Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Greenbelt Highlights!

What were your greenbelt highlights?
Click on "comments" below or write a new post to let us know. Even if we don't know you, let us know what you enjoyed/inspired you about greenbelt this year.
I'm writing this before leaving for Greenbelt in the hope and expectation that there will be lots of good things at Greenbelt.
If you see this before you go, check out ASBO Jesus and CAP when you get there.
happy camping!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

What would Monet have wanted?

Schof asked someone recently : If Monet was your art teacher, what would Monet have wanted you to do? They replied that Monet would have wanted them to produce their own piece of impressionist artwork.

I thought that was a great illustration. Surely he wouldn't have wanted groups of Monet admirers 100 years later, arguing about which were the really authentic examples of Monet's work and try to reproduce them time and time again. Surely, he wouldn't want them to reproduce copies of a garden in Giverney or a street in Paris. Surely, its about taking what was a hugely radical way of doing art and asking what it might mean for a Rochdale Council Estate or a Sheffield Steel works.

How bizarre, then, that 2000 years after Jesus people are all busy trying to reproduce authentic replicas of the church 2000 years ago and arguing over what was really authentic, instead of being genuinely creative and asking what it means to be a Jesus-follower in 21st Century Sheffield.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Guantanamo Images

I was thinking that it would be really good to have some visual images for our Guantanamo event in October and I came across these. Gwyneth Leech was commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross for an Episcopal parish in Connecticut. The ones above are amongst my favourites. They brilliantly draw in some of the political images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. I think the presence of the woman in the crowd dressed in Muslim clothes is brilliant. I also think the association of Jesus' death with the victims of Guantanamo is great. I know this is nothng new. I think someone has already blogged about the way Jesus is presented as a Guantanamo inmate in Manchester's Passion. There's a quite good theology of guantanamo available here, which says, "if Jesus were caught living the vicious subversive Gospel today, he would not be on a wooden cross, since the wooden cross no longer symbolizes what it did then: the dishonouring and dehumanization of the individual in the presence of the entire city as a punishment. He would be wearing an orange jumper, living in a cage, dishonoured and dehumanized, in the presence of the entire world who behold all this on the TV screen."
About the one of Jesus naked, Leech writes, “The Roman stripped the condemned and crucified them naked as a way of humiliating them and utterly breaking their spirit. Here, I had dozens of images of modern prisoners stripped for the same reasons,” Leech said.“I decided to compose the 10th station with the man threatened by dogs, echoing Psalm 22, sung each Good Friday: ‘Deliver me from the mouth of the dog.’”
To see the rest of the stations of the cross, click here.
For me, I want Engage to a holistic thing that brings together the creative as well as the logical, the mysterious as well as the cerebral and blurs some of the lines of distinction between the religious and secular, the pietistic and the political. I'd love the event we have in October to draw together some of these things that are often kept disperate. Can we get prints of some of this stuff and leave it on tables for people to bounce off on the evening?
Feel free to bounce off it here on the blog.

More Guantanamo Images

More images for you to bounce off, make comments on etc.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Taking Action on Guantanamo!

In blogs and conversations with people over the last year, the resounding consensus seems to be that people want to do something about their faith. Its not enough for Engage to be a talking shop. There needs to action too.

Also, out of our blog conversations just such an action idea has emerged that we would love feedback on. We are thinking that it would be good to do an event (probably in October) about Guantanamo Bay. We might watch some of the film, "Road to Guantanamo". We might ask people to contribute artistically, with music and pictures about Guantanamo Bay. We want to book a neutral venue and we want the evening to be one where we are taking action. Spending some of the time writing to inmates or to governments or just being made aware of some of the things that we could be doing about Guantanamo. The ideas are deliberately left up in the air, because we really want others to contribute ideas and get involved in this. We'd love it to be open to anyone and everyone. Although it will come from a distinctively Christian perspective, we hope it would be accessible to all, but certainly not proselytising in any way. To be honest, we haven't decided on the level/nature of the Christian element. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

If you've missed some of the blogging about Guantanamo, I recommend you click here to catch up on what you've missed.
In the first week or two of September we hope to have a get together (down the pub) of all interested parties to talk/plan and enthuse about what we are doing. Please post a comment or e-mail to let us know if you are interested in coming along.

Also, please post a comment either to say - I'm interested, I've got an idea - here it is, have you thought of this etc etc. Even if we don't know you we would love to hear from you and involve you in what we're doing.

Ebor Lectures

Ebor lectures are on Wednesday evenings at 7pm at York Minster or York St. John University. The theme this year is "The Challenge of Climate Change: Eco-crisis, Sustainable Living and the Future of God's Planet.
Here are a few that appeal to me - fancy going?
Wed. 29th Oct: "Silence in heaven: Reading Climate Change through the Book of Revelation" by Timothy Gorringe (I've read a few of Gorringe's books and I like them).
Wed. 4th March: "Creation, Ecological Crisis and the Global Poor" by Elaine Storkey
25th March: Rowan Williams - lecture title to be confirmed.
22nd April: "Disturbing the Present" by John Sauven (director of Greenpeace)
6th May: "Consider the lilies of the field: How Luke's Gospel could save the planet" by Mary Grey
I'm sure the full list of lectures will be available on the website soon!