This Blog follows on from asking questions about Changes at Greenbelt and about the lack of UK Emergent Speakers.

Part of the reason that we have fewer UK 'Name' speakers is that emergent movements in UK Christianity have tended to follow the pattern of Symposia - either communicating through worship or short talks. This does not naturally produce single name speakers.

For the Rural Fresh Expressions events we did book a couple of named speakers, but they were not the focus of the conferences. The idea was that all who attended were contributors and practitioners. Everyone who wanted to come to the conference was invited to submit some background and part of their (communities) story. This was distributed to everyone before the conference, so we all knew something of one another. The conference was open to non-practitioners too (although they had a lower booking priority), but they too had to share what they were interested in learning and sharing.


Where are all the UK based Emergent Speakers?

So @vahva asks - where are all the Brit speakers? To which Tim responds:
So where are we now? Surely some of us who came through post-evangelicalism and alt-worship 20 years ago have or had something to say. After all this website has been running since July 2003 - have a look. And what happened 10 years before this website still exists on WorshipCafe. It all looks very familiar if you dig through it. Over the years I have shared these ideas with others - mostly through symposia and forums and actual worship. None of us have become Christian celebrities.

Whilst drifting off to sleep at Greenbelt this year I overheard a conversation on the path: the words 'Power Mad Bishops' hung in the night air - which made me smile at an event so focussed on Christian celebrity. Because Bishop's have very little actual power, and are seldom listened to. UK Emergents have taken the same path. Where are we?

Greenbelt 2014: Changes

Greenbelt has changed this year, just as I am sure that Greenbelt has changed many times over the years. I am not a lifetime Greenbelter, but over the last five years it has become part of my spiritual rhythm. This year that pattern included Naturally Supernatural at Soul Survivor, On Fire, and the Walsingham National Pilgrimage.

The site was the biggest change. Boughton House is brilliant as a venue, and Greenbelt creatively made use of the lie of the land to craft an experience that Cheltenham could not offer. However there were hiccoughs: access on and off site was difficult especially for day visitors. Where we were camping the toilets were frequently over full - sanitation seemed to be an issue across site, with some nasty outbreaks on the caravan field in particular. Mobile signal, especially data was variable to non-existent on many networks and there was no WiFi available, which meant that the vital extra social and interactive layers provided by social media were absent from talks and discussions.

The change in site also had an influence on the venues available. There was less AV technology available and fewer medium size venues. The Goth Eucharist for example was squeezed into a 200 capacity youth venue. 


The Doors Were Shut

The questions. What to wear, Will I fit in?

Your friends encourage you … ‘you will be fine’. Hair, shoes, make-up – that top – no the other one.

Will I like the music?

You arrive, there is short queue … and so the waiting. And then you are at the doors – guarded .. the doors are shut. You are looked up and down …

Deep breath. You are okay.

And the doors are shut behind you. – you are in .. you are welcomed …

And the music …


Greenbelt 2014

I am off to Greenbelt shortly, and very much looking forward to preaching at the Goth Eucharist this year. Don't let us being in a youth venue put you off.

As usual please say hello if you see me. I may not recognise you if your twitter avatar is a chicken and your I.D. is not your name. Explain clearly to me who you are with hand actions if required.


Outwards and Upwards

Vicky Beeching and I grew up in a conservative church culture together in Canterbury. Back when I was in my late teens she was in her early teens. We haven’t really kept in touch over the years – we have bumped into each other at festivals – had a few conversations.

Vicky went on to Oxford and then on to be a well known worship leader in the US, where she played in some of the largest churches and Christian gatherings. She has a number of albums recorded. A few years back Vicky came back to the UK and has started work in television. She is hotly tipped as a future presenter of Songs of Praise.

This last week Vicky came out in the Independent as gay.


These are not the Liberalisms you are looking for?

Following last weeks response to Prof. Linda Woodhead there has been some discussion of the use of the word liberal. Theological liberalism can be understood in a number of senses.

One sense is technical and historical: a C19th protestant theological method whose root is identified in the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher, and theological movements that have followed. But even in the late C19th century theological liberalism had a broader non-technical sense. John Henry Newman wrote:
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true.


Is Right Wing Morality Costing the Church of England Dearly?

I have responded to Linda Woodhead's perceptions of the Church of England before. The most recent piece of writing comes from USC Religion Dispatches.

To summarise: The article claims that church attendance is sharply declining. That one reason for this is that the hierarchy is out of step with its members - the latter being more liberal on moral issues, and the former having become more conservative. The article explores the dynamics between three parties in the church liberals, conservative evangelicals and traditionalist anglo-catholics in relation to the ordination of women to the episcopate, concluding that despite a post-liberal turn in leadership since the 1970's the average Anglican would
"have preferred a church which was more responsive to their moral convictions, and better able to accommodate the diversity of their views."
So let's start with church attendance: The last Statistics for Mission was in 2012. It shows a small decline year on year: