Tuesday, June 26, 2007

 

Is it your secret too ?

"Now - here is my secret:
I tell it to you with an openness of heart that I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God - that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love."

(Douglas Coupland, Life After God)

Monday, June 25, 2007

 

Different Trains


I've now started listening to Music, for pleasure rather than studying it for exams, like I've been doing for the last month! I thought I'd blog about one of my favourite pieces of music, Different Trains by Steve Reich. Steve Reich is well known for his minimalist composition (believe me he features in almost every GCSE and A level exam!). This was one of the first classical pieces of music to use sampling, composed for string quartet and tape.

The piece uses samples of conversations about a series of three train journeys. One describing journeys in America before WW2, one in Europe during the War and one after the War. Reich came to write the piece realizing that the train journeys he took as a child which he found exciting, would have been very different had he been on a train in Europe at this time as he was Jewish.

I'd really recommend listening to it especially the orchestral version that was released a few years ago, so often art and history can seem almost clinical, but it takes a look at history from a different angle. I find that refreshing after endless History learning and it has really made me consider the situations I'm facing today and those of similar people just in a different place. It makes everyday things seem a little more significant when I hear it.

Anyway that probably doesn't make much sense, I'm not a writer, but listen to it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

 

Letting Go of God


I came across a woman called Julia Sweeney recently, and her performance of "Letting Go of God". She's very good - a bit like an American version of Sarah DeNordwall.


"Comedian and playwright Julia Sweeney performs the first 15 minutes of her 2006 solo show Letting Go of God. It begins on the morning of her seventh birthday, when Julia learns from her Catholic parents that she has reached the age of reason, capable of being judged by God. That morning she also learns another great truth, equally devastating. This sets the stage for Sweeney's freewheeling, conversational examination of her own faith."

Its really very good and comes from TED.com. In fact the whole TED website is worth putting into your feed reader. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design, and brings together all sorts of people from those worlds to interact at an annual conference - plus there's a biennial conference around the world (last one has just finished and in Tanzania), and a blog. The results are posted on the site.

So do have a good look. I thoroughly recommend it if you occasionally need some good brain food, and some of the ideas would be interesting to feed into moot's work.

Another favourite of mine is Evelyn Glennie - a Scottish classical percussionist who is deaf - she hears percussion through vibration as much as sound, but has lots to say about listening that fits into the contemplative tradition that we persue.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

 

A perichoretic Life

As some know, I have been around the States looking at how the Trinity informs our sense of being a spiritual community reflecting the image and values God creates in the Holy Community in three in one. As part of this, is the idea of periochoresis - that God dances together and that the cosmos came into being outof the creative dance of God (from Greek Orthodox thinking).

Well a guy called David who I have just met in Seattle has written an excellent article about this same idea - check it out here it is good.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

 

Oops!


They says that bad stuff comes in 3ís, so Iím waiting with some trepidation for the 3rdÖ

Iím now in my 3rd week of Mon-Fri single motherhood (Mikeís working away at my brotherís). So far this week Iíve been locked outside on my balcony, with Ivy inside with the keys, and Iíve had a trip to casualty with Ivy with a plastic bead (of the type in picture) up her nose.

The nose incident was like a complete comedy of errors Ė Ivy had to pick the afternoon when I was supposed to pick up a friend who was coming down from Cumbria to stay. Needless to say, I couldnít reach her on her mobile and sheíd left my number at homeÖ

I wonít tell you the outcome of either situation Ė it makes too good a story to tell!

Iím just hoping nobody calls social servicesÖ

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

 

100 Days

Alan Johnston banner

 

It is done!!

After 18 talks 11 cities, and too many flights and a couple of thousand trees planted, we have finished the tour and now resting in Seattle. It has been a fantastic tour. I have learnt soo much, and will miss the conversations and engagement. Poor Aaron now could probably do all the talks and has listened to me rabbit on and knows me better than I know myself. Our friendship has deepened through getting through what has been quite gruelling shedule. He has been a star - could not have done this without him. I will blog about all the thoughts coming out of the various elements of the trip soon. Looking forward to seeing all you Mooters!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

 

Fair Vanity

This month, Vanity Fair magazine has a whole issue devoted to Africa as part of the (RED) campaign.

A percentage of the cover price goes to helping wipe out poverty, but if you don't support the (RED) idea, and would rather buy Woman's Own/Playboy/Your regular monthly magazine on principle instead, so more 5 year olds will continue to die unnecessarily of malaria, that's fine.

Its interesting that the biggest opposition to (RED) seems to be coming from the emerging church at the moment. My own deification of Bono aside, I really can't see how taking a principled stand against consumerism can justify doing absolutely nothing at all to highlight, combat, or give any money to alleviate systemic preventable poverty of a whole continent.

Whilst the emerging community in the UK has rightly done a great deal of good to combat slave trafficking, we have done very little, on the whole, for Africa, other than a few Make Poverty History banners on the edge of various blogs. Not that I feel strongly... maybe I've just not come across it - I would love for anyone to prove me wrong on this one..

