Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Came across a great quote from Denys - a fifth century Christian mystic, one of the founding fathers of apophatic theology. He opens his Mystical Theology with this prayer:

Trinity!! Higher than any being
aaaaaaaaany divinity, any goodness!
aaaaGuide of Christians
aaaaaaaain the wisdom of heaven!
Lead us up beyond knowing and light,
aaaaup into the farthest, highest peak
aaaaaaaaof mystic scripture
aaaawhere the mysteries of God's word
aaaalie simple, absolute, unchangeable,
aaaain the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence.
Amid the deepest shadow
aaaathey pour overwhelming light
aaaaon what is most manifest.
Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen
aaaathey completely fill our sightless minds
aaaawith treasures beyond all beauty.

Its a fantastic prayer, full of ideas that subvert each other, and really get to the heart of the apophatic mystical tradition. Where 'God's word' lies in a 'hidden silence', and where the 'divine light' is a 'brilliant darkness'. Pete Rollins, from Ikon, touches on some of this line of thought in his writings on how not to speak of God. A good summary of the apophatic tradition could be 'that speech about God which is the failure of speech.'


Hope through Fresh Expressions

I am pleased to say, that the new lot of associate missioners of the fresh expressions team are going away for 3 days for training and dialogue, including me Ian from Moot. This is one of the most exciting opportunities for years, for practioners of emerging and fresh expressions of church, to have a connection to a key element of the Church of England and the Methodist church development. So please do pray for this group, as I really do sense that many fresh expressions are having quite a difficult time at the moment, and lets pray particularly for Sue and Visions in York, Matt and Home in Oxford, that there ministry be recognised for the good work they have both put in for years.... I would say that Fresh Expressions are not able to reach their potential within the CofE until there is a much greater appreciation and support of the particular ministry they bring the church and the gap between church and culture. Let's hope the Bishop's realise that Fresh Expression projects are an asset and not a threat soon. So please pray for the Fresh Expressions team and Steven Croft who heads it up as the Archbishop's Missioner.

Monday, January 30, 2006



I've recently been thinking about shoe shops.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


This Sunday (the 5th) we will be having a moot ‘way of life’ day in the conference centre at st matthews (enter using the main church door and it is on the right as you go in) starting at 2.30 for 3pm and finishing with some food at about 6pm.

This will be a really important day for us as a community as we seek to develop a moot ‘way of life’. We will be spending time listening to each other tell our stories of how we came to moot, and what we think are the important things moot brings to our communal/individual lives.

Even if you are not sure about the idea of a ‘way of life’ please don’t let this put you off as this day is more about moot trying to get an overall picture of the community and the people involved.

As a means of preparation please download this questionnaire, if you could spend a bit of time thinking and then filling it out it will make the day much more productive.

If you are not able to be there please do fill the questionnaire in and email it back to me as every persons voice is really important in this discussions, whether you have been part of moot for 3 years or 3 weeks, and the more people we have joining in the better overall picture we will end up with. My email address is gareth.powell at fairadsl.co.uk (just replace the at with @ - sorry need to do it this way to avoid spam).

After we have finished we will have some food together – this will be provided so please bring £2 to cover costs. If you wish to have wine or beer please do bring some.

You can also download the notes from our discussion at the green coat boy pub last tuesday here.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Random Friday afternoon image No. 10
Good Music
© James Fraser

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Seeing RED

Bono and others were in Davos today launching new products to help Africa.

There are 4 things for sale, with more to follow. There's a red Amex card, which, instead of charging a fee, sends 1% to Africa, T-shirts in Gap, Armani sunglasses and Converse shoes.

