I’ve been enjoying celebrations of the turn of the year this weekend. Started off with getting to see my Mum and take her out for a meal, then pumpkin carving & making of pumpkin soup with pubchurch: barnone friends. Really enjoyed that (first time ever done), it was quite satisfying to feel like you were using every part of the food & being so creative. (photos to follow) It was also a lot quieter than envisioned, thought it was going to be chaos & all the kids having food fights with pumpkin innards, but actually it was child free and very peaceful as we chatted & caught up!
In the evening, I went to an All Hallows party – the theme for the fancy dress was deities, so I decided to play around with it. I thought I could start with the idea of every human being as being in the image of God (capital G, one and only, Great Spirit, God), and play around with other labels and idenities that we get given & scapegoated with. So I attempted to dress as a, fairly well kempt (sporty/white trainer style), prostitute and heroin addict, with face paints for bruises and marks from thrombosed veins. I’m not sure it was that self explanatory to be honest, but the bright fluorescent labels all over me probably helped – chav, slut, junkie, whore, underclass, cheap… And then a gold crown on my head with the words IMAGO DEI . Yeah, quite a lot of time explaining that one! Ah well, I like the idea still.
Then yesterday went to a church service that had Rebecca Manley-Pippert speaking. I have to admit I was somewhat dubious, as I thought it might be an american-OTT-this-is-how-you-can-make-everyone-the-same-as-you type presentation. But actually it was a beautiful talk, the crux of whichwas that understanding that each one of us is not ‘nice’ levels us all. We show it different ways, from being controlling and organised and saccharine, to shouty and angry, to sociopathic, but at root there’s a selfishness and ‘god complex’ that leads to the behvaiour. She went on to point to Jesus death on a cross and the idea that each of us carries the nails in our pockets, that we hold responsibility for that being necessary, by our selfishness. So then the difference between people is not at stages on some kind of moral hierarchy, but between those who admit the mess and those who want to keep pretending to be ‘nice’, but by admitting the mess, we are then open to the power of God to keep transforming us.
As well as appreciating her speaking style, I felt some of the things said confirmed the themes we’d picked up in our scapegoat studies. That if you locate the problems outside of yourself in this OTHER/THEM group, then you scapegoat that group for your problems, and when they are gone, another, and another, and another. But that if you (including everyone) say this is MY/ OUR problem (as is done in the scapegoat ceremony in the OT) and state this publicly (the confession of sins – an image picked up by images of Jesus/ the messiah as sacrifice & scapegoat) then people are moved both closer together and forward towards change.
Afternoon of children and celebrating and seeing people hadn’t seen for years and birthday parties, and then the Samhain ritual with pubchurch in the evening. Somewhat different to last years because a) the file from last year is on my old computer and may/may not be irreversibly corrupted and b) we wanted to incorporate some of the scapegoat themes. A lovely evening, ending in biscuits and chatting, and planning how we can grow our own food more.
Finished off the evening with some baking, watched QI – Inequalities – interestingly scapegoat mentioned, though I think the communal aspect of this was missed.