Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church faith//hope//love

  • What's the point?

    There I was minding my own business painting the shutter and someone shouts at me, you’re just making a big area for them to graffitti. He then grumped off.

    We’ve had this before (usually from older people for some reason), when we try and do something positive or appealing we get told there’s no point.

    It kind of makes the point that that is exactly what the point is. When we give up and say there’s no point, we just begin to let everything go, and we end with areas like some by us, including the shops we are currently in. The picture below is what they look like during shopping hours! The corner shop on the right is actually open, they just don’t bother opening their shutters ever, virtually no-one has a sign up.

    They have won when this happens. By they I mean those forces that destroy and crush the spirit. The forces that mean we don’t try anymore, just (literally in some cases) pull down the shutters and never look out of them.

    But we believe in a different world and a different place. That there is almost always a point. And when we go to desert places, it is worth planting a garden, and when we go to ugly places it is worth beautifying them, and when you go somewhere soulless it is worth funking it up a bit.

    So we’ve begun to funk the shop units up a bit. Nothing complicated, but painting the shutters, getting a sign up (soon), even putting a table outside for the coffee morning. It’s not exactly a Parisian side street but it’s surprising how many people stop and chat. The next couple of Sundays we’re doing things a bit differently. We’re doing a mind, body, spirit type thing on Sunday morning with prayer, Jesus Deck, Agnostic’s Corner, cake and conversation. Nothing earth shattering, but just creating a small corner of Shalom for a few hours in a derelict place. On Remembrance Sunday we’re going to hold the act of remembrance outside, a few moments to reflect on the horror and loss of war, in a very ordinary place. For this we’re doing up the shop front with poppies to bring some colour and encourage some reflection in this very grey environment.

    The need to do this has been re-emphasised with trouble we’ve had with the local gang, who felt it was funny to harass the children’s drama club that we’ve been running in the shop on a Wednesday evening. This is the same group that frightened off the film club which was run by a group of people who have disabilities. The spirit of a place and the spirit of those who inhabit it is an interesting thing to ponder.

    Can we change it? Can we grow vineyards in the desert? It may be naive, and it may not have the ‘success’ that we are meant to aspire to. But I suppose we’re digging wells so that there is a chance that things can change, and digging wells isn’t particularly fun or appealing. To mix my metaphors, by shining a light, by being a beacon, some people can see the light and head for it. We’ve seen changes in people and our community. We’ve seen aspiration grow, institutions do things differently, not necessarily down to us but we have shared some their story. I’m dead proud of the community groups we work alongside, Northern Star, North Solihull Singers, St!Art, CWBC, and all the various groups, even the work with the council and the regen, frustrating as its been (probably for them as much as us), we’ve seen good things happen and (some) bad things prevented.

    We think it’s what the kingdom is about. So we’ll keep painting the graffitti out.

    1 Comment

    • 1. Jan 17 2013 11:27AM by Caroline

      I agree, here here! It's shocking how rubbish is literally thrown into people's gardens like it's not someone's home. At one point we had a dog or dogs fouling on our lawn weekly, with 2 small children. There's every point, don't give up!

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Welcome to the blog

Neil (the minister) occasionally gets round to blogging so welcome to the trivia and ramblings of an erratic stream of consciousness.

Because we try to be properly Baptist, these views aren't necessarily the views of everyone who is part of the church family here.

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