What I find most infuriating is the amount of energy and hot air put into slagging off the (RED) campaign - it's endless! Instead of wasting all that time and effort slagging off (RED), howsabout setting up the emerging alternative? We're often accused of being all talk and no action - here's a chance to prove the critics wrong.

It would be very easy to do.

A website called "The Gift" (or something similar)

A website where you can make a voluntary donation. No gifts, no silly t-shirts, no mugs with logos, no silicone wrist bands, no branded phones. Just the simple altruistic act of donating money - essentially a bank account that distributes money appropriately (maybe to the Global Fund or something like that). It could also be backed up with regular e-mail bulletins that disseminate appropriate information about Africa-related issues, with hints and suggestions about how to put pressure on politicos and the like.

Also, an RSS feed titled "The Gift" which culls together and spits out the latest news, information and stats on Africa related issues, so that we can all be better informed on how to act. I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to draw on existing networks for things like this.

Maybe a funky strap line that makes a big deal out of giving a Gift rather than commodification, or consumption.

If all that seems like too much hard work, then go get yourself a copy of Vanity Fair.

But for God's sake let's at least do something.

Sadly, I'm going to be away from the internet for the next week, because I'd love to see how this develops in the comments box below...

 

Flickr photos

Started to upload some of the pics from the tour - if interested check out here

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

 

Mobsby-Kennedy US Tour Update



Well, we are now in San Francisco, after completing talks now in Clarion, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and New York. It has all gone very well, and people have been really receptive of the things we have been learning in Moot. Yesterday, I spent the day in a consultation day hosted by the Bishop of California in San Francisco on intentional communities, and it was fantastic. I learnt a lot about the combination of fresh expressions/emerging church and new forms of intentionality - such as new monasticism. Really inspiring. The Diocese of California and its new Bishop are extremely good. The Church of England can learn a lot from the incarnational vision of this Diocese, so rather than some people thinking negatively of ECUSA & this Diocese, I would go as far to say that it is one of the most missional and incarnational forms of Anglicanism I have experienced. Could you imagine an English Bishop being arrested for doing a Communion Service outside a Government building and laying on the floor in protest against the Iraq war - well this happened here. Wonderful.

Incidently - the photo of the redwoods above is where we are staying - in a beautiful house in a forest of redwoods in a place called Mill Valley. Never stayed in a such a place.

Today off for an emergent gathering and catching up with friends, before an evening presentation with the Diocese of California again.... Then a day off!!!! before going off to Denver.

Hope you are all ok - and that our Rhythm of life service is coming along!!
Cheers
Ian

Sunday, June 10, 2007

 

Silence is Golden

I've been using the Northumbria Community's "Celtic Daily Prayer" book, recently.

If you haven't used it yourself, I can throughly recommend it. It's like the Church of England Book of Common prayer, but it has different readings, and wordings - same idea, but a bit more earthy. Carey and I have found the Complines particularly good - a great way to revivify a flagging prayer life. There's a link to it, in the resources section on moot.uk.net.

Anyway, I came across this reading in it a week or so ago. Its very interesting on the subject of silence and isolation:

"It is not the desert island, nor the stony wilderness, that cuts you off from the people you love: it is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wonders lost - a stranger from onself, and a stranger to others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others. How often in a large city, shaking hands with my friends, I have felt the wilderness stretching between us. Both of us were wandering in arid wastes, having lost the springs that nourished us, or having found them dry. Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. As for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be re-found through solitude.

We are all, in the last analysis, alone. How one hates to think of oneself as alone. how one avoids it - it seems to imply rejection or unpopularity.

We seem so frightened, today, of being alone that we never let it happen. Even if family, friends and movies should fail, there is still the radio or television to fill up the void.

Even daydreaming was more creative than this: it demanded something of oneself, and fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our own dream-blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops, there is no inner music to take its place.

We must re-learn to be alone."

How do you cope being alone? Do you crave solitude? Or do you run from it at all costs? Any thoughts/discussion welcome in the comments box..

Monday, June 04, 2007

 

From Clarion to Pittsburgh

Just a post card from the touring brothers. Just finishing in Clarion - and later onto Pittsburgh. We had a great day yesterday, including a bbq with Linda and Margaret who are the pastors of Clarion Free Methodist Church. Aaron was particularly good in his percussion moment in the morning service. They have breakfast together before the service - good call!!.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

 

Taking Liberties

Apparently we are the most surveilled (is that a real word?) country in the world. The announcement today that Gordon the Brown will increase powers to combat terrorism when he comes to power, has finally prompted me to blog.

I've had a few things going round my head lately with regard to the rather draconian anti-terrorist laws that have been passed lately. And I'm going to quote a rather lengthy post from the Londonist that made me think.

Kester thinks that we are sleep-walking into a Stasi-like society, and explains his views in this article.

But anyway, all these cameras, right....

