Saturday, September 30, 2006


Moot @ Southwark Cathedral alt.worship conference

Pleased to say that the Moot contribution to the Southwark Cathedral Day Conference on alt worship went very well. Kat, Andrew & Gareth took seminars and were involved in a panel discussion, where I (Ian) gave the keynote address. It was a very good day and I was immensely proud of Moot's contribution. Moot community you can be justly pleased with what was done in Moot's name. For more pics of the day click here.

I have been requested for a copy of my address. Please click here for link to dowload site.

For links to altworship resources:
Blog sites - see left top bar for moot supported sites and blogs.

Well done to Michael Hart, Caroline Sheeve, Wilma & Toby and others for a good day!!

Friday, September 29, 2006


Inspired by Cafe Louvre, Prague

I have just come back from Prague, and one of the places that has dinstinctly moved me was Cafe Louvre, one of the classic old french-type cafe's which has been one of the central places for political and philosophical discussion founded in 1902. These cafes were the hot houses for radical thinking and community development. In many ways these types of cafe quite literally changed the world in its political, philosophical and scientific thinking. This cafe was involved in all the revolutions in central europe, including the last one with the collapse in the USSR. It is directly below this cafe, that the student got shot which led to mass protest and independence in 1989.

In the past the cafe hosted discussions with Franz Kafta, Karel Capek, Albert Einstein, and a lot of the existentialist philosophers. Fantastic!! The cafe is still almost in its original form, billiard rooms, discussion groups etc. I love it!

I have realised why I am so keen about the Cafe church dream we hold, as it makes connection with this type of radical community, where people share their dreams and hopes in a wonderful place where people open up and share their lives in a very public space. For me it comes close to the transformative conversations that Jesus had with many over meals and parties where he munched and drank through the whole new testament about radical ideas concerning the Kingdom of God. So Cafe Louvre has inspired me.... To see my pics of Prague, click here

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Justice begins with human rights - the church forgets this at its peril

As some know, I have been very struck by a talk by the Director of Liberty, when she raised her concern about the number of conservative Christians who are extremely negative about human rights. In conversation she let us know that such groups constantly write to her with the view that no person has any rights other than the will of God through redemption. These churches tend to be more conservative and fundamentalist churches who write letters to express their dislike of human rights that seek to protect peoples dignity, respect and rights to a fair trial. It is one thing to say I am an evil sinner, it is quite another to say that no one has the right to be treated with human respect or courtesy or tortured, with the focus on behaviour that then earns rights.

It does worry me that redemptive theology, when tied very closely to the doctrine of original sin, really does have such a low regard towards being human and God's clear expectations of having a just society. In the age old fight between the two parts of the church - incarnational v redemptive ecclesiologies, this negativity towards human rights, displays real dangers if you are not able to hold onto both incarnational and redemptive theologies, and living with the tension of the inconsistencies between the two. Redemptive theology in our church history and the doctrine of original sin have been the excuse of some of the worst violent atrocities and offenses of the church in the name of God, so we go there in our peril. The first step to any expression of violence or oppression is to reduce their humanity to being a lesser-being..... And we the Christian church are often complicit to this process.

So in these times of hightened internal security in the UK, it is vital we do not loose our call to see the story of Genesis - that ALL HUMAN BEINGS reflect the image of God. This is original blessing, and the importance to value all life including humanity. It really does bother me that the church often is extremely unloving, judgemental, racist, sexist and negative about human rights our call is to model a new Ekklesia - a new and just society. Dehumanisation is a real danger with the rise of the more conservative and fundamentalist expressions that think so negatively towards humanity - particularly towards women and gay people. By their love shall you know them. Well from where I am standing, its a much smaller church than it would first seem. The litmus paper for this at the moment is how the church sees women, gay people, asylum seekers, political prisoners and the acceptability of torture in any form.

All this really emphasises the importance of defending our liberal demonstracy by being somewhat intolerent of those who seek to be intolerent, and our need to demonstrate radical and progressive love by speaking out against those who subtly undermine a Christian theology of justice, mercy and generosity.

I am so concerned about this, that I am going to join Liberty myself to support this, and my right to free speech and a desire not to see the liberal framework of our culture be undermined by conservative Christians

Monday, September 25, 2006


Moot's First Missionary Brother McCleary

Some will know that we have recently dispatched Brother Mark back to the Emerald Isle once he completed his theological re-training back to christian orthodox thinking. Unfortunately Br Mark had been led astray by the heretical group Ikon in Belfast.

