HTML blog archive May 2004
thoughts mainly pertaining to grace:
we are time-poor
ie we struggle to find time for church activities
once we have found the time and it's established in our diaries, it's hard to dislodge or vary because the rest of our time is taken
we seldom gather all at once - it's an aspect of time-poverty that meetings are hard to arrange between more than three or four people - beyond that, someone will always be busy on any chosen date.
most [all?] of the church experiments that do more [mission, prayer, etc] have:
a full-time staff who can maintain the infrastructure, develop strategy etc without interruption - ie they are time-rich in regard to their churches
members generally who have more time
members who are significantly older or younger, ie don't have family commitments, major career commitments, major financial commitments - again they have more available time [and energy]
their own premises - which means not having to use time and energy setting up/taking down - which means having a ready-made suitable place for prayer, meetings etc - which means having a permanent shop-front for their own message/values rather than a fugitive presence which outsiders seldom catch
things we succeed at:
things we can do individually on lines agreed earlier [fitting into the fragments of time we have available as individuals - we don't need to synchronise time and place with other people's fragments]
[it's harder for us to do things that require collaboration because we have to find extra time to be together]
things requiring technology
[because we have it for other reasons, and it's easier for us to spend money than time]
time poverty means we don't commit as much as we could - ie we do have time for many of the things we'd like to do, but our general sense of time-poverty means we grasp at the chance to do nothing or recreate in 'lazy' ways. we are not casting around for ways to fill our time, but to empty it. we are at a stage of life where we hunger to create a void. you might say, it is 'better' to be at a prayer meeting or working on some church activity than watching tv. but i know from experience that life lived that way soon becomes all work - even the 'creative' things. the soul never gets to be alone, to rest, to receive. if we were to get that from church it would have to be church we could just turn up to and consume!
i suspect many of the people who come to grace are coming because it's a more enjoyable consume - cake rather than bread. there's a place for that, if it fills a need.
and something i need to do, maybe this bank holiday weekend, is reorder the categories and add a whole lot more blogs. the site was designed about three years ago now, before the wide spread of blogs and 'emerging church' phenomena. there wasn't even a blogs category when the site opened in 2002. how times change.
maybe there still is an alternative, after all.
the most beautiful escalator i have ever seen. it's the sibling of the blue light one in psalm, but that one is a main entrance to the tube station and always crowded. this one is hidden away in a newly opened section of the complex and few people find it as yet. the quality of the light is extraordinary, and there is no sound other than the hum of the escalator. it has a mystical quality, fit for angels.
i suppose i can blog about it now. i've negotiated a month off work mid-june to mid-july, returning to a change of project. this was always plan A, my time on barclays was due to end in june, and i was going to ask for the month off as a much-needed break before starting another project. but then they produced a little diagram showing my time extended to christmas on yet another phase of the project! and i said no. i'm burnt out on it. enough. at the same time i didn't want to lose my job, so i'm heartened that they value me enough to give me this.
but it hadn't been announced, so i was keeping quiet. then on friday i found that one or two people had heard rumours. on monday someone from barclays was anxious because they'd heard i was leaving pringle brandon. then a sales rep from a furniture company, that i had only spoken to once long ago, rang me up to discuss the new project that i am, apparently, working on! like how the hell did he know??? so it had to be announced to my actual work colleagues, who were of course the last to know.
what i'm doing? a week at home - anglican church planting conference that week - then two weeks away, then a week recovery before going back to work. for the two weeks i'm thinking about norway atm. no jetlag, mountains and sea, midnight sun which i've always wanted to see but never get holidays in midsummer.
was at the design museum this afternoon to see the archigram exhibition. the exhibition is itself styled like an archigram environment, in eye-popping 60s psychedelic colour, with some delicious models of airship-borne 'instant cities', or the 'suitaloon' space suit that inflates into a 'cushicle' house, or the 'logplug' which is a log with concealed plug outlets. so you can watch tv in unspoiled natural surroundings.
much of what archigram proposed has effectively been realised through the internet rather than through architecture. their underlying concern was with social connectivity and networks, and their building projects were in effect networks made solid, forever plugging and unplugging in response to social desires. they were amazingly prescient - eg a proposal for what we now call virtual reality glasses, in 1968, as a kind of pda that would plug you into the information world wherever you were [much like the logplug].
i've been much influenced by archigram in my dealings with the church - their embrace of technological/consumerist possibilities and aesthetics to shake up a staid establishment, the blurring of boundaries between disciplines, the polemic that architecture isn't about architecture [as church isn't about church], the subjection of architecture to the flows and demands of real life. and especially i learned how effective imaginary projects - pictures, drawings - can be in bringing about change, through demonstrating possibility, putting ideas into people's heads.
...Jonathan Rabagliati's 'Notes to Myself [Footnotes to the City]'... is a series of four pavement pieces that rabagliati has made around london. if you head up cork street you may chance upon the word 'hope' drilled into the pavement. half way along brick lane you might have encountered the word 'seek'. if you walk up wharf road past the drive-through mcdonalds you might find 'love'. you could run over 'pray' while trying to catch the number 19 bus at battersea bridge road. [there's also one that says 'vaux' outside st peters kennington lane]
these four letter words, which offer more uplifting messages to london's public than other graffiti texts, are not chance appearances; the artist chose each site carefully. rabagliati has used the language of the street - the knobbly paving slabs that signal a pedestrian crossing - to develop a dot matrix font specifically for this piece. this work involves a carefully orchestrated process. rabagliati removes the original pavement stone and replaces it with a temporary one. in the workshop he drills each letter into the slab, and then returns to the street to relay it in its original position. the process involves meticulous attention to detail but is at the same time liberating for the artist. rather than asking permission to make these public works, rabagliati just goes ahead and does it. he dons the clothes of the streetworker, luminous jacket and boots, in order to become part of the street. he notes, "no-one questions me: a policeman passes by; a street cleaner sweeps past."
is jon the banksy of pavements?
at tate modern last night. somewhat disappointing - obviously the weather project has gone, which i knew - but i'd missed donald judd. and there was no food in the cafe! but there is a new project by olafur eliasson your double lighthouse. it messes with your eyes. it's really a room sized version of those lamps that slowly go through all the colours of the spectrum. except for the brightness and the way it fills your entire field of vision with featureless colour. another great chillout space.
imedia-tv is a film you put over a tv screen to turn the image into an abstracted pattern of coloured dots. the designer's intention is to turn tv into moving wallpaper. wonder how much it costs?
and of course that's part of the problem. i've lost interest in updating this site, because in my head i'm already in the next one.
not blogging much atm because a] life goes on as usual b] i'm working on a small ritual redesign - when i've got my menu system and headline graphics sorted i can put this blog into movable type as well as remaking the main site. i've been thinking about it for ages but don't have the solid time blocks needed to remake websites. it took all last year to rebuild smallfire and i don't want to suffer that again.
Last night's grace was a kind of 'stations of the resurrection'. we started with a list of 12 but we'd done four of them in other ways so we cut it down. my part was 'denial of the resurrection', so here's my stuff with a couple of pics of the service.