Today we went to the church in Ogongora for the final time to join the people for a church service.
The singing was amazing. I have posted a video (which may or may not work) which I hope gives an impression, but in summary it was full of joy and life. This is not something I am used to. [Aside: we were told it was OK to use cameras in the service. Wouldn't normally do so...]
I’m not going to pretend I followed every word of the sermon, but one part of it was all about ‘borrowed things’, based on 2 Kings 6, Elisha and the axe. From my notebook: ‘Think of the things you have – are they yours? … Whatever God has given you – use it carefully’.
(This is the nearest thing you will find to a sermon on this blog, so if you come here for sermons make the most of it.)
There were other elements to the service – prayers, testimonies, Bible readings, (above) and whenever there was a gap another song was sung, each time seemly led by a different person without any (obvious) pre-planning. I really enjoyed participating, which is odd as I don’t really enjoy church services with overt displays of enthusiasm, clapping, etc, back home. I can’t really explain this.
All being well I’ll be back later with today’s blog posting, part II.
Stations of the Kings Cross is a marvellous project that was created by an anonymous artist earlier this year. In summary, it is a prayer booklet containing stations of the cross images designed to be used whilst travelling on the London Underground (Circle line). You can read more about it and see the artwork / booklet here.
I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, other websites having posted about it months ago. But I wanted to mention it as I think it is brilliant. Also to alert you to the following facts:
1) the paper cuts are being auctioned for charity on the website.
2) an exhibition of the pictures is taking place from this Saturday, 26th May, at St Mary’s, Somers Town (Eversholt Street – near King’s Cross Station). At 7pm on that day there will be evening prayer followed by an opportunity to see the pictures.
Posted by Dave at 5:46 pm on May 22, 2012 and filed under Art, Spirituality.
I have updated my We Blog Cartoons website for the first time in quite a while with this diagram, entitled Embarrassing incidents. We Blog Cartoons is my site with cartoons that you can repost for free on your personal weblog. For print rights and suchlike please contact me.
This diagram was drawn for those who, like me, squirm continually at the thought of the things they have said and done and then regretted.
In my mind I’m beginning to compile a liturgy for the healing of embarrassing incidents. Examples would be read out, and then the congregation would respond with ‘Dear me, that is embarrassing!’ or other appropriate words. I’ve not got far with it as you can tell. If it turns out to be any good I’ll submit it to the people at Common Worship and see what happens. Or I might take it along to Synod, loiter in the corridors and see whether I can get any bishops to endorse it. To tell the truth I haven’t really looked into how one goes about these things.
I did this cartoon, all to do with the people we tend to pray for the most in church, as a commission for the organisation After Sunday in 2008. It has surfaced on the internet (thanks Alan in Belfast), so I thought I’d post it here. I could even, if there was a mild demand from the public, put up the high resolution I suppose. I have no plans to rush into such an action though.
This is a blog post about my cartoon in today’s Church Times. Unfortunately it would be unfair of me to post it here given that the Church Times have paid me to draw it and so it is right that they have exclusive first use of it. The link is here, but it is subscriber only, and I’m aware that the extract above will be too small to see as it is long and thin. Apologies, therefore, to those for whom this post will be meaningless.
This isn’t an apology (which was what I originally entitled it), more of an explanation. I felt in hindsight, having submitted the cartoon, that some clergy might feel that I am getting at them and criticising of the organising of lots of Lenten things. This was not my intention. The cartoon is perhaps saying something about the vast range of Lent resources and activities that are available – are there too many? But in truth the cartoon is probably more about how someone like me, whose job it is to think about Christianity all day every day, keeps their belief alive. The danger is that one becomes overwhelmed by worthy activities and spiritual messages. The suggestion is that, for me, the best Lenten fast is possibly to fast from Lent itself.
One of my clients over the last month or two has been After Sunday, an organisation that helps people to explore their vocations.
A couple of my cartoons are now on their website – After Sunday have the exclusive first web rights to these drawings so they don’t currently appear anywhere else. You’ll find my work on these two pages:
Ben Edson has been causing the evolution of a worshipper cartoon to evolve. The interpretation will follow in a few days.
Perhaps other people would like to undertake the creation of their own evolution. I have uploaded the high resolution original of the 2008 version of the cartoon (with Emergent Guy) for you to download and photoshop. Or of course you can use the original original. Let me know if you do something with it.
Today sees the launch of the official Church of England Lent campaign ‘Love Life Live Lent‘. You might remember that last year the campaign was based around text messaging, which worked well once some initial technical problems had been ironed out. This year it centres around 50 daily ‘actions’, supported by a special booklet, the LiveLent website, a Facebook group, a Myspace page (anyone still use Myspace?) a Flickr group and various blogs, of which this is one.
The Times has a report today, and I’m pleased to say that this site gets a mention along with Bishop Alan. I’ll be blatantly honest with you – I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to be ‘spreading the word’, but I will endeavour to do so. There will be some cartoons, but the timing means I can’t promise one a day I’m afraid.
If you run a blog please do join in – the 50 daily actions are all about ‘loving our neighbours’ – locally, nationally and globally and they do seem to be well thought out and a good thing to do. The actions start tomorrow the 3rd of February which I know (preemptive strike) isn’t the start of Lent, but we need a few days to get warmed up. If you run a church or a school there are some resources for you on the website too.
