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Dreaming of home


This motto will sound familiar to those who attended Greenbelt last year. Whether I choose to say ‘I’ or ‘we’, the reality is that there is a longing in me and in a few from the community to come to a new home, where God has called us to be. In my case, it will have meant leaving my country, and ultimately, a long-term relationship behind to fulfil that longing to become part of moot, which is now my home. Those anointed above us may think otherwise, but I have come to a point where, as far as I am concerned and for a few others in moot, a community house is now essential to becoming who God is calling them to be.

We are called to be living in and with the people of London, to live pure lives rather than celibate ones, and to submit to community decisions. In my case, the unfailingly recurring recognition by those monastics and spiritual directors who I’ve prayed with to follow such a call compels me to appeal here and now to the rest of the community and to get the ball rolling.

This is not out of the blue and have been boiling in me for months. Subject to Ian’s authority and that of those anointed above us – begging them to hear and attend to this request, I would call for those who share a similar longing to communicate their desire, those who – after reflection – feel that the time is ripe for such a move. I am not here talking of a house with all mooters coming together, but only a few to start with, who have at heart the desire to share a contemplative rhythm of life. To start with a small community, with a few people who need and want to pray together mornings and evenings together as well as to have a daily time for meditation/contemplation.

I pray that this call may resonate with others and that it may be heard as something that is now ripe for action.

POSTED 03.03.12 BY: Moot Archive | Comments (1)

Poll for Christian students in higher education in London

In early 2012, Moot, Christian Aid London Region and SCM are collaborating to support a new Thursday evening gathering in Central London using Moot’s new home at the Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary.

If you are a Christian student in higher education, then we could do with your support.  We are trying to find a name to call it – can you help?  If yes please help us by completing the poll.


POSTED 31.10.11 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on Poll for Christian students in higher education in London

Serum starts tomorrow

What is Serum? from Greenbelt Festival on Vimeo.

I’ve been digging around, and I’ve managed to find a couple of videos of Serum and the people involved in it. the first one (above) is and interview with Jane and Paul from last year’s Greenbelt. It gives a good sense of how the event works, and hopefully you can see that it’s relaxed, informal, and open to all.

I also shot another video last week. Both of these were filmed at the Greenbelt festival (the first one in 2009) It’s a bit of an odd one, doing Serum at Greenbelt, as the audience at the festival predominantly has some sort of religious background. In the main, there is a shared base of knowledge that means the discussion focusses round the shared knowledge, with a few notable exceptions. Have a look here:

Serum 2 from Michael Radcliffe on Vimeo.

However, this is not typical of Serum – it’s a little bit broader. It’s open to people who don’t necessarily share that broad base of knowledge but are interested in discussing matters of spirituality in whatever form it might take. It’s great to be a “spiritual” person, but it’s even better to see what happens when we share those beliefs and experiences with other people in a non-threatening informal environment.

So do give it a try. It’ll be interesting to see what the discussions throw up. If you’re thinking of coming to Serum, you can find out more details of the when and where here.

And of course, there’s already been two blog posts on Serum for you to find out a bit more. Look forward to seeing you there.

POSTED 07.09.10 BY: artbizness | Comments Off on Serum starts tomorrow

Music from Moot Greenbelt Services

Many people asked me about some of the tracks that were being played during our three services in the Abide venue at Greenbelt. So here’s a little run through of a few of the tracks that were used and some stuff on the internet on ambient/classical music.

1. Helios- Keith Kenniff aka Helios/Goldmund (he goes by a variety of names) is an incredible Boston based artists. Do check out his website at www.unseen-music.com for some free mixes and tracks. Most of the tracks I played were from the two Helios albums Eingya and Caesura. Eingya has been one of my favourite albums for a long time!

2. Olafur Arnalds- This Icelandic composer is a recent find for me but I’ve been playing his album “and they have escaped the weight of darkness” a lot recently so do have a look at his stuff.

3. Arvo Part- A little more “traditional” but I used his “Fratres” a few times in the service. If you don’t know his music you really should!

