Wednesday, 15 October 2008


So... at the recent Guantanamo planning sesh this week I shared an idea about how we might get a few more things in the diary. At least we want to get some more monthly 'traditional', if I can use that word, engage meets sorted. But I was meaning a bit wider than that.

I mean things that we want to do/feel moved to do/can do. For me it was a lot to do with having the freedom (both of form and from fear of failure) to do stuff that would start to create a bit of structure or pattern to life. I like the simple image above, the way there is progress, contracting and growing, blossoming and letting go etc etc (maybe just me!)
My life is to often structured and patterned around consumption and the means of consumption - buying stuff, gobbling up experiences, slogging away to give me the chance to do it all. I don't like the way consumption can so easily become the spirograph logic of my everyday (every week, month, year - they all blur to one) existence.
I desire, in the spirit of new monasticism*, a 'rule' of life that patterns my living around: confession and communion, health and hospitality, silence and service, growth and good works.
I want to do this grounded in real life, the spiritually of the everyday as well as the numinous moments. To do it within the full spectrum of global Christian heritage but also to allow the dreaming of new futures. Enabling creative engagement with the world and faithful improvision within it.
I also don't want to do it alone (as if you could fully do all that above alone!) I want to do it in some form of community - an embracing community of common work that invites, welcomes and values the presence and voices of outsiders (both people starting from outside the way of Jesus and those that the Jesus way teaches us to love and be with, the social and economic outsiders).
So here's my question(s), for those interested in this kind of thing, do we find these things in churches and other wider networks already doing these things very well or do we, if we feel moved to, get on with doing some elements of this ourselves and just see what happens?
Do we plan and structure some of this in or be more organic about it?
If I were to quickly sketch out a sample monthly pattern it might look like this -
  • Mosaic/Worship - First 'xxxday' of the month (various styles of worship/liturgy/meditation etc, venues? poss outside?)
  • Action - Second 'xxxday' of the month (taking action (direct action?))
  • Eat - Third 'xxxday' of the month (open meal (open communion?) to share with friends (poor friends?)
  • Story - Forth 'xxxday' of the month (getting together around the scriptures)
  • Chill/Party - Fifth 'xxxday' when it happens (enjoying things that are good (like beer!)
  • I also liked 'Art' (watching, listening, touching, making?, and lots of other things)
Anyway...! That all sounds a bit much from where we are now and its just an idea but what do you think?

The restoration of the Church will surely come from a kind of new monasticism, which has in common with the old kind only the uncompromising nature of life according to the Sermon on the Mount, following Christ. I think that it is about time go gather the people for this….Dietrich Bonhoeffer
* “new monasticism,” Four suggested characteristics: (1) it will be “marked by a recovery of the telos of this world” revealed in Jesus, and aimed at the healing of fragmentation, bringing the whole of life under the lordship of Christ; (2) it will be aimed at the “whole people of God” who live and work in all kinds of contexts, and not create a distinction between those with sacred and secular vocations; (3) it will be disciplined, not by a recovery of old monastic rules, but by the joyful discipline achieved by a small group of disciples practicing mutual exhortation, correction, and reconciliation; and (4) it will be “undergirded by deep theological reflection and commitment,” by which the church may recover its life and witness in the world. Jonathan R. Wilson, Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World


mark said...

Thanks, Schof, for this prompt. I liked the mix of things you suggest we do and they certainly would be the same kinds of things I'd be up for.

I think the frequency you suggest is a bit too much - as you yourself acknowledge in the post.

How about we make it gift led, rather than event led? I think it is better to say to people - what would you be willing to do this term? Rather than saying, we have this booked, who is going to organise it?

So, I suggest we use the list of things on this post and ask people which of those things they'd be up for organising/attending. We could get people together or use e-mail to find out. I suggest we book events around what people are wanting to do.

I think it would be good to have a (flexible) 1st monday of the month as Engage evening. This could be added to or altered. It is better to start with this and people ask for more than start more frequently and people find its too much.

Just my personal response.

mark said...

Just one more thought - some of these things could be mixed up - a bit of worship and story on the same evening, for example.

rache said...

Me too. Would like to get together as suggested.

I also think weekly is too often.

In general am v interested in finding patterns/rhythms of life and community that are good - ie life / faith / relationship supporting - that avoid being burdensome 'thing you feel you're supposed to do'