Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bit more grumpy than i should have been

Was a bit harsh about Greenbelt in my last post, and now i have guilt issues....

It is unfair (and frankly wrong) to say that they aren't engaging seriously with theology, my beef is that there is so little basic theological teaching in the Church and lots of esoteric, or trendy theological subjects that grab attention for a while and then fade out - and i think to a certain degree this is reflected at GB. Of course there are lots of important issues which people need to grapple with about our engagement with the world through faith and art, and GB does this admirably, but i still have this niggling feeling that if we don't own the shared theology of the Church which stretches way back to our roots then we build sometimes very complex edifices on rather shaky foundations.

I have been fortunate to have a very small part in the brainstorm session for greenbelt over the past few years, and some fantastic ideas have come out of those sessions, including the idea of a small series of talks on foundational theology, it has been said over the past few years, but nothing has really come of it. Again, lots of good things have come from these brainstorms, and over the past twenty or so years of my involvement (from children's worker to speaker's escort to venue steward to festival reception to speaker to 'literary stream contributor' and 'ether contributor') I have Greenbelt to thank for some of the most challenging, exciting, liberating theological experiences of my Christian life. I just wish that the Church at large, and Greenbelt in particular, would take up the challenge of re-stating our faith.

there are loads of reasons why its good for me to take a break from GB this year, not doing anything is a good one (the compulsion that comes from having a part to play isn't there), having very small children who like to be awake from dawn to beyond dusk (when there's lots of noise and activity) is another, the literature venue that i enjoyed being a part of and taking part in doesn't have the same draw this year (can't put my finger on why - i think the names they've got don't excite me, though some of the other ideas in the programme look good, and i think they have streamed the programme - ie taken away the venue and mixed it all up - which takes away some of the distinctiveness it had).

So lots of things which say to me 'take a break - and perhaps next year' - this would, after all, have been my twentieth consecutive year, and anything can feel a little jaded after that amount of time...

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