It’s been very moving to have messages in the last few days about my black dog posts. Thank you! At least it shows that it’s been worth it. As I mentioned in the first post, I’m genuinely not motivated by the kind of confessional culture that is all around us; still less am I trying to elicit sympathy. And I’m definitely not seeking advice or support (kind though some offers have been!). It is only to help those who don’t quite have the words for this yet. But I do realise that it’s raised lots of questions for some… Read more
Which is a title sufficiently conceited to put anyone off reading this post. But let’s face it – it’s a not uncommon attitude. It lies at the heart of individualism, that pervasiveness western sickness that lies at the root of so many of our ills. It was the title I had in our current series, Great Lies of Our Time (I’m assured that the talks were not allotted because of some particular problem that needed addressing in each speaker – but who can say for sure?).
You can now download the talk here.
It seems that mental health issues have been making headlines. The House of Commons even debated it a week or so ago, and Michael Wenham responded with a great little piece on EA’s Friday Night Theology. “Tell it how it is”, he simply concluded. And bizarrely enough (without the slightest inkling it would coincide so much with public square events), we had our next Christians Facing Issues service planned for last Sunday on the very issue. Having tackled all variety of things in the past (the Credit Crunch, Celebrity culture, Pornography, Euthanasia etc), this time our theme was Facing Up To Depression.
STOP PRESS: Note updated links for talks
This Sunday saw the 3rd in our occasional Christians Facing Issues services, and this time the topic was Assisted Suicide. It’s in the news a lot and one thing is certain – it seems it is impossible to have a careful rational discussion about it in the current climate. Christians too often are just as guilty of jumping onto hobby horses or launching into soundbites as anyone else – so this service gave a fantastic opportunity to avoid that by informing, challenging and offering a considered and constructive response.
It was particularly helpful to hear from both professionals in the field and those for whom it is a very close and difficult subjects. Fortunately, these are available as videos on the langhammedia youtube page. Here is the introduction that the indomitable John Wyatt (Prof of Ethics and Perinatology at UCH) gave (an excellent production again by Simon Green and co)
Particularly striking were the interviews with Baroness Campbell, Sarah Meagher and our dear friends and members of the church, Alan & Sheila Toogood (go to langhammedia for the full interviews)
Finally, Dimity Grant-Frost did a really helpful explanation of Palliative Care:
And then Frances Whitehead lead the prayers, concluding with this wonderful prayer attributed to St Augustine of Hippo:
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake,
or watch, or weep tonight,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love’s sake. Amen.
As promised a few posts ago, here are the 2 other videos brilliantly produced by Simon Green for our Celebrity Culture sunday. Both are vox pops.
1st asks the simple question, WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY?
2nd asks IS JESUS A CELEBRITY?
Some FASCINATING answers! Jesus would be, like, MASSIVE!
Thanks guys for doing all this.
One of the admin team actually had a spare red carpet up his sleeve (thanks, Dave) – and so this was put to good use and then wheeled out this Sunday for the latest in our Christians facing Issues series. Here is a paparazzo pic of the fab Dimity, (one of the team who slaved away to get things ready), getting into the celeb mood…
Because this time, the topic of concern was Celebrity Culture. Planned months ago, it couldn’t have been held at more appropriate time, coming at the end of the week in which Michael Jackson’s funeral took place. Regardless of how aware or consciously influenced by celebrity culture we are, it is a fact that the world of celebrities is part of the very oxygen we breathe. So there were many things today that got people thinking…
And being the BBC’s next door neighbour means that we see celebrities walking past our front door on an almost daily basis, putting us in a peculiarly good place for addressing it.
Tim & the gang came up with a brilliant and thought-provoking time:
- 3 short in-house videos on the subject
- conversations with people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to this subject
- 3 Bible passages (1 Samuel 18:6-9, James 2:1-5 and Philippians 2:5-11) with 3 mini expositions from Hugh Palmer
- all surrounded by songs and prayers to tie in.
Colin Paterson is Entertainment Reporter for the BBC and a church member. His two worlds couldn’t be more divided – epitomised by last Tuesday, when he went from Leicester Sq covering the Harry Porter premiere, and then rushing to get to his All Souls fellowship group immediately after.
He made this fantastic short film about the history of celebrity – having had special access to film in the British Museum (and so name-checking everyone from Rameses II, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra to the stars of today)…
There were two other films – vox pops from ASLP and Oxford St – will put those up when they become available.
At All Souls last night, we had the latest in our occasional series of “Christians Facing Issues” – the topic this time was the Credit Crunch. It was a brilliant evening, having been devised by Tim Plyming, our workplace minister and BBC insider. He managed to get Hugh Pym and Justin Urquhart-Stewart from the Beeb to come and give us the inside info and economic background to it all – which was quite a coup. And then we had interviews with two people who had been personally affected by it all (one by redundancy, another through failed businesses). Pulling it all together, Hugh then gave 2 shorter talks (on Romans 1 & then Ephesians 1)bringing a biblical perspective to it all.
3 short films were shown during the course of the service and they are now available for all to see:
Here Tim interviews Justin U-S
Then Jane Barrett took the camera around the city and did a couple of vox pops: