Wednesday, August 23, 2006

emerging jerk?

While surfing the web for images for a flier the other day I came across this from Matt Glover.

I've seen it all now!

Thanks to Kyle for the tip off.
The 'Left Behind' series of books and related paraphanelia has been a festering sore on the body of Christ for many years. Now they've gone one further and released a video game. The plot in brief (cos it's not worth any more of my time) - Christians who have been 'left behind' after the rapture has taken place have to either convert others who are still on the earth or kill them! It was difficult for me to type that last sentence as it's SO RIDICULOUS.
Anyway, read a great rant about it here.
Should you be so inclined visit the official site here.


Off to Greenbelt in the morning. Can't wait.

TV Update

After a very disappointing weekend, football wise (my team lost) Sunday night had a couple of TV gems to cheer me up.

I have already blogged about The Miracles of Jesus. This was the last one of the mini-series and it focussed on the resurrection. I thought it was great. High production values and perhaps surprisingly sympathetic although in this age of increased sensitivity around religion (normally every other religion except Christianity - though I understand why I think) perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. I thought it was surprisingly theologically robust - looking at the theological significance of the resurrection etc. I know some people have found it slightly patronising in tone and lacking other sources (where were the famous talking heads we have come to expect in these sorts of shows?!) I liked it.

The other gem was Melvyn Bragg's hour-long interview with Rowan Williams later on ITV1 (there is a transcript of an excerpt here). I always enjoy listening to Rowan talk - he's so erudite and articulate about faith and life. And he always strikes me as being a really humble, holy guy (ok I'll stop sucking up to the boss now!). The interview was revealing - he talked about his upbringing and what God means to him personally and his experience of prayer. He bigged up 'Fresh Expressions' of church as something he was particularly excited about.
But the thing that made the biggest impression on me was his reflections on monastic life. Apparently he considered becoming a monk in his mid-twenties. When Bragg pushed him further on the reasons for this Rowan said that the rationale behind monasticism is the desire to 'dial-down' the noise and clutter of life - by taking out the 'hyper-choice' of contemporary life i.e. when your life is ordered you don't spend energy on when and what you're going to eat, what you're going to wear, what you're going to do, how you're going to pray etc. and so a space is created - a mental, spiritual, and emotional space - within which you can go deeper into God.
That made a lot of sense to me.
He also said that we need monastics because we need to have 'people who can see' around. Not just people who can 'do' things, but people who can 'see' deeper levels of reality.
I hope we can take on some of these thoughts in our little monastic experiment here in the hOME Chapter.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

here we go!

Really excited about the start of a new football season today. Come on you Spurs!


Some days you wake up in the morning and say to yourself "today I think I need to go to the zoo" (well, at least I do). So yesterday, Pip and I went to Marwell Zoological Park (near Winchester) where we met up with Pip's god-daughter and family and spent a few wonderful hours looking at the animals. Our trip confirmed to me something I already knew - Tigers are easily the best animals in the world, hands down.

An Inconvenient Truth

Was lucky enough to get tickets for a preview viewing of Al Gore's film - An Inconvenient Truth - a couple of nights ago. You have just got to see this film. It's based on his lecture tour on global warming (which sounds really dull, I know!) but it's very well conceived and released by a major studio so the production values are really high. I found it very moving. If you live in the States and you haven't seen it yet - WHY NOT?! It's been out for a little while over there. If you're a UK resident go and see it when it gets its full release in a couple of weeks time - and tell everyone you know to go and see it. There's much more I could say about it but I don't want to colour your opinion.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Miracles of Jesus

Really enjoyed The Miracles of Jesus last night on BBC1 which I taped as it clashed with our gathering.
I thought the dramatisations were really great and Rageeh Omaar's narration was very Tom Wright-esque I thought: lots of talk of how Jesus was acting in ways that only God could act etc. This was perhaps surprising given the fact that Omaar is a Muslim.
The question of whether or not Jesus thought of himself as in some sense divine and how that self-realisation developed was fascinating and very thought provoking.
I know it sounds daft but the dramatisations brought home to me again the fact that we follow a man who lived in many ways just like everyone else lived 2000 years ago; a man very much of his culture and time whose ways would be very strange to us now, but a man nevertheless who we believe, as Christians, was in some mysterious way God himself among us.
I know that sometimes I lose sight of that and end up with a Jesus who has somehow come loose from the world that he was a part of.
Anyway, if you've missed the show so far make sure you catch it next week when it focuses on the resurrection.

missing verse

I noticed when reading the Lectionary on Saturday that there is a verse missing from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 17 verse 21 doesn't exist. You've got verse 20 and verse 22 but no verse 21. So far I've looked it up in the NIV and the NRSV and it's not there in either. Go look it up for yourself! Maybe it could be the theme text for some church or other body - any suggestions as to who it should be the theme text for?!! Or, perhaps more constructively, does anyone know why there is no Matt 17:21?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The St Tropez of Devon!


5 of us had a fantastic week away in Salcombe, Devon, last week courtesy of Jim's brother Andrew who has an amazing holiday home down there overlooking the estuary out to sea. It was brilliant to sit out on the terrace, have a glass of champagne (it was Jim's birthday while we were there), read, listen to the iPod etc. Someone described it to me before we went as the 'St Tropez' of Devon and they were right. We really could have been on the Med - we had sunny weather all week and could sit and watch the boats coming in ("...and I watch them going out again" - sorry, Otis Redding moment over now). My favourite moment was when I came in to the kitchen to find Mark (far left) watching a big boat through the binoculars saying "So Mr Bond, we have been expecting you" (in a kind of vague european, mr big, dr evil type way). Thanks for organising it, Jim - I'm looking forward to the next one already!