Clearly there’s not a lot happening on this blog just now. So why not find out a little something about the borough common?
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Below is a collection of words from Headspace from the other week that explored worship and music. It’s more a series of questions, really, about why I might not generally particularly like worship music. The questions are largely rhetorical, however, if you feel the need to comment…
Just like the average headspace meeting.
First up a link to Rob Bell’s ‘breathe’ film in the nooma series.
and then a link to an excellent riposte from ‘way of the master radio’
I think you need to do both to get the full effect.
i shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet after midnite, especially under the influence of any kind of spirit.
Face to faith: Christians disillusioned with the churches should articulate an alternative, says Theo Hobson
Just over a week ago about 20 of us gathered for an “open planning meeting on steroids” about the future of Headspace. It was an enjoyable night with good food, drinks, and great company. Part of it was spent in groups discussing what it is about Headspace that we value, and because alot of the same ideas came up in different groups, we discovered that it was not too difficult to put together a list of shared values.
There are, however, a couple of points worth noting. Firstly, we recognised that this is a snap-shot of an evolving group. The list is not there to fix in stone who we are. It is not a statement of faith or a creed that defines us. Secondly, we recognised that it is a response to a particular question. We discussed what it is that we value about the group, but if we asked a slightly different question (e.g. what is our purpose as a group) we might have a different outcome.
Here is the list. Your comments are welcome.
we want headspace to be varied
a place where we encourage creative approaches to collective worship and encounter God in different ways
we want headspace to be open minded
a place where different points of view about faith enrich our view of God.
we want headspace to be inclusive
a place where everyone and anyone can be welcomed, accepted, and engaged in our community.
we want headspace to be space
a place to explore, reflect, and meditate on what’s going on inside.
we want headspace to be social
a place where we spend time getting to know each other
we want headspace to be led by the group
a place where everyone can contribute and direct what we do.
I guess i’m trying to balance in my mind:
God: inventing the concepts of time, space, matter and life (creation)
Me: scribbling on a piece of paper or writing a little song about girls (creation?)
I’m not trying to say human creativity isn’t important or god-infused, i’m just wondering if we overstate it sometimes. After all, isn’t human creativity just a new combination of things that already existed before in a new/surprising way?
What do people think?
Thanks to those who joined for last night’s gender discussions – we really enjoyed planning the evening and the feedback was pretty positive so we’re glad you got something out of it.
If you are interested in reading more about issues of gender and gender identity in relation to social justice/inclusion and faith/spirituality you may find some of these resources useful – we did.
Here is what Headspace might not be. But then it might be some small fragment of what it might be. So I thought I’d post it. Hopefully it’s at least suitably ambiguous. Any thoughts, anyone…?
Stop being holy, forget being prudent
It’ll be a hundred times better for everyone
Stop being altruistic, forget being righteous
People will remember what family feeling is.
Stop planning, forget making a profit,
There won’t be any thieves and robbers.
But even these three rules
Needn’t be followed: what works reliably
Is to know the raw silk,
Hold the uncut wood.
Forget the rules.
Find out what religion you should really belong to!http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx
I should be a Reformed Jew. Liberal Christian sadly comes only 9th on my list, just ahead of Neo-Paganism, but behind Islam and Sikhism.
Maybe I need to do the test again…
Some of you might be familiar with this already, but an old book that I have found really helpful on my journey is James Fowler’s “Stages of Faith.” Alan Jamieson, the author of “A Churchless Faith” has a brief summary of it here.* In it Fowler uses his experience as a developmental psychologist to examine the way in which our faith changes over time through conversion and development. For Fowler, “faith” refers broadly to our operations of knowing and valuing, and is something common to all of us regardless of religious belief.
I realise there is a danger of over simplifying things, but I find Fowler’s stages to be quite useful for understanding the development of faith. For example, it helped me to realise that my own difficult faith-transition of the last few years was actually quite normal. Moving from one “stage” to another often involves radical upheaval. As Fowler describes:
Stage dissolution means enduring the dissolution of a total way of making sense of things. It means relinquishing a sense of coherence in one’s near and ultimate environment. It frequently involves living with a deep sense of alienation for considerable periods. (Fowler, 1978:37)
The ideas explored by Fowler have also helped me to appreciate that different people are at different stages, and that is ok. I don’t need to try to get my friends to deconstruct their beliefs or whatever if they are not ready for it. We don’t necessarily become better people by progressing to a new stage, and our energy is probably better spent trying to understand where people are at, and helping them within their current stage.
I think it will be interesting to think about Fowler’s ideas in relation to Headspace. This might be a bit too much of a generalisation, but it seems to me that alot of people at Headspace probably have an “Individuative-Reflective” faith. I wonder is it possible for us as a community to cater for earlier stages as well, or is that better left to other communities? Is it even possible for a community to cater to all?
*For those who are interested in exploring this further, there are some other useful resources by Alan available here.
FROM THE BBC:
An atheist campaign claiming “There’s probably no God” has been reported to the advertising regulator.
Posters with the slogan appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground.
But organisation Christian Voice has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority saying they break rules on substantiation and truthfulness. The British Humanist Association, which backed the campaign, said it was not taking the complaint seriously.
