Sunday, November 30, 2003
More Photos of the weekend. Its not everyday that we go on holiday to a posh house, part of a nursing home!! Twas great fun, but I am looking forward to less forms in the next couple of days. Cheers
moot had their first weekend away together at burrswood. about 19 of us went away and enjoyed some really lovely surroundings, in a rather regal house! we even had breakfast brought to our rooms! saturday evening took the form of a cabaret, with mike turning into some mad nature prof, complete with a recent masterpiece from his own hand, and our own danish trine turned into a rather fruity dancing & singing madam! mobsby led two periods of reflection, and a communion. he spoke in one reflection of the importance of recognising that stories are not necessarily there to find a meaning in, or to extract a point from, but rather they may just be there as 'story' in and of itself. its easy to see how when we are listening to other peoples stories we can often try and find a point rather than actually listen, and enter into the story itself! something I need to reminded of again and again in today's busy world where the speed of the telling, and fast-forward to the point usually take precedence.
we also played rather a lot of scabble, and drank plenty of lovely wine and port!
Thursday, November 27, 2003
For those of you who are interested (apologies for those who would wonder what RSS is, see here for details) I have added an RSS feed for the blog. The link is in the links section on the left. Thanks to blogmatrix for providing the service. So for those of you with newsreaders you can now see every time someone blogs.
The Paris metro was invaded last friday night by over 500 people protesting against the invasion of public space by advertising. Armed with spray cans and glue they proceeded to spray any posters and advertising they could with messages like, “No Adverts!”, “Advertising Kills”, “The Street is Ours”, “Advertising is Hazardous to Your Mental Health.” In the end they managed to spray over 130 stations - not bad for a nights work.
Seems the French certainly have some good methods for creating some good subversive acts! Maybe moot could organise a London Underground equivalent?!
Buy Nothing Day - 28 November
AdBusters annual 'buy nothing day' is tomorrow. Join in and decide to buy absolutely nothing. Walk into shops and pace up and down the aisles and learn to overcome that temptation to purchse! In previous years thousands have taken to supermarkets and pushed round trolleys in massive convoys just buying nothing until they were kicked out - sounds like fun and a good way to highlight the continued rise of consumerism, unchecked and seemingly the 'way forward'. Go on, join in!
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Yes, not only am I the only person of my social circle who knows where Kazakhstan is, I also won a pub quiz while I was there - quite surreal!
I was in Atyrau, doing some training for Kazakh English teachers. My colleague (who has been there for a year -poor sod) invited me to the Irish pub for the fortnightly quiz. We were in 4th place going into the final round, which was song lyrics (hurrah!). I stormed the round - the only 2 songs/bands I didn't get were the Osmonds & Manfred Man. Quite frankly I would have been ashamed if I had got those ones. Our prize - a bottle of "Gengis Khan" brand Vodka! I did a victory lap of the pub with the bottle and a tray of shot glasses and instantly became the most popular woman in the place (OK, so I was the ONLY woman in the place!)
That was definitely the highlight of my week there.
My other lasting impression was the mud - which is everywhere! As soon as it rains, you walk in 2 inches of mud wherever you go. After a 10 minute walk to the office, I couldn't see a thing because my glasses were covered in a thin film of mud. So on top of the relentlessly dull communist architecture, everything in the town is brown - not the most attractive place I've ever been to!
Needless to say, I highly recommend Atyrau as a great holiday destination!
The other thing I must tell you about is the plane I arrived on. I flew with Air Kazakhstan from Istanbul. Their fleet are planes that Aeroflot have no more use for (truth!). If you lean on an empty seat in front of you, the whole back of the seat folds forward (maybe 'collapses' is a better word than 'folds'). I'm not a nervous flyer, and I've been on some pretty dodgy airlines in my time, but even I was praying for survival during takeoff & landing.
So there you go. That was my experience of Kazakhstan. I must say in its defense that Atyrau is not the best example of a Kazakh town. Apparently Almaty (the old capital) and the new capital are very nice. But Atyrau has a LOT of catching up to do!
As some of you already know, there is a Latin American Film festival coming up this weekend. For programme details, see www.discovering-latinamerica.org.uk or check out the listings in Time Out.
