[I’m a really bad traveller. I don’t want to see things, I just like hanging out in different places; finding my way to some corner that feels like home in some new part of the world. I’m happy to stay there for weeks, once I find it. I’ve seen some of the most remarkable sights in the world, and I’ve loved them. But truly, when I’m travelling, what I love most is finding some spot where I look out on the world as it passes by, and where it soaks in to me; and when so much of travelling is about having the opportunity to be someone else, to reinvent, I know I’ve found a space like home when I know I want to be me here.]
So, I’m in Belfast… last night I had a drink with a few of the Ikon people. These are some unfinished thoughts: (at some point I’ll start finishing the unfinished thoughts from this trip!)
What I’ve been discovering about Ikon over the last few weeks is that it throws pretty much everything into question. While nothing about it can be clearly defined or articulated, that doesn’t mean, in any way, that it’s something vague. There simply isn’t the language yet to make sense of it – worship, community, solidarity, values, beliefs, leadership, faith, atheism, religion all have to be redefined in this context. Much of the conversation last night revolved around ‘well, it’s like… but not really’.
[Ikon are homeless at the moment – the Menagerie Bar, which has been home for the last few years, is currently unavailable. let the idea of a monthly homeless gathering of about 50 people roll around in your head for a while, see where it takes you…]
It’s so tempting, when seeing something as remarkable as Ikon, to try to copy it or find the secrets to its success. There are so many points of connection with the Melbourne context, and I have such a strong urge to try to replicate what they’re doing. it would also fail dismally – Ikon is an expression of the unique, extraordinary faith journeys of the people involved. Which means that it’s deeply personal, startlingly fragile and strangely resilient.
Ikon didn’t begin with the idea of being a worshipping community. It began as a vehicle to express / search for faith.
I had the feeling on my way home last night that coming close to Ikon is coming close to something grand – not that they are what’s grand, or that they’re doing anything particularly fantastic (they are, of course, but it’s always a relief to get behind the gloss of gorgeous websites, and to hear the very human stories that lie there), but it’s unmistakeably obvious that they have found a way to make a space on the edge of the vast and endless sea; and they’ve done so with a generosity, graciousness and humility which means there’s the invitation and space to go and stand alongside them too.