Tag Archive: sustainability


IMG_7008

 

All that isn’t
All that is
All out of my hands
but I hold it
just the same

All that is mess
All that is mystery
All that is ‘out there’
and within me
just the same

 

Talitha Fraser

 

God, what does Your Great Economy have to say to this who knows its worth? Let me trust to Your providing for what is pleasing to You. Drop what should be dropped, yield what should be yielded, share what should be shared, confess what should be confessed. Let some fall, let some break, let some call, let some run late. If it is not of You – let it lie, let it die, that I might know life anew in You.

IMAG0559

I arrived late and missed Miliwanga Wurrben but both wonderful and powerful to see the work of young artists presented at Scribe.

Hannah Donnelly read some segments of recent work – dystopian young adult fiction exploring the long term impacts of climate change in Australia.  Asking the audience questions between readings like:

  • what Country do you live on?
  • what water system is on the Country where you live?
  • what is your future? …your children’s future?

Prompting important self-reflection on the ways we are (or aren’t) aware of the impacts of climate change and the ways we’re complicit in not taking good care of Country.

HANNAH DONNELLY

Hannah Donnelly is a Wiradjuri writer who grew up on Gamilaroi Country. She is the creator of Sovereign Trax, an Indigenous music blog which aims to foreground the consumption of music that speaks to collective stories and identities. Hannah’s writing experiments with speculative fiction and Indigenous responses to climate change.

 

IMAG0561

It’s hard to find words to describe what Jack Sheppard shared – all about words but using few he shared a story using his body and video footage of two friends who recently committed suicide, the piece capturing the evolution of his grief, healing and response to that.  Their stories are written on his body and he carries them with him. This evoked the sense of a beginning in an ending and possibility in a situation that feels hopeless. Where he is, they are. The gift of his work was holding space for the piece to mean whatever it might seem or need to mean to each person watching it… below is my attempt to express some of what that was for me watching him.

JACK SHEPPARD

The Honouring is a presentation of a physical theatre work in development, paying homage to Indigenous life and culture in its hardships, beauty and spirituality. Using movement, dialogue, video installations and poetry, the work is influenced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander totems and landscape, with the story journeying to parts of Australia of deep significance to Jack Sheppard.

 

Pen to heart
writing is a full body experience
physical and not just head.
Disparate ideas and pieces of a life
you try to fit together
but they don’t come.
Voice.
Listen.
What are you trying to say?
What are you trying to read?
Winds blow,
walking in your own mess,
dance like no one is watching.
All about words but silent.
I lost my voice again today…
Cuddle up to the pieces
keeping you warm at night.
Collect the pieces up,
we must nurture the ghosts
that lie down with us,
check and care for them.
Shedding clothes,
layers of skin,
who we are.
Naked, unfolding a
piece of paper with the
whole story.
Reflection of self
wraps around you
like a cocoon.
Lie with the dead,
those we can’t save.
I want to sleep but I can’t.
Awake, I’m still awake.

Talitha Fraser

 

Apricot Abundance

IMG_0690

We are running a fortnightly bible study following our community dinner looking at the exegesis (interpretation) of the bible passages that underpin each of our community values. You can read the list of Values here so you know what’s coming up next.

These values can be relevant whatever context you live and work in just make the Word you own.


 

Value 2: In it for the long haul

We value being a constant in an inconsistent world, expecting and persevering through hard times.  Our long-term commitment allows us to build trust and respect with those in our community, as we try to reflect God’s unconditional love and grace.

Biblical basis: Hebrews 10:36


 

Let’s read the value together… what words/phrases stand out?

  • persevering through hard times…
  • constant…
  • try to reflect God’s unconditional love…

 

Read the bible. What words/ideas stand out?
What can we learn from the bible about living the Value: In it for the long haul?

 

 


 

Hebrews 10:19-25; 32-39

 19 Therefore, my friends,[g] since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

32 But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. 35 Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. 36 For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 For yet

“in a very little while,
the one who is coming will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one will live by faith.
My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.”

