The fundamental challenge of any serious appreciation of the environmental crisis facing our generation is that we cannot hope to sustain the lifestyle we cling to, while denying it to others on the planet.
Perhaps for us the least comfortable aspect of Jesus call to kingdom living is the commitment to simplicity.
Is there life after materialism? Is their a better way?
Imagine life was a Waterstone’s bookshop…
Spirituality is a huge growth industry in our Culture, yet christians are unwilling, or afraid to engage. This sermon was intended to help us understand and connect with the secular spirituality of our age. I am not so sure how well the sermon recording thing is going, so someone suggested a summary of the sermon, based on my notes. Is this a better plan? If there areprevious Chaos Theology sermons that notes would be useful for I can provide those too.
“Taking the remarkable life and moral teachings of this profound religious thinker, Howard Brenton explores the extraordinary phenomenon of faith. While offering a secular reading of the story of Christ’s resurrection, at the play’s heart Paul preaches from his Letter to the Corinthians, the eloquence of which cannot fail to move.”
The Creative communications homegroup went to see the play last week, and they found it somewhat provocative. Stavs has recounted one of the pivotal moments which you can read here. What do you think?
The extraordinary first century figure of Jesus of Nazareth has been largely subsumed in the west by the economic and political wrangling of seventeen centuries of Christendom. Jesus became an icon, typifying the ideals of a dominant culture and manipulated from age to age to suit the cultural landscape. The reality of the man was too often lost. Rob’s own journey, forged in reaction to the decay of western Christianity, and distilled through an eastern perspective gives him a unique perception of Jesus. Doxology reinterprets the figure of Jesus for post-Christian culture, not with the reductionism of the late modernist “historical Jesus” concept, but seen through the richness of artistic tradition within the church, in order to express the reality of peoples encounter with this Jesus through the centuries. Rob’s work is much more than observation; his method, which emphasises not subject or outcome but rather the experience of the artist in a given context leads us beyond the purely aesthetic to the conjunction of material and spiritual, it intends to draw us beyond the object into the encounter which it describes.
It is late october – so it must be time for the Christmas lights on Oxford street to go up! Count down the seconds to Christmas with this site!
Anyway – we want your creative ideas for Christmas this year. Here is what we have already…
1) Carol concerts – Two again? 11th and the 18th are planned.
2) Christmas Film nights. I have two great films in mind – Tim Burtons ‘a nightmare before Christmas’ and Frank Capra’s ‘Its a wonderful life’.
3) Little ark Christmas service – morning of the 11th.
4) Carols in the N1 Centre 10th December 12pm – we need to provide musicians and PA.
What other ideas do you have?
I was tracking where people visit the COTC blog from, and I was amazed to see lots from North American, and even one from South America. Click on the picture above to see the last 50 visits. You are all very welcome, it is amazing to have so many international guests, but who are you all? Say hello – introduce yourselves!
I had to do a presentation at the Bishops Council last night [spaced out with jet lag!] on new ways of being church, and I included a video intended to give a flavour of COTC. It is a bit thrown together, but the oldies at the Council loved it, and were very excited about us. Thought you might like to see it [Quicktime 5mb]
I am waiting for my delayed flight in Ronaldsway airport, on the way back from Roseanne and Stuarts wedding. The one consolation is free wifi so here are a few photos from the wedding of the new Mr & Mrs Mclean. Congratulations you two!
An old friend of mine from vicar factory has been appointed to a new job in Brighton, and is being supported by the diocese to plant a new type of church in the city centre. They are meeting in a pub, and have a focus on the sort of people who would not normally go to church (sound familar?) They have a website here: Christ Church Brighton . Please pray for them – I am sure these first months will be hard but exciting.
“The world itself is the will to power – and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power – and nothing else!”
A right theology of power understood through the Bible narrative and exercised in our real lives is the intention of this sermon. We all have mechanisms for dealing with the use and abuse of power, but I suspect that we don’t always recognise them or express them coherently. Power, whether at work on the global scale or in our own relationships needs to be understood and used for good not evil. And Jesus astonishing relationship with his own power is a unique point of engagement with a world obsessed with power. This fourth talk in our chaos theology series can be found here. If you have comments or thoughts add them below.
