Crisis 53

GREAT NEWS!

EBOOKS FAST DECLINING....... MUCH ABUSED PHYSICAL BOOKS SURGE AHEAD!

CRISIS 53

Editor tony jasper.

Letters and copy welcomed: Write to ~Crisis Milsrof, Eglos Road, Ludgvan Churchtown, Cornwall, United Kingdom. TR28HG. tony.jasper@btinternet.com CRISIS covers life, especially the Arts.

BOOKS

STOP THINKING THAT PHYSICAL BOOKS HAVE HAD THEIR DAY!

The latest sale figures in the UK put EBooks on £204 million, while physical books just simply have a whopping £1.55 billion take. EBooks are down 19 per-cent. Those simple statistics nail the general perception that it’s farewell to the traditional. One reason for the physical book sales increasing by almost 10 per cent lies in the ever beautiful design and overall packaging, especially for the hardback.

The Times on June 7 (p8/9) majored on book cover and jacket design, and amusingly carried the quote “It’s the highlight of your life if you happen to make an author happy.” As someone with over 70 books properly published, as opposed to ‘self-published’ it can happen! Still, I have had some poor covers. The first thing anyone sees is the cover and a poor specimen can totally counteract intent, or hours of an author slogging away. I have suffered. Sometimes publishers create a cover that fits in with sales strategy and it may have little do with the book’s text.

BOOKS on the current Jasper read list

  1. Biblical Truths – Dale B. Martin (Yale)
  2. Faith Generation – Nick Shepherd (SPCK)
  3. Martin Luther – Lyndal Roper (Bodley Head)
  4. Simon Rich – Spoiled Brats (Serpent’s Tail)
  5. Hunter Davies – The C0-0ps Got Bananas (Simpn Schuster)

NOTICEBOARD

DRAMA – PLAYWRITNG

THE ARTS CENTRE GROUP

ANNOUNCE A NEW DRAMA COMPETITION

Renowned theatre critic Michael Billington has wondered why there are so few good religious theatre scripts .

‘Faith within a contemporary context’ is the suggested theme for a national drama competition.

Every two years the national Arts Centre Group runs a national drama competition.

Leading theatre directors, teachers and actors are involved in the judging process with the two winning entries receiving a London play-reading from professional actors. The ACG is keen to find new texts from those under the age of 21 and apart from a play-reading a sum of £300 waits for the winner of the Julian Battersby Award. The other award is for those 22 and over, with the sum of £100 offered plus the play-reading before those involved in professional theatre.

The Administrator is the actor, playwright Tony Jasper and who, and his Company, Jasperian Theatre, can be googled. For verification. Tony is a long-time member of the Society of Authors with over 70 titles published.

The final submission date is Monday September 11. Full details can be obtained from the Arts Centre Group at info@artsentregroup.org.uk.

REVIEW

Wesley’s magnificent spectacle

by Tony Langford

“The wind was so high at five that I could not stand in the usual place at Gwennap. But at a small distance was a hollow capable of containing many thousand people. I stood on one side of this amphitheatre toward the top, with people beneath and on all sides, and enlarged from the Gospel of the day….”

So wrote Methodist founder John Wesley of his first visit to Gwennap Pit, near Redruth, on Sunday 5 September 1762. Between 1762 and 1789, Wesley preached at Gwennap Pit on 18 occasions and it became his favourite outdoor preaching place. He would surely be pleased that Gwennap Pit, now part of the Cornwall and West Devon World Heritage Site, remains a preaching pit.

Last weekend, on the afternoon of Pentecost Sunday, almost 300 people gathered at Gwennap Pit for an ecumenical service to mark Pentecost. Cornish folk were joined by visitors from many corners of Britain as well as from Germany and from Australia.

