Sound and Silence

when necessary, use words


November 2009

Philip Clayton in conversation with Nic Paton

Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Sacred Evolution, Hosting the Universe, missional biology, co-evolving, radicalised ecozoic incarnation, and the generation that is asking “brilliant questions”:

Philip Clayton (author of “Transforming Christian Theology“) in conversation with Nic Paton (curator of The Sout Project).

Listen to Philip Clayton in conversation with Nic Paton.


The Sout Project CD now internationally available!

sout_cover_medIt’s a month yet to the official launch (11th December 2009), but I just wanted to tell everyone that “Story”, world-emergent album from Cape Town’s The Sout Project collective, is now available for international purchase from Portland’s incredible independent music portal CDBaby.

Online distribution to the likes of iTunes and Amazon will follow in coming months.

Please feel free to visit the, download a free mp3, listen to other tracks, and comment. And tell your friends to do so too.

If you are a blogger and would like to write a review, you will receive a free advance copy. Please submit your name, email address and blog URL, via the contact form on the site.

Reviews currently in:

What a gift The Sout Project’s “Story” is to all of us … a beautifully-crafted presentation of original songs that enrich and inspire both in their content and form. Many voices, many cultures, many styles, many rhythms … all woven together in one richly textured musical fabric colored by good news of hope, peace, and joy.

Congrats with SOUT! I love the honesty and freshness … The arrangements are profound. Vine, Circle, Meditation with Mechtild is breathtaking – and the contemplative “In all Things” speaks direct to the heart!

– Theo Geyser, In Via

I think it is absolutely fantastic … it really brings a multicultural presence to Emergence Christianity that is desperately needed.

– Thomas Turner, Arts Editor, Generate Magazine

“Wild man wise man” session 3

Power and powerlessness

Lazarus and the Rich man

We were led by Sergio into a reflection on power. Specifically, we considered what we understood it to be, this included wealth, freedom, influence, eloquence, strength, good looks, manipulation, and all the manifestations of outer success.

Then we considered “inner” power, and listed things like dignity, love, authority, non-resistance or passive resistance. We spoke of Ghandi and Jesus, and how the might of empires had no hold on them, for their power lay within. We were reminded that no one can take our inner power away, regardless of changes in circumstances where our outer power is apparently stripped, such as in job loss, divorce, or other times of tragedy. Continue reading ““Wild man wise man” session 3″

Pattern-based Worship: The loop vs. the line.

One of the major features of the modern era, from which we are currently emerging, is linearity.  This is propped up by the “myth of progress” wherein all history moves towards the future through Greek conceptions of time – telos (purpose) and chronos (linear time) – expressed though our systemising of natural time via clocks. In this idea, accuracy and efficiency have become of utmost importance, because of our capitalist belief that “time is money”.

And these manifestations of modernity are not limited to the dominant economic model either, communism (especially the Soviet type) had an implicit faith in the ability of this “progress” to transform society, based in scientific materialism, atheistic humanism and Hegelian philosophical optimism. Continue reading “Pattern-based Worship: The loop vs. the line.”

“From wild man to wise man” session 2

Male and Female God created them

We were encouraged to enter small group conversation with the heart and not the head, and reminded that groups very rarely went “deeper” than the ethos with which they began. The idea of “Cell Memory” – the body-wide repository of accumulated feelings, was introduced. Sergio spoke of mourning as a process of owning our own feelings instead of projecting then outwards or suppressing them. The central idea of the “Father Wound” which marks so much of our Western civilasation was futher opened up.

We began exploring the idea that the Genesis account demonstrates that the image of God was expressed in the creation of male and female aspects. We touched on Rohrs idea that “all healthy spirituality will always have a truly ‘sexual’ character to it, a desire for re-union”. (Rohr p 13) Continue reading ““From wild man to wise man” session 2”

“From wild man to wise man” session 1

Sergio Milandri and Richard Rohr

The Wild (Wo)Man

We introduced the idea of wildness, presenting it not a negative and destructive force, but as the path to wisdom. The scriptures and the prophets have been read through the eye of civilisation, but on deeper examination are “a wild bunch” (Rohr p 3).

It was established that the preferred way of masculine communication was control oriented, involving the rational and the egocentric approaches. It was more “feminine” to feel empathy and be compassionate, and this generated the surrender, trust and vulnerability which lead to aliveness. It is imperative we make authentic contact with our “unexplored wildness”, taking this risk in order to be ultimately free to love. Continue reading ““From wild man to wise man” session 1″

Pattern-based Worship: Sacred and Profane Time

This is a series of posts in which I hope to unpack thoughts and provoke practices around pattern-based worship. In so doing I want to examine  notions such as patterns: natures way, western music’s journey of civilisation, and postmodern liturgy.  And as an introduction, introduce the idea of sacred time.

At all times people have recognised that while we very often spend our waking hours struggling to survive, there are times when we transcend this and discover a deeper connection with the Divine. This connection may be experienced as God, as a oneness with all things, or simply a oneness with another. Certainly being or falling “in love” takes us away from our struggles or at least makes them bearable.

We all experience such times as inspiring, hopeful, and joyful, very often changing us (at least temporarily) from individuals trapped on a treadmill of obligations, to empowered humans. Many have called these transcendent times Sacred, in contrast to “normal” time which may be called Profane.

In this time of a heightened awareness of the dualisms of our western culture, we may reject the construct of the sacred and the profane as perpetuating unhealthy dichotomies. This suspicion is nowhere more evident than in our religious lives, which for many do not serve us by uniting the parts of our lives but rather create ever more entrenched categories, for example, the church vs. the world, religious vs. secular, or saint vs. sinner. These are by no means limited to the religious “sphere” either; we also experience the everyday divides of work vs. play, or us vs. them for example.

The Celts (who existed at the edges of the Roman Empire) saw this not so much in terms of time but place, calling locations which were steeped in the numinous (the unseen, mysterious presence of the ground of our being) the “thin places”. So we might say there are thin times, when the fabric of mundanity permits us to glimpse our ineffable underlying realities, which many of us call God.

Engaging the duality (as opposed to the dualism) of sacred vs. profane time can be helpful, if we bear in mind our tendency to compartmentalise. In fact, as far as questions of worship are concerned, it is vital that we grasp the distinction. Our confusion as to where the boundary between sacred vs. profane might lie leads to distortions and misunderstandings concerning what worship is or can become.

I write not as one with answers, but rather as one on a quest to explore, and driven by an intuition that there is more to worship than what is currently on offer. It is driven by a call to create new forms which honour the Creator and involve honest deconstructing of what is not working, reconnection with what has always worked, and an imaginative rebuilding of what lies ahead as we engage the unfolding future from a sacred perspective.

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