Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
We had another amazing football tournament on Bank Holiday monday, despite the weather in the morning it was a fantastic day. Here is a video of the highlights, and there are lots and lots of photographs from the day on the Football page of the COTC website.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This sunday evening we hosted a group of London based photographers for an exhibition of their work. A really good evening, the place was packed, Barry Dunnage spoke on 'Image and Truth". Liz has lots of pictures from the night here
More information about our weekend away.
We are staying at the Pitton Cross Campsite which is five minutes from the beach. There are some pictures of the Gower here
Transport - we will hire a minibus, and there will be plenty of Cars driving down at various times. Or there is the train to Swansea option if you want it a bit more civilised; we can pick you up from there. Sunday is Pentecost and we will be having church on the beach.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I was thinking today about what image I would like for our new pub sign outside church. How about an iconic Jesus image in the style of the Angelic, or how about doing something in reaction to that.
One of my favorite images is Banksy's Fallen angel
How about this for our pub sign?
Sunday, April 08, 2007
We had a beautiful Easter, from the solemnnity of our service of shadows, watching the excellen and thought provoking Jesus of Montreal on Saturday night, watching the sun rise on Hampstead heath on easter morning and a lovely all age service after a fine breakfast.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
As we look to develop the Cloudsley room at COTC (as the upstairs end room is
now known) as a place for reading, study and prayer I thought it
would be good to develop our Library. There are lots of good books at
the moment, but on the whole they are cast offs. So instead of people
donating their old books I thought it would be great to get you all
to donate your favorite book.
Why not look at your bookshelf and decide which is the book that has
meant the most to you, and donate it to your family at church (if you
can't live without it you can buy it again - it must be worth it!).
And better still why not write a review of it to encourage others to
I have made a little 'ex libris' card which you could print out and
stick inside the front, which has room for a brief review. If you
want to write something longer, why not tuck that into the book too.
We will select some of the best reviews and display them on the shelf
(like in Waterstones) .
Monday, March 26, 2007
We are coming to the end of this series, and though there are many amazing figures of recent church history I would love to cover we will just choose some of the key ones. Last night we told the story of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, architect of the Church of England and Martyr for his faith.
The video of his words and wisdom is above, his recent Biography by Diarmaid MacCulloch is excellent or you can listen to a lecture on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of his death by my old church history lecturer (yes it is all his fault!) from Bible College.
Friday, March 16, 2007
More has been written on Martin Luther than any other figure in Church History. He stands between the medieval and modern worlds, and on one of the great faultlines of Christianity, and his thinking defines protestant theology to this day.
Lots of good online media on the subject. Melvin Bragg on Radio 4's 'In our time' discussing Luther at the Diet of Worms. There is the webpage of a US TV series on Luther with a dramatic introduction to the man and some interviews with people including Alistar McGrath. An interesting listen is David Starkey's abject attempt to suggest that Luther killed christianity which is shot down by his own witnesses.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
Francis of Assisi is well known for his love of nature and his simple peaceful lifestyle, and his founding of the radical Franciscan order of Monks. He is one of the most Christlike figures in History, but the aspect of his life which is more pertinant to our day than any other is his relationship with the world of Islam. A good introduction here
I found this excellent 'game' today. I say 'game' because actually it is a bit traumatic. You have a little family who you need to keep alive, feed and educate. And it is really hard. They kept dying on me. It is sponsored by unicef and if has a very serious point about how hard life is in the developing world - and just when you think you are doing ok disaster strikes. Have a go and tell me how you do. I was beginning to thing it was rigged, but it turns out you can do okay: All alive, 2577 goud and 6 diplomas - beat that!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Sunday night was quite memorable. It was the next in our 'Last Sunday' services and we spent the evening as a meditation on communion.
It went something like this:
Reflection on Bread including a reading from John 6
Making Bread. We had mixed the dough, but it still needed kneading and shaping. During the breadmaking we shared our experiences of communion - both good and bad. Then the bread was taken off to be baked.
Reflection on Wine. There was wine on the tables and we discussed the biblical imagery of wine - as new life, joy, abundance and peace. During this part the smell of baking bread drifted through the room.
A short talk on the importance of the ritual, incorporating some of the historic conflict over communion and an encouragement to take this back as part of our community life.
Then the bread was brought out again, and we used it for communion. Lovely.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Benedict left his comfortable life in the city at a young age to pursue his relationship with God in the wilderness. Three years of solitude profoundly changed him, his understanding of humanity and of himself and of God.
Gradually others came to join him in the wilderness and as the community grew he found it necessary to develop a rule of monastic life, full of spiritual and practical wisdom for christian communities which profoundly shaped not only the spiritual life of western europe but also its politics. In an age when government was by force in these communities the Abbot was chosen by the monks and ruled the community in accordance with the written rule and in consultation with the monks.
As a contemporary introduction to the rule of Benedict I would highly recommend the book Finding Sanctuary (£4.50 from Amazon). One of the aspects which I found particularly helpful was Benedicts 12 steps of humility.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Really enjoyed preaching on St Augustine yesterday. I am struck that one of the really important aspects of this series is that we see great figures of the past as they really are, and avoid the natural inclination to put people on a pedestal. Augustine is one of the greats, but he is also very human. And perhaps it is his awareness of his own failings, along with his ability to wonder that makes him so important.
