The weekend on Male Spirituality

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It was a great weekend with a great bunch of blokes (not unlike a Youth Weekend but with more snoring) with all the key ingredients such as curry, a good walk, malarkey …. and a good deal of honesty and vulnerability in exploring ‘Male Spirituality’
Bill Bailey provided a helpful intro to the whole topic of, What it means to be a man:

We went on to explore ‘Male; identity, spirituality and discipleship’ in four sessions:
The need for male spirituality ‘The Soul disconnect’
Reclaiming male spirituality ‘Jesus the Man’
Practicing Male Spirituality ‘Trackers of God’
Initiating Male Spirituality ‘Fathers in the Faith’

A Powerpoint ‘handout’ is here if any of the men on the weekend want a reminder of roughly where we went during the three days: Mens Weekend spirituality Handous.pdf
The nub of the whole weekend was about becoming more alive, being male and being spiritual. It was a critique of rationalized faith that too often came down to an external, systematic and potentially ‘self effort’ faith. It was a dip into spiritual practice and ancient wisdom to look at the “manhole cover” that so often partially seals the unconscious self from the outer self …. and to ask how we become whole, and connected with ourselves and God …. and what this looks like in the context of being male. As well as talking, we spent some time doing ‘spiritual practice’ exploring Scripture using ‘Lectio Divina’ as well as using silence, prayer, worship …. and being more in the moment. It was not ‘rocket science’ (that’s official as we had a rocket scientist on the weekend) but a chance to look with fresh eyes at what being a growing disciple might look like in the context of male identity and spirituality.
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I was asked for a list of some of the books that were key. In order(ish) of influence (aside from the Bible) these are the ones I can remember:
Adams Return by Richard Rohr
Breathing Underwater by Richard Rohr
Running over Rocks by Ian Adams
Silence and Honey Cakes by Rowan Williams
Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird
Barefoot Discipleship by Stephen Cherry
A Book of Sparks by Shaun Lambert
A Million Miles in a Thousand years by Donald Miller
Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli
Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr
A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren
Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli
Cave Refectory Road by Ian Adams
Urban Worrier by Nick Thorpe

Damme, he’s good

Epic advert for Volvo Trucks. Not sure how to use it in a sermon yet but where there’s a will there is a way!

A bit about the advert:
“The latest Volvo commercial is going viral for good reason. Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme takes his 53 year-old body to the next level to showcase Volvo’s Dynamic Steering System. The stunt is in fact real. A Volvo rep confirmed that the spot was done in just one take, and if the actor had gotten a leg cramp while filming, he would have been protected by plenty of safety lines that were not visible in the final video. He also was aided by small platforms on the trucks’ side mirrors that helped prop up his feet. But none of this takes away from the badassery of doing a perfect split between two massive moving vehicles”

Powerpoint wisdom

I’ve written before on the whole business of “Death by Powerpoint” so do not feel the need to pursue the critique again. Wanted though to point to this great article on four things we can learn from Hollywood in terms of communicating well. Enjoy!
This link will take you to other “Death by Powerpoint” stuff I’ve written and my free emergency escape banner to use when trapped in said scenario

Bravo Yankee Echo (Echo)

John Finnemore has filed a flight plan for the final Cabin Pressure. ‘Zurich’ will be the last ever outing (as he said, ‘you can’t argue with the alphabet’) and ‘MJN Air’ will then make no further flights out of Fitton.
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I think this is a good decision, although not the one I wanted to hear. The canon of episodes that make up one complete story, to my mind, is one of the greatest radio comedies of all time.
So one more Episode to go,
The Lemon is in play!

What a gig

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Had such a great time at the Cockburn gig last night with a great bunch of people. Bush Hall was a great venue (even if it did mean driving into London, or ‘Gotham City’ as I call it). The venue asked that Wheelchairs go in first so Haddon and I found ourselves on the front row (the photo above is not a zoom!) and hence were able to be utterly mesmerized by Cockburns guitarmanship, extrordinary!
Highlights included “End of all rivers,” “After the rain” and letting it rip to “Tie me at the Crossroads” BUT actually it was all, well, brilliant!

The limitation of words

Richard Holloway
“The difficulty is that things are not what they say they are, the word water is not itself drinkable. Words point to things, but they can never be the things that they point to. This may seem too obvious to waste time on but it is a truth, too often ignored in fact in religious circles. All theology is a doomed but necessary attempt to express the inexpressible. God is the elusive mystery we try to capture and convey in language, but how can that ever be done. If the word ‘water’ is not itself drinkable, how can the words we use to express the mystery of God be themselves absolute? They are metaphors, analogies, figures of speech , yet religious people have slaughtered and condemned each other over these experimental uncertainties. And our glory and agony as humans is that we long to find words that will no longer just be words … mere signifiers, but the very experience that they are trying to signify”