scarcity and generosity

jonny wrote a nice piece on change while he was here in australia.

i really like the language if mixed economy that jonny uses in the post. i think i like it because it comes from an ethos of generosity… i’m always surprised by how easily our conversation takes on hints of scarcity in the church, as though everything is a competition in which there can only be one winner – one denomination, one form of community, one style of worship, one way of thinking – that we have to prove ourselves better, or worthier, more creative, more passionate, than the person trying to be church next door. I’m reminded of the Victoria Castles book The Trance of Scarcity where she talks about the message of ‘not-enoughness’ that surrounds us every day, as though there is a fixed amount of everything in the world [happiness, money, love, air]… and how we get sucked into thinking and acting as though we have to fight for our share of it to survive.

The ethos behind the alt worship nosh is the cultivation of a spirit of generosity: a place where we celebrate all that’s good, rather than simply talk about what we’re doing that’s good. a place where we dream of there being 50 alt worship things happening in our neighbourhood, where some of the others might at times even be impossibly, wonderfully more creative than our own [and where we love that, rather than resent it]. The world is, after all, gasping for as much creativity and imagination as we can create – there’s always room for more. Or, more to the point, many of us [in the church and world] are looking for places where we can put our story against some other story, one that reaches beyond us… let’s search out and create as many of those moments, in as many ways and places, as we possibly can.

Years of fighting for space and recognition within the church have crumpled many of us, and made us necessary protectors of our own creative territory… un-learning that takes a lot of time. Our intention for the nosh is that it can be a space where we might be able to practice a different way of being. This year i think we were good at sharing ideas; we’re also learning how to value each other’s stories [not just share our own knowledge]. And down the track – ideally, hopefully – we’ll begin to create a space where we can search out the wisdom, the imagination, that lies somewhere beyond all of us…

thanks to those who came along, and especially to those who put themselves out there and made stuff happen – adele, darren, craig, jonny, mark… sue for cooking such superb food (seriously a highlight), mike for making brilliant coffee, and everyone else for everything else… it was great to spend such an inspiring weekend in your company.


  1. I just read your thanks to Sue and went a bit teary again… the effort to cater for all diets was simply astounding…

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