Off to Greenbelt!

We are off down to Cheltenham for Greenbelt Festival. Hope to see you there!

If you go- come to our worship event- New Forms Cafe, 7pm on Friday.

Or you might like to check out the Proost ‘Silent Pilgrimmage’- poetry by Harry, Podraig and myself. Pick up headphones at the Greenbelt Angels desk.

But do say hello, perhaps we can share a pint of Redemption ale.

27 thoughts on “Off to Greenbelt!

  1. Oh and here’s a pessimistic prediction:

    Because there will be thousands of people there.
    Because it will be full of families and groups of likeminded people
    Because they will all be so busy amongst themselves thinking everybody else is, like them.

    I will be left out. Everybody will look straight through me. I will feel the loneliest person amongst a crowd that thinks because it’s a Christian event and because people have chosen to go there then they must all be happy and enjoying themselves.

    I will go to meet people. They will be too busy living their already-know-people lives that they won’t want to meet me. They will assume I’m an already-know-people person.

    The contrast between the happy talking groups and my situation will be uncontrollably immense. I will leave the event far, far lonelier than I was when I went. I will leave crying.


    • Just seen this post Carl- did you go? I am guessing that this would have been quite a difficult thing to do, and I really hope that your prediction was proved false… although crowds can be very lonely places.

      • Hi Chris,
        I did go yes. I looked everywhere. I asked at the information desk. I went to the contributors hospitality bureau, I went to the Hub. I even tried the Goan fish bar! But I couldn’t find you for that pint of beer you offered to share (above).

        That was disappointing. You were going to be provide two things: 1) A fall-back that I could rely(ish) on meeting if nobody else. 2) A chance to meet somebody, share more deeply the interactions we’ve had on your blog. A chance to get to know you better and perhaps form a stronger bond. It was going to be a real opportunity for some improvement (however modest) in my circumstances. And it wasn’t just wishful thinking, it was based on an invitation you had made to all. So I did feel reasonably confident that it would come about somehow, especially if I made an effort.

        But as you know it didn’t.

      • Hi Carl- had our paths crossed, I would have been happy to share a beer with you. But as you discovered, meeting one person in such a crowd is not an easy task- particularly when the other person has no idea that you are looking for him. The way you wrote the comment above suggests that you feel let down in some way however? I can only say that I am sorry you feel like that, whilst gently asking you to have a think about whether this is reasonable.

        I hope you managed to get something out of the festival though?

      • I know what reaction you’re having. You’re thinking I was being unreasonable and I should revise my expectations. But perhaps in my desperation I can be nothing else. I spend all my days clinging onto a few very thin strings, moving from one to another in the hope that I’ll find one that works. It doesn’t actually matter to me if I’m being reasonable or not; they are the only strings I can find, so I have to use them.

      • I don’t have many strings left in my life. I have to use them unreasonably because to me it is reasonable – they are the only ones there. I can understand why others think I might be acting unreasonably, but can they understand that to me it isn’t unreasonable? Will I ever find anybody that does understand and will they then go out and go the extra mile I NEED to get on the first rung of the ladder? I NEED the help of others. This is something I cannot do alone.

      • Hi Carl

        I have been trying to think how best to respond to your last comments.

        You are right to say that distress and desperation are not reasonable emotions, and I cannot but say how sorry I am that you are in the middle of such things at the moment. But a lot of your posts have described how lonely you have been feeling, and how you are finding it difficult to understand why people are not willing/able to form the sort of relationships with you that you feel both the need to give and receive.

        What I would gently suggest is that you take some time to think about this- and how actions that you might (in desperation) be taking to bridge that gap might have the opposite effect- that of keeping people away. At very least this might be grist for further therapeutic discussion?

        You did not answer my question as to whether you found things to enjoy about GB?



    • ( need a bigger text field, so I’ve gone back a level)

      Hi Chris,
      Yes that line of thought has crossed my mind more than once.

