Blog archive June 2005
since this is on a building in shoreditch, i can't be sure whether it's serious or not.
was just reading yet another complaint about alt worship services being too 'hip' and aesthetically exclusive and inaccessible. so i'm musing:
if our church event is primarily about communicating god to any and every third party who walks in, then it needs to be accessible to the widest range of people, speak the broadest language, be clear.
if our church event is primarily our gift to god then it needs to be the offering of the firstfruits - the most sophisticated and difficult thing we can cook up.
and we hover in the tension between the two. a public event that is definitely not for everybody. a private event that wants to be for anybody.
turns out there's another group called vaux...
Our new album is finished. We have titled it "Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice". Our managers are working with our label on plans for the release so stay tuned. The track listing is
1. Identity Theft
2. Are You With Me
3. Cocaine James
4. Total Action
5. Truth Or Consequences
6. The Rope, The Pistol, The Candlestick
7. Never Better
8. The Last Report From...
9. Burn The Bandwagon
10. To The Nines
This is by far the best VAUX material to date. We can't wait for you to hear the record. It is a natural progression from both "Plague Music" and "There Must Be Some Way To Stop Them". We feel we have covered some new ground with this record and are extremely proud of it. We are working on tour plans for late summer / early fall time frame. Stay tuned for more information and an all new web site!!!!!
Vote for VAUX in the Westword Music Showcase!!!
VAUX is in the punk category.
i'm assuming it's another group. 'beyond virtue, beyond vice'? 'last report from...'? 'burn the bandwagon'?
and some more stuff here which arose out of conversations/observations over dinner with steve and miriam in the blue mountains.
andrew cooked omelettes for brunch every day [we got up too late for proper breakfast]. so i came up with omelette church. i said to andrew, if i see anything for long enough it becomes a model of church.
what if julian of norwich had been a blogger? either there would have been twenty years between entries or she'd have thrown it all away in half-formed conclusions.
the last ten minutes of the ferry ride from manly is worth twelve bucks of anyone's money. one of the world's greatest views slowly unfolds. the photos don't convey the thrill.
am in sydney staying with fellow 'church dissolvers' cathy and andrew as mentioned in rant below. [this is coincidence btw]. saw oranges growing on a tree for the first time. andrew grabbed a couple that were hanging over the street, i just ate some. also saw lemons but they weren't ripe yet. it's reassuring that these things don't just appear in the supermarket. you might think, he doesn't get out much, but these things don't grow in england and i don't take holidays in hot sunny places. blazing sun in sydney, but it's winter so 20C. first impression is, it looks like texas but they drive on the wrong side of the road!
got searched at customs on the way in. with hindsight they were looking for ecstasy/weed/coke. what does that say about my appearance? [camo puffa, hoodie, skate shoes, baseball cap]. i'm not used to real customs, being european.
if he catches any flak some of it belongs to me cos i encouraged him. the statement's too conciliatory imho.
a very vaux quote from kester before the service: "we're just waiting for some darkness" ;)
some photos from the final actual vaux service [there will be a meal in july]. more photos will follow on smallfire.org in due course.
notes from service:
brief tour of old material:
beautiful imperfection [funny how rough and aggressive their end-of-90s aesthetic was]
an ache for justice [snafu]
dirt [the return of piss christ]
the urban as spiritual space [urban masses, sine]
video of railway station platform, people waiting for a train - we sit and wait too for the train to come. no photo as it would break the spell.
communion on the london map altar
we loved to turn you on:
tracked to beatles 'a day in the life' [kester had always wanted to use it] - my pics plus quotes from rowan williams/douglas coupland to nic video stuff over orchestral climax - piano note fade with dot dot dot
then in silence, slides of vauxhall outside - street lights, pavements, walls, the railway bridge etc - a manumission fading to RIPeace Out.
scott's having a beef in a similar vein
he's the only person who made me want to wear a rosary. here's the quote from the interview [which isn't on the internet any more that i can find atm but i have the whole thing so i might put it back]
mb: Can you tell me why or what provoked you to start wearing a rosary?
sg: Just for the record, I saw this question and cheated and wanted to answer it. The rosary for me is a symbol of my spirituality that I can wear for everybody to see and in doing so, I can state some pretty simple beliefs before I ever come in contact with people. When someone sees my rosary, they don't think that I don't go to rated R movies, they don't think that I go to church on Sunday, they don't think that I listen to a pastor preach and then I've learned to apply the word of God to my daily life and have my quiet time.