Now that he has recovered his faith, and is throughly able to understand the error of Ikon thinking, we have sent Br Mark back with our blessing to the Ikon Community to lead them back to the one true faith. We are praying particularly for Br Marks deliberations with Dr Rollins, the heretical teacher and leader of the Ikon community, whose books shows the depth of their error.

We have not heard from Br Mark now for 3 weeks, so as a community we continue to pray for you. Please do let us know that you have not been overcome by our sisters and brothers incorrect thinking. We know your heart to evengelise the ikonese

Friday, September 22, 2006


Spooks | The danger of fundamentalism

[ Episode 3 ] Monday 25th September 2006, 9pm, BBC ONE
Zaf and Adam go undercover in an attempt to stop a terrorist bomb attack.

It is not often a TV programme really gets me thinking, but this episode of spooks I watched on BBC Three has got me spiritually reflecting. At Greenbelt, I did a talk on the new form of mysticism 'techgnosis' as a new or should I say ancient form of spirituality this time arising out of advances in information technology in the UK and USA. At that seminar I also talked about the danger of fundamentalism in our new post-secular postmodern culture, that people who seek to find comfort find it hard to live in a grey world of complexity and therefore seek simplicity through overarching systems of thought that make the world black and white.

What fascinated me about this programme is the connection between idealistic fundamentalism and holding low opinions of humanity. That fundamentalism leads to dehumanising thoughts and actions towards the self and others and therefore violates peoples human rights. In the programme one of the terrorists was recruited in prison because it made sense in a world of complexity and gave meaning, so ended a relationship to become an Islamist.

For me the programme hits a zeitgeist in Zafa who expresses what many people feel post Sept 11th and the London bombings, in a hope that such terrorists be assisted to see how wrong they are by facing the human tragedy and how such beliefs are not sustainable in the real complex world.

The programme also made connections for me between fundamentalist forms of Christianity that judge, use fear and power instead of love and compassion. Where the impossible faith - the basis of techgnosis - leads to them becoming the impossible people. I will blog more on human rights & theology soon, as I had a great chat recently with the Director of Liberty. If you want to know more about techgnosis - listen to my talk at Greenbelt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Moot Alternative Benediction @ Affirming Catholicism Conference

In the spirit of having dialogue with differing traditions in the Church England, Moot this autumn participated in the Affirming Catholicism Conference in Durham, for progressive catholic christians in the Church of England, after completing a Eucharist in the Greenbelt Festival in August, more of an Evo, Post-Evo tradition.

In Durham, we did an alternative benediction service, which is all about venerating God, a very ancient service that we reframed into a modern/future perspective. So alternative worship/emerging church for the first time, had an important presence in this context.

After the service, Jonathan, Gareth and I with the support of Stephen Cottrell, the fantastically pro-emerging church Bishop of Reading, led an open discussion on the place of the emerging church in the context of the anglo-catholic tradition. Feedback from the conference sounds like our presence was well received and that people have been challenged by what we said and did, so that is good.

It was also worth going to see both Jonathan & Gareth in Cassock Albs!!


Moot Blah Learning Day on Christian Formation

Moot continue hosting the blah learning days with two days, one in october and one in november which will I am sure be excellent.

October 14th, Christian Formation 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. Click here to book

25th November, New Monasticism with Roy Searle, Gareth Powell & other.
There has been a resurgence of interest in the monastic way of life recently and many groups have been considering developing their own 'way of life'. So should we all swear to 'poverty, chastity and obedience'? Or is there another way or rythm that would suit our context? So come and hear from Roy a founder of the Northumbria community; Sue who is the UK's original abbess and Gareth who is helping moot to think in urban monastic ways. Click here to book


Alternative Worship Day Conference Southwark Cathedral Sat 30th Sept

Moot and other alt worship communities are supporting Southwark Cathedral with a day conference on alt worship. For those interested in alt worship I think it will be good. Details below:

A chance to explore Alternative Worship The Diocesan Evangelism Group will present an Alternative Worship Conference at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 30 September 10.00am - 3.30pm (registration from 9.30am) It is described as Ďan opportunity to explore alternative worship through presentations, workshops, a question and answer session as well as practical experienceí. Contributors include members of the Moot Community and practitioners from Southwark Diocese including Rev Toby Wright, Rev Wilma Roest and Rev Giles Goddard The cost is £5 per person or £15 for a parish group of up to five people. To book, contact the Groups Support Officer on 0207939 9412 or

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Scripture Space

Luke 10:38-42
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

We will be exploring this short yet well known text which has in its time been understood as comparing the contemplative and active spiritual life, the notion of discipleship,
and the role of women within the church (among others). We will be looking at the story and seeing how we react to the interplay between the three main characters and then seeing how the literary and historical context might open up new aspects of the text.

