Consumerism

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Tim just shared this on Facebook. It’s brilliant. I now need to find out where it comes from.

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Is Christianity Weird?

Who would have thought Milton Jones was so sensible?

If you don’t have it already, buy his book.

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Welcome to Church

The Church of England has recently published a guide to the “Top Ten Facts About Christenings“. It is a starter for ten for people making enquiries about their local church and “getting little Timmy ‘done'”.It seems to have picked the same scab that The Weddings Project picked for a lot of vicars….. it educates people about their rights (something vicars don’t like to admit people have) and their responsibilities (something many vicars insist people should be born with pre installed like iOS6).

I am not a cradle Anglican. I may have mentioned this once or twice. I wasn’t even a churchgoer. I grew up with the belief that The Church TM didn’t have anything to do with ‘people like me’. In all honesty, the church treated me like a pariah when I was a teenager with a Helloween patch on the back of my denim jacket – I managed to attend for 5 weeks. When I arrived at university this is what I told Ruth: The church does not want people like me in it. The David Mitchell portrayal of the Evil Vicar isn’t just a cultural stereotype, it is often the real lived experience of a first time enquirer.

“Hello, are you the vicar? I am just ringing to ask about booking a venue…..”

There are two responses to this phone call:

a) [a brusk] It isn’t as simple as that! You are not simply booking a venue…
b) Congratulations. That’s great. Let’s have a chat about how we can help you celebrate the gift of a new child/celebrate the love you have for each other as you come together in holy matrimony…

I have sat in a room and watched both of these happen. I know which one I picked up as good practice.

The Church TM is a daunting experience for those of us you refer to as ‘unbelievers’. Walking through that door for the first time is a real challenge. If your first instinct is to trip someone up on their way in for the first time you will probably never see them again and neither will anyone else.

There is a massive theological issue at stake here. Jesus is the incarnate God who had a table ministry. He welcomed everyone in. Regardless of their religious literacy. Regardless of their knowledge of canon law or the parish system. Regardless of whether they had the language to ask for a service rather than a booking.

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“I didn’t realise we could get married in church vicar”. Happy to help.
“Can we have Timmy done?” Why don’t you meet me and the church wardens on Sunday and we’ll help you along the way?
“Will I be able to bring my son with me, he’s got Asperger’s so he may not be the most well behaved.” That’s fine, everyone is welcome here. If we can cope with a noisy vicar like me I’m sure we can cope with a little noise. After all, some famous guy said ‘let the little children come to me’.

Mission Statements and Clergy Burnout

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Not sure there is much more to add.  Thanks to @LayAnglicana who had a link to this.

Superman Grace

At #worship2013 conference organised by the liturgical commission. As the conversation has developed, the word ‘trite’ has been used extensively. I put “I’d better not mention the Superman grace”. Twitter has demanded the Superman grace. I’m putting together a video that goes with it for the summer school I’m running to check that our later.

From 45 seconds in.

We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We thank you Lord for giving us food.
Lord we praise you.
Lord we praise you.
O we praise you Lord…
For giving us food.

Thanks to the Church of England’s head communication’s officer Arun Arora who taught me this at college. All of the trite primary school kids I meet love singing this tritely.

[edit]

Just had someone else on twitter post it as:

We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We thank you Lord for giving us food.
We’re very grateful
For every plateful
O we thank you Lord…
For giving us food.

Prefer this version. Consider me newly crowd sourced.

Thanks @danadelap

Enchantment in Worship

I’m spending a day locked in a retreat house reading for the research I’m doing into liturgy and culture. A decade ago Keith F Pecklers SJ gave a call to greater liturgical formation for the ‘future of Christianity’ as he looked at worshipping in a postmodern world.

Liturgy in the postmodern world must aim for enchantment, not entertainment… If presiders are to be effective instruments in the enchantment of their congregations gathered together in holy assembly, the churches will need to recognise the fact that presiding is a craft to be learnt; it does not come with the grace of ordination. (p199 Worship)

I wonder what delights I will discover at the ‘Worship Transforming Communities’ conference next week. I’m looking forward to continuing the discussions I’ve been having with colleagues about liturgical formation. #worship2013

Being an Extrovert in an Introvert Orientated Church

I bet you didn’t get beyond 30 seconds.