Thursday, April 28, 2005

cruel perhaps, but fun nevertheless

I know he's an easy target but i couldn't resist sharing it!

Originally uploaded by Matt Rees.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

a first foray into film making

a little while ago i blogged about how i made a film (using iMovie and iDVD) for a service we were doing on the theme of 'submission'. i took a track from the latest u2 album and played with some images to suggest that perhaps we could imagine Bono's words as being the words that God might say to humanity (rather than the words that Bono might say to his Dad). this film is now available to be viewed on-line here.
this is my first foray into film-making and i am keenly aware of my limitations. it's a pretty basic idea and a pretty basic short film, but some people asked to see it so i thought it was perhaps worth putting into the public arena anyway.
see what you think.

maclaren videos

you can watch some excellent videos of St Brian of Maclaren here.

letter writing hUB off to a flier

one of the most exciting things that's going on for me at the moment is the slow but sure development of our mission hUBS. these are our small units that are dedicated to being a blessing to the world, as opposed to our hUDDLEs which are our small groups dedicated to being a blessing to us! (as in they are focussed on nurture and pastoral care etc.). we really sense that our hUBS are where the action is. some are focussed on causes (campaigning etc.), some on compassion ('mercy' ministries), and some on culture (poetry slam, clubbing etc.). it's all mission. see our web site to see how it all fits together.
last night the new letter-writing/campaigning hUB met for the first time. we wrote a bunch of letters to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject of Trade Justice. and we listened to Coldplay (seemed appropriate) and drank tea and ate biscuits. our letters are of course, only a drop in the ocean but every little helps. It's much easier to write letters in a group than on your own - unless you have a hell of a lot more will power than me.
we also talked about what other things we would like to campaign about. we want to get a good mixture of local and global campaigning. i am hoping that we can write to/meet the managers of local supermarkets to try to persuade them to use biodegradeable carrier bags and to generally cut down on their packaging.
tonight i am going to pay frisbee with the Ultimate Frisbee hUB.

it's fun to do ministry with your friends

Mark and I were in theological college and he is now a curate in Croydon, S London. he was the popular choice in our year for 'most likely to become a Bishop' due to his very large theological brain and his very large heart for God. he happened to be in Oxford last week visiting some friends and so i coaxed him to come along to our hOME worship night where he provided our homily (in other words he told some stories and talked with us about kneeling in the knee prints of Jesus and praying to the Father like Jesus did). although we (+ two others) meet quarterly to talk and pray (and invariably go for a curry and some beers) it's the first time since we left college that we have done any 'ministry' together. it's fun to do ministry with your friends.

Matt and Mark
Originally uploaded by Matt Rees.

Monday, April 25, 2005

unsure of who you should vote for? visit here and complete the online quiz on the major issues and it will tell you where you stand in relation to the policies of the major parties. my results were as follows:
Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -4
Conservative -55
Liberal Democrat 66
UK Independence Party -21
Green 46

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Big Preach II

On Sunday i did my second big preach on consecutive sundays at our 'mother' church. decided to go for a 'secret agent' theme. the idea being: the church is a community that has discovered a secret (Eph. 3, Col. 1 - a mystery that has now been disclosed etc.) and that we as individuals and as community are agents of change, agents of the kingdom...working to make this secret known as we participate with God in the missio dei. started off with a secret-agent quiz where we found out who really knew their secret agents. this included trying to name all 5 Bonds (although there is some controversy here as some people insist there are 6 if you include David Niven in Casino Royale - the very first (pre Connery), but 'unofficial', Bond film). This all makes it sound like i am a big Bond fan - which I'm not really.
i think i was a little on the provocative side perhaps - i really went after the personalised, privatised, 'my own personal saviour', mentality...talked about how i always used to read the word 'you' in the New testament as you-singular rather than you-plural....and how God's primary concern is for the people of God first and foremost rather than the individual (am I turning into a Catholic?!)'s the church that is the agent of the kingdom. i also managed to squeeze in some Eddie Izzard which always helps to coat the pill.
i realise i am able to do the 'big preach' type of thing when called upon - and people have been very complimentary - but i, like a lot of others, still have serious questions about the big, set-piece, monologue as a means of learning, certainly if that's the only model of learning/teaching being used in a community. David Norrington's book, 'To Preach or not to Preach' suggests that much or most of what we mean by preaching in church today is completely alien to the New Testament - in other words: preaching is unbiblical!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Nufonix is music download service that i have just discovered while searching for a track i heard on Groove Salad internet radio from SOMA FM in San Francisco. It looks like it has a great selection of downtempo, lounge, minimal, and chill out stuff (as well as techno and house etc.). and the best bit is that you can set up an account and download tracks for $0.98 which works out here as about 50p. It's easy to import them into iTunes too.

Originally uploaded by Matt Rees.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

TV Turnoff Week

Originally uploaded by Matt Rees.

TV Turnoff Week is an annual event organised by Adbusters. This year it's on April 25th-May 1st. The idea is to encourage everyone to turn off their TV for a week and enjoy the resulting increased mental health and detoxification. This year - and this looks like fun! - they are selling a little gizmo that turns off any TV when you point the gizmo at it. and they're selling it at cost for $10 which is peanuts over here. there's a little vid clip on the site which shows them testing it out at an electrical retail store! it's gotta be time for some cultural subversiveness. get yours here.

Monday, April 11, 2005

going global looks like i've had my first visitor from South America (check 'hitmaps' on sidebar)...hooray!

Big Preach last night

i'm a lazy blogger. i realise my posting frequency has gone way down recently and i am gonna try to address that.
last night i did a big preach at St Aldates. haven't done one for a while. but the rector is away so it's all hands on deck.
did it on John 15 - abiding in the vine - in parallel with Gen 1:26f - God creating humankind on Day 6 and their first full day i.e. day 7 - being a day of 'work from rest' rather than 'rest from work'.
Jesus says quite clearly in John 15 that those who abide in him WILL BE FRUITFUL. I think sometimes we invest far too much of our energy in trying to be fruitful, trying to grow fruit (i did in fact use the phrase 'clench and squeeze' in front of 600 people last night...but i did apologise after commenting that it was probably the first (and last) time that phrase had been used from that platform), and not enough time and energy focused on 'abiding in the vine'. not that that means we don't do anything except walk around in a super-spiritual haze, just that we live out of a different centre where we realise that it's not all down to us to make it happen. if we abide, we WILL be fruitful. and of course i wanted to enlarge our understanding of what 'being fruitful' meant - to make it a much more holistic concept, understood as demonstrating God's creative power - in relationships, in church, at work, in our relationship with the land etc. and tracing a line from the original creation mandate ('be fruitful and multiply'), through God's covenant with Israel, the ministry of Jesus, and the great commission in Matt. 28.
am also down to preach next sunday morning (two sundays in a row - unheard of!) and am working on a 'secret-agent' idea. hmmmm...

Monday, April 04, 2005

today's top tip's some great advice which i have completely failed to follow today: Leave the house before you think of a worthwhile reason to stay in.

Geography Olympics

Thanks to Rich for this. Test your knowledge of which country is where, with this online quiz - and compete for your country at the same time. i only managed a score of 20% but they did give me a lot of African countries! Unfortunately i lowered our country's score average by something like 0.3%. doh! Currently the UK is only 91st on the leaderboard with a poorer geographic knowledge than even the USA (sorry American friends, maybe it's just your president whose knowledge of foreign countries seems to be so poor!) who surpisingly come out in first place at the moment with a quiz average of 77.028.
take part here.