Proceedings kicked off with a time of community hymn singing energetically led by Cornish writer and actor Tony Jasper. Guest preacher was the Rev Dr Roger Walton, president of the Methodist Conference. In his introduction, Roger Walton explained the visit to Cornwall was near the end of his year as president and he was glad he had “left the best till last.” A powerful speaker, he preached from John’s Gospel and encouraged members of the congregation “to take risks.” Roger Walton was introduced by the Rev Steve Wild, chairman of the Cornwall Methodist District and Deacon Andrew Shute of the Catholic Church contributed a Bible reading, while musical accompaniment was by Lilian Davies on keyboard.

The service was also a beacon event for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Thy Kingdom Come initiative. Supported by churches across the world and from many denominations and traditions, it encouraged Christians to pray in the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost. The Revd Howard Peskett, an Anglican, led Thy Kingdom Come prayers at the Gwennap Pit service.

GWENNAP

Gwennap Pit was remodelled in 1806 as a memorial to John Wesley by Richard Michell, a mining engineer and four mine captains. They built a wall around it, and created the 12 rows of terraced seats that remain today.

The first Pentecost service was held on Whit Monday in 1807 and, with a few exceptions has been held annually ever since though it later switched to Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Since 2011 it has been held on Pentecost Sunday and is an ecumenical service under the auspices of Churches Together in Cornwall.

Gwennap Pit (gwennappit.co.uk) is a magical place. Writing of preaching to a large gathering there, John Wesley wrote: “I think this is the most magnificent spectacle which is to be seen on this side of heaven.” It has become a place of pilgrimage for Methodists and aficionados from around the world. It is open every day throughout the year. The visitor centre and adjoining Busveal Chapel are open from Spring Bank Holiday to the end of September, Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm and Saturday, 10am to 1pm.

This first appeared in the Western morning News, Saturday June 10. 2017.

 

REVIEW 2

tony langford

THE MAN CALLED BILLY

PENZANCE CORWALL

The body of the chapel was full so we made for the gallery where a good number had already gathered. There was a buzz about the place. The venue was Chapel Street Methodist Church, Penzance; the event a performance of Tony Jasper’s The Man Called Billy.

The production focuses on the Billy Graham rallies at Harringay Stadium in 1954 when men and women were challenged to ‘get up out of their seats’ and follow Jesus. Joining Tony Jasper for this production was Ruth James who has many credits in theatre, including the West End, film and TV. The latter includes performances in Wycliffe, House of Elliot and Rough Justice. Based in London, Ruth hails from Redruth, a town that was at the heart of the Cornish mining scene.

Set in the MCHW radio station, invented for this production, the presenters Ruth James and Tony Jasper explored various aspects of Billy Graham’s life. At times Jasper played other roles. Such as an American journalist being interviewed by Ruth about the evangelist, dispensing facts in a memorable way. At another point Jasper morphed into an Anglican bishop with a plummy voice, being interviewed about how the established Church became involved with Billy Graham and of how praise songs crept into worship.

Music played a major part in the production. St Ives Fore Street Methodist Church Gospel Choir, under musical director William Thomas, contributed hymns from Dr Graham’s crusades. From Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory to When Peace Like A River Attendeth My Soul. There was also plenty of opportunity for the audience to sing, including Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah and Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine. And there was one praise song, Majesty, Worship His Majesty.

Thousands of people responded to Billy Graham’s call to ‘get up out of your seats” and Tony Jasper interviewed several people in the audience with memories of 1954 and later crusades. There was newsreel footage of the 1954 crusade: of Billy Graham’s powerful preaching; of his song leader Cliff Barrows; and of the soloist George Beverly Shea. But it was not all looking back for, in an address, the Rev Alastair Bolt, minister of Chapel Street Methodist Church reminded the audience that faith is as relevant today as it was in 1954. A powerful production. Informative, entertaining and thought provoking.

THEATRE REVIVAL POSSIBLE

The Jasperian Theatre Company may revive in 2017/8

JOHN WESLEY

making nobodies somebodies

tony jasper

TEXT REVISION 2012/7

ENQUIRIES to the address given on the first page of Crisis

THE FIRST TEXT PAGES:GENERAL NOTE - Wesley was often spelt Westley and plainly was pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable.

