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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, September 04, 2002
    The Other Summit
    Difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly insoluble differences and difficulties of the world (Johannesburg Summit) and the smaller differences of parish life, people being obstructive and negative. An article in this month's Resurgence offers some perspective this evening. Einsten, quite a clever bloke by all accounts, is quoted by Jonathan Robinson and Lucy Hinton. He says, "You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset which created it."

    Their article (not online, so you'll have to buy the beautifully-produced magazine to read it) describes 'The Other Summit', a barren Soweto mountain outpost which has been recreated by the community there, "reclaimed and transformed into a creative hub fusing traditional and contemporary music, discussion, organic food, and sculpture and architecture made from 'waste'." A once dangerous dumping ground is now a place of beauty and people's livelihood, because they dared to use their imaginations and act on them there.

    This simple story offers a real antidote to the feelings of frustration and trappedness at the agendas of the stuffed shirts who sit at the top of our TV news or share our pews. Accepting Einstein's words, to overcome these your mindset must accommodate freshness and challenge, you have to be imaginative. And I suspect that to keep the imagination alive you need to commit to wandering around outside - exploring 'The Other Summit' rather than feeling trapped in the stagnation of 'The Summit'; looking for Christ outside the church when the proponents of that institution seem to have lost him somewhere along the way.