The adverts contain the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” and (interestingly) they set out with an ambition to raise £5K via http://www.justgiving.com/atheistbus but rapidly raised over £140K.
More interesting still is the premis that if God exists it is a cause of worry that would destract from life’s joy. For me, it is a pertinant challenge to the Christian faith and one worth thinking about. It echoes what a lot of people I know say about faith – maybe it’s time we admitted that the Jesus message of abundant life isn’t getting through to normal people.
Completely uninteresting is the complaint.
But completely uninteresting.
The good news is that watching this video makes your life better.
The even better news is that, the more you watch it, the better your life gets.
A few years ago I bought a book from a second hand shop called “why christians crack up”. I’ll be honest with you: I still haven’t read it. However, what feels important here is that it sung with enough penetrating truth that I wanted to read it. Having been brought up a christian and having been in some way part of uk christian-sub culture ever since leaving home, I can testify (as i’m sure many of us can) that christians are often highly strung and do indeed crack up.
Whilst the book continues to daunt me with it’s drab 70s cover and small type, I read this article in the NY Times and it seems to be hinting at the same phenomenon:
‘In a paper published in the August issue of The Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Chris Miller and Dawson Hedges of Brigham Young University estimate that as many as one million Americans may suffer from a moral-anxiety-cum-mental-illness known as “scrupulosity disorder.” They define it as obsessive doubt about moral behavior often resulting in compulsive religious observance — and they warn that it can lead to depression, apathy, isolation and even suicide.’
I was very much trapped in this mindset and only by some twists of grace did I slowly escape into a faith more confusing but more balanced.
And whilst I think headspace is a place which at its best heros balanced christianity, I am increasingly tuned in to notice this odd phenomenon in christians/sermons/churches: depression, huge feelings of inadequacy, guilt, “we must work harder”, “we are such bad christians”, “i had a period away from the lord but now im back” (you can get away??), denouncement of faith, and on and on for ever…
I’m struggling to formulate any big point but what I mean rests somewhere between – “oh my goodness this is a big problem for christianity in the uk and could be part of the reason churches are heamoraging” and “what a strange irony that the whole basis of our faith is the removal of guilt yet we often, in its outworking, entrench guilt deeper in our souls”
Just great. I think we need to seriously reconsider our communal attitude to shellfish in light of this.
According to http://gospel-tract.com/, “The Gospel tracts that we present to the world in Christian evangelism speak volumes about who we are and how we value our church and God. Each Christian tract must be attractive enough to survive the trip home and then it must deliver the salvation message of Jesus Christ clearly and quickly. These tracts are excellent for Christian outreach, evangelism, short term missions trips, summer missions trip and Spanish missions trips. Please be assured that each one of these gospel tracts will be gratefully received and read, and as God uses them, we will see many come to know the salvation of Christ Jesus. Share the good news Gospel of Jesus Christ. All of our Christian evangelism tracts are printed on glossy paper (needed for bright colors) and all have God’s plan of salvation. Remember that a great portion of unattractive outreach handouts with no color will never be read, and in the end, they will cost more per convert than the more attractive Bible tracts. And to give out a tract without God’s plan of salvation is just a waste of time and paper!”
My favourite bit is either the whole concept of “cost per convert” or the stark reality that the transforming power of an omnipotent creator is put at risk if we don’t print in colour.
Ok folks. My Mum sent me this today. Thought it could be good for the picking.
‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbours’ possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!’
Interesting in the wake of our spiritual tensions debates.
comments if you please.
In the tensions integral to creation,
in the way that this world was made;
In the tensions between each other,
our disagreements and our differences;
In the tensions within each of us;
those questions unresolved and irresolvable;
When we feel drawn in all directions;
that is where faith is faith,
and we are drawn to God.
As the fox was walking away, a nightingale landed on the branch next to the grapes and began to eat them with evident satisfaction. Presently, he began to sing, between bites, of their sweetness.
The fox turned to the nightingale and said, in unctuous tones, “Oh, my dear nightingale, how can you be so naïve? The grapes may well be sweet but they lack any subtlety of flavour. They are the kind of grapes any parvenu could enjoy. I should only eat grapes that were very symphonies of flavour, could I reach some.”
Then he walked away and the nightingale continued to eat, but soon stopped, feeling defeated but not quite knowing why ….
Here follows a crossword. At some point I’ll post the solutions I’m sure, if anyone’s interested.
We participate daily in your creation, Lord. That is the wonder: we, the creation, create.
All: May we never tire of the wonder!
May we see you in what we create.
All: May what we create be pleasing to you.
May we embrace this: to create with our God!
All: Our lives, the world around us…
We wonder at your creation, Lord, and our place in it.
We must create, but understand it alongside destruction. It is we who decide what is termed ‘creative’ and what is termed ‘destructive’. It is not ‘all the same’.
We make our choices in the face of this knowledge; the knowledge that when we create, something is destroyed. When something is destroyed something new is created.
We cannot escape this: indeed, it is the very stuff of existence.
We are destroyed by creation even as we are created by it. One day the destruction will overtake us. But something new will still be created.
Until then, how will – how do – we take part in the creative process, what part will we take in God’s creation? What will we create? What will we destroy?
It is the question we answer with our lives.