Greenbelt 2009 'Standing in the long Now'
The above is the slightly cheesy poetry that could be seen on various T' shirts and mugs at the festival this year. Cheesy as it is though it captures Greenbelt well as although there is a VAST amount of art, music, theatre, worship, talks etc etc avaliable, just being there in the vibe is awesome; arriving feels like a kind of home-coming. Happy Days!
As ever, I invested a good chunk of time in the 'Tiny Tea Tent' and the 'Chai Chapel!' In the queue one time I was chatting to a bunch of teenagers who were loving the festival. It was great to find that the festival was so accessible to them (they'd chosen not to be involved in the youth programme but were instead taking in a wide range of options) and to be chatting to a bunch of teens who were being impacted by the faith, art and debate in the way that I was back in the day. (That was the funniest part of our chat when they asked me when I'd first come to Greenbelt, they clearly struggled to relate to the answer "1985" as anything other than medieval history).
Highlights this year:
Alex Horne 'Wordwatching,' which was an hilarious multi media account of his attempt to get new words into the Oxford English Dictionary. Subversively brilliant fun for word-lovers.
Sunday morning service: Loved the idea of the Olive Tree as the thread that both themed and wove the whole service together.
'Duke Special' with his quirkily wonderful stage presence and band, with a feel good headlining act at Mainstage on Sunday.
Hearing 'Rob Bell' speak! Great stuff to say and a great way of communicating it.
As ever it was the spontaneous moments too that will live long in the memory: One of which was sitting down for a drink and finding a couple of jugglers about to do their street act on the grass area where we were, one of whom claimed to be the worlds only "tent manipulation artist" and proceeded to pack up a pop up tent using only his legs!!! Hilarious.
I was saddened by some of the external criticism of Greenbelt (again), this time regarding Gene Robinson. I thank God though for somewhere where there is a chance to listen to the voices on the margins, to question, listen and debate.
Enormous thanks to ALL the organisers and volunteers for a Kingdom weekend, awesome!