Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Eucharist and the Sacramental Universe
Have been reading a book by
Timothy Gorringe called 'The Sign of Love' which explores how the Eucharist is a fundamental component of Christian life because it intersects with the whole fabric of our social and political lives. He's a fairly radical theologian, informed by liberation theologians from Latin America. A good read. I'll be putting some quotes from the book on the blog in the next few days. Hopefully to generate some discussion on the centrality (or not) of the Eucharist for Christian life. Here's one to get us started...

'The problem with a 'sacramental universe' is that it is hard to say no to evil in that is suggests a kind of Panentheism. 'Rahner transforms this by speaking of history, rather than creation, as God's liturgy. Creation is the product of 'grace', God's will to share Godself. When creation becomes history in the emergence of human beings, who become subject of their own history, history remains imbued with grace. Rahner thinks of human history as a vast liturgy, celebrated both in joy and sorrow, depth and superficiality, love and hatred. The crucifixion puts Christ at the heart of this whole liturgy.

What the Church sacraments do is to reflect upon the liturgy and make know the fact that God is to be found in it, even in its folly and wickedness. Unless this connection is made at the deepest level the Church sacraments become 'empty ritual attitudinisings, full of unbelief'. The Eucharist is celebrated in the knowledge that the world already offers itself in 'rejoicing, tears and blood'. The Church sacraments then are signs of 'grace' ? the openness and fundamental hopefulness of human history under God's pedagogy [direction/teaching].'

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sheena Holland's new ep release

Sheena, known to a number of the moot community from the heady days of epicentre cabarets and musical events, has brought out a fabulous new EP through Reveal records. This is the launch of her music, and I think we as Moot can support this brave endeavour. Some will recognise some of the tracks as I ahve used them a few times. Hope it all works out Sheena!!

To order or see more details of the EP - please click here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

OK we seem to back in action....

I've reduced the number of posts per page as one of these had caused the wobbly - will get the number increased as new posts are added.
Love to y'all, and i'd like to thank my family, my friends, my agent , everyone at Mars confectionary and all the good folk at JCM plastics, 'it's never finished, until the door is locked!'



Recently flicked over to Mum Jones blog as I often do. She posted a great prayer from a book called "Ruthless Trust" the other day. It goes like this:

"Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind, and spirit and this entire day - morning, afternoon, evening, and night.
Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of my life.
Into your heart I entrust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord.

Having read the prayer, I found myself flicking away from her blog in a bit of a panic. I've kind of realised recently that trust isn't something that really comes easily to me in terms of relationships. These are probably thoughts sparked by my impending transition to fatherhood, of course, but I think there's something a bit broader than little old me here.

Could YOU really pray that prayer every morning? I don't think I could.

You see (assuming you're not in favour of the the prosperity gospel idea), what you're actually praying here is: "If something really catastrophic is going to happen to me today, and it's going to lead (long term) to me getting closer to God, then BRING IT ON!!!!"

Aaaargh! I've had enough pain for one lifetime, ta very much! NO THANK YOU!

Don't get me wrong. I think this a great prayer. I'm not slagging of the prayer. I'm just saying that I'm not sure I have the balls to pray it.

Do you?

ok folks

Something weird has happened here and the site has done a bit of a wobbly...

As you can see it's 'kind-of' back but with a few strange developments.

1)links at bottom of page - don't ask me, i only work in this stuff......urgh
2) bloggers own comments, hmm ennetation seems to have vanished on us. ( fixed...)
3) the random image pool at the top - done in order to make myself feel better about the other elusive issues

Working on it all, (but maybe with the aid of some sleep) - watch this space my lovelies.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Violence is in the Christian Bible as well you know......
Given the unfolding events of the last 3 weeks, much has been said about the Islamic scriptures and violence, where Islam has been singled out as having instutionalised violence because of texts found around legitimation of violence. This should make any jewish and christian biblical scholar extremely unfortable as the bible is full of violence, particulary with the formation of the nation out of the wanderings in the desert and in the Psalms. Our challenge is to be able to discern and interpret these texts in the light of Christ, which I cam keen to do at a later date.

But to kick off, Giles Fraser has written this in the Guardian - as a starting off point.

"Fundamentally speaking", Giles Fraser, Saturday July 23, 2005, The Guardian

Muslims who preach hate are to be deported and subject to new restrictions, Charles Clarke announced in the Commons on Wednesday. So what would the home secretary have to say about stuff like this: "Blessed is he who takes your little children and smashes their heads against the rocks"?