To find out how you can save the world by consuming, look here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I got rhythm

The patterned rhythm of a moot way of life is a marvelous thing

I thought Last nights discussion was very positive .... And I am starting to feel excited about where we are going with this and how it will help us to be and to become what we aspire to .

thanks to all who partook and to those who have previously put in some of the groundwork .

looking forward to moot being a place where we can work out our salvation with fear trembling , cups of tea and much laughter ....


psi Mike was in streatham today and thought it looked a bit dingy

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Change for this Sunday

Sorry to say that there is only One Family who has confirmed that they can attend this Sunday 29th Jan 06, with a full cohort of Mooters. Most families have said that they can attend after February – so we have therefore decided not to do Sacred Play this Sunday (29th) and rescheduled this for Sunday 26th March 2006.

Unfortunately we have only received four returned evaluations of the pilot two sessions before Christmas, so we really could do with more feedback, so if you haven’t done it, please consider completing the attached.

So instead, we have planned an alt.contemplation service drawing on the elements discussed in the Moot Discussion Evening two weeks ago. This will be 3pm to 4pm In the the small chapel in the Main church. See website for directions. Wed will be going to the pub afterwards for a social.

Apologies for the one family that can attend, we are trying to make services regularly part of the life of Moot, but we do need to complete the evaluation to do this well.



Moot Priest makes it to the Anglican World Mag

I have made it says Ian tongue in cheek. There is a pic of my first Anglican Service as an Ordained Priest. I need to go on a diet!! Click here. I think it is page 7 in section 1 of the Anglican: Episcopal World Magazine 2006. Be gentle!! See Lisa & Neil looking like Mr & Mrs 007 in the last section.... It all happens here.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Rhythm of Life discussion tomorrow
Here are a couple of thoughts to help inform and frame our discussion tomorrow...

A rhythm of life (often called a rule of life in monastic thought) is basically a set of common principles/goals/vision held in common by a particular community.

Most monastic traditions revolve around a core set often referred to as 'chastity, poverty and obedience'.

The Northumbria community simply has two, 'vulnerability, and availability, both to God and each other'.

These core ideas, held and practised in common, form the basis of how that community lives, how the people spend their time and money, the jobs they have, what shape their services take, where they live... Ultimately they are a way for living, a guide, that orientates the community towards God and each other, helping them become more fully human.

These core ideas take time to work themselves out, through communal discussion, new peoples joining with new ideas, over the dinner table, common themes in services etc...

A moot rhythm of life will also take time to emerge and cannot be hastily put together. It needs to come from the community and therefore be for the community to enable people to envision a better way to live, a way that inspires, challenges and reassures people in their faith. A way of life should be a wellspring of life rather than a millstone around the neck.

These discussions about a moot rhythm of life come out of time spent last year as a community where we talked about the idea of a common way of life, and heard from the Northumbria community, an initial draft of a moot rhythm of life was put together by a few people in moot which forms the basis of our ongoing discussion. This document was very large in scope and needs to be refined, a process that these meetings will help us with as we let our visions and ideas about how we live as Christians in the city bubble to the surface.

For tomorrow it may help if you focus a few thoughts before hand on the following questions - don't worry we are not looking for deep theological reflection or profound thoughts - although of course they would be welcome :-)

• What attracts you to the idea of a rhythm of life'?
• How do you think it could help you/help the community?
• What worries you?

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Developing 'A way of living' for the Moot Community

Gareth leads the Moot community to continue initial discussions in the autumn about developing 'a way of living' or 'a rule of life'. Moot was challenged by Steven Croft, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Missioner to explore this for Moot to enable a fluid community and a centred spirituality. Since then we have had a discussions with the Nortumbria community and Gareth has attended a conference on new forms of monasticism for postmodern cultures.

Venue: Greencoat Boy Pub (downstairs) - click for Map
Date: Tues 24th Jan 7 for 7.30pm

See you there...
For the list of other Moot events see the link the website top left.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


How (not) to speak of God with Pete Rollins

9-11 June (Fri-Sun) Othona Community in Dorset

For those who want more of Pete Rollins, the Orthona Community are running a further event.

