Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Why start with the Trinity?


Following my dissertation, I have had lots of emails about the significance of starting with a theology of the trinity - as if it is some how dodgey, and was also party to a slightly passionate conversation with some in Moot after a Moot service which has been on my mind for a bit.

For me, if we want to have a church which celebrates diversity and understands the complexity of what Jesus represents, then we need to hold a broad perspective rathen than homing in on one or two aspects of the signifiance of Christ.

In the Emerging Church, the 'And' is a key qualification in how we live diversity, in reaction to the sometimes blinkered perspectives of previous church movements. See below - what do you think?

whystartwiththetrinity.pdf

 




Another first from Jonathan Bartley, Moot Associate and Director of Ekklesia, with this new interent service provider. This new initative raises money for peace making projects around the world like Christian Peace Maker teams in Iraq (hostages just released). Four times a year, the users of Peacenik get to vote which peace projects should get the money that has been raised. Great idea JB!! See the website for more info, click here.

 
Random Friday afternoon image No. 13
Egremont Russet dessert apple
© J Fraser 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

Icon

Acrylic paint, glass vase, and single flower bloom on wood.

My latest piece of work. The flower has to be replaced when it dies, in order for the work to exist.

Copyright 2006 Michael L Radcliffe

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 
What does this arabic writing make you think?
What does it make you feel? Think about your reaction to me putting this on a blog of a Christian Community. Does it make you angry?

Now if I told you that this was the opening lines of the book of John, 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God...' What do you feel now?

Why have I posted this? Well mainly that the Islamophobia in our country and some churches is creating quite a stench. Some more extreme forms of the Church have actually joined forces with the BNP, so I have felt it important to raise this issue.

As a Christian, I believe that Jesus loved people, and loved all cultures. Within arabic islamic cultures, God is present, and it is our call to live out the Good News of the Kingdom of God as love, not hate or violence. So the symbol, stands for the love of God in an Islamic arabic context, so we should love it also. If we are committed to a gospel inspired mission, then we are called to live by the rules of the Kingdom of God, and not of racism, fear and violence. So rather than seeing Islam and arabic culture as a threat, we should seek to love our neighbour.

 

Remembering Mark Palmer

I was really sad to read of the death of Mark Palmer, of the Landing Place community in the States. I had the good fortune to meet him a year ago in the Fuller Emerging Church Consultation in Pasadena. He was a wise and committed man, who has died of cancer, after his wife died of cancer several years ago, leaving a four year old son. It is quite dreadful for Mark's son and new wife.

So I add this entry to celebrate the life of Mark, and as a place of prayer for the Landing Place Community, Mark's second wife and son, and the expensive medical bills they are left with.

May the souls of the faithful departed in the mercy of God rest in peace and rise in Glory
Amen

If you want to read more .... see Tall Skinny's stuff here.

 

Alt Worship Seminar Southwark cathedral

Pleased to say that the seminar part run between myself and a guy called Toby from an alt worship youth service in Peckham called 'Blessed', went very well. I did an overview on the origins, values and vision of alternative worship communities and something on Fresh Expressions. There were around 25 to 30 clergy, mostly coming from the Anglo-catholic perspective, which was good. Toby, a previous pastoral assistant from STMW talked about an alt worship service which draws on the experience of an Anglican Anglo-catholic service group from Portsmouth, which I had not heard about until Neil Shave mentioned that we should visit a couple of weeks ago.

At the Lent course on wednesday and Moot service on Sunday, we met up with the 'Bolz-Webers' from Colorado. He is a Lutheran Pastor and she is training in ECUSA wanting to set up a 'mission start up' emerging church project. Sounds very exciting, and thanks to those who narrated Moots story and learning for them to draw on. Nadia Bolz-Weber, additionally has posted some interesting readings and preparation for Lent for those who are interested - click here and for her involvement in Emergent USA

I have been trying to load up a provocative image as a final entry - but curiously I can't get it to load, so I will do this for a later entry... Mooters, we now have contacts in New York, Colorado and Seattle - if you are going over the pond, let me know and you have free places to stay!!

 

Fresh Expressions back my research

Please to say that the Fresh Expressions website has listed my research dissertation and is promoting it. Click here if interested.

