Archives June 2017

Some of my favourite films

A few years ago (2013) I listed the Albums which I felt had shaped me as a person: not necessarily the best albums but the ones which shaped me see http://www.frsimon.uk/my-favourite-albums-of-all-time/
My son, Liam, mentioned that he had been compiling his own list of movies, and so it set me thinking. Here is my list (in no particular order) of films that have helped make me what I am today, and for that I apologise. It is definitely not a list of the super-cool, hip or esoteric, but these are films I treasure.
Human Traffic
The Matrix
I did not really know what the Matrix was all about when I went to see it, and so the ascension of Neo back into the real world was a genuine shock – an experience that I’ll never get back, because once you know… That feeling was just amazing, a lightbulb moment. Beyond that the depth, the theology, the philosophy behind the Matrix has enough material to keep me engaged for decades: questions of reality and perception, of creation and ontology are all expressed in this wonderful movie. Pity the other two were absolute shite, but you have to milk the cash cow for all it’s worth these days.
City of God
Brazilian film of such style, grace and brilliant story-telling. Yes, it’s in Portuguese, but reading subtitles never heart anyone. It’s a wonderful, challenging film about one of the worst places in the world. People are ace, they really are.
Pulp Fiction
Tarrantino’s masterpiece of non-linear storytelling is just perfect: the characters are all comic-book, the timeline is all messed up to keep the whole thing boiling and the soundtrack is one of the most carefully curated parts of the film: not just an add-on, but an intrinsic piece of the story-telling. Each little episode is so disjoint and yet so connected. Does the suitcase really contain the soul of Marcus Wallace?
Napolean
Silent. 7 and a half hours long. Incomplete, because bits of it still hasn’t been found. This is simply a masterpiece. I have been fascinated by this film since a patient at Barts introduced me to it. Abel Gance tells the epic story so epically, and at the climax, across 3 screens. This was in 1927 for goodness sake! Best watched at a big screening and a live accompaniment.
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Mark Robinson and I (aged 13 or 14) went to see Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein (another excellent film, but one outside this list) as at the time we were all into Blazing Saddles and the like. On the double bill was this movie we’d never heard of. All we talked about for a year after that night was the other movie: the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So outrageous, so glam, so sexually ambiguous, it opened our eyes to diversity and camp. True to say, I’ve never been the same since.

Again, not necessarily the best films (or albums) but the films that have made a difference to me. I may well expand this list as time goes on and I am reminded of other great, important and influential movies on me. So, although I love to waste train journeys rewatching the camp classic Pitch Perfect, quote frequently and extensively from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club and won’t mention the pornography of my teenage years (formative in one way, at least), and clearly I’m not hip or savvy. This is me. I am who I am.

What a “Resource Church” really means…

When a shiny new Church Plant (usually from a shiny church in central west London) appears like a cuckoo in a city – in a reasonably affluent area or an area saturated with students, one of the phrases used to calm us is that it will be a “resource church” which on the face of it, does not sound like a bad thing at all.

 

“Oh good,” we think, “maybe some of those shiny resources can be put to good use in my slightly less shiny parish”, “perhaps they might have a screen or PA we could borrow, or even a working photocopier”, “I wonder if they might have some shiny young people to help us leaflet the estate about our mission to the elderly there…”

 

But such hopes are quickly dashed as the pre-existing congregation are levered out of their not very shiny church and abandoned as they focus relentlessly on a growth strategy that initially strips all the young people out of other churches  into the remodelled (how did they get that through the DAC so quickly? Money still clearly talks…) new interior where the boring old essentials of Anglicanism are relegated to the back to be forgotten, as a Cafe is open before each service serving “absolutely divine coffee”

 

As for the resources they have on offer for us? Well, the transplanted Vicar, Curate, “Worship Leader” and Administrator are very willing to resource the entire church… Why not send your people to one of their Discipleship or Beginners Courses? Why not gather all the “worship leaders” together and our Worship Leader can show them how finally to do it right. It’s funny, because I always thought the leading of Worship was the primary responsibility of the Vicar, Curate, Reader etc. Not just some bloke with a guitar (Fr Robb being the obvious exception to this).

 

What they want to resource us with is their way of doing things,  to insinuate themselves into each and every parish until,  rather like McDonald’s Franchises they come to be the bland, homogenised face of Christendom. If your face does not fit this shiny model of church: if you don’t have the same responses as them, share the same sexuality or gender then they can’y help

 

As an aside, I am amazed that there is not a single woman involved here who is not married to a ‘minister’ – it seems to be the only way they are allowed to minister, because someone in this resource church needs to have a penis somewhere it would appear. It seems that capable and spiritual women are reduced to smiling add-ons with great teeth, beautiful hair and a better class of theology degree that they simply are not allowed to properly utilise in proper ministry because of a single casual line in a pastoral letter of Paul. But I digress.

 

If your taste leans towards valuing the sacraments that Jesus and his bride, the Church have used for centuries and if guitar and drums don’t always work for you, then I am afraid, we can’t resource you.

 

You aren’t resourceable. Even though we must be Jews to the Jews and Greeks to the Greeks, that we must make our ministry as protean as Paul was prepared to do at the Areopagus, these resources come in only one form and in only one spirituality.

 

Tough. Our tanks are here on the lawn now. We are taking over.

Rainbow Cross. Use Freely.

I’ve been working on this graphic in photoshop, and although I got (eventually) the thing I wanted, I’m still not clear how I got there. Use freely. To save, Right-Click and select “Save As…” or “Save Image As…” depending on your browser.

 

This is the chunky version (641px x 802 transparent png)

and this is the slightly more textured version.

The photoshop file is here.

Enjoy!