      It is true that, in general, and recently, I may have come across to some people as ‘clingy’. Or when I’ve been ‘normal’ and then things have gone wrong for some other reason I might have acted ‘clingy’. But this would have been after things had gone wrong anyway, so I can’t really consider those as examples of excessive clinginess. Which just leaves the occasions when I may have ‘appeared’ desperate (and acted clingy) from the outset. It’s not very many times. And that’s because I don’t have many opportunities (to meet) anyway.

      Personally, I think that this is 80% of the reason for my problems (and I’m pessimistic about it ever changing). I don’t get many opportunities to meet people of a like mind. 1. I’m intelligent (some people think very), so meeting others is going to be limited statistically. 2. I’m theological whereas amongst regular christians this sort of free-thinking is discouraged. 3. Technically I seem to have discovered the future direction of physics (watch the results of the LHC by the way and check that by Christmas they haven’t discovered the Higgs Boson particle). 4. I seem to have united the subjects of consciousness and physics and theology and I know of no-one to have been able to do that.

      My interests are highly specialist. Science doesn’t want to know theology – that’s for wishful thinkers. Theologians don’t want to know physics. Consciousness people don’t know physics. So I’m high and dry on the interests front.

      What other interests do I have? Well, none really (problem!). I love the way I’ve been able to unite 4 subjects which until now have always seemed to be separated by glass walls. I love it but can get no-one interested even from a fascination point of view. In fact for the christian types I think they see me as a threat.

      So I rarely get opportunities to meet other like minded individuals; that is ones that don’t see me as a threat or something.

      I am filled with passion; normally a passion for G-d. That passion can for some seem hard to manage and may be best steered clear of. Should I try and reduce that passion, when it could, in the long term, work to my benefit? (question on that one – is it possible to direct or manage it better somehow?).

      I am an unusual person to start with, that finds himself in an extraordinary set of circumstances. I find myself in a foreign land having to work out from first principles how the culture and language works here, because I’ve got no friends to fall back on. I’ve also had a jolt to the brain, so when ‘friends’ suggest that perhaps I’m not sane I tend to take the idea seriously and then I doubt everything.

      I am just lost. There are too many variables for me to work out. Perhaps the friends I’ve lost, I lost because of completely different reasons not to do with me. Or perhaps it was my brain post-accident. Or perhaps I’m just the sort of person that… TOO MANY VARIABLES. I just need help. I cannot do it on my own. I just need someone to tell me that everything’s all right, and will sort itself out in the end. I NEED a nurse. I NEED comfort. I NEED friends who can see me through. – There now that sounds clingy doesn’t it?! But isn’t it righteous clinginess? Isn’t it understandable? Isn’t there anyone out there who can donate some time to an isolated victim of circumstance?

      I don’t know what we (me and the psycho) might come up with. I’m actually scared of where it might go. See if we start working on reducing my need for ‘others’ then that scares me. I like ‘others’. I like to like ‘others’. I don’t think it’s right to make me into some sort of robot that can live independently of EVERYONE. So I’m scared of what might happen there. And if I’m scared then I need a friend to help me through it. But I’ve got no friends – Aaaaargh.

      Thanks for being there

      • No I didn’t answer your thoughtful question about other results from Greenbelt. I did meet some other people and I did find it easy to talk with others in general. I had some truly moving moments with them. But in the main they were fleeting. I could survive fleeting if I wasn’t in need of permanent.

        I just loved seeing Peter Rollins – I shall be buying his book when it comes out.

        And I did meet someone from India who wants to set up some kind of inter-country operation doing some kind of charity work in India. He was interested in how I might be able to help; we need to build a team of people with different skills. So I need to think this one through more. And I would like to TALK IT THROUGH MORE with friends!! Where are they?

      • Why do I feel so unsettled all the time? Like things aren’t quite right? Why can’t others see that? And if they can, then why can’t they do anything to help? Do I have to give myself a physical injury to make people see I’m there?