(A bare stage, save a chair that has history and a sense of style and that must be able to withstand someone standing on it).

There is a heard in the distance a singing rehearsal (the singers/actors and carry this into their stage appearance)

 

INTRODUCTION scene : enter four (or more if available) actors, not the one who will play John Wesley)

They see a pile of scripts Fred takes one. (assumes the pose and manner of an open-air speaker, the others take one as and when)).

ACTOR FRED 1 ACTOR GLENYS 2 ACTOR JUNE 3 ACTOR 4 GORDON.

If no name then lines to be picked up by other actors depending on size of cast.

 

ACTOR FRED: In the absence of the director. In the absence... If I may get your attention. Page one. Ladies and gentlemen and all genders fluid: John Wesley. Making Someb0dies Nobodies. No.

All: Making Nobodies Somebodies.

FRED: Yeah. Sorry. Right. Where am I. ‘18th century production..... major religious figure................John Wesley.

wants to change the nation and the church....an early Blair, well,, perhaps, perhaps not....

ACTOR 1: Cameron . May.

ACTORS: Disaster.

ACTOR 1: Corbyn.

ACTOR GLENYS: Sidney..... Nothing

ACTOR 2: Sidney Nothing.? Strong candidate. I’m June. I’m being sarcastic.

FRED: And I’m August. Sorry. Not trying to be well you know.

ACTOR: GLENYS. Stupid you mean.

FRED: Look I’m. just trying to move things along.

ACTOR: Well, do it. It’ll be December in a moment.

ACTOR FRED: Right. Some say he wants to form his own church, or if it is not his intent, then he does his best to achieve it, one way or the other.

Has a brother Charles, multi-talented like him but best

known for his 7000 or so hymns,’ –

ACTOR: More songs than an Ed Sheeran.

ACTOR Hello and good-bye to Lennon & McCartney, or

should I say as his nibs wants, McCartney & Lennon.

FRED Charles tries to prevent

his brother forming another church’.

ACTOR Good for him.

FRED In the absence of you now who, might as well go for a little run-- through

Ladies and Gentlemen of. this place.

for your delight we present (pauses expectantly)

C’mon then. Let’s be hearing ya.

ACTORS John Wesley: Making Nobodies Somebodies.

 

ACTOR Hello.. Hello.. Wood’s the name. Wood.. Stage manager for this John Wesley play - first job

ACTOR June Where did you train?

FRED Nowhere really.

ACTOR Sounds familiar.

ACTOR 1 Did not introduce myself. Gordon. Hi girls.

ACTOR Glenys (with irony) Hi, boys.

ACTOR Gordon) Hi Hi.

JUNE So, who is playing the man himself.

GORDON I ’m not.

JUNE And I’m not.

GORDON And my little poppet (to Glenys) it’s not you.

GLENYS I’m not your poppet.

GORDON This lady has attitude.

GLENYS Grow-up

FRED We have eight weeks together, so we need to

well..... I’m sure we’re going to have a…

ACTORS Wonderful time.

FRED. Yes. Glenys. you want to say something.

GORDON : Can we get on?

GLENYS I was going to ask if a smoke is OK?

ACTORS No.

FRED Sorry.

JUNE (reading) ‘This new play comes with a message’

GORDON In other words drama used as a subversive art.

Beware of what the playwright says - consciousness

is your safeguard.

JUNE Something you will need.

FRED Cue Lights.

GORDON We haven’t got any.

JUNE (continuing her reading) This play is set in the 18th century.

GLENYS (reading) The Cinderella of centuries.

FRED Cue dancers.

GORDON We haven’t got any.

JUNE ‘There was a general decay of religion

GLENYS spiritual skies black - like the gloom

of an Arctic midnight

JUNE Chilly as Arctic forests.

GORDON Christianity no longer the subject

of enquiry, discovered to be fictitious

JUNE when faith dies, what else can live!