"Pete Rollins is fast becoming a crucial and alert voice within what is commonly called the 'emerging church' movement. He founded and leads Ikon, a community which dares to celebrate its unruly worship in a Belfast bar! He has been a sensational speaker at Greenbelt. This weekend will be an exploration of ideas from his new book, " How (not) to speak of God". A journey towards new ways of being church in a post-modern age, and fresh inhabitations of God language. We predict Pete will be a significant thinker for the western church in coming years. Bring open minds, laughter muscles, and a readiness to have the socks knocked off you. £70 or £53 concession plus course fee £20
If you are interested in coming to be part of this weekend, please ring us on 01308 01308 897130 or email mail@othona-bb.org.uk and we will send you full details and a booking form."

The other good news is that Pete's book is coming out soon ....

Friday, January 20, 2006


Random Friday afternoon image No. 9
Rainbow over Drake Court
© James Fraser

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Coldcut tonight at Cargo's in London. Was a great concert and Coldcut proved once again that they are the masters of AV - albeit with a few technical glitches. They were launching their new album and previewed a few tracks. They were all based unusually around vocal leads rather than their usual mixed up beats - and as usual they contained elements of political protest.

I remember buying my first Coldcut album back in 1995 and wondering at the time what I had bought (I both liked and disliked it because it was so strange and weird compared what I usually listened to). I think I like them a little more now, but they still occupy that strange weird place where visuals and audio come together in an often exclectic mix.

I especially love Cargo's - the layout and vibe is great, if moot were ever to get their own café/bar space I think their layout would be an ideal starting point.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


If I ever make a gaff like this - I will have to leave the church

If I ever say anything like this I would leave the country. See Link.

Found this fantastic site that shows a whole host of different data sets represented visually. Everything from the relationship between members of the online photo community Flickr (top pic) to the way Conservative and Liberal blogs link to each other (bottom pic).

I am not sure how useful this is for understanding these relationships but it sure does look cool. Would be great to do one for the history of alt.worship. Steve Collins you out there - sounds like a new thing to put on your blog :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Edward Burtynsky

Following the ‘cosmic’ strand from earlier posts I recently found the website for one of my favourite photographers – Edward Burtynsky. He takes large format images which are generally beautifully crafted and crisply detailed. His work often looks at how we have ‘transformed’ nature and its resultant consequences. He ends up in quarries, oil fields, the three gorges dam, factories, urban environments, recycling dumps, ship wrecking yards…

Monday, January 16, 2006


my first photographic contribution...

I have just returned from a brief visit to Northern Ireland, home, to me. Here is a photo of Castlerock beach on the North coast. Although I had a great weekend seeing family, being here for the sunset was probably the highlight.


Moot Scripture Space 17th Jan 7 for 7.30pm

Moot Scripture Space starts up with a narrative and psychological exploration of Mark 6:14-29, The Beheading of John the Baptist – Cheery I hear you say!!

In this session Jonathan will lead an exploration and discussion drawing on narrative criticism and psychological perspectives.

There won’t be a practical element to this exploration!!

Time: 7 for 7.30pm

Venue: St Matthews Conference Room (Accessible from Main Church Door).

Date: 17th Jan 2006


Just economics...

Hi! Don't know if anyone has heard of this course. Its well priced (£75, concessions £50, students £20) and is taught very Bond Street tube, central London. I think I'm going to go, if anyone wants to join me let me know.

Check out these introductory paragraphs:

"The study of economics was the founding inspiration for the School. Dismayed by the poverty and despair of the great depression in the early 1930s the small group of founders became convinced that economics was profoundly misunderstood and set about finding answers that conventional economics had failed to provide.

Guided by the belief that truth and justice should guide their studies the founders looked for natural laws governing societies. They found inspiration and insight in the writings of Henry George, who highlighted the key significance of access to land and natural resources as an economic factor.

Today, following the same inspiration, economics is studied and taught in the School as economics-with-justice, or JustEconomics. This is an approach to economics with justice at its heart, an approach that offers new perspectives on more conventional economic thought and practice."

