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
Wednesday, April 30, 2003 bill viola is one of the most inspiring artists whose work i have encountered. i would have blogged about this a couple of years ago but wasn't running a blog then! in london he had an exhibition which included a piece entitled '5 angels of the millenium'. well the good news is that it has come back and is being exhibited free at the tate modern. he has exhibited at the tate before with triptych, another spiritual piece. as far as i know '5 angels' should be there for a while. this is how it's described on the tate web site:
Five Angels for the Millennium is five large-scale projections showing figures descending into and ascending out of water. Accompanying ambient music reaches a crescendo as the figures erupt through the surface of glistening pools; at times hovering above the surface making it unclear as to whether the viewpoint is above or below the water. Each screen is individually entitled. In 'Departing' light glimmers through the dark waters - the sound of sonar radiates through dark, soothing waters. A figure floats into view, rushing through a storm of air bubbles to the surface. A figure shoots through the frame in 'Birth' while mystical light turns the waters of 'Fire' a deep blood red. 'Ascending' shows the figure floating face down as though drowned. 'Creation' shows a figure with outstretched arms recalling the iconography associated with the crucifixion.
it's very hard to describe the experience of sitting in the room surrounded by these images. looking at the pictures simply isn't the same. it's very similar in this respect to trying to describe alternative worship to someone - you have to experience it... several things are going on. one is the waiting. for example the fire angel takes about 15 minutes to appear - most of that time is rippling red water where you just wait in anticipation for the angel. also if you're not paying attention it's easy to miss the angel if you're looking at a different screen. and then there's the sound - most of the time each screen is quiet but as the angel draws near and the water stirs the sound builds to a crescendo, then suddenly back to silence. i am listing this as worship trick 44 not that i expect anyone to restage this, but it is a profound experience, and if you're in london at least you can go and see it, and it also enables me to keep a reference to this entry on the blog. it got my mind racing in all sorts of directions. and i felt strangely renewed after the visit. i experienced a kind of longing for God to break through the surface of my life as i sat watching the rippling water waiting for the angels. when i next look at a rippling water surface i think this will come back to me. i was also thinking how good it would have been in advent to read the visitation of gabriel to mary in this kind of space!
the other picture i have put on here is from viola's web site again and is an earlier video piece called the crossing that has a similar epiphanic character.
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Monday, April 28, 2003 matt westbrook has posted comments a few times on my blog (thanks!). finally got round to mentioning his blog on here. have added it to the list. don't be alarmed if you think you're looking at my blog - you're not. he's got the same template as mine and copied some of my categories. weird connections... he is at new ground church which barry taylor (who lectures in theology and popular culture at fuller and called in to say hi in london recently) is involved in. small world eh?! one of the things i like about new ground is that less than half are christians - sounds neat... you can read more about it from barry here.
Monday, April 28, 2003
tues night is the annual church meeting of st mary's, ealing. this is the church that grace is a congregation of. all the various groups in the church write a report on their activities in the last 12 months. to accompany ours we have done a web page with pics from the last year - if you're interested see here.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Friday, April 25, 2003
as you'll know if you follow the blog at all i work for a mission agency CMS. i've read a couple of books over easter - the posionwood bible by barbara kingsolver, a fiction of a family who go as missionaries to the congo which incorporates a lot of historical events into the narrative and kind of makes you depressed about some of what was done in the name of mission!; and mission after christendom by david smith which basically suggests that the role mission agencies had is at an end in the changed world we live in. to give a quote which quotes someone else (!) -
It is possible to accept without anxiety or regret the verdict of historians that the modern missionary movement has almost reached the end of its life:
The missionary movement is now in its old age . It is not a useless and decrepit old age. There are situations where it provides the most effective, perhaps the only forseeable means of making any witness to Christ or any proclamation about him... But the conditions that produced the movement have changed, and they have been changed by the Lord of history. And the church has been changed out of all recognition by the agency of the missionary movement itself" (Walls 1996 The Missionary Movement in Christian History)
food for thought eh? so the six million dollar question is what should mission agencies be doing now? closing down? developing new movements of people in mission? answers on a postcard please....
