Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Caught in the thicket...

A challenging article in eXaminer.com where a church makes Mission a higher priority than Monument...

The congregation of First Baptist Church in Vermont when faced with four times the number of homeless folk to feed this year decided to put up for sale a Tiffany's stained glass window worth around $75,000 to meet the bill. This sacrificial act was noticed and drew wider attention when ABC ran a local news report. As a result the church received donations from all over the US raising enough funds for the urgent needs thereby enabling the window to be retained...

Faith in action, just like Abraham! h/t Gavin Richardson

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Monday, 28 December 2009

O Magnum Mysterium...

An absolutely breathtaking version of Morten Lauridsen's piece by the Nordic Chamber Choir that puts King's College to shame with its sheer beauty, control and heavenliness. You haven't lived until you hear angels sing, this comes so very close! In my opinion, humble or otherwise, one of the most amazing choral pieces ever...


Saturday, 26 December 2009

Mad Mersea Mayhem!

Scenes at the fourth Mersea Island Boxing Day swim to raise money for the RNLI today... a gorgeous day for it! This event has now grown from a handful of entrants in its first year to nearly 100 watched by a crowd of around 600.
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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Joy to the world, Heaven and The Beatles sing

And now for something completely different...

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know it's not really The Beatles. Just another bit of fun from Beatles tribute band The Fab Four which made me smile broadly! I predict a review of both the year and decade soonish...?


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Stand by your man... (NOT!)

Anyone in the UK cannot have missed the story today of Father Tim Jones, parish priest at St Lawrence and St Hilda in York, who has been pilloried not only by the media but by his Archdeacon as well. Unbelieveable... well, maybe it isn't so surprising.

It is well worth reading the full transcript of Fr. Tim's excellent sermon on Sunday 20th, based around the Magnificat which includes the sentence: 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.' Now although Fr. Tim does actually concede that shoplifting could, in extremis, be a solution, the context is clear in his sermon. Over and above that is the point he made so clearly on BBC Five Live today that the 'tut tutting' contempt of the relative wealthy (who spend 100s or even 1000s on 'utter tat for Christmas') for some poor unfortunate who has just taken a can of ravioli worth 80p is a 'grotesque indictment of who we are'. I am minded of the established Biblical principal of allowing certain of our crops at the side of our fields to be gleaned by the poor... there is a precedent for taking only what you need, remember the Manna in the wilderness?

What was really encouraging was to listen to some of the callers who had shown enormous and generous compassion, some simply turning a blind eye to some transgressors and others simply paying for the goods that someone had tried to liberate. In stark contrast the Archdeacon of York was condescending and dismissive, promising to give Father Tim a good talking to to put him straight. How ironic that, once again, the establishment is so readily prepared to undermine someone acting in a Christlike manner and, in a corporate sense, not stand by their very own?

Respect Fr. Tim, keep up the good work... oh that we (read I) may learn how to be as dangerous as Jesus too.

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Sunday, 20 December 2009

On the side of the Rebel Jesus...

This amazing song from Jackson Browne is one of my fave Christmas pieces with so much truth and depth compared to other commercial stuff and what we sing in church. Verse two is really hard hitting linking 'Temple Trading' to both the church and environmental issues way back in the early nineties:
Ah, they call Him by the "Prince Of Peace"
And they call Him by "The Saviour"
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill His churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
In the last verse he apologises for appearing to be judgemental (which I wonder if that's another sideswipe at the established church!) before closing the song with the fantastic proclamation:
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus
More and H/T from Steve Stockman's Blog.


Friday, 18 December 2009

Away in a (bus shelter) manger..

After our local Christmas Market here on Mersea my son and I were 'walking' the crib back to the church when I thought I would quickly snap our local bus shelter with the manger inside... this links in with the bus stop ad that's running. Then today I read Ship of Fools co-editor Steve Goddard's tweet about the nativity cribs abandoned in London to draw attention to the plight of the 100,000 children that sleep rough each year. This is a campaign launched by the charity 'Railway Children' which champions the welfare of street children.