If you've seen and enjoyed recent Latin American films like "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "City of God", why not treat yourself to some more! They're a great antidote to the Holywood blockbusters. (If you haven't seen the aforementioned films, this is your chance -they are included in the programme this weekend)
Monday, November 24, 2003
As those of you who were at tonights moot will know Phillipa and I are now engaged and hope to be married next June. We are hoping that we can get married at St Matthews (if we can find a reasonably cheap venue nearby to host the reception - if anyone knows of one let me know).
So the first moot wedding approaches :-) It would be great to dream up some new ways of doing a wedding service that mixes tradional worship with a more mootish flavour!
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Well done England - world champions at last. And commiserations to the Aussies who battled hard and had my whole houselhold in a constant state of nervous unbearable tension! But, as usual we could rely on the genius of Jonny! Cheers mate!
Friday, November 21, 2003
visited mac expo today with jonny. saw some rather cool stuff including an adaptor ‚— the itrip — that can transmit an fm signal from my ipod to any radio reciver! cool and only Ł35 quid! Not very alt worship but very useful indeed!
Have also been reading a book on branding, called emotional branding it lists Apple computer as an emotional brand - one that invoked near religious fervour and support from people who use macs (something I can testify to). It was intersting to see that kind of feel at the mac expo. with so many people fervant to see mac's conquer the world of pc's. rather like drawing a parrallel between microsoft and satan and macs and jesus if you get what I mean :-)
Its interesting to see this kind of activity occur not only within church circles but also in broader society. Apple is a brand that invoked an emotional response in their customers, one that brings out almost a militant response to any users of PC's - maybe its time -metaphorically speaking - to lay down my militant defence of the mac and being to talk about making mac and pc's more compaitble and neighbourly!
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
A big thank you to Mike for leading several weeks discussion on the implications of this very interesting book. I am only sad that such few mooters took the opportunity to have their horizons broadened. Remember guys its not a must to have read the book before the sessions, as pretty profound stuff has been coming out. Thanks Mike for putting some hard work into it.
For an MS Word summary of the book, click the link below.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Six of us mooters - Sim, Lizzy, Mike, Trine, James and Ian led an alternative worship service and discussion forum for training ministers of the East Anglian Ministerial Training Course, Norwich Ordained Local Ministers and others of the Cambridge Federation attending a weekend training course 14-16th November. One hundred and ten people attended the service and discussion. I am pleased to say that both the service and discussion were well received. Feedback indicated that a number of people felt challenged, and many liked what we did. I have to confess to being extremely proud of the group who worked together well. The service was themed around the Christian concept of calling - as the body of Christ but also in diverse individual callings. The service began with a multimedia exploration of the subject, contemporary songs, meditations, intercessions, prayer and three stations of activities. We received many comments. Some were very profound. Several had said how skeptical they were before going into the service, but experienced profound moments with God. One person who had felt burdened by stuff for sometime, found that gripping the stone and releasing it to God as a profoundly healing space. Others talked of being very moved. Many talked about being challenged how being creative allowed for newness and openness to God.
In the questioning times, the group responded to questions across the plethora of different traditions and churchmanship. I was struck by how gracious members of the group were, sometimes to quite hard questions. So hopefully moot has assisted alternative worship and emerging church - that a number of training ministers have now experienced what is possible with a little more thinking-outside-the-box.
Personally I was very moved to see how the moot group who came to Ditchingham now appreciate how valuable and precious spaces and opportunities like alternative worship are. SO Thanks to all who helped make it happen, including Gary Collins who worked a minor miracle with slides and projectors, Gareth for assisting in the video compilation, and Carey for helping in the preparation but could not go due to last minute work commitments.
The whole weekend has definately raised the profile of moot. Well done one and all!!!
