Saturday, September 30, 2006

Time with the family is good . . no, Great

Well, on Thursday Christy, Neve, Aidan, Cara Beth, Chad and I packed into our two cars and headed south. First we took them to the Rock of Cashel which is an impressive site in the centre of Tipperary with loads of history behind it. We then proceeded to take them to Cahir (pronounced CARE) with it's more than impressive castle and few shops. It was a good day all told. We even hit a couple of cafes. My most enjoyable moments were spent with my daughter Neve walking around the castle - she talked and talked with me (in very intelligent conversation!) and also with my son, Aidan, sitting by the river next to Cahir castle watching a swan who was waiting for us to feed him. I loved watching the wonder and excitement in his eyes, while capturing his expressions as we just sat and had some father - son time. What a great little man he is!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Win a trip to Ireland!

Christy's youngest sister is visiting with us right now with her boyfriend. During their time with us we will be showing them around the island a bit and introducing them to all things Irish. I always love playing tour guide, showing people around this magnificient place we call home and revelaing a bit of history to those intrested. I'm wondering . . . if you've been to Ireland where / what are your favourite places to spend time? It may help me decide where to take them. If I use your idea you may win a free trip to the Emerald Isle! Or not . . .

*If you live in Ireland you or your family members are not eligible to enter the competition.*

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Church and the Long Tail

In a recent post, a friend and my rector, Stephen Neill muses on the position of the Church in today's cultural context. Stephen postulates on how the established (institutional) church could beneficially respond to the 'emerging' (fresh expressions) aspects within the broader Christian Church. The article is well worth a read, containing many valuable insights from a man firmly embedded within the fabric of one of the oldest expressions of 'Christ's Body' in the world (Anglicanism) in a context (vestiges of the early Celtic Church) that still has much to offer us today. Below you'll find an excerpt with a link for more.

"Holistic, interdisciplinary and cross-platform: These are all buzzwords in contemporary society which point to a growing realisation of the interdependence of all life including and perhaps especially human activity. Strangely enough, one of the most resistant bodies to such an approach is the Church which generally though not exclusively tends to define its endeavours and pursuits on a higher and thus superior level, supposedly impervious to the insights of wider society. This attitude protects the Church from being susceptible to the fickle culture of the '‘latest fad'’, which so often is shown to be over-hyped and underwhelming. On the down side, it may be that the Church misses out on the insights and discoveries made in other areas of human endeavour which might enlighten and improve its own self-understanding and praxis . . ." more

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Interesting & sad . . .

It's an interesting (yet understandable) world in which you'd find that Ireland is at the top of the game internationally in terms of it's economy and societal influences, so says The Economist, but also at the top of the list for the most 'lonely' country on the face of the planet (inferred). I wonder if we're getting our true first taste of the emptiness which comes from the pursuit of 'possessions'? The answer is outside ourselves . . . it must be!

Friday, September 15, 2006

thoughts on art and faith

A re-post by friend Ben Price on the place of artists in the Church over the last few centuries:

"I think that is exactly what we are experiencing. I think that Protestantism is still experiencing the ramifications of swinging the "Sola Scriptura" pendulum all the way to Subject + Written Word = Truth. The unintended consequence of taking out the priestly middle man from the equation is that we eliminated the need for all storytellers, which included our artists. It took a few generations, but by the late 1800's the "Christian" Artist was nearly extinct.

I think the modern age has generally engaged with religion/spirituality/faith/whatever in one of two ways--either 1)belief in God is irrational so it is impossible--end of discussion (but lets keep meeting for moral/community reasons). OR 2) if we just work hard enough we can reason ourselves to God. You see, he makes sense if you interpret Genesis 2 this way and if you reject these laws of physics and so on. This is, I think what most evangelicals have done.

But either option, I think, leaves artists on the outside looking in. Both ASSUME the supremacy of reason, one to reject faith, the other to support it. But I think art is often "supra-rational" not irrational, but beyond it. It does not rely on reason to get its message across. The hegemony did not have room for mystery (and in many ways, did not have room for prophecy either).

Whoa, I kind of went off . . . what was my point? Oh, yeah, you'’re right, the problem is there are no artists left and until we take control of the hegemony (the power to control the conversation) in faith communities and give space on the margins for our artists, we won't see them come back."

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm Tired of Waiting . . .

I've had a strong desire for a long time to be apart of a creative community of like-hearted individuals pursuing Christ passionately, while making an eternally significant impact on the wider world. A dream for a retreat and training facility was birthed in 1999, and the establishment of an organisation to help people create space to engage more meaningfully with God and others - called Dreamers of the Day - followed in 2003 with our first event 'Thirst'. I have longed to return to the 'glory days' of working with creative types when I was involved in concert promotion at Taylor University - I miss being with artists on a regular basis. I have been lately (for a number of years) dreaming of helping to start a festival in celebration of the arts and faith. I now see it more clearly than ever before and yet I'm more frustrated than ever because it seems so close yet just out of reach! There have been many 'promises' made from more established individuals in various life situations who would have contributed significantly to such a vision, and whom would been wonderful to work with - but alas, words mean nothing if action isn't evoked. I have lost 'faith' many times in a vision of creatively communicating Christ with the world through the Arts and time-tested Christian practices - only to be set aflame again. I am tired and weary of carrying a vision that never quite seems to materialise. But the flame hasn't been blown out . . .

I believe Jesus Christ gives life to the full like no other. I believe this world is hungrier than ever for the Bread of Heaven and the Water of Life. I believe in the influence of the arts to inspire and challenge a complacent, dead humanity. I believe in the power of first-encounters with a un-imaginable God who loves irrationally - and is Love Himself. I believe Ireland is strategically poised: geographically, historically and presently to be an ideal incubator for a new wave of God's activity to spread throughout our desperately starved world. I believe God will/is envisioning a few bold, creative, abandoning, sacrificial followers to lead the way.

Do you sense God inviting you to join Him in His work in this world in a manner that is culturally relevant to the emerging context in which we exist? Are you being stripped naked by the Spirit of God to become more of who you were meant to be and not less? Are you hungry, really hungry, for God to feed you with Himself and involve you in His mission? I am. I am. I am . . .

Are you one of these people?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Can't Believe They Pulled This Off!

Introducing the 'Yes Men'! If you have never heard of these guys - you must educate yourself! I am amazed at the courage of these two gents to pull of what they have done and even more amazed at the sheep-ish stupidity of the people who have fallen for it! Read on for some serious laughs!

"Honest people impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else. The Yes Men have impersonated some of the world's most powerful criminals at conferences, on the web, and on television, in order to correct their identities. They currently have hundreds of thousands of job openings. Sign up today!"