 

A poem for Lent

Things come and go
as they please
Some things
are most welcome
others should have left
a long time ago

No permanence
is allotted
to happiness
though we believe
that it should be
as we want

One day
you may be filled
with the fatness
of tawdry objects.

Never forget how you feel
in this moment.
The tautness of the times
you have nothing
but the poverty of spirit
pulling you
into the present
no obstacles
making this moment
a thin place
where God is generous
under the radar.

Copyright 2006 Michael L. Radcliffe

Monday, March 27, 2006

 
Just got back from Budapest. We had a fab time with Simeon and Fiona. And definately found some good places to stay for next years moot weekend away. Cheap accommadation and cheap food - all good.

We also found this great bar - Szimpla Kertmozi - which was in a old disused warehouse. Decor was excellent, random tables and chairs with old skool lampshades everywhere. Also doubled up as a cinema.

We all agreed that this is just the sort of space we would love moot to get eventually. You can check out the photos
here.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 
Kester has published a book of his blog using lulu the online book publishing company. It looks fantastic and seems like a really easy way to self-publish very cheaply. You can upload a book as a word file and it converts it into your chosen format and you can also upload a colour cover as well. If you did 100 copies of a book with 150 pages it would cost you under £4 per book including shipping.

We are planning on turning each of our learnings days into short primer books using lulu. Looks like publishing might be about to undergo the same revolution that writing did when blogging started.


Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Mac Stuff

Given the high proportion of Mac-users in the emerging church community, I thought you might like to look at a couple of things.

First, iPod have ditched the silhouette adverts for their TV campaigns, and launched a new advert which you can watch here. You can also download it as a podcast (if you have a video iPod). Remember you saw it here first.

Second, it turns out that Apple are quite behind on recycling or avoiding land-filling with dead Macs. There's a whole website devoted to doing environmentally positive things with dead computers, that you can look at here, including a petition to Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) to be more responsible along the lines of other computer manufactures.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 
looks like one of my recent blog posts has been turned into a e-zine article.


 
Emerging Faith : Cosmic Eucharist

In this evenings Moot Eucharist, we looked at the spiritual journey that many of us have been on or called to - as a process of deconstruction to reconstruction. As part of the homily, I gave out some writings on 'Emerging Faith', to try to be a bit of a spiritual travel guide.

Gareth and I put quite a lot into this service of ourselves, and so I hope it was helpful. I thought the use of the resonating notes worked well....

Emerging Faith.pdf





Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Expanded Mootique Store

Pleased to say that the Mootique is now expanded and includes internet download of mp3s, pdfs, orderable CDs and books of Ianís research, all at reasonable costs.

So please checkout www.moot.uk.net/resources/resources.htm

Mootique

 

Random Friday afternoon image No. 12

Descent from the Cairn Gorm mountains last month.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Kind Words from Mother Ward - Diva of the Emerging Church

Karen, hero in many of our eyes, has said some very kind words on her blog. She has been a constant source of encouragement. I am pleased to say that she will soon be over with Jonny B's emerging church tour - see


 

Lent Course - 'Mirroring God's Love'

We are now entering the Season of Lent that is about preparation to face Christ's Passion Week in April. For this there will be Sunday moring homilies and wednesday night explorations using a saint each week by way of illustration on the theme of Mirroring God's Love. Both Gareth and Ian will be contributing to this programme.

Journeying togther through Lent
Our theme this year will explore the call to reflect God's love wherever God would have us be.

Homilies 11am
March 5th Christ the Image of the Unseen God
March 12th Mirroring God's Love - to each other
March 19th Mirroring God's Love - at the margins
March 26th Mirroring God's Love - to the world
April 2nd Mirroring God's Love - to the Church

Wednesday Evening Discussion Group at 7.30pm
March 8th Christ the Image of the Unseen God
March 15th Mirroring God's Love - to each other
March 22ndMirroring God's Love - at the margins
March 29th Mirroring God's Love - to the world
April 5th Mirroring God's Love - to the Church


Sunday Afternoon Lent Movies
We have chosen two movies that in very different ways have something to say to us about the patterning of God's love in our lives. Lunch wil be available.

Sunday March 12th Babette's Feast (1987)
The Oscar winning film by Gabriel Axel is a beautiful portrayal of the lavish generosity of God.