Do come along tonight (Tuesday 19th Sep) in the moot tower at 7.30pm.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


One year on...

I've now had a year to get used to this whole parenting lark. There's been a steep learning curve, some emotional times, a few quite dark moments, but above everything else, the joy of watching her grow and learn.

It still amazes me that when I look at her and do a big blink, she copies me - how does she know how to do that? or even that that's what she's doing (as she's never done it in front of a mirror). And if she can figure that out, why can't she work out that biting bars of soap is not an experience she really wants to repeat.

It's also been an interesting year in terms of my involvement in Moot. Having always been at pretty much everything that Moot does, now I get to go to something Mooty about once a fortnight, and I haven't been to a planning meeting for over a year! This can leave me feeling a bit out of the loop, but I'm really glad we're making it work.

I also have to say that if it wasn't for Godly Play, we'd be having to think seriously about whether we could stay in Moot at all, and I'd like to say a huge thank you to Ian and Vanessa for all the work they've put into it and also to everyone else who helps out. And thanks to those of you who come that don't have kids - this is Ivy's only real way to be a part of our community, and the fact that you come is hugely significant to us.

So, we embark on year 2 - I'm expecting more learning curves, more tantrums (hers & mine!) and many, many more laughs and memorable moments.


Moot makes it!

Well tonight folks our prayers were answered. Yes thats right we were featured on songs of praise. Ian did a resplendant job explaining what moot was about, and Phillipa and Clare not only looked gorgeous but also captured some of the thoughts and feelings of those in the moot community - and about the difficulty of following Christ in todays complex world.

Hopefully people will see this program and see how the church is trying to bring Christ into todays broken and fragmented world.

However, Songs of Praise definately need to change the music/songs once in a while - how they can talk about emerging church and the complexity of life in the modern world with such god-awful, mono-cultural music I'll never know!

To celebrate this feat I have put a new logo in the sidebar.


Moot Standing Group retreat

Pleased to say that the new Moot standing group has gone away to Ham Convent as planned, to start thinking about the practicalities of moot's development. So Phillipa, Carey, Andrew, Andy, Jonathan, Mike, Gareth and Ian have been doing a mixture of joining in with the convents rhythm of worship as well as discussing practical issues of developing moot.

To remind the community, now that we have moved from start up to sustaining a community, and now to developing things again, we have a new structure of people overseeing particular moot activities, with a standing group that serves to sort out the detail so that we continue to have a community hermeneutic rather that relying on Ian & Gareth to hold it all together. So it goes something like the diagram below:

Community Meeting - Community makes decisions
Moot activity organisers - planning & sustaining our programme
Moot Standing Group - planning the detail to meet the direction set by the community meeting & supporting the moot activity organisers to sustain our programme

It is hoped in this way, we avoid hierarchical approaches to organisation - more that we have a flat leadership where people are given room in the community to carry out certain roles. The Standing Group will be coming back to the Community Meeting with some thoughts following this retreat.



Just a quick message to say that today is Global Day for Darfur.

to add your blue helmet to the cause.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Postcards from the Edge

So today was my opportunity to be a teenager again.

U2 have been recording at Abbey Road studios for the past 2 weeks (and will be for the next 2 weeks), I happened to have a spare day, went up there and hung about until they turned up. Which they did.

Bono is in the US tonight, but the rest of the band turned up to "listen to playback" according to their soundman, Joe O' Herlihy, who I recognised (yes, I'm that sad). They're being produced by Rick Rubin this time around - who's done a lot of work with Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jay-Z, and Johnny Cash, so he should be a new twist on their sound. Can't wait.

Larry was hassled by some over-keen fans, and ran straight in (although he did wave at me). Edge told me that they are recording a charity single for Music Rising with Green Day AND some new album tracks, and Adam was extremely charming and gentlemanly.

Actual Larry. Actual Adam Clayton. Actual The Edge. I'm still shaking.

