No time to loose
(I rushed so much didn’t even manage a title!)
I just rushed for the train. Its not the first time my rail journey has begun with a leap from the platform, through the door, onto my train; I very much doubt it will be the last time I do it either. My NXEC (hence the Wifi) train is now hurrying north. I just came from the first half of an event that I only just managed to squish in between, and somewhere between bike park and train seat, I lost my right cycle clip. Life is going just a little too fast…
I didn’t blog anything on Wednesday, and I’ve only just gotten around to blogging anything now that its 12 hours since my second missed deadline; self-imposed deadline, perhaps, but that only makes the whooshing noise more dissonant. Its not that I didn’t have anything to write about, its more than I just didn’t find the time. In fact, I didn’t leave the house once all day, and my meals were taken in front of the computer. Did I achieve much? Yes. Did I acheive all I wanted to? No. My task list in my pad and my task list on my laptop are now almost completely separate entities; conflicting images of what I should be doing.
A friend once told me that at Cambridge University, you have three options: studies, socialising and sleep. The drawback: You can only do two. I’m not sure that Cambridge is such a disconnected bubble after all. I don’t get where people get the idea of Peace Studies being Lay-about Studies; right now I’m working pretty damned hard. In fact, in order to find a decent amount of time for socialising, I ended up arriving at the house of friends near York Uni at 8pm last night, and leaving at 8am this morning to get breakfast on campus, before a leisurely walk into and around town. I don’t think either of us had realised just how many shops are empty in town. It changes, and yet we don’t have time to notice. I haven’t been to bed yet, and I’m now off for the weekend.
On Wednesday I took a quick look through the myriad bits of news and blog that Bloglines had collected for me. Reading the BBC News feed, I marked not less than 12 stories I felt I could blog about. The world just seems mad. There’s been food protests on the Ivory Coast, Nike-producing workers are striking in Vietnam and the Uzbek’s are on the street. Several articles cover just two stories: the Chinese and Zimbabwe. But there’s also a couple of posts that have some kind of Climate Change appeal. I could have blogged about any number of those 12 news stories. But life just doesn’t stop.
Is Climate Camp trying to envision disaffected youth, or grab those who have been spoonfed a message of compliance for decades and give them a break from the fuax-reality foisted upon them; instead, a world of choice and freedom in numbers, freedom to explore the question of how to end climate change without the confines of daily life? For that matter, is it about radical action on Climate Change or lobbying on a single issue every year; abandoning each the next place we perceive the limelight to fall?
Are we trying to build a movement? End Climate Change? End Capitalism? End the Growth Economy? – Is it about economics, politics or a culture of greed? Is Climate Change the problem, or just the evidence, the “big stick with which to hit the system” as a friend so eloquently put it?
Is it more important to have a single congregation, and see it pack out the building it is in, or to make it split long before the nmber of empty seats for new-comers are hard to find? Is the aim a mega-congregation or plethora of different ones? Is the aim to provide different churches for different stages of life? Or is it to make church local; a space within the neighbourhood to gather, a challenge to the “big city logic” around us?
Or should the challenge be to find generalised categories of people and help them “create church” – Gym Users, Goths and Clubbers, though such expressions of church might be old-hat, or maybe even LGBT folk, activists and gamers of one sort or another? And is creating an “activist church” just a cop-out to the experience that says only a small minority will actually care about the world; the rest presumably having much more pressing issues at hand?
Indeed, is the challenge to engage people with the story of Jesus of Nazareth ever legitimately separable from determination to make the world a better place? Is the challenge to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, in our hearts, in others, or in society, perhaps through an unholy alliance of state and faith? Can the message of God’s salvation be kept alive if it is delivered by hummer and budget-airline, or this missing the point somehow? Or should I stop complaining about all of this and go back to a hard-core evangelistic mission? Is a church that ignores the poor more focused, or simply wide of the mark?
And why is it that I have the same complaints about churches as the people that run them? And why do I imagine that I don’t? And why do I find myself coming back to the heart of worship despite the extent to which a life of worship and dedication to following an oft-hidden path seems to lead a long way from everyone else’s path? Or am I just trying to find a way of coping with the madness of life? And why is it I want to see those Christians present at a Climate Camp gathering come together for “Night Prayer”, an ancient service of meditation and calm? Is it because I want to pray for wisdom and calm in the process, or because I somehow ‘need’ a fix of peace and calm half-way through 14 hours of meetings in two days?
And why is it that churches can only get their head around action that makes the world a better place if they can make it into an “us and them” scenario? Why can’t we build a better society, and fight for a fairer world without a sense of embarrasment that we might actually be acting to help ourselves – a view that says we are individuals and those who are suffering are individuals, and we must only do things that focus on the other, when indeed we are all suffering at the hands of a system which can only be subverted/destroyed/altered through building connections?
And why, when I have so little time, does my brain manage to splurge forth such huge blog posts?
I guess my problem right now isn’t the lack of questions. Its the lack of time, courage and space to consider them. And now I have a job interview on Monday that might result in my starting a job on, er, Monday. So I guess most of these questions will either go unanswered, or left to smoulder in the back of my mind as I surge forwards into a new phase of my highly unsettled life. Perhaps the biggest question of all I want to ask is: am I the only one thinking these things? And if not, why do I often feel like the only one acting on them?