Posts Tagged 'missional expression'

This Is Not The End

“Open up your heart – just one more time for me
before we turn to face reality.
Don’t stop to think this perfect chance may never come again.
This is not the end.

Let me use your ears – just for a little while 
I’ve got to find a way to make you smile”.

From “This Is Not The End” by Agent Orange.


So we took down our “Art of Joy” art exhibition on Sunday.  It was a happy/sad thing to do. 

We have a tendency to critique things and, yet, I reckon that people’s interaction with art can achieve a million invisible things that we’ll never see or know.  So what did we set out to achieve and did we do it?

1)  We recognised that there is a lot of bad news out there.  We wanted to inhabit a physical space and create a sanctuary.  A place where people might encounter some joy through art, through space, through workshops, through music, through conversation, through random acts of kindness. 

2)  We wanted to encourage and affirm people who are trying to explore and convey what they are learning in life through creative arts.  We just wanted to recognise the good in those things and spur people on in continuing in their various forms of creativity.  If Christians are involved in those arenas then surely something of the joy and wrestling of life should emerge and, maybe, that demonstrates authenticity and relevance to those who would never darken the doors of a church?  If non-Christians are also involved, then hopefully it shows our belief in them as people and in what they create and what they have to say too.

3)  We wanted to raise some money that we could just give away to the Grassmarket Mission who support the marginalised and vulnerable of this great city we call home and love so much.

I am hugely encouraged that a small group of people caught a little vision of what this could look like and ran with it.  We all have different backgrounds and skills and certainly aren’t all involved in “the arts”.  Yet, everyone got stuck in and we worked as a team.  I’m really proud of what we achieved and, yet, I don’t want to inflate our role or become full of pride.  I’m just grateful for what I have experienced through it all.  Some of the conversations I have had and the joy I have felt will stick with me for a long time.  The ability to encorage, bless and affirm a whole bunch of people has been an honour.

Where do we go with this next?  I don’t know, but as a group we are looking closely at the whole idea of what we are terming missional expressions – actively living out loud what we believe in the ways we are wired.  In some shape or form trying to be a faith community without walls and barriers – bringing joy and good news in the places where people are at.  I have a strong feeling that, whilst it may not necessarily look the same, this is not the end…



“Too many words.

Too many words”

From “Words” by Low.


We throw a lot of words around in our daily conversation.  We de-construct them at times or try to figure out how to apply the concepts they are associated with.

A friend and I were talking of how he is sending his daughter to Edinburgh’s only Gaelic speaking nursery.  She is only spoken to in Gaelic in the hope that a process of immersion will help her pick it up.  He hopes it will assist her in learning other languages in later life – particularly French as his family spend two months a year overseas instructing snowboarding.  Neither of us know any Gaelic, but there is something nice about trying to preserve something of our nation’s heritage and tradition.  Another friend recently commented that the Gaelic word for “butterfly” is “an dealan de” which literally translates as “a glimpse(or glimmer) of God.”  How beautiful is that?

I’ve really enjoyed reading a couple of posts by another friend this week exploring two other words I am grappeling with at present – “Missional” and “Sabbath”.  I’d really encourage you to check out this and this.

Bad Architecture.

“Let’s take them apart, all of these old beliefs and go back to the plans.

Burn them down to be rebuilt to house the lonely and the damned.

Bad architecture will never last”.  

From “Bad Architecture” by calamateur.



I love the above song.  I love the lyrics, the picture language and the truth it conveys.

A structure can either be a vehicle or an obstacle.  We often say we love change, but settle for the comfort of what we know.  As a church community we are looking at restructuring things.  The current model works, but is it more than symbolic that we’ve outgrown our existing building and leased another building which has recently been sold which will leave us forced to look at relocating again?  We will be having to look afresh at buildings and structures physically and metaphorically. 

Existing properties can be functional, but outdated.  Better solutions can be found to the changing needs of those frequenting a building.  New ideas can transform things and a new design can make a positive impact upon its environment.  Good architecture can become something that attracts and is talked about positively.  It can become something cherished. 

I think it is proper to recognise the history of a church building and generations of community with thankfulness.  But, a vision received over 100 years ago may not be the same as the vision for the here and now or for the next 1, 10, 50 or 100 years.

It is exciting, but unsettling.  Are we willing to demolish something we love and have a vested interest in in order to bring new life?  As we move from a structure focused around small groups of people doing life together to forming groups centred around people with a common passion (known as Missional Expressions) what will the church gathered and scattered look like even twelve months from now?  What legacy will our actions now make for future generations? 

P.S Calamateur will be playing in Edinburgh for the first time in 3 years at The Lot, Grassmarket, Edinburgh on Easter Monday.  Tickets £5 on the door from 7.30.  It is guaranteed to be fantastic.

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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