GLENYS Religion not seen as a living human

experience’ And so.....

GORDON Speaking as an electrician, I would

put it this way: ‘ religion was like an electric lamp without the electric current’.

GLENYS But you are not.

GORDON I’ m improvising.

GLENYS That explains everything.

GORDON Explains what?

GLENYS Your whole attitude.

FRED Cue laughter.

No takers, methinks. How about some groans, lamentations, roars, shouts, happiness beams. It’s what people did at some of his meetings, or at those of his followers. I’ll shout a few things.

Fall prostrate on the ground.

(one actor does)

cry with the greatest violence.

(one actor does)

then up again.

struggle as in the pangs of death.

(one actor does)

shout ‘O how he loves me.’

(all do)

shout ‘I am in heaven, I am in heaven.’

(all do)

let’s have some involuntary laughter

(all do)

are you happy?

CAST Yes!

JUNE All very interesting. What’s next?

GLENYS (reading) ‘the morality of the century

JUNE for that see the art of Hogarth, politics of Walpole, and.......

GORDON the writings of ...

GLENYS Doctor Johnson, or Smollett’

FRED It needs bringing down for us mere mortals.

JUNE There was ‘foulness in the literature of the day, cruelty of its laws, there were people still alive who remembered the cry of Judge Jeffreys.

ACTORS Hang them all!

FRED Cue house lights.

GORDON We haven’t got any.

JUNE Seems interesting enough. John Wesley -

Making Somebodies Nobodies

GORDON You mean making nobodies somebodies.

GLENYS Weeks with you.

FRED Cue Bible. (silence) You can’t always be serious.

JUNE (grinding on) ‘to find the way to heaven.

GORDON I went to a Methodist school

GLENYS Now there’s a surprise, a boys boarding school.

JUNE I never knew there were any.

FRED Quite a few. John Wesley was into education.

GORDON I was going to say our teacher said

John Wesley read Scripture out of a deep personal need.

GLENYS Always good to find an actor who has done his research.

FRED Do you realise how many famous Johns there have been?

(the other three assemble like quiz show contestants)

FRED Name three of them, you have ten seconds

You can have one telephone call to a friend if you need help.

JUNE I’d like to call a friend.

FRED Here’s my mobile.

JUNE Is that you Lesley. I‘m on a quiz show.

No, you can’t see it on your television. It’s a

recording. I want three historically famous men with John as their Christian name.

Not John Wesley. I know he is a John, I will explain later.

FRED Time is running out.

GLENYS (on the other end of the phone) John Milton, John Bunyan. John Lock

FRED. Is that your final answer?

(someone does a loud cough)

ACTOR JUNE John Milton, John? Bunyan. John Lock.

FRED You have won one million pounds.

(loud cheers)

FRED Cue bank manager with cheque.

JUNE that’s the best cue I’ve heard

GORDON. As the Methodist scholar here I have to ask :

did John Wesley leave a deeper mark on English, even world history, than the three Johns put together?

GLENYS. My. you do know a lot.

JUNE It says here:

FRED Up she goes (holding her high)

JUNE John Wesley was in quarrel with the essential temper of the age but he bent that temper to his own.

FRED A round of applause!

GORDON Not everyone applauded his efforts ....

GLENYS. Nor yours. Time we got dressed....this is your moment, we’ll leave you to it.

FRED everyone comfortable, paid yer

money - that’s good, next to your licence to the BBC,

don’t begrudge the theatre..............

I would like to say a few things, this isn’t my first job.

actually, I am a trained actor, I like to wind people up....

anyway, this is what Mr Hattersley - he of the Guardian,

once of Parliament, has to say about John Wesley:

‘Here is a man who, although superficially 7 unprepossessing, radiated an irresistible dynamism that came from the unwavering conviction that he had been called to do God’s work. But Wesley was a man, not a saint. He was as susceptible to women as he was attractive, and emotionally irresponsible. His entire life was spent torn between duty and desire’.

GORDON: So lucky.

