Jul 27, 2005

Life, the Sanctiverse and everything

This following post is part of my response to ongoing discussions within my church, Sanctus1. it may or may not mean anything to you...

For those worrying about where Sanctus1 is going, there is one thing we can be sure of. Sanctus will *not* become a prescriptive church that requires a sign-on-the-dotted-line minimum commitment if you are to be a ‘proper’ Sanctus member. Sanctus is not like that. Ben is not like that. The strategy group folk are not like that.

But! I think there is something we need to be aware of as Sanctus that I may not be too popular for pointing out.

Lost orders

Think back to Sunday’s service if you were there. It was a multi-media fest that was complicated and technical. I only turned up to do the sound desk and the DJing, but I was shattered afterwards. It was a lot of hard work for a small number of people. When the service finished, I hung around to chat to a few people before I started setting down the sound; pulling out wires, putting things away, trying not to let the speakers fall on my head, etc.

As time went on, I realised the pack-down was not going as quickly as it usually does, so much so that by the time we had finished, the few of us who remained couldn’t possibly go to the pub. Pack-down had taken so long, we were staring down the barrel of last orders.

You are not a muffin

I am not suggesting that getting to the pub is an essential part of our Sunday services. Nor am I suggesting Sanctus1 is just a bunch of lazy muffins who don’t help to clear up after services. I think this happened because there were unusual circumstances: a few key people either weren’t there or a few key people had to get away.

However, it was unfair that Ben, having planned and run the service and knackered himself out as a result, had to work his butt off putting everything away at the end. It was unreasonable that the people who were most heavily involved in the service were left to tidy up their mess by most Sanctus people (not all, thankfully).

Which I think brings us back to getting practical, as Richard says. What if the Covenant Community idea gets knocked on the head because of the strong reaction to the leaflet that was sent out a few weeks ago? Where do we go from here?

Where do we go, part 1: Shredding Ben

We are a cool, chilled-out post-modern community that is led by the creativity and skill of its fuzzy-edged attendee-base. So why on Earth does Ben do most of the work? Why are we, in practice, almost totally led from the top?

As Sanctus1 gets larger, we need to work to make Ben redundant. By that I don’t mean bribing the human resources folks in the Church of England offices into shredding his contract. Sanctus1 as a loving community needs to take on Ben’s role, which means leading the Wednesdays and Tuesdays, doing the services, etc. It will free Ben up to lead the vision of Sanctus and initiate or develop more things like Blah, II, the MBS fair, other missional stuff, etc.

Of course, this relies on willing and discipline on Ben’s part to be let go of his role as it stands.

Where do we go, part 2: Teenager vs badger

Although I sound as though I’m admonishing a lazy teenager, I will say this anyway. People should not have to be asked to do the washing up, to put the chairs away, to scrape the wax up from the carpet, or to carry the tray of cups to the smelly Methodist kitchen. Badgering the service organisers on Sunday and offering five minutes of your time would have meant the world. (Sorry to mention Sunday again. I’m not annoyed about it, it is just an observation – I am merely using Sunday as my ‘model’ to argue with!)

I do recognise that a lot of people do these jobs a lot of the time, but not always and it’s often the same faces.

Where do we go part 3: Venn I fall in love, it will be forever

Richard’s suggestion of fairly low-key Venn diagram group structures deserves some thought. If the idea of being led by these groups scares you, just remember that it already happens to some extent, it’s just that the groups are often not overtly identified (are Kolyn and I the II Group?).

We arguably also need a group that identifies ways of getting people involved in S1 stuff that want to get involved, e.g. Claire doing some talky / discussion leading. I have really enjoyed the Wednesday evenings that have been led by other peeps – remember Stefan’s rapping?

Where do we go part 4: Navel fluff

I’m quite glad Richard suggested thinking in more concrete terms. We must move this discussion on because as long as we are navel gazing we are distracting ourselves from first-priority stuff like God and our relationship with God and our missional focus, etc. Not that the discussion shouldn’t be a priority, as I think it’s necessary and we are going through all-important growing pains, but we need to arrive somewhere.

One thing that struck me at Blah… was we can spend too much time discussing about ‘secondary’ things in the kingdom, so we need to manage our debate sensibly (which I think is achieved very effectively by Blah…).

Let’s enjoy a multitude of stimulating discussions during this Covenant-themed summer, but do remember that we are trying to move things forward, and do please please let your voice be heard.

