go and see pina - it's extraordinary [and you have to see it in 3D]! forget everything else you are doing and prioritise going. i can't say it any stronger... i guess it shouldn't come as a suprise from wim wenders (paris texas, wings of desire, buena vista social club, million dollar hotel, his photography...) but it is honestly unlike anything else. and while you are at it he has a photography exhibition - places strange and quiet - at haunch of venison in london which i must get to at some point in the next few weeks.
this is a short clip from the movie i found on vimeo
beth keith wrote a report based on reserach with small groups of pioneers in the uk which has just been added to the fresh expressions web site. i have written about it and linked to it on the cms pioneer blog here.
earlier this year i got to meet steve summers who teaches theology in guildford. his phd thesis explored friendship and its implications for the church in postmodernity. it's been published by an academic publisher so is very expensive but i borrowed a copy from him and got the cms library to get one if you want to borrow it. as well as a look at the history and theology of friendship steve suggests two simple ideas - that church could be conceived of as a community of friends and communion as a a meal with friends. disarmingly simple eh?! but i have found these quite compelling ideas.
through lent grace have been having a series of meals in peoples homes, reading through a book and discussing a chapter each week and sharing bread and wine in the context of a meal to remember christ. it's been really quite brilliant. tonight is the last one in the series. the one i led several weeks ago i based around this idea and say a bit more about it here. i have been meaning to blog about it for a while but today seemed fitting as the church traditionally remembers jesus last supper with friends on this day (though not sure why it's called the last supper as he did have at least another one in emmaus!?).
i am starting a series 4 of worship tricks and this will be the first.
if you want to read a review of the book there was one in practical theology journal here. here's a quote
It is the role he claims for the church, though, that makes this book so worthwhile. Summers presents the possibility of a hospitable church as a means of healing a wounded society through friendship which offers a profoundly counter-cultural opportunity as a social good. He examines hospitality by engaging with Derrida as a conversation partner, liking Derrida’s openness and refusal to reach resolution, which Summers believes to accord with the open Kingdom of God which is never to be apprehended, and which is found in the dynamic of Eucharistic table fellowship, in which the God who welcomes all, shares and is shared
steve reminded me in a discussion following the two grace services on the prophet's story that walter brueggemann's prohetic imagination has two chapters on jesus as a prophet. so i dusted off the book and re-read those chapters. one is on grief and the other on amazement. they are truly remarkable. go and have a read... they are actually a wonderful reflection in holy week where we remember the story of christ's death and resurrection - surely a week full of grief and amazement if there ever was one!
here's a quote or two on christ's death (maybe i'll save amazement for easter sunday?!)...
It is the crucifixion of Jesus that is the decisive criticism of the royal consciousness. The crucifixion of Jesus is not to be understood simply in liberal fashion as the sacrifice of a noble man. Nor should we too quickly assign a cultic, priestly theory of atonement to the event. Rather we might see in the crucifixion of Jesus the ultimate act of prophetic criticism in which Jesus announces the end of a world of death (the same announcement of that of Jeremiah) and takes that death into his own person. Therefore we say that the ultimate criticism is that God himself embraces the death that his people must die. The criticism consists not in standing over against but in standing with; the ultimate criticism is not one of triumphant indignation but one of the passion and compassion that completely and irresistibly undermine the world of competence and competition. The contrast is stark and total: this passionate man set in the midst of numbed Jerusalem. And only the passion can finally penetrate the numbness...
...The cross is the ultimate metaphor of prophetic criticism because it means the end of the old consciousness that brings death on everyone. The crucifixion articulates God's odd freedom, his strange justic and his peculiar power. It is this freedom (read religion of God's freedom), justice (read economics of sharing) and power (read politics of justice) which break the pwoer of the old age and bring it to death. Without the cross, prophetic imagination will likely be as strident and destructive as that which it criticises. The cross is the assurance that effective prophetic criticism is done not by an outsider but always by one who must embrace grief, enter into the death, and know the pain of the criticised one.
In the name of the divine and mysterious Trinity,
You have called us into being through love.
You have joined us to one another in love.
You have placed us in your world to love.
Grant each one of us the strength
To carry your blessing from this place to the next.
May we be at home in any land and in any place in between, for all the cosmos is yours.
May we, with our hopes set on your shalom in the world, live also as aliens in all lands.
May the rhythms of your creation be the heartbeat which sustains our very life.
May the lamp of your word guide our feet on the unsure paths of each day.
May your breathing be the winds which lead us across strange new oceans.
Our lives are but a breath,
But our breaths are drawn, from your divine Spirit.
You have created us, peregrinate,
traveling paradoxes, holy wanderers.
