Wednesday, December 22, 2010

South Devon winter

It's a hard winter all over the UK. Unusually for this part of the world we have snow, ice and persistent sub-zero temperatures. Here's a pic of the estuary...

ways into small missional community [20] light up the sky

here's my latest post in the 'ways into' series for the CMS Small Missional communities project...

This post grows from the ideas in posts [18] encountering Christ, being Christ and [19] change through community projects. It comes out of my experience that for community projects to bring good to our wider communities in Christ’s name, they need to emerge from and be sustained by people who have a passion for them.

So this post is about giving space and encouragement to people to have a go themselves, trusting that we each have within us a God-inspired impetus to make the world a better place and ideas and resources for doing that. If our idea is good, if it is somehow tapping into the flow of the mysterious and always-at-work Holy Spirit, it may flourish. People will encourage it, talk about it, and some, even all, will participate in it.

What might this look like on the ground? Hopefully the community has a regular space for conversation, stillness and prayer where it tries to understand how it may bring good to the world in the way of the Christ. As part of this conversation invite each other to imagine and describe the sort of change that each person would like to be involved in.

It’s really important to emphasize that this is not a reality TV talent show. There is not one winner. Some, many, even all the ideas offered may find encouragement to go ahead. The key is that the person offering their idea is committed to it and involved in taking it forward.

St Paul memorably called on the early Christian community in Philippi to shine like stars. May the people in the community/project you are involved in – and the God-inspired ideas they have within them for bringing change for good - light up the sky where you are…

Friday, December 10, 2010

St Ives in winter

great to spend a few days with Matt last week at his place in St Ives working on StillPoint stuff

Friday, October 01, 2010

the light still shines

Just last week we were sea-swimming, but now Autumn has arrived in the South Hams, leaves flying, rain beating in from all angles, early evening darkness. So here's a pic to remind me that the light still shines - this was last weekend at North Sands.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cave Refectory Road is published

my book Cave Refectory Road: monastic rhythms for contemporary living is out today! 
it's available from Amazon and from CanterburyPress 

people are saying nice things about it....

This book is a gem. For those seeking to follow in the way of Christ today, Ian opens up the gifts and insights of religious communities in a very imaginative fashion. He manages the difficult art of writing in a way that has real depth but is still accessible and easy to grasp. It's heartfelt and inspired.
- Jonny Baker author, blogger, CMS pioneer trainer

If you know someone (perhaps yourself) who is spiritual but not religious I strongly suggest giving them this book.  Ian Adams has beautifully and unabashedly mined the Christian monastic tradition and found gold for our spiritually impoverished time.  You can find no better guide.
- Nadia Bolz-Weber, founding pastor of House for all Sinners and Saints, a Lutheran mission church in Denver Colorado and author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television (Seabury 2008).

Friday, September 24, 2010

morning bell is 600

wow morning bell is number 600 today. It's amazing to know that each day people across the UK and around the world are receiving it, pondering it, praying it and passing it on. Of course it's shaping me as much as anyone as I prepare and create it - or perhaps find it being created in me...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Greenbelt 2010

Greenbelt festival 2010 - inspiring, provocative and nourishing. See more of my pics from the festival here: pace bene - Ian's flickr pics
Stillpoint: in Abide venue

go Jonsi

loved the Jonsi gig in Bristol. really like this pic by kirstiecat

Sunday, August 22, 2010

conversation about community @Greenbelt

Looking forward to hosting this conversation at Greenbelt about the possibilities of community. The conversation-makers are Cara Heafey from mayBe, Fiona Lingard from Third Space, Abbot Stuart Burns OSB from Mucknell Abbey, and Peter Macdonald, leader of the Iona Community. Some wonderful experience of community from a great mix of settings. 
Monday 2pm @ Winged Ox.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

descent and ascent... @Greenbelt

mm... have recently had rather more experience of the descent and ascent process than I bargained for when way back I suggested doing this session at Greenbelt [next weekend]

