Friday, December 14, 2007

Edwin Markham

They drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took them in


Whats makes the temptation to power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to own life than to love life....The temptation of power is greatest when intamacy is a threat
Nouwen quoted in Reviewing Leadership by Banks and Ledbetter

Friday, November 02, 2007

Symbols of divine presence

we should probably look for existential rather than conceptual may be recognised to be larger than logic; love may take precedence over truth; the neighbour as a person may become more important than his belief. reflection on the work of the Spirit may be subordinated to a readiness to be led by the Spirit together with partners into the depth of God's mystery
Amos Yong

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I hate it when all you can do is pray. I don’t understand prayer very well, and around here it often feels like a waste of time. I know that’s wrong, or at least wrong to say, so you don’t have to write back to me about it. Better that you should pray for me, eh?
Bart Campolo

Next time you pray or you are in a room with people praying, do yourself a favour and listen to what is being said, especially about God and then ask yourself, what we are saying, praying, what does that reveal about what we believe about God. As an example, 'God I just ask that you would touch hearts and minds here tonight'. Now what does that say about God? Does he not automatically touch hearts and minds? Does he not act unless we ask him (he is not sovereign)? He needs our wisdom as what to do? That we desire for people to know Him more than He does that is why we need to ask?

As far as I know and experience, the only reason I know God and desire for others to know Him, is because He has taken the initiative in encountering me. If anything I need His help to make me more aware of where and when He is touching hearts and minds so I can cooperate with Him.

CS Lewis in the movie Shadowlands says to a colleague who is angry with him for quitting his lecture post in remorse for his lost wife to take time to pray, accusing CS Lewis that prayer will not change her death and bring her back to life, Lewis says, 'I pray not because it changes God, but because it changes me'.

How I long for a more God-centered Theology and less a man-centered humanism.


'i thought i had to change the world for you to notice me'

Monday, August 06, 2007


Of those who cannot or will not isolate themselves, some will leave the church as it is and return later to the same church as they are. But I consider it highly likely that a large number of people who grow up in our modern churches - evangelical or liberal, Protestant or Catholic - will leave and never return - at least, not to our churches as they are.
McClaren, Stories of Emergence

David is asked by his brothers, 'why are you here? Have you come to watch us die?' Brothers who question the motive of a younger brother, left out of the ranks, anointed in front of them as the next choice! How many David's are being left on the side-lines because they don't look like they know what they doing, like they won't know what they doing? How many emerging leaders will remain just that, emerging!?

Even the King doubts his ability and questions whether he can succeed at the task. The church in the West is in a crisis. Decline has been the constant diet for two decades now but where are the David's? The Kings of denominations don't believe the David's of this generation can and have the ability to make a significant change.

The King finally agrees but gives David the blue print of how he will do it. We will employ a post-modern generation to make the changes we think should be made. Oh they can do the job, but with our resources and methods.

Tick-tock the time is running out.

Tinkering and window dressing aint gonna make the thing work. It is broken and it aint gonna get fixed. 'We need new forms of evangelism', but maybe its just that ethos that got ya in this mess in the first place! 'We need new forms of church that will appeal to a new generation', so that they too can just re-gergetate the same indigestion consumer orientated fast food dead religious crap?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless

Like the generation who heard their own pain in the larynx-ripping squall of his grunge sound, Kurt Cobain seemed to be someone who could empathize with them in their purposelessness, weakness, confusion, worthlessness and shame. That is exactly what Jesus came to do, to sympathize with us in our weakness. Exactly a year after his death, four fans from Toronto drove all the way to Seattle to hang themselves as a tribute to their hero. That Friday one year later just happened to be Good Friday.
(Steve Stockman, The Rock Cries Out)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Authentic and real

While many Christian leaders are constantly working out their faiths (and their theologies, their politics and their personal ministries) with fear and trembling in private, very few feel free to do so out in the open, where all kinds of other people can watch us wrestle with our ideas. So then, when somebody like me puts his immediate, unpolished stuff out there for all the world to see, well, it is bound to make at least some people awfully uncomfortable, and others downright angry. An extract from Bart Campolo (

Why do we so arrogantly claim to know that which will cause others to stumble in hurt and disappointment? I have too many times deeply hurt others because I thought I knew better. I did not and as time revealed the rust and rot that gathered on my views of ignorance and pride, friendships and relationships, people with hearts and emotions lay poisons from the scars of my blows.