Or this: "O God, break the teeth in their mouths ... Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime; like the untimely birth that never sees the sun ... The righteous will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked." No, this is not Islam, it is the Bible. And there is a lot more where that came from.

Why, then, are so many commentators persuaded that the Qur'an is a manual of hate - compared to the Judeo-Christian scriptures, it is very tame stuff indeed. More disturbing still for Christians and Jews, the nearest scriptural justification for suicide bombings I can think of comes from the book of Judges, where Samson pushes apart the structural supports of a temple packed with people. "Let me die with the Philistines," he prays, just before the building collapses.

It will not do to work with a Bible of the nice bits or allegorise these passages out of existence, leaving them hanging around for future fanatics to exploit. Religion must openly acknowledge its own dirty secrets.

All of the above may simply encourage those who think that religion itself is the problem. After all, it is precisely the non-negotiability of the divine commandment that makes peaceful religious politics so elusive. If the choice is between the ballot box and divine will, how can the faithful remain committed to democratic decision-making?

The campaigning secularist has no shortage of ammunition. Many of their criticisms are well aimed and need to be taken extremely seriously. As the great Islamic philosopher Averroes put it: "Truth never fears honest debate." But the problem with the secular attack is that it refuses to make any sort of distinction between good religion and bad religion.

The assumption is that bad religion - the sex-obsessed religion of violence and superstition - is the real thing, and that good religion - the religion that encourages peace and respect for human life - is a modern fake, a religion that disingenuously reinvents itself to reflect modern values and consequently does not entirely believe what it says.

The truth, however, is that rigid fundamentalism is the modern fake. Most belief systems have huge and historic recourses of self-criticism. The gospels contain some of the most biting attacks on pathological religiosity; the Hebrew prophets are involved in a constant campaign of subversion against the misplaced theology of narrow sectarianism. As Isaiah has it: "When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen, your hands are full of blood."

These theological recourses are precious and need to be nurtured. But a wholesale cultural assault upon a religious tradition does nothing to help more moderate voices. A religion that sees itself as being under attack is less sympathetic to those who would argue from within. In such circumstances, self-criticism is easily represented as disloyalty. Yet now, more than ever, we need to encourage those able to use theology to speak out against violence done in God's name.

Like many, I do not know Islam well enough. I am sure that, for many millions, it is a religion of peace; I am sure there is currently a theological struggle for its very soul. What I have yet to understand - because it has not been sufficiently well explained to me, or given sufficient exposure in the media - is how murderous jihad is a theological heresy.

These are the voices that we desperately need to hear. The help that can be offered by Christians and others is our own admission that the complicity of religion with acts of violence is something Islam does not face alone.

The Rev Dr Giles Fraser is vicar of Putney and author of Christianity And Violence (DTL, 2001)

New helpful book

Thinking about how violence is sometimes so entrenched in some of the more angry expressions of God, the concept of grace is often overshadowed by Old testmament views of God as a jealous and vengful superman. A new booked called "Consuming Passion" which explores the links between ideas of the cross and ethics. The authors have different views of atonement but note how many atonement theories endorse violence, and also how many lof them are the product of Christendom as it seeks to control. A range of authors from anglo-catholc, liberal and evangliecal traditions make up this excellent book that is available from Amazon.

Wanderings in Oxford

Hoorrahh a day off, spent the day going off to see Matt Rees of the emerging church called home. I enjoyed meeting Matt, a classic connection of going to the other side of the planet (Seattle) and being asked if you know someone who lives an hours drive from where you lived. I enjoyed meeting Matt, similar Christian journeys and a lot of points of connection. I really hope that Moot can develop a relationship with home as it has with COTA and Sanctus 1. Matt, with his work with home, has had a similar experience to that which I had with epicentre. They have a new opportunity to develop home as an emerging church project in East Oxford, with similar dreams to many of us in moot, so it will be good to see how things develop.

To see what they are up to check out the home website and matt's blog site home is a good example of an emerging church project that is asking all the right questions, and not letting mission drop off the edge of what they are doing. They have a good rule of life. They are into going off for weekends including messing about with the sea and attempting surfing - right up my street. So best of luck to home as they go into the next phase of their development.
Check out home at Greenbelt, they will be there.

Afterwards, I went off to See John & Clare Hayns and family who are all on form.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Moot's Ian & Nick lead training day on alt/emerging church for the Diocese of St Edmunds Bury and Ipswich

Pleased to say the day went very well. We had over thirty clergy present, and explored liquid modernity, the place of the emerging church, what is alternative worship and finished with an act of worship - using the re:membered element of the service using the Beatitudes created by James and Nick at our last Moot service.

