Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Resources for deconstruction

A friend sent me info on the site leaving fundamentalism
which has some good resources for those who have been de-churched because of a fundamentalist use of power or extremely narrow theology. Moot's ministry of hospitality and renewal also aims to support those who want to explore dangerous questions to move on in their faith. Unforunately it is a bit of a sign of the times to have to have such sites, as there is an increased interest by some in more of a 'black and white' simplisitic theology as an over-compensation for the complexity of modern life.

Here is some of their blurb: is a resource for people making the difficult and often painful journey away from conservative Christianity. It can be a time of confusion, hurt and frustration, but it's important to know that you are not making the journey alone. Thousands of others have been right where you are today.

While the author remains a Christian, it is the aim of the site to offer support and encouragement to anyone trying to find a way out of fundamentalism, whether they choose to remain within a Christian tradition or leave Christianity altogether

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Moot in the Church Times in article by Jonny Baker

If you missed it, this is the extract on Moot...


RULES OF LIFE sound as if they belong to the old world of monks and monasteries. Yet monasticism (or “new monasticism” as some are calling it) seems to be making a come-back.

Moot are a “fresh expression of church or emerging church”. They began a few years ago and found a home as a congregation of St Matthew’s, Westminster, an Anglo-Catholic church in central London.

If you joined Moot for a worship service, you might get a mix of ancient liturgy, video projections, ritual, and a backdrop of ambient music — creatively remixing the traditions of the Church with contemporary culture.

ALTERNATIVE worship communities have been doing this wonderfully well for 15 years or so now, and most of them have made their home on the margins of Anglican churches.

But here’s the problem. When people visit these communities, they simply focus on the style of worship. It’s partly because that’s something that is immediately striking and visibly different from the usual experience of church. Perhaps it’s also because, in a consumer culture, we see everything, including churchgoing, through a lens of consumer taste. And perhaps it’s also because when you visit a community, you tend to encounter the public face of that group, the most obvious of which is worship.

Behind the scenes you’d find something else: a community of young(ish) adults struggling to work out what it means to be a Christian community today. The worship is simply the work of the people which comes out of the community and reflects their world. The kinds of questions they have been exploring relate to the challenge of shifting from a modern to a post-modern culture:

What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ, and what does formation look like in this new world?

How can we become “missional”, i.e. get away from expecting people to come to our services, and go to them instead?

In this emerging culture, what does leadership look like?

How as a community can we find a rhythm of life that fuels our faith and discipleship together rather than seems to drain it?

It is this last question that has got Moot turning towards the notion of a rule of life. They have spent the past six months trying to draw out from community discussions what shape a contemporary rule of life might take. It’s still a work in progress, but they have identified six themes: presence, acceptance, accountability, hospitality, balance, and acceptance. They are looking towards an annual re-evaluation of the rule, and commitment to be part of the community.

It’s interesting to see that many emerging churches and alternative worship communities are really wrestling with what it means to follow Christ in a serious fashion.

This year at Greenbelt, Moot will be helping to host New Forms Café, a space that will include worship led by a range of new communities.

To read in context click here

Jonny Baker

Saturday, May 27, 2006



I came across the town of Ave Maria this week - a Catholic University town currently under construction in Florida bankrolled by Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos Pizza. It aims to promote ‘traditional values’ and is essentially a medieval town planned with a church and large cross as its centre piece. The rest of the town is based on the principles of New Urbanism (think Prince Charles). The traditional values the town aims to promote include a ban on contraceptives and pornography and presumably, given the ‘in your face’ urban planning the centrality and authority of the church.

The underlying feel of this place bugs me, not just from a New Urbanism point of view (Which does have some positive aspects to it but seems to invariably create
gentrified, culturally flat ‘nice’ areas, the poor being pushed somewhere else - essentially a more palatable form of commercial development) but also because of the 'lets recreate a rosy coloured version of the past' approach. More comment here.

