Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Aidan is ONE!

It was my son's birthday yesterday. He turned one. I am humbled and proud to be your Daddy Aidan. I love you Son! Happy Birthday!

I Like Big Bibles

Something to help with your ab muscle routine . . .

Monasticism in the 21st Century

I ran across this post on one of my all-time favourite blogs - NextReformation - linked here and on the right column. It was a post from Len on August 8th in which he's asking some very interesting, if not necessary, questions regarding Christian praxis in the contemporary cultural conundrum.

"Not long ago Kevin Miller commented at Out of Ur that we already have a proven model for spiritual formation in the monastic movement.

Later Paul at Prodigal Kiwis commented on a new book from Cistercian publications --– A Monastic Vision for the 21st Century: Where do we go from here? The book is edited and with an introduction by Patrick Hart and due in December.

"An ancient lifestyle which has been adapted, renewed, and is still being followed today; monasticism appears to some outside it as a quaint anachronism and to others as the sanest of all ways of living. Can it survive in the post post-modern world? A dozen insiders and outsiders -monastics, academics, clergy, laypersons, hermits, cenobites, poets, and writers - offer their reflections on the future of the monastic life of prayer and community…"

more of this post can be found here

What patterns or rhythms have you adopted / established that help align you with God and impart life through a more intimate, pervasive connection with our Father?

Let's get those comments rollin' in!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Irish and Cultural Renewal

An excerpt from a work that G.K. Chesterton wrote (I think!) on St. Francis of Assisi:

"Now everybody knows, I imagine, that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were an awakening of the world. They were a fresh flowering of culture and the creative arts after a long spell of much sterner and even more sterile experience which we call the Dark Ages. They may be called an emancipation; they were certainly an end; an end of what may at least seem a harsher and more inhuman time. But what was it that was ended? From what was it that men were emancipated? That is where there is a real collision and point at issue between the different philosophies of history. On the merely external and secular side, it has been truly said that men awoke from a sleep; but there had been dreams in that sleep of a mystical and sometimes of a monstrous kind. In that rationalistic routine into which most modern historians have fallen, it is considered enough to say that they were emancipated from mere savage superstition and advanced towards mere civilised enlightenment. Now this is the big blunder that stands as a stumbling-block at the very beginning of our story. Anybody who supposes that the Dark Ages were plain darkness and nothing else, and that the dawn of the thirteenth century was plain daylight and nothing else, will not be able to make head or tail of the human story of St. Francis of Assisi. The truth is that the joy of St. Francis and his Jongleurs de Dieu was not merely an awakening. It was something which cannot be understood without understanding their own mystical creed. The end of the Dark Ages was not merely the end of a sleep. It was certainly not merely the end of a superstitious enslavement. It was the end of something belonging to a quite definite but quite different order of ideas."

For more on St. Francis read the book by Chesterton. Or for more on the "fresh flowering of culture and the creative arts" as Chesterton put it, read 'How the Irish Saved Civilisation' by Thomas Cahill to see what events led up to that momentous change in Western civilisation which Chesterton refers to. It may be that the Irish have still yet to make another significant contribution to the world!

Introducing Video Power Talk

Check out this hilariously awful promotion for a video-based e-mail system called Video Power Talk! I heard of it on the Relevant podcast recently and I, like the podcast team, have had shivers since I saw this video. Unbelievable . . . Obviously they didn't think to employ anyone to help them with marketing. ;-)

The Work of the People

I just came across this company that a guy called Travis Reed co-founded whom I met last November in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. He is an artist and has developed a very creative approach to enabling others in their worship through use of media. His company develops resources around the liturgical calendar (as well as other stuff) which have a wide variety of uses. Being fairly familiar with his previous company's (Highway Video) material, I'm sure The Work of the People won't disappoint. Check them out here. Below is a little blurb from their site giving context for their vision. I really resonate with the highlighted aspects of the definition. noun. pl. liturgies.
From the Greek word λειτουργια, (transliterated, “leitourgia”) meaning “the work of the people.”

Liturgy may refer to, or include, elaborate formal rituals or simple daily activity. Liturgy unites the Christian Church; the Church comes together around liturgy to express its nature as a faithful and distinct people. Film, music and photography are forms of an emerging visual liturgy. Media has the ability to unite the Church, to tell stories shared by the Church, to mark the Church as distinct. The ChurchÂ’s task is to create and share in liturgy. This is the work of the people.

How has liturgy inspired (lit. 'God-breathed') you or facilitated you in reflection, adoration or expression? What forms have served you toward that end within or without the expression of the Church?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Free Audio Resources

I have been continually impressed with the resources on Christian Audio. As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, married with the fact that I am regularly studying at the University of iPod, having quality classic & current audio books and interviews is just what I need to develop myself while staying current. They have loads of free resources just waiting for you to download and enjoy. Listen to them from your pc/mac or portable mp3 player for challenge & inspiration!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Working Hard

Working hard on the CIYD roadshow these last few days with my co-worker, the Northern Ireland Youth Ministry Development Worker - Sharon Hamill. She's down in the Republic staying with Christy (Sharon and her are old friends) and I for the few days while we work. The roadshow is a menu of sorts of what we can deliver as training and inspiration for individual parishes and diocese around Ireland. Here are our topics that we are developing:

  • Introduction to Youth Work / Ministry
  • Tools of the Trade [Resources]
  • Young People and Youth Culture
  • 21st Century Catalysts [Confirmation Primer]
  • CIYD Promo
  • Space to GROW [Spiritual Exercises]
  • Ancient Church / New Threads [New Generation Churches]
  • Youth Ministry Tips & Tricks [Management]
  • Developing Community & Belonging in Youth Ministry
  • Safeguarding Trust
  • Mission Minded Church
  • Developing Volunteer Team
Any ideas or contributions? Any thoughts welcome!