Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hello from Brunel!

I'm currently in a lecture at Brunel and thought I'd say "hi"! It's a lovely day outside and I'm stuck inside a stuffy computer room in a concrete block!


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Being a proud mum

Benvolio's comment below highlighted how proud I am of Lauren having her art work on display at the Forum. She has worked really hard for all her exams but I think she has a real talent for art and some of it is currently on display at the forum for the whole world to see. Great that Ben took the time to have a mooch round to look and read.
I was invited to the launch event, with wine and nibbles (tortilla chips!) and it gave me a good opportunity to have a look around and I was amazed at the quality of the work. There were some amazing pieces. Apparantly someone has left their details because they would like to buy one of Lauren's pieces. I was thinking that I would very happily buy and display a lot of the work there. It was a good evening and a good idea.

I'm also proud because both Lauren and Imogen have managed to get through their first week of exams

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

New Thoughts on CE

I had a ramble below about my thoughts on Christianity Explored. I now think:
  • The church is just trying something new: nothing ventured, nothing gained
  • I don't have to be involved if I don't want to be
  • But it would be nice to be involved and support a new church venture
  • I don't have to invite or bring my friends if that doesn't suit them or me
  • I can pray about how I introduce the subject of faith as I go along in my walk with people
  • Inviting people to our lovely church building is great but there are many barriers (it is a church after all!). What does this mean to me and my "evangelism"?
  • It would be nice to involve the whole family during the evenings (and before)
  • I can pray for and support Alpha too
  • Maybe a group of people who think that "doing our own thing" would be good/would work should get together to start putting forward a strategy baased on things learnt or things that don't work based on what we do in the autumn?
  • I think CE will suit the theological and cultural assumptions of the church as it stands at the moment
  • I think I can live with that

Labels: ,

Monday, June 04, 2007

For the Love of God

Damien Hirst has unveiled his new masterpiece called For the Love of God. It's a human skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds. To take a look, follow this link and then click on Launch Viewing Room. £50 million is a lot of money...

Labels: ,

Christianity Explored

My church is starting a new venture this autumn called Christianity Explored. It's a 10 week course about Christianity based on Mark's gospel. I have to say I was rather shocked when I heard that we were doing this- I had just assumed that we would be doing Alpha. I was also shocked by my feelings of hostility toward the course because it wasn't Alpha. Holy Trinity Brompton, the home of Alpha, is my church of choice when I go to London. Maybe my loyalty lies in the fact that I have an attachment to the church? So I thought I'd blog about it and see what comes up.
I am aware of the criticisms of Alpha being that it's out of touch with "real" people, that Nicky Gumbel is too posh and uses alienating examples of being at his squash club to illustrate his points. However the facts about Alpha speak for themselves:
  • Over 8 million people worldwide have been on an Alpha course
  • Run successfully for over 20 years
  • Endorsements from respected Christian leaders: "What Alpha has to offer is a unique mixture of Christian content and Christian style. I recommend it to all the Christian family as a very special tool of evangelism."- The Most Rev'd Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Of course for all of these courses there must naturally be a shelf life. Maybe Alpha has had its day? Possibly. Possibly it has dated over those 20 years and maybe the resources need updating. I'm guessing they haven't been updated in order to avoid accusations of trying to cash in on the popular brand and make more money. As far as I can tell, the whole Alpha phenomena although a huge deal for HTB, isn't a profit driven exercise. The staff and people associated with the course are Godly and genuine people.

I have only seen a few examples of the Christianity Explored DVD's but as far as I can see Rico Tice (surely it's Tico Rice? ;)) could be just as annoying as Nicky G. and the cultural relevance is likely to leave some people cold too; that's to be expected. The deciding factor at our church seems to be that the course is based on Mark's gospel and "It is not the sort of course where you will be asked to read aloud, never mind to pray or sing." (CE website) If I remember correctly, if doing Alpha properly, sung worship and praying are introduced which could be alienating to people who are just exploring. However, if they are to make a committment and be integrated into the church, surely they need from the outset an awareness that that is what church "looks" like?

I think in conclusion I am bothered that we are doing CE. If we wanted a change wouldn't doing our own thing be the best option? Has the time for big brand marketing of Christianity come to an end, or is there still mileage in Alpha? I'm convinced that I wouldn't begin to invite people to something called Christianity Explored (whereas I would to Alpha, well possibly, more so than CE). Infact I am more likely to invite people to a Sunday morning service than I am either of them. So this leaves me to think and pray about my involvement in the event. And I'm still thinking about my response to the great commission. Such as it is...

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Carrier bag amnesty

Apparently the average person in the UK uses 290 plastic carrier bags a year. If you click on this link and then on the top video story you will see a group of people giving out home made fabric bags free to people to encourage them to give up using plastic carriers. I thought that was a good idea. I fancy doing that myself...

Labels: ,