Wednesday, January 31, 2007

 

The Urban Myth is Wrong...

I am pleased to say that I have cracked the mysteries of all mysteries. I know we Mooters were beginning to believe that Mark's reported family life of wife and children were a smoke screen for quite a sordid life of single debauchery, and that some Mooters were proposing a bet that the lady in the distance at Greenbelt was a hired hand .....

I can now report that Pastor Mark is very much married with kids a la photo - after I visited Church on the Corner a couple of weeks ago.
So the bet is now off, even if it was to fund Moot's cafe so that we could have something near what they have. As you can tell, I wasn't covertous at all.... it just had all the room I wanted. However it was outside central London, and I hear quite lawless, hence why the Powells moved from those there parts back to the saved part of the city..... Well they can get on with saving the heatherns of the North East Saxons.... some one has got to do it!

I am off to the Emerald Isle tomorrow for a rest... see you after 14th Feb Ian XX


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

 

Polkadot Pt.6 - Buy this

It's a shopping bag.

It's made of Jute.

You can mend it if it breaks.

If it's beyond repair, it bio-degrades.

You can leave it by your front door for last minute visits to the supermarket (so you don't return with another bloody plastic bag).

You can get it from Traid (Oxfam)

It costs £6.

It's designed by Wayne Hemingway.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

 

Jericho and Aperiatur Terra

Anselm Kiefer has some new pieces installed at galleries in Piccadilly which are based around biblical imagery and references:

Jericho is installed in the courtyard of the Royal Academy and consists of two towers. They are formed from crude concrete boxes propped up with piles of lead sheets resembling books.

Aperiatur Terra is in the new White Cube Gallery (a short walk from the RA behind Fortnum and Mason) where a palm tree has been uprooted and placed diagonally across the gallery whilst one wall is mounted with his trademark relief 'paintings'. More large scale pieces are shown in the basement. All the pieces have a very earthy feel to them, sometimes combining twigs and branches or taking the form of natural textures. They are overlaid with text which makes references to writers, thinkers and biblical events.

'...Aperiatur terra, is a quotation from the Book of Isaiah, which translates as ‘let the earth be opened’ and continues ‘and bud forth a saviour and let justice spring up at the same time’. These contrasting themes of destruction and re-creation, violent upheaval and spiritual renewal underpin much of Kiefer’s work'

[quote from White Cube flannel panel]


Saturday, January 27, 2007

 

Reading on the Emerging Church

By popular request, I have updated the list of recommended books pertaining to the emerging church movement accross the world. There are a variety of different foci, so check out the list.



Friday, January 26, 2007

 

Brucie rules!


Went to see Bruce Cockburn last night at the Borderline. I love Bruce! It was an excellent gig - really good to see him playing without a band, just him and his guitar.

For the uninitiated, Bruce is a Canadian singer/songwriter who is a Greenbelt favourite. I must have seen him play at least 8 times, and he never disappoints!

The only problem about the gig was the 7 foot man standing in the 2nd row right in the middle - in front of me and the friends I went with. You may think I'm exaggerating, but a guy I know who was there is 6'5", and this guy must have been a good 6 inches taller. To be fair, the reason he was at the front was that he was with a girl who was shorter than me (i.e. 5'0"). My brother was uncharacteristically generous and let me swap places with him halfway through the gig (he had a good view through by the tall guy's elbow). One song later, tall guy moved 6 inches to the left, totally blocking my view, and giving my brother a clear view through to Bruce! At this point I noticed a big gap to the left at the front and enjoyed a great view for the last couple of songs.

I did however, spend half the gig thinking about the logistics of a relationship between a 7' man and a 5' woman!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

 

the myth of progress

Belinda Carlisle sang passionately, 'ooooh heaven is a place on earth' and for much of the 19th and 20th century this was the fabled myth that was promised to those who toiled and laboured in the fires of industry. Heaven being that utopian state where humanity needs and lacks for nothing and where hard toil and labour are no more, and earth being where the former came about - no need to pop off to some heaven in the sky just hang around a century or two and it will arrive here in blighty. This was the premise upon which much of the frenzied period of invention and industrialisation were predicated.

Yet is this not some strange myth? A capitalist invention to keep the money flowing (into the right pockets no doubt) and to keep us sedated by an ever increasing amount of technology that drowns out any objections about the environment or the suffering of those in the majority world.

Last week I met with the directors of A Rocha UK, Dave and Anne Bookless - two fantastic people who have a passion for helping people to reconnect to our immediate environment, and helping people to understand in practical ways how they can make a difference to climate change (in a positive way).