Encouraging yet deeply challenging stuff...

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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

In the air tonight... Advent 3

Let everything that hath breath Praise the Lord... yes, everything you hear is created by the human voice: bass, drums, percussion and the synthesiser effects! I love the combination of beatbox techniques, hip-hop, gospel and re-imagining creativity going on here. So appropriate for Advent ;-)


Monday, 14 December 2009

What matters now...

Seth Godin is attempting to break all previous records by providing a new e-book to download for free on his Blog site and inviting everyone to virally market the message of its availability. I think this is a really interesting experiment in itself with the added bonus of receiving the excellent ebook.
Essentially the book is a collection of inspiring short thoughts and anecdotes from some high profile authors including Seth himself, Acumen Fund CEO Jaqueline Novogratz, business guru Tom Peters and Greenbelt Festival speaker Karen Armstrong.

Wonderful stuff!


Friday, 11 December 2009

It doesn't have to always be this way...

This article on Jonny Baker's Blog caught my eye today... initially because I know Walthamstow well and had many happy years living there and my son Sam was born in Whipp's Cross round the corner.

Just when I was getting a bit despondent along comes news of a bit of 'proper' church which made changes to their regular routine enabling them to become missional where the community is. The word re-invent is often applied to church. My preference is to use the verb re-imagine and this scheme, by ordained C of E vicar Revd Tony Cant, currently at St. Lukes, is spot on. Jonny Baker takes up the story here:
...he has been looking for ways to get involved in the community rather than get the community involved in the church. one that came up was the start of a farmers market on sunday. the market was looking for a manager so tony took the role. so as a vicar he works at the farmers market every sunday instead of leading worship in the church building! it's relational stuff... then every market has a stall for a community project. tony as manager said that st lukes church would take it. every week they brew teas and coffees all day and give them away and chat with people and stall holders. so instead of being in church on sunday they are in the market place with the community.
The article goes on to highlight the typical age profile issues of many churches, it was strangely re-assuring that this applies to an urban area as well as our rural one here out in the sticks.

Check out the full post here: Church on the High Street


Monday, 7 December 2009

Congregational musicianship...

A great way of disposing of worship groups/bands, just give everyone a Ukulele instead!

The very wonderful Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain in full flow at this year's Proms. Suggestion inspired by the Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus 768:

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Do you want the truth or something beautiful...?

One of those car stopping moment songs again - so I'll make this is my Advent /Christmas thought for now... the brilliant new single from Paloma Faith


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Imagine a world...

Came across this when following links from Seth Godin's blog which made me think. Some amazing and pertinent statements from Acumen Fund's CEO, Jaqueline Novogratz:
It takes embracing the World with both arms and expecting no thanks in return. It takes moving beyond trite assumption and petty ideology and really listening to one another.
Yep, challenging stuff...


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Holy mischief...

This mag, Geez, is a bustling spot for the over-churched, out-churched, un-churched and maybe even the un-churchable. Hmmm, I'm liking it already!

Includes contributions from Shane Claiborne whom I blogged about recently.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Rachmaninov had big hands...

Just a bit of fun, really! Assume he means he drives a big car then?

Check out more here.


Monday, 30 November 2009

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

Now this made me sit up and take notice! How amazing (and, I would venture to suggest, how Christlike?) that regular Greenbelt speaker and author Shane Claiborne has this hard hitting article in the mainstream blokey magazine 'Esquire'? It starts with a challenging apology:
To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God.

As we accelerate towards Christmas it pains me to sing some of the choral stuff we do, gorgeous tunes and harmonies, yet words that bear no resemblance to the real thing. Shane doesn't miss making this point either:

It is this Jesus who was born in a stank manger in the middle of a genocide. That is the God that we are just as likely to find in the streets as in the sanctuary, who can redeem revolutionaries and tax collectors, the oppressed and the oppressors... a God who is saving some of us from the ghettos of poverty, and some of us from the ghettos of wealth.
Go read the full article!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Love will always make you cry...