Sunday March 26th Millions (2004)
An enchanting and humorous drama that basically asks What does it mean to live a 'good' life?

Stations of the Cross - Tuesdays at 17.30
A devition following the road to Calvary with the Situations of the Cross in St Matthew;s Church carved by the school of Eric Gill. Short meditations and prayers at each scene help prepare us for the celebration of the Easter mystery.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

 
I preached at St Matthew's this morning on Mark 14.1-9. It is the passage where Jesus' head is anointed by a woman with perfume. The sermon was the second part of the lent course and was entitled, 'mirroring Gods love to each other'. You can download it here.


 

New York re-emerging

Now back in New York, after what I can only say was a God-send of a Consultation, that has been both healing and re-envisioning. It does me so much good to be around pioneering people. Today, I had some time for touristing, so caught the ferry to Staton Island, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, UN Building, Guggenheim Museum, Soho, Williamsburg and of course the Apple Store.

I met up with Bowie, who is joining with a number of people to pioneer an emerging church project in downtown Manhattan. What they are wanting to do is extremely inspiring, and it is great to experience the gestation and soon to new birth of something very new. Bowie was keen to develop a twin relationship with Moot as Moot has with COTA. This may be advantageous for both Moot and them, as the ECUSA Diocese of New York has entered twinning talks with the Diocese of London, so dialogue and support between us mutually raises the profile of both our projects to our respective Diocese. I am sure Bowie and friends will be over to London in the fullness of time.

Finally, I went to hear an experiental multimedia composition of one of those who will be involved in the NYC Emerging thang - a guy called Mario Diaz, and partook in an unusual experience drawing on performed music and video. Click here for info. I do wish we had more artists and musos involved in Moot, as they are great at keeping their respective church projects alive and cultural. Being here reminds me we need to encourage Mike, James & Gareth to incorporate their artistic skills in what we do.

Tomorrow, I am off to Trinity Wall Street back in black shirt and dog collar, for a final bash before returning to London. I really really like it here. There is something about this place and its effervescent creativity that really is a great context for the sort of things I dream of. A cafe Arts Church here would be great. I will be coming back!!! Thanks Bowie for your hospitality, and our new friendship. Come over to London soon.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

 
Phillipa did a mini moot last week which I thought was very moving. All about how walls that we build up in defence of things, can often, over time, actually hinder us. You can read more here.


 

iPray

It seems the revolution will be podcasted....

With the commencement of Lent, the world and his wife appears to be podcasting. If you check out iTunes you can put "mass" into the podcast search option and everyone from Home to Catholic Communities in Michigan have their versions up there (if you have other MP3 players, you can go to their websites and just download stuff there).

However, whilst the Jesuits one has set the standard and continues to be my favourite, I have found some others of note.

the-mass.com have a podcast that is worth a listen, but also for those of you with video iPods, theshore.tv have a video podcast that is interesting.

My only reservation about this is that theshore's is released every Sunday for Lent. The point of an iPod is that you can listen to stuff on the go. You don't really use an iPod on Sunday, as you're not generally working or going anywhere on Sundays, whereas podcasts can be a great for of meditation when you're on the way to work, etc.

Just to clear up, though - you don't actually need an iPod or iTunes to listen to these. Most of these you can listen to through you computer or any generic MP3 player. In fact I can thoroughly recommend these podcasts as a place to start if you're trying to reconnect with spirituality this season and wondering where to start.

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

Bus

I wanted to get on
the wrong bus today.

A bus arrived
empty, but for the driver.
It wasnít going
where I wanted to go,
but the comfort of open space
was too inviting
and I nearly got on.
God knows
where it was going.
It would have been fun
to see new places
investigate unfamiliar territory
open up the possibility for adventure.

I was tired of waiting around
my bus passing by again
too stuffed to swallow any more
and me still waiting for my space.

Copyright 2006 Michael L Radcliffe

 

...some questions from a curious friend...

I recently blogged about the forth-coming Pete Rollins book, and I got this response from a blog-acquaintance of mine, David Williamson. His concerns about the danger of reducing Christianity to a metaphor really resonated with me, expressing a central concern for me in my journey of faith. All comments and discussion welcome.

