What Do I Do Now?

Jul 16

Many in the church define their identity by their opponents.  There are lots of organisations and societies who are defined by the things they oppose.  What happens when the battle is over and they are no longer opponents to be struggled against?  How is identity defined once the campaign is over or the “enemy” is no more?

Facebook Makes Stuff Up

Jul 6

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I spent a few weeks wondering why some of my friends were showing up as liking “Facebook for business”. Then today Facebook started telling my friends I like “Facebook for business”. So now I know: Facebook is making it up to promote itself. It’s telling people we’ve liked it when we haven’t because I know I haven’t ‘liked’ “Facebook for business”. They just assume I’ll never know what they’re saying about me.

Thanks Facebook. Thanks a lot.

This Guy Was Looking for Information. See What Happened Next

Jun 29

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In the last year or so there has been a changing in the way information (or misinformation) is presented on the internet. The internet used to be so slow that we used Usenet because it was text based and therefore “fast” ie “still really slow”. Then mp3 allowed us to compress audio and pass it around. A couple of years ago we lived in the age of the infographic, the massive image containing all of the Earth’s information in a visual form. Now, HD video streams so fast you can pretty much share anything. This has changed the way in which people present information.

You’ve probably all seen it on Facebook and twitter. Sites like Upworthy are turning it into a cliche.

Catchy title that ends with no information but has been designed to evoke intrigue.

It is purely designed to increase the flow of traffic to the site, raise statistics and drive rankings. You click the link and what do you find? Still no information but a linked youtube clip containing the information you seek. Great, we can all stream it on fibre optic or 4G to our heart’s content. Only we can’t…

I spend most of my social media time in public places whilst I’m waiting. Waiting on a bus. Waiting in a waiting room. Waiting in a cafe. Waiting in the church. Waiting in someone’s office whilst they are on the telephone. Waiting for someone to make a cup of tea. Sometimes I’m in bed, waiting to fall asleep. In 90% of the situations I’m surfing through content, I’m not in a situation where I’m able to watch a video. That means that 90% of the time, sites like Upworthy are wasting my time. Unfortunately you have to click the link to find that out.

Video is good. Video gets information out there at high speed. I use video a lot to develop my skills as a guitarist and I generate a lot of video content for The Rock Mass. But that’s not my complaint. It is the manipulative titling and lack of multimedia. Sites like Big Bible usually put “VIDEO: Check out This Cool Whatever” so you know what to expect.

Gethsemane

Jun 24

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One of the things we are struck by in Schwarzwald it the sheer volume of public religious art. Whilst there is a crucifix every few of miles along most roads, there are some much more extravagant pieces as well. This is a larger than life depiction of Gethsemane, complete with snoozing disciples.

To give you a sense of place, this is the church it is next to.

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Time to commission a massive piece by a famous artist for the park at Holy Nativity.

Corpus Christi – Everything is Shut

Jun 19

I awoke this morning to the twittersphere talking about Corpus Christi. We wandered down the river for an hour to Freiburg with the intention of seeing the sights and then spending the next three days touring the Schwarzwald on the bike. When we arrived in the town everything was notably shut.

Perhaps I should have been alerted by the ferns placed at the end of people’s driveways (I don’t know what this means). It seems that I am unable to go on holiday without arriving in the middle of a major Christian festival. Last year it was Rhodes during Orthodox Holy Week (awesomeness).

In the town itself there are roadside shrines in the windows of shops.

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There is also a flower petal mural in the middle of the street.

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We intended to visit the Münster – it is one of the reasons we are staying here rather than somewhere else. The ancient church was still open – as you would expect.

Thousands of candles are lit as people have made their way to the Cathedral to pray. We joined in and also lit candles as we prayed for those we love in our community and beyond who are most in need.

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Then we snuck off to the secluded sanctuary where the sacrament is kept. Away from the hubbub of the nave there is a small quiet space in which to pray and meditate.

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The world has many things I covet, but this ancient aumbry covered in icons is right up there!

It is well documented that in my own ministry I’m generally more at home in modern surroundings. In my book, Holy Nativity is perfect. Celebrating the Eucharist in the old fish and chip shop next to our charity shop is a truly special community to be part of. To occasionally see the ancient roots of our faith throughout the architecture of a living and breathing worship space is breathtaking however. In this place, 1000 years of Christian community is revealed in the changing architecture and furniture.

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And if you’re going to have a rood, this is the rood to have. It looks to be ancient (pre reformation) but sadly I don’t know as the tour wasn’t available because… Everything is shut. It could be from 1973 =D

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Germany did not strike me as a particularly religious destination but less than 24 hours in its borders and we’re slowing down for Corpus Christi and joining in with the prayers of thousands.

I wonder if we’ll see any more shrines as we head out to watch the football.

[sorry about the quality of the pictures. Motorbike holidays don't really allow for more than a phone camera]