Dave outlined the way that many of the economic and social models of development had been critiqued in the last 10-20 years by green thinking people - yet this myth of progress is one that seems to have been left unchallenged. As we talked it seemed obvious that things in the UK as they stand really do not need to get much better - that the tipping point between living comfortably, with the minimum of hassles and stress, and the affect that ongoing research and technological development has on the environment, had been reached - maybe even 40 years ago.

So are you happy as things are? What does need to get better? What don't we need? Why not redirect the billions spent on research and development into projects in the majority world that will allow development to happen in a greener way?

Of course I am no economist - maybe if progress stopped everything would stop. Maybe our whole way of life would crumble. Maybe this myth of progress is intrinsic to the capitalist free market economy we exist within.

I need to do some more reading I think...


 

Electrocrucifix

'Crucifix NG is a printed electronic circuit board in the shape of a crucifix. This handheld, wall-mountable device houses a battery-operated transmitter that broadcasts an ASCII, non-denominational version of the Lord's Prayer at 916 megahertz...

...all people within range of the signal receive the Lord's Prayer, their bodies imbued with an anointed electromagnetism, and it is beyond their ability to accept or reject this transmission. It simply happens to them.'

...more from the Artists website.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

 

Book Review - F Viola's new book

I have been asked to review this book, God's Ultimate Passion by Frank Viola, about to be published in the States. Many in the emergent movement in the States appear to rate this book. If you are wanting to look at the traditional and predominantly redemptive-Christian approach to the understanding of the story of God from creation to recreation (Genesis to Revelation), and you like a narrative approach, then this may be the book for you. This book would be particularly good if you are new to Christian Spirituality, and you were looking for a book that will take you through what some would call 'salvation history', through a more playful and creative approach. From my perspective, the author unashamedly looks at the significance of biblical events through the perspective of Paul the Apostle, and therefore does take quite a conservative approach to things, and does not mention at all some of the key elements that matter to me from a UK emerging church perspective. All these things being equal, it would be a good book to have on your shelf, but it didn't scratch where I itch.... Click on the image for more info.

Monday, January 22, 2007

 
mootevangelise me >>>

Last year, I and a number of people in the Moot Community were impressed by
The Belfast based Ikon community, who went to a number of different faiths
And asked them to evangelise them....

In this spirit, I am planning visits for anyone interested in the Moot Community &
Beyond to go to:

The London Central Synagogue
The Regent’s Park Mosque
North London Hindu Temple
The Buddhist Centre Lambeth.

The first of these will be the London Central Synagogue. If you are interested let Ian
Know in the usual way.

In times of increased racial and religious tension, these visits are aimed at showing good
will and learning from other traditions, and that Christians can be civil and respectful.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

 

Emerging Church Website R-evaluation



January Edition of emergingchurch.info is now available
Checkout this months edition, which now includes research articles. They are also reviewing the whole thing - if there is anything you want to say, or if you have ideas - please let them know.

 

Reframing the journey...

Long ago I shifted from viewing the Christian life from something you arrived at (i.e. praying some conversion prayer and becoming a Christian cue 50 years sat in a pew in church) to something more like a lifelong journey (becoming Christian to use Pete Rollin's term).

As moot has been reflecting on its Rhythm of Life this last 6 months I have been reflecting long and hard about how we are to live responsibly in our current climate.

An area of life that always frustrates me is journeys - the getting there - whether this is a half hour bus trip to Streatham or an 11 hour flight to Seattle - I hate travelling, I just want to be there. But recently I have been really challenged about this.

Since the age of flight journey times have been cut and cut, people now spend the minimum of time travelling and the maximum time at their destination - travel has been reduced to a hassle rather than being seen as part of the trip - it's an inconvenience that we seek to lessen rather than something we embrace. Maybe, like Christian faith, travel should be as much about the journey as the arrival point.

This next year I want to fly a lot less than last year - and I also want to try and use public transport or at worst car-sharing to get to most of the places I will be going to. But I also want to see the journey as part of the trip - not as a hassle. I want to try and stop and engage in conversation, to be present in the moments in the car or on the train as much as I am at my destination. I know myself - I sit and disappear into my head waiting just to arrive, angry at any delay, and frustrated when things go wrong (just ask Ian and Phillipa about a recent Greenbelt trip).

There is something deeply worrying about a culture where road rage is an accepted norm - part of life, and where people have been killed because they drove too slowly or in the wrong way. Travel by tube always seems to be at some point full of angst (whether me or someone else on the carriage) at a slight delay (or a long one). How much better would travel be if we stopped and took notice of where we were and who was around us - and took that time to grow to know ourselves and each other better?

Maybe over the next five years flying will be way to expensive as the Government taxes it to truly reflect the way it contributes towards climate change. Perhaps we will all be spending longer on trains/buses/cars as a result. I see this as an opportunity to see more of the world not less, as we will be passing through villages, towns and cities we would otherwise never see, maybe we should stop more often, and take in the myriad of cultures and peoples we would otherwise miss.

