Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Radical Face

Late yesterday afternoon I drove through the Southern Otago sunshine to Gore. The people at Holy Trinity church wanted to discuss their immediate future with me, so we had a pleasant and productive chat in the parish hall before I had a quick meal with Keith and Anne Gover and drove on through to Invercargill.
At All Saints Gladstone a group of about 20 or so had gathered to discuss the issue of the ordination and/or marriage of gay people. There were no surprises in the views expressed, but I think that we are making good progress in our ability to live with difference.
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This morning I was in Lumsden to talk to the people from four very small rural congregations, also about their immediate future. In the face of shifting patterns of land use, wholesale but unreported changes in the rural culture of New Zealand and the spiritual shifts common to all the Western world, there has been huge decline in small country churches in the last decade. There has been no diminution of interest in spirituality, mind you, and our Anglican congregations are, in their own ways responding to this. Whether they need to keep their old buildings in order to do so is a pressing question for many of them, and that was largely what we talked about. 
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As I set out for the three hour drive home, Mr. Spotify sent me a text (how nice of him to remember me!) letting me know that the Indie electronic/folk/rock band, Radical Face had finally released the third album in the Family Tree trilogy. Excellent. It's a bit odd to call Radical Face a band, when basically it's just one guy, Ben Cooper from Jacksonville Florida, but he makes pretty interesting music. His Trilogy, Roots, Branches and Leaves has a connecting Narrative of a fictional family, the Northcotes, who live in Florida sometime in the 19th Century. Each album, as the names suggest, addresses a different era in the development of their relationships.He also has some accompanying EPs, the Bastard series, which deal with the sorts of family dynamics which every family has but no family will admit to having.  His tunes are good, and he makes very intelligent use of a synthesiser, but it's the lyrics I really like. The overall narrative structure allows him to make some thoughtful commentary on the human condition. So I had a happy drive home. Three albums and not one bad track amongst them.

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