Friday, March 30, 2007

 

Holy Joes II

Pleased to say that like Moot, Holy Joes have begun a partnership with a Central London Diocese of London church - except they are in the City of London. Some of us in Moot have had various amounts of involvment with Holy Joes over the years firstly with Dave Tom and Clapham, and then with Steve and Victoria, and now they are starting up rebranded into the City of London. Good luck to them - see link for more info.

 

Prayer Development Day | 5th May | St Saviour's Priory, Old Street

Reminder - we have a great day lined up for a Prayer development day with Julie Dunstan, good friend to Kat, and a spiritual director to lead the day's prayer development. Click here for more info & booking.

Students discount is available.

Bio for Julie Dunstan: I am a psychotherapist and spiritual director. I also teach and supervise in both fields. I have a particular interest in how Christian spirituality can(though often doesn't!) reach people at depth and foster growth and healing. I want to help people experience God's presence in personal and authentic ways; to get people out of their heads and into their hearts; into God's heart. I am a member of All Saints' Church, West Dulwich, and presently developing an alternative prayer project called All Saints' Soul Space. I am married with one lovely daughter. I am grateful for God's grace.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

 

The power of symbols


I had an interesting chat with Jan last night about symbolism. In Germany it is illegal to show the signs of the swastika, the SS logo and several other Nazi related symbols. On the one hand this strikes me as a good thing - it makes it hard for the extreme right to use these symbols in public spaces which means that they either try and invent new symbols or use these ones sparingly to avoid a fine or a prison sentence, and it means that people who suffered horrendously under the Nazi's are not reminded of those horrors by being exposed to the central symbols of the regime.

Another part of me however is very queasy about banning any kind of symbols - no matter how they have been used and what they have/do stand for. I don't want to particularly get into the semiotics of language and how all signs are just that and no more (i.e. they are not moral agents in and of themselves but are only given meaning as we ascribe it to them - perhaps most obviously in this case in that a Hindu would see a swastika as a symbol of their religion, whilst a Jew would beg to differ). My key objection would be that it removes the possibility of the symbol being re-appropriated. The word 'queer' was for many, many years an insult to homosexual people - yet the word has now lost most, if not all, of its insulting power and has instead become a mainstream, fairly positive word used by both the homosexuals and heterosexuals, even featuring in mainstream TV shows (Queer eye for the straight guy, Queer as folk etc...).

The word has in short been reclaimed. Gay activists in the 1980's and 1990's started to use the word as a descriptive term themselves, in both written and spoken form. This re-appropriation robbed the word of its offensive and insulting overtones and reclaimed the word as a positive and pretty playful term. This process can be seen in many places - perhaps for Christians in the icon of the cross - a Roman torture method. Could the cross in the 1st century AD could be compared as a symbol to the swastika in the way it would have conveyed a sense of horror and brutality?

I really have no idea how the swastika and SS symbols may be re-appropriated but part of me hopes that at some point the future they will be.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

 

Creating Passionate Users


I felt moved to blog about this.

For those of you not in the know, there's a great blog site called "Creating Passionate Users" run by a wonderful woman called Kathy Sierra. The website is one of the most respected in the world of blogging, and is there to help people to learn to blog intelligently, and use some of the stuff that is known as "Web 2.0" to the best advantage.

So it is with a heavy heart that I read that she has become subject to a number of death threats.

To the point where she has had to cancel speaking engagements, cannot leave the house, and is afraid for her 2 daughters.

She may never post again, which would be a great loss to the blogosphere. Her last post explains the ins and outs, and it's not pretty.

The good part is that although most of her posts attract about 20 comments, this last post has received some 705 comments (last time I looked), mostly in support.

The bad is that considering the blog world is about 50% female, most of the blogging A-list is male.

The other bad is that there are a whole lot of blogs out there that exist purely to express cynicism and to slag off others - because they think its cool.

It seems that bullying and sexism is alive and well in Web 2.0 - a macrocosm for life generally. As the web becomes more and more populated and popular, this will undoubtedly become more obvious.

Although I haven't yet been able to digest what it means for us as a community that represents itself heavily in cyberspace, my instinct is that it is significant somehow, and that a prayer for Kathy is in order, I think - as well as best wishes from the mootblog.

