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The Ultimate Soul Survivor


I arrived back home today after camping for a few days at Soul Survivor week B. As always, a brilliant week away hanging out with some of da youf from St Clement’s and packed with big celebration meetings, fascinating seminars and all sorts of other stuff going on.

One of those other strands was the option of a late night film each evening. I went along for the first two evenings before switching to other activities and saw Black Panther (2018) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2018). I enjoyed the former but have to confess that I was underwhelmed with the Star Wars film. It wasn’t that it didn’t have visually stunning scenes, gripping drama and fascinating revelations but, as I reflect on it, that it had too much of all of those. The original Star Wars (1977) was a gripping action adventure movie of the space opera ilk but it had excellent pacing with low key passages as well as edge-of-the-seat action. This year’s movie was such a prolonged sequence of high-stakes events that it began to pall. Apparently a lot of the original film ended up on the cutting room floor; more of the The Last Jedi could have done with ending up in the same place.

What is that to do with Soul Survivor? It probably isn’t news to those who know about the annual festival events that next year will be the last run. This year was the penultimate Soul Survivor, so next year will be the ultimate one. On the final morning this year, Mike Pilavachi explained a bit about the reasons why. A lot of people feel quite gutted about this regular summer fixture, running for the best part of 30 years, coming to an end but it makes a lot of sense. Often you need to put down one thing to take up another and that is what they feel they are being called to do.

Endings, when done right, can be beginnings. You can see that story told in Star Wars but Jesus had already given the definitive real-world example 2,000 years before George Lucas dreamed up Obi-Wan Kenobi. I’m sad to see the end of the Soul Survivor festivals myself but, after the explanation given this week I can approach it with (geek joke warning) a new hope.

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