This is a lovely piece of work on aspects of creative worship, even if it starts a bit cheesily. A is for Ambience, good. B is for Beanbags… hmmm.
Bible, bravery or brokenness would be my immediate suggestions. I like K is for kleptomania and G is for Graceful particularly.
What are you worth? What is it that makes us rich? We are treading on dangerous ground when we raise questions about wealth and money, and a working theology of wealth is not going to be easy. But it is the subject that Jesus talks about more than any other than the kingdom of God itself, and our christianity is shallow if it doesn’t effect our attitude to wealth.
The sermon in our series can be downloaded here. Comments and questions below!
The second sermon on our Chaos theology series, on the theme of meaning from last night can be found here
Jeremy just sent me the link to his new work site at beingyourself.info which is a fantastic looking mission project based on Psalm 139, and the toolbox page which explains how to use it. SGM (Scripture Gift mission) is apparently going through the process of reimagining its identity and methods to better serve the gospel in an information age. Exciting stuff.
The subtext to our attempts to do real world theology this term is the conviction that we are to be an urban church, engaged with the lives and ideas that form our city. John Stott said many years ago that the work of proclaiming the Gospel required dual listening; listening to God, and listening to Culture. We intend to prioritise that this term and beyond.
One of the ways that will happen is through homegroups, where we are combining a series on the early church discovering its mission, with some recommended reading.
Below are links to some of the books we are suggesting. Have a flick through and choose one that appeals. If you have already read one of these perhaps try something else. Any other suggestions of good books?
Out of the Saltshaker A thoughtful and at the time groundbreaking approach to relational evangelism. The Shaping of things to come; fascinating and sometime uncomfortable work on church and mission. Emerging Evangelism John Finney’s excellent book on theory and practice for 21st Century mission. Know and tell the Gospel. Australian John Chapman on good form with a clear and simple approach to telling the Gospel
I am excited and a little nervous about our teaching programme for this Autumn. We are thinking about big issues. The principle behind it we introduced at the end of last term, that the next step for Church on the Corner is to step outward and to engage with the culture that we are part of. And to do that we need not only to understand the Gospel, but to understand our culture too.
This series, inspired by some of the central themes of life observed in art, philosophy, literature and film aims to both inspire and equip us to see what we believe worked out through the whole of our lives, and to be better equipped for dialogue.
Chaos theology is theology for the 21st Century, the belief that in the midst of all the mess and brokeness there is meaning, connectedness and hope.
I realised today that the are some foundational principles that I am working on, that shape my thinking about church, but that many people may not be aware of these, or even agree with them. I love that phrase at the beginning of the US Declaration of independence ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ and I thought it would be interesting to express our declaration. This is just for starters, leave me comments and I will add more as we think of them.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that we do not judge on the basis of education, wealth, appearance, gender or race.
That the church exists primarily not for the sake of its members, but rather for its non-members.
That we are part of church not for what we receive, but for what we can give.
That every member of the church is important as part of the body of Christ, and shapes who we are by their character and abilities.
1 Corinthians has been making us think a lot about freedom.
One of the tensions is the fact that freedom is risky. How much should we give people freedom to make mistakes? Lots of us are formed by our experience of being part of youth work at church, where a priority is keeping young people safe, protecting them from the dangers of being sucked into a world that they are ill equipped to handle (though maybe equipping them should be more our priority than protecting them). We want to give people clear guidelines, black and white principles which very quickly become rules.
I remembered yesterday one of the experiences of moving from studying a subject at school to studying it at University. There was a moment at the start of our study when our lecturers would say ‘remember all that stuff you were taught at school… well good though it was, things are not as simple as that’. We had to unlearn as much as we learned in those first months.
I wonder should we have the same milestones in our Christian life. Moments when we say ‘Remember that stuff you were taught in youth group or Christian Union? Well good though it was, things are not as simple as that.’
Relating to God as adults requires us to own the freedom that he gives us, and that includes the freedom to make and learn from our mistakes.