A wonderful piece of artwork drawn at our gig last night in The Cut Theatre, Halesworth, Suffolk by the delightful Katie (yes, we do have a younger audience too!). I definitely see an album cover here?

After The Fire are now on the last leg of our 2009 mini Autumn tour, up in Cambridge tonight and finish next weekend, Saturday in Godalming and our End of Tour (free entry!) gig in Billericay on Sunday Afternoon 5pm... we'd love to see you!
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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Living by numbers...

Honoured to have been Tagged by Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley megablog - here are the instructions:
Summarise the Bible in five statements, the first one word long, the second two, the third three, the fourth four and the last five words long. Or possibly you could do this in descending order. Tag five people.
Here's my attempt:
  1. One
  2. Killing Field
  3. The future revealed
  4. The World changes forever
  5. and not by faith alone
I hereby Tag: Rev Sam, Canon Phil, Pastor Joe, Youth Champion Tim and Entrepreneur Jim.

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Monday, 23 November 2009

I don't understand your love...

On Sunday 22nd we welcomed Lily Hope ....... into the church family through the sacrament of Holy Baptism. So why do I choose to impart this to Blogworld you may ask...? I'm very glad you did!

It was special! Not the service itself, certainly the all too well used phrase 'the worship did nothing for me' could justifiably be applied as it was relative chaos with musical mistakes aplenty (aka Jazz!) and the usual undercurrents that happen in churches all going on....

So why was it special? We started with the blockbuster 'Crown Him with many Crowns' (celebrating 'Christ The King') blasted out on the organ and I was delighted to see the Baptism family guests enthusiastically singing along for starters. As the service moved along we sang 'The River', with its provenance of inspiration from tragedy and forgiveness. The sermon was a familiar message (albeit with theology that makes me squirm somewhat) then the ceremony was lovely, kids running around, a 'Happy Christening Day' balloon floating aloft and the Junior Church singing.

For the last hymn we brought on a late sub, swapping a trad hymn for a song the baptism parents had sung at their wedding, 'Give me oil in my lamp'. Again, that was belted out with obvious joy and exuberance despite, in many quarters, being thought of as naff and passé.

Even though this family have only been coming to church relatively recently as part of their Baptism preparation they had laid on abundant munchies and cake, choosing to celebrate with our worshipping community in the church hall during our regular coffeetime... what a spread! It was during this that I was completely floored by a comment from the mum... 'this (as in 'coming to church') is my constant at the moment'... wow, suddenly that little phrase made everything worthwhile. And, unsurprisingly, it also made everything else a total nonsense, all the other church crap we worry and obsess about. Through our flawed efforts and imperfections this had become Holy!

I was recently reminded, when listening to a talk Frank Schaeffer gave at Greenbelt 2008, about how we attempt to rationalise the sacraments. Therefore we assume, in human terms, that it is not 'right' for a child to receive Holy Baptism until they can make up their own minds yet we acknowledge a mother whispering to her newly born 'I love you' is fine despite knowing the babe is unable to actually understand what is being said. It came home to me so powerfully to allow God to act in a 'mysterious way' we need to forsake our human rationality.

And God saw (to it) that it was good!
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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Every breath you take...

Another one of those weeks... and still going on in Rome between Archbish and Mr Pope. Time will tell on this one, funny how it has caught the 'imagination' of the mainstream news?

Few of us can failed to have been enchanted by this story this week, hats off to Tobias and his family:

Tobias Jones: why I am setting up a woodland commune

and, of course, the quote Tobias makes which made everyone think was by William Vanstone:

The Church is like a swimming pool: all the noise is at the shallow end. We felt called to the deep end, to the place where it's more quiet, more dangerous
maybe, more radical.

And Finally...