They think that in some sense, I believe that Jesus came, lived, died, and is important to me. So I wear it because it is as far as I'm willing to go with Christianity. I'm willing to say that I believe that the crucifixion was the most important thing that ever happened and ever will happen in human history, ever. And I think it has everything to do with my life today and that is as far as I'm willing to go with Christianity. So when I wear a rosary, I say yeah, I believe in the apostle's creed, I believe in God the father, I believe Christ was His son, I believe that when we die, were going somewhere and I believe there's a Heaven and a hell, and I believe in a holy spirit and that's it. Period, end of statement. I don't believe in anything else. I don't believe in the way that people apply it, but I do believe in it and I feel comfortable with that level of spirituality. That's kind of like the bottom line statement, that's where I'm willing to start and end, no more, no less and I can wear it on my sleeve for everyone to see and I'm proud of it.
some thoughts from Nemi
you see [and this will really get me into trouble]
i find myself thinking of the judaizers. they wanted to keep the new thing within the framework of the old, for all sorts of good reasons: faithfulness to god's earlier revealed paths; access to the riches of tradition; safeguards and accountability; fear of syncretism with gentile culture, etc....
and they were wrong.
i'm suffering from a deep unease lately about the way people are talking in large parts of the emerging church. a lot of it seems to be turning into the thing i thought i'd left behind. the thing i thought we'd left behind.
i think a lot of the critiques of alt worship/emerging church as not being fully church come from within the old paradigms of being church. i worry that a lot of aw/ec people are accepting those old-paradigm critiques and are moving back to old-paradigm solutions [especially those people who never travelled right out in the first place. me, i wonder if i ever travelled right in]. i think we're swallowing the institution's arguments about what church is - which by definition leave what we do looking defective. and we set about trying to supply the things that old church says we lack, in order to prove to old church that we are real church [by their standards] too. but whose game are we playing? and what chances are we missing, for the truly new?
one understanding we had was that the form of what you do carries its own paradigm with it. we need tradition to inform the present - not to determine it. i feel like we're often not working hard enough at rethinking/redefining. we've got to be careful in revisiting the past. for instance, forget about the forms of monasticism. ask what was it for? what was the underlying intention that the forms served? if that intention is worth pursuing now, what forms does it call forth now, without reference to the past? if it looks similar, fine. but to seek similar forms is romantic nostalgia.
at greenbelt a few years back cathy kirkpatrick said to me, imagine this paper plate is the church and it's dissolving in the water. do you see your job as gathering up the pieces and putting the plate back together? or do you see your job as aiding the dissolution of the plate? and i chose the latter. [maybe it was representing a sinking ship...]
i feel like a lot of the show atm is being run by the church-fixers [witting and unwitting] rather than the church-dissolvers. people want to fix the church because they can't imagine a resurrection after its death. the bible [and bruegemann!] say otherwise - that that is the only route to god's new thing, sometimes. we used to say that, in our 'angry outsiders' phase. i wonder if it was a more truthful position.
it's funny putting it this way, because i don't hate the church. but i think that church is what you are - you can't help it. so you have enormous freedom to reinvent. church isn't an organization. maybe it's an ecology of relationships. there's a story to live by, not a checklist. and the canonical story stops before anything gets to be an institution - maybe to save us. it's interesting to imagine, if all forms of church were extinguished [though not belief] and we had to start again from scratch, what would we bring back?