4. Stars of the Lid- These guys are very famous in Ambient circles. Most of the tracks I used were from the album “And their Refinement of the Decline”

5.  Ten and Tracer- Another recent find, a lot of their music is free have a look here

6. Max Richter- His albums are all highly recommended!

7. Feedback loop label- This is a great netlabel offering a number of free tracks and if you like them you can buy the full albums. The address is here. Ambienteer is particularly worth a listen.

In terms of places to buy music I’d recommend www.boomkat.com over Amazon or itunes. They have a great system for downloads and their reviews and comments are very detailed. Also worth having a look at is their 14 tracks series.

And to finish a couple of blogs for ambient music that are a great read are www.disquiet.com and http://astrangelyisolatedplace.wordpress.com/. A Strangely Isolated Place is I assume named after a Ulrich Schnauss album that I’m fairly sure I used. They also run a great series of mixes.

POSTED 02.09.10 BY: Moot Archive | Comments (1)

Serum

As part of our new programme for the Autumn “term”, Moot has the privilege of embarking on a new venture next week, starting a new series of meetings working with “Serum“.

Serum is a group that already exists and meets in South-East london to discuss matters of spirituality. It is an informal group with no particular agenda, except a gathering of people from wildly different perspectives comparing notes and fostering interconnection in discussion about the various possibilities of what spirituality looks like today in people’s lives. The group usually meet in the pub, which is always the best place for such discussions.

About a year ago, Serum led a series of discussion at Greenbelt, the annual arts festival that meets at Cheltenham Racecourse every year (they also did the same this year, but I’ll come to that shortly). One of their discussions was attended by an atheist who gave Serum a very favourable write-up in The Guardian newspaper. It was clear that although apprehensive, she felt very comfortable being there, and discussing her thoughts openly. I’m really pleased that something of this nature is coming to be part of moot, and the discussions look very interesting indeed.

You can read the article on the Guardian website. Serum starts at moot on September the 8th 2010. The venue is the Cross Keys pub on Gracechurch St. in the centre of London.  For more information about the Moot Serum group click here.

POSTED 01.09.10 BY: artbizness | Comments Off on Serum

Empty Shops – resurrecting public spaces

I’ve had the good fortune to come across the Empty Shops Network recently. In these recent difficult economic times, it’s a clever initiative that takes vacant shops in run-down areas, and gets artists and creative types to fill them with whatever they can think of. The landlord will often let the network have these vacant spaces for free or for next to nothing, with the payoff being that their space gets shown for it’s potential.

The good thing is that an area that may appear “dead” gets the benefit of the “life” of creativity, and the events are often free with some basic fundraising initiatives to cover the costs – so the local community gets something that’s interesting, educational, bright and exciting. It also keeps creatives creating and being able to showcase their work – everyone’s a winner!

They’ve been going for a while, but I first found out about them when I started following artistsmakers on Twitter. Even more recently, they’ve done their “magic” near me in a somewhat rough and disused area of Brixton, called the Granville Arcade, which has now been re-branded as Brixton Village.

The reason I bring this up, is that next week, another initiative is starting in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden, London. The project will be known as “Seven Days in Seven Dials”, and works in partnership with some of the major art institutions of the area. Basically there are 38 unemployed people who are doing work experience at these institutions, and Seven Days in Seven Dials is based around their work experience. From the press release: “Working closely with professional podcasters, photographers and artists, the Culture Quarter Programme participants will spend a week using a shop as a studio. They will produce audio tour podcasts, short videos and exhibition material exploring the history of the local area; the artistic, cultural and historical links between the organisations involved in the project, and individual experiences of the participant’s day-to-day activities within their organisations.”

I’ve been involved in such initatives before – back in the 90s some of us now mooters took over bars and empty shops to do art exhibitions, cabarets and cafés as a means of engaging with the local community, and many of the things that moot is now doing come out of that idea.

Anyways, do drop in and see what’s going on. You can see the participants developing their stuff from 10am on Monday 5th July, and the resulting exhibition will be on from Sat. 10th until Fri. 23rd July.

And if you want to follow what’s going on with it all on Twitter, then follow @vobes @artistsmakers @madamsalami and @artbizness, and the hashtag for it is #7days7dials if you’re doing a search or getting involved.

POSTED 29.06.10 BY: artbizness | Comments (4)

New Opportunity to join the Moot Core Team

With James Vincent departing us in the summer, we have an opportunity for others to take on what James was doing.  James – we will miss you as you have contributed a lot over the last 6-months. This role will be to join a small part-time consultant team to help shape up the Arts Cafe Lounge vision and to assist with Moot’s development.  See advert below.

POSTED 27.06.10 BY: ianmobsby | Comments Off on New Opportunity to join the Moot Core Team

“Slow to anger, abounding in love”

Since Aaron’s post about how transformative he’s been finding the virtues postures and practices, and the discussion it started about anger, I’ve been doing a bit of research. I’m troubled by Old Testament wrath / New Testament mercy ‘flip-side of God’ theology. I don’t believe God changed, ‘like shifting shadows’ as James says, nor that God has moods or gets provoked and vindictive.

So I looked up some Hebrew words for ‘anger’ used in the bible last week, and found that physical imagery is inherent in many – aph depicts flaring nostrils; charah and chemah are about heated indignation. God is often described (about forty instances across the Old Testament) roused to wrath of the nostril-flaring variety. This troubles me.

But something that puts God’s wrathful moments in context for me is the as-frequent phrase ‘slow to anger’, also written as ‘long-suffering’, and to me that deliberately illustrates exactly how I’d aspire to see myself deal with anger when it flares in me, in my true, most whole or healthy self, just as with moments of gluttony, selfishness, pride or apathy. Hence ‘be still and know’, ‘wait on the Lord’, and ‘flee from anger and bitterness’.

I think Jesus was doing this when he crouched and drew in the dust, instead of reacting at once to the people ready to stone the woman they’d caught in the middle of adulterous sex. I think he was asserting space for momentary, flared-up anger to diffuse, both theirs and possibly his own.

Also, the very fact that these are physical words presents their illustrative quality to me. I am not massively into turning everything into metaphor, but I do think it’s safe to say God is not being described to us as a being with actual nostrils to flare, or blood pressure to rise. Nor, I want to suggest, is angry action innate to God’s being – God is love. God is not justice, – God holds and wields all justice. But he does not simply hold and wield love. He is love.

I happen to agree with Christopher Jamison and the Desert Fathers he cites, that anger isn’t really a good sign of anything. I don’t think getting angry is ever really just about the thing that we think, in the moment, that it’s about. I think I, and all of us to a greater or lesser degree, are sitting on a big old keg of old hurts and injustices. And when we get angry about things in a particular instant, I think that keg of anger comes into play.

A couple of mooters pointed out to me the danger here of getting into dualistic territory: ‘anger = bad’; ‘getting frustrated = bad’. I’m glad to have the community round me to navigate this territory.

And righteous energy for a cause is true and a good thing – I’m a bit of a cause-carrier sometimes – but when it’s provoked by anger, I have to take time to think and to still that, until it has aired and become something more calm and constructive.

To stay in my anger is to sit in the murkier bits of my psychology. To feel it, acknowledge it, but to be slow to it and patient with it when it comes – these I think reflect a God of love – healthy care of myself and exploration of all my feelings and their roots, but also therefore enabling my outward actions to be wholly love.

This is ‘slow to anger’ – taking the space to consider both my own reaction, and also to consider whoever has provoked me as a whole human being, with more going on than I can justifiably feel irritated with. Love is not only for some human beings, according to what they’ve done. “To know all is to forgive all”. Even love for one person, a victim, I don’t believe should ever provoke us to retribution towards another. And that pause to bring us back to a place of complete love, I think, is what Jesus was doing when he wrote in the sand for a while.

POSTED 24.06.10 BY: Moot Archive | Comments (5)

New Monasticism and financial ethics

Moot is not quite there yet, but surely, at some point in time the question of community finance will be raised. By this I don’t mean just tithing. Rather, here I’m more concerned with how moot and mooters could constitute economic agents, an economic microcosm and an economic entity, and how financial relationships and transactions could be functioning between them and with external agents. These thoughts stem from different conversations with mooters and some personal reading, and are by no means either comprehensive or complete. But here a few of them – for discussion purposes only (i.e. don’t try this at home quite yet):

1)      Self-sufficiency

As a community, moot should strive for self-sufficiency but not get to a state of autarky. This would mean recognising that while it would make sense for people to share capital and human resources within the community to ensure lower costs and higher utility for everyone, reliance on external services is inevitable. Moot, both materially and spiritually, is to live with and from exchanges with “the outside world”.