So does anyone fancy the long trip to Trine's wedding in Denmark this year rather than the one hour flight? Cue France, Belgium and Germany, 750 miles, and endless types of beer ;-)


 

First Scripture Space for 2007

Tues 23rd Jan | Scripture Space | 7.30pm | STMW Conference Centre
Jonathan leads us in an exploration of hospitality drawing on the old testament, and in particular
themes within Genesis 18. Don’t be intimidated, its a place to expand your horizons. For more info on Scripture Space click here.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

 

Grace is uniquely about Christian Spirituality...

In our brave new world of postmodern 'Spirituality' rather than 'Religion', the uniqueness of Christian Spirituality can be found in the concept of 'Grace'. Too often this has been a somewhat neglected part of the faith, but it is key if we are to recontextualise the imminence of the significance of Christ as well as the more philosophical transcendence that most in the emerging church focus on. Christianity is unique as a faith - in that it is imminent and transcendent. Most faiths are 'either-or' rather than 'both-and'. The Emerging Church is good on transcendence and not very good at imminence, a mistake of the gnostics and others....

Paul Tillich, an important figure in C20th Theology puts it well:

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaning-less and empty life. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for-perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades ... Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into the darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: "You are accepted. You are accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know."... Simply accept that you are accepted! If that happens, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed... and nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.

What Tillich is describing, is the presence of the Christ, the bringer of hope and transformation - as the face that exposes the invisible and divine. Christ the human who expresses fully the mystery of God, and whose actions brings us Grace.


Monday, January 15, 2007

 

Pub Spirituality in Westminster


MOOT PUB SPIRITUALITY
|Tues 30th Jan | Green Coat Boy Pub, Victoria | 7.30pm

At last, we are hosting the beginning of what we hope will become a regular event. A chilled space for those who are interested in exploring spirituality but do not consider themselves to be Christian - to explore issues and questions pertaining to Christian spirituality. For the first of these events, we are keen to meet up to explore what themes and issues people would like to explore, from artistic, philosophical or theological perspectives. The plan is for meetings to be discussion based, where someone may go and prepare and explore an issue for the group to discuss – which may be a poem, a piece of art, and idea, or questions about specific issues pertaining to spirituality.

Please do let Ian know if you or your friends are interested in attending by emailing pubspirituality@moot.uk.net. Please do forward to this who ever you would like.

A few things that it is not. An Alpha Course, a Conversion Course, Christianity dressed up trendily, Brain washing or a cult.

Please contact us if you have any queries, see below for a map and website info.
Map Link:

Dekhomai Website
Moot is one of the the spiritual communities that make up Dekhomai – that promotes alternative exploration of Christian Spirituality at ‘Mind Body and Spirit’ festivals in the UK.

Moot Website:


 

Janice and the Inner Jihad

“To those who prove victorious I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it.” (the book of Revelation ch 2 v17)

Sometimes I’m a bit alarmed by the opening verse of a poem I’m writing ….so I accidentally lose it, only to find it years later and suddenly realise how to finish it.

In this instance, you’ll probably see why I decided’ to lose it! But also, why it took all of those years to understand how to get from the beginning of the poem to the end.

So here she is…

Janice

Janice was jaunty
Relentlessly blythe
As welcome as death
With his grin and his scythe.

She loved with pure gladness to live life and spend
And with grim application to laugh and transcend.

Her heart was unbounded and so was her mind
Her smile ever-ready, she'd never unwind.
As dippy and daring as heroes at sea.
Uncaptained and mastless
She floated quite free.

As bright as the signal flags
Flown in a war
She'd flap in the wind
And be seen from the shore.

‘Which colours are these now?’
They'd ask from the watch
And lean on the Bible and reach for the scotch.

But no one could read them,
Although so intense
Their eyes were too tired
And the mist was too dense.

So Janice though jaunty
And fresh for the fight
Exhausted by waiting
Grew dark with the night.

But alone in the hold
Of the salt sea swell
Was tenderly lifted
As it rose and fell.

Till starlight in greylight and monochrome air
Received all the pain of the colours she'd wear.

Till she was translucent and smooth as a stone
And pale as an opal
With a fire of her own.

Looking back at the poem I can see that it’s her church community, as well as herself, that are not a little dim witted, and cloudy sighted. Having failed to “see” her, they leave her to fall into shadow. Her true self is incomprehensible to them. Instead, the false self flourishes and wanes, exhausted by its own pseudo-vitality.

Activity without repose. Action without Contemplation. Prayer without encounter with God’s inexhaustible mystery.