UPDATE:

Maryam Scoble

Gaping Void

Seth Godin's blog

Doc Searl



Saturday, March 24, 2007

 

Aaron overcome by the Spirit at Ladbroke Grove Station

I just wanted to encourage the Moot Community, that our brother Aaron had a spiritual experience on Ladbroke Grove station last night, witnessed by Sister Catherine and I. It was extremely moving to see him spontaneously burst into liturgical dancing on the London Underground System. It is deeply encouraging - see the movie link....

Aaron you are a legend!!

Does anyone have an interpretation?

Video000.3gp


Thursday, March 22, 2007

 

Fashion in Belfast at the Celtic Soliton 2007 Sessions - Irish Glow-in-the-dark Brides

For a moment of light relief from the Celtic Solition gathering in Belfast in March - a friend from Santa Monica Called Trevor Debenning and I escaped into Belfast for a moment - and passed this incredible bridal dress. The picture does not do it justice - it effervesced - the colour is still burnt into my retinas - so we could not pass the opportunity not to take a photo - of this particular specimen..... as a moment of wonder - I can still feel the static from the man-made-fibres - such kitsch style!! Cheers Trev for sending the pic!! The pic edit is Gareth messing around - I soo have to get my own back on the Gareth...

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Monday, March 19, 2007

 

Southwark Cathedral Alt.Worship Service UPDATE

Well the service is done and dusted. Have to say that I thought it went very well. About 25 people turned up - which is pretty good for a first time. Everything went pretty smoothly and people seemed genuinely moved by the rituals and the liturgy.

Canon Michael Hart left out some feedback forms so we could get an idea about how people felt the service went - from the quick glance I gave them it seemed very positive. Although one person commented that the language in the liturgy was very 'street' - but they were glad that young people were being drawn into the church because of it.

We then went off for a quick bevvy which was also good. Found myself chatting to a gentleman who was confirmed at St Matthew's before it was burnt down - wow!

We have a group of about 4-5 people who will continue this little venture - I think Southwark is the perfect spot for something like this. So hopefully a nice little community can emerge here in the next 6-10 months.

Next service will take the theme of 'light' and will be on Tuesday 8th May also in the Harvard Chapel at Southwark Cathedral.

 

Economic Justice | Living Wage Campaign

I have been contacted by Nicholas Wall from the Living Wage Campaign. They have begun a petition in the UK to the Prime Minister to raise poorly paid people out of poverty. To sign the campaign click here

Why a living wage ?
The national minimum wage does not allow many workers to escape poverty. This is because it's set at an arbitary level determined by economists and politicians who are often influenced by short term political reasons. In the UK 4? million adults aged 22 to retirement were paid less than £6.50 per hour in 2006. Two thirds of these were women and a half were part-time workers. A living wage could ensure that no workers receive poverty pay or have to rely on benefits. For further information, read the details beneath the petition or visit the website links below.

Why now ?
Following pressure from campaigners, London mayor Ken Livingstone has given his full backing to a living wage in London. Figures for the London living wage are set and published, and a living wage implementation unit has been set up in City Hall. The living wage has been built into procurement agreements for the 2012 London Olympics. It has already led to some historic victories for low paid workers. After Unison organised the contracted cleaning staff in five east London hospitals, a deal was thrashed out which has brought the wages of contracted out cleaners from below £5 in 2003 to at least £7.48 per hour with improved sick pay and holiday pay.

The petition calls for the initiative in London to be duplicated in other regions around the country, and calls on people to support groups of workers who are already involved in struggles to secure a living wage.

If you agree with the petition, please show your support politically by clicking on the link and filling in your personal details - it only takes a minute to complete - and by encouraging your friends, work colleagues or e-mail networks to sign up also.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

 

Clubbing: The birthing of my faith

Looking back at the 80s & 90s, I do look back fondly at the rave and clubbing culture in those heady days of late-thatcherism. My own ability to have a faith of my own was instigated out of my experiences of community and transcendence that emerged out of the early clubbing culture in London & raves around the M25 and the North of England.

