Tuesday, May 31, 2005
It's late and it took a while - but we are able to communicate again...
Monday, May 30, 2005
Ian and I joined a crowd travelling this morning from St Matthew’s for the National Pilgrimage to Walsingham. We toured the sites of Westminster as we began our journey under threatening clouds.
What did I hope to achieve by visiting Walsingham? Well, I wanted to find out what all the fuss is about. I was firmly on the trail of an answer as, nearing our destination, our crowd of fifty began the 37 verses of The Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn. The words explain how (in 1061) a Lady Richeldis saw a vision of the Virgin Mary who instructed her to build a shrine, where “Kings, Lords and commons their homage would pay” to the image of Mary and Jesus.
The events in Norfolk began with Mass in the grounds of the ruined Abbey. The rain held off enough to keep those cassocks dry as a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was carried in: It is intended as an aid to devotion, as Christians down the ages have sought the prayers of Mary to support them in the pilgrimage through life.
There was then time for a picnic in the Abbey grounds, which we enjoyed while sitting on plastic bags and under our umbrellas, as the clouds opened up. “This is so British”, said Amy.
The afternoon saw us regroup for a sermon, procession around the village, and Benediction – a new one on me! So what was this all about? I’m not used to honouring Mary in the manner of today; but the important truth lies in what all this reveals about the incarnation of Christ. Therein we find focus amid the cassocked crowds and shops full of catholic tat.
Walsingham pilgrims are certainly a strange crowd! Clergy garments are evidently all the rage, in any colour as long as they’re black. There weren’t so many women with clerical collars, I noticed: The crowd, together with the official statements of the Church, would surely leave you puzzled about who really is included or excluded.
In our diversity, our understanding and our misunderstanding, we found unity as we celebrated Christ’s incarnation and recalled God’s great sacrifice on the cross. As we’d sung in an opening hymn;
See http://www.walsingham.org.uk/ for more information.
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea; there’s a kindness in his justice which is more than liberty….
For the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Michael L. Radcliffe is opening his studio for one night to show his art work.
The studio will be open from 6.05pm to 9pm on Thursday 9th June 2005.
It will be in the Tower of St. Matthew's Church, Westminster,
20 Gt. Peter Street
It will be a simple evening with free wine/beer.
For a flavour of the work, please see www.artbizness.com
.. but the website is hopelessly out of date, so don't expect too much!
I look forward to seeing you there.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Sorry these seem to have gone again - (it's not me i didn't touch anything!).
I think this is something to do with Ennetation who host our comments, i'll look into it...
We may need to look elsewhere for places to post our golden nuggets.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Last night's moot service was based on the Wreath of Life, which was originally introduced to some of us by Father Phillip at St Matthew's. More information about it can be found here.
The Wreath of Life is a set of beads, a bit like a rosary, which is an aid to meditation, with each bead representing a different aspect of life/faith. We've based a guided meditation service on this before at moot, but last night we did it as a series of stations instead. It makes a great basis for a service as it covers God, self, repentance, struggle, love, sacrifice, darkness and light.
I personally have found it very helpful - I hope others have too.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
What is it about Post Offices in England today?
These days, owing to the fact that I have an internet bank account and a business account, I have to spend a lot more of my time in Post Offices than I used to.
Now, my abiding memories of the Post Offices of my youth, are of sedate and orderly queues, nice middle class people speaking in hushed tones and a postal system that rivaled the world in terms of it's ability to deliver on time.
Fast forward to the present, and my journeys to the Post Office are filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread. These days the queues are large enough to fill a football stadium 3 times over with people. You invariably encounter at least one of the following:
1) People muttering quietly to themselves
2) People talking very loudly to an imaginary friend.
3) Creatures who look like extras from the Star Wars movies.
4) People who queue for half an hour and then leave for no apparent reason.
5) Random objects for sale piled up to look like detritus from the set of Bladerunner.
6) More than I can begin describe.
And that's just the staff.
I usually leave crying with laughter, or just crying.
My last visit was so traumatic I can't talk about it any more.
I appreciate that my next statement is going to make what I have written so far sound cruel, but I guess these days the Post Office is the main place people go to collect whatever benefits they're entitled to.
