Friday, March 30, 2007
The choice is this, Cara said. Side with the bullied, or side with the bullies. Last night I was abbot on tour to the mayBe community meal @ Jon and Tops - lovely welcome everyone, thankyou. We were talking about the place of suffering in the Christian tradition, wondering at Dietrich Bonhoeffer's claim [and he of all people had a right to say this] that 'suffering is the badge of true discipleship.' Perhaps it's almost fraudulent of us to imagine that we could have any kind of link to the martyr Bonhoeffer. We live in a much safer place and time than Nazi Germany in 1937 where he wrote 'The cost of discipleship'. Where's our suffering? What's the cost to us? Where's our courage? But then, Cara said, the choice is this. Side with the bullied, or side with the bullies. And I bet that by the end of this day, most of us will have had the opportunity to make that choice, wherever we are. Side with the bullied, or side with the bullies.
A waiting time comes to an end. For over a year in mayBe we've been seeking a funding partner for the next phase of the community's life beginning May/June 07. We've had a number of refusals, and couple of very near misses. Now we have one last big application in with a charitable trust, and they have promised an answer by the end of the month. The funny thing is we find ourselves stangely at peace. That could change of course, but lets go with it. I am the big cost for mayBe - in other areas we are covering our own costs - so if we don't find that funding partner our idea is for me to look for a new job or for a combination of income-earning gigs. mayBe is quietly vibrant, with a strong culture of participation, and either way - funding partner found or job/gig search for me - I am confident that mayBe's life will continue to evolve, enabling the people in and around mayBe to go on making small differences for the world in the hope and peace of Jesus son of the loveliest Mary...
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I was at Winchester Cathedral yesterday meeting Canon Roly Riem. We are both interested in trying to encourage Benedictine type spiritual practise in an everyday setting. Roly showed me round the cathedral - very beautiful it is too - with lots of creative and prayerful spaces. I'd wanted to see Anthony Gormley's Sound II installation, which is in the crypt, for a long time. It's quietly powerful - and if you've not seen Sound II yet in the flesh [metal], now is a very good time. This is apparently the first season in ages that the crypt has flooded, and installation really works best in its setting when surrounded by water. Perhaps the figure with hands cupped, standing in water in an underground place, encourages us to remain in prayer, whatever is going on around us...
It's the sounds that may stay with me the longest. Bells. Rain dripping. Shuffling feet. Chanting. Even snow falling. Into great Silence [see my post last month] was all and more that I had hoped for. It reminded me that if we stop hurrying, and if we simplify, we may see more clearly the wonder that is all around us. The film lingered lovingly on the apparently mundane stuff of life - the cutting of cloth, the preparation of vegetables, the washing of pots, the clearing of snow. There's a tough humility to these monks - I guess they have to be both, it's a very demanding calling - and the film didn't romanticise their way of life. There's a very powerful scene where a younk bother is tending to a old brother who has sores on his arms and back. The young man quietly, gently, lovingly massages some ointment into the old man's stretched skin.
There are some memorable moments scattered at intervals through the film where individual brothers are asked to look directly into the camera. Also some funny full-of-life moments, like a scene close to the end when, out on their [weekly?] walk in the mountains in winter, we see some of the monks attempting to slide downhill on snow shoes, falling over, laughing, going for it again.
At the end of the film there is a brief interview - the only one in the film- with an old brother who is blind. He worries that the world has forgotten God. And then speaks simply and movingly of God's goodness.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Woke up this morning full of anticipation: mayBe's 'hungry thirsty' Eucharist out in the open followed by cafe time. Then England v France in the 6 Nations. Finally a family dinner in the evening. Simple stuff really, but very good - truly a feast day within the wilderness of Lent.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
On Wednesday I was at an event at Lambeth initiated by the Fresh Expressions people, organised by Ian at Moot, aimed at engaging the catholic constituency in the C of E in conversation with various practitioners of 'emerging church' [like us]. Apparently there's very little overtly catholic involvement in ec / Fresh Expressions. Heard some good stories particularly of how the Mass is being given new energy in various youth contexts. Some of the guys are involved in something called Blessed in South London and they organised the Eucharist we shared. And good it was too, with a memorable moment when our confessions where put to the flame in dramatic fashion. Next step may be to have a pilgrimage, perhaps to Glastonbury, with an ancient-future theme. Sounds good to me.