fields of forel - free pretty mellow instrumental album to download [thanks joey tulino for the tip]
newness - a sermon i preached at st mary's, ealing last week. ironically the material is not that new to me - new wine, old wine and faithful improvisation.
hi to anyone visiting from winchester diocese where i was this weekend taking several sessions for leaders ordained in the last few years. if you are new, to navigate the blog there are categories on the left hand side. and worship stuff gets collated - see worship tricks on the right hand side, but just dive in. things i mentioned or can think of as relevant from the weekend -
communion by numbers
sms2email.co.uk is the company i used to set up the text confession. (you create an account and buy a number of text messages with a keyword trigger and set up the response you'd like. my keyword was confess.)
the primal vision
i gave duncan copies of the presentations so ask him, but here is an earlier version of the one on creativity
we have had a few problems with proost this month which have ended up in us shifting the site to a new server. if you have had hassles or tried to visit proost and found it down, it's all back in action now. we have a great schedule of content lined up for the year ahead and kick of with two albums from revive in leeds. they are both from their back catalogue - beautiful day is an amazing album, one of my favourite alt worship ones ever and has stood the test of time. corinne bailey rae sings on both albums and was part of revive back in the day before she became a star! it's interesting to see that these aren't listed in her back catalogue on wikipedia so maybe a few corinne fans will get a pleasant surprise. i remember revive playing at a brainstormers youthwork conference years ago and being simply stunned by her voice. seeing as this is a bit of a home base for alt worship music, movies and liturgy we wanted to add these in.
there are also two new movies - an animation of the parable of the sower and one for thanksgiving, both from jon birch.
you can preview stuff in the media player, buy individual items and as i keep saying subscribing gets to be a better and better deal with the back catalogue ever expanding. it's good to be back in action after a stressful few weeks!
Technorati Tags: corinne bailey rae
having recently linked to mark sayer's post on 5 things the emerging church got wrong in australia, he seems to be on a bit of a roll. i like the challenge of his need for a revolution of the self where he suggests some ways that we have been more co-opted than we realise by consumer culture...
essentially these are questions around discipleship. (i confess i am a bit bored with the discussion around whether the term emerging church is over. for me it's always been around gospel and culture and mission. the terms are bound to change. the kinds of people into emerging church always want to be on the front end of the curve so whatever it was called we'd get bored when it became too mainstream and want the latest thing. it's kind of ironic that in a critique of consumption mark can't resist newness - isn't this part of being co-opted by taste cultures - hip vs mainstream?! anyway that's a small aside on a great post...)
jenny bee - jenny brown is blogging and for some reason i hadn't noticed... jenny is a designer and guru in all things new media especially social networking. her list of social habits make me feel exhausted (and yes i still haven't joined facebook). love the look/layout.
when we change the way we communicate we change society
so says clay shirky in here comes everybody:the power of organising without organisations. it's an absolute gem of a book (and the uk cover is so much better than the usa cover!!), the best of its kind i have read since the spider and the starfish. shirky looks at social media and the new technologies not for their own sake but for their effects. he is blogging about the themes in the book here. the quote above is really a rehearsal of marshall macluhan's theme that changing technologies creates a new environment. rather than do one large review i want to pick up some of his themes in a series of posts. we'll see how it goes depending on how busy my september continues to be. it may be a short series!
a phrase that i've used before and has been used in relation to the smart tools of web 2.0 is an architecture of particpation. the current technologies enable free and ready particpation of distributed groups of people with a whole variety of skills. in times gone by those people existed but getting them together to work on something was a feat in itself that required pretty high organisation and motivation. there were lots of institutuons and organisations who played that role. now it's so simple that everything has changed, and things can get done without the need for organisations (or at least organisations as they have been known). shirky kicks off with a disarmingly simple threefold process.
sharing - co-operation - collective action
sharing creates the fewest demands and you can see it happening via flickr (photos), digg (stories), blogs and the number of small niche communities with common interest or concern. co-operation requires a bit more co-ordination especially if there is to be some collaborative production involving decision making. something like wikipedia manages this sort of participation really well. then collective action is definitely a harder step. it needs a strong enough shared vision which binds a group together and people will put effort in for. shirky says this is much more rare.
