Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cara Dillon

Cara Dillon has been one of my 'finds' of the last year. She has one of the most exquisitely beautiful voices I have ever heard. She'll be too folky for some of you but I absolutely love her stuff.
Anyway - Pip and I had tickets to see her at the Carling Academy here in Oxford back in June. The gig was cancelled and rescheduled for last night. So we finally managed to get babysitters (thanks Jim and Mary!!) and went over - got there for 815pm only to find her half way through her set!!
'Gigs aren't what they used to be' I was thinking (finding it incredible that a headline act would be on stage at 750pm) and then we realised that in fact two gigs had been shunted together and that actually Cara was now playing as the support act for Glenn Tilbrook (ex 'Squeeze' singer). We were not happy (having paid £30 for the tickets).

Anyway - I went over and chatted to Sam Lakeman (Cara's husband and band member) who was at the merchandise stand. He was very apologetic and I managed to blag a free CD of Cara's new album (which isn't in the shops till the New Year apparently). He also said we should ask for our money back! So we went to the box office and talked to the manager who gave us £30 in cash! To top it off he put us on the guest list for Seth Lakeman next Tuesday! (which I can't actually go to cos of Blah! Oxford - but nevertheless...)

So let's do some accounting....
cancelled gig
missed half of this gig
money back
free CD
guest list for Seth Lakeman
we heard half of her set anyway

So by my reckoning we are up!

Anyway - you can hear more of the beautiful and very talented Ms Dillon at her Myspace page here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Steve Croft is moving on from Fresh Expressions

It's been announced this morning that Steve Croft who heads up 'Fresh Expressions' is to be the next Bishop of Sheffield. Fresh Expressions are announcing who is to take over his job next week.

I've just started a one-day-a-week job with Fresh Expressions - working with Ian Mobsby on content for their website. I don't work directly with Steve but I can see he's done a great job over the last 4 years of promoting Fresh Expressions of church across the country.

Read the full story here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Richard Rohr webcast on Emerging Church

Richard Rohr - one of my spiritual teachers - is doing a live webcast on Saturday November 8th at 4pm (UK time) on the title 'What is the Emerging Church'. There is a suggested donation of $5 (£2.70) for what I am sure will be 90 mins of wisdom. For more info and to book your place go here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coupland's Law

I remember reading an interview with Douglas Coupland a few years ago. In it he said that each morning he would go and buy a selection of newspapers and glance quickly at the headline on each one - if they were all different he knew we were ok for another day; if they were all the same we're screwed.

Using Coupland's law it would appear we (or more precisely the global economy) is screwed.

Free electronica!

Electronica fans amongst you might be interested to know that I stumbled upon some quite beautiful IDM (intelligent dance music - apparently it's a genre) (thanks to the other day by a musician called 'Esem'. He has an album ('Scateren') available on a Creative Commons license for free download. It's lovely stuff and will probably feature in some of our worship sometime soon.
The only problem is that it's in .ogg format so you will need to convert it to mp3 to play it in iTunes. On a mac this is relatively simple - just download a free bit of software called SoX Wrap which will perform the conversion for you. Windows users you're on your own I'm afraid.
So - get on over to here and get hold of a top free album, and don't say I never give you anything.

Friday, October 10, 2008

the lectionary

The Lectionary (for the uninitiated - the lectionary is a set of readings from scripture for each day of the year) has become an important part of my spiritual practice. If you have an electronic calendar of some kind (iPhone, Palm etc.) and want to have the readings automatically appear on your device (just the references not the full text) then there's a handy, free, file you can download from here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

reimagining the good life

The most helpful thing I took from the evening with Tom Sine (see post below) at the CMS house recently was his call for Christians to 'reimagine the good life' (sorry, I couldn't resist the pic - used to love that show when I was a kid!).

He said that where we seemed to have ended up with (as Christians in the West) is with lives largely shaped (in terms of values, aspirations, lifestyle choices etc.) by consumer culture with a little weekend spirituality tacked on.
In other words - our vision of what the good life is is pretty much the same as anyone elses.

We need to reimagine what living the good life looks like - and paint some pictures that imaginatively express and celebrate a different set of values.

I wonder whether this might be one answer to my earlier question of the missing interim models i.e. how do we go about creating community when we don't live together or very near each other. I wonder whether community is one of those things that happens as a by-product of something else, rather than a goal in itself (and if that's true then the phrase 'intentional christian community' perhaps isn't that helpful!). Perhaps we will see a greater depth of community happening when together we reimagine the good life.

So - an example of this might be the following: a reimagined good life might involve a desire to grow more of our own food. So we might do this with other people e.g. we might share an allotment etc. as we do so we find that we are living more deeply in community with the people we share the allotment with. But we didn't set out to deepen our community, we set out to grow more of our own food.

So maybe if you make 'community' an end in itself it's very difficult to acheive?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Harvest Supper this Sunday

This Sunday we are having our harvest supper. We celebrated harvest for the first time last year and it felt like a good thing to do so we're going to make it part of our yearly cycle. We are asking people to bring home-made or unprocessed food and canned food for the local food bank. We're going to have our service around a big pot-luck meal. Looking forward to it. Feel free to come along if you live locally.

'modern life is rubbish' (an occasional series of things that annoy me)

People listening to music on the speaker of their mobile phone. It's

StillPoint recommences next week

Back in June we trialled a Monday night session we called 'StillPoint' which is a meditation class/group designed specifically for people who are 'spiritual-but-not-religious' at a local cafe.
We've taken a break for the summer but we are beginning the sessions again next Monday night.
If you are local to Oxford and are wanting to explore the Christian mystical tradition & contemplative prayer - whether or not you would call yourself a 'Christian' - then please feel welcome to come and join us.
StillPoint has its own wee website here where you can get more info (and please pass on the info to anyone you might think would be interested).

Monday, October 06, 2008

Blah! Oxford with Ian Mobsby

Tom Sine in Oxford - where are the interim models for community?

I've got a bit behind on blogging recently so I'm trying to catch up post holiday (see next post when I get a moment to write it).

A couple of weeks back I went to an evening at the recently launched CMS community house in Oxford. If you haven't come across this yet it's a great initiative - CMS have recently relocated to Oxford and as part of that relocation they have invested in a couple of large houses in East Oxford which they have knocked through to create one very large community house where they hope to model creative communal. missional living. Some of the Home guys live there and Jim, our Warden, was very involved in getting it set up.

Anyway, they had an open evening with Tom Sine - author of books like 'The New Conspirators' and 'Mustard Seed vs McWorld' - who was chatting and telling stories etc.

It was great to be there. Enjoyed it. Tom spoke a lot about different communities who are living communally and how important these new expressions are. I agree. He also acknowledged that it's not easy to set up. This too is very true.

I asked what we could do about this gap between, on the one hand churches (like ours) saying that they don't want to just be a Sunday gathering, and, on the other hand - full on communal living. What's inbetween?

Tom's best answer was to move towards proximity living - i.e. trying to buy or rent houses in the same geographical area. I think this is a great idea. But I also think that even that could take considerable time and effort to bring about.

I'm still left thinking - what does it mean to be community when we don't live close to each other and we don't live with each other? How can we generate some interim models or foster greater community somewhere in between?