But in the ‘greylight’, in the apparent failure, loss and solitude, she becomes capable of receiving and of being comforted. In a prayer of repose she is transformed and prepared for authentic action. For God really knows who we are.

“Yaweh, my heart is not haughty,
I do not set my sights too high.
I have taken no part in great affairs, in wonders beyond my scope.
No, I hold myself in quiet and silence,
Like a little child in its mother’s arms,
Like a little child, so I keep myself.
Let Israel hope in Yahweh
Henceforth and for ever.” (Psalm 131)

Under the loving and Creative Gaze of God, we can let go of the layers of the false self.… the needy, anxious, self-pitying, cynical, self-righteous, oblivious, impatient, critical, passive or triumphalist self (add to taste!), but its gradual falling away makes room for God’s presence and Life in us. This is what the Church used to call progress in Holiness, and which the Gospel puts beautifully simply “He must increase and I must decrease!” Such holiness is generally (and specifically by Jesus) deemed to belong to those who know how to be like little children; in the psalm they are very little children indeed, just babies in the arms of their parents.

But this all sounds a bit cosy! What about the world and its problems! What’s all this lazing about being gazed at and loved…doesn’t that sound a bit self-indulgent….all this contemplation is surely for people with nothing better to do, no tax forms to fill in and no toddlers to clean up after.

I remember coming across a shiver-producing quote from Nietzsche, the one who thought that Christianity produced a slave mentality and so urged us to strive to become the Over Man and all that - At any rate he said “If you look into the abyss, the abyss will look into you”. How true. He was in a sense a kind of inverted mystic, with a vocation manqué. His observation, evidently written from personal experience, reminded me how vital it is for us to look steadfastly at the Character of God and His plenitude and not become mesmerised by our own weaknesses, the churchs’ struggles and the world’s demise.

An old hermit once wrote, that contemplation is “a long loving look at the real, filled with personal, passionate, presence”.

We look at God, the most Real of all, and he is already looking at us with love. In prayer, we make the act of Faith that we are beheld.

Then when we give ourselves the chance to become aware of His personal, passionate presence, we grow in a particular kind of confidence that prepares us to respond to our World-healing vocations, but not before we’ve engaged with the healing process ourselves.

The word confidence comes from the latin ‘with’ ‘faith’ (con fidere). So we are called not to be ego-confident but God-within the-true-self confident. When John the Baptist says, He must increase and I must de-crease, this decreasing is not a falsely humble, personality denying, pseudo martyrdom, victim complex thing, an invitation to resignation and supine subservience to oppression of the sort that disgusted Neitzche, no, it’s the gradual uncovering of the true self in which the Trinity is pleased to dwell. And there, in the silent attention of contemplative and sacramental prayer the Trinity converses, becomes the living water springing up to eternal life.

In this context the personality emerges over years of prayer, more balanced, loving, compassionate, receptive and as a consequence, dynamic and outward- facing when it needs to be and dynamically inward-facing when it needs to be.

This is one way we begin to humanise the city, by becoming more human ourselves, which, because of our Vocation to Life in the Spirit both individually and as community means sharing the Life of God within us and amongst us.

This is the victory of the authentic Holy War within. Scary phrase! But we should be afraid of not winning that particular internal war. That is the meaning of daily conversion:..to choose to turn away from the abyss and towards God. That internal struggle is against the tyranny of the self-oppressing ego. It is essential for the good of the community and of society because the unrefined ego outworks itself in oppressing others. The failure to achieve personal holiness manifests itself, in part, in all the unjust structures in society. They are often no more than mirrors of the turmoil in individual souls.

This is the vital connection between personal holiness and social justice. No system, no matter how well devised or de-constructed can make up for the absence of Grace, the absence of mature individuals living a contemplative God- facing life, filled with the character that only His Love and Grace can achieve in us.

“To those who prove victorious I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it.” Revelation 2 v17

If you like what you are reading, see my website and CD

 

Mark Wallinger: State Britain

  

A new display opened at the Tate Britain today by the artist Mark Wallinger.

It consists entirely of reproductions of the signage and artefacts belonging to Brian Haw. I've blogged about Brian before - he's the guy who sits outside Parliament all day everyday, protesting about US/UK involvement in the Iraq war.

Last year some fairly draconian laws were passed, banning protests within a 1 kilometre radius of Parliament. Brian's stuff was cleared away under that law one night last year, and now here it is - Haw is now only allowed to occupy a space no greater than a couple of square metres.

I walk past Brian every day on the way to the studio, and I always thought that Brian's collected detritus was art anyway. I'm not sure how copying it all and assembling it in the Tate either confirms or denies this, except to say that Wallinger has re-arranged the stuff so that all the most gruesome images of birth defects in Iraqi children are very prominently displayed.

