Sunday, February 29, 2004

Following on from other stuff we have explored and posted about how to be and do a spiritual community, the place of friendship is profound. The danger with new forms or alt church is that it can end up doing rather than being, and if we are truly modelling what we are doing on the trinity then being and inclusive community have to have a bearing on real friendship. Mike Crudge, a baptist minister from NZ who was involved with Graceway and now travels round NZ North & South Island encouring isolated spiritual tourists and students, wrote something very prevocatively to the NZ church about challenging the denomination to return to the importance of spiritual friendship. He is a good man, read on.

Out of my Mind by Mike Crudge for Baptist Feb 2004.doc

Sunday, February 22, 2004


On the Ship of Fools discussion board, there has been a discussion about Moot, Tom from Cardiff let us know about it. If interested see here

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Emerging Church in the NY Times

The Livinig Room lot and Darren Rowse in Melbourne have found some interesting write ups in the New York Times on emerging church. See link below for the article.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Moot's planned exploration of scriptural texts as a group interpretative process continues. We are still learning to think about how we interpret texts, and we are still learning to use the tool that we have refined to do this. Last night we tried to look at Isaiah 53, which was hard and not that successful, but at least we are learning how to use the tool!. Gareth did well to hold us all together!

Following the request for clarification last night, I have written some guidance notes so please check these out:
scrpture space guidance.pdf
scrpture space guidance.rtf

It is important that we are familiar with the tool and why we are doing this, as we are not doing it as an intellectual exercise, but more about deepening our faith and revealing material within texts that we can interpret and enhance our spiritual lives. Please find below copies of the tool and an intro to what we are doing with scripture space as a starting place.

We will now look at an easier text for this time, and a slightly more stretching one after that:

March 17th 8pm: Library, St Matthews Westminster: James 2:1-17

April 21st 8pm: Library, St Matthews Westminster: 1 John 3:1-3

We haven't worked out who is prepared to do what questions - so I will be emailing requests for assistance with this. Any queries please email

scriptural space tool.doc
scriptural space tool pdf.pdf


Paul who visited the moot community last night, has been doing a bit of a tour of London and other alternative worship communities and new forms of church. His Ozzie view of life is refreshing. If interested check out the site

Monday, February 16, 2004


Blah... is back with a new series for 2004! We are delighted to welcome Tom and Christine Sine who will be helping us take a look at global, national, and local trends that are likely to challenge the church in the Third Millennium. They will also be sharing stories from the edge of the postmodern church in the UK, OZ, NZ and North America.

Tom and Christine are wonderful! They have encouraged mission, imagination and creativity amongst younger leaders all round the world. They have helped many to reconnect with a biblical vision of the kingdom as an alternative to the Western consumer dream. They haven't been afraid to speak out prophetically about the church's capitulation to consumption. They have written lots of books - The Mustard Seed Conspiracy, Wild Hope and Mustard Seed vs McWorld are probably the best known - and have gleaned lots of wisdom from their travels and their experience. This is a great chance to catch up with their thinking. This will be the first of a series of conversations hosted by CMS in 2004 on mission, worship, church and Christianity in today's rapidly changing culture. The timing of this couldn't have worked out much better with the buzz around the Anglican report on fresh expressions of church at the moment. It's a time to keep listening, chatting and reflecting as God beckons us into the future.

Tuesday 24 February 6:30-8:30pm Drinks and refreshments provided Admission free

Venue: CMS partnership house, 157 waterloo road
[Nearest tube Waterloo - follow signs from station to Old Vic. Go past Old Vic and Partnership House is on the same side opposite the ambulance station]

It would help us to know numbers in advance so if you're coming please e-mail

Jonny Baker

Images of Christ for the 3rd Millenium Exhibition
Went to the Biblelands anniversary exhibition in St Pauls last week. It is made up of about 30 works of contemporary artists each reflecting on the person of Jesus.

I must admit to being quite dissapointed with the display and echo Jonnys comments that it was badly laid out, not well lit, and overall the art realy did not seem to do justice to the subject matter, and to top it all you have to pay £7 to get in.

