Sunday, 22 November 2009

This is not a show

The trouble with this blogging lark is that there is a tremendous sense of the need to be profound every time you write. And I can't. So there. And as a result this is just a chat.

We are still continuing our thinking about expanded and de-religioned priesthood at church; still dreaming big and discussing. I am sure I will write about that again some time.

BUT in amongst things I managed to download this new REM recording recently.

Now some of you may know I am a bit of an REM fan- my daughter is called Rhiannon Emma Moody for a reason. I even have my own REM fantasy, which brings together a past as an English teacher; a frustration at not realising an ambition to write and a certain desire to pursue not fame as such, but quirky notoriety. I day dream about visiting Athens, Georgia, where REM are from, and in a coffee booth in an obscure coffee shop coming across Michael Stipe with a notebook and pen. I wander over, all nonchalant-like and say 'Hey Michael, how do you do?' being English and all. We get chatting because of course he turns out to be a 'very nice man' and the conversation turns to his notebook. He explains he is stuck for a line in his new song. And I suggest, being an ex English teacher and with experience of teaching Ted Hughes at GCSE, that maybe I could have a look at it. I suggest a line. Michael smiles warmly and scribbles it down and soon after we take our leave of each other. When the CD comes out, there is my line in the song with a 'sleevenote' (this is clearly not a download) that says, 'Thanks for the coffee Steve'.

I am now pausing and enjoying this.

Anyway that is by the way. I was going to say that I really like this new live recording. It begins with Michael Stipe saying 'This is not a Show'. It is a unique record of a live rehearsal as new songs are tried out; there is a lot of chat and a lot of old songs are dealt out in good humour and by means of a treat for those who have come to help at the rehearsal. It feels like family.
It is warm, human, and entirely lovely.

I think.

BUT the 'This is not a Show!' bit has been living with me these past weeks. That certainly fits in with what we are struggling to shape at our church. It is easy to think that the whole thing boils down to 'The Sunday Show', which leaves most of us as consumers and generally unsatisfied ones at that. So how to meet, and be and worship and serve together in such a way that reflects the Jesus who is at the centre of everything and the project of the Kingdom of God. Somehow it has to be about more than a performance for God. I am hearing the words 'This is not a Show' otherwise to the way that REM are saying them. This is not a show, nor is it a rehearsal; this is life.

And I have fallen into saying something that purports to significance again. But this is only a chat. Right? This is not a show...

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