Blog archive July 2005
was in a conventional church on sunday, and the prayers began "O Lord". and i wondered why we still address god "O". maybe it's god's first name. maybe god is O-Lord, hip hop stylee. like J-Lo. in fact maybe jesus is J-Lord.
next time you have to start prayers "O Lord" just change the intonation slightly.
while commenting on the labyrinths thread on andrew jones' blog, it came to me that i was coming from a different place to some other people in my approach to what an 'alternative worship' or 'emerging church' event actually is. here are the diagrams [there have to be diagrams]:
situation 1: church as it has been taking on characteristics of other events eg cafe, art etc [other things as specialised plug-in resources]
situation 2: other events gaining christian uses and content [church as specialised plug-in resources]
situation 1: taking church and making it look like the events i'm used to
situation 2: taking the events i'm used to and making them into church
obviously i'm coming more from the second angle. note 'events i'm used to'. i always have that outsider angle. probably from being an adult convert.
situation 1 tends to run into compatibility problems when plugging in other church resources - the event is already gendered, so to speak, by a particular denominational background. the screen or pastor may hang unexpectedly.
exactly what i feared. i was noting the lack of 'police kill suicide bomber just in time' headlines which would have followed immediately if it had been so. instead it all went rather quiet...
the repercussions will not be good.
the recent events in london have once again made clear to me the emotional difference between knowing and not knowing the places that are in the news. incidents at edgware road, oval, shepherds bush hammersmith & city line, and on the buses have a lesser [!] impact on me because i have no clear picture - my knowledge is mostly through the media like everyone else.
whereas the piccadilly line explosion is upsetting because i know every inch of the scene from daily commuting until march. i pass the closed barriers at liverpool street shielding the aldgate bomb scene every day on my current commute. and i know the stretch of track where the bomb went off quite well - ironically the last time i was there was on my way to the royal london hospital in whitechapel to have the stitches out of my face. i expect the woman who fixed my face was busy on the 7th of july.
and i know stockwell tube well from going to a church homegroup nearby weekly for a year or two. so i can picture exactly how that incident went too. that road, that ticket hall, that escalator, that platform. it's not abstracted or flitered.
whatever the justifications - and i'm sure there are many - for policemen shooting a fleeing man dead at stockwell tube, it still seems like an outrage. this doesn't happen in our city. not legally. not pumping bullets into somebody you've caught. what are we coming to?
saw a brilliant t-shirt at lunchtime:
there are only 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.
you have to hear the music to experience the full horror...
the tube map after the bombs.
at the grace barbecue we were discussing the relatively small impact the bombs have had on travel in london.
the transport systems here are notoriously prone to random breakdown or cancellation of service. large sections of the tube are often closed for running repairs. the transport authorities are used to handling planned and unplanned disruptions, and londoners are used to rerouting at a moment's notice. we all carry maps in our heads of alternative routes.
so the very things we complain about on a daily basis help immunise the city against attack. disruption is already built into the system.
this is helped by the amount of redundancy that's been left in a half-planned system founded by competing rail companies. note that in spite of the amount of closed line [the grey] there are only five actual stations in central london that are closed. the worst effect is the closure of the northern part of the piccadilly line [top right] where there are no alternative lines - but there are buses. [incidentally the amount of line closed is determined by where depots are and where trains can be turned around, not damage.]
so the tube and bus networks are acting like an internet. it's already chaotic in a number of senses. traffic flows around localised damage. there is no one point that controls or disables the whole.
yay! cuisenaire rods. i remember these from infants school. maybe i should get a set. i think they informed my approach to web design.
my ecological footprint is 4.5 hectares. In comparison, the average ecological footprint in my country is 5.3 global hectares per person. Worldwide, there exist 1.8 biologically productive global hectares per person. If everyone lived like me, we would need 2.5 planets.
via steve lawson and barky
seeing birhan woldu in the bbc's 'faces of the week' brought home to me what a week of extremes it has been in london. extreme good summed up by woldu, the Ethiopian girl close to death in the 1985 Live Aid video, radiantly alive on stage with madonna at Live 8. then london getting the 2012 olympics and the euphoria that followed. and then extreme evil the morning after. all that in less than seven days. too much, really, for one week to bear.
