Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Apologies for late response for Rollins CDs

Sorry we are running late - we are awaiting a master CD to be made so we can work out costs and then mail round orders. We will sort this as soon as we can..... Ian

Mobsby, Powell & Johnson Go West & the New HTB emerging church college

Not that I like blagging, but Gareth, Si & I are off to Seattle - to spend some time with COTA and Karen Ward - with the ECUSA equivalent of Moot and Head:Space in Seattle. I am going to finish the final leg of the research for my research project on the emerging church. I can't wait!! They run a cafe-church and do services - which all sounds exactly the sort of things I would love to be doing, so it will be interesting to see.

On a sadder note - many will have seen the news about HTB finding £6 million to fund a new "emerging church" theological college using St Pauls Onslow Square as the site in London. I have to confess to being frustrated, that so much money seems to go the way of mega church - when a lot of the 'real' emerging church projects which are small and often innovative, are starved of cash and resources. It seems that a lot of the charismatic evangelical mega-churches are jumping on the band wagon of emerging church or "fresh expressions of church" which really worries me, as it is really in danger of becoming a phrase related to a post-modern branding attempt to get more people into what are now traditional charismatic evangelical churches, rather than a new type of church and mission for our post-modern context. If this is the case, then the real contribution of the small and real emerging church is going to be swamped by these big heavies..... We'll see what happens.

To see the press release written up by Jonathan Bartley through Ekklesia - see here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Our unhealthy obsession with sickness is one of the best articles I’ve read in ages, considering how concepts of illness have become so pervasive that the state of being ill is taken for granted by many people. Alongside this ‘wellness’ is promoted as an aspirational state, a marketing wet dream that countless products refer to directly or indirectly. Very personal to me is that the concept of illness has become an integral and even valued part of people’s identity.

When I started work I observed people who had come from dreadful situations starting to learn to be counsellors. In some cases this was not appropriate but more a response to draw something positive out of their suffering. Ultimately in some way they were still ill.

Since that time I have had one long illness together with various overlapping ones and have identified very powerfully with being ill, this becoming one of the most fundamental ways of understanding myself. Over the last 6-7 months I have become increasingly aware of my wellness and it has been even a painful process accepting that previous explanations of my actions and myself no longer count. Understandably I had fallen victim to valuing and appreciating illness, finding a special and unique quality in what I had gone through which sheltered me from the threat of normality. Against that it has been wonderful to move into accepting wellness and to do it without a subscription to Men’s Health!

I’m intrigued about the place of the Christian community here. What is our response? The church itself can culturally affirm illness by promoting ‘becoming’ well whilst paradoxically it's compassion can turn into an acceptance of illness. This may well be reasonable but on the other hand should it aim to provide an environment simply in which to 'be' well? How would the two approaches differ?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

with fear and trembling we approach the tomb



'will he still be there?'

or is he...


Friday, March 25, 2005

Hey, where da comments gone?

Sorry folks we know they've gone. It was an awful row, things were said, blows were exchanged, and then they just upped and offed. We are truly sorry, and are getting our technical counsellors in to try to coax them back.

Watch this space.........(but not too closely)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Devotional for Easter Week: Facing the annihilation of God

So what do you think of when I say the word Cross?

Do you think of the fashion-accessory worn by the hip and successful, to reflect a life style choice?

Or do you see it as the symbol of an institution – that seeks to control people through the power it creates?

Or is it an irrelevance, something out of date or anachronistic, of a bygone age?

The truth of why this symbol has remained with us for over 2000 years is often hidden. We are guilty of sanitising it, of making it acceptable, where we have often lost what it is for.

The Cross and passion of Christ – is a shocking and disturbing tale that can still make us feel profoundly uncomfortable when you encounter what it is. It does not fit in well with our current consumer society and its sensibilities. We the Church are guilty of not really focusing on the suffering of Christ, almost out of embarrassment – to run quickly to Easter Sunday and the relief of a victorious God. But this rush to the end of the story, does not give justice to the whole story, and to understand the depth of the passion narrative with some insight and feeling, we must not avoid facing the grim reality of the Cross of Christ.

The cross is an outrage, a violent transgression of all human justice and order. A flagrant disregard for what is good and upbuilding. It is an implement of the ultimate punishment – to extinguish the precious and sacred life of human beings. And in this situation – a tool to kill God.

It works, not by creating some humane ending like an axe or a guillotine, but through physical vindictive exhaustion. To breathe on a cross, you have to lift yourself up and forward against gravity, onto the nails that go through the legs and arms. The demise is slow, and the victim is fully aware of everything that is going on. Eventually death happens, because the victim is unable to lift themselves up anymore, and thereby suffocates, or drowns through the fluids in the lungs

It is a cruel and dehumanising death.

So as we face this familiar week of Easter. A week where we remember our Lord’s passion. We look towards this cross and the death of God. Let us not forget the enormous cost this barbaric act entailed. Let us ponder on the compassion and commitment of such a God. Let us remember the deep suffering of the Son of Man who gives up a life of opportunity, the miracle of the incarnation of the divine, that lived and walked amongst us. The ultimate human being that faced the ultimate death.