perhaps an example will help. i was thinking about the truth isn't sexy campaign and have written something about it recently thinking about how networks work (it will be in the next CMS magazine Yes). this is a short version... it began with an idea (or a rage against injustice more like). a friend of mine si had a concern about sex trafficking following visits to bars where girls were visibly being picked up. the first phase of the process was sharing. chatting with a few friends he got connected with a few other people who were involved in care for sex workers or political campaigning. a few e-mails, google searches and coffees later, he begin to build up a picture of the scene and the various economic, immigration, political and cultural factors at play. crucially he also connected with some others - the second phase collaboration - who caught the vision for doing something and a small team was formed with aimie & shannon picking up the baton. the team quickly found themselves part of an informal network of brilliant people working on their own projects but also collaborating together. an idea began to form – no-one seemed to be working at the customer demand end of things, with men who pay for sex. via a few networked connections, a design agency got involved and a beer mat and poster campaign was born called The Truth Isn’t Sexy - the third phase collective action. 200,000 beermats have been distributed in city centre pubs and NUS bars along with other events and media and cross party MP’s have praised the truth isn’t sexy in the house of commons with the minister in charge of this area now publicly stating the importance of addressing demand - the main political objective. the group are going to self publish an activist's handbook for others wanting to take collective action on something...
the campaign cost virtually nothing apart from printing costs. It wasn’t spearheaded by an organisation. volunteers made it happen as networks of people shared the idea, co-operated and joined in collective action. this network of people is not a club you can join – it was much more organic and invisible. It wasn’t something that was led – at least not in any traditional sense – though the people involved had a high level of skill at getting people connected and participating. the technological tools that are available in the world of digital media, all free if you have a computer – e-mail, web sites, blogs, social networking sites and so on - were absolutely crucial to the process. this process is so simple that you can miss it! It’s particularly easy to miss if you are looking for success with an organisational or old paradigm pair of glasses - measurable outcomes in organisational strategy achieved by professionals supported by systems of hierarchy and control.
since reflecting on this i am seeing this process in all sorts of places. the new social tools enable 'ridiculously easy group forming', groups that can share, co-operate and do things. what are you waiting for?
the other side of this that interests me is what role organisations or institutions can or do play in this new world. this week i have spoken or taken worshops at two diocesan conferences (bath and wells and exeter - hi if you are reading from those) and am taking a weekend this weekend coming for winchester diocese ordinands. what does it mean for the church and for leadership? this is a question i have asked before. maybe the new environment affords a recovery of the notion of the body of christ and of leaders as those who can catalyse small group activity that transforms, create environments in which that happens and facilitate an architecture of participation and gift sharing? i probably sound like a stuck record on that theme - sorry if that's the case! nic posted a comment around church as assemblage on one of my recent posts - i have yet to read what that means but the story above is certainly assemblage of a kind. this is all a huge imaginative shift for what it might mean to lead. but the new environment might be closer to the values of the kingdom of god than we might have first imagined?...
a few people have been asking if i do a news/prayer letter or anything as they'd like to pray for me and the stuff i'm up to which is kind and encouraging. so i am starting a short weekly e-mail that i'll send out. if you'd like to receive this e-mail me. it will be called down baker street in memory of an old letter jen and i used to do years ago when we first moved to london.
May we be blessed.
As we look to the year ahead, and the year gone by.
As we return to our schools and workplaces and find New rocks and New brambles.
May you be blessed as you engage with others,
as you find the time to participate and give others the chance to do the same.
May you have the courage to create and take risks,
and may you find your rest in God.
May you be blessed, as you show your weaknesses and accept God's Grace.
May others see that you are fragile that they might join in your fragility.
May our broken edges fit together to become one body.
As Christ kept the holes in his hands and feet having rose from the dead,
may we keep our wounds even after we have healed.
May you be blessed as you are healed by Christ's own wounds.
May you become broken in order to become whole.
May you become whole by knowing you are broken.
May you remember your wounds and embrace your hurt.
May you go into the places that scare you.
May you deal with anger and with sadness
And may God be with you all the way.
May you be blessed, that you are perfect in your imperfections -
as you are forgiven, but never forgotten.
May you be blessed, as you are accepted as you are.
As you are broken.
As you are wounded.
As you are hurt.
As you are loved.
i met mark sayers for coffee in melbourne earlier this year...
he is a brilliant thinker and reader of the zeitgeist as well as someone bringing a good missions head to all the emerging church stuff.
he has just posted a piece 5 thing we got wrong in the emerging missional church. this is about the australian context, not the usa or uk. but there are excellent insights to learn from. it's the most thoughtful piece i have read about emerging stuff for a while. here are the headings but go and read the article.
