Who wants to live forever?

3 11 2009

The mess up over the venue for ‘Sanctuary’ last week rather threw my plans into disarray. Never mind!

As I blogged last week, it was a spirited conversation on the topic ‘how soon is now?’

This week I had billed as ‘who wants to live forever?’ I say billed. What I mean is that’s what I’d had printed on the now useless 1,000 postcards. It really is my intention this week to print up some labels with a different venue and hand some out to passers by in the Guildhall area.

But which venue to put? Clearly Drift in the City is not an option at present but it might be again once the promoters start packing them in on Sunday nights. In some ways it doesn’t look an ideal venue now I’ve actually seen it. But at least the owners were positive about creating space for the sort of group I am trying to get off the ground.

That’s not to say the management at any other venue have been negative. I just haven’t got around to discussing it with any of them. I did try to start a conversation with the manager of the Fleet but I didn’t manage to pin him down before I took a break for the summer. And though on the one hand I think no publican is going to object to some free advertising and potentially extra punters, I do think it’s only right and proper to ask permission before potentially creating an association between the pub’s name and some religious nutjobs — especially if I want to put the cards on tables in the pub.

But if I’m going to all that trouble, should I switch to Wetherspoons which doesn’t have loud music, but does have decent beer? Maybe I should just approach both and see which one comes off.

Anyway, I was joined this week by two Christians from Fareham who were interested in what I’m doing in the pub and wanted to sample it for themselves. They asked me before coming whether their presence would be unhelpful to others who were not Christians who might be there. I assured them that it almost certainly wouldn’t as they were quite likely to be the only people who joined me. Others expressed an interest in coming on Facebook but in the end, these two were my only companions.

We shared in this week’s ‘skinny ritual’ together. We each took one of the small, coloured, square card crosses I had brought. We wrote the name of someone we had lost on the card and folded it up. We chose the colour depending on how we felt about the loss of that person. I didn’t force any colour associations. I just left it up to each of us to make our own connections.

Then we placed the small folded square in a bowl. Each of us interpreted that act of placement in our own way. I invited whatever degree of sharing we each felt comfortable to offer. Actually each of us felt quite free to share openly what it had all been about for us.

We then talked about the idea of life beyond death — whether we liked the idea, what it might be like and so on. The conversation exposed some differences of approach and understanding on questions of salvation and broader theology. It was good and encouraging though that we three who don’t know each other very well were able to handle that with maturity and respect. That’s precisely the sort of character I’m hoping for in these conversations.

So far though it isn’t doing exactly what it says on the tin. My postcards and facebook event describe it as ‘faith, spirituality and life for people who don’t do church’ A good number of the people who’ve been so far, do do church. But I’m not going to be exclusive about it. Everyone is welcome as long as they are prepared to recognise the testimony of the other to their authentuc experience and not reject or upbraid them because it doesn’t fit with their vision of reality. This should be a place where diversity, distinctiveness and yes, even disagreement is celebrated as the means for our growth.

I would say I hope to see you there, but I’m not entirely sure where there is yet!

BTW — I hope nobody asks me who’s in the picture this week. It’s obviously Farrokh Bulsara!