kate tempest in fine form on q and a with a poem progress. it's also worth watching the discussion on diabolical regimes that leads up to it which is here.
loved this reflection by richard rohr on who would want to be a prophet? in which he suggests prophets are on the edge of the inside combining tradition with iconoclasm and usually are trained in the system so they know how to work it...
You have to know the rules of any tradition, and you have to respect those rules enough to know why they do exist--and thus how to break them properly, for the sake of a larger and more essential value.
very exciting today at cms to have the possible world course being delivered. this is a new course on mission which takes a focus on prophetic mission - prophets are people who grieve over the way things are and see new possibilities against the odds and then help people create that new possible world.
it has seven sessions:
One: Jesus, a prophet. Me, a prophet?
Two: Hospitality: All right for some?
Three: Consumer culture: I want to live simply…but I like stuff
Four: The environment: For God so loved the world
Five: Human suffering: How can I show I care?
Six: Injustice: So many issues, so few of us
Seven: Now what? Joining the prophetic and the practical
a 50 page booklet which looks great and a dvd with some very inspiring pioneering people who are creating new possibilities where they are.
a colleague debbie james has been working on this for a couple of years and done a wonderful job - it's been road tested and reshaped accordingly. ideal for a church, home group, missional community, or any group that want to explore together how another world might be possible. if you are planning ahead how about using this for lent? (or advent if you're quick!).
adam curtis and robert del naja were interviewed last night on bbc 6music by mary anne hobbs. the full interview was aired on stuart maconie's freak zone. it will be up on iplayer for the week and begins at about 44mins in. parts of it were also aired on mary anne hobbs breakfast shows on sat and sun.
one of the questions mary anne hobbs asks adam curtis is are we really free?
in response he suggests that the issue he is trying to explore in the film is how power works, how it pervades our lives - not just through westminster but through popular culture. one of the examples he gives is the feedback loops that are going on around us all the time thorugh computers - you like this so you'll like that. we've probably got so used to it now that we don't think about it. we're continually being given what we liked yesterday.
he suggests that the idea of the film/experience was to pull back like a helicopter to enable people to stop and see this static managed world (what he calls the pervasive ideology of our time). and he then muses whether we are really free?.. we're free to have what they think you like. is that freedom? it's a kind of static or limited freedom where you are stuck in your own yesterday!
i thought this was such a good line - stuck in your own yesterday. it's back to the previous post in some ways - with this approach to reality ideas and possibilities that are new will never emerge - they will be perceived as risky, unprovable, unmeasurable, and a threat. yet when we are stuck precisely what we need is this genuine kind of newness.
[update: thanks to laura for the link to this letter to massive attack and adam curtis]
i have not been able to stop thinking about the massive attack v adam curtis gig that i blogged about here. joel send me a link to a piece which is really interesting in FACT magazine where adam curtis says a bit more about some of his ideas. and he reiterates the theme that really caught my attention which is that we are stuck because
"we have opted to manage the world rather than change the world"
what an extraordinary insight! i think this is true in many businesses, lots of the social/charity sector and the church. we elevate managers and prefer and feel safer with them than visionaries and dreamers in top leadership positions. this may be because of fear of money, the future or simply we want to feel we can control things as best we can. and i also think it is also a really bad habit. shoot me down on this or tell me it's not true - but i am now seeing it everywhere where last week i was used to business as usual!
the article includes the words that were projected at the end of the film which i was trying to remember. they are:
"the future is full of POSSIBILITY"
"IT IS NOT PREDICTABLE"
"YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING HAPPEN"
"YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD"
"PLEASE FIND YOUR OWN WAY HOME”
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
leonard cohen's latest album old ideas is quite brilliant. he's widely recognised as a wonderful poet but what immediately grabbed me about the opening song going home following my last blog posts is the connection he makes bewteen poetry and prophecy. i may be reading too much into it, i don't know - but it's a description of his calling, his vocation to speak out. it reminds me of the call of jeremiah or ezekiel!
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit
But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He just doesn't have the freedom
the whole album is shot through with spiritual reflection and religious imagery with great poetry and depth. it's melancholy gospel if such a thing exists! simple but powerful songs stripped back allowing cohen's voice in all its aged maturity to weave its words of brokenness and hope. the struggle and darkness are there as ever but a world is spoken where the victims are singing and the laws of remorse are restored, the filth of the butcher is washed in the blood of the lamb. cohen asks to be shown the place where the word became a man, where the suffering began. and in a penitential hymn of invocation, come healing, he calls for the healing of the body mind and limb and spirit
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow
The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb
the cracks are letting a lot of light in on this one. it's the most compelling set of songs i have heard in quite some time...
i have blogged several times about poets and prophets. they seem to have a kind of speech that comes from the same place, have a similar way of seeing and remaking the world.
if there is one writer who has opened up this idea more than any other it has to be walter brueggemann - the three books i am thinking of in particular are prohetic imagination, hopeful imagination and finally comes the poet. whilst i read two of those 20 years ago or so i have only recently read hopeful imagination which is an equally brilliant book. anyway that's all by way of introducing a few quotes from it on the poetic speech of prophets...
The overriding reality of the prophets is that they are characteristically poets. Poets have no advice to give people. They only want people to see differently to re-vision life.
Everything depends on the poem and the poet for our worlds come from our words. Our life is fed and shaped by our metaphors.
The enemies of the poem are the managers of the status quo.
The poets want us to re-experience the present world under a different set of metaphors and they want us to entertain and alternative world not yet visible.
Poets speak porously. They use the kind of language that is not exhausted at first hearing. They leave many things open, ambiguous, still to be discerned after more reflection.
Very often people who hear poets want an explanation, which means to slot the words into categories already predetermined and controlled. Such an act however is the death of the poem... Good porous language does not permit itself to be so easily dismissed. It intends to violate and shatter the categories in which the listener operates.
These poets not only discerned the new actions of God that others did not discern but they wrought the new actions of God by the power of their imagination, their tongues, their words. New poetic imagination evoke new realities in the community.
We lose vitality in our ministry when our language of God is domesticated and our relation with God is made narrow and predictable... Predictable language is a measure of a deadened relationship in which address is reduced to slogan and cliché.
It is always a practice of prophetic poetry to break the conventions in which we habituate God.
Every centre of power fears poets because poets never fight fair... only a poem
and a couple from prophetic imagination...
The characteristic way of the prophet is that of poetry and lyric.
The poet is not changing external politics but is reclaiming imagination... We ought not underestimate the power of the poet.
follow this link to the books, chapters, articles and music i have published.