and some light relief. early 70s movie-out-of-TV-series Callan, showing a fascinatingly dingy and low-tech london [we're not in austin powers territory here]. and buried in the credits, dave prowse - darth vader!
and in the edward woodward filmography, a piece of 70s dystopian sci-fi i've long wanted to see [was too young at the time] - 1990 . highly topical plot summary from another site:
Great Britain, 1990. The population is now governed by the tyrannical Home Office Public Control Department (PCD) who have done away with the rights of the individual and maintain control through ID cards, rationing and electronic surveillance....
big difference is, they're trying to prevent emigration not immigration. i guess that's a comment on the relative economic situations of the 1970s and the 2000s.
it's been an emotionally draining week. i dare say central london will be quieter than usual this weekend, as people don't travel and take stock.
with 9/11 one knew the worst at once, and the death toll turned out to be far less than had seemed likely during the catastrophe. with this one it's the other way round. the sick jokes of thursday morning died slowly during the afternoon as the scale of the event became clearer. every few hours the numbers of dead notch up a little. there are still bodies in the tube. the evening paper carried pictures of those still missing and harrowing descriptions of the bomb scenes, which were perhaps not the best thing to offer to commuters on their way home.
it's hard to watch the news. it gets worse.
around 20 are still missing right now.
situation back to normal in london, for those of us who are still here. people are a little bit weary and subdued on public transport. some didn't come in because it's friday. security alerts ripple around the city like aftershocks. parts of the tube network are closed, as usual :|
of course i'm only getting the full picture now on the 10pm news. website updates are kind of fragmented. notable how many images and video clips on the TV news came from people's phones, escaping from tubes or at the bombed bus. this will be an increasing component of news reports. they're commenting a lot on the determined calm normality with which londoners carried on regardless [and will tomorrow when we've got to get back on the tube!].
loads of people went home early in the afternoon, but it's the way of these things that the transport situation improves with time so i stayed. by the time i finished what i was doing at 6.30pm the buses were running normally again, so i didn't have to walk to paddington. the whole journey home only took about two hours, most of the extra hour being due to the inherent slowness and meandering path of buses - although the lack of traffic made things a little better than usual.
i'm maybe more upset and shaken than at first appeared, as the rising death toll sinks in. i could probably use a good cry, and i guess that's true of everybody. at the time people crack jokes and get on with their business. after all, we've been anticipating a bomb on the tube for 30 years and have dodged many a false alarm, and some genuine near-misses. and now it's happened. that piccadilly line train at kings cross was my regular commute, when i lived with the bakers. that carriage, or the one next to it [you get off straight opposite the platform exit at kings cross]. that's why so many died in that explosion - it's crowded.
now i am upset.
although on second thoughts i'd have been on a train ten minutes later.
just got back to the office after starting the morning at unilever house by blackfriars bridge. tube stuff was starting to happen when i got there but the seriousness of the situation became clear as we waited in the site canteen for others to turn up, and someone put the TV on.
no tubes and buses, therefore no available cabs, so we walked back to the office. will see how i get home [can get train from paddington, but that's a long walk from here]
london is going about its disrupted business with a sense of deja vu. we've all been here before [25 years of the IRA]
from the final vaux last night:
Lord, now let your servant depart without peace
your word has not yet been fulfilled.
Our own eyes have not seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all people;
a darkness hides you from the nations
to the shame of your people, the Church.
But glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
even though it seems that as it was in the beginning,
is going to be now, and shall be for ever, world without end.
and also this, taken from The Complex Christ:
'"Behold, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it?"
Only if I am still. Only if I have stopped what I was doing to listen and hold my breath and enter some spiritual apnoea and wait. The perception of the new step will only come to those brave enough to stop dancing the old. We fear that if we stopped for a week, a month, a service, a moment, we might be forgotten, or lose our momentum, weaken our profile, appear ill-thought-out and failing. But we must be brave enough to stop if we are to see change. Our structures must serve us, not us serve them.
The only way to consider whether our structures are serving us is to stop and reflect on them. To dismantle them; take them apart piece by piece. Expose them to the air. Lay them on the ground and let everyone walk around them and get a good look at them without the pressures of meetings and deadlines and agendas. This is the beginning of empowerment: we must allow people space and time to return to the deep simplicity of things.'