uk voice in the global conversation and buzz about alternative worship, mission, postmodernity, emerging church and all that



contact jonny
contact me at jonny baker

. interview with jonny on osbd
. interview with jonny on jordoncooper

photo albums
coventry stained glass   coventry

bath landscape   bath

. grace
. proost
. labyrinth
. alternativeworship
. smallfire
. flicker
. greenbelt
. embody
. smallritual
. one small barking dog
. the big chill
. ninjatune
. pork records
. iasym
. rejesus
. ship of fools
. kingdom space
. enetation
. tall lanky baker
. clubbers temple
. vaux greyspace
. adbusters
. sacredfuture
. everyday apocalypse
. sacramentis
. banksy
. txtevents
. theology and popular culture gateway
. future shape of church
. phuture
. highwayvideo
. jonbirch

articles by me
. the labyrinth: ritual as strategic practice (dissertation)
. alternative worship and popular culture
. jesus in amongst the brands
. using images in worship
. getting started
. youth culture
. novice guide to gforce
. coldcut and resistance
. youth ministry and the stranger
. revival
. forceful kingdom?

articles by other people
. beaudoin on capitalism
. forgotten fire
. guide to alt worship
. love affair
. how to start a blog 1
. how to start a blog 2
. churchless faith
. the mystery of mulholland drive
. the bible in transmission (lots of articles)
. chillout
. healing and reconciliation with young people
. beyond ground zero
. everyday apocalypse
. incomplete manifesto for cross cultural missions in postmodern times
. connecting up tvs and video
. women and men in ministry

. kingdom space
. proost
. andrew jones
. deepdirt
. jordoncooper
. bloggedy blog
. prodigal
. guardian
. daniels journey
. greenbelt
. wadders
. stevedownunder
. growproject
. living-room
. barky
. lebs rant
. davidhopkins
. smallritual
. john davies
. echoesofathenianidols
. grace lentblog
. en direct
. dave killingback
. emergingminister
. matt westbrook
. openground
. cre8d
. labyrinthaustralia
. bob carlton
. mootblog
. maggi dawn
. ramblin man
. tangled wib
. lillyspad
. aslansattic

music releases to date
. grace
. eucharist
. labyrinth
. backbone
. old hymns in dub
. spirit of the new

worship tricks
. intro
. 1 lazy
. 2 postcards
. 3 ad liturgy
. 4 my king
. 5 deadly media
. 6 liberation
. 7 compline
. 8 parables
. 9 gforce
. 10 pentecost flame throwing
. 11 virtual prayer
. 12 wwjw
. 13 connect
. 14 niceday
. 15 clubbers temple
. 16 shrines
. 17 timber
. 18 angel
. 19 do not be afraid
. 20 dvd rip for windows
. 21 celtic pumpkin
. 22 give us our daily product
. 23 alternative lords prayer
. 24 christ we share
. 25 born among us
. 26 imaging the word
. 27 o little town
. 28 magnificat and incarnation
. 29 jesus prayer and cord
. 30 network church
. 31 handwashing
. 32 a prayer for england
. 33 spirit and truth
. 34 when a man becomes a man
. 35 today
. 36 lectio divina
. 37 lost horizons
. 38 bloggers prayer
. 39 swearword and flesh of our flesh
. 40 focus
. 41 bitter journey
. 42 seven sayings
. 43 gethsemane
. 44 five angels
. 45 pentecost stencils
. 46 three is the magic number
. 47 arkaos
. 48 16 video ideas
. 49 the real thing
. 50 digital quilt
. 51 25 prayer exercises
. 52 not in my name liturgy
. 53 protest stencils
. 54 stations of the cross
. 55 jump london video idea
. 56 listen
. 57 cool stuff on CR dvd
. 58 flash texts
. 59 pentecostal ducks
. 60 mixed chemistry
. 61 the sower

what's on the CD player?
. the big chill - ichill
. !k7
. fila brazillia - brazilification2

what books are by the bed?
. the music of silence - john tavener
. hey nostradamus - douglas coupland
. this is uncool (the 500 greatest singles since punk and disco) - gary mulholland
. the bible
. fences and windows - naomi klein
. the art of looking sideways - alan fletcher

jonnybaker blog
Tuesday, April 30, 2002  
worship trick 4
some years ago i heard this amazing tape my king of a preacher. it's hard to describe, has to be heard to be believed, but is inspirational.... just download it! (don't bother with the powerpoint that goes with it though - mmm powerpoint now that's another subject for another day...). anyway when i first heard this tape i subsequently got a copy that was about 10th generation - virtually inaudible. well today i stumbled across an mp3 of it - thanks to whoever found it and put it on their site. play it with almost any dance track - wonderful. not many preaching samples are this good, but as a simple extension of this idea this can be the redemption of all those sermon tapes at the back of churches. go through and select some choice soundbites and mix them in with a good track.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Monday, April 29, 2002  
one small barking dog's web site seems to have been relaunched today with a new design and a new ambient video available shortly it was great to catch up with an interview with mike riddell.
Monday, April 29, 2002

i am delighted to be able to announce that there is a new alternative worship web site. it is well designed, full of info, theory, practice, resources, links, and put together by steve collins of small fire fame (i.e. by an insider not a corporation or institution). spread the word. well done steve!
Monday, April 29, 2002

Saturday, April 27, 2002  

nugget 1
for a reading of Job through postmodern eyes have a look at the skinny 1. this is a fantastic take on Job and for those of you who ever have to preach there's a whole sermon here!