For me there seemed to be a real lack of imagination in the paintings themselves, you would have thought that with the person of Jesus as a focus there would have been some stunning reflections on power, sacrifice, death, life, re-birth, energising, transformation, subversion, etc... Yet there were only two or three paintings that really grabbed your attention. I think the 'Christ we Share' pack contains many more pertinant images of Christ for the 3rd millenium, I think particually of the angry Jesus and the tortured Jesus, both images that manage to link/combine the ancient Jesus of faith and the suffering so many people experience in the modern world.

I have also been reading Fracis Bacon's biography, and am still struck by the power and emotion he manages to work into his famous triptich '3 figures at the base of the crucifixion', they somehow seem to visually represent humanity at its most evil. I also think some of Rothko's work also manages to capture emotion, power, evil and even hope so very well. Would be great to see work of the same ilk as these past masters in future exhibitions reflecting on the person of Jesus.


The Radio Four Sunday Programme has now done two features on new forms or emerging churches from a CofE perspective. In response to several reports before The Synod, The Church endorsed the need to recognise and support new forms of church, but disputed how these should be financially supported.

I am attempting to put edited recordings in media player and .wav format on this blog, but it is resisting!! Moot is included in the discussions in the second report, with some words from Phillipa and from the 1 year anniversary service. For the moment you can listen to it via the Radio 4 Website for the repeat of the Sunday Programme by clicking here The report on emerging church is the third report in the programme.

Here is the 2nd report in wav format:

Saturday, February 14, 2004


I am pleased to say that there are some new sites which are starting to do some deep and serious thinking on the whole issue of emerging church for an emerging culture, one of these is open source theology If you know if others, list them in the comments....

The motion before the CofE Synod was passed with ammendments this week, now for the consideration of CofE dioceses:

That this Synod:
(a) Welcome the report Mission-Shaped Church as a contribution to reflection and action about a "mixed economy church" and commend it to the dioceses, deaneries and parished for study and discussion;
(b) encourage all parishes to regard the area within their parish boundaries as areas of "responsibility" rather than areas of "ownership";
(c) invite diocese to take account of the report's proposals in the development of their diocesan mission strategies;
(d) invite dioceses and Partnership for World Mission Agencies to send examples of good practice in discovering fresh ways of engaging in mission with contemporary society to the Mission and Public Affairs Division for wider circulation;
(e) request the Mission & Public Affairs Council to: consider how the contributions and needs of minority ethnic people relate to an inclusive theology in changing models of church; consider the growing contribution of minority ethnic people to mission and parish renewal; and draw upon the experience of minority ethnic clergy and laity at looking at new ways of being church;
(f) ask the Mission & Public Affairs Council to consider and takeforward the recommendations and report back to General Synod in the next Quinquennium;
(g) ask the Mission & Public Affairs Council to also explore how current ministry restrictions relating to parish boundaries could be relaxed, to enable all churches to respond more flexibly to the network culture in which we now live; and
(h) reaffirm the guidelines for bringing a church plant to maturity, that appear in Appendix 1 of Breaking New Ground, already published and approved by General Synod, and recommend that they be adopted and used by each diocese

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Following on from Gareth's comment, and from my comment on it, I want to caution any sense of underating how important it is that we look to the spirtual needs of our own culture. Church has always got to be contextual, if not contextual then it is not truly going to be an incarnational expression of the body of Christ. Given the very real situation of a rise in people exploring spirituality in our own culture and ruling out Christianity due to its somewhat distant connection with post-modern culture, it is very right that we creatively explore where we are doing and forms of church that can resource and make connection with our own society. The focus on inclusion is vital, a place of equals, shared ministry and inspiration, modeling a way of doing church by participation and belonging rather than who's in and who's out.

It is my view that we need to get away from 'one size fits all' and must not attempt to create a global model. We must look to different ways in different situations. By generalising out we run the risk of doing dumbing down church again. FOr me, its about developing local collaborative working rather than trying to spread the net too widely. Soon as we start doing international conferences, speaking tours etc - again we play into Christian subculture and stop getting our hand dirty. There's a lot to be said for getting on with the greyness of doing these sort of things, being happy when things work out and wiping off the dust when things don't work out.

I have been thinking about the early church, they seemed to be following a pattern of following the SPirit into new things, and then sorting out the ecclesiology and unity (including the world as the new it) afterwards.

