Mark Berry and Philip Mountshephen from CMS have written an excellent Grove booklet which helpfully makes the point that mission and evangelism will always struggle to be effective if there is no healthy ecclesial community. See Forgotten Factor – placing community at the heart of mission. This is so important and I highly recommend reading this.
Category Archives: General
Reflections on Post-Truth, Brexit and Trump as signs of pain and disappointment in our humanity in a post-Christian age
Whether we like to face it or not, but both the vote for Brexit and Trump are a sign not just in the sense of disenfranchisement, but there is also a palpable sense of disappointment with life particularly the ongoing struggle with the pain of life. I do think this situation is largely due to the reduction of religion and in particularly a healthy sense of a hopeful spiritual disposition, and in our largely western post-secular culture, we have turned to consumerism and materialism to fill this pain and disappointment, which actually never works.
Religion and Spirituality have worldviews that take us away from escape and avoidance or distraction, to having to face this pain and sense of disappointment. Those who are having to deal with mental illness and addiction will tell you that we do a lot of things that are not healthy to try and quell the pain and disappointment of life, and they can lead to illness and for some the taking of their own life.
Religion and Spirituality tell us that actually we will only find peace and times of happiness if we face ourselves, face our pain and face our fragility and the truth that we only have a short time to live well in this life. We have made this so hard by becoming so individualised and atomised that many of us feel a deep sense of loneliness and isolation even when we live in Cities.
Some have described Trump and Farage as adult children, and there is so much truth in this. They are men who I would say have not faced the need to deal with their ego, the false-self, their pains and disappointment, and instead have got by using materialism and wealth, and importantly here, projected their pains and hurts onto others such as immigrants, Europeans and the European Union, the establishment, experts, women, Mexicans, the list is endless. They are both infantilised by the post-religion culture we have created, and are adult children because basically they have not faced their humanity, and therefore their need of God. All of us if we are to deal with pain and disappointment have to face these ultimate existential questions of existence, and decide how we will deal with them.
This is also why we will in what is called a post-truth era, why? Because in an infantlised world, the truth is whatever we want it to be, so that we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions and to existentially project it at others, again the great sign of the false-self. Both Trump and Farage psychologically must never take responsibility for their actions to be able to maintain such a worldview, have you ever heard reported any of these two ever saying sorry?
Ultimately religion and spirituality require each of us to face our pains, our disappointment our fragility and our humanity. We have to make peace with ourselves and not project this at others, we need to face the calling to a form of self-control and discipline that gets beyond an eternal adolescence and face ourselves. Otherwise we become narcissistic Peter Pans who are dangerous to ourselves and dangerous to others. This is why Trump and Farage are dangerous.
The central truth of the Abrahamic faiths is a challenge to this unhealthy state of affairs. Central to the three is the Shemah, adapted into the New Commandment in Christian. Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One, you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with your mind and with all your strength…. and you are to love your neighbour as your self. Or as Abbot Jamieson has said(former Abbot of Worth Abbey) Love God, Love yourself and Love Others. You cannot do this without facing yourself and the pain of life and disappointment, that our culture tries to avoid…..
So what is a Christian, a personal of faith or spirituality to do in this age? Well firstly we need to live the walk and be disciplined about facing ourselves, and the second, in a faith and spiritual groups, I think we called to be communities of resistance, to challenge those social, economic and political forces that threaten to take our individual and collective life away from us, and we should not underestimate the power of resistance, hope keeping, and seekers of the common good. Faith traditions and communities are essential to this.
The danger for us is, as in Nazi Germany, is that some Christians and Churches collude with these distorting and dehumanising forces – for example the number of conservative evangelicals that voted for Trump? I cannot understand this…. so we need to be careful to, as there will be Christians and Churches which will collude with the unhealthy culture and political rhetoric that promote a spirituality of hate, jealousy, greed and selfishness. The way we resist this is by sticking close to Jesus of the Gospels, and not define ourselves in opposition to various people groups, and most of all, do not lash out of a spirituality of ‘victimhood’. When we are all victims, no one takes responsibility for their words or actions.
So let us hold onto the truths of our situation and not avoid it, let us as spiritual and faith communities be resistant to the forces that divide and dehumanises, and let us do all we can for the love of God and to seek the common good.
Let us take the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others, to guide the Church into a healthy positive alternative living out the dreams and hopes of the Kingdom of God, and follow Jesus who’s way of Love as Light challenges all the forces of darkness…… May God be with us in these difficult times, and let us not sleep walk into the dangerous situation of the 1930s when the Church did nothing to resist facism…… May God be with us all. Amen.
In this podcast Ian Mobsby explores the differences between attractional models of Church with apostolic models and the importance of seeking God through the story and needs of people in the local context. This was recorded at the 4th Anglo-Catholic Symposium on 23rd November 2016 in the Woolwich Episcopal Area of the Diocese of Southwark.
Following the success of the convention weekend, please find below some of the outcomes and resources coming out of the 14-16th October 2016.
Feedback form for those attending the weekend
We are keen to hear your feedback ONLY FROM THOSE WHO ATTENDED, so please do complete the link to let us know what you thought and to help us plan for the next time here
Summary Report from the Facilitators for the questions and issues identified
Please find the link to the report presented on Sunday morning at the convention, which identifies key issues and questions that we in the network need to consider. closingsummaryreport
Results from the completed Questionnaire
The results from the questionnaire completed by attendees of the Convention can be found here.
Address from Phil Potter, Archbishop’s Missioner & Lead for Fresh Expressions & Bp Jonathan Clark, the Bp of Croydon.