Mark Wallinger is interesting enough, but he's another artist that the emerging church seems to adore. Perhaps its because of his piece "Ecce Homo", or perhaps its because he was a Turner Prize nominee in the 90s.

For me the best parts of the piece were i) the backs of the placards were you can see some of Brian's personal effects and graffiti - the inner space of his psyche perhaps - and ii) there is a  masking tape line placed on the floor of the Tate. It runs through several galleries and marks the boundary of the 1 kilometre protest exclusion zone around Parliament, which, happily enough for Wallinger's piece, bisects the Tate neatly in half.

Admission to the exhibit is free.

moot happens to be inside the exclusion zone. I wonder if I'm breaking the law by posting this...?

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Opportunities for budding writings & creatives

I am pleased to say that Moot has a number of budding writers and creatives. Currently, there are two excellent initiatives for people who want to start or develop their writing in all sorts of genres, some including the fusion of music and words. So there are workshops, seminars, events and competitions. So don't be intimiated have a go. See 'Spread the Word - developing London's writers - Jan-April 2007' and 'Shot from the Lip' from Feb 2007.

Further, in all Moot's services, we are trying to promote the participation of people using their different creative skills. If you want to use your poetry or prose skills or story telling, singing/playing instruments.... in fact what ever, please make sure people know - as we want to utilise these skills in the small & big services & Eucharist. Arts as worship are really important, and we need to keep promoting them to assist our spirituality.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

 

Polkadot Pt.5 - Fruit and Veg in Season


It turns out that choosing what you eat carefully is a good way of polka-dotting - by eating fruit and veg in season.

Rather than out of season.

I'll come onto why in a sec, but my main problem is, I haven't the first clue what the hell fruit and veg is in season? I live in Streatham. This place is not renowned for its vast tracts of farmland, although if you've ever driven through Croydon, you could be forgiven for thinking that there lives hitherto undiscovered sub-human life. In the Summer it gets hot, and in the Winter it gets cold. I have no idea when potatoes become edible or harvestable, or whatever the hell it is you do with potatoes when they're ready. Pull-upable, might be the word I'm after. The only reason I know that strawberries are in season is because the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament takes over the schedules and wipes out everything I normally want to watch on TV.

Cue the joys of the Internet. It's here so now you know:

Veg Seasons

A Chef For All Seasons

Cooking Outside the Box

Seasonal Readers Recipes

You see, eating fruit in season, my fellow townies, means that amongst other things, it's been grown relatively nearby. It hasn't had to travel far to get to you, because its been grown locally, at the right time of year. You can see where I'm going with this can't you. It's not been flown over from Lebanon, just so you can eat it NOW! (If you find yourself shouting: "I simply must and shall have Lemon Meringue pie despite the fact that the Lemons have had to come from Israel! It's my consumer rights at stake I tell you!", then you have a) lost the plot, and b) not really grasped the concept of how you can help look after the planet. Have a rethink.)

Admittedly we never grow lemons, for example, in Britain (at least not yet), but getting lemons that are in season from Spain is going to be much better for the planet than getting them flown over from the Near East. It just depends how much your conscience will allow.

Another good tip is to hunt out Farmers Markets. A Farmer's Market means that by definition the stallholders have to have made the food themselves, and must be from a definably local area. There are a few. Our nearest is at Bonneville Primary School in Abbeville Road, Clapham South. It happens on Sundays, 10am - 2pm. And best of all, we live near Borough Market. How cool is that? Although not everything at Borough Market falls under the remit of a Farmer's Market, much of it does, if you look carefully. That means we can get the best organic and non-GM stuff really easily, and we can get stuff that's been made or grown within a reasonable distance from where we live. This cuts down the amount of miles its had to travel. No air miles for Mr. Sainsbury.

See you down there.

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Guantanimo Bay compound is 5 years old!

Sorry to say that Moot's birthday coincides with the creation of the Guantanimo Bay detention camp, a disgrace to all civilised people. I am pleased to say that Amnesty international have created a playful protest out at sea - of surfers, small boats, wind surfers and a like, check out here.

 

The Butt stops with Hospitality

This month, we the Moot Community are exploring the application of "hospitality" in our spiritual lives, as it states:

We wish to welcome all we encounter, when we are gathered and when we are dispersed, extending Christ's gracious invitation to relationship, meaning and life in all its fullness.

The application of these words is high, simple to say but challenging to live, and I am really happy that the community aspires to this.