Yes I was attracted to charismatic evangelical churches as well, and in particular in my story, was St Marks Battersea Rise, but my real sense of spiritual freedom began in a field with pumping Gospel Garage music. I realised then that I was worshipping God in the context of the real world - not a removed space - but God in contemporary culture. From this I experienced the Nine O'clock service Sheffield, and what was then Warehouse now Visions in York as a student. This scene was ahead of its time, they were so good at VJing and DJing that they were invited regularly to lead a night called 'Devotions' in Leeds. These were good times, incredibly hope giving before the onset of drugs, the commercialisation of clubs and the Criminal Justice Act. I would talk and dance with strangers, make good friends, a real openness and fun - celebrating life in a world that increasingly felt controlling.

I was reminded just how significant this was for me by a Radio programme about it. Many of the comments brought a smile to my face. When I was involved in Epicentre - the first alt worship community I was involved in London, members of the community were very much involved in the clubbing culture, and names like Judge Jules amongst others such as Paul Okenfield, Gus Gus, The tea rooms de artistes, and the gospel garage lounge in Piccadilly were haunts to many of us. In London - the whole Abundant club scene - was a response by Christians to the clubbing scene - many of which went on to be involved in emerging church communities. To listen to the broadcast in mp3 - click here.

So I am grateful to this formative experience - and as the programme says, you can tell people who were changed by this - they tend to be more open, more affirming, more human...

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

 

emerging heroes: Mobsby


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

 

faith in politics

Today as I was working at home I stuck on the debate about the renewal of the submarine system Trident (the launch vehicle for the UK's nuclear weapons capacity). I put it on the telly at about 2pm and didn't switch it off till the two votes had occurred at about 7.30pm. I know, over FIVE hours of listening to politicians.

But you know what I found? Some quite stimulating debate. Honest and logical argument on both sides of the discussion. Passionate pleas for an acceleration of our disarmament process, as well as passionate pleas for us to keep out nuclear option.

I was quite amazed. Parliament does get a really bad press - MP's apparently know very little; are not interested in due process and generally toe the line. Well all this may well be true sometimes but it wasn't in evidence today (I know it's probably because of the nature of what was being discussed).

At college I toyed with the idea of doing an MA in the Politics of Globalisation (I even got a place on the course but then met my wife to be). The idea was to do this over a year and then get a job as a civil servant and work my way up the political ladder. However, I quickly decided that I had lost confidence in our political systems and decided against this path. (I now see the irony in all this in my going forward for ordination in the Church of England.)

Today I think some of my faith has been restored - it wasn't all about towing the political line - rather it was people passionately arguing on behalf of (sometimes using the language of) their constituents. Good stuff!

So for anyone who has no faith in politics - turn on the live Parliament channel (on a BBC channel on Freeview) you might occasionally find your faith increasing.

 

BLACKOUT BRITAIN ...a grassroots movement for climate change

Check this out. Ekklesia reported on it this week too. Some of you will remember Sharon Turley, who heads it up, from the Moot weekend away. Many of you wont, but don't let that stop you supporting this great idea.

Monday, March 12, 2007

 

Blood Real

a poem from the resident Poet

Those who reflect on idealisations

Inspite of themselves

Commit brutalisations.

But Jonah

Consummed in the guts of the whale

Found guts of his own

When spewed out small and pale


And staggered

But firm

On the ground he could feel

Found God

Though in heaven

On earth

Is blood real.



Sunday, March 11, 2007

 

Craftivistas unite!

I have been teased about the idea about blogging about knitting before... but what the heck – creativity is in our rhythm of life!
You may have noticed an increasing interest in craft – last month the Guardian gave away a free Guide to Craft (very fab), yesterday it ran a story on some up-and-coming crafters. More and more people are learning to knit – what’s going on? I thought we could pay people in China a pittance to make our clothes for us?
Crafting is becoming an important form of self-expression for a lot of people surrounded by identikit high street fashion. By designing and making, or customising your own, you can make an anti-label statement, and it gives you a relationship with your garment that makes it feel a lot less disposable than a £2.99 T-shirt from H&M or a £1.50 cushion cover from IKEA. A lot of crafting involves recycling, using scraps and waste materials and renewing things you might otherwise throw out, so is environmentally friendly too.
Feminists are also reclaiming crafts – from being abandoned as activities that chain women to the domestic sphere, they are now being embraced as subversive, anti-fashion and creative, and a lot of women are now running their own businesses selling handmade items. There is even a term for subversive, political crafting – craftivism.
Yet it is not good for woman to craft alone – it’s far more fun together! So in this spirit, I am hosting a ‘stitch and bitch’ afternoon on Saturday. Bring your wool, bring your needles, bring your buttons and beads, bring your ribbons and fabric and glue… or just bring those trousers that need the hems turning up, or a T-shirt you want to customise, or just yourself coz I’ve got boxes of stuff! We can share our skills in knitting, sewing, crochet, applique, whatever - so if you have something to teach or want to learn, come along. Drop me an email or text for more details. If we make anything good we can always try and sell it to make money for moot at the next STMW Fayre :-)