Check out my Flickr photostream for more snaps (in the side bar)


Open House

This is an exciting weekend for those of us who are into good design and architecture within London. The charity Open House gives everyone the opportunity to visit over 600 buildings new and old across London Ė many of them normally closed to the public Ė completely free of charge.
I have long wanted to visit Kingsdale School, walking distance from where I live in Gipsy Hill. The architects (Leslie Martin/de Rijke Marsh Morgan) have refurbished the existing 1960's building with the addition of the world's largest variable skin ETFE roof creating an internal courtyard and auditorium. The transformation of Kingsdale set out to ask how school buildings relate to school standards and affect the self-esteem, morale and pride of the school community. Furnishings have been designed by the artist collective Atelier van Lieshout, who had an inspiring show at Camden Arts Centre a few years ago. See here for details.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Ian Goes to the London Centre Mosque

I can with all honesty say that I have experienced one of the most moving moments in my life today, when I joined Imams from London's central mosque, Rabbis from a number of synagogues, Roman Catholic & Anglican Priests, Budhist Priests and others of other faiths for Westminster's Fath Exchange. As part of the afternoon, we joined other muslims for there mid-day prayers. It was profounly moving to pray with other Abrahamic faiths to celebrate Adoni, Alla, God. I felt very strongly that God was present. Moved, but sadened that the strife between our faiths continues to cause such strife throughout the world. So I felt little old me, with my emerging/fresh expressions hat on, was playing my part. I learnt a lot from the incredible generosity and hospitality of the mosque, that would put many a church I have experienced to shame.

One Imam I got to know was very interested in what we were doing ... it may be an idea for a Moot trip back to the mosque.....

The experience has given me a lot of hope.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Balance Discussion Reflections

We have started reading the excellent book Finding Sanctuary by Christopher Jamieson, the Abbot from Worth Abbey. Last night we had our first discussion around this months theme of balance (from our rhythm of life), using chapter 1 of the book as our guide. Below are the questions I used to kickstart the discussion - feel free to add your comments if you were there, or even if you were not :-) And thanks to Jayne for posting below with some good ideas to kick us off.

1. Where is our 'sanctuary' place? Do we have one? Do we feel as though we need one?

2. Does our busyness avoid space to be ourselves - allowing us to know ourselves better? Is it fair to say that busyness is our own fault and choice?

3. The abbot talks about there being no peace without sacrifice - what are some of the challenges you have felt when reading and reflecting on balance? balance in our own lives and in the way we consume?

4. What practical steps can we take to a)find a space for sanctuary in our lives? and b)living sustainable lives?


A Year of Living Generously

I guess this came out of the discussion group last night. Our thoughts turned to the point made that in order to find sanctuary we would first have to aim live at peace with other people. This kind of moved to living at peace with our world and aiming to look after it. contributed a lot to Greenbelt this year. They ask people to join them for a year of living generously. This ranges from environmental issues, such as, putting a water saving device in your toilet system and vowing to not use plastic bags at the shops through to acts of general 'goodness' like phoning an old friend and having a student round for a meal that contains vegetables.

I quite like it. I often have good intentions and then feel so disheartened along the lines of 'can so few people actually make a difference'. Every action on this website has a mini blog of how people are finding it. It's nice. Have a look and see for yourself.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Urban rhythms: introduction

This is the first of a series of posts which Iíd like to use to help develop the rhythm of life weíve been thinking about. Something that I consider vital to this is to connect it into the rhythms of the places where Moot resides, both here on the internet and physically in and around London.

Iíve had a piece of writing* on the go for a while that attempts to identify some of the rhythms associated with living in London. The intention of this being to give us a tool to compare London rhythms with those we have identified in our rhythm of life. Some Moot rhythms might synchronise with them, some might need to beat a counter-rhythm, some might syncopate, some might be short and fast, others long and slow. Some of these things relate to living in London whilst some are just to do with living in the here and now.

In an effort to get this thing written Iíve decided to post it section by section on a roughly fortnightly basis. This should help me get each section written and also allow others to comment and develop the text. Iím acutely aware that it is being written from my experience of the city and so opening the writing out to others might help fill some gaps. Hopefully it will also prompt some thoughts on how we as a community might respond.

At present Iím considering some thoughts under the following headings:

nature | anonymity | dreams | speed & memory | control | poverty | resources

(*jumble of text and images in a word document)

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Top ways to defend the status quo

This made me laugh: From Seth Godin's blog.

Of course, the emerging church is NEVER like this.... is it?!?

Top ways to defend the status quo:
  1. "That will never work."
  2. "... That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions [you] put out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society.""
  3. "Can you show me some research that demonstrates that this will work?"
  4. "Well, if you had some real-world experience, then you would understand."
  5. "I don't think our customers will go for that, and without them we'd never be able to afford to try this."
  6. "It's fantastic, but the salesforce won't like it."
  7. "The salesforce is willing to give it a try, but [major retailer] won't stock it."
  8. "There are government regulations and this won't be permitted."
  9. "Well, this might work for other people, but I think we'll stick with what we've got."
  10. "We'll let someone else prove it works... it won't take long to catch up."
  11. "Our team doesn't have the technical chops to do this."
  12. "Maybe in the next budget cycle."
  13. "We need to finish this initiative first."
  14. "It's been done before."
  15. "It's never been done before."
  16. "We'll get back to you on this."
  17. "We're already doing it."