39 But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

 – NRSV


 

Reflection time… followed by sharing time.

The photos around the walls of this house are a testament to the “long haul” of this community, let’s get up and have a look at these photos…

  • what can you see?
  • what should we keep doing?
  • what keeps you coming back?
  • how can we “consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds”

 

IMG_0703

Here are some of the things that have kept us going for the long haul, encourage us when things are tough and inspire us to want to be here in Footscray for another 10 years!

⊕  celebrating people’s’ lives  ⊕  birthdays ⊕ people coming and going  ⊕  growing up together  ⊕  smiling  ⊕  gardening  ⊕  sharing the hard things  ⊕  participating in rites of passage like births, baptisms and marriages  ⊕  celebration of big and small things  ⊕  grieving together  ⊕  serving the community  ⊕  cooking  ⊕  having fun and being silly together  ⊕  focus on the poor  ⊕  playing sport  ⊕  playing music and singing  ⊕  being creative  ⊕  having mastery/learning of new skills  ⊕  Other people come and go. People are always here.  You feel like you are needed.  ⊕  different age groups  ⊕  sharing food  ⊕

As we sat with this, Ash observed that there is a stripping down faith to what’s important that happens in all of this… what is that?

IMG_0706 - Copy

berrigan blog(photo credit: chedmyers.org)

(to the Plowshares 8, with love)

by Daniel Berrigan

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,

Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.

Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.

“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”

“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

 

Reflecting these past weeks on the life and works of Daniel Berrigan who died 30 April 2016, he is now among that cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1) that ask us to ask of ourselves: “On what will you spend your life?”. I think it is fair to say that he knew something of endurance, on the cost of that he commented: “I think it’s kind of the price you pay for the bus ride”.

In his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests writing your own eulogy – what do you imagine you want to hear said about you by family, friends, colleagues… are you making the choices now… living the life now… that will lead you where you want to go? …that will see you develop and grow up to be the best you can imagine? I don’t imagine Daniel Berrigan did this exercise but I do not doubt he was effective. Why did he live as he did? Make the choices that he did?

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

What will you live for?

What makes your life meaningful will give you a meaningful life.
Do not wait until you are dying to start.

IMG_5825

IMG_5826IMG_5821

 

 

 

 

IMG_5824

 

All the signs, front and back, seem to be indicating this climate change thing is something that anyone and everyone can get behind.  That everyone should get behind.  Action on climate change is a demand for justice for our children, grandchildren and future generations and also, here in this place, I think, a demand for justice for the indigenous people of this land who have lived in tune with and attuned to country since time immemorial.  The traditionally acquired knowledge of our elders, their understanding of the interconnectedness of things, must surely have wisdom to offer and we must humble ourselves to the wilderness that cries out against its bondage to decay.

I imagine a time in the future when talking about flushing potable water sounds like heresy, when running under sprinklers in the summer sounds like a fairytale, a time when a child asks me:  “But if you knew, why didn’t you do anything?”

It is little enough.

Today: “Across the globe, 785,000 people in 175 countries hit the streets at more than 2,300 People’s Climate March events. That’s three quarters of a million people. And in Australia, we came together in record breaking numbers in more than 50 towns and cities right across the country to show the world just how much we care.” (www.peoplesclimate.com.au)

With our bodies, with our feet, outside, we seek to be a face to and give a voice to creation at the UN climate change summit in Paris, to our own government and politicians, to those who don’t believe its real. …that will sound like the start of a joke but it isn’t.

It is little enough.  Too little probably.  The least we can do, certainly.

IMG_5822

Other Lives

175

The day before yesterday I sat in the NZ Poetry section of Arty Bees and there were lots of titles I didn’t have a chance to peek into and I thought I’d jot down some of the titles of books I didn’t get to read and use them as a springboard for my own imagination to follow the pathway of poems unread…

Have a crack at using the title of one of these books to write a poem or short story of your own!

