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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Blowin' in the wind

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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 ;-)

P

Monday, 28 September 2009

The world without us...

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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

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Wandering generality or meaningful specific?

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Went to a fascinating presentation today entitled 'Why do you need Social Networking?' given by Ian McKendrick. During the talk he showed this interview with Seth Godin which totally blew me away:
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Lots of applications for so many business sectors, totally brilliant for bands (and their tribes of followers) and, in my not very humble opinion, the church could take note too ;-)

P

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sacred idleness...

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Work is not always required; There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is fearfully neglected.

George MacDonald (1824-1903)

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Friday, 18 September 2009

The two kinds of new...

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Here is a collection of assets to support the audio of Rob Bell's second talk at Greenbelt 2009. Viewing the youtube.com videos will fill in music missing from the audio for copyright reasons.

The first picture he showed was a photograph taken on his cellphone (bet it's an iPhone!) of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama embracing when Rob was up close and personal at a special event. Have Twittered Rob to see if we can add his pic, meanwhile:


Then Rob talked about round the globe sailor Joshua Slocomb, 1st pic from GB official photographer Jonathon Watkins:


This was supported by a picture of the vessel, 'Spray', which Joshua had rebuilt over a 3 year period and then set sail in (my view from afar!):




After Rob showed a lady of 73, he also showed a photo of legendary composer and producer Brian Eno at 60:


Having already introduced some of Johnny Cash's work in his Saturday talk, Rob showed the sensational video of Johnny's cover of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt':




It would be impossible to capture the interaction Rob had with the lady signing for the deaf, you had to be there! The picture he put up was of Flo-Rida and the 'hit' was played, here's the song with a pic:




If you haven't already bought the audio, available here from the Greenbelt Webshop I thoroughly recommend listening, it was hugely inspiring, uplifting and challenging.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Harvest Festival

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Saw the very wonderful Seth Lakeman perform last night at Harvest at Jimmy's, a new cosy and intimate festival of food and music at our customer Jimmy's Farm just down the road near Ipswich, Suffolk. Seth is a consumate professional and a seriously gifted musician - launching into his 'defining' solo fiddle and stompbox piece, Kitty Jay, as shown above. This piece illustrates that special place where musician and instrument become as one, a truly uplifting experience which I first witnessed when he headlined at the Greenbelt Festival in 2008. The band is excellent, too, with unfussy, solid drumming, great musical support on guitar from brother Sean, a new guy on guitar/mandolin/etc. and a very tall double bass player.

The event was excellent, too, bearing in mind this was the first time Jimmy's Farm had staged something of this magnitude. Another one of the irrepressible Jimmy Doherty's great ideas!

P
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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Raising my Ebenezer...

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It's OK, I know we ALL know about Ebenezer's and that they are, well, a really good thing! A new start...?

Every so often you read someone's Blog in the morning and it cracks you up! And a substantial part of the joy is the resonance with where you are and where you've got to, so, folks, here it is, thanks to Revd Sam for sending me the link...

Comparative Religious Exam Paper 1 - Modern Christian Songs

Love it!

P
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Monday, 7 September 2009

Of All The People In All The World at Greenbelt...

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(Photographed by Samuel Banks)

This year at the Greenbelt Festival I made it a personal mission to check out more about physical art as well as the usual reasons I go. The latter are, primarily, for the edifying and inspiring talks, the music and, additionally, for all the 'chance' encounters whether they be with folk you already know or complete strangers.

One of the first and most talked about pieces of art, more of a complete and dynamic installation, was the display in the Christian Aid tent by Stan's Café entitiled 'Of All The People In All The World'. This inspiring and challenging piece is based on a grain of rice to represent a person and from there piles of rice to represent various juxtaposed worldwide statistics. Seeing this brings into stark focus our Western unbalanced World View. Click to expand the picture above to see the largest heap of rice represents all the people who have died in the Congo since the conflict began in 1998, the medium sized pile to the right is the number of civilian deaths in Iraq since 2001 and the adjacent relatively tiny pile represents all the forces' casualties in Afghanistan (again since 2001).




I also attended one of the panels discussing use of Art as part of Alternative Worship which was also inpsiring but I will return to that again as they dissed the use of music because of the conflicts that are raised between using traditional and modern worship stuff... the short answer is use pop music as well as hymns, see here!
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On a more general level the whole Greenbelt 2009 site had lots of complementary 'vibing' which just seemed more complete this year from the start of the festival along with some very accessible (in every sense of the word!) sculptures.

So, myth one about Greenbelt dispelled, GB is NOT just a music festival!

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Standing in The Long Now... GB09

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Now back from an incredible Greenbelt Festival, feels like one of the best ever! I have loads of notes, books, audio files and musings to absorb and ponder, so may well return to this topic again soon! Meanwhile check out this excellent blog post from Steve Lawson that I feel captures some of the essence of GB.

P
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