Sacred Treasure David Robertson is often uncomfortably provocative - but he's probably on the money here: 10 'prophecies' for the church in 2018 An inspiring new tradition in LA, an annual Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah by the homeless, those with…
Sacred Treasure Emma Scrivener does a beautiful job here on 10 reasons to have hope in the face of darkness Persecution of Christians around the world is a mammoth problem - and women bear the brunt of it Chris Green on…
If the last Q combo was a chronological mismatch of artist and poet, this one is seasonal. Today's still been pretty warm for a British September day, so it's perhaps rather incongruous to be thinking about winter. But a dear friend and colleague, Jennifer, sent me this all too brief poem last week, and so I felt it was a perfect combo contender.
I'm glad. In fact, if you didn't, I'd be quite concerned for you! But be warned. This isn't for the faint-hearted. It will try your patience and frustrate your sympathies. You'll definitely have days when you've had enough. Perhaps months. So you'll shrug that you did everything you could but to no avail. [There are only so many hours in a day, and you've got your own issues.] So you'll assume it needs someone else to take up the baton. If that's the case, then may I make a gentle plea with you? Don't get involved in the first place...
So here's the 3rd Q Combination. I don't know how well known these two geniuses are beyond British shores - but they are true 20th Century greats. In their different ways, both articulate a deeply earthy, incarnated spirituality.
So I've been pondering a lot on the fact that Bono has called Songs of Innocence a personal album. Here he is in Rolling Stone last week:
"We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone's Gus Wenner the day before the press conference in an exclusive interview. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there."
Last summer, I wrote a series of posts on the highly pretentious sounding 'dehumanising metrics of modernist ministry'. Don't be put off (although in fairness, I have to say I was quietly pleased by the alliteration there) because the more I've thought about it, and the more I've chatted with folks, the more I think there are some crucial things to discuss. This is certainly not the perfect analysis nor last word. But I hope it will at least present something of what troubles me these days.
For me, though, the standout of Francis Spufford's reading memoir The Child That Books Built is the chapter entitled The Island. For it is here that he waxes lyrical about Narnia. It is not just because he chimes with the countless numbers who loved C S Lewis' books (despite the likes of Philip Pullman and Polly Toynbee). It is the fact that he grasps something of their theological wonder (which will come as no surprise perhaps to those who have enjoyed his Unapologetic).
We're right in the midst of Advent now (i.e. it's not officially Christmas yet): carol services by the tonne, twinkly lights passim (Oxford St lights brought to you courtesy of Marmite - you read that right - MARMITE = end of civilisation as we know it), consumerism at its peak. But we kicked off the month a few weeks back with an Advent carol service - taking the obvious theme of waiting.We tried to shake things up a little (in our somewhat amateurish way, trying various multimedia bits and bobs).
I've been spending quite a bit of time recently with a dear friend, Malcolm, who is dying of cancer. In fact, he has already lasted a lot longer than many predicted, despite not having eaten anything for several weeks. He has been an inspiration to me and others, and so have his family. He came home from the hospice a few weeks ago or so, and has been hanging in there. Most striking has been his resilient faith in the face of his inescapable mortality (about which we talk often). Which has inevitably got me reflecting on the subject further.