Monthly Archives: November 2008


I’ve just come back from a u2charist – a communion service where the all the “hymns” are U2 songs.  It was apparently an idea from the Episcopal church,

Did I enjoy it?  Definitely, I sang along to all the songs, albeit somewhat quietly. I can’t say that many other people did though.  For me, it worked best when the songs were played as a background to the eucharist, rather than as hymns.  Perhaps that is because I am used to using music as background/ambience which you can listen to if you want.  Also some of the songs that work for me are those that express both faith and doubt such as “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”.  Anyway anything that tries to do anything different is worth and go, and the fact that the theme of the service and the sermon was built round social action/service was good too.



church as 1970’s disco?

pete rollins. always a good mind tickler.

check his blog too. bring your brain cells though, easy reading it usually ain’t. brilliantly challenging ti usually is.

techno vs crass-tianity

faith_rmsometimes faith, that ‘big’ kind of faith; that, ‘putting it all in god’s hands’, ‘laying out a fleece for the lord’ faith; that, ‘i knew that god would do it all the time’ kind of faith seems a little too close to idolatory for my liking.

to me, that kind of belief in the power of faith, undermines the importance and power of what god can do. if there is no risk of things going wrong then whatever god does is a foregone conclusion and, as such, unimportant. it’s all about faith. not god.

anyway, my brother’s just recently been on the receiving end of this kind of crass christianity – just at a point when something terrible was averted and he wanted to sit back in silence and contemplate his feelings, he had some botherer chuntering on at him about how they knew god would come through and why was he looking so worried? it hurt him and his story left me feeling raw too.

it reminded me of the time that he and i were driving away from cheltenham hospital after what turned out to be the last time we saw our gran the night she died. we were a bit stunned (she’d had a very sudden downturn from pretty perfect health) and had nothing to say to each other, so we put the radio on and john peel was on. he was playing some relentless hypnotic german techno – and it felt completely perfect.

there was something about the wordless unsentimentality about the music that felt appropriate, that gave us space to just dwell on what we were thinking and feeling. something about the minimal nature of the music that was coldly comforting at a time where we were starting to appreciate the loss we were about to feel.

so, late last night, after talking to my brother, while i was driving back to cardiff from gloucester on an unlit m5 i tried it again. i found an aphex twin album on the ipod that i hadn’t really ever listened to, and i’m sure that it may only work for me, but it was exactly the unfamiliarity and harshness of the music that felt comforting and appropriate.

it made me feel that we’ve got a bloody long way to go with music in church before we even touch the sides of people’s experiences of life.


Nice sounds

I heard The Gentle Good singing some lovely Welsh tunes on 6 music last week  I image all you Cardiffians/people into music (and particularly those of you who are both – you know who you are!) have been aware of him for some time, but I haven’t, and I am also quite pleased with myself for expanding my own music listening repertoire (instead of relying on Simon to bring stuff home as is usually the case).  He reminds me a bit of Eliott Smith but I hope he’s a happier soul than he.  I love ‘Dawel Disgyn’…makes me nostalgic for the Welsh weather – can you believe I sometimes even miss the rain?.  Its also got some of the same atmosphere to this brilliant CD we’ve got of Welsh lullabies called Suo Ganeoun- which has all sorts of well-known Welsh singers singing all sorts of well-known Welsh lullabies, in less well-known and interesting ways. mmmm lovely…think I might be getting into a bit of folk in me old age.


forgiving more than God?

listened to this programme on radio 4 the other night – full of really interesting questions and challenging thoughts about forgiveness (exactly the kind of stuff I’d really like to hear about in church – but never do).

julie nicholson used to be a vicar in bristol but after her daughter was killed in the london bombings of 2005 she found she had to quit as she couldn’t preach about forgiveness when she couldn’t forgive the bomber.

in the programme, she goes to meet people, some who have been able to forgive terrible things, others who feel that they can’t. one contributor suggested that in the christian tradition we are asked to forgive more than God; we are told to forgive anyone regardless of whether they ask our forgiveness; yet God needs us to repent before he can forgive us.

it reminded me of this pete rollins blog (always an excellent mind-tickler) where he suggests that the only forgiveness worth giving is impossible forgiveness – anything else is too easy.

anyway, In Search Of Forgiveness is up online to listen to for a while and is well worth it.


Nitin Sawhney at Electric Proms

People have probably wondered what has been happening to me.  Well apart from the usual frenetic amount of work I have been off to see my favourite artist, yes you guessed, Nitin Sawhney.

Over half term I went down to London to stay with friend and we went to the Electric Proms. It was an incredibly polished performance,   Just wondering – Ed, do the BBC have any plans to do DVD’s of any of the performances.  Obviously it would be good to see Nitin’s stuff again, but there is also so much other stuff that you can’t catch up on in a week – especially if you are away part of the time.  I also went to the album tour gig which was a smaller but in some ways more powerful event.  I got to chat to the man afterwards, which was really great – nice to be appreciated.

BTW anyone in Cardiff going to swm festival.  I haven’t bought any tickets yet, but I’m a bit torn between Cate le Bon and Euros Childs


Banksy has a weird new pet shop in New York…