We have received a letter of thanks from the Principal of the EAMTC Course - see below.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
hey guys, have just got online in the states and thought I would post some pics.
having a great time in colorado, exploring the rockies as well as denver city. the three pics are of phillipa and myself entering rocky mountain national park, an elk we encountered in the park (this one is the chief - bit like the mobsby always looking out for all us mooters ;-) and the last one is of the Sambuga Jazz Café in downtown denver - which is absolutely fab, great live music every night and wicked food.
we are staying out here with some friends of phillipas who like me and most of us at moot have grave reservartions about traditional church and really want to find a church that reflections a true notion of community and one that is honest and engaging with contemporary culture not backing away from it. wish they could come to moot, am sure they would love it.
its amazing how many people i meet who are seeking something that they have not found in traditional church, and who when i speak of what moot, and many other forms of ermeging church, are trying to do it resonates with them and their desire for authentic church.
i am also trying to keep up with the various god channels over here - all of which are very amusing! - gary you are right, how can man [sic] live without god channels!
Monday, November 10, 2003
Sunday, November 09, 2003
In the spirit of unadulterated revenge for the Captain Birds Eye picture that Gareth put up of me in October, please find Gareth and Trine having a quiche abba charismatic moment. All comments to Phillippa please....
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Was at Coventry Cathedral at the weekend. Its quite an amazing space. It was completely rebuilt after being bombed in the second world war and has a very contemporary fell to it with some amazing stained glass windows and a very industrial 'look' to it.
I was there with CMS for a festival they were putting on. We had two labyrinths running over the course of the weekend and they worked really well in such an amazing setting.
The statue is Ecco Homme by Epstein, representing Christ before Pilate, its a really evocative piece that reminded me of a lot of Inca statues.
The cathedral would make a great space for some massive alt.worship services, you could have one going on in each of the smaller chapels (of which there are three) as well as some major installations around the place. Well, thoughts for the future anyway :-)
Apparently the biggest ever solar flare was recorded yesterday. The blast sent billions of tonnes of superhot gas into space - some of it directed towards our planet. Apparently we could be in for some major electrical storms!
The size of the actual flare was many times bigger than planet earth and shot out hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Makes you realise just how small we all are.
Even if all the nukes in the world were set off together they would not even create an 'explosion' 100th the size of the flare.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
"If I died right this minute, I would be able to say, 'God, what a ride! What a ride!'"
Monday, November 03, 2003
Bill Viola's in town, well at least his work is. Ian, Mike Gough and myself trundled along to the Haunch of Venison gallery this morning to take in 'Hall of Whipsers', a single, beguiling piece cositing of 10 heads, eyes tightly shut, mouths gagged but all insessently trying to speak without any audible clarity. An allusive image that suggests all talk and no listen..........a microcosm of our society and lives as a whole perhaps?
Then along to the National with Ian to take in 'The Passions'. This is the major Viola show in town and heavily features new works that are drawing upon the well of profound human emotion. he is trying to connect with primal forces of sorrow, lamentation, joy and faith. The images are unnervingly contemporary and yet very often reveal influence from the past. Religious imagery is everywhere; cleansing, baptism, re-birth, although often played out in strange ways, (witness the 'ressurection' of a seemingly dead figure in EMERGENCE). I'm no expert on Bill Viola, but he seems richly influenced by the mystical strands of many religions; at least the work seems to resonate quite freely with Sufism, Christian Mysticism and Buddhism).
I personally felt some works failed to move and were quite distant. Others however were profoundly engaging and caused deep emotional responses. Some works carried an intimacy that makes the viewer almost become a voyeur of private sacred moments.
The slow speed of many of these pieces seemed to accentuate the almost timelessness of emotion. Pain seems to last forever, it dislocates a person - changes their story, destroys language. In extremes pain makes us feel like entities that only suffer, there is no before, no after. A hovering, waiting, loaded moment, eternal, endless.
One discussion that these pieces raise is concerned with Symbolism. Who 'owns' symbols? Is there a contemporary language that can deal with symbols? Should symbol be imbued with clear meaning, or should they stay distant, archetype, nuanced and allusive? How can any of us make fresh symbols come alive or can we still hope to stir some deeper psychological resonance, through what Jung would call The collective unconcious.
If you get the chance - go see it. It's a stimulating few hours in the presence of one of the most exciting and innovative artists of our time.
(be aware too that it does cost, though concs. are available).