Saturday, 19 January 2013

Answering those hard questions

I realise that, unusually, we've not posted any news from Husborne Crawley for 24 hours. Well, it's been a hard, questing, struggling time in the Community. We've struggled with some really hard questions. But I feel we've come on a journey.

I must admit, I thought our "Asking the Hard Questions" session would be the usual thing - "what colour tea lights should I use in Spring?" type of stuff. Well, some of them were. But others were much harder. We had to break people into groups, hand out Post-its, get people to report back. And then when the groups realised they had to get someone to report back to the whole group, that generated other questions and we had to answer those. So some of the questions may seem a bit inward-looking. But I would argue that it's only when we look inward that we see things as they are.

In any case, we divided up into four groups, which were allowed to pick themselves. The first group consisted mostly of the leadership, as it turned out. The second and third groups divided along mostly male/female lines. While group 4 was mostly, as you may gather, the younger men.

Stones or Tea Lights?

Group 2 - Stones.

Group 3 - Tea Lights.

Group 4 - Scones?

Group 1 - In a very real sense, it's not so much an either/or as a both/and kind of questions...

If Christianity is all about Jesus, why do we all get into arguments about sex the whole time?

Group 1 - Christianity's about Jesus? What dangerous new teaching is this?

Group 2 - Christianity is about being built into Christ in a new life. So we are looking at the whole man - not just some spiritual element. That's why sex matters. Just like poverty, justice and physical well-being matter.

Group 3 - What's with those "whole man" business? In Christ there is no Male or Female. So this should be the "whole person". Not least because, men being emotionally incoherent and obsessed with sex, a more appropriate image would be, if it must be gendered, "the whole woman".

Group 2 - Are you suggesting men are incapable of expressing themselves?

Group 3 - Men resort to violence far too easily. And if you don't believe that, come over here if you think you're hard enough.

Group 4 - Sorry, we heard the word "sex" and we've not been able to stop laughing yet.

Where is God in a matter like the Algerian hostage crisis?

Group 1 - Being the ground of all being - especially our own - God is everywhere in the crisis.

Group 2 - Ooh look, snow.

Group 3 - God is with the powerless in this situation. God may not help very much, but is surely present.

Group 4 - Yes, but Group 3 are right! Look! Snow!

{3-hour snowball fight break}

What is the Beaker Community actually for?

Group 1 - To be made in Community is to reflect the triune nature of God. Alone we are incomplete. No man - sorry - no person is an island. And the Beaker Community builds itself in an authentic reflection of age-old truths that bring us back to our real natures.

Group 2 - Our "other halves" told us we had to be here. And it's snowing, so there's no golf.

Group 3 - We see this as, deep down, a place where we can meet our friends and organise things.

Group 4 - Sorry, we thought about when you said "sex" earlier, and it started us all off again.

What is the best kind of rock for pebbles in worship?

Group 3 - Surely the question is really about what is the best pebble for each individual? It's how we relate to the pebble that matters.

Group 4 - Ones that roll well. Then we can entertain ourselves during the boring bits. i.e. all of it.Group 1 - In the end, the type of rock doesn't matter. It's the solidity that is important - the having a lump of something natural, ageless, timeless and pebbly.

Group 2 - Obsidian is pretty. But quartzite can be gneiss.

Under what conditions should men be allowed to be Archdruids?

Group 4 - Why can't men be Archdruids? After all, they can drive trains, win the X-factor - we've even had a male Prime Minister.

Group 3 - There's nothing wrong with men being Archdruids.

Group 2 - Except for the obvious fact that they're useless, you mean?

Group 1 - We have here a prepared statement from Archdruid Eileen. In it she sets out the "quadruple lock" on men becoming Archdruids, which are that the following four conditions:

a) Hell freezing over;
b) A blue moon;
c) When she sees an elephant fly;
d) Over her dead body.

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