Thursday, April 04, 2013

Sustainability and the mission of God: a case study of fresh (and failed) expression

I’m presenting to the South Australian Mission Studies Network Gathering on the topic:

Sustainability and the mission of God: a case study of fresh (and failed) expression

I’ll be reflecting on my findings emerging from my UK sabbatical interview research. The event is open to all mission-minded individuals, including scholars, reflective practitioners and teachers.

Here is the blurb (not written by me!):

Rev Dr Steve Taylor (Principal of Uniting College of Leadership and Theology, writer and blogger. He has published numerous articles and chapters, especially in regards to developing healthy, missional communities. His main publication is The Out of Bounds Church? Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change, (Zondervan, 2005). He has recently been on Sabbatical in the UK and writing his second book.)

Monday 22nd April @ 12.30 pm (until 2:00 pm) in S1, Adelaide College of Divinity, 34 Lipsett Terrace, Brooklyn Park, SA.

BYO Lunch but Tea and Coffee provided. To RSVP by Friday 19th April or want further information, then contact David Turnbull on 8373 8775 or dturnbull at adelaide dot tabor dot edu dot au

Posted by steve at 09:02 AM

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Easter with U2: overview

It began with a question.

As many things do.

As I walked into church for Maundy Thursday, I wondered what U2 song, if any, might connect with the themes of this day? Which quickly prompted another question, could this extend over Easter? Which made for a personally rich Easter, as I found new ways to understand and appreciate the Christian story.

Here is the result:

Overall, looking back, I was surprised at the personal connections I made through the process. For example, Easter Monday and the image that emerged around busking as a kingdom sign – the improvisation, the public witness, the fleeting nature. Another example was Easter Sunday and seeing the Resurrection with the saints, the importance of belief as it is embodied in another.

Another surprise was the serendipity of the internet. I discovered on Sunday that Steve Stockman, author of Walk on: The Spiritual Journey of U2, was also, this Easter doing it with U2.

But could I do it again? If Easter with U2 (Easter@U2) was a pop culture lectionary, could it sustain a 3 year cycle? I doubt it, not without heading into abstract themes – betrayal, sacrifice, loss, surprise – that would have no specific lyrical references to Easter. Which has left me pondering. For all the hype in some Christian circles about the “spirituality” of U2, this snapshot would suggest they are hardly drawing from the Christian narrative.

U2 have produced 12 studio albums, at an average of 10 songs an album, that means a total of 120 songs. I drew on 4. That is not many, especially when the Easter narrative is so central to the Christian story.

I am not saying they need to. Christian art doesn’t need a cross to make it Christian. And I might be missing some other songs. But 4 out of 120 is not many. Which means I end where I began. With a question! :) (But a great soundtrack to keep me company.)

Creationary: a space to be creative with the lectionary (in this case, visual images on themes of pilgrimage). For more resources go here.

Posted by steve at 02:20 PM

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter Monday with U2 (Bono and Glenn Hansard actually)

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord

At the funeral of Sargent Shriver, in January, 2011, Bono sung. It was an old Franciscan prayer, in a duet with Irish busker, Glen Hansard (of Once fame). Glen and Bono blog together each Christmas in Dublin, raising money for charity (see here for an example).

But this is a very different affair. This is a funeral, and together they offer us Resurrection hope. “And in dying that we’re born to eternal life”. (Full lyrics here of the song here).

Sargent Shriver was married to Eunice Shriver, and the U2 song “With our without you,” that appears on the U22 CD, the official record of the 360 tour is dedicated to her. She died in August 2009, during the 360 tour. It was Eunice, a tireless worker for justice, who opened doors for Bono when he fronted the Jubilee 2000 campaign.

Since Resurrection is not only for life, but also for living, it is an important reminder on Easter Monday – a call to be peace makers and healers.

For entire U2 at Easter catalogue

  • Maundy Thursday is here,
  • Good Friday is here,
  • Holy Saturday is here,
  • Easter Sunday is here).

For more of my U2 and theology reflections check the backcatalogue. For another popular culture take on Easter, see my Holy week at the movies.

Posted by steve at 10:14 AM