We are in great danger of making new forms of church a veneered branding and a fad. Lots of conferneces but not much doing in context. Its in the doing that I think we create local expressions of church that are sustainable and make an impact. For me, the greatest hero in this whole area is Mark Pierson. He has stuck it out in Cityside/Parallel Universe in Auckland quietly getting on with it, as has Cafe CHurch in Sydney. What they have created is aweinspiring, the challenge is the rest of us to get our hands dirty, commitment and risk taking. Conferences are important but I think a little of a distraction if that is all we do.

?The Emerging Church debate?
After reading both Steve's blog here, and Jonathan's blog here I was inspired to try and see how representional my views on the emerging church may be, so I visited, on Steve's recomendation, here. You tap in the countries you have visited and up pops and map and a percentage of the worlds countries you have visited. I have visited 26 countries, which came out at 11% - not really even scratching the surface.

Jonathan makes the point in his blog that the discussion of defining the emerging church is one that yet again seems to be very westocentric, and lacks any clear input from the majority world church, which incidently is also the majority church. This is even more depressing when the emerging church tries to define itself on being open to new thoughts and ways of being church, and also tries to suggest that it is an inclusive church in a way traditional church could never be.

Couple this with the fact that probably very few of us involved in the whole emerging church scene have seen much of the world church this seems a big problem. The emergence of the internet may have opened up a new gateway of 'global' communication, but it still does not open our preception to what the emerging church looks like in a non-white, non-western, even non-male-dominated perspective, and it seems no amount of blog discussions will cure that.

I really don't know how to widen the discussion. Aside from trying in our conferences/meetings/festivals/away-days to invite non-western speakers and practisioners from the emerging church in the south, sponsoring them to come if neccesary, and secondly trying to read as widely as possible, engaging with non-western voices, even going out of our way to do so. Perhaps with action of this kind we will begin to see the emerging church in all its global glory.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Continuing the debate on how network forms of church can work in synergy with parish forms of church, most of the Moot community met up with Bishop Richard at St Matthews Church. Together we explored how new forms of church fitted with the vision of the Church of England, Moot's place in the Diocese and the issues raised by trying to do new forms of Church in todays social context. I think all those who attended felt that the evening went well, and thanks go to the Bishop who responded to the debate raising lots of questions himself. The Bishop began with an exploration of the Desert Fathers as a reaction against the oppulence of the Church of the Cities which saught to refind the heart of the gospel by returning to forms of spiritual communities. From there we discussed much about our contemporary situation. The dialogue aided greater shared understanding. So it was a very good evening, yet a nother open chapter in the development of Moot as a new forms of church ministry of St Matthews and the Diocese.

We will most certainly be inviting Bishop RIchard back to explore more of the desert fathers.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Sorry to say that they didn't include the interview material they recorded at moot last week - we'll see if they use it in the next week edition of the Sunday programme on the 15th Feb 7.10am.

However, the element at the end of the programme does give some insights into some of the issues and politics of the proposal that goes before the CofE Synod this week on the subject. You can listern to it by going to the Link and clicking on 'Sunday'


Over the last couple of months, we have looked at an authentic and critical understanding of the place of the Holy Spirit as the connectionbetween us as individuals and a community to and with the Godhead. We have identifed the place of attention to God as a spiritual discipline that enables people to encounter God in the forms of wonderment and Christian meditation or reflection. It is fastinating that this form of knowing God through relational experience was thrown out with the enlightenment replaced by a modern sanitised form of knowing through knowing facts about God instead of experience of knowing God. So we lost a key element of allowing God the Holy Spirit to be an integrated element to indidividual and collective spirituality.

I have got very excited to find that there was a pre-modern approach to this kind of following the Spirit in the ordinariness of life which was called ‘lectio divina’. This form of ancient worship was used by intentional Christian religious communities as a spiritual discipline of holy reading, wondering and responding to scriptural texts and life. It is interesting that a lot of the alternative worship communities and new forms of church are refinding this approach to worship and knowing God which is a return to an old pneumatology - of journeying with God.

Taylor puts it better than I can:

True attention Is an involuntary self-surrender to the object of the attention.
The Holy Spirit is that power which opens eyes that are closed, hearts that
are unaware and minds that shrink from too much reality. If one is open to
towards God, one is open also to the beauty of the world.

