Off to London tomorrow night for the UK trip. I have reached the point of preparation where instead of wondering what stupidity makes us do this each year, I am profoundly grateful that I get the opportunity. We called this the Oxygen trip this year, and it’s certainly oxygen for me.
We start off with Greenbelt, then my half of the Australian contingent heads to Liverpool, Leeds and back to London to join with the other group. We’re exploring the potential for transformative art in public spaces – how do we create spaces for ritual and transformation within the community. Don’t tell those who are coming, but this has been the hardest trip to get my head around. We’ll visit galleries and other places of public art, and we’re talking with lots of practitioners, but so much of it will depend on being able to understand and embrace the possibilities that haven’t yet been imagined. We have an amazing group of people going, so I’m very much looking forward to sharing it with them.
I said on facebook yesterday that it was hard to know whether to pack for three weeks or three years without knowing the outcome of tomorrow’s federal election. It seems that it’s as close as one has ever been between the two major parties. It won’t be that difficult for anyone who reads this blog and joins the dots to work out where my political persuasions lie. The contexts I work with and have a passionate interest in are immediately affected by government policies – but more so, by government attitudes. And I think the most dangerous, diminishing attitude any community, and therefore government, can have is fear – of the other, of the future, of the unknown. Give me compassion over ‘getting tough’ any day. Give me more boats with asylum seekers over gross exaggeration and misrepresentation every day. Reckless spending doesn’t seem anywhere near as damaging to a country’s soul as reckless fear.
I speak personally, of course, but the things i have been most scared of in my life have been the things I’ve actually needed to embrace; to learn to live with and be changed by. And I know I speak with biased and warped perspectives [after all, don’t we all?] but I can’t help believe that’s at the very heart of the story of faith. And if it’s not, I can’t quite see why we’d bother with it.