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n112417781196_5393Regular readers of my blog may recall that last year I was rather taken aback to hear that Antony Gormley had won the latest Fourth Plinth commission with his One and Other concept of putting members of the public on the plinth – given that I had suggested basically the same idea to a member of the then Fourth Plinth Committee during a Radio 5 broadcast, which was discussing the previous shortlist – more here: Familiar Idea.

Anyway, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that neither the Mayor’s Office, the Fourth Plinth Committee, The Arts Council, nor Antony Gormley’s Studio have been willing to respond to my question – why it is possible to claim One and Other as an outstanding, remarkable, or indeed original work when such a similar idea had already been suggested long in advance of the current proposal? Nor how they felt about claiming that it is about “The democratization of art,” (Antony Gormley), and that it is “a brilliant case of people coming to art and art coming to people!” (Boris Johnson), while ignoring a valid question about this public art project from a member of the public who had already proposed that the public should be allowed to stand on the plinth.

Sadly, nothing on the Fourth Plinth will be done in remembrance of me – but perhaps I should be more than content (indeed, delighted) that at least one hour of this public art project will be given over to remembering Jesus, thanks to Methodist Minister, Ken Chalmers, who will be celebrating Communion from the top of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square on  TUESDAY 28th JULY 2009, 9-10 am.

You can find out more and give your support here:

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Jesus and his friendsMy 4 year-old daughter drew this on the front of my birthday card instead of writing ‘Daddy’. I assumed it was a family portrait – which in a way it is – It’s “Jesus and his friends”. Sweet.

I doubt you will love it as much as I do, and it’s hardly the start of a renaissance in religious art, but I thought it was worth sharing all the same.

For the past four years I’ve been a stay-at-home dad. Sure, I’ve written a couple of books, done some freelance stuff, etc – but basically my day-to-day has been looking after my beautiful daughter – which I guess is never going to change. Except that in a few weeks from now she will be in school full time and like many a parent who have looked after a child during their pre-school years, I will feel bereft, but I will also have a sense of freedom – what am I going to do with all that time?

That’s a good question. Part of me senses a whole world of opportunity is about to open up for me, while the more pessimistic (and dominant) side of my personality fears that I will atrophy – I’ll become a dad who does lunch, or a dishy daddy (the male form of the yummy mummy) who fills his days with consuming daytime telly, window shopping and worrying about whether my daughter is developing an nut allergy simply because I will have nothing else to fill the void where once once Hama Beads and Play Dough, trips to the zoo and days in the park.

Like everyone, I have dreams and I want to succeed and feel that I’m contributing something worthwhile. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something and I’ve carried for years a very clear word that I am to be like Read the rest of this entry »

Inspired by the BBC’s Poetry Season, particularly by those performing their poems at ‘Poetry Slams’, I did a ‘Communion Slam’ last Sunday, which seemed to go down really well with people at my church, given the enthusiastic responses I got after the service. Basically I wrote a poem/liturgy which I ‘performed’ by way of invitation to the communion. But even as I write this, particularly thinking about the dramatic communions we used to have in the Parish of Northolt, I guess all liturgical communion could be thought of as a slam.

Anyway, if you are interested, here is the unperformed text.

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Over the last few months I’ve become involved in one of the most inspiring, deeply spiritual, theologically grounded, community-orientated projects that I’ve ever come across – EarthAbbey.

To quote the homepage:

EarthAbbey is a movement of people helping one another to live more in tune with the earth. We work to pomote: Read the rest of this entry »

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Back in January I recorded my first ever interview to be released as a podcast. Well it has finally gone live over at the Nick and Josh Podcast. Do check it out, but also take a look around the whole site as there are some fascinating interviews to be heard.

http://media.switchpod.com/users/nicholasfiedler/ep106AlanMann.mp3

Read the rest of this entry »

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My wonderful wife, Kay, will be running the Bristol 10k on May 10th 2009 as part of the Love Running Team.

We’ve chosen three fantastic charities to support, and all the money raised will be split equally between – St Peter’s Hospice, World Vision Zimbabwe and One25.

So if you feel you can, please sponsor Kay. Even a small amount will make a big difference.

To sponsor Kay, simply go to her justgiving page here: http://www.justgiving.com/kaysurry

Thanks.

0648 A Permanent Becoming.inddPeople are often surprised to learn how little money I make from writing Christian books, and wonder, therefore, what drives me to do it.

There are, of course, many reasons why one would want to write, but here are just two . . .

1. The Bridge, a community church in Hinckley, Leicestershire, have just finished a series of talks and discussions based around my latest book, A Permanent Becoming. What an inspiration to see how my work can be adopted and adapted by others, and what a privilege to be Read the rest of this entry »

In rather timely fashion, I received in the post today a copy of Walk This Way: 40 Days on the Road with Jesus. I’d been thinking I could do with a book (other than the Bible) to give me some stimulating reading over Lent, and here it is.

To quote from the back cover:

Jesus calls us to a life of radical discipleship. He invites us to follow him and learn his ways. This book provides 40 days’ worth of daily readings from Christians – past and present – who have walked that path with Jesus. Here you will find insight from early Christian leaders, mystics, monks, Puritans and Poets.

I’ve promised to review the book, and this will appear at some stage on the  DeepChurch website, hosted by my good friend Jason Clark. But in the mean time, as Lent gets underway, any thoughts generated by the book  may well appear here first.

I saw this on the BBC’s website and had a go for a bit of fun. I’m pleased to say that I managed a respectable 9/10 – though I didn’t recognize the words of Jesus in one of the questions 🙂

From Shakespeare to Steinbeck, literary greats have borrowed heavily from the Bible. Now, Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has raised concerns that students of English literature are struggling because they don’t understand Biblical references. Is he right to worry? Test your knowledge with this quiz from the Bible Society.

CLICK HERE TO THE QUIZ