October 1, 2015

fresh expression a technology

Has Fresh Expresssion become a technology built the knowledge bases of experimental mission and the emerging church of yesteryear? One of the definitions of technology is machinery or devices built on scientific knowledge. In youth work or social sciences academics are quite used to thinking about practice and processes as a technology, but like any technology the danger is the system becomes the end, it takes on a life of its own and and too easily be seen as THE answer.

In an age where church is struggling to connect with community, it is little wonder that the technology of Fresh Expresssions is being embraced. It is also not surprising That like technology of old, systems are being pulled together and new pathways being created to enable this technology to spread. When steam revolutionised farming, it spread quickly, and created a whole industry, that within a few years was wiped out by the tractor. Steam engines took time to build, new factories and systems were put in place and by the time many were ready for use, they were an obsolete technology, sold off cheaply and now consigned to museums, and wonderful Fred Dibner type characters.

The emerging church that gave birth to FE was more than a technological shift. It was a paradigm move of thinking and practice and the technology developed from it was often done so by those outside the field. It is too easy to see technology as the answer, a short cut and allow it to hide the deeper issues that the original thinkers and practitioners were trying to challenge so the paradigm shift still required remains masked to many by the technology around it. Perhaps even making real change much harder. To stick with the farming analogy, to put the cart before the horse!

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Church,Emerging,Heretical imperative,Mission @ 7:14 am

September 23, 2015

In memory of Ken

‘Only a theology which is marked by the spirit of adventure, the urge to discovery and the practice of pilgrimage, rather than one which is static and propositional, can respond to people in transition and upheaval’. Ken Leech, Doing Theology in Altab Ali Park, p25

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 8:08 pm

August 11, 2015

The power of campervans and the type of church I long to see…

Often people of faith ask me what type of church I want to see, or to explain my take on mission or faith, sometimes more due to their own insecurities and the need to put that stuff in a box. Others who ask, I know it is about their own journey, and usually in both cases I do my best to be open real and honest. Then I sit with them in the sorrow these answers offer, as they come to terms with the fact that there is no easy path or as they put me in box that captures them more than it holds me.

There is a distinct shift happening around what is church and a shift happening around dialogue and acceptance within more general evangelicalism. When i read THIS my first reaction was probably to box each side,…. but maybe I will just keep that to myself because I am sure boxes and walls don’t matter… what I liked, was that it was localised, real, and gave you glimpses of the dialogue that must have been happening behind the scenes.

Recently we have been selling our campervan as we cant afford the move to Cumbria that we feel called to make, and the conversations with potential buyers have been interesting, as I explain to strangers the reason we are selling. More often than not, it opens discussions on the type of church and faith I want to see. These amazing humans who are fearfully and wonderfully made, open up as talk of journeys (real and metaphorical) are shared, and we joke about life, rust and holidays. I find little need to sit in the sorrow of being put in a box, but liberated to walk the road ahead knowing a few more people are tentatively exploring the path before them. Missionally trying to sell this bloodly van has provoked some of the most meaningful encounters I have had in a long time, yet i still struggle to explain myself.

In world dominated by boxes and walls often the only way to explain is to revert to types and models, so perhaps for those who need to put me in a box, or those who want to continue the journey I offer THIS as perspective on the emerging church as the type of church I want to see…

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Church,Emerging,Heretical imperative,Mission,Uncategorized @ 9:37 am

June 18, 2015

How is G-d made real?

Those moments pass fleetingly, when heaven and earth seem to touch, through the ages these times are described in different ways, a thin place, a quaking, the ah-ha moment. Yet what if there is something about the way we think about God that is the reason these are fleeting? Some flaw in our thinking, our narrative, our approach that means G-d can only ever be glimpsed in passing… an approach so rooted it not only limits us to fleeting moments but by its outworking it means that very few others are able to catch these moments and so start to embrace the presence that is always all around us.

I wonder if we have too narrow a view of the sacraments. Is there space for a kind of sacramental missiology, where we can take an apophatic view of the sacraments? Where by not talking about or practicing the sacrament of communion but by sharing a meal within the context of an ongoing relationship where community is fostered, people are real, that g-d is fleshed and blooded amongst us, but by naming it and calling it out as community or special, it would slip through our fingers like sand. Or that young person who gets a tattoo of religious significance after regular contact with a mission community, that actually baptism takes place but baptism does not need to mentioned, and if it is will it make the ink fade away….

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Heretical imperative @ 11:02 am

May 26, 2015

what lies beyond..

I have been listening to some stuff around evolutionary consciousness, and Integral Philosophy over at Home Brewed Christianity.
I think a lot of what Radical theology has to offer but the deconstructive nature of a lot of post modernity often fails to begin the reconstruction that the practitioner in me yearns. What I like about the conversation about evolutionary consciousness is the reconstructive possibilities in particular the connection with values. I think some of Wilbers work (which lacks a bit of rigor) is coming through in spiral dynamics and from a few tweets it seems to have been picked up on by Rob Bell. However what I am interested in is the trajectory incarnational mission offers to concepts around evolutionary consciousness.