One of the most moving moments in my life, was when I was with the Taize community in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, before the collapse of Yugoslavia. I was there protesting and praying for peace with the people who were demanding the right for free elections for the first time since they could remember, where we faced the army and secret police of the Yugoslav state. I was taken aside a few times for taking pictures, and I learnt for the first time that people can only hate if they see you as less of a human being. I learnt that hatred is directly related to being able to see someone as less than you rather than equal to you. As a Christian Community, Taize has prayed and campaigned for a post-world war Europe free from oppression. One of my dear friends, who suffered dearly in a Serbian concentration camp - yes concentration camp in the war which the British Government refused to accept was happening until too late, was to his face called a 'dog' and had to walk around with a black star on his jacket, where thousands literally starved to death. He is now scarred by what happened to him.

The second most moving moment was at a U2 concert where they sang a song of hope and hospitality and on the large screens wrote out the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. It still sends a shiver up my spine. Here - visually those who are usually perceived as 'less than us" where displayed with dignity and love - the exact opposite of my Croatian experience. I always find it very difficult that so many Christians are so negative about the United Nations and the concept of Human Rights. For me, Human Rights are the starting place of hospitality, of seeing yourself as equal to those who are different from you, and even those you may desperately disagree with, who may even hate you. The equivalent for me, of allowing someone from the Lawyers Christian Fellowship to be allowed to say what they think. A challenge I attempt to live by. So Moot's short little rhythm entry summaries the values and essence of the international charter on Human Rights, and calls us to live generously, so that we live out the great Hebrew Shemah that Christ commands us to follow. To love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself..... There is no greater command than this. Imagine what would happen if we really lived like this!


 

Happy Birthday Moot - 4 years old last week


Just in case you missed it, Moot was four years old last week. So happy birthday Moot community, we will drink a toast to the community at the cafe church this Sunday.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

Moot Cafe church on Sun 14th

After this Sunday's Moot Eucharist (starts 6.30pm) on the theme of hospitality, we are having an open Moot Cafe Bar rather than going down the pub, where there will be a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks. If our fairtrade order comes through, then there will be snacks available too, so invite your friends or even drag random people off the streets in a non-fundamentalist sort of a way. Be creative!! And Yes it will be fluffly with nice lighting..... if only we had a football table... we need one for the future!! But can anyone beat Gareth, this is the question?? See you Sunday.....


Sunday, January 07, 2007

 

Blah Learning Day on 'New Monasticism & the Emerging Church'





For those who missed it or want copies of the talks to listen again, the MP3s of the New Monasticism Blah Learning Day are now available for download through the Mootique. It was an excellent day, and well worth listening to. Check out the blah learning day mp3s download section

All raised proceeds are ploughed back into Moot's ongoing work.



 

Moot iCal for 2007 now up

Andrew has kindly put our Epiphany - Easter moot happenings into an iCal calendar - you can download it here. We hope to sort out a PC version soon.


Friday, January 05, 2007

 

Book reading this month "hospitality" pages p.111-35, p158-172

Just a reminder that we are reading this month on hospitality to inform our discussion and services regarding the rhythm of life. See link on left bar for the book Seeking Sanctuary.

We have 4 extra copies of the book for £4.50 if you want a copy, contact Ian to reserve copies, first come first served

 

Hope & Peace

Sorry to say that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time last night at Clapham Junction Station, where I was thumped by a very distressed bloke who had obviously been in a fight. In the last two weeks I have been spat at, shouted at, and now thumped. It seems to me, that people seem to be increasingly stressed and unhinged, and not just in Streatham. So many people seem to have no idea about who they are or what life is about, with a really strong loss of the civil and the public. I have found the last couple of weeks very difficult, as I have tried very hard to the belief that people are inherently good, and that it is society that breaks people - in our competitive brave new world of the haves and the have nots.....

With this in mind, I was moved to tears today by the poetry of a favourite bard of mine, Dr Maya Angelou, a black baptist christian, who directly challenged to the President of the United States with this poem, to which I am trying to hold to.

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth's tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.


 

Supporting Moot through e-commerce

This is just a small plea to those who consider themselves part of the Moot Community or who support our blog and other resources. The Moot Community, its development and its activities are dependent on our own income generation. To assist this, we now sell a number of downloadable resources through our Mootique - but we now have a number of new affiliate schemes that will generate around a 6% income stream from online orders, so please consider using these when completing internet orders:

1. Amazon - all orders that are accessed through the link on the blog tool bar, the mootique front page, the Moot financial support page - and also the selection of recommended books on the emerging church in the mootique store.

2. Fairtrade - we will shortly have links to a Fair Trade provider who do home deliveries. We will be using this for all Moot Cafe church resources from now on. Again there will be a link from the blog tool bar and from the Moot support page.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

 

Polka Dot Pt.4

I was sitting in my living room the other day staring at my various appliances. You know - TV, DVD player, Freeview box, microwave, toaster, kettle, that sort of thing. As you do. A few thoughts popped into my head.