        Doctors can’t help what I’ve got, it’s ‘lack-of-friends’ syndrome. Only friends can help. Where the hell do you find a group of people who are fascinated by the idea that you can unite physics, consciousness and G-d? Where are they all? Don’t they realise that if G-d is truth, then this is discovery represents the future of mankind’s knowledge. I’m looking at mankind’s future relationship with G-d and no church is interested! WHY NOT???!!!

        They should be shot for lack of interest in their own subject. But their interest is of course peddling their verson of the book. They are interested in interpretation of history, not in ‘future’.

        I’ve thought about how this future knowledge will affect mankind and it’s quite dramatic. (dramatic good). But even the prospect that a small amount of investment could severely impact for the good, the future of mankind doesn’t interest church pastors and people like that. They don’t want to know. I don’t understand WHY NOW. I just do not understand at all. And they can’t tell me why not.

        – See there’s passion (scary)

      • So at the psycho’s today we identified one of my typical ‘coping strategies’ and thought a little about how we might be able to change them. It’s okay stuff, but I don’t think it really hits the nail on the head.

        These coping strategies may not be optimal, but they’re recent (say the past year). I have seen them occur because previous strategies haven’t worked – I’ve been absent of friends and being very nice to everyone for say 3-4 years. The approach of it-doesn’t-really-matter hasn’t worked. I’m desperate.

        A replacement strategy for the desperate one won’t fix the real problem which is lack of opportunities. I DON’T MEET PEOPLE. Particularly people who I can get on with in a deep thinking passionate christian way. They are rare. I am an extremely unusual person. I haven’t got a chance. The psycho isn’t going to be able to fix that. Even those that I find I can share a certain affinity with for reason unknown are not able to reciprocate (perhaps an unrelated reason) which makes my searching even more difficult. And impossible.


        I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT CHRISTIANITY and how it could change the world and how what I know could change the world. I know this change will happen. It’s just a matter of when. I know that I can bring the change forward and bring forward the day when it is G-d’s world all over and the era of materialism is over. Why doesn’t anyone else share this passion?

        Surely this is a good aim? Surely it is the highest aim a christian could possibly hope for? So why can I find no-one to share it with? Why is it so difficult to find a christian who thinks like a christian? What have I got wrong?


      • What do I do to find them? Where are they hiding? Why is it impossible for me to find them? Why doesn’t anybody see my problem? Why doesn’t somebody help me? Why can’t those who I do share affinity with give me some help?

        Of course all these words are desperate words; they should not be regarded as the normal me. I know it’s difficult (impossible) to know what the real me is like when all these words get in the way. But I’ve given up on meeting you now, so I’m allowed to vent, I’m allowed to show the desperate side with no fear of it having any adverse affect.

      • I’m beginning to learn what I (and everybody else in fact) am all about. (everybody else would work in a parallel but different way). When under stress I exhibit certain behavioural patterns which reflect patterns I learnt as a child. So I seek episodes which repeat the thoughts and feelings I had at that time.

        My strong episodes in childhood were ones of feelings of guilt and anger (shan’t go into why here). These feelings aren’t necessarily good or helpful or comforting even. But they are the ones that I felt when under stress as a child. It seems possible to me that now that I am under the semi-permanent stress of lack-of-friends I may be seeking to repeat these feelings. And of course as an adult it is not so helpful at all.

        What I don’t know (yet) is how to get out of the destructive cycle of stress → guilt → frustration (anger). And I have no idea how this may help me get friends in the first place (see above).

        I’m having a guilt episode now. I’m under stress, so I create a guilty episode then feel that nobody is there to help me, so I feel frustration and anger.

        I know that if I wasn’t under stress, i.e. if I had a set of friends to fall back on, then I wouldn’t feel the subconscious need to create the rest of the cycle. But it’s precisely because I haven’t got any reliable, strong friends that I find myself trapped.

        Help. Help.

      • Help, please. Somebody help me. It’s so easy, I just need a compassionate friend who can understand what I’m going through and live it with me. That’s ALL I need. With that simple thing I can see my way out of the destructive cycle. Thats’ not too much to ask is it?