For more info go to www.economicscourse.com, there's also no assessments, purely for personal interest.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Ecological Justice & The Cosmic Christ

This term we focus on ecological justice, and in particular the idea of the Cosmic Christ. The idea that God is restoring all of creation back into right relationship with the divine. That we, the followers of Christ are called to be good stewards rather than selfishlessly exploiting our planet and environment. That our lives and the world we live in, are intended as original blessing, a spiritual act of worship - but instead we have created a prison and have made life intolerably full of pain, and governed by the market priniciple to the detriment of human-ness.

So to start with, please find attached a document from the CofE about a spiritual view to a sustainable spiritual vision for our planet.


Thursday, January 12, 2006


Contemplation & Emerging Church

The workshop on forms of contemplation reframed for contemporary devotion, was explored on tuesday. I think the evening went quite well. For those who did not attend, please find the handout attached.



Security & Moot website

Apologies to the people who need to access the moot secure site to plan services, access is not possible at the moment. I have contacted John to attempt to restore this facility soon.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Have been reading a book of Thomas Merton's lectures given on Cassian and came across a good quote where he talks about the task of monastic life today.

"Besides renewal of our own tradition we must of course obviously adapt ourselves to the needs of our time, and a return to tradition does not mean trying to revive, in all its details, the life lived by monks, or trying to do all the things that they did. But it means living in our time and solving the problems of our time in the way and with the spirit in which they lived in a different time and solved different problems."

This strikes me as a very good and succinct way of understanding tradition and its place in helping to re-imaging what a monastic community may look like today. Its always easy to simply copy something, it is much harder to become familiar with something to the extent that you understand its inner logic, and can allow that to inform your own context.

In re-imagining monastic life in the city today, we must immerse ourselves in the monastic texts and commentaries of the last 2000 years, allowing them to speak to us, shape us, orientate us, but never wholly hold onto us, for a key part of the imaginative process is letting go of the past and asking the Spirit to lead us into something wholly new, and probably unexpected.

It also of course means understanding the problems of today, in our time, which in turn means immersing ourselves in our own culture, and opening ourselves up to encountering God in the now, in the latest books, films etc...

All of this cannot be done by one person (phew), but rather in community, for there we have people who speak of tradition, others who speak of the now, others still who are adept at hearing the still, small voice of God in the now or in the tradition. Together, by listening over time, over the meal table, in silence and in debate, we can continue to re-imagine how we can best follow this living, crucified, resurrected, Christ in the city.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Life itself is Grace (even with a dodgy Knee)

Hallo all it is St Cartilege of the dancefloor here ....Having had a bit more time than usual on my hands this week have been reading a few books as well as watching some really bad tv . Came across this from my all time favourite spiritual writer Frederick Buechner and thought it was a good thing to consider for the new year ........A bit like gareths truisms only good ....

Listen to your life
All moments are key moments

"I discovered that if you really keep your eyes peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it ,even such a limited and limiting life as the one I was living on rupert mountain opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye. Eating lunch with a friend . Trying to do a decent days work . Hearing the rain patter against the window. There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it , always hiddenly , always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly...... If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and a preacher it would be something like this: Listen to your life . See it for the fathomless mystery that it is . In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch taste smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments , and life itself is grace. " Frederick Buechner .

Allelon - a non-profit organisation in the US thats aims to provide resources for mission and training for new mission based churches - are developing a new missional order that reflects for them the call to reimagine Christian Spirituality in the US. They have just published a short article that outlines some ways they hope to do this, particularly in the areas of spiritual formation or catechesis as they call it. I really liked the following two points: -

• Formation in the Way of Christ – catechesis – is not simply a matter for each individual but is a crucial communal practice for congregations. Our formation in Christ – individually and collectively – involves us in practices of learning to pattern our lives and life together according to the ways of life in the kingdom of God. This is a rich and complex journey of apprenticeship undertaken by novices who are prepared to learn the unfamiliar rhythms of a different way of life.

