Friday, October 31, 2008

Fresh Expressions of Humour

To celebrate the appointment of Graham Cray as the new head of Fresh Expressions, following Steve Crofts move to be Bishop of Sheffield (centre of the universe), I thought it important to bring Graham up to speed on the kind of diversity he'll be dealing with.

Things have moved on a long way since he helped put together the Mission-Shaped Church report, and some intriguing new Fresh Expressions have appeared on the scene. For example:

Re-pitching the Tent - Somewhere Else (from Affirming Laudianism)
Jeremy - not his real name - had been at a vibrant evangelical church in Durham for a few years when he embraced ‘Affiming Laudianism’. ‘My city church was quite famous’ he tells us ‘as a former Archbishop of Canterbury had, in his more humble years, been vicar here and shown early success, not alas to follow him as he moved up the ladder. The church was, however, very demanding with all sorts of bible study groups and Alpha suppers. The people were also sniffy about robes.

So I began the process of re-expression. The first thing to go was the carpet, followed by the chairs. As people began to leave for the Baptists I was able to reintroduce the pews, which once again faced the newly introduced Lord’s Table. The baptists were also glad to buy the OHP, the coffee area tables and the few boxes of mission praise which George had clearly overlooked in the earlier purge. I now have much less to do and the PCC are once again happy to talk about fabric rather than outreach all the time’.

A new kind of post-Christendom worship paradigm (from The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley)

The origins of our community came out of discontent with the spurious nature of modern-day "Celtic Christianity". A movement that thinks the best way of recreating the environment in which hairy monks sailed across wild oceans, conducted three-hour services in Latin and were martyred for their faith when they weren't being flogged by the abbot for minor indisciplines - is for people to sing along to dreamy choruses while accompanied by badly-played guitars and flutes.

Looking for a more authentic spiritual experience led us to the Beaker Folk. Consider what we know about the Beaker Folk:
-They were earlier than the Celts, so they must have been even more exotic and spiritual.
- They built
- So they must have had druids.
- And the use of stones in worship. (We tend towards pebbles rather than 20 ton sarsen blocks. Easier to move).
- We like the word "folk". Makes you feel all comfy and arran-sweaterish.
- They probably had tea lights
- They were peaceful and gentle - except when massacring their neighbours to steal their wives and sheep.
- Even better - we don't really know very much about them at all. So anything we imagine they did - must be right.

Good luck Graham, we'll be praying for you.

(cartoon from ASBO Jesus)

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