Here’s my effort sitting on a park bench in the sunshine round Oriental Parade…

Other Lives

A pigeon and I shared morning tea,
coconut rough and brine of the sea
our feet rest on yellowed moss over stony cement
I think he talked, or perhaps I dreamt
“See these clouds, this sky, the fountain,
the roads, the houses and there a mountain…
these are connected but you cannot see
these must co-exist in harmony
you affect I and I affect you
in the ways that we go and the things that we do
some have plenty and some not a lot,
it seems that we ought to share what we’ve got.
It is clear as the water, firm as the ground
certain as sunrise, at least, I have found.”
“But pigeon,” I ask, “What can we do?”
“Next time,” he answered, “you might buy two…”


Talitha Fraser

Sustainability in Practice

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” (John Muir, 1838-1914)

Definition of sustainability as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, officially WECD 1983-1987)

Systems:

  1. Parts
  2. Connections
  3. Functions/Purpose
  4. A boundary

055

023

 

A community of this kind must be (a) consciously choiceful, (b) explicitly committed to and willing to be called to life in the Gospels, (c) open to change through the authentic living-out of its principles, and willing to be challenged to fuller Christian praxis, and (d) prepared to confront the patterns of the Commodity Form – injustice, manipulation, domination, dishonesty, escape – not only as they appear in the culture at large but also as they surface within the group itself.

…The continued intimacy of shared life which is open to new life, however, is one which necessarily entails the suffering of growth and of daily dying to immediate gratification, to the satisfaction of one’s clamoring ego, and to one’s defenses against self-revelation.

~ John F. Kavanaugh, S.J.

‘to love our neighbours as ourselves’ is a common belief across all faiths.

Sometimes feel depressed – actually those are things worth feeling depressed about (global financial crisis, global warming…) We are complicit in an exploitative system.  Fills us with sorrow.  Accept it as a reasonable response and don’t let it incapacitate me.

Joy and sorrow can co-exist.  Sadder the older I get.

Nehemiah – the joy of the Lord is my strength. In the midst of my sorrow need to find a reason for hope/joy.  God is always there.  God brings joy.  Need a spiritual discipline of finding God in sorrow.  In all things God is working for good.  When we find God in a situation we will find good.  Get up everyday and find something I can rejoice in: within myself, in my relationship with my wife, my family, my community…

Action research – look for problems.  Find them. Generate more à become overwhelmed e.g. “what do you see as the problems in our relationship?”, ask your partner that question and you will have found some problems to work on!

Appreciative research – peak experience, best practice.  What do you like about our relationship? Why? How could we do this more often in the future? E.g. what are the best times we’ve had together? What made them good? How could we have them more often?

Dealing with the negative in a more positive framework is more energy-giving.

What is truly there? Something about how it operates that sustains it – start from that.  E.g. people will keep running a programme long beyond when it is sustainable, it must be because there is something in that worth saving.

Positions polarise – close down options into one of two.  Those positions harden and it becomes difficult to see resolution.  Ask “why?” of both sides to draw out fears and desires.  See if there are solutions beyond their positions that meet desires and address fears. Not easy and not quick.  Fear of the process greater than need to change. E.g. building mosque – the side against were concerned about increased traffic flow and parking, Muslim people feared religious intolerance in their community.