It all seemed to go down well, and raised lots of issues. I have definately learnt something from the day and the implications of what we talk about in more rural areas. The pics are of the final act of alt worship, where people are lighting candles as prayer at the end outside in a Suffolk church rural grave yard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

moot enters the charts at No 1 and 2!
It seems that if you enter moot in the google uk search engine we have somehow reached the dizzy heights of coming in at No 1 and 2 on the list... We don't do so well on a search, only appearing in the rather distant No 5 spot. Seems like our global empire needs expanding fast...

So for a bit of healthy competition lets see how other groups fare...

Church of the Apostles - Number 1 and 5
Grace - straight in at number 16 on page 2

Headspace - didn't make the top 200 (seems that after Si left things have gone rather downhill. Chalky obivously doesn't cut the mustard...)
L8r - straight in at number 33 on page 3
Sanctus 1 - ummm they seem to occupy all the entries from 1 through 10...
Vaux - straight in at number 2

I have no idea what this all means - but am sure it will lead to some lively debate...

Scripture Space: Vision of church | 20th July SMW Moot Room
OK, its time to look for volunteers to undertake questions next week. Can we have volunteers for the passage Ephesians 4.1-16

Volunteers please for questions:
Questions 1-3
Question 4Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8 & 9
Question 10

Please add the question/s and your name in the comment section below to commit to doing some work... thanks

See here for info and the forms for scripture space.

Marie's Lament

Rightly, Jonny Baker has put a full transcript of Marie's Lament on British television over the death of her dead son on national TV. It is elequent and deeply moving, and something we should be praying and acting on, see here

Hope amongst Friends
Today I led a session with the Christian Fellowship of the Government Department for Education and Skills in westminster. It was a very good time, and gave me hope for the future, in that it was a forum for evos and cathlics to dialogue and learn from each other, and also those on the edge of church or post-catholic and post-evo. It was very heartening to encounter a generosity of spirit in a rare place of interaction between the two parts of the church, and also in a Government Department..... I talked a lot about the emerging church and the particular vision for groups like Moot.

Monday, July 11, 2005

AT LAST the Church of England has taken the bold step to start the process for women becoming Bishops.

I remember years ago hearing Richard Bauckham give a very strong case that women were the first true apostles apostles being, according to Paul, those who were witnesses to the resurrected Lord. So in three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) we see that it is the women who visit the empty tomb and who are told by an Angel to go and bear witness that Jesus has risen and in Matthew Jesus himself appears first to them and tells them to bear witness to him!

So somehow we have in 2000 years gone from women being the first apostles (the fore-runners for today's Bishops) to them having only just been accepted into the priesthood, and only now having the possibility in a few years of becoming Bishops.

Hopefully, this first step will see a more healthy Church of England emerge over the next century one that is full of the wisdom of both the male and the female. And who knows the Roman Catholics will also hopefully catch on.


What are we to think?

There has been many words spoken following the London bombings in the last week. Much anger and pain. Much of this was reflected in the Moot service last night, a reflective response to last weeks atrocities.

I am pleased to see, that some have recognised that violence does not come out of nowhere - but there is always a narrative and a reason. Yes what was done was evil, but there will be a human face to what has been done. Violence breeds violence, and many of the British Christian Churches questioned whether the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were ever right. People need to remember that modern wars can never be settled by might, but by finding solutions through talking, through the acknowledgement of peoples universal right to justice and peace - even if they live in the middle east.

Simon Barrow has put this very succinctly in political terms. check out here.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


London bombs

This might be a good forum for checking everyone is ok, and for prayer.

Carey and I un-affected. Sim, Fiona, James and Flora are ok.

Is everyone else safe? Pray for those who aren't.

Lord in your mercy.....Hear our prayer
Let our response be in love and compassion
And not in anger and revenge
Be with those who are in pain and distress AMEN

Please do add more prayers if you so desire

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cheers all!!
Thanks to all those who came to my ordination and the party afterwards, and hopefully I will see you all when I swing the incense at my first formal service on tuesday at 7pm.

There is no going back now!!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Oi, Ian, shut up!

As many will know, Ian is now on silent retreat in preparation for his ordination as priest on Sunday.

I just thought it would be good if we could all remember him over the next couple of days (silence doesn't come easily to Ian!) and as he begins his ministry as a fully revved up curate.

Unfortunately, Mike and I can't be at his first mass on Tuesday evening, but it would be great if a good number could be there to support him.

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