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Molten Mediation at Greenbelt 2011 »« When I spoke In Tongues at Greenbelt

10 Highlights of my Greenbelt This Year

Greenbelt Festival isn’t just about music. There are lots and lots of other things, some of which are hard to pigeon hole. They may involve music or other types of performances but they also might include an interview or they may be talks illustrated with slides or they could be discussions or conversations over coffee or beer. This list could go on!

I am very rarely at the main-stage as there is so much other stuff. This year I only popped over there to see the circus performance on Saturday lunchtime. Early on Sunday morning I worshipped with the Anglican Franciscans and was in the Tiny Tea Tent during the main-stage communion. But I didn’t feel that I missed out at all as during the weekend I got to break bread twice in other sessions.

There are plenty of things happening including lots of worship. Even though I spent some time with my little girl this year as there wasn’t any dedicated kids work where you could hand her over to be looked after I still managed to get to a lot of events. Here are ten of my highlights of Greenbelt this year.

1. Declaration of Doubt

Rollins and Anderson on was half an hour in the Big Top. It included songs by Anderson interspersed with some of words of wisdom from Pete Rollins. The thrust was to be honest with God about our doubts in our prayers, discussions and contributions in our church communities. Rollins pointed out that the Psalms is much more lament than praise and encouraged us to work towards this balance.

2. Molten Meditation

This an early morning session of spoken words of scripture over beautiful ambient backgrounds that enabled us to soak in the Spirit. Some closed their eyes or gazed over the panoramic view of the site from the fifth floor window but there were some psychedelic patterns on the screen for those that found it helpful. I found Molten Meditation very spiritually refreshing.

3. Visions

Visions service was quite up-tempo and even included some mime and a children’s action song. The Worship Co-operative was packed so the prayer station in a bag worked well drawing out the appropriate item to think, pray or meditate on. Veteran alternative worshippers Visions have been working at including children more so it was no surprise that this was well paced and kept the attention of even the little ones.

4. Boundaries of Church

This was a discussion by Venture FX about pioneering in different situations such as working with the homeless or starting a homegroup on an estate. They didn’t see what they were planting as carbon copies of parent churches but were very open to how people wanted the groups to develop. They were interested in what people thought is non- negotiable and what is up for grabs.

5. The Big Society Debate

The Kitchen is the place for debate and discussions and is sponsored by the Church Urban Fund. Though there is a tendency to by cynical and see this as a cover for cuts there is an opportunity for the church to get involved serving the community. My wife also went to a session on social enterprise at the Kitchen but what was really good was making a contact with the Church Urban Fund about WorkShop our own project.

6. Cave Refectory Road

Not a monk himself Ian Adams sees his reflections and poems about monastic life as just ‘scrumping apples in the monastery garden’. Early monks spent time alone in caves but later developed communities eating together in refectories before they went on the road. These three phases represent three important aspects of spiritual life – our time alone with God, our relationships in our faith community and our missional serving.

7. The Homelessness Debate

Should we give money to an individual begging on the streets? In this debate in the Church Urban Fund’s Kitchen venue there were many more in the crowd on the no side than the yes side and quite a few undecided. As 80 or 90 percent of money given to people on the streets goes on alcohol and drugs does giving money undermine the work of rehabilitation units or is it fine to buy a drink for someone in this situation? What do we make of Proverbs 31:6-7?

8. Beat Eucharist

Rough Edge just blew me away. Their beat eucharist is re-written liturgy and I think some original poetry read very quickly and loudly with a dance beat in the background. At one point a few people read different poetry/liturgy at once to great effect. The whole thing was almost rapped. When we reached the climax it all fell silent and the bread and wine was quickly distributed. Brilliant!

9. Reading the Second Book of God

Romans 1 tells us that creation speaks of God but in our urbanised world we have lost the art of seeing God in nature. Many people do feel closer to God when they go for a walk in the countryside or climb hills or mountains. Bruce Stanley exhorted us to look for God and practically got us reflecting on what aspects of God’s character various slides of nature made us think about.

10. The Game of Life

This installation from mayBe was in the form of a gigantic board game (see photo). You stand in the first space and flip a coin. Heads you move right, tails left. It took you through a number of different episodes until you reached the end to find out which of the many ways you die! It was quite light-hearted but with some interesting developments. I felt it was a bit too cynical of Christianity but still it was very compelling.

These are just my highlights. What were yours?

September 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm
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