It seems the inspirational thoughts on 'Traditional Cockney Spirituality' from The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley this week didn't really get the attention they deserved. So here is part of the dictionary, which I adored:

Annoying bleeder = Worship Leader (this one works either way round)

Awful Catarrh = Acoustic Guitar

Chicken Coop = Music Group

Hampstead Heath = Nothing worn beneath (of traditionalist parishes where not only the thuribles are swinging)

Lizzie Borden = Church Warden

Total Wassock = Bloke in a cassock

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Memorable Musical Moments Meme...

Think of eight memorable musical moments, not necessarily all time favourites, but those when, for example, you felt compelled to wait in the car when listening to this amazing song on the radio because you just had to know who it was by. Or the piece you heard on the tv in a drama that drove you straight onto iTunes to download... (remember once we spent the princely sum of 6s 8d on a vinyl single?!). Optional details for each song give where, why and Spotify or youtube links...

I hereby tag: Maggi Dawn, +Nick Baines, Richard Hall, Jonathan Evens, Tim Chesterton

The Promise You Made – Cockrobin (view)
Inside of you - Alice Martineau (view)
Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap (wow!)
Quanta Qualia - Patrick Hawes (listen)
Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm - Crash Test Dummies (view)
Don't Give Up – Peter Gabriel and Paula Cole (view)
While You See a Chance – Steve Winwood (view)
Belief - John Mayer (listen)
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Friday, 13 November 2009

Can you face it?!

Anyone who is proud of their Scottish heritage cannot fail to love this! The wonderful Michael McIntyre taking on a sensitive subject...


Thursday, 12 November 2009

5 Deeply De-Christian Doctrines meme...

Thanks to Joe H for tagging me with 'List 5 doctrines that are taught within the Christian church that you believe to be deeply de-Christian'... I know only have a loose grasp of what the context of the word doctrine should be here ;-)

I think most folk have completed this so forgive repeats: Alice, Richard, Maggi and would love to know what Bishop Nick would write but Liverpool still have injury issues...!

Here are mine and must say it has taken me ages, have had to work so hard to get down to just 5(ish)!

  1. That Worship is more (or less!) important than Mission and justice and, even more dangerous, that by solely worshipping you are being missional by default.

  2. Judgementalism - seems we are trained to be experts! At a local home group when the question was posed 'why are Christians so judgemental?' a good mate piped up: 'practice'!

  3. Consumerism - this claim that the church teaches consumerism should not be a surprise! The first definition of consumerism I found when googling is: 'the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically beneficial'. How many times do we hear that by buying this CD, book, service that we support the ministry of this individual or organisation? What happened to tentmaking?!

  4. Sentimentality - includes the dumming down of art and music to wellmeaningless bibledygook (new words warning!) which we are told is fine because it has the word God/Jesus (but it looks like a squirrel) somewhere on/in it... (or something about setting captives free, exalting, lifting names up high, putting tongues in... sorry, I cannot go on, it is TOO upsetting!). Check out this entry from Stan the Man again which includes some language of the immortal bard!

  5. Discrimination - anyone in the public sector, business or society would be in serious trouble and not get away with with what the wider church teaches about women, gays and minority groups including the physically disabled. The current stuff about flying bishops (still only male) to serve twitchy C of E communion celebrants so they can receive from a man is highly de-Christian.

Oh, and something extra: Apostolic Succession - well, that's all a bit Dan Brown DaVinci Bollocks stuff isn't it?!

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Prog Rock - a definition...!

Progressive Rock is an attempt to musically orgasm as many times as possible during a 15-minute song... cracked.com's brilliant entry all about the genre! (scroll down their page for full benefit)

Can't stand the stuff now, despite murky past, have put away childish things (except trainset)!

h/t Rupert Loydell.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Suffer(ing) the children...

