Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There's only one Edgar Davids

As a Spurs fan I couldn't let Edgar Davids' first goal for Tottenham go unmentioned on this blog. For my money he is still one of the standout players in world football and he is doing a great job for Spurs. It was great to see him really enjoying scoring his first goal for the club on Saturday.

Monday, November 28, 2005


In the process of switching our broadband and phone over to Bulldog who are offering 8 meg broadband for £9.75 per month. The offer expires at the end of November so get your skates on if you're tempted.

Advent Sunday

Yesterday, of course, was Advent Sunday - the beginning of the church year. A season of anticipation and expectancy. We had our regular Eucharist but added some Advent spice with a short candle lighting ritual at the beginning using the U2 track '40' (in darkness) followed by the Delirious track 'There is a light that shines in the darkness' (I know - I've lost all my emerging church kudos by mentioning Delirious...woops) as Pippa lit the 'Christ' candle at the back of the room and walked into the circle of sofas and then lit each person's candle. Simple but effective. We sang some of our home-grown songs (and it was good to have Martin singing for the first time), read the lectionary readings and Suzie shared some reflections on 'Watching, Waiting and Hoping' (I particularly enjoyed her tie in with the 'buy now pay later'/instant gratification culture we live in). We then prayed the eucharist liturgy together (and Jim has brought back a fantastic chalice and patten from Iona for us to use).
One of the things that I was most pleased about last night was the way people lingered after the service had 'officially' ended and prayed for each other without it being 'organised'. We have been struggling for a while to find some natural ways to incorporate 'prayer ministry' (for want of a better phrase) into our services without reverting to the overly hyped-up practices of many charismatic churches. It was great to see people in 2's and 3's around the place just simply and quietly praying for each other where they sat. I hope we see more of that.


A dozen of us from hOME went down to Devon for a couple of nights this last weekend. 5 of the crazy fools even went surfing in the Atlantic. I was not one of them. They tried to convince me that a winter wet suit would see me right but I wasn't buying it. I mean, there was snow on the ground for crying out loud. Anyway, a good time was had by all and we got back in time to celebrate Advent Sunday last night (see next post).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Big Ideas of 2006

Even though I am more sceptical these days of the adbusters agenda after reading 'The Rebel Sell' the end of year issue of the adbusters magazine is always worth getting. I picked up a copy from Borders the other day. Get yours at all good newsagents now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

more on the emergent conversation day

Jonny has reminded me that there is some stuff that really chimes in with what we were talking about on Saturday in the introduction to his book 'Alternative Worship'. Reading his blog post sent me back to re-read it, and i wish I had done so before we went to St Albans as it's really relevant to what we were talking about. here's an excerpt:

"Alternative worship was 'post-charismatic', particularly in the determination of most groups to reject the culture of chorus singing and the worship group with worship leader. We have already noted the time lag between the musical forms (soft rock, easy listening) adopted by the charismatic renewal and the forms current in 'secular youth music'. There was a reaction against a performance-based musical idiom, in favour of one oriented to communal celebration and participation. People were also reacting against a model of the working of the Holy Spirit which stressed immediacy, spontaneity and extemporizing as the true signs of 'the Spirit moving'. The charismatic renewal contained an explicit critique of liturgical tradition as 'formal therefore unfree'. Most alternative worship groups have rejected this opposition and turned to embrace form, set prayers and liturgical patterns. Both the turn from choruses and the turn from an exclusive emphasis on 'free prayer' reflected an aesthetic and a spiritual disillusionment with these forms; a sense that they had produced a culture of banality in worship. A number of groups have retained a strong affinity with the theology of charismatic renewal, which they seek to explore within a new cultural mix."

I found that to be a helpful summary of some of the stuff we were talking about on Saturday.

I am still trying to discover, though, more groups like the one Jonny mentions at the end there - having a strong affinity with the theology of charismatic renewal but seeking to explore that within a new cultural mix. I'm sure there must be more groups out there like that - perhaps similar to us in hOME in wanting to explore the intersection of ancient/future liturgical forms whilst holding on to a charismatic spirituality - I just haven't found many yet. If that describes you, get in touch.

The Constant Gardener

Pip and I went to see this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. we stopped off at 'The Big Bang' beforehand which is a sausage restaurant (choose a combination from a selection of sausages, mash, and jus - I went for the traditional Oxford sausages with a carrot and swede mash and a red wine jus - delicious). Anyway, it's a really well made film by the director of 'City of God'. without wanting to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, it does make you wonder how much of this sort of thing really goes on and how much is covered up. if you haven't seen it yet that will obviously make no sense whatsoever! do go and see it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

photos from the emergent day

Jason has a collection of photos from the Emergent discussion day last Saturday here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Emergent Conversation Day : The Holy Spirit in the Emerging Culture

