Anarchic Pragmatism

People Tell Me That I’m Not Pragmatic.

I have a tendency to be a bit stubborn sometimes and not do what people want because I believe that it would be wrong for me to do that particular thing. They usually think that it would be right for me to do that particular thing and tell me that I need to be pragmatic and do it anyway.

So I’d come to think that I wasn’t pragmatic and that perhaps I was dogmatic.

Then I heard someone comment that pragmatism was just another name for hypocrisy! Which I took to mean that a pragmatist often did stuff that he didn’t believe he should.


Pragmatic – solving problems in a realistic way which suits the present conditions rather than obeying fixed theories, ideas or rules

Whereas dogmatic is about having a dogma or a set of rules.

I tend to think that what we do reflects what we really believe, so if I stick to a particular path then that is a result of what I believe. That belief isn’t necessarily a rules based belief – it isn’t necessarily being dogmatic or following a dogma. Belief can be anarchic and not rules based, it can come from a faith that is alive within you. It also doesn’t mean that I’m not pragmatic.

A pragmatist is really someone who recognises that rules aren’t good enough to determine what you should do (I would say that God is a pragmatist because he has given us the option to know in our hearts what to do, moment by moment, rather than relying on an Old Testament style set of rules).

So a pragmatist can still be someone who does what he believes, they don’t have to be a hypocrite.

So I reckon that, despite feeling strongly about specific things in my life and whether they are right or wrong, I’m actually a pragmatist because my belief doesn’t come from a fixed set of rules, but is a more anarchic belief that comes from faith which is something bigger than can be expressed in a set of rules.

So now I know how to answer people who accuse me of not being a pragmatist!Black Irish video

Young people and emerging church

I am doing some stuff around young people and emerging church and what we can learn from one another. My experience suggests that many yp and youth workers think of their youth groups etc as expressions of church and I am interested in how this sense of definition can either release creativity and growth or inhibit. By this I mean that groups who grow together towards an expression of church can be inhibited from further development when it is not openly acknowledged. When named as such and discussed as an expression of church it creates impetus to grow deeper relationships and outwardly but when not acknowledged outwardly i have seen groups loose momentum over time and dissipate.

Two areas I would value feedback on

Firstly if you are involved in an emerging church thing have noticed this process in the emerging churches that you are part of. Did people start getting together and once you defined what you were doing – did it release energy and creativity? Did people start to make more effort to meet together etc or am I way off the mark?

Secondly if you are a youth worker are young people or leaders describing what you do as church? Can you relate to the blocks/ creativity and definition?

As for me and my house

The preacher this morning made reference to this verse as a Joshua moment.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24 v15 KJ

It got me thinking about a modern interpretation of it. It has always been read as a way of saying me and my family (and in ancient times the rest of the extended household or servants etc) but I wondered how a literal interpretation could help us today. There is something implied in the text about going Gods way with everything you have. Obviously for most people our house is our biggest asset but I was thinking how it is also a place of privacy and a sense of my space and the tendency to see it as mine which could take us away from following God. If we were to commit to the literal version it would get us to question how we use our house, and reflection on how we opened up our life and house would help us encounter God in a deeper way.

Regarding Henry trailer

Retreat for men – ‘On being a man’

On being a man –
A weekend retreat for men in beautiful north Northumbria
May 4 – 6th 2007

This is an introductory retreat on masculine spirituality which will explore and touch on several themes including exploring our perceptions of being male, Jesus the man, wounds of the father and further steps to developing a mature masculinity.

I am a member of the Northumbria community and lived at the mother house for 3 years which had a major impact on my spiritual formation. The Community is a dispersed community interested in exploring a new monasticism informed by Celtic spirituality and the desert fathers and mothers. The community is situated in the middle of the countryside – 10 miles form Holy Island.
I would like to invite you to experience the hospitality and rhythm of the community in the wilds of north Northumberland while also focussing on what is means to be a man in this introduction to masculine spirituality

For more info about the community, my work with men and to book please go to there website at

Steve Has posted a great article on Incarnational Missiology for the emerging church. The points he raises are well formed and insightful. I particularly liked the last link to the incarnation “a controlled death”. Here is a snippet

And that is the ultimate call of Christian ministry; that we must be prepared to die to self (literally or metaphorically). It is, of course, a scandal even today. It is a scandal to an institution that it is called to renounce all power and privilege. It is a scandal to the rich and the spiritually powerful that we are called to assume the form of servants – without question and without motive. It is a scandal that the Body of Christ is called to give up everything that it has in order to model Christ.

I have been working a lot recently with how we can more truly let our Christology shape our Missiology which in turn should shape our Ecclesiology. In retropect I can see a lot of this process in Off the Beaten Track. It also provides a good check and balance process as we move into and think about new ways of being church.

Calling Youth Workers in M5

FYT have faciliated a network of youth workers in M5 area between Taunton and Bristol. Rob has taken this on for us and If you are in this area it would be great to see you. Details below

I am just contacting you all about the FYT M5 network meeting which most of us had attended previously. As you can see Emma has handed over the facilitating of the group and the meeting venue. Part of the vision of the network is that we all have ownership of the group and every 18 months/2 years another church or organisation would take over the running of the group. This means we can tap into our contacts and bring them along to do a presentation and also see some new faces.
As Living Waters Church does a stint, I want to build on the excellent teaching and ideas we have had before. And I have lined up some speakers to come and speak at our events. This will hopefully include:

The George Muller foundation – on networking and church partnerships
Roy Maguire from the YMCA – on youth justice
Lynda Richards PCSO – on peer mentoring and youth watch within schools
Tim Blasdale – PYO North Somerset
Pete Worthington designer of 24-7 prayer website – ministry through the net
Richard Passmore – FYT

In addition to this as we cover a massive geographical area, and generally our only contact time has been at the meetings. I see an area for us to develop is as an internet community. Part of this is to promote and let other churches know what is going on in our areas. To enable this I have had an account set up which is:

If any of the group wants to send out an e-mail or info to this address it will be circulated to the entire network database. I know we all have busy schedules with some times being more manic than others, but I would ask for your support as the network develops, by inviting new people from your area to come along and to use the internet network to keep us all connected to each other.

Lastly the first meeting will be on Friday the 9th March @ 10.15am. The venue will be No 24 Old Street Clevedon BS21 6BY (see website for directions) Drinks and cakes will be on ready supply. At the moment I am anticipating we meet about every 2-3months does that sit well with everyone? And could you let me know if you are intending to come?

If you have any more ideas or just want a chat drop me a line on 01275 344955 or

Have a blessed day

Rob England


As promised here Coal Miner’s Daughter movie full is the file from the session today. If you want to discuss any points or have any questions feel free to leave them as comments and I will respond. You may also like to check out the articles particularly the Tacking church which links with the session today. There are also a variety of other resources related to todays sessions including info the FaSt game, and redefinitions of church.