I salute you for being willing to risk and explore, ventured by love and festered by compassion. Not surrendering to the naive action of surrounding yourself only with and by that which agrees and gives security, I salute your bravery to vulnerability as you in broken love seep the wounds of broken dreams and promises.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pete Rollins

Like most in my generation, I start to sweat a little when people ask me what I place at the top of a certain hierarchy, having that sinking feeling that I am always on the move means that what I say today may be different from what I say tomorrow, as it was different than what I said yesterday. Questions about the best film I have seen the greatest book I have read or the most inspiring music I have listened to all bring me to a stuttering silence
But so as not to avoid the question entirely, I guess recently I have valued the space Ikon has given me to learn. Not long ago we started up the Ikon evangelism project - I can hear the gasp - but this project is not about evangelising others but rather about being evangelised! We would visist groups such as the Russian Orthodox, the Quakers, the Muslims, the Jewish community etc. in order to listen, learn and be transformed. We also watched the 'Last Temptation of Christ' together and read Nietzsche's brilliant book The Antichrist.

There was once a small town filled with believers who sought to act always in obedience to the voice of God. When faced with difficult situations the leaders of the community would often be found deep in prayer, or searching the scriptures, for guidance and wisdom. Late one evening, in the middle of winter, a young man from the neighboring city arrived at the gates of the town's little church seeking refuge. The caretaker immediately let him in and, seeing that he was hungry and cold, provided a meal and some warm clothes. After he had eaten the young man explained how he had fled the city because the authorities had labeled him a political dissident. It turned out that the man had been critical of both the Government and the Church in his work as a journalist. The caretaker brought the young man back to his home and allowed him to stay until a plan had been worked out concerning what to do next.When the Priest was informed of what had happened he called the leaders of the town together in order to work out what ought to be done. After two days of discussion it was agreed that the man should be handed over the the authorities in order to face up to the crimes he had committed. But the caretaker protested, saying, 'this man has committed no crimes, he has merely criticised what he believes to be the injustices perpetrated by authorities in the name of God''What you say may be true', replied the Priest, 'but his presence puts the whole of this town in danger, for what if the authorities work out where he is and learn that we protected him'.But the caretaker refused to hand him over to the Priest, saying, 'he is my guest and while under my roof I will ensure that no harm comes to him. If you take him from me by force then I will publicly attest to having helped him and suffer the same injustice as my guest'.The caretaker was well loved by the people and the Priest had no intention of letting something happen to him. So the Leaders went away again and this time searched the scriptures for an answer for they knew that the caretaker was a man of deep faith. After a whole night of pouring over the scriptures the leaders came back to the caretaker saying,'We have read the sacred book all through the night seeking guidance and found that it tells us that we must respect the authorities of this land and witness to the truth of faith through submission to them'. But the caretaker also knew the sacred words of scripture and told them that the bible also asked that we care for those who suffer and are persecuted.There and then the leaders began to pray fervently. They beseeched God to speak to them, not as a still small voice in their conscience, but rather in the way that He had spoken to Abraham and Moses. They begged that God would communicate directly to them and to the caretaker so that the issue could finally be resolved. Sure enough the sky began to darken and God descended from heaven, saying,'The Priest and Elders speak the truth my friend. In order to protect the town this man must be handed over to the authorities'.But the caretaker, a man of deep faith, looked up to heaven and replied, 'if you want me to remain faithful to you my God then I can do nothing but refuse your advice. For I do not need the scriptures or your words to tell me what I ought to do. You have already demanded that I look after this man. You have written that I must protect him at all costs. Your words of love have been spelt out by the lines of this mans face, your text is found in the texture of his flesh. And so my God, I defy you precisely so as to remain faithful to you'.With this God withdrew, knowing that the matter had finally been settled.

Friday, March 30, 2007

His Confidence - WB Yeats

Undying love to buy
I wrote upon
The corners of this eye
All wrongs done.
What payment were enough
For dying love?

