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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

that time of the year again...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greenbelt begins at the end of this week - I can't quite believe how quickly it's come round (did I say that last year?) but I'm really looking forward to it again. This year there's a pretty good music line-up too with Athlete heading the bill on Monday night. The new Greenbelt iPhone app has really helped in trying to work out which things I'm going to try to go to - I've got loads of stuff on my 'favourites' page, though I know realistically I won't get to half of it!!

I'm involved again with Dream, only this year instead of hosting our own hour-long service, we're partnering with Grace, Safespace and Feig to run 'The Long Worship' in New Forms on the Monday from 10am to 6pm. It's an interactive multi-media worship space involving this...

The chances are that if you drop in early in the day, you'll want to come back later to see how things have moved on. Make sure you come along if you're at the festival - you won't regret it!!

I'm also co-leading two Spirited Exchanges short (half-an-hour) seminars, both in G-Source...

Friday at 9:30pm - Faith:Beyond Certainty. 'Do you want to explore new and more life giving faith paradigms? What might these be and where might you find them? Malcolm Chamberlain and Jenny McIntosh of Spirited Exchanges UK look at what might help form the new faith mosaic to be more robust and integrated with all of life.'

Sunday at 7:30pm - Faith: Past its 'Use By' Date. 'Our faith journey has numerous dimensions. One is a time of questioning and faith unravelling. Beliefs and practices lose their meaning and cease to be life giving, bringing loss and confusion. Malcolm Chamberlain and Jenny McIntosh (Spirited Exchanges UK) explore the uncertainties and challenges of this difficult space.'

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:25 AM | link | 1 comments |

in support of the NHS...

Monday, August 24, 2009

This may sound like a rant (because I guess it is!) but I am getting fed up with the complete rubbish (I could have used a much stronger word here) that is being churned out by the US conservative right concerning Obama's proposed health care reforms.

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a health scare and had to go to hospital for some tests, including an invasive procedure (thankfully everything came back clear). The fact that I could be treated by well qualified and experienced experts in the field using state of the art equipment with very little wait and no fear of a hefty bill afterwards is just one indicator of how great our National Health Service is. The further fact that anyone in need of such treatment, regardless of social status, race, gender, creed or financial standing, could have access to it, is the crowning glory.

So when you read of "Christian pastors", such as Rick Joyner in South Carolina, coming out with such paranoid nonsense as... "As incomprehensible as it may seem, this [i.e. Obama's health care proposal] is about euthanasia, the power to determine who lives or dies in America. Hitler and Stalin would have loved to have had such a means such as this for dispatching the millions they killed"(1) it makes me both angry and somewhat embarrassed to be associated with them as a fellow Christian (even if I might try to distance myself from this brand of Christianity). I'm no expert in US politics, but I don't think that Obama has any plans for using a national health care system to commit genocide!

Which is why I have signed 'this petition' - if you're as fed up as me over all this, why not do the same!

(1) reported by Andrew Clark and Ewen McAskill in The Guardian Weekly, 21.08.09 (p5)

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 8:40 AM | link | 1 comments |

brilliant again...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I saw U2 at Sheffield Don Valley Stadium last Thursday and they were great (as always!) This is the 5th time I've seen them and I don't recall seeing the band look so relaxed and obviously enjoying themselves. The music was tight, the set and visuals jaw-dropping, and the birthday celebrations for show designer (and former Greenbelt mainstage link-man) Willie Williams was a nice extra touch. Thirty years in the business and they've still got it - best band in the world?... You bet!


posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 5:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

defending the sacred...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Further to my last post, I received another email this morning, part of which reads...

"It all started at Shanty Nagar, Punjab, then the Christian community fell victim of Islamic extremism in Shangla Hills, the Christian community of Kasoor was attacked by the miscreants, and now a massive attack on a large number of Christians in Korian and Gojra.

In all the incidents Christian community and / or individuals have been falsely accused of desecrating the Holy Quran, thus once again the discriminatory BLASPHEMY LAWS have been misused against the peaceful Pakistani Christians in their own country, Pakistan.

According to News Reports thousands of Muslims, spurred by banned militant group, attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Gojra, on Saturday, burning more than hundred houses, and 7 people which include 2 minor children were also burnt alive, after report surfaced that some Christians had desecrated the Holy Quran."

I know I'm on sensitive ground here but I can't help but comment on this, having lived in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and witnessed first-hand how Christians live in almost constant fear of such attacks. The Pakistan Christian community has strongly denied the charges of desecrating the Holy Quran, which led to the events of the last week, and this seems to have fallen on deaf ears with no due process.

I'm not a Moslem myself, and therefore have a limited understanding of Islam from my own experience, reading and Moslem friends. But, even so, I confess to finding it difficult to reconcile such actions of extremists with the writings in the Quran they claim to follow. Every Surah (chapter) in the Quran begins, "In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" - the fundamental tenet of Islamic faith. My struggle is that even if people had desecrated the Holy Quran (again, it's worth stating that this is strongly denied) how could a Most Gracious and Merciful God sanction the indiscriminate burning of entire villages and murder of innocent people as a just response? Surely God's grace and mercy far exceeds the importance of a book, even one as sacred as the Quran (or Bible for that matter).

Interestingly, in the same week that these awful events have been taking place, an art installation involving the Bible caused controversy in Scotland. Naturally, there were complaints from people who were offended by this apparent defacing of Scripture (personally, I didn't really have a problem with it but can see why it could have offended others), but I didn't read of any villages being burned to the ground in response.

Once again, I know I'm on sensitive ground, but when we are faced with such injustices and such extreme persecution of innocent people surely it isn't good enough to brush it under the carpet without comment for fear of offending the guilty. The church in Pakistan has condemned these attacks and we ought to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in doing the same. I'm equally convinced that many Moslems feel just as sickened by the events of the last week in Pakistan and would want to distance themselves from these ugly forms of extremism.

As a comment on my previous post pointed out, the challenge for the Christian community is to avoid the temptation to retaliate, and we must pray for the strength to forgive and, by doing so, demonstrate the gospel in action. That's my prayer for the Christian community in Pakistan; but I'm also praying for their safety and for the Most Gracious and Merciful God to convict those who would cause such suffering in the name of religion and supposedly defending the sacred.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:50 AM | link | 0 comments |


Saturday, August 01, 2009

I was horrified to receive an email just a few minutes ago that read...

"... on the night of July 30, 2009 in the village of Korian Toba Tek Singh, that falls in the Pastoral and Episcopal jurisdiction of Faisalabad Diocese – Church of Pakistan, some Muslim extremists set on fire about 75 houses of the Christian community and 2 Churches of the locality were also damaged.

The Diocese of Peshawar Church of Pakistan condemns this insane and brutal act of violence against peaceful poor Christian communities and on behalf of the Church of Pakistan humbly appeals to all partners and friends to pray for the comfort of the affected families and where possible extend support for the rehabilitation of victims of this unfortunate incident.

Sadly attacks like these are all too frequent and rarely reported in the Western press. If you are a praying person, please do pray for the families affected, and for the wider Christian community in Pakistan living in fear of further attacks. Pray too against the misguided religious loyalties that lead some people to commit such barbaric acts.

The Pakistan Christian Post gives more information 'here'

update... BBC news report (and video) 'here'

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 12:12 PM | link | 2 comments |