David Williamson said...
I have a hunch that the emergent phenomenon is the chemical reaction which happens when you a generation of evangelicals is exposed to higher education, non-Walt Disney films and music with drums.

It's wonderful to be blessed by theologians found in places other than Faith Mission bookshop, and it's an ecclesiological breakthrough to be sharing the worship of Christ with an unprecedented number of fellow travellers on this journey, but where's the rude messiness of incarnational faith?

The baby who came to us in a muddy manger caused scandal every day and preached a gospel that God could be approached with confidence. This led to him and almost everyone who followed him - in the words of Douglas Adams - getting nailed to things.

Just as none of the Greek philosophers actually believed in Zeus & Co., but went along with the rituals to express mystery and provide consolation, so we're in danger - perhaps - of reducing Christianity to a metaphor.

Reduced to a story of death and hope it's certainly moving and inspiring, and is unlikely to result in summary execution. But is it going to change the world? And how, in the incarnational realities of a church, do we respond to the blunt questions which define the chaos of created life?

These include:

I'm scared of death - is there an afterlife and what do I need to do?

So, is sex outside marriage wrong? Will you have any problems with me having communion if I go off and etc?

Do I need to evangelise, and do I have to worry about my friends' chances in the next life if I don't?

Is it possible to make judgement calls on these issues and still admit that we're seeing through a glass darkly and straining for truth? I think so.

I also think it will be a sad thing if the fervour and excitement that sprung up in the Mannafests and Scripture Unions of our youth is lost. Can you think of a single blog, for example, which expresses the zeal of a George Verwer etc?

Thrilling things are happening, but we are at a crossroads moment. Will the charismatics and evangelicals of this fin de siecle moment disolve into the establishment obscurity that has characterised post-war Methodism or will that edge of scandal keep a Wesleyan revival fire burning?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Trinity Grants Consultation

Well we have made it to day 2 of the consultation. I am here with two other Brits and lots of ECUSA presentatives regarding developing initiatives for promoting and developing Christianity to people in their 20s and 30s. I am here with good friends like Karen Ward, and Bob Carlton from the emerging church. I am pleased also to meet Travis Smith, the Anglican ordained assistant priest with COTA. He is coming over to do a placement with Moot and St Matthews in the summer subject to funding from ECUSA.

I am not sure I knew what I was expecting, but there has been some great exploration of new monasticism, as an approach to promoting the Christian faith to 'young adults'. Very much in keeping with Gareth's thinking. I have learnt a lot, and shared some of our thoughts and experiences in Moot including our shaping of a rythmn of life. Tomorrow, I will talk about the UK scene along with Steve Hollinghurst and others, and will push emergingchurch.info site, Matt and Ben, talk about your projects to ensure they get heard. They have made it very clear that funding has to be USA related, but I do think there may be some opprtunities for UK driven projects in the future, who have a project idea that could be used in the USA. A bit like Jonny's labyrinth kits for the USA, that sort of thing. Sadly, I don't think they will ever fund emerging church projects in the UK for their work, or a project idea in the UK, as this remains outside of the 'young adults' remit. However, I have taken their annual report to see what they have supported to see if there are any other ways in. I will be looking at this on my flight home.

However, I am pleased I am here, not only to make new friends, including Bowie Sodgrass - amazing name I hear you say, who is great and will be over to the UK in the summer, and also to meet Travis who is great. I think it has been important to raise the profile of Moot and our vision, and has not done us any hard to get known by those who make funding decisions!!

So here for 2 more days, before going back to NYC, and some time at the Church at Trinity Wall Street.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Further along the road more Mobstered

Now firmly found my feet down in NYC. There is so much money sloshing about here, it is incredible. I have been following Karen Ward around people she knows and the incredible churches they lead in Manhattan. The big difference between the UK and US churches, for me, is their refreshing perspective. I have never really thought about it before, but UK churches do tend to be defined by where they have come from, with a tendency to be looking backwards to define identity and how they move forward in out postmodern uncharted waters. However, in the US, there seems to me, to be much more forward vision, looking forward and dreaming to what might be. I realise I am only a tourist, but the Anglican & Lutheran church leaders I have experienced, seem to be really looking forward. I think we can learn from this vision, its risk talking, its engagement with new things and new places of ministry.

