alt worship has been pretty good at that. a flick through most song/chorus books however quickly shows that there isn't a lot in that genre...
anyway richard has listed his top 10 lamentable tracks and is going to offer reflections on each one. the tracks are:
10. Everybody Hurts, REM
9. The Dimming of the Day, Richard Thompson
8. Black-Eyed Dog, Nick Drake
7. Blue, Joni Mitchell
6. It Makes No Difference, The Band
5. Hiding All Away, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (reflection here)
4. How Soon is Now, The Smiths
3. My Iron Lung, Radiohead
2. Numb, Portishead
1. If You See Her, Say Hello, Bob Dylan
i'm sure you'd want to add some of your own... i thought i'd add them as a worship trick.
i wrote redemption songs, some bible reading notes for daily bread, a while back on some psalms. the ones i was given were fairly bleak, especially psalm 88. i just noticed that they are online in an archive section. this is how i introduced them:
The Psalms have been read and reread to give comfort, hope and encouragement all over the world down through the centuries. It is an amazing thing that these songs and poems have this enduring character. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that they are gritty and real. A lot of Christian worship songs can be unrealistic in their positive outlook, censoring voices of darkness and disorientation. But most of us simply don’t experience life that way, at least not all of the time. Even if our own lives are going well and we sense the joy of life and God’s presence, one glance at a newspaper is enough to remind us that a lot of people in the world face very difficult situations of war, poverty and oppression. What a relief to have the honesty of the Psalms in the Bible!
It is refreshing that in our relationship with God, the range of permissible language includes that of our deepest struggles, anger and despair as well as our joys. I love the music of bands like Radiohead and Massive Attack who, in a contemporary way, capture that same sense of alienation. But I can hardly think of one contemporary worship song that engages with the dark side of life. In this sense, the Psalms are subversive texts in that they refuse to deny reality. The Psalms are also hopeful, but that hope is rooted in the midst of loss and struggle – where God is surprisingly present.
visions have produced a CD ROM with 50 video loops on. this seems like really good value for money. i haven't seen it yet but am ordering one. money raised is going to support visions forthcoming trip to palestine (which is also a great idea). the loops are in quicktime format for mac and pc. you can buy them from the visions shop.
not sure what you have planned for the festive season but sarah who is involved in grace is planning bah! humbug! it's an event with a bit of an edge based on the assumption that by 21st December every discerning person will be tired of tinsel!
Bah! Humbug! Seasonal Songs and Stories with an Edge
Are you sick of a saccharine Christmas?
Sarah and David are the gastric tube of entertainment, supplying winter stories and jolly songs of murdering bigamists, cuckolded husbands and vengeful ex-employees, with a dusting of Renaissance tunes by Byrd and Peerson.
21st December, 8pm, at St Mary's church Hall, West Kensington, corner of Edith Road and Hammersmith Road. 4 Mins walk from Baron's court station. Doors open at 7.30.
£5/ £4 concs including hot toddy; Ring 07733 205364 to reserve tickets.
Unaccompanied children will be baked into pies.
Sarah and David are actors and storytellers based in West London
'the best book yet on the emerging church' is andrew jones comment on the back of ryan bolger and eddie gibbs new book emerging churches. i think he's right. this really is a must read. one of the reasons is that it is a research book. it has taken 5 years to produce from lots of visits to emerging churches in the uk and the usa and interviews with people involved in the movement. (it is a shame that the research was unable to include other places in the world - especially new zealand and australia but that was down to the budget). from listening to the voices from below eddie and ryan offer the following defintion of emerging church:
emerging churches are communities that practice the way of jesus in postmodern cultures
and they identify nine practices of emerging churches - emerging churches 1) identify with the life of jesus 2) transform the secular realm 3) live highly communal lives. Because of these they 4) welcome the stranger 5) serve with generosity 6) participate as producers 7) create as created beings 8) lead as a body 9) take part in spiritual activities.
i am one of about 50 people who were interviewed as part of the research which i am sure gives me a biased view of the book. there is an appendix with the faith journeys of all the people interviewed at the back.
the quote i wrote for the book was:
Gibbs and Bolger have produced a very welcome and comprehensive piece of research into UK and US emerging churches. The book captures the spirit of the emerging church movement wonderfully well from the underside. I love the way it gives voice to leaders from within the movement and helpfully draws out and gives shape to the practices of emerging churches. It is a refreshingly sympathetic and positive critique from two researchers who have clearly been inspired and filled with hope as they have sensed the Spirit at work beckoning the church into the future.
the book is out in the usa published by baker publishing and will be published in the uk in february by spck.
it's been a while since the last alt worship gathering (other than the annual zoo at greenbelt each year). the context has changed - both the culture and church have been morphing in significant ways. emerging church has become the term to describe a lot of the new mission practices taking place - it's a broader more inclusive term (at least at the moment). fresh expressions is the anglican speak for it. there's a good short reflection on the difference here. so maybe it's time to meet up, talk, reflect and try and get a communal sense of what the future might look like and what the Spirit may be beckoning us on to in the uk. the gathering is deliberately fudging the edges - so whether you are alt or emerging you are welcome to attend. it is for those who are actively involved not just interested in the intellectual side of the debate. i'm looking forward to it - it's in the diary. details below. places are limited to 100 so book early... the price doesn't include accomodation.
National Gathering, Manchester, 24-26 February 2006
A unique national gathering for those actively involved in emerging / alt worship expressions within the United Kingdom.
The weekend will be interactive, aiming to be a catalyst where the focus will revolve around:
Networking - providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and practices, encouraging collaboration and learning from one another.
Understanding - reflecting theologically where we are at, where we have come from and mapping a possible future.
