Friday, July 29, 2005


thanks to Chris Bullivant (I think..) for this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

a pilgrimage on your doorstep

this afternoon i did something i've been meaning to do for a long time: i went to see the home of CS Lewis - The Kilns - on the outskirts of Oxford.
in order to do this i had to become an American tourist for the day. there's a conference on in Oxford at the moment for about 450 Americans. The CS Lewis Foundation put it on each summer and get mega speakers to come and talk - Rick Warren was there on Monday morning. Chuck Colson at some point. Joss Ackland, the actor who played Lewis in the film 'Shadowlands' is coming to do a dramatic performance of one of Lewis's sermons - 'The Weight of Glory' - on Friday night (edit: it was Anthony Hopkins - Ackland played Lewis in something else). the Americans pay big bucks for all of this.
as some of the sessions are held at St Aldates church, where i am still currently on the staff, i snuck in (snuck in? i've been surrounded by Americans all afternoon and i think it's rubbed off) the other morning to hear Rick Warren, more out of curiosity than anything else. apparently, 'The Purpose Driven Life' has been the best selling book, globally, for the last 3 years in a row - more even than Harry Potter. Anyway, I wasn't expecting to like Warren at all but surprisingly i thought he was a really good speaker who had a lot of really good things to say. maybe i'm not as 'emerging' as i thought i was!
so, all week they're doing these tours of Lewis's house 'The Kilns' and i was talking this lunchtime to someone who used to work at St Aldates and is involved now in organising the conference and she suggested i hop on the coach and go. so i did. i pretty much managed to conceal my nationality all afternoon by being a miserable git and not talking to anyone.
It was great to visit the house, and the church down the road where Lewis and his brother Warren used to go for more than 30 years (and to sit in the spot he used to sit in). The CS Lewis Foundation have restored the house from old photographs to what it would have been like when Lewis lived there and it was very evocative to sit in his study and imagine him sitting at the desk and writing the Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity etc.
It's not just a museum but also a working study centre and there are a small number of post-grad students who live and study there during the academic year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

here's a half baked thought

we had a great weekend away back in february this year. weekends away always seem to be times of accelerated growth and community building etc. after our last one a number of people said we should have 2 a year rather than 1. i have been thinking over the last week and i've had a crazy thought:
if weekends away are such significant times, why don't we JUST do weekends away - like one a month or something like that. the first weekend of every month could be a weekend away. and not do anything in between (or maybe do small groups or something). a fund could be set up for people who would struggle to pay for it. it could be quite a monastic thing - eating together, set times of prayer etc. and you get all the benefits of having recreational time together etc.
ok - maybe it's a bit of a crazy idea, but you gotta admit it's a pattern of church we haven't seen before.

Monday, July 25, 2005

a question

i heard someone the other day talking a lot about 'kingdom theology' which i agree is a very interesting and important subject. in my experience the Kingdom of God - or 'signs of the kingdom' - is often defined quite narrowly - it's about people being physically healed etc. as i have pondered some of these things over the last few days i have been asking myself the following question: if there was the same standard of health care, medicine, hospitals etc. in Jesus' day as we have in ours would he have healed as many people? did Jesus heal so many people because there wasn't really any other way that they would have got better if he hadn't?
it's an honest question? i don't have any agenda or axe to grind.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

what's your ecological footprint?

this is interesting. find out what 'ecological footprint' your lifestyle leaves. My 'footprint' average comes out at 2.4 global hectares. the average for people in this country is 5.3 global hectares. there are apparently 1.8 biologically productive global hectares per person on the planet. so, if everyone lived like i did we would still need 1.3 planets to sustain our lives. take the test here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

holiday reading

Holiday in St Ives, Cornwall

just back from a great week in St Ives, Cornwall, one of our favourite places, the place where we got engaged. if you're down in Cornwall this summer and you haven't been to St Ives before i encourage you to go - i think it's got a bit of everything: a great beach, some fantastic restaurants, the Tate gallery plus lots of other little galleries (there are apparently 500 working artists on the St Ives peninsular).
we stayed in a great little fishermans cottage (he didn't seem to mind) right in the heart of St Ives with the beach at one end of the cobbled street and The Sloop Inn at the other.
the weather wasn't great but at least it didn't really rain so we could still do stuff. it's very hard to resist the temptation to think that the whole world's against you when a heat wave starts the day you are leaving though! we did get our wet suits on and get into the sea a few times anyway.
It was Pip's birthday on Friday so after going out for dinner we drank champagne on the beach watching the sunset (everyone say 'ahhh'..) and then we decided the perfect end to the day would be a swim in the sea (funny how you get ideas like that after a bottle of champagne), so even though it was 10pm we went for it anyway.
we definitely didn't want to come back! we stopped off at Perranporth on the way back for one last sea-swim and saw a shoal of mackerel really close to where we were swimming.
anyway, now we are back in landlocked Oxford - pretty much as far as you can get from the sea in any direction. still, it's home.

Friday, July 01, 2005

emerging church/post-charismatic : do the two necessarily go together?

had what felt like a very helpful chat with Jason Clark on the phone yesterday about how i feel clearly called to engage with new expressions of church (and lead one) but how that doesn't necessarily mean that i want to be 'post-charismatic'. these two things seem to go hand-in-hand very often and i'm not sure why. anyway, Jason tells the story of our conversation in more detail here and there's a bit of chat about it in the comments if you are interested.

line spacing on my blog

for some bizarre reason Blogger has recently decided to condense the line spacing on my blog. it used to be spaced like the text in my profile on the left hand side of the blog but now it is squashed. i don't like it. does anyone know why it does that and how i could fix it?

Podcasting - the next big thing

Now that the latest version of iTunes - 4.9 i think it is - includes a podcast facility i think podcasting is gonna go ballistic. i have experimented a bit with programmes like iPodder but it's a bit of a pain in the butt. having podcasting integrated into iTunes is gonna be the thing that sparks it off big time i think. i, like Jonny, have subscribed to Mark Kermode's film reviews from Radio 5, and also i'm trying out Tim Bednar's podcast, and one from an emerging church in Minneapolis called 'Bluer', and one called the Leadership podcast. these, i think, are all available from within iTunes via the Music store (look for the new podcast section). there's bound to be a lot of rubbish so i think it's a case of trying some stuff out and seeing what's hot and what's not. anyone found any really good ones