On the fun front, I have now walked loads through the various districts and central park, stood outside Tiffany's, eaten in Chelsea and stared at the hipnotic lights of Time Square. It is just what I needed!! This afternoon, I get picked up by car to go to Holy Trinity's Retreat Centre, which sounds beautiful.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

Lent Meditations

In my now time to pray, I came upon this via Jonny's blog. I have found the entry and exit meditations to a labyrinth for Lent profound. Click here

 

Tales of a travelling Mobster

Now that I have stopped, I have finally caught up with how I am feeling post-dissertation and pre-important meeting with the Bishop of London's Mission Fund Committee. The truth is that I came here in pain. A pain that the church treats Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, in my view, terribly, and thoroughly fed up having to continue being an OT when I wanted to stop 2 years ago. However, I have arrived in a city - New York, which is still visibly in pain, despite its wealth and commercialism, it has still not come to terms with Sept 11th. People continue to gather at Ground Zero, in shock and disbelief - that people would want to do such a thing to the USA. Many have no idea about the effects of American Foreign Policy!!

However, on the other side, it has put my own inner pain, (economic, personal and a need for recognition for what we in Moot are doing), into perspective. I have found comfort in seeing Anglican Christians in Manhattan do extremely good pastoral work with those still traumatised, (Holy Trinity Wall Street) is next to Ground Zero. Its little second church, I think it is called St Peters is right ontop of where the 2 towers fell, and it is full of peoples drawings, sculptures and other angst driven expressions to God, which now sit in the church as an eerie transcendent moment. I have cried at what I have seen, and the pain which remains - and not just because I am over-tired with jet lag.

On the good side, I have time to think, to breathe deeply, to pray and gather who I am again. I have met up with Karen from COTA, our sister group in Seattle and sunk a few Belgian beers. So I am begining to feel better already. Most generously, I have my own apartment off Wall Street & Broadway in Lower Manhattan, and I am feeling very spoilt as it is costing me nothing, and it is a real privilege to be here. Tomorrow I mix in prayer about my future, with touristy things before I head off with the Consultation to Conneticut to what sounds an incredible retreat centre in the mountains.

wtc1.jpg
wtc2.jpg
wtc3.jpg

Sunday, March 05, 2006

 

LMAO....

Has anyone else seen this?

It's a real-life version of the Simpsons intro. Very funny.

 

..And another one.

I'm a machine! Another poem for you - I seem to be churning them out at a fair whip. I'm not sure if this one has a title yet (or a proper ending, come to that) but indulge me if you will...

Untitled

I put the key in the door
turn and push
conscious of my actions
looking through these eyes.

One day
I will open doors
no more.
I will not be conscious.

Alarms go off
Alarm! Alarm! Alarm!
Door snaps shut
Mortality is no longer
a cold shiver.

Tipping the scales
previously weighted
in my favour.
To my detriment
and the detriment of others.

Light flooded in
through that door
Life over
death!
Creation over
consumption!

Copyright 2006 Michael L Radcliffe

 

Lots happens, nothing changes

It seems that the same old rubbish comes around everytime - and the new media makes things worse, not better. Check out this story here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

 

Ian's off to NYC

From Sunday night, I am off to New York as an invited guest the Trinity Wall Street Grant scheme, to help them develop their international support of emerging church mission projects. It is a great honour to have been invited. I will be meeting up with Karen Ward Moot Sister church leader, (COTA) from Seattle and others. So we will see what happens.

I am hoping it will open some doors for us.

Friday, March 03, 2006

 

Lent thoughts - repentance

I've just listened to the first of the Jesuit podcasts mentioned below by Mike.

I think part of the reason I've never really got very far with lent, is that I have a problem with repentance. And my problem is that most of the time I just don't feel very sinful! I know that I'm not perfect and that I do plenty of things that are wrong and have bad attitudes and thoughts, but growing up in churches that stressed God's love, forgiveness, grace etc, I've always taken the forgiveness a bit for granted. All the talk of God as a loving parent, about having a personal relationship etc can obscure the idea of God's anger and Christ's pain.

So my prayer today is that God will make me more aware of my need of God.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

Pray-As-You-Go

Daily prayer podcasts from the Jesuits for Lent, from here.

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