Mission - examining cultural practices and considering how the movement may be of greater significance to those around.
The weekend will run from Friday 8 pm through to Sunday 1.30 (there is an optional lunch 1.30 – 3.30).
Cost: £40 (not including meals)
Places limited to 100 so please book early.
The weekend has been planned by a group from various emerging / alt worship expressions who thought it was about time there was a get together.
If you are interested in going please email [email protected] for booking info/details
friday night i went to see a production of on the waterfront at wimbledon studio theatre put on by synergy theatre (review here). synergy was set up by my wonderful youngest sister esther who works in prisons and with ex offenders. i have seen various productions in prisons and theatres over the last few years. every time it is a very moving experience. the sense of pride and dignity the lads have frm pulling off a play is amazing. in the programme notes one of the prisoners had written about esther that she has an amazing ability to see the worth and goodness in every person - i thought that beautiufully sums up esther - she is amazing. my older brother dave and family also came and stayed with us friday night which was fun...
i got a result saturday afternoon of a free visit to see chelsea vs newcastle - it was via a business contact of my younger brother steve. the company has two corporate seats and no one was using them so when they were offered to steve he said he thought i could use them... i took harry. it was the first time i've sat in a padded seat at a football match! chelsea won 3-0 - without owen and shearer newcastle really didn't have much threat...
sat evening i went to see the latest harry potter film - having read the books and seen the first three i thought i would keep it going. i wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised and thought it was brilliantly done and had a great evening. ron was excellent. the film was pretty magical all round.
today joel was doing a 10k run in brighton with my brother steve. it was a beautiful day - sun coming through the fog over frosty fields as we drove down the A23. the fog cleared by the time we got to brighton. the run was along the front - the sea was still, the sun spakling on the water and joel and steve clocked 46mins which was pretty good. joel was doing it as a sponsored thing to raise money for his school trip to new york next feb.
jen has been speaking at the youthwork conference in eastbourne and has just got back. i think we'll watch motor cycle diaries on dvd tonight which has been on order from sofacinema, the dvd club we belong to, for about 3 months and has finally arrived (we are becoming increasingly disillusioned with them and may try another company as any interesting films on your list never seem to get sent). i almost feel like i've been on holiday it's been such a good weekend...
we had a great evening with ben edson on weds. it was very provocative and challenging. i love what they are doing engaging with the mind body spirit fair in manchester and the search for spirituality that is widespread in the culture. i recorded it on my italk - quality isn't brilliant but if you are inetersted you can download it here (11mb mp3) .
details about the next blah on dec 7. i am looking forward to this. patrick and helen are fab. cathy has recently moved over from new zealand and is quickly becoming a good friend and is well worth coming to meet/hear - she is sharp.
In Light Of Recent Events....
exploring mission in today’s context
In light of recent events please make sure that you take all your baggage with you and if you see any items of left luggage, please report them immediately. Since the London bombings the backpack is no longer innocent, the police are highly visible in all places of public transport and the number of racially motivated crimes has spiralled.
All this to say that context is everything. So what does it mean to engage in mission in today’s context – in a world of global inequalities, enormous human suffering, where many live on less than $US1 per day … you know the stats. What does it mean to live in this sort of world? Does it still touch us? How do we live alongside our neighbour?
Patrick and Helen Mukholi and Cathy Ross will be sparking our conversation at this Blah... Patrick and Helen Mukholi come from Kenya and are CMS mission partners to UK. They live and work with young people in Blackbird Leys in this socially disparaged area in Oxford. Blackbird Leys is one of the largest Estates in Europe with a population of 13500. One wonders what those who create such ghettos were thinking. There are nicely curved villages around with fewer people but more social amenities (including church) and political clout. Yes you know the stats. Cathy Ross comes from Aotearoa/NZ and works for CMS in London. Come and join our conversation as we try to figure out what it means to live in our sort of world, in our particular contexts.
This will be the last Blah... gathering in London for 2005. More to follow next year. Blah... is a series of conversations hosted by CMS on mission, worship, church and Christianity in today’s rapidly changing culture.
Wednesday 7 December | 6:30-8:30pm | Drinks and refreshments provided | Admission free
Venue: CMS partnership house, 157 waterloo road
[Nearest tube Waterloo - follow signs from station to Old Vic. Go past Old Vic and Partnership House is on the same side opposite the ambulance station]
It would help us to know numbers in advance so if you're coming please e-mail elizabeth
don't miss the london zoo - first one for a while. if you are involved in alt worship/emerging church or anything vaguely similar then come along. moot are hosting and this is the invite that's going round.
You are warmly invited to the london zoo xmas party. Moot will be hosting and it will be held at the dovetail pub in Clerkenwell central london, EC1V 4JP from 7pm. We have hired a nice large space in a great venue that does over 300 types of fantastic beer. So come along and sample the advent delights and catch up with everyone in the alt.worship/emerging church scene.
Hope to see you all there
i described the holyground project created by artist paul hobbs in partnership with cms several times in the run up to it trying to persuade people to send in shoes for it. it went brilliantly at greenbelt this year - was very powerful. there is a catalogue of the pictures and stories and a CD ROM with outlined suggestions for using them and 3 video interviews with paul hobbs. there are several ways you can engage with the project.
* get the catalogue which has all the images and stories and use them
* get the CD ROM which has various outlined suggestions for services using the stories - these are written with young people in mind but they are easily adaptable.
* get shoes and stories from your own community and create the same idea
* get your church community to book paul hoobs to set up holyground in an art gallery/church/community centre/school. you can download guidelines for booking it (pdf)
the catalogue and CD ROM are available from fuzzyedges
if you are the youthwork conference in eastbourne this weekend paul will be exhibiting there. say hi...