Several options that can look like:
–          No existing relationship, no interest in a common goal
–          Committed to action, regardless of how it affects other relationships
–          Relationship so important, need to NOT act. Can’t risk it.
–          Do have a relationship – are interested in resolution (partial/unlimited)

Community with family:

Plan our time together and there are different kinds:
–          Non-negotiable time, this belongs to my wife and family and it cannot be given away
–          Non-negotiable time, give freely to everybody – don’t need to talk about it
–          Negotiable, to family or community

It is easy to give up something that is not important to yourself on behalf of someone else e.g. living without a fridge in India – easy for Dave to commit to but not for his wife àfundamental injustice.  Only sacrifice what is mine, not what belongs to others. Sometimes excruciating to negotiate, ‘worst way of doing it, apart from all the other ways’. Consequences of not negotiating – more painful.  Negotiating is a heavy process. Something that is life-giving for me might also be death-giving t someone else – have to negotiate to a cost. Often these aren’t win:win but rather choose what is life-giving for her this time and hope that it will roll around to my turn next time.  Important to be putting the other person first.

When first started this work it was all or nothing. Gave freely and fully. Became hurt. You can help and resource others without risking anything but you can’t love them.  Need to be willing/able to be vulnerable. I was becoming increasingly hardened. Prayed. God is love.  To reflect God to the world need to show love.  Get hurt along the way and now scared.  Need to ask ourselves: what can we do today to reach out to those around us so if its not reciprocated or appreciated it won’t destroy us?

Want to risk but can’t take the same amount every day.  A given that we will reach out but give ourselves permission to say how much we are able to risk. E.g. could be the difference between jumping in my car to go to work and only waving at my neighbours on the ways past, or walk out the door and seek people out but only talk about what is ‘light, right, nice, polite’ – no capacity to go to the depths, or go up to one person and go deep: “I’m sorry that we aren’t getting on so well, love to shout you a coffee sometime and talk about it…”

Need to monitor our own degrees of vulnerability.  Become bitter if give more than we can give happily.

Sacrificial giving – condemn Pharisees who only give a little themselves and exploit widows.  Exploit our desire to be generous and then guilt-trip is for more. Jesus was willing to die but not every day, most times Jesus ran away – only died once.  No one takes my life from me but I can lie it down. Sacrifice. We will take a stand and get done over, but not every day.

Need to think about our choices in relation to our partners/kids. E.g. if I am away on holiday for 14 days – need to manage myself to be back, present and attentive, on day 15.  Otherwise that is time that I have stolen from my wife and kids.

So many voices, culture, choices in our head driving us – seek out still small voice (role of the Holy Spirit). For myself, get a blank piece of paper and write things down with an arrow beside them

Arrow pointing upwards: things I want to ask God
Arrow pointing downwards: things God tells me
~ this becomes my ‘to do’ list

Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can and the wisdom to know it’s me.

Turning inwards, that job will never be complete.  But others seeing you on the journey might be inspired to become more like you. Teach me the lessons I need to learn so that I can be useful to someone else in the future.

Appreciative inquiry – if actions are oppressing a third party: have to intervene. In some occasions you can avoid/walk away but others you must intervene.

Becoming involved in conflict:

Keep your distance – a) helps situation not to escalate and b) gives you a head start if you need to run. Say something like “hey mate, can I help you something?” address the perpetrator not the victim.  Will think you’re on their side.  Want to protect them from harm themselves. Always frightened and fearful when getting involved.  If fair fight might sometimes keep walking but not if someone is out-numbered or overpowered.

Be gentle on ourselves. Can be our own worst enemy and our own best friend.  Rather than seeking validation from others, seek how God sees me. My needs and ideas are valid too.  Can’t wait for someone else to tell me that.  Desire for acceptance/approval. “The Lucifer effect”

In the context of God’s validation, accept ourselves.

Activist/doing – gets approval.  Hard work of seeking God and being still – becoming aware of our own faults and limitations. Can ‘survive’ and not maintain your soul. What is the bottom line of what you are willing to compromise of your faith/values? E.g. in a concentration camp: some did anything to survive, even kill other jews (had a life, but no soul), others were reformers preaching hope/outspoken, executed quickly (had soul but not their life), third type would not intervene in someone being beaten but would not engage in brutality themselves (both soul and life).

Whether they fire or shoot me  won’t do ….

What is the bottom line of what you are willing to compromise of your faith/values?