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

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004
    Altared again
    You might recall my blog earlier this year where I described Altar 8, the photo-book of a project run by Liverpool Community Spirit (email) where a plain green altar was taken round the streets of Liverpool 8 and people were invited to decorate it with images of their thoughts, reflections, or beliefs.

    Well, they've followed up that very creative idea with something similar. Altaring Liverpool: A Book About Change. This time the altar went around unadorned, but people were invited to put it in specific places - places special to them. It was an exercise in exploring the 'living geniuses of place and person and harnessing this boundless wealth of constructive vision, talent and passion in our city.' The pics and people's explanations are great. And the book's opening quote, from Equus by Liverpool-born playwright Peter Shaeffer, is excellent too:

    I wish there was one person in my life I could show. One instinctive, absolutely unbrisk person I could take to Greece, and stand in front of certain shrines and sacred streams and say, 'Look! Life is only comprehensible through a thousand local gods. And not just the old dead ones with names like Zeus - no, but living Geniuses of Place and Person! And not just Greece but modern England! Spirits of certain trees, certain curves of brick wall, certain chip shops, if you like, and slate roofs - just as of certain frowns in people and slouches'... I'd say to them - 'Worship as many gods as you can see - and more will appear!'

    Some might reject that as pantheism; but that'd be mean-spirited. I'd rather join in the celebration and call it Pan-o-Scouse-theism.