Friday, August 20, 2010

spiritual practices for disturbing times @Greenbelt

looking forward very much to doing this session at Greenbelt with Gail - 8pm Friday in Soulspace - and I have begun writing a book on this theme

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

rooted in earth, formed in water: Stillpoint at Greenbelt

Matt and I are looking forward to offering 'rooted in earth' and 'formed in water': prayer and meditation practises rooted in our relationship to the planet with Stillpoint at Greenbelt's new eco-themed venue Abide

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Third Space

Very good to be with Third Space in Matlock this week. If you want to meet some of the TS people come to the conversation on community 2pm Monday @Greenbelt as they'll have a participant in that along with Abbot Stuart Burns OSB, Cara from mayBe in Oxford and one or two others tbc! peace Ian

Sunday, July 18, 2010

with Richard Long

Enjoyed hearing artist Richard Long today at Dartington Ways with Words Festival. Richard has been and will go on being a real inspiration to us. He's not a natural at public speaking, but coped well, particularly when a woman said that she was seeing the emporer's new clothes, and asked him how he had managed to convince people that what he does is art. The pics are some of the pieces that mayBe created at a weekend away, inspired in part by him. Keep on walking in a straight line Richard.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Harrier and Jaguar: compelling and disturbing

On the way back yesterday from a [very good] FX meeting in London I called in to Tate Britain to see the Harrier and Jaguar commission by Fiona Banner.  The Sea Harrier is hung from the roof, nose less than a metre from the ground. The Jaguar, coated in stunning silver, lies belly up on the floor. They look stunning, even beautiful, and of course powerful.  But perhaps there's a resistance to their power in the way they have been displayed, hung like a dead bird, beached like a dead whale. This is well worth seeing. [PS although photography is not usually allowed in Tate Britain they seem to be making an exception for this work]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ways into small missional community [16] befriend a traditional community

here's the latest in my series of posts for the small missional community project - make friends with nuns, monks and friars!

It was really good to be able to host and participate in a conversation between traditional and emerging communities last month. Over 70 people from a variety of traditional and emerging backgrounds and traditions got together to share stories, insights, questions, imaginings and possibilities around the idea and practice of religious community in mission.

The interest and enthusiasm that I saw reinforced my instinct that the making of small missional community is a shared journey. Others have taken this path before, others will go this way in the future. There will be some constants and similarities, and because we live in ever-changing cultures, there will be differences that we cannot imagine right now.

My suggestion in this latest post in the series is to seek out another community [or communities] to befriend. Particularly one that is from a different place on the journey. So if yours is a contemporary take on community you might find it really insightful to make friends with a traditional community of nuns, monks or friars. There is great wisdom and learning about community in the traditional religious orders. In my experience they also very good questions of those of us doing a newer thing - and at the same time are enormously inspiring. They are also encouraged to find their ancient ways being reinterpreted and reshaped by the emergers.

If you want to look into the possibility of making friends with a traditional religious community in your area and don’t where to start, please get in touch. I’d be very happy to try to suggest some possibilities.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

pics from the conversation

some more pics from last week's communities conversation - thanks to Seth Crewe for this...

Monday, May 31, 2010

friars, monks, nuns and emergers

The small missional communities conversation about religious community went really well - over 70 people from a wide variety of settings conversing together about the possibilities. Big thanks Jonny Baker for these pics. If you want to be involved in ongoing conversation get in touch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

see:change 'into stillness' workshop

Our first see:change workshop into stillness is open for booking!
• Discover the practice and benefits of being still.
• See how stillness can sustain us in uncertain times and help us to regain equilibrium.
• Learn how stillness enables us to be at one with ourselves
• Create patterns for stillness that work for you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

stillness at Glastonbury

This Saturday I'm involved in another event at Glastonbury - stillness in the ancient jesus tradition - with Pauline Warner from Soul Clinics and Simon Small. If you are in that part of the world it would be great to see you. It's at St Margaret's chapel throughout the day, with new events beginning on the hour.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

an emerging politics

I've been involved for a long time with what's often been called 'emerging church.' The new situation in UK politics feels like it might signal an exciting change towards partnership and consensus - an 'emerging politics'. I've just been reading some research my daughter Rachel has been doing into decline in traditional religious practice. One of her findings is that people have rejected religion that feels 'conforming, controlling, and adversarial'. Now doesn't that sound rather like much of the politics that we have been subjected to?