Yesterday half a dozen or so of us from hOME went across to St Albans for a discussion day, looking at the subject of the place of the Holy Spirit in the emerging church/culture.
Jason Clark and I facilitated the day with a few minutes of input from the two of us at the start of play to get the ball rolling. we both shared our stories and how we had come to be having this conversation.
my take on it was really about wondering why, as i connect with people from the emerging church and alternative worship scenes, that i keep coming across so many people who could perhaps be described as being 'post-charismatic' i.e. "I used to be into all of that 10 years ago but i've moved on now" - that sort of thing. and i wondered whether the two things (i.e. emerging church and being post-charismatic) necessarily went together.
there was some very helpful discussion about babies and bath water - and how perhaps people had rejected charismatic spirituality becuase it had become so closely identified with a mono-cultural expression of christianity that in distancing yourself from that culture you also distance yourself from the essence of the spirituality behind it because the two have become so intertwined.
so i shared about becoming concerned with some of the things i had witnessed over the years in the charismatic/pentecostal movement - using two phrases - 'revival fatigue' and 'spiritual viagra' - to describe what i had seen. i am particularly concerned about how a purely charismatic spirituality (i.e. ignoring the other traditions) can so easily lead to burn out i.e. it is not sustainable.

i suggested there were two possible responses (although there are probably more):
1. adopt (and integrate charismatic spirituality within) a more 'preaching-centric' view where long term spiritual sustainability is acheieved through a basis in regular biblical exposition or
2. seek to integrate a charismatic spirituality within the liturgical-contemplative tradition to offer increased sustainability.

i said that hOME was exploring the second of these options - we are investigating a spirituality that emerges at the intersection of the liturgical/contemplative (in new forms) and the charismatic. unfortunately we don't seem to have come across too many others attempting to explore that territory.

all in all it was a good day. i was pleased we attempted an open-source approach with people writing up their questions on post-it notes and then self organising them on a wall - leading us into small group discussion and then feeding back.

i thought we lost our way a little bit in the afternoon with the feeding back session. it was probably a little on the long side and also it felt a little like we were struggling to stay on the subject and avoid a general discussion about the emerging church in general.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I am currently working on the hOME (hOME is our church in case anyone is visiting here for the first time) budget for the coming year.
we are a small and fragile emerging/alt church community with a vision for mission and growth but while we are at the early stages of our community life it's kinda tough making ends meet.
we're getting there and some of our guys are really giving sacrificially which is wonderful.
but if there is anyone else out there in the blogosphere - any individuals or fellow emerging churches - who believes in what we are doing and feels prompted to support our mission then we would be very pleased to hear from you.
you can e mail me at

Friday, November 04, 2005

Why Halloween is bad

thanks to Chris for this hilarious photo.

Courtney Pine tonight

I'm looking forward to seeing Courtney Pine play tonight in Cheltenham. A friend of mine once described Jazz as the musical equivalent of speaking in tongues. i'll be seeking the gift of interpretation this evening. Jazz club....nice.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Clustr Maps

I'm glad Rich put me on to Clustrmaps a while back. Now I can see where in the world people who visit my blog are from. I'm pleased to say I have now had visitors from most continents. If you are at all interested - and who wouldn't be!! - then you can see my Clustr Map here.

Jamie Oliver in Italy

anyone see this last night? Jamie Oliver was visiting a monastery as part of his tour of Italy (apparently they had a legendary herb garden). there were some great lines: "I don't even know what religion I am. I think I might be Church of England." and "food is my religion, and the dinner table is my altar". He offered to say grace before meal and got it slightly wrong in an amusing way: "for what we are about to receive may God be truly thankful".
But seriously, it was fascinating to see these decrepid old monks - who had been eating tinned vegetables and the like, much to Jamie's displeasure - come alive with some good cooking. Jamie did a BBQ outside and got them all involved with the cooking - he wanted them to share in the experience of preparing the food and to have a laugh as they did so - and then even had them dancing a little bit to The Cure that he had playing from the stereo of his VW Camper Van.
In a funny sort of way he was a bit like the way I imagine Jesus would have been.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bishop Richard

Richard Harries, our Bishop here in Oxford, announced the other day that he will retire next Easter. I, for one, have a great deal of respect, fondness and admiration for him though I am aware that he set the cat amongst the pigeons somewhat with the whole Jeffrey John affair. He has always been kind to me and I will miss him.

Saint Eddie of Izzard and the college of preachers

just got my hands on the Eddie Izzard box set which I've been after for a while. still by far and away my favourite comedian even after being given a good run for his money by people like Demetri Martin and Ross Noble.
Someone I once knew wrote an essay in theological college entitled "The Stand Up comedy of Eddie Izzard as a model for contemporary preaching". The point he was making was that a lot of Eddie Izzard comedy is based on his ability to take something that we are overly familiar with - the fact that bees make honey for instance - and play around with it in such a way that enables us to see again how wonderful (and occasionally bizarre) life is.
This is something that good preaching should do (and sorry, fellow emerging church travellers, but i still believe in preaching...perhaps there are some different ways to do it but still..). Good preaching/speaking/chatting/dialoguing should enable us to look again at something we have perhaps looked at a thousand times before, and enable us to see it again for the first time.