 

New Religion

So Carey, Ivy, Gareth, Phillipa and myself went to see an exhibition of works by Damien Hirst today.

The show was called "New Religion", and can still be seen at All-Hallows-On-The-Wall Church in the city of London until April 4th. The priest at All-Hallows-On-The-Wall is the Rvd. Garth Hewitt, and the show has been organised by a friend of mine.

It's a great show and a bit of a coup for them. Apparently after they'd hung it, Damien liked the show so much that he created a brand new triptych especially.

Anyway, after enquiring, Gareth discovered that one of the works was available as a signed print for 200 quid, and, spotting a unique money-making opportunity (A Hirst! For 200 quid! It'll zoom up in price, and we'll be rich!) he was on the phone and into full-on art dealer mode with frightening speed.

After a few minutes, he returned to us dejectedly declaring that they had forgotten to add a nought on the end - £2,000, rather than £200 - and his dream of retiring before he'd even been ordained was sunk.

If I'd know this about Gareth sooner, I would have used him as my agent, as he would undoubtedly have secured my reputation as a YBA!

Ah well, you've gotta try.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

 

Polka Dot Architecture

Please forgive the shameless plug but one of the projects I've been working on in the office for the last couple of years has been included in an exhibition at the Building Centre on Store Street off Tottenham Court Road. Its a snapshot of architectural projects across the city that are trying to address sustainability in one way or another, some built and some still at design stages.

Friday, March 09, 2007

 

Memorial in the death of a postmodern master of Philosophy

Really sad to say that one of the eminent philosophers of postmodern thought died today. Jean Baudrillard died at the age of 77 yrs, and it really feels that I have lost a relative.

Before I was Christian, before I could articulate a sense of postmodern spirituality that critiques reality, and making connections to marxist and socialist thought (that I helpfully grew up with) Baudrillard had challanged much of the oppressive and patriarchical thinking of Modernity and the myth of objective truth. He, in my view, prophetically enabled people to reimagine another way of thinking that was not held ransom to the imperialism of a scientific mind and reductionism. Instead, he promoted thinking about hyper-reality - the bedrock idea behind Pete Rollins work, J Caputo's work, and thinking I share about new forms of postmodern-mysticism. It starts with this man.

He stood up to the gulf war, outed the power of media covered wars, critiqued power structures, and exposed the ridiculous assumptions of nationhood and nationalism promoting a profound vision of our common humanity - not as a spiritual person in the religious sense - but as a prophetic and wise philosopher.

His thinking, in the book Simulacra and Simulation he creates the thought behind the paradigm of a collective unconsciousness and many profound things - so impressive that it encouraged the
Wachowski writers of the Matrix - a profound film of major encouragement to many Emerging Church types.

I wish this hero of mine peace. His thinking has had a profound affect on my life and my faith.

 

It was twenty years ago today....


(Wow this has been a long time....)

Interesting to note that twenty years ago today, (debate-maybe yesterday?), saw the release of 'The Joshua Tree', by U2. I had been slowly developing a grand appreciation for them from 'October' onwards, and particularly 'Unforgettable Fire' with it's sonic experimentation. But this album seemed to take all that potential and catapult it into another dimension.

Politically articulate, spiritually rich, musically acomplished - it really was a significant moment in musical history, (as numerous 'top album of all time charts' etc still testify.