There's another interesting aspect to all this. The media is so entrenched in the whole adversarial approach, constantly pitching people, ideas and parties against each other, that it may struggle to cope with an 'emerging politics'. Very few commentators will have experience of working in cross-party partnership, and there will be a lot of scepticism around. It won't be easy. Time, I suggest for the peace-makers, the consensus-builders, the big-hearted and the open-handed to step forward...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

launch of see:change

Really pleased to let you know about the launch of the see:change project that Gail and I are doing together.

The launch is at the Old Bakery in Kingsbridge on Tuesday 18 May and will be a fun and informative evening outlining what we and see:change are all about.

If you'd like to come please let me know
Pax Ian

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

painting for day 50 exhibition

Here's how my painting for the CMS day 50 exhibition is looking. In this piece I wanted to explore the idea in the Jesus tradition that God's activity cannot be contained by our imagination but is a dynamic dance that embraces all life, all places and all times.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

chaos and hope

Here's the painting I did for the StillPoint Stations of the Cross exhibition - I called it 'chaos and hope' - and here's the text that goes with it: There’s an important tradition that in the chaos of his violent and sudden death Jesus somehow holds into himself all the chaos and violence of humanity. In so doing he makes clear  that despite their power, our chaos and violence will never be the final word. In the storm of his death there appears a fragile but compelling trace of hope for humanity and for the cosmos.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stations exhibition - opening night Friday

Looking forward v much to the StillPoint Stations of the Cross exhibition - opening night Friday from 8pm @the the Jam Factory Oxford.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the resurrection - in Leeds

Images 1-13 of the Resurrection Stations project that I am doing with Si Smith have been published by CPAS. Si does the brilliant pics and I add the text for reflection, with Rory Keegan editing. Here's the last picture which Si has just finished and which will be published for next year. Good to see the project getting some publicity too - here's a link to a story in Christian Today.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oscar Romero

This week as we enter the season of the Passion of Jesus, the Church around the world remembers the life and martyrdom of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. He stood up for the people of El Salvador against the repressive government, and was assassinated by a death squad on 24 March 1980. His own words and passiontide in the name of Jesus will be the inspiration this week for morning bell.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

stations exhibition - work in progress

Great to see works in progress pics for the upcoming StillPoint stations of the cross exhibition at the Jam Factory in Oxford March 26 - April 20. These by artists Ali Berrett, Rachel Yates, Nicholas Mynheer and Sharon Boothroyd.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

ways into small missional community [14] love your roots

Here's the latest in my series of posts seeking ways to start and sustain new small missional communities of the Christ, shaped by and for our settings and cultures:

This may be obvious but perhaps worth saying. Every new community or project emerges from somewhere and evolves from something that has gone before. One of the most encouraging things about almost all the emerging/evolving projects that I know is that there seems to be a real desire to find ways to keep on belonging to the places and people from which the new thing has come.

I think that it’s really important to love your roots. There’s a vital mix of strength and humility in recognising that we are part of something bigger - part of the Christ-following community down the centuries and around the world - and part of that bigger body both locally and globally. It’s also helpful to recognise that both new thing and institution are part of each other’s learning. The institution needs the new thing to help it to continually reshape itself for the changing culture. The new thing needs to receive the long-broad view of the tradition.

