I miss dress-up dinner with good friends, it's been too long--it used to be a monthly affair and you'd better arrive fully suited and booted--this gathering in Florence would have been a treat!!!
I fortunate to be able to spend the last ten days or so in The Bahamas, which, in spite of Tropical Storm Isaac's hindering of my travel plans, afforded me some time to just be alone and do some thinking and not-thinking. I spent time on two beaches in particular, one in Abaco, the other in Nassau--never saw a sole on either one the entire time I was there--magic--the sand and the sea to myself-what a gift!! And my preferred mode of transport, the Vespa 150.
Many years ago, a friend said to me that he thought that the biggest problem with Christians and churches in general was that they were afraid of dirt. The drive to be 'pure' led to decisions and postures that attempted to put some distance between anything that smacked of dirt or grime. "We send our broken away to get fixed, afraid that we will be tainted by their dirt, rather than standing alongside each other no matter what--but that's what you get when the institution is more important than its people or purposes." Those were his words, or as close as I can remember them after all these years. And over the years I have come to recognize how right he was. It's a generalization to be sure, and as such, is easily deflected, but I have to say that in my experience churches are not great places to bring one's dirt, in spite of all the rhetoric to the contrary.
That is what I find appealing about Pete's soon to be realized project. Having been in my own fair share of ventures that read back so much better than they seemed in the moment, I appreciate the honesty and openness of his comments about the upcoming venture. I find myself in a work environment at the moment that seems to think that 'programme' is the answer to everything (which in case you were wondering, it is not)--programmes do not re-invent, they maintain--or at least that has been my experience of most of them--I like the idea of an environment where it is understood that the harsh realities might also herald the possibilities of transformative elements.
I realize that there is a difference between the 'dirt' created by an experiment and the 'dirt' we carry in our everyday lives--but it seems to me that the pathway to transformation in either case is predicated on the willingness to 'get down in the muck and get dirty.' When I was growing up our next door neighbour grew award-winning roses. Occasionally a horrible odour would find its way into our house, when he covered his whole garden in manure--it was the shit that made his roses grow so well--we would do well to remember that in life.
This coming September, the UK-based Future Publishing is releasing a new magazine focused on post-materialist life, life in the recession pressured times we seem to find ourselves in right now. what looks interesting is that the magazine is attempting to reflect a shift in ethics and values that corresponds to these times. It's going to be called The Simple Things and there is a sample issue to look at here. It is not anti-consumerist, far from it in fact, but it does seem to reflect the ready-made/homemade/organic/local streams that more and more people seem to be exploring. I have been spending a bit of the summer thinking about the relationship between values and commodification and how those seemingly colliding things are intertwined and perhaps even inter-dependent in our time. Give it a look and let me kow what you think.
This is an interesting inforgraphic charting the expansion and development of the Internet over the past decade, remarkable really when you consider exactly how much things have changed and how fluidly we have embraced all these shifts. It came from here.