Powerpoint from SWC Event

16 01 2011



Video from Conspiracy of Freedom used at SWC Event

16 01 2011

Dining and Discussions…

16 01 2011

Thanks to those who came along to our SWC (Simple Way Collective) event yesterday.  It was a good opportunity to think together about the issues of following Jesus is a holistic and authentic way.

Over the coming days and weeks I will update this blog with some of the ideas and thoughts that were generated from the event and hopefully discussion via comments can further our thinking and provoke actions.

This event was only intended to be the start of something, and Shawn, Vic and I hope that it will stir further thoughts, conversations and actions in the coming months and years.  Our thinking initially was that we would arrange another event in the summer (perhaps a picnic?) where people could share their experiences of the next few months, but open to other ideas on that one.

One particular idea that was expressed was about the breaking of bread together as a community.  I wonder whether in the time between now and when we arrange something else we could meet together in smaller groups over a meal, to break bread together and to further develop ideas, plans and actions.

“I love it when a plan comes together!”

Small Actions (Part 3)

8 09 2010

It’s a while since I’ve given any attention to this subject, but I’ve been thinking a bit over the summer and was provoked by my good friends Shawn and Vic this week to continue developing the ideas.

I will try to begin expanding on the various categories that I previously identified over the coming weeks, but one thing that I keep coming back to in all my considerations is the need for cooperation and collaboration between individuals and families.  This is something that doesn’t come easily to me… individuality is deeply ingrained in me.  I want things for myself… my own home, my own car, my own computer, my own tools, my own toys – I think it is the way I am wired and probably the way that a good deal many of those around me operate as well.

It’s funny (in a sad kind of way) that we live in a city of millions but we can’t quite grasp the potential of living communally.  I remember this is something that Stuart Murray talks about in “God and the City”.  We live in vast metropolis in order for commerce to thrive and for protection, yet in the process we lose the sense of community that is experienced so much more fully in many rural communities.

I don’t remember much from my days of theological training at Oasis Youth Ministry Course, but I do remember talking about how hebrew society was very much a communal society, and much of the early church was based on this – over time we have adopted a more “greek” influence of individuality – something that the evangelical church has especially bought into.  So we talk of “personal” salvation and struggle with the concept of the jailor whose entire family was saved when he repented.

I’m rambling!  I think what I am trying to get at, is that if any of these ideas about a Simple Way are to become reality then we (and mostly I guess I mean me) have to deprogram our default setting of individuality and reprogram a new default of community.  That feels pretty scary to me.  And I also think it is not as easy as it sounds – because we are not talking about a singles community (like Claiborne’s Simple Way) and we are not talking about recreating rural communities in the city – we have to find a new way of living a Simple Way in our 21st century urban context.  It will require greater risk, greater trust, deeper honesty than I think I have shown or experienced to date.

Am I making any sense?

Resurrection Life… update

8 09 2010

As expected, the council arranged for the pavement to be relaid mid August.  My heart sank a little even though it was expected.

I was however, delighted to discover that cracks are already beginning to appear once again this week…

Resurrection life…

23 07 2010

Just down the road to my office on Forest Road in Walthamstow is this great little patch of tarmac!  Strange thing I know, but I have watched as this tarmac was laid, about 18 months ago and I have watched over this summer while something quite surprising has happened.  Our local council will not be too pleased about it, but vibrant green plant life has broken through the inanimate dull grey tarmac and brought new life to this little corner of Walthamstow.  It is not plants just growing in the cracks of the pavement, this is plants literally busting through the pavement like mini green volcanoes.  I pass it most mornings on my way to work and it makes me smile every time.

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For one thing our Borough is getting covered in more and more tarmac and concrete; we are adding more and more bricks and mortar so it enthuses me to nature fighting back.

On another level it reminds me of the power of God’s creation.  A little reminder that whatever man turns his hand to, to shut creation out, to control and manipulate to our own ends, God will find a way in.

It also reminds me of the resurrection of Jesus; didn’t God bring his life back from behind supposedly unmovable rock.

Finally, it is to me, a sign of hope.  Sometimes Walthamstow is a bleak and scary place to live and work.  There seems no hope of transformation and change.  Yet there is always hope when God is at work…

How to live a simple life…

17 05 2010

I just finished watching part one of this short series on BBC iplayer.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sdbcw

It was interesting to see how Peter Owen Jones trialled a simple franciscan life without money.  Several things occurred to me as I watched…

  • He’s not the happiest of chaps is he…?
  • His scheme of living without cash was on the basis of having a house provided by the Church of England and didn’t include his wife and children.
  • He clearly found that his new approach brought about better relationships with people in his community.
  • He didn’t appear to be persuading anyone else to join him in this new way of life.
  • Living where he does in Sussex allows him to get close to nature and the land – it’s a rural community that operates in a certain way.
  • That cockerel was in all kinds of trouble!

I was talking this morning with some friends, and was reminded of how important relationship and mutual accountability are in this this kind of vision.  Peter Owen Jones appears to be making it hard for himself because he is choosing to go alone, rather than share in communion – he appeared to be able to achieve what he was doing while being reliant on others remaining in the “rat race” so that he could barter for the things he needed.  Someone somewhere is working to pay for his house, etc.

I also began thinking as I watched that I would love to see the urban version of this documentary.  What would an urban franciscan look like?  How could we be radical and transform the way we live to somehow stop money being the master of us, and rather make it the tool by which we can do great things in our community?  How do we do this without leaving our family behind to embark on a lonely pilgrim’s journey?

And then I wondered whether rather than waiting for someone to make that documentary about somewhere else, we ought to begin living it here in Waltham Forest so that they can make the documentary about us?