I broke my heart in two
So hard I struck.
What matter? For I know
That out of rock,
Out of a desolate source,
Love leaps upon its course.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Leonard Sweet

Creation was a speech event. Creation was sounded forth, literally. Sound became sight. Cosmic vibrations became galactic visions. The cosmos began with a Sound.
When the Bible says God "rested" on the Sabbath day, it doesn't mean God got tired and took a break. It simply means that God entered those spaces and silences without which there would be no music. In the monastic tradition, the lectio divina was read out loud because as one heard the text and felt its vibrations, the monks believed that the words would sound in the depths of one's being, and the Bible's black letters would dance in the soul.
Scientists are still picking up those soundings. In fact, according to the most recent scientific findings it is sound waves that have shaped how the cosmos is structured. Let me quote this exactly so that you don't think I'm making something up: "Sound waves generated in the early universe may have helped orchestrate the striking pattern of galaxy clusters and huge voides seen in the sky today."
Mathematician/astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) produced his final masterpiece in 1619 entitled The Harmonies of the World in which the universe is presented as a symphony of sound. The five visible planets and the moon with their elliptical orbits constitute a six-part harmony motet,37 while the outer three planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto had not been discovered yet) add the "rhythm section" in which Pluto beats the bass drum. Two researchers from Yale University -- Willie Ruff and John Rodgers -- put the "songs of the planets" into a synthesizer and made a recording of it (The Harmony of the World). David Deamer has composed a musical translation of DNA sequences he calls DNA Music.
The cosmos is more than some random vibrational matrix. From the innumerable vibrations the cosmos could choose, it only chooses those vibrations that make "harmonic sense" and ultimately "musical sense." The electron shell of the carbon atom, physicists tell us, follows the laws of harmonics. As Joachim-Ernst Berendt first pointed out, the tone scale C through A is the hexachord of Gregorian chant. Could it be that all carbon based life is actually built on the Gregorian chant? It is more than a metaphor to say that every atom sings a song. The very nuclie of all atoms make music.
Wind sweeps through the trees like a violin's bow,Rustling the leaves in boughs bended low.Steady, the ribbitting rhythm of frogsEchoes its temp through hollowed-out logs.The many-voiced brook as it babbles alongIs ever creating new words to the song.All Nature resounds the divine symphony,And upon the great stage, the dancer is me!
When in our Music
God is Glorified and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried Alleluia.
How often, making music, we have found a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia.
So has the church in liturgy and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue, Alleluia.
And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night when utmost evil strove against the light?
Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight: Alleluia.
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always Alleluia.

To life


Martin Buber

Enoch was a cobbler, and with every stitch of his awl that drew together the top and bottom of the leather, he joined God and the Shekinah...Man exerts influence on the eternal, and this not done by any special works, but by the intention with which he does all his works. This is the teaching of the hallowing of the veryday. The issue is not to attain to a new type of acting which, owing to its object, would be sacred or mystical; the issue is to do the one appointed task, the common, obvious tasks of daily life, according to their truth and according to their meaning.

Bernard of Clairvaux

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge:
That is curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others;
That is vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve;
That is love.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Duke Special, Duke of York's, Brighton
By Nicole Greatrex
Any music coming your way via Phil Nelson is guaranteed to be unique, extraordinary and a little eclectic.
Having led The Levellers and Aqualung to fame, the Brighton manager has recently taken a risk with brilliantly discordant band The Fallout Trust and now reveals his latest signing, Duke Special.
Wearing a brass-buttoned suit jacket and his hair in dreadlocks, The Duke - real name Peter Wilson - stood hunched over his piano for most of the set, crashing down on the keys in time to the beat of a huge bass drum.
With a clear yet strongly Irish-accented voice, he produced lushly romantic and ambitious sounds peppered with instrumental improvisations and Twenties-style music hall influences.
The mixture of both lighthearted and melancholic tracks from his album, Songs From the Deep Forest, included the beautiful duet, This Could Be My Last Day, and former single Last Night I Nearly Died. But the real highlight was current single Freewheel.
As the Duke balanced precariously on his stool and hit the piano so hard it budged across the stage, the song built to a heart-breaking climax of passionate vocals, crashing cymbals and violin flurries.
It was a performance strong and moving enough to show that manager Nelson has, unbelievably, struck gold yet again.