Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Subverting the Empire

Very pleased that Oxford will be one of the venues hosting Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat on Weds June 18th this year where they will be presenting us with material from their important book - 'Colossians Remixed - Subverting the Empire'.

I picked up a copy recently but haven't read it yet but a number of years ago I read some of Walsh's earlier work - most notably 'Truth is Stranger than it used to be'.

Anyway - highly recommended stuff. Book here.

At a Maunday Thursday service of ministerial recommitment at the Cathedral

Monday, March 17, 2008

Palm Sunday - 2 Pathways

really enjoyed our palm sunday service yesterday and I enjoyed preparing it even more. It was one of those ones, for me, where the texts really come alive.
The 'lightbulb coming on' moment was when I put the gospel reading (Matthew 21: 1-11) next to the epistle reading (Philippians 2: 5-11). It was in the contrast between the 2 readings that I had an 'aha' moment as to what was going on.

In the triumphal entry we see, what we called in our service, 'the path of ascent' : the invitation of the crowds to Jesus to take the path of power, success, prestige, strength. These things aren't always necessarily wrong but Jesus wouldn't be defined by them. It was inconceivable to the crowds on Palm Sunday that Christ would 'give himself up to death' i.e. go to the cross.
In the epistle reading we see Christ instead taking the 'path of descent' - giving up human notions of power and success for something so counterintuitive to us that we just don't know what to do with it.

And of course - the story of Christ is our story. What happens to Christ happens to us.

In our service we created two stone-lined pathways - one littered with palm branches, the other with palm crosses. On the first one - the path of ascent - we had words associated with ascent on pieces of paper for people to pick up. On the second one - the path of descent - people were invited to put down the values of ascent and pick up the values of descent.

lay down success, pick up apparent failure
lay down status, pick up lowliness
lay down significance, take up insignificance
lay down power, take up trust
lay down pride, take up humility
lay down strength, take up weakness
lay down ego, live out of a different centre
lay down privilege, seek solidarity with the least

The palm branches need to become palm crosses.

The path of descent led to the altar - i.e. leads to death - where we celebrated communion, the great continuing participation in Christ's death where we too die - we fall back into the arms of God in the hope of resurrection.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

is Rugby like Fight Club but with better rules? (i.e. you are allowed to talk about rugby!)

Overjoyed yesterday to see Wales win the Six Nations. I nailed my colours to the mast at the beginning of the campaign so no one can accuse me of just supporting the winning team. Wales were unbeaten and easily the best team in the tournament.

Watching the Six Nations this year has made me think about issues connected with masculinity, violence, physical aggression etc. I really must watch Fight Club again!! Seeing some of the ferocious tackles flying in - literally flattening players - made me aware of how cossetted my life unphysical my life is - a lot of it is lived in my head.

Looking after a little girl is quite is quite a physical task, and of course it's not possible to not live in a body...and I definitely don't want to go down the whole 'Wild at Heart'/John Elderidge trip (and I'm also not asking you to hit me next time you see me!!) - but I imagine the raw physicality of the game for those players yesterday - even the getting hurt - was quite exhilarating - and that's something a lot of guys don't have going on any more.

Like I say - I probably need to go and watch Fight Club again. Any thoughts anyone?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

coffee wars

Just been up to Summertown - an area in North Oxford - to run some errands and was quite amused to see that a new Starbucks has opened up right opposite Costa - and they are really at war with each other...wandering baristas move up and down the pavement on their respective sides of the street handing out free sample of food (of course I tried both - I was a little peckish!) with a big bright smile, tribally marked balloons are flying around outside each store. But you have to make a choice don't you? so I sit writing this with my take-out cup of americano from.....well, that would be telling.

Friday, March 14, 2008

palm sunday

I did a quick flier for our Palm Sunday service a week ago (see below) but as I've worked on the service over the last few days it's become much more focussed.
I'll hopefully blog more about it on Monday but here's the new flier and, of course, if you live locally (i.e. Oxford) you are more than welcome to join us.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

help needed - palm branches

i'm in the middle of planning this sunday's palm sunday gathering and I really need to source some full size palm branches. I have palm crosses but need some branches. They are not easy to find!! Does anyone know where I could find some? Garden centres?

talk about leaving it to the last minute!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

It's really, really good.