Catriona Robertson

journeys at home and abroad

An Atheist and a Muslim walk into a Christian festival . .

Greenbelt 2012 | © Drew McLellan
Licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 license

We couldn’t make the Greenbelt Festival for the first time in years, mud ‘n all.

And missed a cracking line-up: Proclaimers (and I would walk five hundred miles .  .), Diarmaid MacCulloch, Lucy Winkett, a few Iona Community folk, Mark Vernon – plus the chance to sharpen up on justice issues, drum till our fingers glowed at the chai chapel, stare across the universe from the Panoramic Lounge and bump into lots of Londoners we never bump into in London.

In short, it’s a good way to catch up on what folk are thinking before they write their book, while enjoying a bit of music, life drawing/caligraphy, starry nights, edgy church/theology, family camping (yes, it gets better) and the fresh-air freedom that suddenly hits you when you leave the metropolis.

Robin Ince photo © Rob Greig

Twitter’s #gb12 links to a couple of post-Greenbelt posts from atheist and Muslim contributors to the Festival –

Robin Ince  “Does it matter to me if someone is religious?  No.  Does it matter to me if someone justifies their cruelty or oppression to others because of their religion?  Yes.”

and Mohammed Ali “There is lots to learn from one another, and its spaces like this that can offer a refreshing retreat from the chaos of the city, to explore  issues together.”

One of Mohammed’s murals in Birmingham. He’s also created a great Olympic mural in East London for 2012.

Both worth a read, particularly if you think the public conversation on religion and belief has shifted and become more interesting and nuanced over the last year.  Is it about belief?  Or is it more about how we negotiate living well together in spite of differences, how we spend public money, how we tackle injustice together?

Read Robin Ince’s post here – and follow him on @robinince

Read Mohammed Ali’s post here – and follow him on @aerosolali

2 comments on “An Atheist and a Muslim walk into a Christian festival . .

  1. Catriona Robertson
    30 August 2012

    Thanks Guy – for anyone interested, Near Neighbours is active across England

  2. guywilkinson
    28 August 2012

    Thanks Catriona

    I think that Mohammed Ali’s mural – the one pictured, was part funded by the Near Neighbours programme

    Best wishes


    Canon Guy Wilkinson CBE
    Vicar, St Andrew’s church
    Area Dean of Hammersmith & Fulham
    Twitter: @StarcentreSW6

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This entry was posted on 28 August 2012 by in UK and tagged , , .
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