Browsing Blogs (as you do!) I came across this uncomfortable tale from comedian Dave Gorman recounting an experience on the London Underground (subway). Here are some quotes:

The woman sat down and instantly started reading a very well thumbed copy of the bible. Her two daughters tugged at her sleeves a couple of times and tried to engage "Mummy" in conversation but she didn't look up from her book. So the kids decided to entertain themselves. They achieved this by taking a pile of leaflets from their Mum and walking up and down the carriage handing them to the other passengers.

The leaflets were advertising a church and looked to be full of quotations from the bible. I really don't know how I feel about this sort of thing. Actually, that's not true. I do know. I don't like it. I don't really think a parent should sit back and tacitly encourage their kids to engage in that kind of activity.

Faith - like politics - is contentious. People are entitled to their opinions and those opinions are often strongly felt. A grown up handing out such leaflets is, presumably, prepared for either rejection or debate - in a way an eight year old girl simply isn't.


So now I'm sitting there, hearing two young girls tell each other that I - and a third of the other passengers on the train - are bad people. It got worse. They continued by deciding that we were all going to go to hell. Proper hell. With lots of flames and things because the devil was going to punish us because we weren't interested in the good message that God wanted them to share with the world.

Along with a few other people I was being loudly condemned to hell by a pair of sisters, a few years shy of their tenth birthday... and their mother was sat there hearing them say it and doing nothing about it.


I know I probably should have done nothing. I know I should have just got off the train and gone about my business, dismissing it as just another bit of eccentricity in the world, but I figured I had as much right to hand out literature expressing my point of view as they did. So I did.

We were approaching my stop so I hastily scribbled a few words on a scrap of paper and then, trying to do so in a way that her kids wouldn't notice, I handed it to the mother. I know it will have achieved nothing. I know the chances of that woman seeing any fault in her behaviour or that of her offspring is zero... but it still made me feel better to have done something. At least I didn't sit by and give their behaviour my tacit approval.

The words on my note were: "I find being condemned to hell by your children upsetting. They are learning to hate."
So... how does that make you feel?! Read the full article here: Blessed Are The Children

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Sunday, 8 November 2009

We remember them...


In 1944 Major John Pott was shot on the battlefield in woods near Arnhem. Struggling to write what he imagined was a final letter to his new wife he was discovered nearly 20 hours later by German troops and subsequently incarcerated for the rest of World War Two in a Prisoner of War camp until released by American in 1945. His grandson, Joel Pott, lead singer of rock band Athlete has penned Black Swan Song which the band will be performing at the Royal British Legion Silence in the Square event on the 11th Nov 2009.

I saw Athlete perform at this year's Greenbelt Festival 2009 and when they performed this song it was one of those special moments when, despite the conflict of emotions the song deals with, you are lifted up to another place. This morning I read the lyrics as a form of Intercession in our Family Service which preceded our main Remembrance Day service.


Friday, 6 November 2009

It's High Fashion...


A gentle video which so ably articulates many of the fears and concerns I have about church and worship... Stan's the man!


Monday, 2 November 2009

Uncommon Sense

One of my regular reads is former BT futurologist Peter Cochrane's Blog on the technology news website silicon.com. A recent posting of his provides food for thought on the current economic crisis, some sections I quote here:

Where do these times of monetary and market instability come from? There appears to be a limited number of fundamental mechanisms over and above human ignorance, greed and stupidity.

First, I would cite the fundamental tenets and assumptions of economic theory that are obviously wrong:

1) Infinite resources - Not true for the atoms on this finite planet.
2) Infinite markets - Not true for a finite population and ecosystem.
3) Linear channels - Nothing to do with markets is wholly linear.
4) Continuous growth - Was never, and never will be, possible
5) Known behaviours - People and markets are increasingly unpredictable.
6) Understandable - Probably beyond the grasp of humankind.