every anglican church in england was sent the video restoring hope in the week before easter. it's a pretty big project with a lot of partners involved to fund it. it's mainly some notable talking heads (tom wright, rowan williams et al....) talking about change and the need to reach out to the community. the idea is that a church group might watch it and discuss it over a meal. if it succeeds in this, that will be a good thing... it is aimed at churches that are either wanting to change but not knowing how to, or maybe that are unaware of the challenges the church faces at the moment. as it explains on the web site although there are numerous resources to help forward-looking churches consider new ways of being church, there are few inspirational resources for those who have either yet to recognise the need for change or are finding it hard to do so. for those of us who have been struggling with church, mission and the emerging culture and knocking around these issues for a while the video won't contain any surprises i suspect - but it just may be a tool worth pointing out in your context?
there are also two booklets that come with the video for churches to do a community audit and a kind of health check. these have been made available as pdf files to download on the web site - growing healthy churches and discerning church vocation. i've downloaded them but confess that i haven't read them yet so can't give you an opinion on what they are like...
it has always struck me that the church or any other organisation or movement gets renewed two ways - by people who leave the centre to make new things happen on the edges that creatively open up new directions and possibilities; and by people who have the patience to help those at the centre gently change. i don't always have the patience for the second but i'm glad others do. both groups tend to dismiss the others approach, but i reckon that over time having both approaches is better than having one.
Friday, April 25, 2003
Friday, April 18, 2003
one year ago today i started this blog!!!! can't quite believe it. thanks to andrew jones and jordon cooper for giving me the initial inspiration to get started. i had no idea when i did what i was doing or where it would take me... thanks to everyone who has visited the site over the year and especially if you have taken the trouble to e-mail or comment - always good to know that it isn't just a void out there!
Friday, April 18, 2003
Thursday, April 17, 2003 worship trick 43 today is maundy thursday when we remember the last meal jesus had with his friends before going to the garden of gethsemane to pray and accept god's will for him to die. james kessell has put a piece on gethsemane together here. i don't think i know james but a couple of others in grace do and put me on to it. anyway it is a very simple but effective meditation - thanks james! make sure you leave it running for a long time on your computer or you won't get the full effect. i have made it worship trick 43....
i must admit i am staggered at the level of creativity i know of going into easter services. it's wonderful. in the previous post i mentioned cityside. but today sanctuary in bath start their stations of the cross exhibition which runs over the weekend and i know will be fantastic. i also saw on deepdirt what karen ward is up to. for me this is all very hopeful. reminds me of the expensive perfume broken over jesus' feet as an extravagent gift of love. i like to think god will be having a good easter...
Thursday, April 17, 2003
mark pierson from cityside posted this in the alt worship forum about what they are up to for easter. this is what i love about alternative worship!!!!!!
Saturday we wheelbarrowed 10 cubic metres/yards (15 tonnes/tons) of beach sand into Cityside on our first step toward creating a NZ coastal Gethsemane Garden. Had our Palm Sanday worship and community commitment service whilst lounging on deck chairs and rugs. Young and old built sandcastles. Anything you dropped got lost!
Yesterday we hung and lit 14 pieces of art on frames along paths through the sand. Contemporary interpretations of the traditional Stations of the Cross.
Video, sculpture, painting, etc.
Today we carried 150 trees and grasses in and placed them around the art and the waterfall.
Tommorrow we open to the public and then on Easter Sunday we'll bring in the bbq's and celebrate Jesus cooking fish on the beach with his followers.
Monday we start to reverse the process.