However, as a slice of God's created order, it's pretty revealing. You get to see people that you wouldn't ordinarily come across. I'm not sure where this is leading, but it definitely means something. Does anyone have similar experiences of British Post Offices? Perhaps we can form a support group.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
This evening was one of moot's scripture-space evenings. These are always quite meaty dissections of a passage from the Bible, as taken from the lectionary.
They really are very good, and deepen my understanding of scripture. I often feel like I'm running to keep up with the pack with these discussions a bit, but it helps me to be around these kinds of ideas, theology etc.
I wish everybody could be at these - it helps for better applications of theology and scripture, rather than ripping bits of text out of context like Biblical fortune cookies.
Tonight we talked about Isaiah 53:1-12, looking at the historical context and the history of interpretation amongst other things. I had to research the bits on historical context and social criticism (although I'm still not quite sure what "cosmology" means!)
Tonight we ventured into the sticky subject of penal substitution. What with this being a bit of a live issue at the moment, the discussion was very intense.
We ended by suggesting that the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ have a number of interpretations which all have a history to them. When you start from the real meaning of a key text like Isaiah 53:1-12, you can unpack stuff really well. But as with most things in the Bible, the idea of sacrifice and atonement is multi-layered, and that a multi-layered approach probably helps us achieve a better understanding.
It would be interesting to know if anyone out there has any other alternative interpretations. I personally have found Walter Wink's ideas extremely helpful and affirming (certainly more so than the rather oppressive version of penal substitution I was brought up on). There are doubtless others that I don't know of, but would love to.
Also the thing about re-interpreting something as fundamental as this is that it relies on a lot of unpacking- some of this stuff has been with us for years, and we're talking about a fundamental re-appraisal of life. Necessary but painful. moot tends to have a more trinitarian emphasis to it, and you can really see this in our community feel.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
understanding of the significance of Jesus
Following the debate between Pete & Gareth here earlier this year, I have been doing some thinking and reading about the subject, see the doc below.
Person 1: Questions 1 -3
Person 2: Questions 4-5
Person 3: Questions 6-7
Person 4: Questions 8-10
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
However, as we discussed at the last moot planning meeting, there are things we need to learn about structure/liturgy, following the agreed flow of a service and leading services so that we can improve things for the future, but do have a read…..
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Friday, May 06, 2005
What WERE they thinking?
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Just a reminder to mooters - if you are interested in going to Greenbelt this year, and in helping with creating a film, can you let Ian know. At the mo the group includes Nick, Andrew, Mark, Clare, Ian, Gareth - which is far too many boys - Suzy, Cath, Fiona, others... you interested? ......
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The journey home from moot on Wednesday is always magical for me.
I'm usually buzzing from the stuff we have talked about together, being just proud to belong to our group.
We always listen to Bobby Friction and Nihal on the radio in the car on the way back. Whether we slip through the traffic or get stuck in roadworks at Stockwell, they play a heady mix of asian underground and bhangra, and I always find myself silently worshipping.
You can listen to their show here.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
My mind has been buzzing with all sorts of things since the conference in Pasadena. It was a good way of meeting a number of influential authors, thinkers and activists, which I need time to digest. I have put together a summary of some of my thinking which you can see below.
Monday, May 02, 2005
i have been reading a book called "the christian priest today" by michael ramsey, and i thought some passages spoke quite powerfully into the debate about macho theology. i quote
"let those who are glad to be catholics or evangelicals or liberals set themselves to learn from one another, for the partisan can soon become a person who loves his own apprehension of the truth more than christ who is the truth (and himself more than either).... pierce down deep in theology - and you will discover what is neither modern or contemporary or old and archaic, but genuinely timeless. the true radical is not the man who suspends himself from the branches on the left or the right, but the man who in his thinking and actions goes to the root of the tree. your humility...represents the lord. it remains that there is only one kind of person who makes god known and realised by other people, and that is the person who is humble because he knows god, and knows god because he is humble. may it one day be said of you, not necessarily that you talked about god cleverly, but that you made god real to people - only humility can do that"
(chapters 10 and 11)