GLENYS: In your case, just thinking.

FRED: I leave you with the words of the Rector of Wroot,

18th century{

‘Fain would I have spoken to you, but that I am quite at a

loss how to address or behave. Your way of thinking is so

extraordinary that your presence creates an awe, as if you were the inhabitant of another world.’

 

Well, there you are then, does this play run with those summaries?

We’ll have to see. To business, and I should be getting

dressed. Nice to meet you, nice to..........

Curtain up. Right, there is not one.

cue lights, no, we haven’t got any, cue cast.

 

MUSIC TOP TEN JESUS TITLES

At the back of my book Jesus & The Pop Culture, I listed over 700 songs about Jesus that have been recorded by people in the general record world. For some readers this was a mind-blowing list. In generalised fashion it is assumed that the popular music world needs a large gang of evangelists to correct its foibles. Well, the popular music world has its low points, but that does not deflect the simple evidence that in the so-called land of rock ‘n roll many artists have had a Christian influence, and among them come artists with strong Christian convictions. So here are my top 10 songs and the choice covers a wide range of music genre. I cover some 40 years! It is also a somewhat off the cuff’ listing and so I await titles you think have been missed and would push out some of those listed!

 

1 The Byrds – Jesus is Just Alright. US group from the late 1960s with marvellous harmonies.

It comes off their album ‘Ballad of Easy Rider’ and apart from the Doobies there is a version by DC Talk. Still sounds fresh. Great testimony. It flies against the statement of the time by John Lennon who said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The gospel group The Art Reynolds Singers recorded it first, in 1967 on their Tellin’ Like It Is album.

2 The Doobie Brothers – Jesus is Just Alright.

This is a raunchy rock version ‘tellin’ it like it is!’

That it appears among rock songs makes it all the more telling, and brings Jesus into a large audience domain. Great track. It can be found on their album Toulouse Street and a ‘Best Of ‘collection.

3 The Dransfields – Lord of All Behold.

Unless you are trad folkie this may not be a known track, however this folk duo of Barry and Robin clears genres with a scorching title track that evokes such spiritual high. It can be heard on YouTube. Just hear their fiddle playing.

4 The Source – You Got The Love (sample- Candi Staton). Candi came big time thanks to the beautiful pop song ‘Young Hearts Run Free”. She has recorded several gospel albums and testifies to faith. A good introduction is her The Ultimate Gospel Collection. She is sampled by The Source for their floor single. She had recorded the song in 1986 before its remixing by The Source in 1991. Joss Stone recorded the song for her fourth studio album, and Florence + The Machine Machine have their version in 2000.

 

5 Blind Faith – In the Presence of the Lord.

It may be off a 1969 album titled after the group but it remains a powerful song. The lyric has “I have finally found a way to live/Just like I never knew Before’. Stevie Winwood’s vocals are par excellence. Also on the album ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’. Writer is the legendary Eric Clapton, with scriptural reference 1 Samuel 6:20. In his autobiography he speaks of his faith journey that has veered from hot to lukewarm. Look for a version by 3 Doors Down and the Soul Children of Chicago.r5

 

6 Bob Dylan – All Along the Watchtower.

This much recorded number comes off Dylan’s 1967 classic album John Wesley Harding and has been recorded by people such as Affinity, Randy California, Van Morrison, Steve Hackett, U2, Grateful Dead, and above all Jimi Hendrix on his wondrous Electric Ladyland set. Rolling Stone ranks it the 47th greatest song of all time. The singer-song writer has released at least five different versions. The lyric finds its base in the Old Testament: Isaiah 21: 5-9.

 

7 Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day.

This exuberant title track became an international smash hit across the globe in 1969.

Recorded a few years previous its lyric is an 18th century English hymn. Other popular versions come from Joan Baez, Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, and the Golden Gate Quartet. For once explicit faith statements did not deter the record buying public. It brought R&B and Gospel together.

