Friday, September 26, 2008

Credit Crunch

What's the answer to today's financial crisis? Getting another credit card? I don't think so. Thanks to Mark Sayers for the link to this disturbing advert.

Over at
Between Two Worlds, David Kotter has some thoughts about the current situation - also from an American perspective - that are worthy of note for Christians. I found this article via Tallskinnykiwi and then Christian Personal Finance. Thanks guys!

Everyday the news seems to indicate that we are moving into a recession and people fear that their livelihood is at risk. For those not eligible for housing benefit or a council house, privately renting can be very costly. Getting a mortgage is thought to be a prudent move by many. In some parts of the UK it may even be cheaper to buy than to rent. But then there is the risk of getting into debt. Of course, taking out a secured loan such as a mortgage isn't debt in itself but defaulting on the repayments is. With falling house prices and a stagnant market a home owner could end up with massive debts. People now need to be more careful than ever if they are not to end up losing their homes.

Our church has just started a mission initiative towards the homeless. There is an ever present need for this but, I was just thinking, with the ways things are going we might be seeing even more people in debt who could end up on the streets in the near future.

Perhaps it is time for Christians to start seriously praying for the economy? What do you think?

See also Credit Crunches by Cross Rhythms' Mal Fletcher.

UPDATE: There is a fascinating money programme article which is linked to an episode this BBC series screened in November. Property: The End of the Affair basically argued that renting could be a lot more prudent than buying. Many first time buyers today can’t get a mortgage and feel they are missing out while others are desperate to hold onto their property ownership. Yet economically it could make a lot more sense for people in the UK to rent, as is the norm in many other countries, rather than buy – especially in the current financial climate. They argued that buying property could be just as risky as borrowing money to buy shares – which as we all know may keep falling.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Future Direction of Worship

On Thurday and Friday Jonny Baker took part in a symposium on worship at the London School of Theology. I know Jonny through CMS events and worship sessions at Greenbelt but mainly through his blog. He has been asked to be part on a panel of experts on worship that also includes among others Graham Kendrick and Joel Edwards. They are discussing the future direction of worship. To help Jonny out I left a couple of comments on this blog here - a long with a lot of other people - the gist of which Jonny tried to weave into his contributions.

Jonny has outlined some of the thoughts of his fellow panellists here, some of his own contributions here, and his summary of the arguments here. I am following this with great interest and commenting on it as it goes - sometimes with more than one comment on a post. There are some very open and honest thoughts in this discussion, some of which I think are pertinent to our worship experiences in Church Alive. Of course I am not denying that we have some good times of worship - I just want to go further.

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Greenbelt 08

Highlights for me at this year’s Greenbelt Festival included Molten Meditation - a fusion of charismatic and contemplative worship lead by Robin Vincent. As well as in his own session, I saw Robin Vincent in the Proost Lounge – a showcase of new talent from this label who were celebrating their first anniversary. But apart from this I didn’t get to much music. For one thing the Performance CafĂ© was always packed out. Does taking part in the hymn singing at the beer tent count? It was amazing.

So what did I get to?

Ikon led what was really an 18 point sermon on lessons they had learnt as a church. It lasted an hour and half but it was brilliant. Every point had a visual illustration and/or activity associated with it - pillows, balloons, video, discussions and lots of laughs.

This year I went to a couple of new venues:

1. St Ethelburga’s Tent where I did a little biblical meditation and heard a discussion on whether Eastern religions could give us any insights into Christianity and…

2, The Breathing Space Yurt where I took part into an insightful yet whimsical event called a Tea Ritual where we heard stories, quotes and demonstrations centred around the hospitality of drinking tea. Then we served each other a genteel cuppa.

Also I deliberately made Callie a priority, queuing to get her into the Children’s Festival and taking her to events such as an all-age service called Trinity Twister on Sunday morning, where we learnt about the trinity, played twister and took communion.

I’ve now downloaded a couple of excellent talks that I missed while I was with Callie: Jenny Baker on gender roles and Brian McLaren on post-colonialism. I might blog about them later and perhaps mention one or two more things.

As usual it was a great time.