Thursday, December 28, 2006

To All New Arrivals

I’m listening to Faithless’ latest album “To all new arrivals”. It’s been slated by many critics, and I can understand why. It’s a very different kind of album. It’s not a pumping trance-dance hard-hitting lyric one like the one we might have expected. It’s more of a chillout album, perhaps reflecting the mood induced by the album’s theme, the arrival of new children in a household. As a fairly new parent, it’s the kind of album I need to listen to after a hard day. What it lacks is a single amazing track, there’s no We become 1, God is a DJ, Insomnia or Mass Destruction here. What there is a loving, intelligent, playful and occasionally inspiring album reflecting on the kind of world children are being born into, pondering both the breathtaking beauty of a new baby, and a mind-numbing sickness in the world. I think this album has the lowest profile of Maxi Jazz that I’ve heard on a Faithless CD, and this weakens the whole. The guest singers (including Dido, predictably and adding little, and Cat Power who adds amazing depth to “A Kind of Peace”) are there, and they’re kind of interesting interesting, but it is the raw power and urgency that Maxi expresses that would have lifted this album to greatness.

I’ll have a few more listens over the next couple of days and see if I reappraise it – maybe it’s a grower.

I’m currently reading Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer & David Putman. It’s written from a North American perspective, but has something to say to the church scene here in the UK. Essentially it is an exploration of how churches might understand that they are in a mission context, in order to find culturally relevant and meaningful ways of building church. I’m enjoying it and it’s giving me lots to think about.

In church this coming Sunday I’ll be leading the service. We’ll spend some time prayerfully reflecting on the year past, and looking at the year to come. I’ve found Psalm 124 to be helpful in my own reviewing of the year, and we’ll be using that and Psalm 16 (in the Message translation) as a way of expressing our hope for the future.

Our leadership team will be discussing issues around membership this coming week. For some background to this you might want to look at my colleague’s blog

Like many churches we struggle to find a relevant way for people to express their commitment to the local church, and to find a way of meeting legal requirements for us to have a formalised membership. Some would be in favour of scrapping membership altogether, and moving towards a yearly covenant that people make together. Others would like to strengthen the role and place of membership, and to call people to the kind of membership structures that the church has had in the past.

I’m sure there’s some creative solution that has yet to be found, I hate being asked to choose from only two options, so I’ll let you know how things pan out.

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