So let us not sanitise this symbol or this Easter into something palatable – but reconnect with the deep pain and cost of what Easter is all about, that we collectively through our brokenness, through our own rebellion to God contributed to this assassination or murder of the most Holy person who ever walked this earth.

So amongst the cacophony of distractions, the DIY, the Spring Sales, the Easter eggs and the weekend breaks.

May we this Easter-tide – obediently follow our God to his Cross, on Good Friday, with humble and contrite hearts. Amen

Friday, March 18, 2005

Easter Stations
Some interesting stuff going on over easter week. Headspace is putting on a Stations of the Cross exhibition. Where local headspacers, and a local primary school will pull together to provide a journey of meditation through the central event of the Christian story. You can 'walk the way of the cross' from Wednesday 23 March at 7pm (reception) and each day of Holy Week after that from 9am to 11pm until Saturday. For directions to the church.co.uk centre see here.

Grace are also hosting an installation called 'Out of Nothing' at St.Mary's in Ealing for the Easter week. Looks like being another good one to get over to.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The importance of relationship
Sometime ago the Moot community asked Clare Catford, to write something about the whole issue of relationships. In many ways we are a culture obsessed with relationship - or rather consuming people. In this very narrow and unfulfilling approach to interpersonal relations - people get hurt. Given this, we often have a very distorted notion of what the human-divine relationship should be or is. Many hold onto a view of God as a benevolent dictator, or a prosperity driven parent they never new and a host of other anthro-projections onto the Godhead. Pete's approach and I think the discussions that Gareth, Gary & Hadge have raised, give us a glimpse of a picture of another way of relating to God as community and as a relationship of transcendent encounter.

I am reminded about the distinction about knowing God through experience - or knowing God through facts about God. The former is what I think we are advocating - a relationship of transforming experience as composed so an empirical knowing facts and boxing God.

I think Clare captures some of this in her writing, see the link. the-importance-of-relationships.pdf

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

More debate on the Marks of the Emerging Church

Pete's response to Gareth

Link: ResponsetoGareth.pdf

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Response to Pete Rollins
Rather than paste 500 words into a comment box below I have PDF'd some thoughts about the day, particularly Pete's views on history and belief and 'truth as a soteriological event'. So if your interested you can download my thoughts here.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Marks of the Emerging Church - study day with Pete Rollins

The study day went really well - sorry to all who missed the day. This blog space is to give Pete the opportunity to write some post-reflections on the day - drawing on the questions and issues raised. Please see the link to Pete's final summations below (to be put up monday evening hopefully). Pete also would like to say, that he doesn't have a double chin which was the consequence of the way the picture was taken care of Mike.

Summation: rollinsreflections.pdf

For those who miss the day, we have recorded the two seminars and discussions, which will be available shortly for around £10 including p&p on CD - if you are interested in pre-booking this, please send an email to Ian at mootserve@moot.uk.net

If you want to email Pete direct, again please send an email to mootserve@moot.uk.net and it will be forwarded directly as long as it is not nasty - all groupie emails are acceptable..........
Please do raise any questions or comments for Pete - by using the comment option below.

Moot Evening Service
In the moot evening service we shared food, and focused on the theme of Lent and the sense of us as being a body of Christ co-journeying together as spiritual friends. Pete led a reflection and some stories..

Absence / Presence..........a post/modern a/theology

As a compliment to the great activites over the weekend, Gary finally pulled his finger out last week and completed the God of Absence piece that Ian has asked him to do for about 2 years.

It's here »

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Update on the Moot & Blah Study Day on Emerging Church
We now have 65 people coming to the Moot & Blah study day on the Marks of the Emerging Church, which is well exciting if I don't say so myself. If anyone sees this and is interested, there is a bit of a social gathering with Pete Rollins, who leads the day (from Ikon Northern Ireland) if you didn't know. We are gathering in the ICA Bar on the Mall in Central London from 8pm onwards, tomorrow that's Friday 11th of March, so if you are around come along......

For people still interested and who have not booked places or spoken to Ian - sorry we are fully booked, positively no spaces left in the Inn - it is going to be a bit packed!! We will be producing a CD (I hope) depending on Pete's willingness for us to go public on content of the day, so if you were not able to come, you will be able to purchase recording of the main parts of the day (hopefully)....

For those who are interested, there will be a moot potluck meal & service sunday evening from 7pm will Pete Rollins will be sharing some of his reflections of the day, this is open to anyone who is interested....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Reflections following a birthday bash
At a birthday last saturday, I met a lot of familiar faces from alt/emerging groups in London and beyond. I had a number of interesting conversations, and one in particular struck me. We continued some of the debate about theology and its place in resourcing what we do as fresh expressions of church. Rightly the person in question talked about the importance of phenominological approaches in sociology, psychology, art and all the humanities.