Address from Phil Potter, Archbishops Missioner, philpotteraddress and link to Facebook Group that includes Video Recordings from Bp Jonathan Clark, the Facilitators reflections and the prayer and some of the times of prayer and worship sessions here.
Handouts for Stream 2
The link to download the handouts for the three sessions for Saturday in .pdf form click the link here. These are available also for anyone in Stream 1 who may find them helpful
Schedule and Menu for the Gathering/Conference
Please find linked here, a pdf of the current draft plan for the conference with details. We need people to attend all of this to maximise our time together, so click here for the conferencefacilitatorsplan participantlist conferencemenu
Group participation in Streams 1 and 2
For those already involved in NM groups you will be in Steam 1, and we have divided you into 3 dialogue groups A-C. For those who are interested in setting up a NM groups then you will be in Stream 2, and you will be in 6 working groups. Please download the following document for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 and note which room you are in for the Saturday: participantlist
Position Papers for the Conference to read before you come
1. Paper compiled by Ned Lunn (York) anunderstandingofreligiouslife
Papers from Previous Gatherings that are important
1. Renewal of the Religious Life by Etienne Veto, Lambeth Palace Gathering
2. New Monasticism and other new religious movements by Ian Mobsby (St Lukes) Chris Neal (CMS)(1)Acknowledged Religious Communities, Briefing Paper
3. Acknowledgment Process in the CofE
(2)The Advisory Council Acknowledgement Document
Menu for Lunch and Dinner for Fri & Sat
All here: conferencemenu
Relevant Book Resources UK Context
This weekend gathering in Southwark South London from Friday 14 to Sunday 16th October, is the first gathering of those involved in new monastic communities with some relationship to the Anglican and the Church of Scotland – coming from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, USA and England. The event has been facilitated by the working group of the New Monastic Network UK. Over the last couple of years, sponsored by the charitable group Anglican Religous Communities (ARC) have sponsored dialogue between the leaders of emerging and traditional religious communities. It was Archbishop Justin’s Chaplain Jo Bailey-Wells, now the Bishop of Dorking encouraged the need for a gathering for new monastics to talk to new monastics.
So at the weekend 90 representatives will engage in dialogue from communities such as the St Anselm Community in Lambeth Palace, the Iona and Northumbria Communities, as well as those small missional communities such as the St Lukes Community Peckham. Further, a number of people interested in starting new monastic communities will spend some time reflecting on what, how and why this can be done. We are very pleased that Phil Potter, the Archbishop’s Missioner and Leader for Fresh Expressions will be joining us on the Saturday, and Bishop Jonathan Clark, the Bishop of Croydon will be joining us on the Sunday.
This has been a dream coming together, and we look forward to catching up with what God is doing through this first gathering in the UK.
For more information on the New Monasticism Network UK See the Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1420721808180123/
In this podcast on Sunday 9th October 2016 Ian Mobsby explores the implication of the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17.11-19 regarding grace and the celebration of God’s blessing. It is significant that the only individual who was grateful to Jesus for being healed was a Samaritan, hated and excluded by the Jews. This story not only speaks of GOd’s love but also of the restoration of all peoples as the children of God. For more information on St Luke’s Church please see www.stlukespeckham.co.uk
In this podcast Ian Mobsby explores recent research that suggests that anglican catholic ordinands, deacons and priests are loosing the founding vision of this tradition in apostolic mission in the context of the challenge of contemporary 21st-century society. This paper seeks to reconnection confidence in the tradition with radical apostolic mission that is prepared to engage with adequate listening of the context, and the emerging spiritual tribes.
In this podcast on Tuesday 13th September 2016, The Peckham Well New Monastic Community (of the parish of St Lukes Church) met with Hugo Adan Fernandez to explore Ignatian Spiritualty. Hugo became a Christian through the work of the Jesuits in the 1980s in the difficult times of Franko. Drawing on the life of St Ignatius, Hugo explores the implications of this particular approach to being Christian drawing on a contemplative life, that leads to contemplative action and liberation theology. Hugo unpacks the relationship of Ignatian spirituality regarding contemplation and meditation and listening to God in the ordinariness of life, through moments of consolation and desolation.
You can subscribe to this podcast for free by iTunes by clicking here.
A theological approach to human sexuality to inform the Church in a globalised pluralistic culture of the 21st Century
One of the great problems at the moment, is that the Christian Church has a polarised debate on understanding human sexuality. The Church for centuries has had a dis-ease with the human body as a source of sin and sexual immorality, rather than made in the image of God if we trust the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures of the bible. This problem has largely been the achilles heal of the Church because of the heresy of gnosticism that haunts the church, which saw all flesh as evil, as something we should escape from.
What we need is a better theology of human sexuality, and that there is a difference between sexual identity and sexual behaviour.
I therefore post this important paper which I think gives an important broad background and deals with the contention of the interpretation of certain biblical texts.
The Church needs to stop calling this issues around doctrine and the creeds, or heresy, and engage with the fact that we are taking about issues of biblical interpretation. Then I hope drawing on texts like this we can draw on a sense of unity in diversity rather than the damaging debate where the two sides try to out-bible each other, and can’t accept that maybe we need to get to a place to politely disagree BUT remain brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore a model of the Church to hold into a unity in diversity rather than unity in conformity. See the link below.
Great to see an article on St Luke’s being a mixed economy missional parish on the national UK Fresh Expressions website. To read the article click here. The article emphasises the important breadth of a parish looking at the needs of different groups of people.