Greenbelt was fantastic! There were so many events and talks and seminars - most of them good, many of them thought provoking, almost all made you glad to be a Christian!
This year's Festival had the theme of 'Redemption Songs' and a lot of the talks, etc had slavery/freedom at their core.
Among the events I went to:
Sounds of Salvation - Ska Mass (Communion in the Sung Eucharist 'tradition', but ska music, rather than classical!)
Martyn Joseph - Rock, including the superb "Liberal Backslider" song.
Jibe Productions - Dark comedy/satire. Didn't really enjoy this. If you like 'League of Gentlemen', you'd enjoy this.
Jim Wallis & Stephen Timms MP - "You say tomato..." Panel discussion on UK/US politics with refreshingly little heckling and one questioner who asked a stupid/unfair question actually got boo'ed!
Nick Baines (Bishop of Croydon) - "God on our side?" - Talk about who is being prophetic/in touch with the Spirit... those who are keeping things 'traditional' or those who are being 'progressive'. Also a lot about the use of language. [hoping to blog on this at HatMitre]
Greenbelt Folk Club. Open mic, lots of fun, even if it was rather noisy because the sign-up for the speed-dating was in the same venue! :o)
Courtney Pine - Jazz. Didn't stay. Not my thang.
Taize Service - very beautiful and reflective.
Communion Service - 10,000 people sharing bread and wine together. The service had a theme of 'Redemption Songs' including prayers for the 20 million men, women & children who are slaves or, euphamistically, bonded-labourers in the world today (5 times as many as when slavery was abolished in Britain 200 years ago).
Cathy Burton - soft rock, very good. Might even buy her album (making it the first Christian album I own...)
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - fantastic fun, great songs, silly 'tricks'... just superb!
John Bell - "Whatever happened to heaven?" Reclaiming the image of heaven from 'God sitting on a cloud' and 'children skipping through pastures with Jesus' or even 'a reward for those whose lives are rubbish now' to something that's more relevant, useful... and true!
"Amazing Grace" - Trailer for the film of the story of William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. Looks excellent. Released next March (2007) to coincide with the 200th Anniversary of the passing of The Abolition Act.
Muyiwa & Riversongz - Gospel worship music. Soooo much fun, and awesome to see that many middle-aged white people jumping up and down, singing gospel with their arms in the air!! :o)
mayBe - reflective session looking at the Magnificat. Not entirely my thing, but others seemed to enjoy it.
Jim Wallis - "A moral response to terrorism". How to approach terrorism without bombing the heck out of people or ignoring it. Looking at tackling it from the root causes.
Clive Stafford-Smith & Nick Yarris- "Innocence and the death penalty in the USA". Clive is a lawyer who represents people on death row in America, and also in Guantanamo Bay. Nick spent 8,057days (1981-2004) on death row in Pennsylvania before finally being proved innocent... please read his story!
Rudo Kwaramba - Living in the Margins, looking at enabling disabled people both here and in developing countries.
Dave Tomlinson - "Gut Level Religion" on Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd...)
John Bell - "God bless Adam & Steve?" on the issue of whether pastors should bless gay couples who have got a civil partnership (the UK does NOT have gay marriage). Also looking at what Biblical backing there is for 'traditional' Christian attitudes to homosexuality/heterosexuality, especially compared with other 'issues' (women in leadership, telling lies, slavery, greed...) [HatMitre might get something on this too].
Naima Bouteldja - Representations of Muslims & Islam in the media - looking at stereotypes and how Muslims are seen as Muslims first, and individuals second. (eg. "John is agressive because he's poor... Ahmed is agressive because he's a Muslim).
Muyiwa & Riversongz (again!)
And in addition to that, spent a lot of time in the Tiny Tea Tent (£1/mug!), including lunch with the Laynesmiths.
So, all-in-all, an excellent weekend, despite it being incredibly cold (and uncomfortable) overnight. Next year, I'm taking an airbed! And yes, if I can, I will be there next year. Anyone care to join me? :o)
4 days ago