Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blah Manchester 3

Kester has posted his notes for Blah here – well worth a read.

He spoke on some really good stuff.

Thoughts that remained with me include the proposition that the church has perhaps developed up evolutionary blind alleys and the need for agitating factors to address this; the church, much like the city is a living system, it can not be controlled, but can be disturbed and through the disturbance, evolve.

The incarnation could, in this light, be seen as the mother of all disturbances.

I found this a useful concept in many ways. It gives the historical relationship between the divine and humankind a dynamic continuity, differing from the common conception that translates a ‘constant’ God as static; unchanging not only in essence, but also in interaction.

The story is often considered to be one of linear progression, whereas Kester’s model is one of summits that sometimes have to be abandoned and ‘come down from’ in order that the next summit can be scaled.

On the subject of the city, Kester also expressed a thought that just so perfectly summed up for me, the response I try to give to those that feel that God lives in the rural (the sunset, the landscape, the waterfall…possibly with a twee little bible verse superimposed on the bottom of the image) and is all but missing from the urban.

He put it like this: the materials we find in the city, the concrete, the metal railings, the bricks etc are formed from the same basic materials found in the countryside, but in the city they have been adapted by human hand. So in the city we see the work of the Creator in collaboration with the work of the human creators (made in the creative God’s image). The city is witness to God in partnership with humankind.

On reflection, it echoes one of my favourite lines from the eucharistic liturgy:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become for us the cup of salvation.

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