Here is the official press release with all of the information:
This Lent, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, are calling for ‘good neighbours’ – online and offline – to try out daily suggestions to help create a safer and more pleasant environment in the real world.
The innovative campaign will use popular social networking websites and blogs to share actions to make the world a better place in small and simple ways. These range from leaving a thank-you note for your postie to going a whole day without gossiping.
Last year, more than 130,000 people joined in with Love Life Live Lent, launched by the Church of England to inspire, by text message, simple acts of service that spread happiness in our communities.
This year, daily suggestions are available not only through two colourful booklets produced by Church House Publishing, but also through social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and photo-sharing website Flickr. A group of prominent bloggers has also been enlisted to help spread the word through cyberspace. They include ‘blogging bishop’, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and Dave Walker, creator of the popular ‘CartoonChurch’ website and blog.
Church leaders hope that the online social network group will help develop a community of ‘Love Life Live Lenters’ sharing their experience of following the daily suggestions. In return, Facebook will reward those completing three or more actions a week with the elements to ‘build a neighbourhood’ or ‘grow a garden’ on their profile.
The latest project is the Church of England’s second initiative involving Facebook. Last Christmas, more than 2,500 users of the social networking site downloaded a special ‘application’ – sponsored by the Church of England – to send virtual Christmas cards to their friends.
There is also a Love Life Live Lent dedicated resource website, www.livelent.net, that features Bible study notes for adults, children’s activities, and material for use in collective worship in schools, and a podcast available at www.chpublishing.co.uk featuring an interview with one of the original team behind the project, Canon Peter Howell-Jones, the Diocese of Birmingham’s Director for Mission.
Most of the actions Love Life Live Lent can be performed individually, while others require a group working together. They include:
Spending a day trying to exist on just £1.40 – more than half the world’s population have only that amount to spend each day
Cooking or eating cuisine you haven’t tried before
Finding out about volunteering in a prison or supporting prisoners’ families
Discovering the names of your closest neighbours.
The Archbishops are commending the campaign, acknowledging in their joint foreword to the booklets: “For most of us, life is busy and pressured. It can be difficult to take time out to be with family and friends or to help to make our communities, local or global, clean and secure places of generosity. But Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
The full colour pocket-sized booklet comes in two versions – one for adults and ‘youth’, and one for children – each packed with 50 suggested actions to encourage people to be good neighbours. The actions start next Sunday, 3rd February, and finish on Easter Sunday, 23rd March.
Love Life Live Lent started life in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2006, inspired by a local pilgrimage. The booklet was such a hit that the original print run had to be increased repeatedly, and 70,000 copies were distributed through churches, schools and community centres.
Other bloggers who plan to blog the 50 actions (let me know if you’d like to be added to this list):
The Liverpool Nativity was shown on BBC 3 this evening, and is repeated on BBC 1 on the 23rd of December. [Update: you can watch it here for a while at least - might be UK only, I'm not sure. Thanks Rhys.] I thought it was really good, but I’ll let some others tell you about it as I am suffering from mild cartoon malaise.
This was no cynical re-telling, but a contemporary, serious, politically aware take on the Christmas narrative, writ large as public spectacle. Thousands and thousands had turned out to the Dockside to join the spectacle, performed live throughout the city. What is fantastic about these events is that they appear to tap into the rich Christian root in our heritage – a heritage that I think people are beginning to see is vital to our coherent future, rather than being consigned to our past. I think this could be interpreted as a move into clear post-Christian water, where people are happy to be part of events like this without it being tied to ‘the church’.
The Flashmob Operas, the Manchester Passion, the Margate Exodus and tonight the Liverpool Nativity: all of them affirm the ongoing English love of gathering for a celebration of the deep mysteries which link people, music, story and place. And the latter three events also acknowledge that, as one writer put it this week, “ours is historically a Christian culture.” That writer goes on to share a concern that “children who grow up ignorant of biblical literature are diminished, unable to take literary allusions, actually impoverished,” and a great thing about events like these is that they play a significant part in helping these narratives resurface and be reborn, in the mainstream.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
This verse, 2 Chronicles 31:7, is the 30638th most popular verse in the Bible out of the 31101 verses that make up the Bible. This is according to TopVerses.com, a site that ranks all of the verses in the Bible in order of the number of times they appear on the internet.
I am hoping that by posting about 2 Chronicles 31:7 it might be possible to push it up the rankings a bit. To my mind it is quite an informative verse, telling us as it does:
Building heaps is a good thing to do.
A good heap should always start with a foundation.
It can take up to about four months to build a decent heap.
‘They’ built the heaps. Building heaps isn’t a one man job.
You need to finish your heaps. There’s nothing worse than an unfinished heap.
Of course it is not a verse without controversy. The preceding verse (slightly more popular – ranked 28320) seems to suggest that cattle and sheep were included in the heaps. Whether they were alive or dead we don’t know.
Top verses is a very interesting site – and thanks to Inspire for alerting me to it. As well as the top verses it includes the top 10 books, the top ten chapters, the top verses in each book and the top verses containing particular words.
The failing, of course, is that one could be led to believe that the verses most often published on the internet are therefore the most important verses. My own view is that the most important themes in the Bible come not from picking individual ‘soundbite’ verses out of context, but by looking at the overall message of entire books. Surely that is how it was intended to be read.
Feel free to post your own devotional thoughts on 2 Chronicles 31:7. It would be great if we could bump it up to the top 5. This would perplex a lot of people, which I’m all in favour of.