By way of contrast the Rural Studio, though a secular endeavour, works in a way that seems to have far more in common with Christian modes of thinking and action. Based in Alabama the studio is a fairly unique experiment in architectural education. A small cohort of students, generally drawn from ‘white, middle class’ type backgrounds, live amongst and develop projects from the needs of a very deprived, poor rural community. The nature of the projects varies: from community buildings through to the transformation of shack and trailer homes into more substantial dwellings. Budgets are minimal so materials are often gathered from the waste of others and used in innovative ways: old tyres as foundation formwork, car windscreens as roof tiles, carpet tiles as load bearing walls or bales of corrugated cardboard as building blocks.

The resultant architecture is fascinating and transforming: tailored to the needs of a particular family or individual, environmentally aware through the re-use of materials, well crafted and well executed (even with inexperienced student builders). Beyond the physical aspects of the project two quite different social groups have found a mutually beneficial and respectful way of interacting, overcoming all kinds of prejudice in what c
ould easily have become a very patronising exercise: The students experience of poverty and other social groups is broadened, they learn how to design for a real client and get to build the outcome (which is generally absent from most architectural education and can be very theory driven). Residents experience the transformation of their homes and community facilities and often seem surprised that someone would take an interest in them.


Reminder: Moot Picnic this sunday 28th May

Reminder that we have a picnic this sunday 28th May - if raining in St Matthews conference centre from 1.30pmish and if dry some are meeting by st james' park tube at around 1.15 then walking to designated area - see the attached.


Friday, May 26, 2006


Ben Edson outs himself!

Much to the suprise of everyone, apart from me who has always suspected, Ben Edson outed himself yesterday at the Body, Mind and Spirit festival. Him and Paul Thaxter have apparently been having a secret love affair since their work together at Blah... manchester. So congrats to you both! After the exchange of rings they went and officially registered their relationship at the Westminster Registry Office.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Blah North of the Watford Gap

For those Pete Rollins fans who are northern b***ds, then go and listen to the emerging churches pre-eminent theolog-philosoph-sociological thinker and writer - of the catophatical tradition..... He is also very funny... see link

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Moot et al at Mind Body & Spirit Festival in Westminster

Some of Moot are joining with other London & SE groups to support an initiative to facilitate a stall at this years Mind, Body & Spirit festival in the Royal Horticultural Societies Hall in St Vincent's Square, round the corner from St Matthews in Westminster.

The stall has been called dekhomai ancient greek for welcoming and such words. The stall will contain all sorts of stuff to encourage a spiritual encounter or experience, or to strike up conversations. It will include elements from the labyrinth, and other activities. I am really looking forward to it. There are a number of us involved from Moot which is great, so please consider us in your prayers. It is quite expensive to get in, so I don't think we will be seeing you there!!

In association with the stall, there is a website that Gareth & Jonny have put together, as a place of connection with people who experience what we are going to do on the stall. This is exactly the sort of initiative I hoped Moot would be involved in and supported, so we will see where we go from here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi has an exhibition at the Photographers Gallery until 9 July 2006. Square format photos of momentary, delicate, fleeting, fragile things and a moving video piece based on a series of stills set to music and birdsong. Go see…

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


In Remembrance of Me

This is my blood
shed for thee.
It’s flowing through these tubes
next to me
as I lie on this bed
People visit
and leave
with thoughts
I gave my blood for.

My blood tells the story
of peaks and troughs
of panic
of high cholesterol
of too many hastily eaten meals
too many beers
to compensate my heart
for the sake of those I love.

This is my body
broken for thee.
No longer able
as I lie in this bed
People visit
before I leave
this spent container
given for them.

My body tells the story
bearing weight
more heavy than bearable
pumped too hard
not allowed to recover
often enough
now finally
for the sake of those I love.

And what do I leave?
And what do I gain?
For God’s sake
do something
in remembrance of me.

