Friday, 19 September 2014

Liturgy is Messy


Unable to attend the recent Anglo-Catholic Future event Prof. Alison Milbank’s keynote is now available on-line. It is worth reading.

I entered the catholic tradition through death. After my mother died I found myself by accident in a church where suffering was not packaged away but hung messily from every crucifix.


I have been nourished in the catholic tradition through encounter. Catholic worship and practice is deeply ecstatic: an inability to move from the sacrament, a glimpse of Christ through palm branches, a strangeness of a statue of Our Lady.

I have persevered in the catholic tradition through strangeness. The strangeness of the sacrifice offered corporately on the altar even when God seems absent to the individual.

This is what we can offer the world: Christ in death, encounter & strangeness.

Prof. Milbank acknowledges the ‘Small Pox’ strangeness. We gather dismissive looks.

And with her I agree that we have a future, and that future is beautiful: Beautiful death, beautiful encounter, and beautiful strangeness. Yet we must acknowledge that such beauty can be extravagantly messy. And so too liturgy is messy: messy death, messy encounter, and messy strangeness.

Our Anglo-Catholic Future is to be messy.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Symposium

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.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

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 …