When we think about embedding values into our practice we often overlook the evolutionary nature of this, if God is love what does this say, where does it take us beyond simply having love as a value that underpins the work. How can it help us incarnate so the community connects with lies beyond, where perhaps part of what lies beyond is love itself.

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 12:56 pm

May 20, 2015

The story that captures and liberates rather than captures and confines

Does the christian story capture or liberate it you. As 17 I was captured, captivated and embraced by the living story of christ but it is all too easy to be confined to pages, rather than liberated.

The importance of the stories of others should not be underestimated, and I love reading biographies and first hand accounts of those who have gone before. However The power of the story is not in the telling but in passing the originators spark to another, so let your lives be their own story. We need to live our lives as an adventure, the story we pass on needs to be our stories of journeying with G-d, yes inspired by others but not a secondhand telling.

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 11:56 am

May 8, 2015

How long?

How long will we will mourn?
How long will we stand beside those in need?
How long until justice prevails?
How long will the call for equality sound?
Till the food banks are needed no more,
till those who cannot work feel dignified and supported rather vilified and blamed,
till the voiceless are heard, the captives of poverty are free,
Till society becomes a place where all are valued and all are held in a space of grace.

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Christmas @ 12:30 pm

April 16, 2015

Growing church from Scratch with young people

It was a great day around the Table yesterday, exploring the theme of growing church from scratch. It was a bit like a gathering of the tribes of people working on the edge with young people and communities, with lots of StreetSpace peps, some VFX, Worth Unlimited, Urban Expression, CMS, and CYM peps all gathering in Hodge Hill with Janey and Al Barrett. As you can imagine conversations were important, stimulating and out there. Simon Succliffe kicked the day off brilliantly with some mobile new testament ecclesiology, I took up the story looking at how youth ministry informed how we got to where we are now, and Jo Dolby started to unpack the tearing of the temple curtain and the implications this offers our communities. Then Janey Barret led us through an art space involving fruit, and Al shared on the wonderful approach of Hodge Hill. The next event is in Oxford, eating alone, looking at how we sustain a pioneer spirituality.

You can find my slides and notes at Church from scratch copy

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 9:54 am

April 12, 2015

Packed lunches v inheritance tax

Recently I had the equally heartbreaking and humbling experience of watching two girls show each other what they had in their packed lunch boxes that day. One opened her box that simply contained a single Mr Kipling Angel slice and the other opened her box to show a pack of Skips (crisps). The girl with the crisps turned to the other, and said “don’t worry we can share”.

The privelage of witnessing companionship and love of the girls is obviously tempered with anger that children in the UK in 2015 should be in this position.

Today I had to pull the car to the side of the road as I drove to pick up my daughter as I caught the news about the latest conservative idea not change the inheritance tax rules to disqualify houses upto a £1000000 (a million) pounds, and the talk of being able to pass onto your family your house. I understand this is aimed at the middle class vote but the inherent injustice of the systems that woo the more well off and that have penalised the poorest, meant I too once again pull the car to the side and weep.

I cannot square the circle or cope with my emotions as I reflected on the generousity and humanity of the girls sharing their packed lunch verses the inhumanity of those in power, and the steps they will take to try and stay there.

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 4:02 pm

March 24, 2015

Don’t panic but….

As you may know things are really tough for the central finance for Streetspace / FYT and John Wheatley, Dylan Barker and I have been working hard on funding bids to make up the shortfall. We have submitted loads of grants we are hoping to hear from soon but we are looking at raising around £25000. As employees of FYT, a charity, there are certain processes and procedures that need to be followed and so we are meeting on Thursday where formal warning notices that our jobs are risk will be have issued to all three of us. This gives us another month to raise income or further cut costs or hours and our hope and prayer is it will not get as far as redundancy.

In many ways we see this an important positive opportunity to push into the new world of what pioneering youth work and mission really means and get even more creative with our approach. Our aim for the coming few years had been to transition the whole of StreetSpace from fees and bills to gifts and conversation, but this is going to take time and unless some of the grants come in, or we raise income in another way we may struggle to make that transition.

So I would value your prayers for us, our families and the extended StreetSpace community. As said we have some grant applications already in, and many people I know via facebook already support frontline youth work projects, so please do not divert your giving but if you think you can help us financially you can do so via:
an online donation to FYT using: https://www.give.net/20022128
by phone, text: FYTR01 £(then either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10)’ to 70070
To make a monthly donation or one off gift by cheque or BACS, please use this form http://www.fyt.org.uk/…/wp-co…/uploads/FYT_Response-Form.pdf so we can claim the tax back to increase your gift at no extra cost to you.

This item was posted by Richard Passmore

posted to Uncategorized @ 12:00 pm

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