Second, I think we can identify a set of new and progressively growing factors of increasing influence:

1) Complexity - Managers and people no longer understand products.
2) Connectedness - Everything is now related and not isolated or standalone.
3) Scale - Everything is now huge and networked globally.
4) Machines - They perform more trades than people.
5) Fundamentally non-linear - Chaotic and probably beyond human control.
6) Short-termism - The focus is on the immediate and making money now.
7) Speed - ICT has improved speed and removed latency.

The first set of factors set the scene for beliefs and the illusion of understanding, while the second present ideal components for the occurrence of one economic crisis after another. Perhaps the most critical, given (5) and (6), is the reduction of latency (7) as a prime factor in a world of non-linearity, chaos and strange attractors.

Read the full article here: Peter Cochrane's Uncommon Sense

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Servant king...


Matthew 25 v40: The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me...


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Never mind the bollocks...


Last week was quite a tumultuous week with the Pope launching his surprise reclamation scheme and BBC's Question Time getting its highest ever audience. Although I have discovered this a little late I do think it is worth drawing attention to, an excellent blog from Jonathan Bartley on how the church needs to react:

Why the churches should listen to what Nick Griffin said on Question Time

Having listened to a bit of the Bishop of Chichester's keynote address on the Forward in Faith website I feel my opinions about FiF being primarily an inward looking initiative were reinforced. Frank Skinner articulates it much better than I ever could:
And finally a heart warming story which was a kind of summary of last week. I found it touching and greatly encouraging (as a wishy-washy C of E liberal type who loves mainstream music!):
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Friday, 23 October 2009

Bright eyes... and one buttock playing!


A truly wonderful 'sermon' on classical music in a week that has been quite bizarre...


Thursday, 22 October 2009

I need(ed) some time to think...

Random beliefs

Rev Sam tagged me with this yonks ago! I'm supposed to 'Post a collection of 10 things you believe, ethical, philosophical or theological' and here, finally, it is:
  1. I believe music is, therefore I am!
  2. I believe I am in a good place most of the time.
  3. I believe it's time to leave the sinking ship.
  4. I believe food and feasts, with love, can change any world.
  5. I believe listening is more important than trying to shout loudest.
  6. I believe it's better to build bridges rather than walls.
  7. I believe the veil of the temple should always remain torn in two.
  8. I believe I am ok with being a servant yet struggle with being a slave.
  9. I believe I don't do enough good things to help others.
  10. I believe it is essential to individually do what would make a difference even when it seems everyone else won't.
  11. I believe complication leads to confusion. (As a muso my amp goes up to 11!)
Now I'm going to tag: Phil R, James W and Joe H (please forgive me if I hadn't seen you've already been had!)

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Why can't we be friends?


Some more from the brilliant Seth Godin... every business, band/musician, club, church, society and organisation take note! One of the best sermons I've heard ;-)


Friday, 16 October 2009

The Rolling Bones...


They should have gone to SpecSavers!
Read more in Ruth Gledhill's article in the Times Online. This section caught my eye:
— At Westminster Cathedral alone, 50,000 roses - the saint's symbol - were sold and up to 10,000 candles. Roses sold for £10 for a small bunch, although as the final Mass progressed they were discounted to £5
— The Big Issue seller outside Westminster Cathedral during farewell Mass sold three copies at £1.50 each

Monday, 12 October 2009

And on that Sunday...


This Sunday, just after hearing the sad news about Stephen Gately's untimely and unexpected death, was driving off to a busy day at church and turned the dial to Radio 2. Out came the dulcet tones of the very wonderful Martyn Joseph singing 'Cardiff Bay' on the Aled Jones morning programme. This is a highly moving and evocative song and it was so good to hear it unexpectedly on such a strange Sunday, especially as the song revolves around happenings and recollections on Sundays.

Most music journalists would class Martyn's songs in the folk and protest song genre, however, my view is that what sets him apart is whilst his songs do indeed 'protest' he does not abdicate or pass responsibility on to others like most of his songwriting peers.

Meanwhile for many their world this Sunday changed so abruptly and would never be the same again. Oh how I wish they could also have felt the peace that came over me as I listened on a Sunday...



Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Devil Inside....


First of all I thought this was a spoof h/t the Stuff Christian Culture Likes blog! Surely this cannot actually be a real product? Then, shock horror, the discovery that this 'Christian' equivalent of the mainstream 'Guitar Hero' is already on sale in the UK for £59 (free delivery btw)! If you need to see more (to believe!) check out the promo (which includes some dreadful phrases such as 'on screen lyrics reflect positive Christian messages' and 'live the dream: jam with your favourite Christian band') then check out the youtube video here.

I think this is another dreadful step towards a separate and highly consumerist church using world culture within its own veil restored temple. Furthermore, from the price of the product it is almost definitely manufactured for peanuts in China (or similar location) under conditions that we would call slave labour. This alone disgusts me even more than the utter distaste I have for the product and everything that it actually stands for.

Now that is truly diabolical...


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Time and Tide...


One desirable aspect of when the tide comes up over the road on Mersea Island is that there is a little window when everything stops for a while... no-one can get on or off the island (via the causeway called 'The Strood' locally) and midweek there is a peace that gently descends, wonderful!

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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rooting out Evil...


Michael Moore, Oscar and Emmy winning director, implores us to think on this as we go to church. Read his Huffington Post entry here on his take on capitalism, health reform and a guide to what our Christian response should be.

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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Benedictus Benedicat... Amazing Graces!

In my upbringing saying Grace before meals was never missed. I have tried to maintain the tradition and am pleased to say, on the whole, have managed to keep it going. I feel it is an important moment to take in our day as we effectively break bread together and to give thanks for our daily manna.

Love this one for brevity:

Good food, Good meat, Good Lord, Let's eat. Amen!
(attributed to Rick Edmondson)

And a poignant one:

For food in a world where many walk in hunger;
For faith in a world where many walk in fear;
For friends in a world where many walk alone;
We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.

(Source: Huron Hunger Fund, Anglican Church of Canada)

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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Blowin' in the wind


Maybe I am becoming more tolerant as I get older? I know I do tend to resist becoming institutionalised and, hopefully, as my roots grow a bit deeper, I can sway more readily as Rob Bell so beautifully described at this years Greenbelt Festival.

In stark contrast I am concerned there is an undercurrent developing amongst some Christians who prefer their Worship to be that which they perceive as only happening when singing so called Worship songs. Evidence of this is clear in the hurtful responses on the Greenbelt website to a request for feedback on this year's (2009) Communion Service. The majority of the complainants stating that Tim Hughes should have ‘led’ the Worship are the very ones with the most unforgiving and consumerist views!

So, is this the future, I wonder? A new breed of Christian who only wants to Worship exclusively their way and with their preferred style of music who don’t get the idea of a ‘community’ of fellow travellers?

I was deeply saddened to read some of these comments on the Greenbelt website, I thought the service was fantastic. It was obvious there were some issues with the music, but, frankly, the music has been grim at around 225 of the last 250 communions I have been to in the last 5 years or so and Greenbelt has only run 36 since 1974. The vision of the service was so much larger than who led worship and whether the music was inspiring.

And why do I sway more? Well, regardless of what I think of so called modern worship music (not a lot!) I do stand up and play it when needed, I don’t walk away from services because ‘the worship is doing nothing for me’ and I try to be sympathetic to other points of view even when I don’t necessarily agree. I am no saint and I often think my preferences are best for everyone but I accept there are times to just let things happen around you for the greater good.

Ok, ok, I have to confess I would really struggle if Greenbelt sold out and did get Tim Hughes, or one of his ilk, to lead the music at communion ;-)


Monday, 28 September 2009

The world without us...


While holidaying in Nova Scotia this summer I couldn't help notice how quickly nature reclaimed her own when land and buildings had been left for a while. So seeing this link promoting Alan Weisman's intriuging book about what would happen if the world was without human presence immediately struck a chord!

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Saturday, 26 September 2009