• The church’s formative work takes place in the midst of a powerful, though largely unconscious, “catechism” that schools us to be entertained consumers who look to technique and technology for our salvation. The question before us is not “Will we be indoctrinated?” but “Which indoctrination – which outlooks and practices, which allegiances and doctrines – will shape us?” Learning to see and hear these competing claims for our loyalty and affection is a critical step in forming communities whose primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Good post here giving advice to communties seeking to develop a Rythm of Life. I really liked that 'the Celts formed their communities beside the water because the tides continually reminded them of the rhythms that are essential to life. The coming in of the tide is the inward journey with its primary encounter with God and the self. The going out of the tide is the outward journey into and for the sake of the world.'


St McCleary the patron saint of dancing

I am sorry to inform you brethren of the Moot Community, that Brother McCleary has been unable to walk properly after he was taken up by the Lord in a transcendent spiritual moment, dancing for the Lord under the influence of the Spirit on New Year's Eve. At a climax in his break-dancing fervour, he became overcome, and his knee gave way under the pressure of such extreme physical self-expression.

As I understand it, he has been on bedrest after a hospital assessment - and informed his work of his inability to work due to severe dancing injuries.

Mark will henceforth be known as St Cartilege Patron Saint of dancing


Moot Workshops | Practicing the Presence of God - the use of contemplative approaches to prayer reframed for today

Much has been said and written about Emerging and Fresh Expressions of Church developing an ancient:future approach to the ancient resources of not only the Anglican Church but 2000 years of the Christian Church. One of the greatest inheritance from the Church before the enlightenment, was with what was called ‘mental prayer’, that people could have transcendent spiritual encounters with Christ and the divine. This was a from of knowing God, not by facts (the obsession of modernity) but knowing God through experience through encounter (as created in the premodern and reframed in to the postmodern). The work shop will draw on forms of contemplation including phrasing, (repetitive self-chants with biblical texts), and other forms of prayer as encounter. This will build on the prayer workshop completed last term, and will relate to the content of some of the draft Guide to Moot’s Shared Way of Life - (formerly Rule of Life).

Venue: St Matthew’s Drawing Room
Date: Tues 10th January 2006

Time: 7 for 7.30pm

Time: Around 1 hour.

Good interview with Steve Taylor here. His book, 'The out of Bound Church Church' is a really good incisive read about whats happening in the emerging church globally as opposed to just in the US or UK. You can also check out his blog here.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

For those of you with macs I have uploaded the latest moot ical. To install it just click on the link on the left and it should open right up in ical.


New Year, New Liturgy

We had a great first liturgy of the year, at moot this evening. (Sorry, I forgot to take my camera out, so no photos to tickle your visual fancy).

It really fitted in well with the thoughts I've been having about the New Year, and the chance for a fresh start that this entails - to go into the New Year with a new attitude. The liturgy is attached below for you to read - I recommend it.

My own personal thoughts have taken a strange turn. I composed a list of truisms that I want to take with me into the new year - a few ideas that might help me to deal with life a little better. It's not achievement-centred, it's more attitude based - it's about HOW you deal with what life throws up.

The problem is, that you can start the year with the best of intentions, but sometimes circumstances beyond your control can take all your intentions out of your hands and prevent you from reaching your "goals". That's life.

The reality is that what marks you out as a person is more about how you go about your life, and how you deal with the things life throws up, rather than what you got done. Life beyond achievement.

Here's some of my "truisms", anyway, for what it's worth. Feel free to share your own:

Enjoy your own life. Don't envy anyone else's.

Experience all you can. Innocence is overrated.

Do things you don't normally do on a regular basis.

Give more.

Be wise as a serpent, and innocent of crime.

Keep learning

See, Hear, Feel, Touch, Taste, Smell God.

Drink more water.

Trust your instincts and see the good in other people at the same time.

Do one thing at a time.

Play the cards you've been dealt to the best of your ability. Don't complain about the dealer


Saturday, January 07, 2006


Dissertation & Ecclesiology

After having to be a study monster for the last 3 weeks where I have literally been burning the candle at both ends, I have finished the first draft, only 8000 words over ... so after something of a sense of exasperation and despair ... I have given myself 4 days off from it, which I have been working on for a year. Once I have sorted the 8000 words and my research supervisor is happy, and it is submitted, I will circulate for people to see.

