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Trendy Vicars look like Neo!

A photo of Keanu Reeves as Neo in the Matrix

The Daily Mail isn’t prone to running ridiculous stories about Trendy Vicars, at least not since they last did it a month ago. It does slightly boggle the mind, however, to think that the Daily Mail thought the best way to greet Christmas was with a ridiculous story about Trendy Vicars and what they choose to wear in church.

“Never mind the Cassocks” they say, “vicars could soon be conducting services in shell-suits, shorts or even football shirts under radical plans to overturn centuries of Church tradition.”

“The Horror” says the nation. “Typical” says Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells. “Pile of garbage, Daily Mail” says anyone with an ounce of common sense.

Read more

Bringing the cloud of witnesses close (cloud christianity)

A word cloud of famous Christian leaders and saints

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, a day to remember and honour all those who put their faith in Christ and have gone before us into glory.

As a result, it seems the perfect time to develop some ideas that I first put forward at the recent Christian New Media Conference. The more I think about the Communion of the Saints, the more I think that the Internet is opening up new dimensions theologically for that Communion. Check this out from Hebrews… Read more

Reflections from #cnmac12

Christian New Media Conference badge

On Saturday, I travelled up to Kings College, London to participate in (what was apparently) the sixth third annual Christian New Media Conference (the awards night has been running much longer).

I signed up to attend months ago, pretty much as soon as tickets were available, and as it turned out I ended up going as a contributor, leading a seminar on ancient-future lessons and what the Tradition of the church has to say to us today. Read more

Ancient-future lessons (CNMAC 2012 seminar)

An image showing an icon of St John of Damascus

This is the transcript of my seminar today at the Christian New Media Conference. Thanks to those who came to the seminar and for all your encouraging and positive interaction and feedback. For the accompanying Powerpoint, you can download it (.ppt, 7.9 Mb)

Now, as someone who has lived his Christian life through both the Anglican and evangelical traditions, images of God is not something that comes very naturally to me. I am sure we all know the Ten Commandments instruction to not make graven images (perhaps better translated as not making an idol) and not to bow down or worship them.

Indeed, the protestant churches (from which I’m guessing a good proportion of us come) generally draw their heritage from Read more

Letters after your name

A photo of a 10 metre swimming badge

It is a long way from first achievements and ten metre swimming badges. Every time I do get a certificate or qualification, I’m always reminded of a scrawny but proud seven year old with his first swimming badge. I don’t know why.

Anyway, those thoughts came again this week for two reasons. Firstly, I got my Post-graduate diploma in Ordained Ministry courtesy of my IME 4-7 (Curacy training). It can now sit nicely with my other Post-graduate diploma in Christian Theology that I received while at Ridley Hall.

Don’t ask me why I need two. I don’t… long story.

Then I also found out that I passed my Masters in Pastoral Theology (also started whilst at Ridley) with distinction. Read more

Gaming in Worship – I’m intrigued

Photo from Exeter Cathedral of Communion celebrated in front of Flower backdrop

A few years ago, Manchester Cathedral and the video game industry had something of a clash. I was encouraged and pleased to hear of a very different encounter between church and gaming industry from Exeter Cathedral recently.

A good friend recently alerted me to this story of a man called Andy Robertson who has collaborated with Exeter Cathedral to use video games in worship.

The service made use of the PlayStation 3 game, Flower. If you’ve not seen Flower before, it is worth Read more

Hands-free worship

Book jacket image for Hands-free worship by David Green
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

I am very pleased to announce that I have self-published my first book ‘Hands-free worship’.

What is it about? Well, the snappy sub-title gives you a clue: the ‘pastoral, theological and missiological dimensions of digital projection and computer technology in worship’.

In essence, I started researching and writing because, while I was aware of various books out there that look at the practical dimensions of what happens when churches use projection technology to worship, I felt that no-one was writing about what happens pastorally and theologically when projection is utilized. Furthermore, I felt it was influencing mission and I wanted to think about and address those issues.

I am a fan of projection, but I’ve also seen it used badly and in the book I try to Read more

Hands-free worship

A book jacket image for Hands-free worship

If you have been following this blog, you will know that (for what seems like an eternity), I’ve been trying to finish a Masters degree in Pastoral Theology by writing a dissertation about the implications of using digital projection in worship. Because of ill-health at college and then the demands of ministry (particularly covering an Interregnum) it just never got done.

Well, at long last, it got done.

The dissertation is handed in, finito, complete and over.

Furthermore, various people have expressed interest along the way in the subject matter and so it has long been in my mind to re-hash the content into a book form and self-publish with Print-on-Demand.

At the present time, I am in negotiations with the university to make sure that I am free to do this without any problems and so I can’t promise at this stage if it will see the light of day soon (if at all), but I hope to tell you more in due course including (if you’re interested) where you can get hold of a copy.

I couldn’t resist showing you the mocked-up jacket though! I know it’s vanity publishing in one sense but its done with a purpose since the material has intrigued a good few friends in discussion and I’d like to share my research and ideas with others if they are interested to read the work. There’s far too much poor use of projection in church to sit on this and not share it, I think.

What’s it about? Well, my basic premise is that using digital projection in church worship changes more than just the practical dynamics. Subtly, I think it shifts aspects of pastoral care, theology (both in terms of how we speak of God and think about human beings) and also how we do mission. I am a supporter of projection but I advocate judicious and wise use and sometimes being willing to switch it off and not use projection when its not appropriate to do so. Ultimately, what I try to promote is a ‘harder way’ that asks leaders and computer operators to think a bit more carefully in pursuit of use of the technology that seeks God’s glory and the encouragement of the faith community.

Why use five words when you can use five hundred?

Bishop of London portrait

There’s some interesting liturgical development afoot for the Roman Catholic church. The publication of the new Roman Missal takes me back about ten years to my days at Church House Publishing and the publication of Common Worship. No doubt, around the country right now, there are Catholic priests and congregations either trying to weigh up whether to buy new books, manage their own booklets or see how long they can get away with doing nothing; just as Anglican Vicars did ten years ago.

Anyway, I’ve been struck by sheer verbosity this weekend as I’ve followed this news.

The thing that really got my attention was the Bishop of London’s pastoral letter to his clergy in which he takes 2,500 words to say the following:

  • Dear Clergy, when you were ordained and again when you were licensed to your current post, you promised to use ‘only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by Canon’;
  • The Roman Missal is not an authorised text in the Church of England (neither the old one or the new one);
  • So, my more Catholic friends, don’t be thinking this new book gives you a license to play games with the liturgy. Read more

More thoughts on leading and worship

A cartoon of Homer Simpson's brain with little room for anything but sleep and donuts.

Doug Chaplin has taken up my challenge in discussing further this idea of whether one can lead and worship at the same time. He writes:

this “conundrum” seems to me to suggest an understanding of worship as a human experience of God. I wonder, say, how such an understanding might relate to the idea of priesthood as majoring on the kind of rush-hour chaos of animal slaughter which characterised the Passover in the New Testament period. I wonder also whether the way either David sets the question up depends on an assumption that worship is defined by what the worshipper experiences, rather than what the worshipper offers.

Doug has a really good point. On one level, Read more