        Surely it isn’t. Isn’t there somebody there that can put up with me for a while until I come out the other side? Why does nobody have the strength? It’s not too much is it? I can’t think it is. I would do it for somebody else.

        Help, help, help.

      • When will I ever find somebody who can share with me and relieve the torment of not having anybody to share with me.

        It’s torment.

        It’s a viscious circle.

        I can’t stand it.

        There’s nobody to help me stand it.


      • People are so beautiful. Why can’t I experience them. Why can’t I. It’s wrong in an absolute sense that I can’t. I shouldn’t be in this position. I just need one person to step out of line and come towards me.

      • So I’m posting a lot because I’ve nowhere else to post. There is NOBODY in the world I can phone up and talk to.

      • Hi Carl

        Your description of patterns of coping and interacting being replayed under stress sounds very familiar to me. It is hard to escape the boy inside us isn’t it? But as for connection with others- I can only suggest this- find something to DO in parallel with others. Lower your expectations, make allowances for other people’s failings and let things unfold from there. People may not share your passions, or your intelligence but there will always be convergence, as long as your interest is in their stories, not just in telling your own, Be neither stuck on transmit or receive. For every story you tell, ask three questions.

        But to even suggest this is patronising- which was not my intention at all. I know that starting out on this path is difficult, particularly after previous rejection. I just know that ranting at the injustice of loneliness will never make it go away- and that despite the risks, it can only be you who closes the gap.


      • Hi Chris,
        Had a long chat with the person we shall call “the priest” yesterday. He is a mutual (but busy) friend along with someone else who we shall call “The friend”.

        We talked about the child and the guilt trip and The Friend. But he is so busy; he has a job and a family, so for him to come out to me this once was a big distraction from his normal routine and I can’t expect it too frequently.

        We did get closer and that is a very good thing. When all this ends we will have a strong bond to fall back on.

        We talked about the way out of the trap we are/I am currently in with The Friend. When all this is finished, The Priest, The Friend and I will be close; that is what I seek and what he seeks as well. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. And we might have tentatively seen some form of path to the end of the tunnel, so hope is back.

        Yes sorry, you were patronising. I do know to listen; it is actually one of my strengths. But of course you don’t know me so that’s okay. As for the “Doing together” thing – perhaps, but I just don’t know what. Should it be bowling? Should I invent an interest in stuff I find boring? Is that how life works? It seems so stupid and wasteful of time.

        But what you said about reducing expectations was good. It gives me an insight into others minds, something which I’m lacking on the post-trauma, post Shane-Claiborne-style-awakening bus ride I’m on. This fits in with something The Friend said to me once, so I can start to accept it.

        Within the words you say are some truths which you might not have seen as relevant, but do turn out to resonate. You see, let’s assume that I have been through a trauma; a big psychological reset taking me back to the emotional age of 9. Then I have the Claiborne style awakening and I’m looking for friends. It is a most unusual combination; someone reacting in an emotionally immature way, yet expecting to find many others with great passion. It is most unusual and most difficult to cope with.

        You suggest lowering my expectations. That is good to examine because I think they’re normal expectations! So I do need to have it impressed on me that they’re not. The Psycho has intimated this, The Friend has said this and now you. So I might actually start to believe it. It’s just that I still do think they’re normal and then to hear Claiborne say he has them as well, makes me think they are normal, or at least within the range of normality. Do you think you would find him writing a book about how he found the answer in bowling?! I suppose that in his case he didn’t have the major psychological reset button pressed at the same time.



      • Hi Carl

        I am really glad you have had the chance to talk some of these things through.

        Sorry again for the presumptiousness- perhaps driven by my feelings that good listeners are in short supply and not usually under employed.

        As for the lowered expectations, I think there is something in this. It is easy to idealise what we think other people are experiencing in their relationships and community. The reality for most of us is messy and compromised. Being in community means being prepared to be very generous in our assessments of others.



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