Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Worship Unplugged BOOKLET

It's final drafting time for a booklet that's been three years in the making!!
Worship Unplugged is a workshop planning process fostering partcipation
and the reinvention of worship...
a raft of creative ideas and some thoughts about mission...
context and underlying stuff behind the need for change!!

Many colleagues, e-groupers and others ideas get a spot in the 150+ ideas...
It should be printed within the fortnight!!

It's near completion had a page of text added today as I caught part of the
Memorial Celebration for Steve Irwin!!

It's one of three examples I'd cite as evidence that:
  • there is little seperation between the secular and the sacred
  • that the church is on the margins of our community
  • we must worship in our context and access real issues and liturgy in doing so

1. The Bali Tribute following the bombings

This event led by Geraldine Doogue [albeit a Catholic by background] and included stirring and teary music from Wendy Matthews [The Day You Went Away] and Iva Davies [Great Southern Land] .

There was everyday 'liturgy' [defined as the work of the people] and the deep symbolism of a reflective pool for the placement if flowers.

It was not a religious observance an clergy [ecumenical or multi-faith] were not in leadership.

2. The second was Kerry Packers State Funeral [with Peter Faiman as Producer] and the speeches, choir, use of audio-visuals and the clear processes of moving through a grief assisting process.

3. Third was today:

Steve Irwin's memorial was a stunning event. His mate and Manager John Stainton combined brilliant stuff to make it all work!! Aboriginal greeting, spoken liturgy, the music of John Williamson and others, appropriate use of audio-visuals. The symbol of his Toyota 4WD that was packed up to the strains of 'True Blue'. The bloopers reel was great. With Stainton as curator, the two worship leaders were Anthony Field 'The Blue Wiggle' and Steve's mate Wes who ran the Zoo!! Anthony was a great choice to help kids and adults alike, grasp the sense of the occasion!!

As well as being a remarkable event [not a dry eye anywhere] its a reminder that if we as 'church' do not access real life, its symbols, issues and flow and bring them to worship with authenticity and integrity THEN we will be left behind!!

Not an alb in sight!!

Worship Unplugged # 40 Everyday Symbols

Symbols are useful to promote reflection, to provide a visual cue for memories and as objects to focus thinking on a theme. They don't just need to be pieces of paper, religious relics, crushed leaves or silver goblets!!

Everyday symbols can represent a theme, location, person or story!!

For example:
small rocks

What you choose depends on the focus and the point you want to invite people to think about.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

They nearly did it!!

After denying the Slime a few times in the last decade except when we didn't make the GF...
the two blues almost pulled it off today!! They made personnel changes specifically to cover the defensive lapses in the backline and it worked, they toughened up in the forwards and went straight down the middle in patches BUT just couldn't sustain their pressure for the full 60 minutes. Their lineout, general handling and choice of options let them down just a little and gave Merewether enough ball to pull out two fortunate tries. If only they had caught the second half kick off on the full it may have been very different. Merewether were in a bit of frustrated trouble not being able to dominate the way they had all year... this year their backs could actually catch but when the ball went back inside they struggled!!
In the end the killer was an attempted chip kick over the head of a 190cm plus Jason Toby which he gloved well and raced away to score from... up til then I thought Wanderers were going to win it!!
They lost by 6 points... There's always next year boys!!

Jim Moginie and The Family Dog

Well, I never made it to Newtown last month [too tired on the last Tuesday of] but I am looking forward to the sounds and wizardry of Jim Moginie [largely responsbile for Midnight Oil's guitar sound and planety of their lyrics] steps onto CD with his new band. My copy of 'Alas Folkloric' is as they say 'in the post'. Stay tuned!!

In other music news U2's ZOO TV on DVD is out Monday...
U2 are recording new tracks at Abbey Road in London
Eskimo Joe are set to scoop the awards this year at the ARIAs [29th October]

I have been impressed with whoever does their A&R work ever since they're need to move beyond what became known as 'the cardigan song'... "I could ne-ver wear that sweater!"

The latest album could be INXS in their heyday, could be Icehouse at their best etc...
and yet has that haunting rock pop sound that's so popular at the moment...
they left bands like Palladium & Lo-tel in their wake after the initial success!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oils!! Oils!! Oils!! Oils!!

For the last few years I have threatened to buy a ticket to the ARIAs on speculation that Midnight Oil would be inducted into the Hall of Fame!! I believe it will happen this year!!
They have sidestepped the now stand alone event mid year and one or more are still held back for the last Sunday in October... don't be surprised if Bono is present to induct them..
AND standby for SONY to cash in with or without the direct involvement of the band
with a new 'Greatest Hits' release called "Flat Chat"... check out below!!

