Ready Steady Slow

Tomorrow is the first of December and everyone will be opening the first door of their advent calendar.  The Church of England has launched Ready Steady Slow, an advent video calendar with different reflections each day leading up to Christmas.  The idea is to take time each day to slow down and spend time with God.  This video has a little introduction and some words from Richard Coles.



I came across this brilliant image via James Lock’s blog.  It is a fantastic piece of work!  Very poignant commentary and the photography is stunning!

After a bit of research with my friend Google I managed to track down a bigger version of it here.  Eventually (OK, I admit it, it took me about 2 minutes) I managed to trace it back to Joe Miller who has a flickr account here.  The photo is here.  Joe miller is a film maker and photographer from Denver in the USA.  I suggest following the links and taking a look at what he is doing, it’s all quite awesome!

Religion. What is it good for?

There has been a lot said about the debate between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair.  Ian Linden at the Guardian has a good take on this.

Religion creates a framework in which it is possible to love extravagantly, to be a champion of compassion, to sacrifice self-interest and even self, to be a saint. It makes it possible to do the unsafe, to risk, to live on the margins, to allow hope to be the only security, above all to forgive.

Religion it is not so much a “force for good in the world” as an inspiration to strive for, a pursuit of goodness. It holds out the possibility of an alternative world and a new humanity.

The article is well worth reading.

How To Get More Young People into the Church

One of the best blog posts I have read contains a “step-by-step plan for how to get more young people into the church”.

This is a fool-proof plan.  If you do it, I guarantee that you will attract young people to your church.  And lots of other kinds of people too.  The end.

Advent Hope

@Duttyo has started a series of Advent reflections at his blog.  He has kicked off with this great image about hope.  Why don’t you visit each day after 9am?  What are you waiting for?

Chris Evans Doffs His Hat

Yesterday I blogged about how top advertising execs had said that “If I had to make Jesus relevant, I would apply his teachings to modern life”.  As if by magic the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu has been on Chris Evan’s Breakfast show to hammer the point home.  Here’s what Chris Evans posted on Facebook later during the day.

You know, I thought I was in quite a good place in my life at the moment after my wilderness years and all that and I am, I’m doing ok, family life is very very good for me.

However, when one has the good fortune to meet someone like John Sentamu, you just realise how much further you can go when it comes to being a better person. Just being around him makes you want to improve yourself, and almost exclusively with regard to what you can do for others.

“What prayers do you say every morning John ?”

“I say very sad prayers to remind me of all the people who need my help much more than I need my help. They teach me not to be self centred and selfish.”

What a fantastically simple mantra and the road to true freedom as a human being.

If I had a hat on, I’d take it off right now. Here’s to J.S. Arch Bish Bash of York.




If you want to hear the BBC Radio 2 interview it is here on iPlayer starting at roughly 2:42 minutes in.  What a good way to end the week.

Christian Advertising

Emergent Kiwi has written an interesting blog post on Christian Advertising that you should check out.  He has been reading a book on advertising and quotes two executives:

Bram Williams, once head of Saatchi and Saatchi’s wrote: “Better to make the activity of being Christian attractive than try to come up with a ‘hit spin on Jesus’.”

Carolyn Miller has a similar spin: “If I had to make Jesus relevant, I would apply his teachings to modern life. What I wouldn’t do is try and make Jesus trendy – no one wants to see rapping Jesus.”

Do I really need to add anything else to this?

The Invisible Church – Hallelujah!

Many sources are keen to point out that “Christians are being marginalised” within society.  As I said in a recent blog people have become increasingly disconnected from their neighbours, their tangible, real world communities.  This can result in a sense of spiritual isolation and of being the only follower of the way present in each daily encounter you have.  This in itself fosters and reinforces the feeling of marginalisation and as some have [wrongly] said, persecution.

I suspect that this shift in society has resulted in us missing the reality around us as we are disconnected from it:

Social Networking Statistics

Sometimes statistics are done on the fly…

Fishing Net or Safety Net

I recently blogged concerns about Fresh Expressions moving people from one form of church to another rather than reaching new people.  Share the guide has blogged a brief introduction to a forthcoming grove booklet by Matt Stone asking the question “Are fresh expressions actually being fishing nets and reaching the unchurched, or are they merely safety nets, picking up disenchanted and bored churchgoers?”.  There are some interesting statistics that the study highlights.

Over 87% of those surveyed in every expression, and 100% in three of the expressions, had attended a church before. Hence, they were primarily churched or dechurched, rather than unchurched.

If this is an accurate assessment of Fresh Expressions I have some further questions about the consequences of this. 

  • Is it a problem that Fresh Expressions are reaching the churched or dechurched? 
  • Is this just plugging into the consumerist society in which we are currently living and turning God into a product that we are repackaging?
  • If this is a problem, how can Fresh Expressions more effectively reach the unchurched?

This grove booklet should make some interesting reading.