Saturday, January 14, 2012

the summer project

It used to look like this …

now, after fun choosing the paint, then time spent engaging in the spiritual practice of undercoating, followed by three days of exhausting painting, this is the result …

one very satisfying summer project complete. Wish all my work was this instantly transforming, this instantly satisfying.

Posted by steve at 05:13 PM

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

holiday reading part 2

And Still the Music Plays is an absorbing read. Written by a psychologist with a passion for those suffering from dementia, it is structured around 22 chapters, each a short story of a particular person and their experience of dementia. The narrative approach works really well, giving humanity and dignity to those who suffer and allowing an exploration of various issues in the care of those who suffer from dementia. It advocates a patient centred approach that is deeply critical of much modern rest home practice, by exploring how listening to the unique history of each person suffering from dementia can offer insight into care.

I have found a poem (What to remember when Waking) from Dave Whyte’s The House of Belonging a helpful tool for meditation, especially as I journeyed through the process of application for Principal at Uniting College. The House of Belonging includes this poem and others. Sadly, while some others were of interest, a number of the poems had the feel of being squeezed into an existing framework. The odd line was repeated, and a theme of becoming open to the now of our existence in order to be shaped by what we open ourselves too, kept reappearing. Which starts to feel a bit like someone putting forward a message rather than plumbing creativity. Still, and a nice way to sit for a few minutes and I will be returning to a number including Loaves and Fishes and Working Together.

Posted by steve at 02:41 PM

Thursday, January 05, 2012

holiday reading

In between choosing paint, preparing to paint and actually painting, there has been some (not much) time for reading.

Ford County: Stories by John Grisham is just delightful. It involves a number of short stories, linked by a theme of place (Ford Country), and by various legal comings and going. Delightfully structured, they are a reminder that Grisham is a bestseller because he is a superb user of the craft of plot and character. The final story is the best, a moving reflection on what it is like to be an AIDS victim.

I’ve also been watching episodes from Rev, a BBC comedy about a vicar running a modern inner-city church, which gained BAFTA comedy award in 2011.

It was a Christmas gift, but as I watched I began to wonder if it might be useful for the Church, Ministry, Sacraments blockcourse I am co-teaching in February.

Posted by steve at 01:27 PM

Monday, January 02, 2012

U=undercoat. working for change as a new years resolution

I’m exhausted, tired and slightly sun burnt after a day spent scrapping paint off our old wooden holiday house. It’s essential, perhaps the most important part of a much needed outdoor paint job. While choosing paint colours is exciting, it’s the hard work of preparation that makes it possible, that ensures the change of colour is longer lasting.

Like change.

New Year’s Resolutions are easy. But it’s only made possible, sustainable, durable, by the hard work of scrapping, sanding and priming.

As I think about the leadership challenges I am about to face in this new season, it was good to spend the first day of this new year scrapping and undercoating. Work became prayer, the invitation to commit myself to the spiritual practice of undercoating, the hard work of preparation – listening well, respecting the past, investing in relationships, being attentive spiritually, over-communicating, making experiments risks, building the rhythms of grace.

(This is another entry in dictionary of everyday spirituality, under the heading U is for undercoating).

Posted by steve at 01:11 PM