The first thought was that I really need to move the toaster, kettle and microwave into the kitchen where they belong.

My second thought: They keep telling us to switch these things off, because apparently they use as much electricity in stand-by mode as when you're actually using them for the purpose they were intended.

But then I thought - wouldn't be great, if each household object had a rating system, according to how damaging it is for the environment? Wouldn't it be brilliant if everything from lightbulbs to boilers had to be rated? Then you could have - ooh, I don't know - say an "A" for the best things, things that didn't damage the environment, and a scale from "A" all the way through to say "G" for the worst.

I don't know why I thought of "G", but the fact that Vitamins only go up to "E" seems to be completely arbitrary to me, so I thought I'd go up to "G" for the hell of it.

Then I thought: This would only work if you had to display your rating by law, so whenever you go into a shop, all you had to do was look at the label and go: "Oh no, that's an "F"! I don't want an "F" in my house, I want an "A", that's what I want. Boy! Show me all your best "A"s. None of this "F" rubbish."

If only... If only...

Hang on, what's this...?

Just a word of warning. Every time you buy a new thing, you contribute to global warming in some form. Every new thing has to be manufactured, which means more carbon in the atmosphere, and more old stuff in a landfill. The thing to do is repair stuff rather than throw it out. If its beyond repair, then either get something second-hand, or by all means, get a nice shiny new "A" rated whatever-it-is. But no sneaky jamming a fork in your toaster accidently on purpose so that you can replace it. ("I don't know what happened darling, the fork just fell out of my hand and lodged itself, twisting across several resistors and irreparably damaging the pop-up mechanism. We'll simply have to rush out and get a new one.")

Also, at present the rating system applies to white goods only, but there are criterion that you can apply to other household items in terms of energy efficiency, such as whether or not you can switch them off from stand-by mode etc.,

Happy hunting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

 

National Series of one day conferences


HARD QUESTIONS : Mission and Church in the 21st Century
The Fresh Expressions team are holding a series of one day conferences around hard questions of mission and ecclesiology. Ther aim is to draw out debate and resource thinking and reflection in these key areas of faith and life.

Each day conference will look at two significant questions with the aid of distinguished guest lecturers. There will be space for questions and debate. Attendance at each event is limited to 60 people. Lunch is included in the day.

All of the lectures will be published in a collection of essays early in 2008.

Programme:

19th April Wesley College Bristol
What is the essence of the church?
The Revd. Dr. Martyn Atkins, Principal of Cliff College
A mission-shaped training for a mission-shaped church
The Revd. Canon George Kovoor,
Principal of Trinity College, Bristol


23rd April Lambeth Palace, London
Sacramental ministry in fresh expression of church
The Rt. Revd. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
Developing Ecclesiology in Global Perspective
The Revd. Dr. Tim Dakin, General Secretary, CMS.

26th April Durham Cathedral (Prior’s Hall)
Fresh expressions of church in the New Testament?
Professor James G.D. Dunn
Developing churches which can transform the culture
The Revd. Dr. Graham Tomlin,
Principal of the St. Paul’s Theological Centre, Holy Trinity Brompton

3rd May Manchester Cathedral
Catholic Ecclesiology and Contemporary Mission
The Revd. Dr. Angela Tilby, Wescott House, Cambridge
Looking for maturity in the emerging church
Professor John Drane

10th May University of Birmingham
The challenge of evangelism and apologetics for new communities
The Revd. Dr. David Wilkinson, Principal of St. John’s College, Durham
Mission Shaped and Kingdom Focussed?
Professor John Hull, The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham

17th May Cathedral Hall, Leeds
Patterns of church and mission in the Acts of the Apostles
Professor Loveday Alexander, University of Sheffield
The gift of the Spirit and the shape of the church
The Revd. Dr. Alison Morgan, Resource

24th May Canterbury Cathedral
Can fresh expressions of church make a difference?
The Revd. Lynda Barley, Head of Research, The Archbishops’ Council
Building prayer and spirituality in a mixed economy church
Canon Martin Warner, St. Paul’s Cathedral

Practical Information:
The timetable for each day is as follows:
1030 Registration and Coffee
1100 Welcome & Introduction
1115 First Lecture and questions
1215 Panel discussion
1245 Prayers
1300 Lunch
1400 Second Lecture and questions
1500 Panel discussion and summary
1530 Depart

The cost of each day is £30 including lunch.
You can book online at www.freshexpressions.org.uk/hardquestions

 

Celtic Emergence - Ah Go on you will you will you will

In just over four weeks the second annual Soliton gathering in Ireland takes place. This year our theme is 'Dangerous Living'.