"Power and the Passion"
People, wasting away, in paradise
Going backward, once in a while
Taking your time, give it a try.
What do you believe
What do you believe
What do you believe is true
Nothing they say makes a difference this way'
Cos nothing they say will do
Take all the trouble that you can afford
At least you won't have time to be bored
Oh the power and the passion
Oh the temper of the time
Oh the power and the passion
Sometimes you've got to take the hardest line
I see sunburnt faces around
With skin so brown
Smiling zinc cream and crowds
Sundays the beach never a cloud
Breathing eucalypt, pushing panelvans,
stuff and munch junk food
Laughing at the truth,
'cos Gough was tough till he hit the rough
Uncle Sam and John were quite enough
Too much of sunshine too much of sky
It's just enough to make you wanna cry
I see buildings, clothing the sky in paradise
Sydney, where the nights are warm
Daytime telly, blue rinse dawn
Dad's so bad he lives in a pub,
its underarms and football clubs
Flat chat, Pin Gap in every home a Big Mac
And no one goes back, that's that
You take what you get and get what you pleaseI
t's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees

Wanderers v Merewether Carlton [The Slime] 2006

My old team as player coach [I'm having a break] plays their Grand Final on Saturday 10am... and the Slime are better than last years version... their backs can actually catch and run and one or two more old stagers in the forwards keep them rolling!!

Here's the thing, if the inside backs can communicate and move up together in a better line the Slime's former Australian touch footy rep at 5/8th will be as frustrated as last year and run out of ideas. The forwards need to up the pace of the game and keep it there and some of the old legs need to be subbed a bit earlier and get the fresh troops on... all the best boys!! Turns out I'll be there to look on now!!

Go the Knights!!

Up against it with Brisbane BUT if the coach has a good plan and the defense is on song they can do it... Knights by 7!!

Twin Lights

Afganistan, Iraq, Central America, you name it... the United States takes its 'God is on our side' attitude and funds despots, trains militia, sets them up with too much temptation for corruption, drug trade or simple hunger for holding on to power and then has to invoke military action to correct previous policy!! Democracy and the War on Terror are the terminology this decade, communism, independence, freedom have had their turn...
If its not military action or intelligence its consumerism, TV, values and 'manhattanisation' AND STILL there's lots to admire, love, tour or enjoy!! LA, New York, sports, movies etc

BUT regardless of all this... whatever the opression or big picture issues... whatever the trashy pop culture...
Nobody should be hijacking planes and flying them into buildings... 5 years on not much has been learnt but its still a human tragedy on a huge scale... the people of that city are unique, compelling and attractive in their diversity, humour and grunt!!

Worship Unplugged # 39 M&Ms Prayer

Use colour specific M&Ms or alternatives sweets to symbolise types of prayer points and share from a bowl or cup for each group.
RED something you're concerned about
YELLOW something about God
GREEN something you are thankful for
BROWN something you own up to
ORANGE something about others
BLUE something you'd like to change

Monday, September 11, 2006

Snaps # 1

I'm introducing a brand new feature to pumphouse from now on...
called Snaps #
These will be photos I have or get hold of that are significant because of
some story or sense of occasion...
I'm doing this to 1. share my story and 2. to build up a memoir of stories for talks, input etc.

I suspect like these first pictures, the deeper meaning won't be immediately apparent
but will be about me putting pics out there and continuing to reflect on what they mean to me. This may well only ever be expanded upon in other places!!

Sometime I'm sure I'll have a timely reason for including them in this blog!!

Today you'll see 3 images:
All from November 2000 Thanksgiving in New York and it was friggin' cold...
One is me in one of my favourite places in the world 'Times Square'... what it says about me is this is not a bush track, the Grand Canyon, or Koscuisko... its a cold footpath at the centre of the pop culture universe... the US culture I like many have a love/hate relationship with...

It's vibrant, trashy, alive, as significant as hearing someone speak Chinese, the royal jewesl in the Tower of London, some leaning Tower in Italy etc etc... but that's just me...

I think I bought about 12-15 t-shirts on this one short trip. We followed up our 1998 Autumn visit with a 2000 winter before starting a family... it was about -8 degrees C.

Another is Simone and I at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for which our visit was timed.... we headed to the naerby McDonalds for lunch and stayed in NY long enough to see Destiny's Child at the switching on of the Christmas Lights in Rockefeller Plaza...

