Greenbelt reflections, part 1.

And so, here we are, the other side of Greenbelt. My weekend was completely different from the one I was anticipating.

I heard Billy Bragg talk about his Jail Guitar Doors project. I laughed until my sides hurt at Adrian Plass. I cried buckets in Soul Space as I had predicted: although the tears weren’t as bitter as I’d anticipated. I talked to people in queues, and I made crap jokes (first one in the car on the way there involving Rev Counters). I laughed at teargas, and was silenced, by Mark Thomas’ storytelling (Extreme Rambling). I presented my own thoughts on social media and helped out with the surgeries. I made new friends in the Communion service and last but not least, I tested Bath Ales’ promise that the Jesus Arms would not run out of beer (it didn’t; I tried really hard). I will write more on the things I thought and learned when I’ve had a chance to think more.

I met many people in person that I had followed on Twitter. That in itself was lovely; a sense of knowing people to stop and chat to when often I’ve felt quite alone. In the last two years I’ve also got to know many more people from the conferences I’ve attended and they were around the place two. Some folk from the North had a huge part to play in calming pre-Greenbelt worries and were just lovely lovely people – tolerating my strange southern ways alongside genuine concern and building a new friendship. A friend of longer standing, Susanna, was at her first Greenbelt – warned she may be in for a fairly damp time, what with the weather and the crying. Turned out mostly dry (weather) but she was marvellously on hand for one or two moments where I did find myself overwhelmed and tearful. OK, maybe more than one or two. And a friend of even longer standing, Andrew, provided me with transport, tent space and great company. I had a conversation with a friend I thought I had lost which showed me a lot about grace and humility (and led to a few of the unexpected leaky eyed moments over the weekend). Lastly, there are some anonymous people that helped me…

The man who gave me several tissues in Soul Space after I had given mine away earlier
The person who handed my purse in
The bar staff of the Jesus Arms

Greenbelt had loomed large on the horizon for a few weeks, and it feels odd to be home and thinking about work, chores and normal life. I’ve loved following people’s journeys home via Twitter and it’s helping me adjust back to life in the quiet here at Batty Towers.


  1. I second Pam’s comment. Great to see you again and catch up over cider/ale. I felt quite out of sorts until Sunday night when I heard Brian McLaren’s talk on the 4 stages of spiritual development – I laughed and I cried and everything fell into place and I actually then enjoyed the rest of Greenbelt easily rather than forcefully (if that makes sense?).

      • For me, the talk meant, that it was ok to be in the place where I’m at, with all the struggles and questions etc etc, without feeling that I hadn’t moved on or that I was stuck etc. Really encouraging. So yes, I’d recommend it, I recognised myself so much in stage 3 of the stages he presented, perplexity, with some elements of stage 4.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s