Last Monday we also opened a new exhibition in a deserted shop up the road. Called Stations: temporary icons, its 8 digital flash animations done by people in Sydney, Canad and Auckland. Each station runs on a dedicated iMac sitting on a black plinth in a junky old about to be demolished shop.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
had an e-mail from thomas willer in denmark planning a church plant in the summer which sounds great! had to laugh/cry at one of his comments -
right now we are also doing the survey on why young people leave the church. so far it looks like it is becuase of lack of connection between the church reality and the real reality Wednesday, April 16, 2003
worship trick 42 seven meditations of jesus' words from the cross are here on the rejesus web site. one a day is going up this week. they are written by martin wroe and with each one is a flash animation. direct links to the animations and meditation words are below:
Sunday, April 13, 2003 emerging minister has started a blog with images, audio, and video sections, plus worship ideas inspired by yours truly... if like me you have a 56k modem don't bother with the videos section as they are over 20mb each! have added greg to the blog list.
Thursday, April 10, 2003 worship trick 41 here's an interpretation/animation of stations of the cross. turn your volume on or if you don't like the soundtrack add your own... stations of the cross seems to be one of those rediscovered treasures in the tradition. certainly cityside have been doing incredible installations with it for years. this saturday at grace we are doing our own inimitable take on it (which no doubt i will report back on). sanctuary have a series of installations over the easter weekend.... and no doubt there are lots more people out there reinvigorating this tradition with creativity and life
Thursday, April 10, 2003
got sent this war pic via e-mail. no idea of the source but definitely worth sharing!
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
here's a few pics from the book launch/blah... the other night
we have a treat for no. 3 in the series.
we are delighted that steve taylor is going to be over from new zealand sharing his reflections on a missiology of the emerging church. steve is pastor of graceway, an emerging church downunder. as well as being pastor to graceway he is currently doing a phd and writing a book. you can get a flavour of his thinking at his blog.
DJ sampling as a metaphor for church; god prospecting; creativity downloaded; imaginitive play; spirituality portals; reframing church as community; god amid video loops; creative transformation of the fragments of culture - steve will be weaving some of these threads together. this is a fantastic chance to catch up with some creative thinking from the other side of the world.
blah... is a series of open conversations reflecting on mission, worship, church and christianity in today's rapidly changing culture. it's hosted by CMS.
thursday may 8 from 6:30-8:30pm
drinks and refreshments provided
venue: CMS partnership house, 157 waterloo road
[nearest tube waterloo - follow signs from station to old vic. go past old vic and partnership house is on the same side opposite the ambulance station]
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
worship trick 40 friday's post on the lentblog was an animation by adam that we used at the last grace. two of the ideas for lent we discussed were lent as preparation/waiting for easter, and it being a time of focus on god. this animation is so simple but brilliant. you can download it here - it's very small.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Friday, April 04, 2003 worship trick 39 i have meant to blog about this for ages. in fact i thought i had but have looked back and can't see anything on it.... one of the inspirations for us setting up proost as an independent label was stickymusic. at greenbelt i picked up one of their latest releases which is a CD of meditations written by martin wroe called life, death, god. these are spoken by a range of voices and accents with music in the background. amazingly they have put two tracks as mp3 downloads - obviously feeling generous! the tracks are swearword, a meditation on jesus - the voice is brilliant on this, and flesh of our flesh, on the incarnation. you can downlaod them from the album page. these together are worship trick 39 Friday, April 04, 2003
Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow have combined to write march of death which is available to download as an mp3 - wow! it's a full on protest about the war.
DJ Shadow has this to say:
artists be they painters, actors, writers or musicians have a responsibility to reflect and interpret the world around them. our current administration's foreign policy strikes me as being reckless, inhumane, and hopelessly out of step with the so-called 'values' it claims to defend. we, the world's only superpower, have immense capacity to ease human suffering throughout the world, yet we instead choose to inflict it upon those we count a threat to our agenda of empire. as an american, our government's action gives me cause for great concern. i'm proud to support zack de la rocha in giving a musical voice to that concern
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
i haven't blogged about the war - what can you say? but today it really got to me. the cover of the guardian newspaper had a picture of razzaq kazem al khafaj distraught having lost 15 family members and 6 children. that coupled with a corpse of a baby made me angry and sad.
there is so much info on the war it's overload time BUT this article by arundhati roy is simply the most thoughtful piece i have read so far. what the **** are we doing?!
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
a bit about me...
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;