Mybe now it's hard to appreciate it, A bit like trying to imagine a world without the Beatles, and I know the U2 are now hotly debated on the 'cred-factor'. But this album was massive at the time and certainly bought something fresh and enriching to me... a time when i was about to re-enter church life, to get politically engaged and to start visiting some desperate places in the world.

I'd love to know other people's recollections and reminiscences....

Excellent Wikipedia entry here...
Interesting article, (Andrew Collins), here...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

 

Finding God in all things


At the little service on Sunday we explored the theme of Lent by looking at a way of seeking God, and becoming more aware of God in our own experiences.
We used an ancient way of praying advocated by St Ignatius of Loyola, called the Examen. Ignatius talks of the concepts of consolation (spiritual comfort), and desolation (spiritual distress). Consolation isn’t necessarily about happiness or counting our blessings, it’s more about identifying what brings us life, what enables us to feel close to God, what enables us to respond with and to love. Desolation isn’t necessarily about confessing our sins, it’s about identifying what is life-denying, what feels like it separates us from God, what hinders us from responding with and to love. The Examen is a way of reviewing the experiences of a fixed period of time, or a certain event or relationship, that invites us to discern our consolation and desolation, listen to God through it, and learn from it.
The beauty of this for me is that it acknowledges that both consolation and desolation are a profound part of human experience. Both are inevitable, and we can seek God in both, and learn more about God’s desire for our lives, and who we truly are – the light and the darkness that makes up each one of us.
I have put the outline for the meditation I led, which you can use for any situation, here, in the archives on the wiki thang.
I use this really often and it's such a source of grace for me - it feels a really safe way of confronting my real self, held in the love of God. Stuff surfaces that I might not have thought about otherwise, and it's helped me to identify things that are of great value to me and things I really struggle with, about myself and the way I interact with the world around me.
I want to say thanks too to everyone who shared their experiences after the meditation, it was really moving, especially to Clare who planned the service with me and shared really deeply.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

 

Moot EvangeliseMe

MootEvangliseme

Pleased to say the first of these sessions has been organised, to go to the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, Great Cumberland Place, to attend their morning Sabbath service and to talk afterwards about the Jewish faith. Attendance is free but limited - book here for one of the 12 free places. First come first served.

Date for event: 23rd June, 2007 9.15am

Monday, March 05, 2007

 

One to watch - well a few actually...

A few things are coming up in March and April which would be well worth checking out...

First up is the Optronica a hybrid music and film festival which takes place on the 14-18th March. I am probably going to be going to the Optronica Club AV at the ICA on Saturday the 17th March. Four different acts are playing each with their own unique blend of the audio and the visual. I will also be popping along to the Optronic lounge which will be hosting some really cool interactive visual/sound installations and serving some fine beer. If you fancy joining me leave a comment or email gareth at moot dot uk dot net


Next up is the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival which takes place on the 21-30th March. Two that I might watch include the closing night film 'Days of Glory' which was Oscar nominated and explores the story of four 'indigénes' who enlist in the French army to take back the fatherland from the Nazis - thats at 7pm at the Ritzy in Brixton on the 29th March. Or 'The Lives of Others' which was also Oscar nominated and has won 7 German awards. It offers a blistering indictment of the former East German regime - its on in Clapham on the 23rd March at 7pm. Again if interested leave a comment or email me.

Finally Foy Vance is playing a gig at the Bedford Pub in Balham. Foy is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter who is destined for great things. I am not kidding when I say I think he has a better voice than anyone I have every heard. This is free and is not one to miss. Again let me know if you want to come as I will be booking a table soon - the pub serves good grub as well :-)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

 

Would you...?

I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to give up my iPod yet, but this is really tempting.

Saint B.

 

Lentern Reflections 2

Please find below Jim's sermon for today for reflection.

new4marchsermon.pdf

Saturday, March 03, 2007

 

What is the Emerging Church?

I have received a lot of emails about this recently. Just to say - there is a very good wikipedia on the whole subject - most of which I agree with - click here to read


Friday, March 02, 2007

 

New Look Mootique

Pleased to say that we have dragged the Mootique into the twenty first century. There are a number of new resources in addition to the Blah Learning Day MP3s. We will expanding resources to include art work and other resources. Please click here to check it out.



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