Are we just being paranoid? Is paranoia the problem, and the reason that we shouldn't have all this surveillance technology? Is it only right and logical for Christians to engage in some form of tactical resistance? Are we just being too marxist about it all? I'm sure we'll find out in the comments box below

Article from the Londonist here:

"
About a year ago, Phil, a friend of mine, had a run-in with the British Transport Police over the use of a four-letter word - "shit" - when describing the accuracy or otherwise of a metal detector set up at Highbury & Islington station. I witnessed the whole thing and wrote about it on Londonist; the story was then picked up by The Register and a variety of blogs and, after it was dugg, the Metro. As well as the interest from print and online media, Phil has been interviewed by the BBC for a forthcoming documentary on the erosion of British civil liberties, and he and I were interviewed for Taking Liberties, a film documentary looking at the rather terrifying erosion of British civil liberties that has taken place since Labour won the 1997 election (watch the trailer).

About the film:

The shocking truth about the erosion of our fundamental civil liberties by Tony Blairís government will be exposed this summer in TAKING LIBERTIES, released in UK cinemas by Revolver Entertainment June 8th 2007.

Right to Protest, Right to Freedom of Speech. Right to Privacy. Right not to be detained without charge, Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Prohibition from Torture. TAKING LIBERTIES will reveal how these six central pillars of liberty have been systematically destroyed by New Labour, and the freedoms of the British people stolen from under their noses amidst a climate of fear created by the media and government itself.

Luckily (from my camera-shy perspective) we were excluded from the final cut - director Chris Atkins said there was simply too much footage to use, once he'd really got his teeth into the story. Which is pretty worrying when you think about it. Still, we were invited to a showing for interviewees and crew and great fun it was, too. Also present, apart from the talented and resourceful cast and crew, were - among many others - Rachel from North London, and Walter Wolfgang, scourge of Jack Straw's Labour party conference speech and an inspiration to us all.

The film itself was, as anticipated, entertaining and disquieting at the same time - like the in-flight movie in the handcart on the way to Hell. Watching it, I was reminded of the allegory of the frog that is boiled alive as it doesn't realise in time that the water it's in is heating up; the drip-drip-drip of news items about attacks on our hard-won personal freedoms (chronicled in Atkins's excellent filmmaker's blog) is easily lost in the chatter of everyday life, but having the big picture set out in a concentrated burst of fury and noise and personal accounts is a timely reminder of how close to the edge we are. Without wanting to sound like a paranoid, tinfoil hatted nutjob who believes in the proverbial 12-foot tall green lizards, we are living in increasingly straitened times; with a government that likes to lock people up indefinitely even though they have not been convicted of any crime, with a Home Office run (for now) by a dead ringer for the pettifogging, alcoholic and incompetent Colonel Tigh from Battlestar Galactica, we should all be a lot more worried than we currently are.

Taking Liberties buckets along at a frenetic clip, its pace aided by some rather excellent animated sequences and a decent soundtrack, as well as the uniformly informative and entertaining interviews with the likes of Mark Thomas and Henry Porter among many, many others.. There is perhaps some truth to the observation noted on Samizdata about the relentless anti-Blair focus and the "conservative polemic" - small-C conservative, that is, although everyone's favourite Tory Boris Johnson does appear. It's worth asking whether the attacks on civil liberties would have been any different in intensity or number had the Tories retained power in 1997; especially in the post-9/11 era when IDS and company were just as keen as Tony on cracking down on supposed terrists, freedoms and human rights be damned. Still, there isn't much point in debating what-ifs; the fact is that while a Conservative government might have introduced the same draconian legislation as Labour, it was a Labour government which actually carried out the dirty deeds and thus gets to take the blame.

Overall the film paints a depressing picture but is pretty darn good fun to watch; something of a paradox. I highly recommend going to a screening if you possibly can - but then, I would say that. Taking Liberties is a film with an agenda; don't expect any pretense at objectivity here. And damn right too - what justification can there be for tolerating and supporting torture? I'd love to get a straight answer from the government about that. Fat chance.

Taking Liberties is released on June 8, and is being shown at the Ritzy in Brixton, the Renoir in Brunswick Square, the Clapham Picturehouse, the Greenwich Picture House, and the Tricycle Cinema in Kilburn (see here for more details)."


Saturday, June 02, 2007

 

The Aaron & Ian liminal tour

Well today it all begins, off to New York Pittsburgh and Clarion to share our emerging church experiences and to learn from others. I am a mixture of scared - what have I got myself into, and also a bit excited going placed I have not been before. If interested please see the tour blog of where we are going.

I am hoping for encouragement - as we are going to see some very interesting projects, and some very interesting places.... if we don't come back you know we have managed to find the Holy Grail...

So you all at the end of the month.

Brothers Aaron & Ian

Friday, June 01, 2007

 

Reminder: Moot:EvangeliseMe

To remind you we kick of the first of visiting different centres of the Abrahamic faiths to learn about Christianity from outside perspectives. The first is from a Jewish perspective by attending a Synagogue on the 23rd June in the morning followed by a discussion.

You will need to book places for this, sorry because of arrangements we can't take last minute attenders - you will need to book (for free) click here.

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