 

8 Mary, Mary – Shackles (Praise You). A sister R&B duo with a major church background. They say their name was chosen in honour of the two Marys in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Shackles gave them a UK top ten hit. A YouTube version can be enjoyed. This was their debut hit single with the inspiring line “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance. You broke the chains now I lift up my hands.” I can testify to their exhilarating spirit-filled concert set.

9 Emmylou Harris – Where Could I Go But to the Lord. Elvis does a fine version of this old-time spiritual. The Emmylou version is on her album Angel Band. As she sings: ”Where could I go where could I go/Seeking a refuge for my soul’ Needing a friend to help m in the en/Where could I go to the Lord.” She has a beautiful Christmas album, ‘Light of the Stable.’

She professes a strong faith.

10 Bob Dylan – Every Grain of Sand. This majestic Dylan song comes off his album Shot of Love with its somewhat lack lustre cover. Here is Dylan’s conversion experience, compassionate and not self-righteous.

Choosing but ten songs means other intriguing numbers are left out, such as ‘Jesus” from Queen, even the somewhat controversial ‘Jesus Children of America’ from Stevie Wonder, Hymn and Sweet Jesus from Barclay James Harvest, Lou Reed and Velvet Underground and Jesus. So one can continue!

This copy first appeared in The Methodist Recorder.

 

From Garth Hewitt

The turning of tables

First of all an apology, as it has been some time since the last newsletter. I aim for them to come out each month but I have been working on a book - that consumes a huge amount of time!

I thought I’d share a couple of parts that I am putting in the book, that come from a section on Holy Week called ‘Turning the Tables’ - one or two sections there I felt were helpful, but I didn’t think it was quite there yet so I asked long time campaigner and friend David Haslam what tables need to be turned today. I felt his response was a real vision of hope, and reflected the prophetic challenge of the community or Kingdom of God.

His first line is about the current election which won’t be in my book as the time will have passed, but I though you might be interested to see it! I think he touches on some of the most important issues and says something about the way to live.

David Haslam's Vision of Hope

"I’d quite like to turn over Theresa’s ‘strong and stable’ tables, just at present, to prove that they aren’t – at least not for the poor…

"Inequality is a very large and heavy table. The rich are getting richer all the time, there are about 100,000 people who could afford to buy a multi-million dollar super-yacht and I think Jesus would be upending super-yachts all over the world, as a symbolic protest at inequality.

"Tax havens are another long table, with many extensions. This table needs turning over so we can see all the hidden funds underneath, on which no tax has been paid, and either sequester the tax or put the traders in jail.

"Then there is the messy and smelly table of pollution, with legs of coal and oil, and a table top of energy companies –still searching for more oil, car firms - especially those producing diesel engines, airlines, builders - who don’t create environmental structures, cruise companies, and all those who contribute excessively to carbon emissions – a heavy fog hangs around this table so it’s quite difficult to find it

"The weapons manufacturers sit round another table, offering their wares and vying with one another as to how many people can be killed with their particular type of merchandise – approach with caution to try and overturn this table, Jesus approaches this one with caution to try and avoid being first either blown up by a landmine or bombed by a drone.

"There’s the table of caste discrimination, where the Brahmins sit at the top, with their pure vegetarian dishes, the middle castes down the side, the Sudras (members of the worker caste, lowest of the Hindu castes) clustered at the far end with a basic diet, and the Dalits crawling round under the table picking up the crumbs. Jesus sends this table flying, the ‘upper’ castes all scatter in confusion, and he invites the Dalits now to be seated for a heavenly banquet, with the Sudras and even other castes also invited, providing they don’t mind sitting down with the Dalits.

"There is also the table of individualism, which is a kind of four-poster table with curtains all round, behind which people sit round it with their phones, taking selfies, sharing them and other irrelevancies on Facebook and feeling very self-important; even if this table is turned over the people may not actually notice.

"There is also a foodbank table, spread with packets and tins, boxes and jars, with some fresh fruit and vegetables, around which those who have insufficient to eat are gathered; this table Jesus does not overturn, but sits down to chat and help share out the gifts." 
David Haslam

Isn't that a lovely and generous vision of the prophetic and challenging way of Jesus - which is always a way of hope.

