• Helen

Greenbelt Top Ten

We can’t remember exactly when our love affair with the Greenbelt Festival began. But many of our friends know that for about twenty years now, over August Bank Holiday weekend, we pack our chairs, our picnics and our notebooks and go off to sit in a field! Along with thousands of other people, we find the Festival has been a time of mind and spirit renewal for us.

What is Greenbelt? It calls itself ‘a festival of arts, faith and justice’. It is that – and so much more! For us it has been a place where we can hear new perspectives, where we can worship and think, a place to talk to other Christians, to people of different faiths and none – a place from which we always come away saying, ‘Yes…we need to think about that!’ This year the theme was ‘Acts of the Imagination’.

Every year, when I come home, I go through the notes I have made and highlight various sentences. They are sentences that, in the words of Pádraig Ó Tuama – poet, theologian and mediator from the Corrymeela Community, make me feel ‘unfamiliarised’. They are ideas that resonate for some reason and I want to think about them more.

For my blog this week, I’m sharing ten of them.

  1. Imagination apprehends more than reason comprehends…. We have crucified Jesus with our lack of imagination (Malcolm Guite – poet, theologian and philosopher)

  2. The most precious human activities are aimless. (Revd. Canon Giles Goddard- Vicar of St John’s, Waterloo)

  3. Most of the people who are struggling in the world are struggling because no-one wants what they have to give. (Revd. Dr. Sam Wells- Vicar of St Martin in the Fields)

  4. Everyone needs a community of contradiction to help them exegete the voices in their head. (Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan)

  5. We must all find the courage to name what shames us about our past. (Pádraig Ó Tuama – Poet, theologian and mediator)

  6. God is proximate to brewing chaos – think Creation, Babel, Pentecost. (Revd. Canon Broderick Greer, Canon Precentor at Saint John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado)

  7. So much church development is predicated on respectability politics. (Professor Anthony G. Reddie - participative educator and liberation theologian)

The last three were said or quoted and I wrote them down without identifying the speaker – sorry!

  1. Gender is who you want to go to bed as; sexuality is who you want to go to bed with.

  2. There is no such thing as a single struggle because we don’t live single struggle lives.

  3. A Christofascist is someone who identifies as a Christian and thinks the gospel has nothing to do with anything other than the salvation of their personal soul.


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