Copyright 2006 Michael L Radcliffe

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Art + Christianity Enquiry

We have been given 12 copies of this good arts journal for free. If you are interested let me (Ian) know and I will pass it to you on Sunday. It is surprisingly good. Suggest those who work or are interested in the arts, check out their website


The Independent Newspaper

Today, Bono is guest editor of The Independent newspaper. He's basically giving the paper over to highlighting poverty, the ONE campaign, and the RED campaign. Proceeds from today's paper go to fight AIDS in Africa.

It features artworks from Banksy and Damien Hirst, Condi Rice's music review, Bono's racing tips, and perhaps most bizarrely, a conversation between Bono and Eddie Izzard.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Moot Scripture Space

Venue: Tower Room,
Start : 7 for 7.30pm Tues 16th may

“Proverbs chapter 8 - Lady wisdom in the Christian tradition...”

Jonathan will lead this month’s scripture space looking how we can use the spiritual resources
of the bible in our lives critically from from the 21st century and with out jettisoning our


Moot:Blah Learning Day on Christian Formation

Moot: Blah Spiritual Formation 17th June, 10am-4pm
with John Drane, Andrew Roberts and Ben Edson.

Many emerging churches/fresh expressions have emphasised 'belonging without necessarily believing' and faith as a journey of life. But we are left with the question - how do people in new forms of Church find and continue to grow in faith? And what instruction or resources need to be in place to facilitate this important spiritual journey? This study day seeks to explore practically the issues and potential solutions for contemporary forms of Christian formation. To book, you will need to have a credit card/maestro/switch cards, or via a paypal UK account or you can pay by cheque, made payable to 'St Matthews Church', send cheques to FAO Rev Ian Mobsby, St Matthews Church, 20 Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2BU.

Each day costs £10 (or £8 if booked online) which includes lunch and drinks. Student pay just £5 (or £4 online), just select the student ticket type when you book.

Click here to book or for more info

The day includes lunch and drinks.
So come along and discuss all this and more.

The learning days are hosted by moot and run in partnership with blah...


Bill Viola | Love/Death | 21 June - 2 Sept 06

Pleased to say that my most favourite mythic and spiritual video installation artist is back in town with his provocative installation of love & death. A friend from the RCA introduced to Bill Viola's work some years back, and there has not been a moment when his work hasn't touched something deep within me and my humanity and faith, so worth going to. Its at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in central London

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Springs and weights - physics simulations become art

Bored on a Thursday afternoon? Wish it was friday? getting ready for the weekend a day early?
Then learn about physics and perpetual motion with weights and springs... Brought to you in association with the ICA:
A-level physics not required but helpful ;-)
for more interesting digital art... see and click online art

PS no gurantees that these models are phyiscally acurate, as I haven't checked how it works yet... but there is a link if you want to satisfy your own curiosity

Monday, May 08, 2006


updated mootique

Pleased to say that the mootique has been updated with the latest mp3s of the Moot:Blah Learning Day on Leadership, in internet download and CD formats. We plan to expand the moottique to include art work and more printed material shortly. Click image for the link.

Friday, May 05, 2006


The Sultan's Elephant

Random Friday afternoon image No. 15
The Sultan's Elephant
I spotted the 42 ton mechanical elephant eating straw earlier today at the Horse Guards Parade.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Hardcore - You probably don't know THIS score

Interesting event at St. Matthew's tonight.

We had an evening of classic Happy Hardcore tunes transcribed and played on the church organ, courtesy of the ICA.

I don't know how else to describe it, but that's what happened.

Ian became wistful for a more innocent (but more technicoloured) age, Radio One came, saw, and interviewed, James nodded and smiled in all the right places, the St. Matthew's organist covered his ears, and Gareth waved his glow-stick and blew his whistle (alright, I made that last bit up).

The event was cu
rated by a guy called Matt Stokes, who's just won the Beck's Futures prize.

I'm still trying to get my head round Hardcore tunes played on an organ which was probably not what it was intended for, but sounded recognisable, and was strangely affecting. If you're interested, there'll be an evening of Black Metal transcribed for the organ on the other side of London next week.

Interesting things going on with the layout of on this post, too. Aciiiiiiiiiid!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


York to be banned from Bluewater

God love John Sentamu for stirring it up again.

