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  • Online Resources

    Many thanks to Geoff Colmer who emailed some wonderful instrumental music to me for use as background for worship.  I have since discovered that typing 'free mp3 worship' or 'free mp3 meditation' into Google (or other search engines no doubt) brings up some useful stuff, though depending on your theological standpoint you might think some of it is tad dodgy (especially if you put the word 'christian' into your serach!).  Also some useful stuff out there if you are sans-musicians and want hymn/song backing.  If you are willing to pay, well there's LOADS of stuff.

    Thanks also to Andy Jones who sent me a link to the Reaching the Unchurched Newtwork (RUN) website from which I downloaded a video file for Paul Field's 'God of the Moon and Stars' (don't even try it if you are on dialup, it's quite big and slow even with broadband) which part of this Sunday's service.

  • 'Ello, 'ello, 'ello

    Tonight at 'thing in a pub' our speaker was the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, who is an incredibly entertaining and engaging speaker as well as being a very committed Christian.  We'd worked quite hard to advertise the event - including paying over £50 for a press advert - and attracted just two people who'd seen the advert and came because it was an opportunity to speak to the Chief Constable about something that was important to them.  At least they sat through his testimony first!

    Whilst I'm glad that these folk came along - and I guess being cornered is an occupational hazard for this particular speaker - I was disappointed that the turn out overall was so low.  Some would tell me it is because it's not what God wants (though they can't tell me what God actually does want instead) some blame the day, time or venue, indeed anything but their own apathy.  Next month we have the local MP, and I guess we'll once more get a few folk who want to catch his ear.

    Apart from physically dragging people in off the streets, I'm not sure what more we can do... answers on a postcard.

    In the meantime at least I know that those who came along had an excellent evening, were entertained, inspired and challenged in fairly equal measure. 

  • Music for Reflection?

    Here's one for the classical music buffs out there.  I am preparing a short act of worship built around images of Jacob's dream at Bethel and his encounter at Peniel.  I am trying to find some suitable music, preferably instrumental and preferably not a hymn tune or overworked item, to use as 'background' for this.  I have some miscellaneous reflection music (of the one hour of piano music that never quite goes anywhere variety) but I'm a bit tired of it, and a reasonable selection of 'sacred' and 'secular' stuff but nothing that quite seems to do the biz.  Any (sensible!) suggestions?

  • All Creaures Great and Small - What of Middle-sized?

    I am tossing around a few ideas for the paper I have to write from scratch in the next week or so on the potential role of denominational historical materials as a resource for theological reflection in the area of church health (need some more 'punchy' words, methinks).  One of the things that strikes me as that Church Health approaches focus solely on the story of one congregation, as it recalls it (small), whilst Church History focuses on overviews, trajectories, dates and heroes (great).  The gap is pretty much self-evident when expressed like this.  One of the things I need to try to get my head around is what might 'middle-sized' look like?  I have a suspicion that unless/until the gap is bridged the potential of the resource will remain unrealised.

    Of course, 'All things of average brightness and appearance, all creatures of medium proportions, all things of average intelligence and allure' wouldn't exactly make for an appealing hymn!  What is needed is not mediocrity but something intermediate.  If one of the limitations/criticisms of traditional Systematic/Dogmatic theology is that it is too theoretical/intellectual, and one of the limitations/criticisms of Practical/Contextual theology is that it is too localised/partial then maybe, just maybe, this endeavour will in some way help to bridge a more generic gap? (Or am I just fooling myself?!)

  • Outward Appearances

    Yesterday I watched the first episode (is that the right word?) of Britain's Missing Top Model - a programme seeking to find a female model with a physical disability who can 'cut it' in the world of modelling.  The eight girls - six Brits and two from overseas - have a variety of disabilities, some from birth others due to accidents.  Some have very visible disabilities - missing limbs or mobility restrictions, two are deaf, one of whom has no speech and depends on a BSL interpreter.

    Last night the first elimination was between the girl who speaks BSL and a girl who has had a leg amputated.  One of the issues raised when the judges were making their decision was whether the person they are after should have a visible disability.  An intriguing question - one implication of which might be that being born deaf is not disabled enough whilst having a traumatic amputation is.  I don't think that's what the judges meant, but it could have been heard that way.  I was annoyed that the associated website poll asked the question "should the eventual winner... have a visible disability" with a yes/no option.  If you answer 'yes' that means you automatically prelude a deaf girl from eligibility; if you answer 'no' you say that a visible disability precludes a person from winning; not a question I can answer.  A better question would have been 'must... she have a visible disability' - and then I'd have voted (and chosen 'no').

    The question seemed to me to open up other potential avenues of debate and value judgements - and a timely reminder that whilst people look at outward appearances, God looks at the inside. 

    I would not have the first clue how to select a potential model, and it is somewhat beyond me why anyone would wish to be one, but if this series manages to challenge some of the assumptions about beauty and makes people think about tough questions, then it'll achieve something worthwhile.