We are left with the challenge of developing a way of doing such worship in our post-modern context not to create weird church - but a way of worshiping that is deeply resourcing and based on relationship and the nature of God.

FOr those who are interested, I have done some work for my MA on this to explore how symbolic worship can assist such forms of worship, and specifically looking at Godly Play as a potential form.

See: M915 Worship ESSAY.doc M915 Worship REPORT.doc

Tools for this type of attentive encounter

I have found the daily wisdom from Frederick Buechner really helpful in my devotional life - a suggestion from Dave Tomlinson that I heartily recommend. Here is a taster:

Call to Prayer February 15th
Because the word God speaks to us is always an incarnate word - a word spelled out to us not alphabetically but in syllabels, but enigmativally, in events, even in the books we read and the movies we see - the chances are that we never get it just right. We are so used to hearing what we want to hear and remaining deaf to what it would be well for us to ear that it is hard to break the habit. But if we keep our hearts and minds open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognise, beyond all doubt, the however faintly we hear God, God is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, his word to wach of us is both recoverable and precious beyind telling. In that sense autobiography becomes a way of praying, and a book like this, if it matters at all, matters mostly as a call to prayer.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Meryl and others involved in the visual arts part of St Lukes Church Hilmarton Road, have been working on some very interesting exhbitions which include the works of a number of friends to moot including Mike Gough.

'Presence: Images of Christ for the 3rd Millenium' is a series of linked
exhibitions which will be shown in six cathedrals throughout Britain,
starting with St Paul's. (Feb 2nd-13th)

Why are we interested in this? Because all six exhibitions have been
curated by Meryl. It was reviewed on BBC Radio 4’s “Front Row” last
night, is on the front page of Today’s Telegraph and page 2 of the
Independent (don’t know if it’s made page 3 anywhere)

here’s more info for the show on at St Pauls:
St Paul’s Cathedral
General enquiries: 020 7246 8348 or
Admission prices: Cathedral, crypt and galleries: £7 (adult), £6
(concessions) and £3 (children 6-16 yrs)
Group rates available: 020 7246 8357
Opening times Monday - Saturday: Cathedral, crypt and ambulatory:
8.30am, galleries: 9.30am
Last admission: 4.00pm

As many know, James has played a healthy role within the Iona community. He with a number of others, will be travelling to Palestine and the West Bank for dialogue and support of arab and palestinian christian group who have been very isolated from the international Christian Church. The aim is for James to play an active part in this group process, and help us as moot make links with CHristian groups out there. Moot can then consider how we may wish to support and bring better relationship with some of these groups through James.

Initial discussions include James contributing to a running diary of his exploits through the moot blog, and photos, so we will need to see if we can facilitate this. However, James' immediate need is financial support to go towards the costs of the trip, so we as moot need to consider how we can support him.

James will blog about all of this here soon.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Blog Roundup
Have updated a few links on our blog list. Steve Taylor has a new blog going (well a continuation of the old one really) and had moved to pastures new. He has been posting a few thoughts on a new course that he is teaching in Auckland. Sounds like being in his class would be real fun. And he is still trying to find the perfect coffee shop. Doesn't he know that it is in London of course! Presenting the Monmouth Coffee Shop, the best coffee in the whole world according to me, my fiancé and even Jonny B.

Have added Maggi Dawn's blog to our list. Have been a regular reader. She has been a vital part of many conversations in blogging land, particually on the role of women in the church, see here, here, and here. She also has some really cool stuff to say on biblical worldviews, here, and here. She also did a really cool ambient mass at the Praxis training day Moot helped at.

The conversation on the role of women in the emerging church rather exploded onto the blog scene a few weeks ago, and really showed up the fact that even the emerging church, even with all its alledged egalitarianism, has some deep rooted problems in this area. See Davetheraves blog entry here for a low down of the conversation.

TallSkinnyKiwi (aka Andrew Jones) has recently moved to London. Its great to have someone with his depth of knowledge in the area. He has been posting yesterday, and today, his thoughts on the emerging church for a magazine article. Really good stuff, hopefully we can have him in to facilitate a discussion in moot!

Monday, February 02, 2004


I am pleased to say there was again coverage on new forms of church this weekend, this time in the Sunday Observer. Jonathan Bartley used material from moot and from my trips down under to talk about the legitimacy of cafe forms of church. Click here to see the article.

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