Sunday, September 11, 2005

Away with the ferries

Won't be here for a couple of weeks, am off on me hols to France. So rather than leave the blog empty with no explanation thought i would let you know.

I'll have une verre de vin for all you bloggers (or should that be 'un'?)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

not a creature was stirring, not even a blogger...

After a manic flurry of activity following Greenbelt all is quiet on the West of Cambridge front, certainly in terms of adding anything to this bloggy jobbet. Interestingly it is only only New Kid that is doing this, a lot of the blogs I've visited have calmed down somewhat in the past few days.

Interesting, and encouraging that Greenbelt can inspire that kind of activity. I can't quite put my finger on why, I guess it is just the overwhelmingly creative atmosphere and the fact that people are encouraged to think holistically - so that faith is certainly not a 'one day a week' thing but a vibrant, living, challenging, inspiring, daily activity. Hopefully the thought, the creativity will keep going throughout the year.

One thing which made me think this year at Greenbelt was the comment that 'GB' helps some Christians 'survive' from year to year, and that going to Greenbelt is like a refill of the batteries (in fact i read that on a posting on the Greenbelt forum this morning). I find that both heartening, that a rather haphazared collection of Christians can inspire such good things, and disappointing, that the Church can so badly let down her members that they have to rely on a 'para-Church' event to keep them going.

I was on the panel for Holy Joe's debate on 'DIY Church' (which rather spiralled and nosedived, sadly) but was struck by the times it was said 'Church isn't what i want'. I have to say that even as a Church leader Church isn't always as i would want it to be, but i need the challenge of other Christians to keep my faith alive. I have two ways in which i have tried to address difficulties in Church over my time as a Christian - one is to try and change things from the inside, hence the dog-collar and the other is to allow Church to change me. I may not get what i want from the style of worship, I may disagree with the way things are done or with the people who make up a Church, but that doesn't make me walk away - i have to constantly encounter others so that i might encounter God in others.

There is more to it than this, and i am not for a moment suggesting that we stick with a particular fellowship and denomination as it seeks to suck the soul out of us. I am just aware that in a consumer culture many christians are prone to church shop in the same way they might shop for any other bit of entertainment. Surely there is more to it than that.

This may well become something that i think about on my other (mission and ministry) blog http://althevicar.blogspot.com - and i am well aware that i have only started to scrape the surface rather than plumb the depths of the issue.

I've wandered off a bit from Greenbelt, but goes to show how it keeps stimulating the mental juices (what a disgusting image there)

Roll on Greenbelt 06!

Friday, September 02, 2005

For Blog's Sake

As the more observant will have noticed there are a lot more links to blogs on the right hand side than there were a week ago, this is partly due to the inspiration of discovering blogs through the Greenbelt Tag and partly in response to some of the comments that have been posted here in the past few days. I would say, though, that I'm not just chucking on references to anyone, these blogs are worth reading, and i have been seriously impressed in the blogfest that has been my past few late evening's entertainment by the quality of thought and the fun that is part of the blogging community.

I don't operate a strict editorial policy, I don't necessarily agree with what is written in all of them, but i do enjoy them, so try a few out. Some are deeper than others, but i leave you to find that out for yourself - after all it's not the destination it's the journey that's important (or some old cack like that) ;-)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More GB 05

It happens every year

I think that i am just settling down to normal life (is there such a thing?) and the whole Greenbelt thing just will not lie down and play dead! I am not the type that lives from Greenbelt to Greenbelt (more like minute to minute really, i have a very narrow perspective....i call it focussed!) - but i cannot deny the impact that this four days has on my life throughout the year.

It all comes back to this 'whole life philosophy' that permeates the festival. I am an arty-farty type so when i first encountered Greenbelt back in 1987 before going off to uni to study Drama and Theology (hence why i ended up as a minister - i was not qualified to do anything else) i was inspired by the vision of bringing faith to such an important area of my life. The influence of Gb on my theological development, the freedom of expression and thought, the sheer fun of the festival is beyond my abiltiy to describe. Likewise the refusal to accept the idea of 'being told what to believe' and the challenge to the status quo of the Church which is all a part of the GB ethos has probably affected me more than any other one thing in my spiritual journey.

This is not to say that Gb is perfect, far from it - this year i felt i didn't connect with the festival itself in the same way as i have done in previous years - and i found out a little bit about the politics of the Gb organisation which made it all feel a little more mundane than it might have otherwise. Yet it is a place which is alive with feeling, humour, hope, anger, love and hope - and faith too! I have enjoyed being a speaker over the past six years or so and hope to continue some input to the festival over the coming years. Maybe if i get around to that book i keep telling myself i will write (and friends tell me i should write, but only to shut me up about it i'm sure) i might be invited back to speak again...

Greenbelt isn't Church, but it is a vision of what Church could be - or perhaps should be. There isn't anywhere like it anywhere else, and as i said below in my previous post, the thought processes just keep on going. And i am sure this is not the last i will write about it...