Category Archives: Real and Wild

Epic Weekend Report #1

Wow, what an epic weekend!

I disdain the overuse of the word ‘epic’, but this one was pretty special.

What I’m calling ‘the weekend’ actually started on Thursday with 450 of us at RAW (Real And Wild), a Christian youth event at Coventry Uni. We camped, we ate, we laughed and worshiped together and we went on mad outreach missions between downpours. During the evening events one moment there would be enough energy in the hall to rival a nuclear power station but the next you could hear a pin drop, if the floor hadn’t been carpeted.

What I really want to talk about is what a few of my older friends were up to at the curiously named Y-NOT music festival in the Peak District at the same time, but as it’s quite a long one you’ll have to wait until my next post later in the week for a few of the incredible stories that came out of that trip.

In the meantime here are a few photos from RAW

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Real And Wild – Gulping Down The Thunder

So. That’s it.

I’ve just started reabsorbing what it means to live in real life again after rolling around in the thunder of a generation gaining momentum. This was RAW, or ‘Real And Wild‘, where 500 young folk got together to get wildly passionate about Jesus.

This is the first year we’ve taken the event outside of the midlands (Northants, UK), and this time we set up camp just outside of Birmingham, sharing little ‘villages’ of tents, festival style.

The mornings typically consisted of some pretty energetic and ‘nitty gritty Christian living’ workshops in our event marquee, the afternoons were an opportunity for us to run around Brum City serving the locals (painting fences/murals/faces) or simply sharing the gospel, while the evenings consisted of all 500 of us in the big tent, screamin our little heads off for Jesus, amongst other things.

I’m undecided on my personal highlight. My first one would be the simple ‘brotherhood’ supper scene back at Cornerstone house (where all the guys camped), sharing rice pud in the great hall, with hearty laughs and warm, honest conversation. My second highlight was hearing about ‘the spirit of Uriah’, a man who was passionately loyal to his comrades, his men stuck out in the battle. I want to be like that.

I’ve included below a snippet of the Friday evening’s action in the RAW marquee. This was a ‘spoken word’ poem, and it challenged me to the core. Worthy of John Newton’s pen, it’s the call to leave all for Jesus:

Still we love to call ‘passion,’
What produces nothing lasting.
Only short-term feel good now transactions.
And the enemy was laughing.
Because no investments were happening.
Just good clean, fun, middle-class distractions.
But who will sever their attachments
To the thrills they hold so dear?
Find on earth no satisfaction
Unfilled by her affairs?
For it seems, only a fraction,
Flee ambition’s subtle snare.
And it seems only a fraction
Put a sword to their careers.
– “Peace! Peace!” You hear them cry,
(When peace, of course, was nowhere near).
“Don’t sing your songs of revolution!
Don’t sing of war and violence here!
Just lift your hands and close your eyes,
And dance your dance and love your lives,
Let gentle breeze and compromise
Replace the need for sacrifice.”
-But “War! War!” Is passion’s cry
When fire burns up every fear,
We sing the song of sacrifice,
We sing of death to old life here.

“Chill, Chill,”
The cowards cry,
(At threat of battle, soldiers ran)
The rest amused themselves to death
On DVD’s and Christian bands.
Where are the youth with martyr spirits,
Who bid their God to ruin plans?
Who scorn the good to gain what’s higher,
With broken wills and emptied hands,
Who stand against their own desires,
And do not dream the dreams of man,
Who put an end to their agendas
At the sound of His command.
When there’s no call to kneel and pray allured
By sweet and gentle song,
No friendly arm to soothe and sway
They still maintain the fear of God.
And ruthless love for Jesus’ Cause
Makes passion real and wild and deep.
Each to his sword, to put to death
All inward rivals that compete.
Because ….you are what you eat.
And you become what you feed.
So brethren, learn to shut doors,
Endure and, learn to delete
Those numbers from your phone
Because he’d love to keep you home,
In silence and in comfort
At ease and alone
But “War! War!” Our passion’s cry,
Let fire burn up every fear
We lay our lives down for tomorrow,
At the cost of all that’s dear.

Here’s a couple of other blog reports from folk that were there:

Our Mini RAW (Real And Wild) event

A couple of weekends ago, roughly 40 of us young lads held our own mini-RAW.
(For details on the big Jesus Army Real And Wild event, click here)

Here’s a few of the photos:

Friday afternoon – setting up
By camping together at NC Farm (one of our largest residential community houses), we got a taste of what it’s gonna be like in the big RAW event in Birmingham.

Friday 10pm-3am
On Friday night we kicked things off by heading off into London’s Leicester Square for a spot of street outreach. We gave out hot choc & cake, prayed for people, handed out red crosses (surprisingly popular) and sang request songs to passers-by!

Saturday all day
The weekend combined physical challenge (lads love letting out the ‘RAAARGH’!) with some spiritually strengthening stuff, including workshops in the morning.

Sunday 7:30am
Jesus’ call to the cross was made central to the weekend, as we took turns to carry a heavy, rough wooden cross a couple of miles to…

…an over-water assault course!

…which we had to complete (successfully or wetfully) to get our breakfast.

So, all in all, a well worthwhile weekend. The morale was upbeat, the challenge was stark and the fun was fantastic. Tired but inspired, as they say.

So, roll on Real And Wild 2010.

Rising Generation

Although a particular man-made doctrinal construction may have been considered as ‘orthodox’ by one generation, it will need to be reestablished by the next if it is to regain and maintain credibility and usage.
From the Tallskinnikiwi blog, defending the emerging church

Recently, after leaving a youth gathering with the Jesus Army, I tweeted “Phenomenal! Just left a gatherin of 80 on-fire-4-Jesus youth. God’s presence powerful, we took ground in faith 4 #realandwild“.

We’d been worshipping, battle-praying, and generally getting fired up for a summer jam-packed with our flavour of gospel, multimedia, evangelistic events. The atmosphere? I’d describe it as the roar of a train through a tunnel, God’s presence was so with us, and we all felt it.

Which brings me back to my first quote by Tinysmallkiwi, above. The first generations of our Church gave a phenomenal amount for an amazing vision, particularly for residential christian community, our all-things-in-common lifestyle.

The culture is now in place, but the cogs seem to be running maybe too smoothly these days. To us in the third generation of this Church movement, it can seem that maintenance is our only objective. More and more, we’re seeing the need to give ourselves wholeheartedly to wherever our God-pointed feet take us.

God is taking this generation forward. He’s challenging us to have a faith with which we will invest all our substance in His Kingdom.

Exciting times.