2)      Ownership and use

Usually, monastic communities require people joining to give up all their possessions to the community, i.e. give up ownership of what they possess. This is unlikely to be feasible here for several reasons: (a) people do not stay for their entire life with moot, (b) giving up one’s possessions would require such a level of trust between mooters that I personally believe it is unreasonable to expect that, (c) it is actually impractical, mostly because people are scattered in different places. An alternative, though, is that people do not give up ownership but allow others to use some of what they possess. An even weaker alternative, and perhaps a first step, is the ability for people to lease their possessions for use, provided they don’t make a (significant) profit (see point 4) out of the transaction.

3)      Freedom of contract

This is more a theoretical point, perhaps, but important nevertheless. People should be free to enter financial transactions as they see fit, provided they abide to certain rules, which should protect both parties against potential economic adversity. I personally think this is a preferable approach to restricting contracts to a list of authorised transactions. In effect, this means that mooters can agree to enter any financial transaction and are not restricted in their use of financial instruments (e.g. it is possible to give a loan to another mooter and charge interest rates). This, provided all transactions remain in line with some precepts which remain to be defined.

4)      Profit making

This one ought not to be misunderstood. Moot, and mooters, should be able to make a profit. By this, I don’t mean that they should enrich themselves on the back of others, whether these are part of the community or not. But, people need to realise that if they lend money or give access to some of their possessions for use by other mooters, they should not simply charge the amortising rate, but expect to earn a certain profit on this as well. This would apply to community initiatives as well, such as the art café. The rationale is that people need to be able to make use of their capital and reinvest it to ensure self-sufficiency on the long-term. For instance, and as a theoretical example, if a family were to work in the art café, not only their current costs of living should be covered, but also, let’s say, the savings necessary for the children’s education. This said, people should not overcharge others (greediness). If an extra profit is made, which should still be possible in certain circumstance and for whatever reason, a fund for moot should be created to allow these profits to be reinvested in goods and services useful to the entire community.

5)      Relationship to the external financial and economic world

Christian financial precepts, contrarily to what is the case for instance in Islamic Finance, do not require a fundamental change in the prevailing economic system. Rather, they much more concentrate on relationships between members of a community than between individuals and an overarching system. A Christian community should be able to function in a similar way whether it is living in a free market or planned economy. While some activism for a positive change in how a particular economic system functions may be welcome, this should be pursued because that system is unjust, rather than because we are looking to overhaul the entire economic system. This is because the Bible, contrarily to the Qur’an, does not really provide any hints as to what kind of macroeconomic system is to be preferred by Christians.

All this said, two words of caution here: (1) financial transactions could potentially be the source of much discord between community members and a lot of caution has to be taken before making any steps in the directions described above, (2) my thinking tends to be influenced by free market economic theories – any alternative thoughts are welcome…

POSTED 20.06.10 BY: Moot Archive | Comments (13)

A call for Essays

Many will be aware that, for a long time, Moot has hosted essays on our site unter the section called Greyspace. As we are updating the site, (and I have spent the afternoon transferring 29 essays onto the new site, trying to not get engrossed in each one!) I thought it may be a good oportunity to expend this resource.

If you have a recent article you think may be useful for the Essays section on the new Moot website (more info to come) and would like others to be able to read it, please submit it in pdf format to me: david@moot.uk.net

Please also state which of the following headings you would like it to be categorised under:
Emerging Church and Theology,
Emerging Church and Ecclesiology,
Emerging Church & Philosophy
Emerging Church & The Arts
Emerging Church Reflections
Emerging Church & The Humanities
Praxis, Practical & Pastoral Theology
Postmodern Theology
Ancient:Future Faith Development
Emerging Church & Worship

All essays will be read first. Essays will not neccessarily be posted online. Whether essays are posted is left to the discretion of Moot.

POSTED 16.01.10 BY: paulabbott | Comments Off on A call for Essays