Friday, April 18, 2008

who are you?

Just watched a brilliant thing on BBC4 - Amazing journey - the story of the Who. If it's on BBCi Player and if you love life and music try to see it...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

try this improvisation [9]: earth and sky

This is something I always encourage people to do at some stage when I lead a retreat: Lie down in the grass, face down to experience the earth in close proximity. Give it time. If the ground is wet and/or it is raining this is particularly powerful [though perhaps best done in waterproofs!] Then lie on your back facing the sky. Again give this plenty of time. Give earth and sky your deep attention. Not surprisingly perhaps, a common experience in this is that of 'being held'.

At mayBe's Eucharist this weekend we were working with the opening part of the great creation myth [myth as a story more deep and 'true' than any factual account] from Genesis 1. We also read this from the late great John O'Donohue:
We enter the world as strangers who all at once become heirs to a harvest of memory, spirit and dream that has long preceded us and will now enfold, nourish and sustain us. The gift of the world is our first blessing.
Our time in the grass was a small attempt to get back in touch with that blessed gift of the world.

graffiti bus shelter

I know it's antisocial to graffiti bus shelters but I rather like these - found as I took cover from a hail storm on the way back from Sunday's mayBe Eucharist in South Park.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the morning bell

This is the end of week 1 of the morning bell - an early morning call to prayer which I am sending out by SMS txt or email via my pace bene website. I'm hoping that this will help people begin the day in stillness, and find a connection into the rich and rhythmic tradition of monastic prayer.

At the end of the first week there are 11 of us doing this - there's great strength in that we are both praying on our own and together - and this week people will be hearing the bell ring in and around Oxford, Bristol, Leeds and on the Holy island of Lindisfarne. If you'd like to receive morning bell please let me know.

In the coming week the root for our praying will be coming from the Desert Fathers, through the experience of St Anthony the Great, called the 'Father of Monks.' It seems to me that we need to give great attention to the experience of people like Anthony who devote themselves so completely to the journey into God and life. I hope that this week, in some small way, the morning bell will be able to open up for us the wisdom and way of St Anthony. The pic is of a morning bell [OK a triangle] calling us to prayer on a recent mayBe retreat.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

pace bene: my new website

This month I begin a new wider role looking for ways to encourage more new projects and conversations similar to mayBe. My new website pace bene: ian is now up and running, though I will still be blogging here from in the belly of the big fish. Please pass on the link to friends who you think might be interested.

'Pace Bene' are the key words from a Francisan blessing meaning something like 'peace and well-being.' I hope that everything I do will somehow, even in the smallest way, be linked to the possibility of bringing peace and well-being, creating shalom, and seeking God's-better-world-coming. The pic from the welcome page of the website is of James Esther Sam and Rachel on the beach in South Devon.

Pace Bene!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New habits for a new era: new monasticism

On Saturday 3 May I'm involved in New habits for a new era - an event exploring what has become known as new monasticism. It's being organised jointly by the Anabaptist Network and the Northumbria Community and I'm due to be on a panel in the afternoon session.

If you have followed the story of mayBe community you will know that we have been inspired along the way by stories and practises from the monastic stream. Their wholehearted following of Christ exerts a pull on us. We have been trying to find out if it's possible for regular people, with all the usual stuff of contemporary life around us, to somehow live in the spirit of the monastics.

But we know that we are just scratching the surface of the monastic way. We are novice novices. And if the single-minded, disciplined approach of the monastics to following Christ calls us, it also shocks us. It's deeply comfortable. So is it possible in any way for us follow in their footsteps with integrity?

I'm looking forward to the conversation. You can find out more on the urban expression site.

Planet Chant

I'm looking forward to being at one of Cheryl Gissing's Planet Chant events this Friday evening. She's asked me to lead a couple of chants, which I'll be very happy to do. Here's the publicity:
Open circle for devotional chanting
from diverse faith paths, traditions and cultures for the honouring of The One Source of all life and breath, one another and for the promotion of unity, peace and understanding. The intention is to come together in harmony to create a resonant field of sound for the blessing and healing of each other and the world we live in. You do not need to be a ‘singer’; this is about oneness and devotion.
It's Friday evening 7pm @ the Friends Meeting House in St Giles.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

inarticulate, keep it simple

Our buddies John and Ros went to see Van Morrison a couple of weeks ago and gave us Van's latest 'keep it simple' and a classic from the 80s 'inarticulate speech of the heart'. I'm playing both back to back at the moment. Van is so good. Here's another pic from the few days I spent in Devon in Easter week, which seemed to be full of the wonder about which Van makes his music. Rave on, rave on...

rema to the people of Burundi

Great to have Felibien Ndintore, and long-term friends of ours Steve and Diane Eyre, with mayBe on Sunday evening. Felibien is director of Rema Ministries, which is supported by Rema uk in which Steve and Diane are involved. Rema is a non-denominational Christian NGO that brings ‘rema’ to refugees and other disadvantaged people from and within Burundi. Here's a lovely thing: 'rema' is a Kirundi word which means to console, comfort, encourage, strengthen, to build up, support and give hope. Sounds a lot to me like the concept of shaIom - or God's-better-world-coming. In Burundi's context this means bringing rema to people who have suffered the multiple tragedies of civil war, HIV/AIDS, earthquake and economic poverty. The pic is of Felibien, Steve and Diane and mayBe people Gail, Chris W and Chris Y at the Angel after our Eucharist.