Friday, September 03, 2010

Greenbelt reflection - on being a hippy dippy Christian.

Just one week ago excitement was at fever pitch in the vicarage.
Hugger Steward and the Dufflepud were already encamped in the swamp that was Cheltenham racecourse after a deluge, working with that wonderful team of festival makers that transform a space of grass and concrete into a fantastic playground for 20,000 people to celebrate, learn, dream and worship together.
With a friend staying who was new to the festival, I was slightly apprehensive.
I love Greenbelt so much, and for the past 11 years it has been so central to the life of our family...
Introducing it to someone else is a bit like the process of watching one of the children perform on stage (one of the most nerve wracking parts of parenthood for me). 
Will they achieve their best?
Will their music reach others? 
Will it be ALL RIGHT?
I needn't have worried.
My friend "got it" immediately - though I suspect I taxed her stamina to the limit and beyond as we drove home after Last Orders every night.
But I was sad when a twitter contact was clearly unconvinced and wrote of "too many hippy dippy Christians".

At least, I was sad at first.
But as I thought about it, I began to cherish the label.
Yes, Greenbelt is full of grown ups reliving their youth, awash with the idealism that struggles to find a place the rest of the year.
There's a preponderance of bright colours, tie & dye & Fair Trade cotton - such that I always struggle with the thought of these joyous birds of paradise constrained once more by city suits or clerical collars come Tuesday morning.
There's also, and more importantly, a preponderance of Christians who are passionate...who long to make a change the world for the sake of the live their faith each and every day.
It's that passionate joy that I miss in the Church community for the rest of the year...the sense that we are dreaming together of something beautiful beyond our imaginings...the sense that we are marching to a different drum.
Yesterday as I read the epistle at Church on the Hill it all fell into place
If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. 

So I'm home inspired by Tom Sine and dreaming of intentional Christian communities.
I'm home considering how to live the upside down world of the Beatitudes with Dave Andrews.
I'm home considering the rival claims of peace and truth as presented by Giles Fraser.
I'm home with the music of Jars of Clay, Courtney Pine and Ellie Williams still filling my head and making me want to dance at odd moments.
I'm home with a longing to engage in deep contemplation - be it the Rosary or, the Jesus Prayer or a route beyond all words.
I'm home - but certain that I really do have a foothold somewhere else.

I'm a hippy dippy Christian - and proud of it.


Catherine Evans said...

Well said! I too am a 'hippy dippy Christian'. It is the August recharging of batteries and recpaturing of vision which sustains me for the rest of the year. Greenbelt is the opportunity to live our dreams and be surrounded and affirmed (and often challenged) which stops me giving up on God.

Red said...

I agree. I am proud to be a 'hippy dippy christian' too. I have sadly not yet made it to Greenbelt (maybe next year..)but God made us all different and we should embrace everyone as they are, hippy or not!!

Alastair said...

Great post, Kathryn. If being a hippy dippy Christian means being a fool for Christ, then count me in!

I also think of Christ's words that we should all become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I suspect people have long argued that this refers to a certain humility we should have in our submission to God. But I also think it means we shouldn't be scared of being silly, we shouldn't run from having fun, and we should try to recapture that innocence of youth where everything seems amazing. For me, the great playground that is Greenbelt is the best place to do that.

I'm home refreshed by Richard Rohr's sideways glance at everything.
I'm home blown away by the Applecart Theatre Company for the second year running.
I'm home utterly broken by Mark Yaconelli's talks and tales (he must be one of the best story-tellers I've heard), and wonder why I didn't go and see him two years ago!

Still Breathing said...

Hippy Dippy? Yes I'll go with that. As a 'Greenbelt Virgin' who lacks stamina I didn't get to as much as I would have liked but I did make all 4 of Richard Rohr's talks and if he's dippy count me in!

I agree with my son-in-law about Applecart Theatre Company but also enjoyed the wonderful Tickling In Public - complete with Custom Built Electric Glam Rock Ukulele!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kathryn for your usual, useful insights! One action point arising from this years GB is the need for me to blog again, and to read blogs again, so hopefully I will be able to contribute, rather than just engage in me-tooism!

Cal said...

Oh I *do* love you. Fabulous.

Questing Parson said...

This post makes me homesick for the parish from which I retired.

Song in my Heart said...

I suspect I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much if it were not full of hippy dippy Christians.

Word verification is "squende". I'm sure that's somehow related to "squee"...