Powerful words from Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner speaking at the funeral of Mohammed Ali

There is a remarkable Rabbi called Rabbi Michael Lerner – he spoke at Mohammed Ali’s funeral and took the opportunity to call for justice and peace in numerous situations – he was very funny, very entertaining, but also very challenging and prophetic. Twice in that speech he spoke up for the Palestinians.

He has an organization called Tikkun and in a recent newsletter he congratulated Christian peace and justice activists for using Good Friday and Easter to restore Jesus’ message of love and non-violence. He is applauding a group of nine non-violent civil resisters of Upstate Drone Action who were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base, witnessing against extra judicial drone killings perpetrated from the Base; three people hung on large drone crosses representing victims of US drone strikes in seven majority Muslim countries. Eleven others held smaller drone crosses headed by the phrase, “Drones crucify.” Rabbi Lerner says, "The Christians said this - Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus recognizing that 70% of our nation identifies Christian - we come to the gates of the Hancock Drone Base to make real the crucifixion today. As Jesus and others were crucified by the Roman Empire, Drones are used by the US Empire in a similar fashion… On this Good Friday we recall Jesus’ call to love and non-violence. We are asking this air force base and this nation to turn away from a policy of modern day crucifixion. This is the seventh year of a non-violent campaign to expose the war crimes… Since 2010 there have been over 170 arrests at Hancock, of those campaigning."

Rabbi Lerner’s Network of Spiritual Progressives is not only a network of prophetic voices of progressive Jews but also an interfaith voice, and he says, “Celebrate the work of the Christian activists as they reclaim the deep love, social justice, and non-violent message of Jesus’ mission.”

Both Rabbi Lerner and the Christian peacemakers are calling for turning the tables of injustice.

Martin Luther King at Riverside Church

Recently Gill and I were in New York to see our son Joe. We visited Riverside Church, where Martin Luther King gave one of his most famous speeches. He was pointing out that it wasn't only racism he was challenging, but also poverty and militarism. The church had an exhibition about his speech while we were there and I came across these words from it - it's strange how this presents such a challenge to our world today: the divide between the rich and the poor has never been so great, racism is apparent in all sorts of guises, and there is an obsession with armaments and war. Once again the great gospel of peacemaking should come to the forefront of our minds, certainly for those of us in the UK in this time of elections.

Martin Luther King speaking at Riverside Church, New York, 4th April 1967

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain… Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world.”

Declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism

Martin Luther King in Riverside Church, New York, 4th April 1967

Strange Weapons

I am back on the Strange Weapons Tour again and just had two concerts that I really loved, one was at Reepham in Lincoln and one at Nottingham - I had the joy of great fiddle player Chris Rogers play with me on both occasions - Chris lives in Lincolnshire and tries to join me when I am in the area. I find he absolutely lifts me with his playing, making it both exciting and at times poignant. So thanks a lot Chris - Chris has also played on my last three albums.

You can see some of Chris' great playing on this clip of No Injustice - click here

More concerts coming up in the next few weeks - Lacock this weekend, and Lindfieldin West Sussex, and Gilwern near Abergavenny.

Prayer

God of the passionate heart 
Thank you for the values of your alternative community 
They give us vocation 
They show us causes 
They remind us to turn the tables 
They show us the value of our neighbours 
Our sisters and brothers from all around the world 
They remind us how to love one another 
Why one person being treated unjustly matters 
Because you are the God of the passionate heart 
You are the God committed to the poor 
We are in a world where they are forgotten as the rich get richer 
You are the God who called for purity of heart 
You are the revolutionary God who calls for action 
Who calls for us to do justice and show mercy and walk humbly 
Thank you for the values of your alternative community 
They give us our hope and our passion for life 
May we never lose our sense of calling

adapted from Holy Dreams to Feed the Soul