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.