1. Failed to define what is meant by “attractional”
2. Failed to define what is meant by “incarnational”
3. Being overly defined by a reaction to mass/popular culture
4. Failing to understand “low fuel tank faith”
5. Being wed to Gen-X culture.
thanks to scott where i picked up the link to the article who i met in tasmania and who has since started blogging on tasmission
see previous posts in this series...
future directions in worship
is god vaguely bored by our worship? and no it wasn't me asking
more worship musings - what are we afraid of?
on the worship symposium discussion day following our presentations there was lots of q and a and small group discussion which threw up a whole host of issues and questions. i didn't jot those down though. but at the end of the day the four of us on the panel were invited to present concluding thoughts in relation to the future of worship. here's what i jotted down...
following a few days talking about worship it was great to be back in my home community grace to kick off a new year. wounded in all the right places was the theme inspired by a track of that title by 1giantleap. the order of service and various bits of liturgy have been or will be added to the grace web site.
there were a couple of ideas that worked wonderfully. one was that people were invited to take a piece of broken tile and then bring that to place on a table. this table of broken pieces then became the table on which the bread and wine were placed, christ's body broken for our broken community. we'll use this table through the year.
i wrote, together with a friend dean, a eucharistic prayer on the theme of wounded which has been added to the grace web site.
for the prayers we had written out our ethos words in night lights and invited people to light a candle either reflecting on some way their life had been shaped by it or for a hope for the coming year. it was simple but looked stunning. the prayers concluded with this beautiful prayer of commitment from wild goose - i'll try and find out the source exactly...
i am so glad i am part of the broken community that is grace...
this was what i can remember of my spiel on worship as part of the dialogue, trying to bring a bit of a missions perspective i guess...
i was introduced earlier as though i represent something new. but i'm 43! alternative worship is 20 years old. the future isn't with me. if you think i'm the new thing you're wrong. this is focused in my own mind by my teenage sons. the oldest DJs dubstep, fidget house and bassline, is into new media, animation and is a stencil artist. or my younger is a poet writing poignant hip hop. how does their world connect with worship? what will they create if given the space to express their creatvity in worship to god?
when i was standing on the millenium bridge it struck me as a picture of the challenge we face in worship. when i look one way i see st pauls's cathedral. it reminds me of the gift of tradition that has meant that the dangerous memory of jesus has been passed on to me. but culturally i don't fit there. if i look the other way i see the tate modern on the south bank in london which is always buzzing. culturally i love it, am at home there with it's postmodern, creativity. but i want to mees things up and bring the riches of the christian tradition across the bridge and the cultural world of postmodern london into the church. this gap between church culture and the wider culture exists not just in traditional churches, but in modern charismatic ones, pentecostal ones and even in the new african churches.
we need (to use john taylor's phrase in the primal vision) an adventure of the imagination that enables us to reflect on how to grow worship in and out of the local soil of the various cultures we live in in every day life so that this split is broken. cross cultural mission holds clues as to how this is done (both good and bad praactise). when i travelled to india in 2005, i am came back with the phrase the 'colonised imagination' in my head because of the disappointment of how english i felt the worship was. in many parts of the world we see the same problem and need to recover a missional imagination that enables indigenous worship and leadership. but it's an issue on our own doorsteps. we expect people to join in with our approach to become like us - the colonised imagination is alive and well.
this issue of the challenge around gospel and culture is particularly acute at the moment because of the huge cultural changes of the last 20 years. it's made the gap feel wider. how do we cultivate worship in postmodern times?
one of the windows into this change is technology. i'm not talking about the actual use of technology but more how our instincts are changing. the new electric environment (to use a macluhan phrase) is connected, relational, where community is the content, with an architecture of participation and self publishing and creativity. what might worship look like if it was an environment of gift exchange and participation rather than an environment led by experts along provier/client lines? could these new instincts help us re-discover the body of christ with her distrubuted gifts?
tradition is a good thing - but it is also something that can get stuck and needs to be renewed and broken open to remain alive. it might be helpful to consider the well know bell curve of change. a small percentage of early adopters and pioneers engage with something new. this filters through to a wider group and gradually change takes place even though there will always be a small group who resist change. perhaps we are in a wider change process like this around worship?
one of the key groups of people in moments of change are artists. artists, creatives and tricksters will pave the way to the future evoking grief and amazement (to use walter bruegemann's themes of prophecy in the prophetic imagination). is there space in our worship and churches for these kind of artists? what are we afraid of?