A little while ago I noticed this signal box in our neighbourhood.
Quite a few of the signal boxes in our area are painted, but I noticed that as well as the portrait, this one has,
written under the person’s eye. I don’t know if the letters are a later addition or whethere they’ve always been there. Maybe I just noticed them because of the empty beer bottles left on top?
Either way, it’s had me pondering what our neighbourhood thinks about public art.
Haven’t written a proper blog post for a couple of days.
I’ve been taking some time to recover from SURRENDER and prepare for some intensive study.
I plan to be back to blogging on Friday though…
Last week I published a post about some stuff that Stan Grant has been saying: that everyone in our society is balck-and-white, and that our peoples bend toward each other but don’t touch. Our household has been reflecting on that idea a bit, and at Surrender over the weekend we had some postcards I’d made, inviting others to reflect on what he might be getting at.
I don’t know if this is what Stan Grant is getting at, but to me it suggests that we are all both black and white (and every other colour) because through our history, particulalry the atrocities committed by European colonists, our stories and fates have become intertwined. However, it has been possible for colonist people to remain ignorant of this, and to pretend the relationship doesn’t exist.
On Thursday I said that I was hoping to make space at SURRENDER for folks to acknowledge where they are at with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity, and I am pretty happy with how that went. A number of people participated in the labyrinth on the Saturday and Sunday mornings while I was hosting the space, and also at other times when it wasn’t intentionally hosted. I also got to have conversations with several people who have more conservative views on this topic than I did, and I think we were able to hear where each other is coming from. We also received feedback from folks who said they appreciated knowing that there was some affirming presence at the conference. (Some of my friends were also hosting a space where people could come and chat about these things.)
For the sake of transparency I thought I should post here the statement that I provided at the labyrinth. If anyone has suggestions about how I can imporve this, please let me know. (My email address is email@example.com if you’d prefer to contact me privately.)
LGBTIQ Acknowledgement Labyrinth
We’re coming here with different perspectives. The unity of Christians is in Christ, not in the perspectives we hold.
One thing I think we should all be able to agree on is that Jesus loves and accepts us all as we are – but it is something that has often been forgotten by the church in our treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer people.
Whatever our perspective, we should all be able to agree that the church should be sorry for the harm it has caused to people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. this is a space for the church to acknowledge the presence of LGBTIQ people in the church.
- to acknowledge without reservation that the church has often caused harm in its response to LGBTIQ people
- to acknowledge that LGBTIQ people have often been pushed out of church communities
- to acknowledge that many LGBTIQ people who have been able to stay part of the church have faced restrictions on their involvement
- to acknowledge that there are things we have struggled to understand about human sexuality and identity
- to mourn the loss of LGBTIQ people who have taken their own lives as a result of hateful treatment
- to celebrate the contributions that LGBTIQ people have made to the church in spite of opposition
- to acknowledge that the church needs to begin listening to LGBTIQ people and to commit to doing this in our own contexts
If there is something you’d like to acknowledge, please feel free to take a ribbon, walk the labyrinth with it, and tie it onto the cross. (If you like, you can write your acknowledgement on the ribbon.)
As we walk the labyrinth, we often have to make space for people coming from the opposite direction. In these situations it’s often someone who is travelling in the direction that we were previously taking. We have to work out how we’ll share the space and pass each other. I think this can show us something about sharing space with people we don’t agree with.
If this space has brought up anything that you would like to talk about, I’m more than happy to discuss this and share how my own limited perspective on this has developed over the years. – Chris Booth 04– — —
On Sundays I’ve been publishing a monster illustration that I’ve made for Dungeons & Dragons games I run. Today I have another one that I’ve made up for the adventure I’ve been running over Twitter. With the alchemicats I wanted to create a monster that wasn’t a real threat but would just be annoying. It’s a monster that needs to be rescued, but doesn’t want to be rescued. It’s a monster that will attack adventurers, but which they need to bring back alive.
If you’d like to try this monster out, there’s a file here with stats and a bit of story. Let me know if you have any feedback.
Well, our Twitter D&D adventure is well underway now, with the adventurers searching for some alchemically altered cats that have gone missing. It’s not what I’ve expected, but we’ve ended up in a situatrion where Burnsy the pyromancer has just lit the door of an alchemist’s storeroom on fire… Which I guess creates a great opportunity to open up to everyone for suggestions about what happens:
If you’d like to join in, you can find the whole thread here.
From my perspective, the practise of not planning far ahead, but thinking of a few basic directions that the strory could take, seems to be working.
On Fridays I’ve generally been posting something I’ve observed in my neighbourhood, or in a neighbourhood I’ve been visiting. Last week I posted some observations about a secluded spot in Carlton. But I didn’t mention these stencils that had been put up just a bit further down the lane:
I guess that’s another function that laneways and other hidden away spots play: they provide places where people can express themselves in secret.
At the moment I’m up in Belgrave Heights (in the hills east of Melbourne) for SURRENDER’s Melbourne conference. The focus of SURRENDER is calling Christians to the margins of society. Some of us would say that Christian discipleship is essentiaqlly moving toward the margins.
One of the main things I’ve been doing this year is setting up a space for people to acknowledge where they are at with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity. In Christian circles it is still often a struggle for us to get space to talk about this. Normally when we do get space to talk about this there is often only one acceptable perspective, which tends to be the more conservative one.
I think we still need to allow space for the people who disagree. I don’t expect all of my comrades will share this perspective with me. But I think that squashing discussion means none of us go anywhere. People with the unacceptable perspective just shut up about what they think. I don’t think that arguing often gets us anywhere either. When we argue we just become more defensive of our own position.
So this weekend I’m hoping we can share space with each other. Or at least hear each other’s stories as we pass each other heading in different directions.
One Wesnesdays I’ve beenreading and refelcting on the book of Genesis. Today I’ve been reading about Elohim destroying the earth. In order to understand what is being described we need to be familiar with an ancient cosmology which is common to a whole lot of cultures around the fertile crescent. The understanding was that the world of human beings existed in the space between two bodies of water – water below the earth and water above the firmament. The firmament was understood to be a huge dome which protected the space where human beings lived from being flooded. In this cosmology it is as though an upturned bowl has been submerged in water, and humanity lives in the pocket of air that’s formed under the bowl. When the first chapters of Genesis describe the creator separating the waters, this is what is being described.
What’s being described in the flood narrative is the creator, Elohim, chosing to undo creation. The water above starts to come in through the firmament, and the water below begins to come up out of the earth, so that the earth will be submerged.
I think it is impossible it our current situation to consider this without being reminded of the destruction being caused by climate change. This is the undoing of creation, and we can’t blame this on an angry god.
We’ve been thinking a bit about something that we’ve heard Stan Grant talking about. He says that we have black and white within all of us, that we bend to each other but we don’t touch. He says his interest is in the gap.
What do you think he means when he says we have black and white within all of us?
In what ways do we bend toward each other? In what ways do we not touch?
Why do you think he says he’s interested in the gap?
Interested in others’ thoughts…