On another note, I have found an extremely good speech from the Bishop of London on Ecclesiology or in other words the meaning of 'Church' and in particular 'Ecclesia'. You can download it here. I will be using it in the dissertation.

Addict and Howies both have good sales on - much of the stuff is 1/2 price. So if you need a funky new t-shirt or top might be the place to stop by. But get in there quick as stuff sells out very quickly.

Over Christmas whilst visiting my home town I overheard a conversation an elderly lady was having: she was feeling rather put out that the Littlewoods was closing in the High Street. This would mean that she was only left with a whole lot of ‘young peoples’ chain stores to buy clothes from (Top Shop, Next, River Island, etc) and will now have to travel to the next town to do her shopping.

Most emerging church communities, perhaps not intentionally, seem to be made up of a particular age range (20’s/30’s/40’s). This is presumably because they meet the needs of that age group and its associated culture(s). Maybe it’s ok for different types of church to only meet the needs of a particular age range. It does allow for a tailored, better fitting response rather than a one size fits all duffle coat. It also allows for more choice and diversity.

However, it does bug me that it may also be excluding others, or not providing for them, and minimising the chances of interaction between young and old. Are there examples of emerging churches that have, say, over 60’s in them either in a mixed age context or an age specific group? The creative play services have attempted to broaden Moot to be inclusive of children and parents. Can we, or should we, go the other way too?

Friday, January 06, 2006


Random Friday afternoon image No. 8
Blossom at The Falcon Estate, Battersea. March 2005
Polaroid 600 print

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Technorati & Flickr
Have just started using
Technorati - a web application that allows you to tag any blog posts you put up. It allows people to easily see who is putting up stuff on certain topics, and allows you to see who is the most authorative person on that topic - for instance go to technorati and search for the emerging church and you will see that TSK and Jonny Baker are the two most authorative voices - a pretty good example I think.

To add tags to your posts from blogger you will need to be using
Firefox 1.5 and then install the greasemonkey plugin and then this script. This will allow you to add tags into each post. So if we post a series of blog entrys on nu monasticism and search using that term at technorati you can see how else is talking about it. You can also subscribe to a search term as an RSS feed - which is very handy if you want to keep in on a particular conversation. I subscribe to the emerging church stream and about 20-30 posts go up every day in it.

I has also started using
Flickr, a photo archiving facility. It allows you to upload photos in groups and add tags as you do so. You can also add friends easily and, again, using search terms subscribe to RSS feeds that give you the latest pics on any tag name or RSS feeds from any of your friends pics. All very cool. I have added a link to my Flickr pics on the side bar, if you get an account let me know and I will add you in.

, , , ,



for any believe God hears our prayers, may I put in a request.

My good friend Ian Dunlop is very seriously ill with some strain or other of Malaria. He has also for a long time had serious M.E., which may partly explain the persistence of the infection.

He has two brothers, two sisters and Mother and Father. He is a young man with everything going for him. He contracted the disease whilst in Africa transporting aid between two different countries.

thank you.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My good friend Tony Cant who is an Anglican Priest up in Walthamstow has started a blog - should be a good read so go check it out.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Thought we would put some pics up from NYE. We had a fab time with mixologist Powell (with top tips from master mixologist Radcliffe), spanish guitar maestro Iano, DJ Dendy, master whisky distiller Mosedale and break dancer McLeary even made a rare appearance and we even managed to squeeze 17 people onto the balcony to watch the fireworks off the London Eye.

We also managed to get through 2 bottles of Rum, 2 bottles of Gin, 1 bottle of whisky, 4 bottles of fizz, 2 bottles of red plonk and 12 bottles of beer - not bad for a boring christian party ;-)

Thanks to all those who came and made it such a splendid affair... Looking forward to next years bash already.

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