That’s not to say that it will always be easy to work with the organisation that you are part of. Sooner or later most projects seem to face difficult moments in this relationship. It’s almost inevitable that the innovations of the new thing will feel like criticism to the institution [a critique that may be needed of course]. And at times the new thing will feel constrained or misunderstood by the processes of the institution [processes that also may be needed sometimes].

It seems important to me that we need to avoid watered down compromises. We need to find ways to let the new thing be courageously new, in relationship with an institution that carries the best of the tradition with devotion, both following their callings with confidence and humility.

What can we do to love our roots again today?

peace to you

Saturday, February 27, 2010

the disturbing time

For me one of the important subtexts of Lent is that it is a time of disturbance. I think of the season as 'the disturbing time'. As we continue through Lent morning bell is going to work with some of the scriptures of disturbance that Jesus would have known from the Tanakh [the Jewish scriptures]. We can imagine him returning to these scriptures during his wilderness trial, perhaps finding there some reflection of his experience. So may we disturbed and encouraged. The pic is of the tidal road near our home, looking very bare at this time of the year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

creation spirituality

The first StillPoint creation spirituality course tonight in Oxford, led by Matt. It's going to be good! Places still available. Free but you need to register with StillPoint

Saturday, February 20, 2010

traditional and emerging religious communities in conversation

Here's a flier for a day conversation that I'm organising in Oxford in May between traditional and emerging religious communities. Should be good - getting some 'real' monks and nuns together with people doing new community stuff. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in coming.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

simple clothing day

morning bell at the moment is drawing on the work that I'm doing on a book on how we might take the wisdom and practise of monastic spirituality into the everyday. I'm starting this week suggesting a simple clothing day, perhaps based on one colour - and let's see what that feels like...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

StillPoint stations of the cross Easter 2010

Really looking forward to the second StillPoint stations of the cross exibition at the Jam Factory in Oxford. We've got 14 great artists with an inspiring mix of styles each producing an art piece based on one of the traditional 'stations of the cross' - an ancient practise of entering the universal story of the passion of the Christ. Opening night is Friday 26 March and then it's on for almost a month.

Friday, January 29, 2010

ways into small missional community [13] accessible and committed - the traveling band

here's the latest in my series of posts I'm offering on small missional communities online:
Here’s an interesting task that comes in creating and sustaining a new Christ-following community: how can we find ways to make the life of the community both accessible to anyone who might just want to explore or visit, and at the same time enable others who want to commit themselves to do so. Can accessibility and commitment happen in the same space?

One possible route is to nurture a way of seeing the life of the community as being like a journey, and picturing the community as a traveling band, perhaps like a bunch of medieval pilgrims. So the community is not understood as a fixed entity. People join the traveling band and find a welcome to share the journey for as long as that works for them. Some may become committed to the journey and to this traveling band. Others will share the path for a while and then find another way. Some will join and leave and rejoin at different points. The key [and at times demanding] thing is to grow a sense that this fluidity is OK.

If the offer of fluid access is important, so is the possibility of commitment to sharing the journey with the community, and space for commitment to following the Christ. Communal vows are one possibility. My experience is that these need to arise from the community in reflection, prayer and conversation - definitely not imposed - and are best offered for a reasonable but limited and renewable period of time, like a year. Another way is to offer people the opportunity to commit themselves to a particular community project or task. This will probably be a shorter time span - an event, a month’s activity, or a festival season. And of course some kind of disciple-formation [catechumenate] is another route.

In the gospel of Luke chapter 7 Jesus is pictured teaching the disciples, surrounded by a larger and involved audience of interested onlookers - perhaps another helpful picture of the possibility of both accessibility and commitment...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Holocaust memorial day

It's Holocaust memorial day. I'll be remembering today by listening to Gorecki's Symphony no 3: Sorrowful songs and keeping a lit candle.

drop Haiti's debt

it's time to do this - drop Haiti's debt - sign the petition at Christian Aid