Saturday, April 27, 2002

having started the worship tricks idea, i'm going to start another idea - nuggets. what?!... let me explain.... i have been inspired by all sorts of theologies from round the world. these theologies self consciously read the bible from a particular perspective. so liberation theolgy reads the bible through the eyes of the poor, feminist theology reads through woman's eyes, black theology through the eyes of people of colour, palestinian liberation theolgy through palestinian eyes. nuggets is going to be a collection of fragments of reading the bible through postmodern eyes. i don't intend writing them but i've heard lots of bits and pieces like this. i may rehash a few but in the main it will be new stuff that i come across. nuggets first came about when i was in bath [the city]. i set up a nuggets group where we met in the pub and everyone delivered a nugget. the focus wasn't especially postmodern but the unspoken rule was that you were to surprise people by unearthing something new or at least a new take on a passage or piece of the bible. i can honestly say it was the most fantastic group i have been part of - better than any house group for sure. and people came up with stunning things. so there you have it, nuggets starts again here..... as with the worship tricks i will compile a list of links in a section in the left hand column of the blog so you can find them easily.
Saturday, April 27, 2002


this morning i was doing a training session on worship in guildford. anyone checking the blog who was there hi! i said i'd put some links to some resources that were mentioned on here. the ones i remember were a book of ideas by sue wallace multi sensory prayer, the images for worship videos produced by 'one small barking dog' [they will have a new video out in about three weeks time which i'm looking forward to], the imaging the word books [i can't find a uk site that sells them so this is a usa link - but i bought them at the urc bookshop in church house in london].

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Wednesday, April 24, 2002  
worship trick no 3
in grace we have spent a couple of months exploring what it means to be christians in a consumer culture. people produced some great stuff. some bits and pieces are on the grace site. here's a piece of concluding liturgy i wrote where the responses are the lines of advertisements [uk ads - don't know whether they'll all translate].

We live after purity

In a world of rich and poor, global warming, information overload, cafe direct, nike and gap
You either love it or you hate it

Our life is complex and interlinked not simple and straightforward
It’s as clear as your conscience

Our actions and choices have a knock on effect for others - neighbours near home and far away
Help us in this context to follow you

When our thoughts are filled with dreams of wealth and objects of desire
Think different

When we reach information overload
Have a break

Take some space and time
Everyone needs a place to think

Help us use our withdrawal as a time to learn to love the world more
Stop liking start loving

Make us angry about injustice and determined to make a difference
Just do it

Help us know which concerns to make our own
Because life is complicated enough

When apathy sets in to remember
Every little helps

When individual actions seem too small to count thank you that we are part of your body, the largest global network
Together we are stronger

Give us patience when change is slow
Good things come to those that wait

We long to see your kingdom come
The future’s bright

And your will be done
Whatever it takes

On earth as it is in heaven
A taste of paradise

To the glory of God
Because he’s worth it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2002


as soon as i had finished that last post i knew i had to do another... [what am i getting into?]. one of the big challenges we face as christians in the west is how we live in a consumer culture. isn't producing postcards for people to pick up in a café and then log on to a web site a captulation to a consumer culture? doesn't it just perpetuate a privatised individual experience disconnected from any christian community?

well maybe it does... but if consumption is the way people constuct identity and weave meaning into their lives, of course we should expect them to look for spiritual meaning in the same way. we'd do well to view religion in this way as a cultural resource. so perhaps we should be playing the game and putting creative resources out there for people to connect with christian spirituality? there's loads of treasures in the christian tradition that could powerfully connect with peoples hunger for spirituality and enable them to encounter god. the labyrinth set up in a cathedral for tourists to visit, online confessionals, people visiting the 'images of christ' art exhibition in london, and lots of others are all examples of ways this is happening. at the same time my hunch is that being incarnational also means resisting consumerism. jesus had this unique ability to dethrone the false gods of his day whilst being fully engaged and immersed in the culture. it's this double approach of engagement and resistance that is the way forward but is so difficult to pull off. the temptation is either to rail against consumption (whilst shopping at the anti-consumption shops!) or to so identify with it that we don't notice its power. one of the neat things about things like the postcards is that they do actually connect with a christian community. maybe some people will encounter god via the cards and web sites and move on. maybe others will ignore them. maybe someone will encounter god or be intrigued enough to find out more and join graceway... living outside of culture isn't an option available to us and neither is encountering god outside of culture. there's no escaping the fact that the sacred always comes to us cloaked in cultural forms. so i'm all for running the risk of engagement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002


