Emerging Church

It is an old joke that anyone involved in the emerging church must have an icon by Rublev.  Well here’s mine 😀



Following the link I posted to daily prayer, Carole just pointed out to me that there is a daily Ignation meditation podcast that can be downloaded to your i-pod or mp3 player.  As she points out it means that you can be spiritual whilst on the tube to that 8AM meeting.  Now it doesn’t get much more alt. worship than that!!

Check it out at pray-as-you-go.

The Value of a Child

It was interesting to note at a recent diocesan meeting that they had compiled a large diocesan wide survey of children.  Their findings were surprising to many but I found them a bit predictable.  It would seem that the children surveyed said that they feel their opinion is valued in all of their communities.  It is used to shape the way their school community operates.  It is used to shape how their family structures work.  It is used and valued by all they have contact with… but not in the church.

When will we stop thinking of the church of the future and start valuing the church of today?

The Role of a Preacher

I intended to post this a few months ago when I first saw the episode but with moving house I didn’t get around to it.  Recently I was challenged about the role of preaching within a service and it came instantly back to mind. 

Someone recently postulated that all preaching is ineffective and that all preaching should have a cease and desist order placed upon it as it privileges the few and doesn’t speak to the many.  I have to say that I agree that some preachers can be accused of this.  However, this isn’t my experience of the majority of preachers I know.

It was also said that not one preacher would ever look to professionals within other professions for advice on how to effectively disciple people.  Again this is a little unfair on the preachers I know.  Having been a teacher who has since become an ordinand, I used the opportunity to not only combine the theories behind the two within practical theology.  I actually based my dissertation upon the interaction between different teaching and learning styles and different church services and liturgical styles.  And this is what I love about the emerging church, in theory there is a time and place for everyone to engage with God.  As a kinaesthetic boy who is easily distracted there is a place for me. 

I find it a great sadness that unfortunately those within the emerging church often fall foul of the very thing to which they react.  To deny the place of preaching for some excludes those who learn aurally in exactly the same way that removing the smooth stone excludes those who need to touch.  This is where I find that the phrase ‘mixed economy’ is so vital within the Christian faith.  Unfortunately this inclusivity and the valuing of others who are following Jesus is embraced by so few.  Those who are spoken to by the ‘mystery of the liturgy’ deny the validity of the faith of those who are spoken to by the ‘preaching of the word’.  In turn they deny the validity of those who worship ‘when the music starts and the spirit falls’ or the ‘emergent discussion group’ that starts in the pub.  It is with huge irony that the emergent post-modernists then round upon all others and question their validity.  It is with this in mind that I am sadly reminded of the declaration at Greenbelt by a prominent figure within the emerging church that “the emerging church will kill of the institutional church – and that is no bad thing”.  Is the emerging church to become another ‘movement’ within Christianity that is destined to become as political as all that has preceded it or does it genuinely have something new to offer in its radical discipleship, radically inclusivity and radical valuing of all? 

And so I return to Lynette and her experience of a traditional preaching service (five hymn sandwich anyone).  I too stand here before you as a member of the congregation who stuck his hand up and questioned the preacher.  Not in a “trying to catch you out” way but when I knew the preacher well and wanted to have something clarified.  I probably also stand before you as an ineffective preacher.  I have asked questions from the pulpit on occasion and received little response.  Personally as an ex classroom teacher I would relish the opportunity for some interaction but what is a guy to do? 

Diversity.  Unity.

Daily Prayer RSS Feed

Sometimes the ‘institutional church’ does something that really amazes me when they decided that technology is a good thing.  Surely they must have been ordaining technogeeks as a matter of course for the past few decades as evidenced by the Church of England Website.  Firstly, the discovery that the lectionary was available for a palm pilot/blackberry/whatever came as quite a shock.  Well today I am sitting here in a state of shock.  I was browsing the CofE’s liturgy online when I came across a like that will allow you to set up a feed for the daily office.  The CofE will literally beam changing daily prayers into your website.

I wonder if I should try setting up a common worship prayer page here at changingworship… how emergingly unemergent would that be??


[For those of you who are thinking “What is a feed?” – I use an RSS feed script that allows me to have a constant update of my flickr account in the top left hand section of this website.]

Churches Advertising Network

It has come to that part of the year once more where I feel the need to point people in the direction of the Churches Advertising Network (CAN).  Those of you who have read my blog either here on wordpress or in the past on MySpace will no doubt have noticed that I hold strong opinion on church notice boards.  I just don’t think that a piece of luminous card with a trite hand written verse has any really positive effect.

This year the CAN campaign is based upon the culture of narrative in a very modern sense.  Can you condense the Birth Narrative into thirty seconds?  If you can, you could win £500!!  There will be radio adverts on commercial stations as a way of publishing the whole thing.  Click the links and get involved.

Current Economic Crisis

Thought I’d create a set in my house and have a bit of a play…

The Full Armour of God

This made me laugh out loud and nearly die of death!!

The full armour of God!

Generous Orthodoxy

Ithink I may have mentioned Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McClarren before.  If I have, I appologise – but I am having one of those days where I wonder if people could exercise generous orthodoxy in greater abundance.

Have a read of it on here at google books.

The Common Life

The more I walk, the more I realise that the Christian faith is about communion.  Not necessarily in the sense of bread and wine but rather in the sense of relationship.  What that means has been amplified for me by my current situation.  I realise that we are not just in communion with those we choose but rather those God chooses.  When we gather around the table we don’t do it as individuals but rather as the Body of Christ.  I commune with God whilst I commune with you… and you commune with God whilst you commune with me.

Now that doesn’t mean we always agree.  It doesn’t even mean we have to like each other.  What it does mean is that we have to love each other.  Not in a smoochy type manner.  Now in the manner of “I love…” meaning “I think X is a sinner and going to hell so therefore I love him/her…”  To love is not something that a condition can be placed upon.  To love is ‘as is’.

So here I am as a guy with an evangelical heritage asking questions about what it means to be catholic.  For the answer I have to agree with a wiser older man who comes from a much more catholic background than I who defined the term as this:

Catholic doesn’t mean being ‘high church’ it means something much more fundamental – I believe that Jesus is alive and working through the whole of the church and I need to be attentive to and listen to the whole of it! You can’t do this if you are sectarian!

Being sectarian doesn’t value those with whom we are in communion.  It elevates our own opinion to a station above others who are in communion with God.  This is not conducive to the common life as a corporate “Body of Christ”.

He also went on to say something about how this plays out in the common life as we relate to each other in community.  Something highly important.  Something fundamental to loving those in whom you are in communion!

Common life is putting a new loo roll on and pulling it ready for the next person.