God on Trial

The conference took a welcome break from new media last night.

Frank Cottrell Boyce gave a moving talk on his film script for the forthcoming BBC Drama, God on Trial set in Auschwitz.

Frank explained that it was not intended to be about the holocaust but finding an answer to the question of why God allows suffering. As he began writing the script he was sure he would find a resolution to the question. He places the characters in a prison camp facing the worst nightmare imaginable and in their last time before death they choose to put God on trial accused of breaking the covenant. The trial is a clinical and systematic examination of why God allowed these things to happen. 

Point by point the film examines God's behavior. With the tense atmosphere of a courtroom (prison camp bunkhouse) they go into the often unpleasant details of suffering and exile experienced in the old testament, the slaying if innocents and so on. It's about humanity, people who have big ideas in their heads and histories, he explained.

In the film one character searches the back of his mind, believing that they must have committed some crime to deserve such punishment, "what could justify punishment like this" they ask. A man's children are dragged away to be killed, the father pleads for them, choose one the guard offers; where is love and free will here. Powerful concepts are examined – was Hitler a servant of God.

We only saw experts from the film and I suppose I shouldn't reveal the outcome though it shouldn't be a surprise. Frank describes it as a flipped version of the Prodigal Son.

We were treated to some humour at the expense of Prof Richard Dawkins. Winning the debate is not what matters, but in the debate we discover there is something much bigger. You have to challenge your faith, but in the end it doesn't matter what you think, all that matters is that God loves you.

Churches Media Conference

I'm at the Churches Media conference right now and this is a message to those of you who have attended my two sessions talking about ITV Local Yorkshire.  Many thanks for coming along and for the excellent and inspiring conversations.  I'm going to write up some notes – possibly here but also on Interlace, a blog on which I keep specilist notes on the subject of user generated content and other thoughts to do with my work. So, pop back here or to Interlace in due course and I'll have some more for you.

Churchrovers – re:fresh

Posting in reverse order here, so back to Sunday…

On the subject of church we have decided to explore so over the next few weeks we are going to investigate some of the more innovative offerings in the area.

On Sunday Deborah and I checked out a service held in Costa Coffee in Bradford. ‘re:fresh’, an emerging community based at St Cuthberts Church in Wrose have struck a deal with the Forster Square Retail Park outlet of Costa Coffee and hope to hold their monthly gathering in the coffee shop on a regular basis.


I have to say it was strange meeting like this in a coffee shop with the fridges buzzing and the coffee machines producing cappuccinos while the vicar did his talk.  The slightly cramped space meant that you were locked into small groups around the tables. The subject was mission and one of the contributors was Chris Howson who’s involved in a project called Street Angels who operate in Bradford between 8pm and 2am. We thought it was excellent.

There were about 30 people at this event. The community meets in smaller groups once a week and then on this scale once a month.

Art, propaganda, and the worship industry

Art, propaganda, and the worship industry is the subject of this nicely put together film with author Brian McLaren who will be at the Greenbelt Festival this year. Some of the responses are interesting as he strikes a chord with Christians and non-Christians alike.

"As an atheist and one commited to see religion confined to the home and designated places of worship, I expected another terrible "worship" video" , says one.

And another, "I quit being a worship leader because of all the preasure and nonsense. Unfortunately, the thing which was meant to bring us closer to God has resulted in more church splits, and angry, frustrated musicians than I have ever seen"

The video was produced by The the Work of the People which produces visuals for liturgy. I haven't had time to explore properly yet.

VJ/DJ @ Greenbelt

Here’s the nice poster made up by the talented DJ Joel for his Greenbelt slot. I’m thrilled to be playing a supporting role providing the visuals. The idea on the visuals side of things is that the audience will provide some of the clips – so if you are at Greenbelt in Cheltenham please consider sending some short clips to upload@yourplace.tv


click pic to see big