Another is the famous Soup Kitchen suggested by Late Show staffers as a good place for a story to the writers of Seinfeld!! That's right... I'm the customer with the Triple J radio backpack paying for my soup from the guy who inspired 'The Soup Nazi'.

It is exactly like the show and he is not impressed, especially with the banner on the wall advertising Kenny Kramer's [The real Kramer] Seinfeld Reality Tour where the bus stops off on the way round. It was a spin out to have been past two years earlier on the bus tour when the shop was closed and then to come back and buy soup from the 'Soup Nazi'. Everyone in the line is talking about the impending ordering and their memories of the Seinfeld episode [even wishing others with complex orders luck] and then standing in virtual silence within earshot of the front counter. The shop is virtaully a hole in the wall with big stoves, two assistants and the boss tasting and serving up soups at a fair rate from about 11.30am daily!!

You stand in a line that stretches around the block, we were early but, people do wait an hour... you order and step to the right, you pay and then move off with your brown bag of thick soup in a milkshake container, your bread and piece of fruit!!

I got bread!! Cop that Costanza!!

The beef soup was enough for breakfast and lunch!!
The poor woman ahead of me had bought soup for herself and a sick friend and their partner and she got flustered ordering different soups....
I was waiting for "NO soup for you!!"

Everyone knows what each person in the exchange was thinking BUT nobody is game to comment!!

I recommend a visit to the Soup kitchen in the cooler months [he shuts up shop and holidays in Italy in summer by all reports]

This and our previous trip taught me about the charm and attraction of the city of New York. It's busy, open all hours and full of trashy pop culture, characters, theatre, sports, merchandise and TV HQs for all kinds of networks and programs.

Our summer visit took in a successful stint at the front of the Letterman Late Show standby audience where 20 people didn't turn up and we got to see John McEnroe and Chrissy Hinde perform!!

We certainly visited the World Trade Centres, the Empire State [playing Midnight Oil on my walkman in our 9th week away from Oz], saw the Lion King on Broadway, the Met, Starbucks, Tower Records and Barnes and Noble at the neginning of the Cafe in a bookshop trend...

Statue of Liberty, Statton Island Ferry, a game at Yankee Stadium [I've been a follower of baseball and the Yankees since childhood], NBC Store, Planet Hollywood, NBA Store, Macy's, Tom's Diner and even Flushing Meadow and the New York winter Rugby Sevens!!

Staying at the Westside YMCA was a unique way to meet New Yorkers [and to have one shot by Police whil we were on our way back to the building to get jumpers for the baseball game that night!!]

Stood outside NBC over breakfast and met Al Roker and Mat Lauer...

There's so much more... Central Park, Wolman Rink, SOHO, Tribeca, Ranch #1 Chicken...

The metling pot of cultures and lots of evidence of getting most things about multiculturalism right is palpable... and the bagels aren't bad either!!

They know how to do a celebration and the Police are like no other I've seen [and are pretty much exactly like most US shows you see... except a heightened sense of not overstepping whoever is in charge and an almost obsessive need to delegate that authority to someone else until its time to pull out a gun... I kind of get the whole "NY's finest and bravest" as they call the Police and Firefighters!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin

It was very surreal to be at the taping of 'Enough Rope' today awaiting Ian Chappell and others and looking forward to the interview with Raelene Boyle later tonight!! First of course we knew that the Don Chipp interview was to be replayed and now the interview with Crickey Steve Irwin would be also!!
The studio was in a slightly shocked and tense state as Andrew Denton recorded adverts, intro's and outro's for the various aspects of tonights show before returning to the days schedule!!

Mmmm, remarkable!!
Anyhow, got to talk to Andrew and thank him for his inspirational belief in the power of stories... and got to personally hand him an invitation to send in a pair of shoes for 'Meaninful Soles' mentioned earlier in this Pumphouse blog!! I hope its a positive response when Andrew has time to get back to me in November!!

Like him or hate him!! RIP Steve Irwin

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Planet Earth BBC series

Picked up a copy of the series I'm sure others are well aware of, but the cinematography is magnificent. I decided not to wait until the next time I need a visual feed to a screen that just plays through on mute... but if I had the DVD maybe I'd design something to do with it first...

Attenborough narates of course and ther'd be use for that too, but my primary thing is some footage you don't see everyday!!

I think it'll be too distracting in a more normal yet creative worship space so I won't use it this week!!