For further reading there is a short biography here, and here is a modern translation of City of God, and here is Confessions. They are quite long though and you might want to pick them up in a 2nd hand book shop or from Amazon. The wikipedia article on him is not so good - I think people are fighting over him (the down side of wikipedia) and it is a bit scrappy.
Oh and check out this free download of Malcom Muggeridges 'a third testament'. The first chapter is on Augustine.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Tertullian was a theologian and fierce defender of orthodoxy. He articulated an elegant and sophisticated doctrine of the nature of God and coined the term Trinity. His influence on Christian thinking is enormous, but also very significant was his gradual rejection of the Greek philosophical culture which the early church was formed within.
You can read a brief biography of his life here [though with a rather more positive interpretation than mine], and find his surviving works and more in the excellent Tertullian Project
I was struck in studying Tertullian (ironically) by the importance of heresy to sharpen and refine orthodoxy. If it had not been for the views of people like Marcion and Arius this elegant articulation of the Trinity may not have come into being. The church has tended to try to lock down orthodoxy through fear of error, but it is that very struggle for truth which spurs us to understand and better articulate what we know of God.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Our new teaching series starts this week. It is called 'Old paths' and we will be tracing the course of church history through the lives of those who have gone before us.
"Though their culture and language seem alien to us, the same call of Jesus echoes in their ears, and the same spirit works in their hearts"
The first is Justin Martyr, who lived from around 100AD to 165AD and wrote bravely in defence of Christians and their faith in a time when such belief was brutally oppressed. For further reading his surviving documents are all available online. The excellent 'To the Emperor Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Pius Augustus Caesar', his second apology To the Roman Senate and the Dialogue with Trypho. There is an excellent wikipedia article on Justin too.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
In home groups we are studying this book written by Abbot Christopher Jamison from Worth Abbey.
It is a beautiful little book full of gentle wisdom and practice about making space for God in the midst of busy modern life.
You can buy it for a bargain £4.50 from Amazon
Monday, December 18, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
It felt like an important momant for us tonight, looking back on our time with the Epistle to the Galatians. The conversation we had about how to take what we have learned and put it to work in our community was good, and I want us to hold those things and continue to pursue them.
The things which I distilled from today were these; please add to them what was important to you:
The thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Church should be the place we come when we feel our brokenness rather than where we have to pretend to be fine. The call is to carry one another’s burdens and to share in that struggle.
Our experience of brokeness and conflict is not a mark of our failure but evidence of the spirit of God at work in us. Let us learn to be more honest with each other. We should change our expectation and declare that the norm is struggle and dissonance.
Keep in step with the spirit. We are a spiritual community, and we need to learn to speak of spiritual things in our own language. We walk together and share in the adventure of knowing God. Let this be the place where we talk of our real experience of God without fear of not being correct.
We intend to take sin more seriously not less. Sin is not some outward contamination which can be washed away, but something innate in our nature, something which we will fight with all our days. And we will take grace more seriously. The mercy of God does not come to an end once you become a Christian.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
We have been studying the book of Galatians this term at COTC and the major theme which Paul drives home passage by passage is the insidious and damaging error of legalism
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
I think that very few of us are in danger of legalism in terms of our justification - in terms of how we start as Christians. But our great danger is that we fall into legalism when it comes to sanctification - in terms of our growth as Christians. And the implications of Legalism in terms of our attitudes to ourselves, to guilt, and even to the Gospel are serious.
"Legalism is common to us all In one degree or another because it is human nature. We want to do everything on our own; we want to be self-sufficient. we want to feel like we are in control. So when it comes to good works we look at them as the way in which we can control our salvation. If we are bad, we forfeit salvation; if we are good, we earn it.”
Or as John Piper puts it "Human effort is the insubordinate, self-determining ego which in religious people responds to God's Word not with reliance on the Spirit but with reliance on self. It can produce a very rigorous morality, but it nullifies grace and removes the stumbling block of the cross."
Monday, October 09, 2006
Pub theology starts this week.
It is intended to be a place where you can invite your friends who wouldn't be comfortable at church. You can give them a flyer or point them to the website but the best thing is definitely to bring people with you.
The format is simple. Beer conversation and God. Everything is up for discussion, no assumptions, no barriers to entry.
We meet upstairs at the Angelic pub in Islington every wednesday at 8pm.
There will flyers on the table so you can spot us. Flyer available for download here.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
We celebrated the end of our building project, and rededicated the building last night. The place looked beautiful, as did everybody, and there was quite a lot of dancing. But the new floor is okay!
Lots of picture on my flickr page. [more to come]
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Francis Blight has been in the studio with Stuart Mclean and others, and their work seems to be paying off. You can listen to tracks online and download a free MP3 of ‘My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less’
His 6 track mini album called 'New skin for old song' is now available at Cross Rhythms Direct
Monday, August 07, 2006
This is cool - a cross between wikipedia and google maps called Wikimapia. It is essentially google maps with articles about landmarks. Anyone can add locations and articles, so why not contribute your favourite places around Islington (or beyond). I have added Church on the Corner.