the st kilda gathering

A group of us met last night in St Kilda to talk about alt worship, post-church communities and to begin to articulate a little bit of what inspired us to seek this out.

these are a couple of things to remember from last night, rather than thought-through analysis:

– we talked about who we do this for… we don’t do it for the anonymous ‘them’, guessing what ‘they’ want. to do it for ‘them’ is another form of colonialism. I don’t think that the alternative to that is to do it for ‘us’ though… [the gospel is about finding a third way… about recognising the desires and longings and need for redemption that make up our common humanity]

– my current reality has no greater higher moral / theological / christian ground than anyone else’s reality… we can talk about the wide open back door of charismatic churches, but only if we also acknowledge the depth of despair, grief and exhaustion within many liberal churches…

– we have to make sure that what we’re imagining isn’t simply a reaction to what we’ve left. any form of worship / space / community that’s created around fixing the problems we perceive in that which we’ve moved from is going to be just as flawed and inadequate.

– we have all the time in the world to make something happen, but only if we keep working on it now.

Last night we started with trying to understand a little bit about what each other meant by some of the basic terms we used… alt worship, conversation, sacred space, community, evangelism, mission, etc. It’s not that we want to agree on them, more that we want to get a glimpse of the perspective each person brings. we have to trust each other. we also have to learn to trust ourselves.

We’ll be having a meal together again mid march. The invitation is open for anyone.


  1. Dave w

    Hey Cheryl,

    if you get a chance i’m just wondering if you’d flesh out the 3rd option a bit more – engaging in common need, longing, desire of redemption within our common humanity… I think i get it but don’t want to presume! Besides, i want to hear more!


  2. Dave w

    woops, to task focused…
    forgot to say sounds like a wonderful conversation. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks for this Cheryl,

    I think it’s important to lower the barriers to entry for the types of conversations which need to be had. Afterwards I was thinking about the nature of convention to try to fill the void. We create a void in order to encounter revelation, then because it is an uncomfortable void, we reach for convention or projection to fill the void. Or worse, revelation manifests, and it becomes the new convention.

    I really want to explore the evolution beyond Pavlov’s Dog. Can humanity radically challenge our own psychological programming? Listening to a lecture on Freud and Civilization and it’s Discontents, it is easy to be bleak about the future of our existence. So much aggression, so much of humankind exerting, converting and penetrating others. How can we explore spirituality with authenticity when it so radically challenges our base human nature. But we must.

  4. Cheryl

    dave… i think this is what i mean… the two alternatives we give ourselves are that we do it for ‘us’ or we do it for ‘them’. we’ve always said that if we do it for us we’re selfish, but we know from experience that if we do it for them it’s paternalism (at best) or colonialism (at worst). The third way is to say that we’re doing it for the ‘us’ that we have a hunch is the universal ‘us’ – the stuff that’s at the core of all of us: loneliness, inadequacy, exile, etc.
    I’m not sure if that makes any more sense?

    Nahum… i was thinking about your last couple of sentences – maybe that’s the call to repentance for most of us christians…. that we’ve tried to convert and penetrate others through aggression (in every possible pastoral form!).

  5. Cheryl, I like how you have clarified our goal, so that it is not simply a selfish undertaking, but rather something that both feeds our interests and enables us to look beyond ourselves. I am quite enthused about what can happen as we explore our leanings, pushing the boundaries that exist within ‘churchianity’. I like the fact that we are not creating an alternative style of church, such as what Northcote Church of Christ are doing. I’m kind of torn between missing the church and happy to not be a part of it. At this stage I’m not quite ready to give it up, but yet find much to my distaste. I’m thinking that we don’t need to be restricted to the forms that abound, that we are open and free to explore within the biblical framework.

  6. Dave w

    thanks – thats where i thought you were heading!

    I concur! Good luck with whatever comes of it – it sounds great.

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