Specs of dust and divine-image bearers.
Shadows of your creativity,
and crucibles of the spark of innovation.
We are constantly restless until we rest in you.
Grant each one of us and our community a deeper fullness of being and spirit,
May our faces be fuller in glory and joy,
Now bearing new shape, as our faces transform and supplement one another.
May that transformation bring peace, joy and love in the world in which you have placed us.
Go in the name of the Spirit who moves across the surface the waters,
and in the beating of the human heart,
Go in the name of Jesus, the God-Man who died, rose and lives on for us,
Go in the name of the Creator and re-Creator, the mother of grace.
i have slacked off worship tricks of late but want to keep them ticking along so this is no 100 series 3. that makes 3 series complete - it's only taken me nine years! i looked back to see when i started and realise that i actually started blogging nine years ago yesterday (scroll down the page for the first post). who would have thought?! happy blog birthday to me :-)
steve taylor has written a delightful piece on the emerging church. follow his link to download the journal and scroll through to the article. this global mission perspective is very exciting and so much more creative and interesting than just a localised perspective. it's also welcome to hear the uk and usa voices being critiqued and seen as local voices in a global conversation.
The emerging church invites a global, missional theology. It is not a Western manifestation, a product of books in the USA or fresh expressions in the United Kingdom. Rather, it is a response to the impulse of the Spirit, at Pentecost, throughout church history and across the expanse of global culture.
walter brueggemann says that the role of the prophet is two fold - to evoke grief and create amazement. grief for what has been lost, and amazement for the new worlds that are possible.
over the last two grace evenings we have explored the prophet's story. i have enjoyed it (especially as i wasn't involved in planning!). both service outlines are in the grace archive - prophet story part 1 and prophet story part 2. i have been thinking about prophets recently and found steve's two reflections (inspired by walter brueggemann whose books on prophetic and hopeful imagination are simply brilliant) on grief (scroll down page and see intro under accepting the call) and hope from god very good indeed. here's a couple of snippets...
the job of the prophet is not to announce fixes for the current system
it's not to make realistic proposals
realistic, of course, meaning - leaving the powers that be in power
we can leave those proposals to the prophets of the royal consciousness,
the ones who say that there's peace when there is no peace
the job of the true prophet is to announce the death of the current order
the job of the true prophet is to announce that god cannot be bought by the regime
and has the freedom to bring about endings
the true prophet calls us to grief
grief for what must end and for our part in it
grief is the most radical criticism...
and on hope...
we can be guilty of spreading optimism rather than hope
optimism says that the world that we know can get better
hope is about a new world
true hope is grounded in god
who is outside all our human worlds and free to act and change them
this is where a prophet is not like a hero
a hero acts
a prophet points to god who will act
the prophet reminds us that there is an alternative
because god can bring it about
the prophet talks not just about the future but about the past
reminding us of how god acted before
reminding us of god's promises given in the past and waiting to be fulfilled
reminding us of god's freedom as demonstrated in the history of god's people
reminding us of god's covenant with us
which the powers that be would like us to forget about
patrick goh who is one of the directors at cms who oversees personnel and the culture of the organisation has stared blogging a series on leadership. he suggests that many christian organisations have been seduced by commercial management whereas an alternative is what he calls relational leadership. here's a quote...
Yes there are things we can learn from the world of commerce. However, it is important to remember that commercial methodology is based on a particular worldview, ie, capitalism. And that any techniques or solutions thereof come imbedded with capitalistic values and assumptions, which we may or may not agree with! In my experience, many Christians:
1. are not (philosophically) motivated by capital.
2. would prefer methodologies that are ‘Apolitical’ (rather than right wing).
3. want to be less individualistic, competitive and meritorious.
An alternative model is relational practice which has at its heart a philosophical commitment to inclusivity; empowerment and ethical practice. It is based on a human developmental process informed by relational attributes such as nurturing, love, connectedness, and expressions of feelings
This is in contrast to modernist models which are based on “rational values” associated with autonomy, scientific methodology, and independence. Don’t get me wrong, we do need to use reason, and to make our thinking rationally coherent. However, a relational orientation focuses on communal interactions rather than on rational individualism.
In the relational ‘paradigm’, leaders are participants in the communal construction of meaning, purpose and action. Rather than relying on power derived from command and control, they play a key role in sense-making; and motivating people to fruitful and coherent action/s within complex situations.
well jon has been busy in preparation for his 1000th asbojesus cartoon working on a book and t-shirts. the book isn't quite there but the t-shirts are with several designs and more to follow on asbojesus!
[update: since i posted jon has now reached 1000 drawings! wow...]