Wishy-washy disclaimer

If I didn’t go to Sanctus1, I wouldn’t go anywhere. I love the people in it and around it. I hope I have not been too critical or too judgemental. If so, it was a bad turn of phrase and was not intended. I have deliberately not edited my text above so I do not water down what I’m saying (I can become so appeasing, I can disappear easily into diplomatic nothingness). Also, I have not covered everything nor am I ever likely to.

I am surrounded in S1 by very committed and loving people, and I’m so glad it is you lot I am discussing with. Please respond, criticise, call for my summary execution, or gush [delete as appropriate].

Time for breakfast.

PS – my red-underline intrusive spell check thingy says ‘missional’ is not a word.

Jul 19, 2005

Insanity Prawn Boy

The interwebular cyberspaceway is chocked to puking with clever-as-a-hat cartoons and animations that make your Wow! bone quiver with undulating curiosity. But nothing, nil, zero, nooba is greater than Insanity Prawn Boy. With his sublime catchyphrases such as "hello" and "that is right" and "even that Nazi Moon-Base?", the pink comma-like sea creature is probably the best thing that has happened to computers since The Outstanding Potato Man, Burnt Face Man, or dare I suggestion-box this, the ludicrously manic Notepad Invaders. Which isn't a Man, but it is too fun not to mention here. Click on here to take you to Weebl and Bob's Insanity Prawn Boy and his friend The Toast King.

2021 update: some or maybe all these links are now broken because, well, time

Jul 15, 2005

Fundamentalists rule (but only 31% of the time)

I was a little bit flumfazzled to discover I am 31% fundamentalist according to one of these Internet personality test deelys

It's called What Is Your World View It's called What Is Your World View and it is here.

Here are my voluptuous figures - my spiritual body chopped, if you will, into chunks of metaphorical limbs, torsos and scalps. I am Cultural Creative 75%; Postmodernist 69%; Existentialist 50%; Romanticist 44%; Idealist 44%; Modernist 44%; Fundamentalist 31%.

I'm only Materialist 13%. That's a shame. I'd like to cover more than 13% of my body with material, but if the clothes have to come off, then the clothes have to come off.

See you soon in my bikini.

Jul 9, 2005

Bromley and the aloofness of Dracula

In its infinite wisdom, Bromley council is refusing to host ceremonies for lesbian and gay couples wishing to have civil partnerships. The borough's mayor has waffled on about undermining families, which sounds like someone digging for oil under grandpa.

Bromley is a Conservative-run council, so it's a good job Michael Howard has stepped in to make them see sense. Oh... except... ah, of course, this is the Michael Howard who hates gypsies and asylum seekers and Arabs. I think that last one is Kilroy. They are the same person anyway, the only difference being that one sucks your blood and the other one just sucks. Did you ever watch Kilroy? Fill a room with mindless idiots and speak slowly to them. No wonder he wanted to lead Veritas; he had plenty of practice for that sort of thing on the tellybox.

Bromley Council has given a resounding V-sign to its lesbian and gay couples. The ever supportive Howard says councils should be able to stick their fingers up gay people... er, I mean, up AT gay people if they so wish. "They are responsible to their electors for their decisions," says the undead one. Well, fang you very much, you aloof loon.

In the same way that the Deep South does not represent the rest of the USA, I am sure Bromley's Victorian opinions are not a reflection on Londoners as a whole. On a more northerly note, I hope the Tories get absolutely stuffed silly in Cheadle on July 14th.

Jul 8, 2005

W gets it right

This has been a week of contrasts, in which we wonder if we humans can really be that awful.

In the words of one person...

"On the one hand you've got people here who are working to alleviate poverty and to help rid the world of the pandemic of Aids. They're working on ways to have a clean environment.

"And on the other hand you have people killing innocent people.

"The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill."

I'd never thought I'd post a quote by George W Bush to my blog, but for once he's right.

Jul 6, 2005

Oooh...klahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

Do come along at 7.30pm on Sunday July 10th to aLECTRO_eCOUSTIC's jolly event at the Oklahoma café/gallery (the trendy shop / cafe / record store in Manchester's Northern Quarter).

The event promises, and I quote, "axiomatic integration and GradCom (two electronica solos from Hamburg with films".

Also, feast your lobes on Lee Patterson and Ben Gwilliam ("The duet of Patterson & Gwilliam construct evolving soundscapes and textures with prepared objects and found sounds both of the acoustic and electronic"), Christian weaver ("timbales, mixture of improvising and cuban songs") and Joe Williamson, a double-bassifier from Canada.

They've also got films from Monica Bellachichi.

Yes, okay, it means absolutely nothing to me either, but it's better than punching a penguin in the face with a flannel. I'm already there.