breaking me

it’s lovely to be home; it’s just as lovely to know i’m going back next year.


[The God Delusion – image by Mike]

the loveliest bit of being home is letting go of all the organisational details in my head. it’s left space for other stuff to emerge [thank heavens, i was hoping there was something else in there] – and the thoughts that have been haunting me all day have been little pieces of the Ikon service, the God Delusion, at Greenbelt. Much has been written of it elsewhere – and mike has some stunning photos of the service here. i found it profoundly beautiful and comforting – simply in the relief of knowing others are in this space too. No description will do it justice, of course. Even though the outline of the service is now up on the ikon website, the words written there give only a fragment of the picture: they have to be layered onto the images, which in turn must be layered onto the soundtrack… and then add to that the ultimate variable of an audience of a couple of thousand people… some confused, some stunned, some dismissive, some discomforted, some resonant, some finding a home they hadn’t known they were missing… all of which permeates the room and makes for something absolutely stunning.

Some dismiss Ikon by calling what they do pretentious [has anyone else noticed that ‘pretentious’ has become the criticism of choice within alt worship circles?]. and probably, for most of us, if we ‘did’ ikon in our own context – if we layered that as a particular theology onto our worship, rather than waiting to see if it was a reflection of the faith of the community – it could well be pretentious. But i think it can only be described as pretentious if it’s thought of as coming from a purely intellectual base – and if you think that’s where the ikon service came from, it seems to me that you missed the vulnerability of those who were telling this moment in their stories; that you are maybe disconnecting the moment of the service from the stories that led to it: of brokenness, disillusionment, fragility, despair. it’s sophisticated and complex, it’s grand and dramatic, but it’s much too real and raw to be pretentious.

[interestingly, in all the contexts in which i ‘do’ alt worship, the place i see a similar theology emerging, of its own accord, is in the prisons. the guys in prison get deconstruction – prison deconstructs everything, especially faith. but as they keep proving to me, deconstruction isn’t inevitably the ruin of faith, it can be the making of it: in the unravelling is the ravelling.]

at the ikon service it was padraig’s piece ‘Breaking me‘ that did, indeed, break me… just as the verse in the song he sang last year, ‘i found my home in babylon’, broke me then. and, of course, the gradual cutting away and unravelling of the knitting… and the line in Pete’s introduction, as said by god: ‘i do not exist’… there’s enough in all that to feed a lifetime… and enough to remind me, in my jetlagged stupor today, why i can’t wait to go back.