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U2 and Desmond Tutu: hope in a broken world August 24, 2009

Posted by Andy in Random.
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tutu“God will put a wind at our back and a rising road ahead, if we work with each other as one.”

These were some of the pre-recorded words on the lips of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the video screen at the U2 concert in Sheffield last Thursday. It was a very good way of publicising the One campaign. No prizes for guessing what legendary song Bono followed Tutu’s inspiring message of love, justice and hope with (it’s the name of the campaign!), but the whole of Tutu’s video message can be seen here from a previous night of the current tour:

It was good to see some strong Christian themes woven throughout the concert. For me, perhaps one of the dominant themes was joy. Bono managed to squeeze a snippet of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and also a quick rendition of “O come all ye faithful, most joyful and triumphant”  (Rev Black Grape version, not Christmas carol) in-between some of the material. This is a band who, in my mind, are at the top of their game and as fresh as they sounded when they first set out in 1978. On the same day as A Level students found out their results, the band members also humbly admitted to not possessing many between them although The Edge did say “more than you” when Bono asked him how many he achieved!

Steve Stockman (Presbyterian minister and chaplain in Belfast), who wrote about U2’s Christian spirituality in his book Walk On, gives a theological reflection on this current tour here.

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summer round-up August 22, 2009

Posted by Andy in Family.
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It’s been an enjoyable and relaxing few weeks. Here are the highlights and photographic evidence:

Emilia's debut at Vicarage Road

1. Watford v Doncaster Rovers. Our first home game of new season ended 1-1 but was notable for the fact that it was Emilia’s first trip and indoctrination (?) into all things football. She enjoyed the venture but hasn’t asked me for her first replica shirt yet. Maybe I’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.

2. Our camping adventures took us to mid Wales as we took in the sights of Borth, Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Tywyn and Aberdovey. We took a narrow gauge steam train to Devil’s Bridge and were amazed at the waterfalls, steep steps and breath-taking woodland valleys.

Taking a walk

3. From the western edge to the eastern edge as we visited my Grandparents in Suffolk and the girls were able to compare and contrast Welsh sandy beaches with Felixstowe.

4. The long awaited 360 Tour from Irish rockers U2 steam-rollered into Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium and it proved a worthwhile venture. Had a better view from my previous trip to see them in Cardiff a few years’ back. Good company (thanks Steve, Eileen, Ste) and despite queueing for 2 hours the sounds and sights were out of this world.

u2 360

The way I see it August 4, 2009

Posted by Andy in Reflections on Ministry.
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starbucks_quotesWhilst listening to some audio internet lectures on eschatology and resurrection, I heard about a project that Starbucks in the US ran a few years ago (and possibly still continuing?) called ‘The way I see it’.

The campaign sought to provoke conversations in their coffee houses based on provocative and inspiring quotes. This one, from a Los Angeles Times columnist, Joel Stein, is particularly challenging to much of our inadequate eschatology that sees heaven as just a vague, lifeless place of future disembodied souls:

Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring, clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17ht century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.