Monday, January 30, 2006

Maclaren resonds (or perhaps 'Maclaren gives lesson in how to engage in a conversation')

Thankfully, after Mark Driscoll's awful, unkind post (see my blog entry below), Brian Maclaren has now responded here: an example if ever we needed one (and it would seem that we do) of how to engage in conversation/debate in an irenic, humble, and kind way. Remember people, it's not just about being right.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


some of you will know that the small christian community that I am a part of here in Oxford - 'home' ( - are in negotiations to buy the lease on a small, independent cinema in Oxford.

We plan to refurbish it and continue to run it as a cinema but then use it for church on Sunday nights - that way it will function as a home for our community and also both a missional and cultural interface. A missional interface in the sense that we expect around 18,000 attendees at films throughout the year who will hear about the church, and missional also in that we will use the cinema as a base for serving and blessing the local community. A cultural interface as our church becomes a patron of the arts (we would hope to show the work of local film-makers etc.) as well as making a contribution to the conversations that are engendered by films in our culture (especially given the important role that cinema has in reflecting and contructing narratives).

We are busy putting together business plans for funding applications, loans and grants but it is clear that although once set up the project will be self financing, the initial purchase of the lease and assets is going to require a fairly significant capital investment.

So we are looking for funders - people who believe in the project as outlined above (and I will happily talk further about it), who can see with the eyes of faith the potential, and who are able and willing to invest financially in the mission and ministry of our community. If that describes you, then please get in touch with me at

how not to engage in conversation

Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church (a Very Important church apparently). In this article he clearly demonstrates how NOT to go about having a helpful conversation on an important subject. Thanks Mark! You can find my comments about half way down.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

that bloke's a nutter

I always think it's odd when people walk down the street smiling to themselves but today I became one of them. But it's very difficult not to do so when you're listening to the Ricky Gervais podcast (also available through iTunes). I walked through the city centre trying very hard not to laugh out loud and look like a complete nutter.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Church Has Left the Building

Really looking forward to heading out to Vancouver and Seattle in April. We plan to spend some time in Vancouver and Vancouver Island and then head down to Seattle where we will be at the Church of the Apostles New Monasticism Learning Party (and it will be great to hang out with Karen and the other Apostles) and then I'll be taking part in Tom and Christine Sine's Mustard Seed Associates 'The Church Has Left the Building' 2 day conference. I am planning on doing a workshop/seminar on the subject 'Slow Church' drawing from the philosophy behind the whole 'Slow' movement (slow food etc.). Should be fun.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

apple logo

has anyone else ever wondered whether there was any intentional link between the apple logo and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge fo good and evil? or do i need to get out more?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spinal Tap

I am delighted to discover that my Spinal Tap DVD contains a commentary done by Spinal Tap IN CHARACTER. I've had the disc for ages without knowing it contained it. It is truly hilarious.


where it's all about you. see here.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

a weekend of films and film stars

had a pretty film-heavy weekend. started to feel a bit like a Jake Gylenhaal stalker as I saw him in Brokeback Mountain on Friday night (with Pippa and Suzie) and Jarhead last night (with Rich). Enjoyed both films. I think Brokeback Mountain is a landmark film as we're used to seeing gay characters in films but they are usually quite camp. This is the first film that I can remember seeing (though there must be others?) where the gay characters aren't.
The problem is that it's far too easy to pigeon-hole the camp variety. Brokeback Mountain doesn't allow you to do that, which makes it a far more intriguing film. And very sad.
Really enjoyed Jarhead too (for those not in the know, it's Sam Mendes' (American Beauty, beau of Kate Winslet) new film). Set against the backdrop of the first Gulf War it raises some interesting questions about the futility of war. It definitely seemed that some in the cinema failed to pick up on such subtleties. You've got to worry when the young guys in the seats behind you know the names of the guns!
The day was topped off with a fine curry with Rich and Chris, although we were Grouchy Old Men as we had to sit near to a long table of very loud teenage girls. Then as they left we noticed that one of them was Hermione from Harry Potter. Which didn't make them less annoying.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


those who know me well know I am a huge Inspector Morse fan (one of those little idiosyncracies that either make me interesting or, more likely, a bit of a loser!). Anyway, the much-anticipated spin-off based on Morse's old side-kick, Lewis, will soon be on the telly. There's an interview with kevin Whately, the actor who plays Lewis, here. The show is on Sunday 29th January.

the most perfect song

my friend Rich thinks the most perfect song ever is 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead. It's a fine song but I think the accolade should probably go to 'Lover You Should've Come Over' by Jeff Buckley. Perhaps we are both wrong. what do you think?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

the cult of mac

ok - i obviously can't afford the just announced MacBook Pro but I set aside some money given to me at Christmas to wait and see what Steve Jobs announced today in San Francisco so I've just ordered the new adapter for the iPod (which charges it and hooks it up to your hi-fi) + the tiny remote control that goes with it. sweet. if you too feel so inclined, go here, although judging by the slowness of the apple site at the moment there are a lot of people doing so.

Stop Press : new Mac laptop...

just announced by Jobs - the Macbook Pro...with intel chips, remote control, built in iSight camera. fastest laptop ever. Lordy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Top Win

Sometimes you just can't beat going down the pub, having a couple of pints with a good mate (good to see you Jim) and watching your team win away from home. well done everyone involved in a thoroughly enjoyable evening!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's good to walk

The hOME New Year's Day Walk has turned into something of a tradition - i.e. we've now done it 3 times. Had a fine time the other day at near Dorchester where we walked up Wittenham Clumps (the theme song for the day seemed to be "my clumps, my clumps, my lovely Wittenham clumps"! - those of you that have been lucky enough to not hear the latest Black Eyed Peas single will have no idea what I'm talking about). The New Year's Day Walk has become a familiar orientation point for me in my mental world. It's a time to think back to the last one and all that has happened in between and also to think about who was there last year and has since moved on - to call them to mind so that they still live on in the memory of our community.


we had a great few days in Paris courtesy of Suzie whose Godfather has a flat there (thanks Suze). Saw the usual sights - Eiffel Tower (wonderfully lit up), Musee D'orsay (fantastic collection of Russian art), Les Deux Magots cafe in Saint Germain district (haunt of Hemingway, Satre and de Beauvoir), the outside of the Louvre, Sacre Couer, as well as some great meals out and general walking around. Also saw the new Woody Allen - Match Point - which Pippa and Suzie loved but I wasn't that sure about. Also found a fantastic bar - Au Trappistes - with a great selection of Belgian Abbey Ales. Had a Beelzebub and thought of Karen! Doing 190mph on Eurostar through the northern french countryside was something as well.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Attention Mac Users

i've been having a play around with a new web browser made by Mozilla (makers of Firefox) and made for use exclusively on macs ("mozilla power, mac style"). It's called 'Camino' and so far I'm pretty impressed. It's fast and it's got some great features (like being able to search your history etc.) You can also instruct Camino to not only block pop-ups but also screen out adverts on web pages, which it does pretty well. Fellow Mac users go here to check it out.
Secondly, most Mac users know that Steve Jobs' keynote speech from Macworld San Francisco is the one to watch so I thought I would remind us all that it's happening on Tuesday January 10th at 9am (5pm UK time). You can normally watch a webcast of it pretty soon afterwards on the Apple site. We wait with bated breath to see what he's going to announce this year.