This is the theme for next year’s Greenbelt Festival.
The arty-Christian group I am part of- Aoradh, have still to decide whether we will be going to the next years festival as contributors. We have not even been asked yet! But our discussions had already concluded that most of us would like to go again, but only if in doing so, we did not waste too much of our energy on preparing something for a festival that is a long way from where we are- because Dunoon is our home, not Cheltenham.
We had thought that it might be good to think of a theme for this whole year- including potential involvement at the festival- and try to play with a stream of ideas. Not sure where this will go…
One suggestion (which arose from our take on ‘the art of looking sideways’) was to think about how we relate to one another- in our wider community. So, in this sense, the issue is how we look sideways at others as we journey forwards.
Readers of this blog will know that this is a recurrent theme for me- the issues of community, and relationship, and how we followers of Jesus might learn to live out the call to be collectives who are made distinctive by our love for one another.
But, in doing a little digging, I think that the Greenbelt theme actually comes from this book
The author, the late great graphic designer, Alan Fletcher, can be seen below promoting his book. Perhaps it might have been better to just show his images. You decide-
Despite this rather inscrutable promo, I ordered a copy. It is a mess of images and ideas that summarise our post modern fractured and disconnected (but beautiful) world.
And even though the spin that we in Aoradh took on the bare words seems to head in a different direction, I think that the issue of how we humans recollect- that is how we again learn to realise the communal and shared part of us- the ‘me’ that we discover only when becoming ‘we’- this is a vital issue for our times.
It continues to seem to me that our post modern disconnection has thrown us into a situation where everything is fast and fluid. We have a million ways to communicate, and a constant immersion in transience. What we have not yet found, but hopefully are still in the process of discovering, is how we might celebrate the depth and variety of each other again, within communal gatherings.
Our workplaces no longer facilitate this.
Our meeting places are increasingly on-line, and lack flesh on flesh contact.
Our clubs and churches are empty, or emptying.
What is the role for the followers of Jesus in this changing culture?
Could it be to stop,
And look sideways?