Our traditions are stories of dangerous lives: prophets critiqued dangerously, apostles spoke dangerously, and the early church fathers lived dangerously. Jesus inspired life practices that launched a new society both critical of and dangerous to the present order. 2007's Soliton Sessions are an invitation to rediscover this alternative society. Facilitators already confirmed include Jonny Baker, Kester Brewin, Pete Rollins, Laura Bagley, Si Johnston, Gareth Higgins, Erin Parish and Andrew Jones, writers, leaders, and thinkers who between them share experience in social justice activism, the spirituality of 'real life', theology and sexuality, art and spirituality, truth and deceit in politics, and the emergence of new faith communities. As a special event, the wonderful Juliet Turner will also play a concert for Soliton during the weekend.

The 2007 Celtic Soliton Sessions will take place in two parts from 1st
- 4th February 2007

On Thursday 1st Feb we will be in Belfast, with the event running from 10am - 4pm, with an evening meal together.

Friday 2nd - Saturday 4th Feb we will host a residential event in Portrush.

We have planned the events this way to encourage participation from as wide a group as possible; participants are welcome to attend either or both the Belfast and Portrush sessions. We have also sought to keep the costs very low - you'll find more information at www.solitonnetwork.org

We're really looking forward to what we expect to be a fantastic opportunity for people to think and reflect together about ideas and practices that could prove revolutionary; together we plan to create an experience of community and reflection that evokes the best in each other.

This is your personal invitation to be part of Soliton this year - Please note that the invited facilitators are just that - this is not another conference where 'authoritative' speakers tell us what to think, but rather an opportunity for conversation, debate, and shared experience. Soliton gatherings are only as good, as thoughtful, as substantial, as entertaining, and as meaningful as the participants choose to make them - whether your preference is to take part in every conversation or to spend the time listening to others, we hope you will find meaningful space at Soliton.

And for the Polka dotted amongst you - it is possible to get to God's own country by boat and train thereby reducing your footprint. It would be lovely to see any / all of you at the event.

peace

Mark

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

 

Further confessions of a struggling consumer

Given the challenge possed by Mike and Gareth in December about all things carbon neutral, I can strongly recommend two sources of factual assistance of working your way through the ethical complexity of what to do. Both are Rough guides, the first to ethical shopping and the other to climate change. For thickos like me it puts the arguments well.

On the issue of trees for flights, as Mike said there are some dodgey groups out there, BUT the World Wildlife Fund are involved in one very good scheme and there is at least one other that has a good reputation with scientists. In the UK the two schemes that were recommended were climate care and future forests. It works out at around 1 tree for every 1000 miles, but you need to plan in extra as carbon is released when a tree dies - so - if you are wanting to ensure sound carbon offset, you are looking at 1.5 trees for every 1000 miles. As part of my new years resolution -
I am making this commitment:
1. Only use own car when absolutely have to and no reasonable alternative - otherwise train & tube. Bus 159 when psychologically able to cope.
2. To move into central London at some point to reduce transport needs.
3. To commit to carbon offsetting for long hawl flights, and not to use short hawl - use train as an alternative. Keep these flights to a minimum.
4. On holidays - to rent cars that are diesel engines or bio fuelled.


 

Into Great Silence

At last a craved spiritual moment amongst the dumbed down commercial farce that has become Christmas.... Some of us Mooters went to see the film of the The Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the legendary Carthusian Order, based in the French Alps. The film emphasised central monastic themes of Silence, Repetition and Rhythm. The film is an austere, next to silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form. No music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews, no commentaries, no extra material. Changing of time, seasons, and the ever repeated elements of the day, of the prayer. A film to become a monastery, rather than depict one. A film about awareness, absolute presence, and the life of men who devoted their lifetimes to god in the purest form. Contemplation. An object in time.

You start out feeling a bit like a spiritual tourist watching monks, but you soon get into a pattern - yes based on looking at others, but never the less very spiritual.

I was pleasantly surprised how so much of it felt quite familiar from the osmosis of Moot being at St Matthews. The pattern of the seasons, the place for contemplation, stillness and simplicity, there is even a benediction very similar to what Moot did in September at the Affirming Catholicism conference - except they had a better monstrance - with the same chant that we sang. It was for me a profound moment - where a cinema for a brief 3 hours became a silent spiritual centre rather than a place of entertainment. As Mike said, the Director stretched the audience in the cinema to engage with silence far more than is usual, in a profoundly spiritual and asthetic way. Again, the emerging church in its new monastic forms has much to learn from the premodern church and its original monastic forms. I highly recommend going to this, but take an early viewing!! - Its on at the Curzon Soho and Barbican. The words of wisdom of one of the blind monks near the end of his days will remain with me for a while.

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