News story here

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


anyone fancy going to hear Slavoj Zizek?

Against Human Rights: A Lecture by Slavoj Zizek

Wed 18 May 2005.

A lecture arguing that the enforcement of huam rights through military and political intervention only serves to preserve those victims as victims, and prepare the way for continued violations of human rights

Human rights are wrong, and should be resisted at all costs.

Slavoj Zizek, social theorist and lacanian psychoanalyst, has established himself as one of the most trenchant and perceptive critics of Western political culture at work in the world today. In the sumptuous Great Hall at the Royal Courts of Justice, Zizek will argue that, in their exclusive focus on the prevention of suffering, the Western doctrine of human rights evacuates politics and retreats back to the terrain of good and evil. By denying the political subjectivity of its victims, the enforcement of human rights through military and political intervention only serves to preserve those victims as victims, and prepare the way for continued violations of human rights.

The Great Hall, The Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand. (Nearest tubes are Temple, Holborn or Chancery Lane)

Wed 18 May 19:00 Outside Venue (call Box Office for details)

Full Price : £8.
Concession : £7.
ICA Members : £6.

Monday, May 01, 2006


moot rhythm of life update II

I am pleased to say that we had a very sucessful meeting yesterday where the moot rythm of life pretty much got its final shape. Everyone was very excited by the final form of the rhythm, and I think it poses enough challenge, as well as bringing enough familiarity. So thanks for everyone for taking the time to discuss and work this out over the last year.

I think we are now at a place where we, as moot, are able to articulate a real sense of vision for how we want to live in the city as Christians. A way of life that echoes the way of Christ we are all so familiar with in the Gospels, but places it firmly within the context of our lives in the 21st century in London, where concerns and pressures are somewhat different.

We now have three more discussion evenings where we will explore more fully the six aspects of our rhythm before we begin to live with the rhythm. We then hope to have some kind of service in January where people commit/vow/reflect on the rhythm and most probably be given some form of small symbolic gift that represents the rhythm (we're unsure of what shape this service will take and need to discuss this further).

The six aspects of the moot rhythm are presence, acceptance, creativity, balance, accountability and hospitality. They each bear more than a passing resemblance to both the Franciscan and Benedictian rules, which for me is a good thing as there is an obvious historical continuity in what we are doing.

You can download the rhythm here.


Desiring Centredness

Call me an old git, but I have been listening to Radio 4 a lot recently, where the issue of people's loss of centredness has come up in debates and conversations. In the last one, on 'Start of the week' by Andrew Marr, with one my journalistic heros, there was a discussion on spirituality and centredness.

In this conversation, people talked about being moved by spiritual art, by liturgy or services, and other church activities, but that for them, it did not offer quote 'anything to offer their lives in the real world' or to put another way 'anything regarding a way of life that aided people to be centred or resourced'.

Yesterday I warmed up to what has been developed by Moot as an emerging five point rhythm of life which for me was deeply earthed into an emerging church based in a city. Why am I excited - well firstly because it has something to say to the question of centred living, where centred living goes beyond patterning life as a function of pure consumption which is utterly and unhealthy me-centred. It has something to say about our health in relationship not only to ourselves, but also to others, God and the planet.

It is positive, it seeks a transformative and hopeful better world, and it seeks a vision of relatonship with God that helps us recognise our human 'becoming-ness'.

Further, it relates to the piece I put up here about 'deconstruction, reconstruction, faith & theology', in that it is based on a way of reconstruction that holds in tension building a sense of health & faith in the real post-modern culture and world, whilst holding onto the faith received through the ancient but reframed into the present.

So well done Moot, it is all very exciting!! I think it will help all of us to be more centred spiritually and health-wise. It will also help those who look on, to see what it is we hold dear as a spiritual community.

I look forward to our rhythm of life further development, as it is already helping me in my own spiritual centredness and will most definately help me as I encounter and interact with those who surf the cyberedges of this community.

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