Thursday, October 29, 2009


Have just started to learn to play mandolin again - well for the first time really, previous attempt was not a success. Our friend Jackie wants to do the same with guitar so we're teaming up. Plan is to learn a song a week, starting with 3 simple chords. First song: 'freefallin' by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - simple chords, slow pace, and a fine song. Pic is from the TP gig at Knebworth which I went to back in the day with my buddy Mike.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Third Space

I've been working together for a while with a group called Third Space in Matlock, Derbyshire, and they are now linking in with the Small Missional Communities project and CMS, seeing this as their primary place of belonging - the first group to do so 'formally'! They are very good news, doing imaginative stuff and really wanting to be and to make a difference in the way of Jesus the change-bringer where they are. A very big welcome to Third Space people: may you be blessed and may you bring blessing... peace to you Ian

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ways into small missional community [8] finding a name

Here's the latest in my series on creating and sustaining community for the small missional communities group - all about finding a name:

What’s in a name? Cumbrae, Emerge, hOME, Ithaca, mayBe, Sanctuary, and Third Space are some of the names that are represented on this network at the moment.

The process of discovering a name for your community-project can be a really important part in its creation. The imaginative conversations, the prayers and the waiting that are part of the journey towards a name take us right into the reasons that we are setting out on this course. The process will make us think through what the big idea is, it will immerse us in the spirit of the community [see earlier posts in this series of ways into small missional community], and it will help us understand how we can serve the people around us in the name of Jesus.

My experience is that an interesting thing sometimes happens in this process. You may find that the name is somehow waiting for you, that the name in some sense discovers you and your friends as much as you discover the name. If you don’t have a name yet, it’s a really good idea to make sure that everyone who is with you is involved in the process.

Although Jesus doesn’t seemed to have named the little community he created, he did give a new name to the disciple we know as Peter - which means something like ‘stone’ or ‘rock’ - and in so doing perhaps Jesus enabled this disciple to become more fully the character that he could see was within him.

So what’s the naming process like for you? If you have a name, how did you discover it? And how might the name be helping to shape your life as a small missional community of the world-changing Jesus?

artistic director for Moot

Moot are looking for an artistic director. Sounds like a great role at a really exciting time for the community.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How can we avoid becoming like what we fight against?

How can we avoid becoming like what we fight against? That’s the nagging question I’m left with after Question Time last night.

Most of the ideas and policies of the BNP, it seems to me, are a mix of the ridiculous and the reprehensible, the delusional and the dangerous. So I’m really concerned that the manner and the actions of the audience, the panel and the chair may have served to portray Nick Griffin and the BNP as victims. Now he can say with some justice that he was bullied, and bullying is of course a fascist tactic.

Fr Richard Rohr warns people of liberal politics like him and me that we can ‘become as power-seeking and controlling and dominating as our oppressors’. My hunch is that Nick Griffin would have revealed the extent to which his policies are based on fear, division and untruths of his own accord last night, if he was given space. Instead he was kept from answering truly important questions by some of the very tactics that most of us deplore and which we identify with far-right parties.

How can we avoid becoming like what we fight against? Perhaps it starts in the area of our own personal transformation. The teacher Jesus seemed to suggest that we need to learn to resist evil with stillness, mercy and even love. Tough stuff, particularly because, I suppose, it needs to start here, now, with me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

end of the line: tonight on More 4

I blogged before about the excellent movie end of the line. It's on More 4 tonight at 10pm. Really worth seeing- about the threat to the world's fish stocks - but with a positive message that we can fix this if we have the will..

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

ways into small missional community [7] eating, drinking together

Here's my latest post re creating community:

Interesting things can happen when people eat and drink together.

Some of the most memorable stories left to us in the gospels from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus happen when food and drink are being shared. A woman anoints Jesus with her tears when he is at table. A life-changing conversation with Zachaeus takes place in the context of hospitality. Jesus bids farewell to his followers in the setting of a shared meal. The disciples at Emmaus recognise Jesus in the breaking and blessing of bread. And an early morning breakfast on the beach is hosted by the same risen Christ.

Interesting things can happen when people eat and drink together. Our common humanity becomes more apparent. Differences diminish. Neighbours and strangers find a place of belonging. Community can deepen. So if we are interested in starting or sustaining a new project-community in the way of Jesus it is worth imagining the place of eating and/or drinking together.

Any pattern of eating and drinking needs to be true to our setting and reflect our culture. An example from experience: from the start of its life the community of which I have been part for 5 years has centred its life on a simple community meal in someone's home each week. And each weekend the eucharist is followed by a visit to cafe or pub. The community's life and mission happen in the context of food and drink, in ways that fit the city setting and the life-patterns of the people.

Inspired by the practise of Jesus, what might be the place of shared eating and/or drinking in your community?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009