What interested me, was the discussion about some forms of theology - from the accademy - no coming out of experience or praxis, that made it very 'solid' and that it didn't connect with the post-modern world. He in many ways is right - in that a lot of theology and its language relates to a more modern than post-modern context.

However, we discussed the place of pastoral theology, and its focus on 'coming out of experience' and using experience to lead to dialogue between the humanities, philosophy and the arts. I stressed that I am deliberately doing a pastoral theology MA precisely because I want it to be phenominological. So I think there was somewhat a meeting of minds.

In my reflections, I have been thinking that there is a lot of tosh written in the name of theology as there is in any subject, but there remains a key role for theology in the dialogue outlined above. I am thinking, that it might be a good subject to look at pastoral theology as one of the vehicles for emerging church to develop a greater sense of a theological critique for what we do coming out of experience.

So the discussion on theology some months ago has led I think, to a greater perception of the issues.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Poem by Rosie Willis

Rosie is new to Moot, and has written this great poem around some of the things going on in her life.

God's Angels
Gods angell's came and saw me
When I could not pray or see

The desert fast approaching my own Gethsemane
I reached for you and cried for you
Not knowing if you heard

The knock then came from you I know
Please let me in
There is nthing to fear

Let me heal the heart that bleeds
I cannot come swathed in flesh and bone
In ways for you to see

I send one angel first for you
So that you may see

I send another each waking day until
know it's me
You may doubt as Thmas did
With fear inside your soul

I know the pain you feel I know you inside out
I place my hand in your hand and take each step
With you

You are my baby my darling one I formed you in the womb
The angel's I send
I called each and every one
To help to heal to mend

They are my eyes, ears and hands
To see to see to hear to touch

God's angel's will never turn from you
Or hide away in shame
Each sin and fear is washed away

So take their hand look in their eyes
Drink Nero's cup of tea
Take heart take heed
God's angel's are with thee.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Mobsby goes up North Again
Thought I would let you know, I had a great time travelling up to see a friend of some of us Mooters called Sheena. It was cool to catch up with a mate - to see her great flat, chat and go out in her new flash motor. Yep Sheena has become mini girl. We went out for a curry in an old art noveau cinema and then headed for the peak district and a village pub that sold real ale out of caskets in a pub that was reminiscent of 'Withnail & I' except no one shouted 'ponse'.
On the Sunday I left Derby early to get up to Manchester to go to Sanctus 1 to do some more interviews for my MA dissertation. The A6 took me straight through the Peak district which was beautiful. From there I went for lunch with the Edson's, did the interviews in a flat in a converted church and went on to the sanctu1 1 service. I liked what they had to say a lot, and think they are quite similar to Moot.From there I went across to see Simon & Jan Howes. Simon was part of Epicentre and a good friend, who famously DJ'd at the Epicentre Network Arts Cafe at Greenbelt many moons ago. So it was great to meet up with them and their new kid. That's enough travelling around for a bit, in April I will be off to see Karen Ward and the crew at Church of the Apostles Seattle and then to Pasadena and Fuller Seminary for an Emerging Church conference.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Marks of the Emerging Church – Study Day 12th March
What is the emerging church? Is it a neo-evangelical and/or neo-catholic sociological strategy, designed to address the decline in church attendance, or is it a radical re-envisaging of faith that communicates a vital message of transformation to the wider church? In other words, will this fragile, fractured movement be one day remembered, if it is remembered at all, as a re-imagining of the ‘body of Christ’ as community for a post-modern context?

Dr Peter Rollins from the Ikon community in Northern Ireland (a group which describes itself as iconic, apocalyptic, heretical, emerging and failing) is a philosopher who has come to believe that the emerging church presents a singular, unprecedented opportunity to transform the theological and moral architecture of the Christian community. By combining his research into mysticism and post-modern theory, alongside his development of an emerging church community, Peter promises to present what he believes is a vital message concerning both the possibilities and dangers, which the emerging church currently faces.

His challenge is as simple as it is profound… if we do not become theologically self-aware the emerging church will end up as little more than the latest attempt to make church cool.

This event will build on the acclaimed Seminar that Peter gave at last year’s Greenbelt Arts Festival.

The study day is hosted by moot.net, the central London based alternative worship community in Westminster, at St Matthews Conference Centre.

Date: Saturday 12th March, 2005

Cost: £5 for the day including lunch and drinks through the day.

Venue: St Matthews Conference Centre, 20 Great Peter Street, Westminster, London SW1P 2PU
Map: Click here

Stations: 12 mins walk from Victoria Stations
9 mins walk from Westminster tube
5 mins walk from St James Park tube

Timing: 10am to 3.30pm

Plan for the day
10.00 Tea & coffee & introductions.
10.30 – 11.30 How (not) to speak of God
11.30 – 12.00 Tea & questions
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 14.15 Inhabiting the God shaped hole
14.15 – 15.30 Tea & final questions
Booking places: Download booking form & info and send in.
Marks of the Emerging Church.pdf
Any Questions: Please email Ian at mootserve@moot.uk.net

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