worship trick no 2
i just heard about this today. graceway in NZ are distributing 5000 postcards in cafés in auckland for pentecost. there are four designs - spirit as fire, as earth's healer, as wind, as water. each one has a newly creted image, a spirituality quote, a bible verse and a spiritual exercise eg
light a candle, think about how small flames become big flames. the cards have a link to a web site. the site is actually still in the stages of being developed but the images are there. so come back again in a few weeks for more. the thing i like about this is it takes worship out of church, accepting that there are plenty of seekers out there who may well connect with god but not be into the way we do church.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Monday, April 22, 2002  

worship trick no 1
trick 1 is a video. there's a fantastic single come out in the uk called lazy featuring david byrne of talking heads fame. he is at his best on this vocal delivery. but with the single you get a quicktime video that is absolutely wonderful. the song is a powerful satire on consumption taken to its passive extreme. it is both poignant and very funny. how i'll use it i don't know but i'm sure i will. for me one of the most important challenges facing the church in the western world is how does faith relate to a consumer culture. my hunch which i'll elaborate on at a future date is that it has to contain both engagement and resistance. this little video is a humorous piece of resistance that works by being marketed and sold! anyway get hold of it and enjoy.

Monday, April 22, 2002

one of the things i want to do via this blog is to share with the world [or at least with those few people in the world who are a) reading the blog and b)interested] what i'll call worship tricks. now i've written that term i think it may not be brilliant but it will do for now. one of the things i love about alternative worship is the way groups use the stuff of life and popular culture as the building blocks for worship rather than using churchy language and stuff that no-one outside the subculture really relates to. i've expanded more on this in an essay - see the links to articles i've written at the side. these tricks might just be called ideas, but i like tricks better because often there's some sort of dynamic thing that happens when ideas are used in worship that makes them worthy of a better name than idea. i'm going to number these tricks and see where it leads. so if you have some tricks let me know. some people think they are on to a trick when they are using multi media, but there's an overdose of naff powerpoints with sunsets and predictible words. i'm after stuff that's either got an edge, is cool, is a good building block, is beautifully crafted or simply works. it may be as simple as using a particular tune or image in worship to reframe it or it may be a ritual or it may be a link to a piece of liturgy or a flash animation online. we'll see. anyway trick no 1 will be in the next post....
Monday, April 22, 2002

Sunday, April 21, 2002  
got hold of a great little booklet 'youth congregations and the emerging church' by graham cray. it's in the grove booklet series. whilst in some ways there isn't loads that is new or surprising in the book, what it does do is bring out in public a conversation that has been taking place in hushed whispers. graham is a bishop in the anglican church and he tackles ecclesiology head on saying that youth congregations are wholeheartedly part of the life and practice of the anglican church. some people of course won't like this and will no doubt start waving their bibles angrily. but what it says to me is that here in the uk the map is changing. where as only a few years ago any suggestion of new forms of church [particularly involving youth] was seen as a threat, this booklet shows how much the conversation has shifted. there is now a legitimisation taking place for new forms of church within the anglican church at least. if there, then where else?... i have felt that one of the most important issues for emerging church isn't about power but is about space - getting space to develop, grow, nurture life. this book could just be a useful little tool for negotiating some space.
Sunday, April 21, 2002

Thursday, April 18, 2002  
well i'll admit to being a bit nervous about starting a blog. i have kind of tried to resist the cult of personality that's often around in churches (at least in evo/charismatic circles), but jordan cooper's article convinced me that it's ok if not good to share your story. people like a face. sometimes it's better than being anonymous. so here i am to join the global conversation that's buzzing about mission, emerging church, worship, culture, postmodernity and all that. i'm in the uk (london) and have been involved in alternative worship in a community called grace

Thursday, April 18, 2002

a bit about me... small drawing of jonny i am a londoner; christian; dad; postmodern (whatever that means - i know at least that i'm not modern); director of an independent record label proost which we set up to release music without being subject to christian record labels who had a frankly unimaginitive approach to music at the time as far as we were concerned; a member of grace , an alternative worship community in west london that has been an inspiration, lifeline, home, great bunch of friends, provided an arena in which to be creative about faith and worship and culture; i'm also part of the wider alternative worship movement/scene in the uk where i have lots of friends sharing the same dreams and struggles; an ideas person; a husband; national youth co-ordinator for cms; involved in various creative projects, the most successful of which has been the labyrinth which has been on a roll since we first installed it in st pauls cathedral in 2000; a mac user; co-ordinator of the worship at greenbelt arts festival where we have tried to create a space for new/creative/alternative worship especially in the new forms venues - a good place to visit if you want to encounter lots of creative uk worship in one go; writer (albeit a novice) with a few articles in books, mags and the web; a chelsea football supporter; involved in youth ministry - i have been for 15 years now - in the uk at least many people involved in alt worship want to avoid being labelled youth ministry as it's a convenient way for the church to write off what you do and the people involved aren't by any means youth (though some are), but i live in both arenas and think there's lots of overlap and creative conversation and ideas to be shared between the two; songwriter; lover of music especially the ambient, chilled, dub, instrumental end of things; lover of good food, belgian beer and conversation;

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