All quotes actually overheard, or read on blogs/comments about actual good ideas.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Beware the flying crockery...

So, I've decided to stop smoking....

This is my third attempt.

1) For my first attempt, I used the Allen Carr book. This is very good. I stopped for about 4 months by using this book. There's no sensationalist "you will die" talk, no being told off like yer gran does. Just very plain simple stuff. It was very good for understanding how addiction works - most smokers think they know, but don't actually.

2) Nicotine patches. Don't. Just don't. They are absolutely vile. I spent most of the time I used them feeling slightly toxic, I had missing bits of skin every time I removed a patch before going to bed, and I had the most disturbing waking dreams for the a large part of the treatment. You could argue that the horribleness of the nicotine patches is an incentive to stay stopped, but as I stopped smoking for 3 months using nicotine patches, I would suggest that if you're going to use a method that might fail at the end anyway, use the Allen Carr book (which explains in great detail why nicotine replacement doesn't generally work).

3) My last cigarette was Sunday night I think. I realised that I'd spent a lot of time analysing what smoking was about for me - about prayer, about addiction, about death, and so on. But in the end I realised that I probably just needed to stop analysing it and finish it. The analysing was hindering, not helping. Plus I didn't want to smoke past the age of 35 (I will be 36 in 2 months time, and have a Wish List with, thank you for asking).

So that's it - I've dealt with it so far by just distracting myself - change the subject in my head, if I find myself thinking about it. Just think about something else. Although blogging about it probably won't help, so far I've found distraction by far the easiest method. A combination of distraction, and hurling objects at annoying people.

By the way, for those of you who are in regular contact with me, as part of my distraction programme, please try to avoid the "oh your doing so well" routine. Or any kind of "how's it going?" talk. It just makes me groan, and such talk will just make me think about fags again. You may mean well, but it's ultimately unhelpful.

I'm sure I may well have another fag one day, but I'd like to avoid the 10-a-day habit of the past 5 years. And if anyone else is reading this and thinking of stopping, the only thing I would say is: don't take my advice too seriously. Everyone has different reasons for starting, stopping, and continuing. You need to find the right method for you, and stopping usually takes a few goes.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Rhythm of Life Link

I am putting a permanent link to the moot rhythm of life, its underneath 'moot community info' in the left hand bar. Do feel free to download it, and reflect upon it.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Evil, Terrorism, Them and Us

Jackie Cameron, an American Anglican Priest from Chicago, gave a really challenging and moving homily on Sunday on the issue of evil, terrorism, them and us. Please kick below to read what she had to say. evilterrorismthem%26us.pdf

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New Moot Season

Deepening Our Spirituality & Community
Now that we are in the run up to advent and Christmas in the church calendar of what is called ordinary time, Moot now turns to deepen our understanding of our developing rhythm of life, and for this month of September we start by looking at balance. We are using the book "finding sanctuary" by Christopher Jamison, (Abbot from the TV series The Monastery), to accompany our discussions and explorations. For this month - we kick off with looking at balance. The community agreed the final statement on this to be:

We aspire to live with integrity in the city, striving as a community for balance between work, rest and play. We wish to develop healthy spiritual disciplines such as daily prayer, meditation and contemplation, drawing on the ancient Christian paths. We want to live within our means, living sustainable lives. We desire to not be simply consumers, but people committed to giving and receiving in all of life.

In preparation for this, we have encouraged people to read pages 11-29 from the book, which will then inform the services, discussions, scripture space and prayer groups.

We have sold out of the books we have, so if you want to get yourself one cheap used copy - click here.

For an update of Moot's programme - click here


And More Greenbelt & Exchanges

Following on from Greenbelt, people have asked me for info about what Isaac & Bowie are doing in New York. They are setting up an emerging church which they have called 'trasmission' in New York. Isaac also has a website about his music.

Some will know, that Moot's Diocese of London is in talks to be twinned with the Diocese of New York, and as part of this, it gives us an opportunity to draw closer links with Transmission to support them as they set things up, alongside our other sister group, COTA in Seattle who we have already established a relationship with.

There is now the opprtunity to plan for exchanges between our three sister group communities - if you are interested in going to Seattle or New York to support either of these communities then let me know.

For more photos of Greenbelt including some more official ones - check out Gareth's, Mike and my flickr accounts - hyper link on this blogs sidebar - there is a link from mine to the Greenbelt official photos.

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