Friday, 27 May 2011

How do we tell our stories - is it possible to find new methodologies?

So, the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation is over. Today I shall travel home. In my luggage I am carrying the wonderful patchwork quilt called "Journey to Peace" which the WCC commissioned as part of the stitching peace exhibition. I shall be taking it first of all to Dresden for the German Protestant Kirchentag, then perhaps it will journey to other places.
For me travelling back with a patchwork quilt as one of the fruits I am taking away from Kingston also triggers some thoughts about methodologies.
From the outset, inspired by the arpillera and quilt exhibition, we have spoken about weaving at the IEPC, about what threads we have to weave into the fabric of just peace, about the texture of what we are taking away, about how we will sew what we have recieved into our home contexts. I suppose the question is what kind of "Just-Peace Companion" do we take home with us, just the printed one or do we take home with us also the not yet written version and feel that we too can be part of that ongoing story?
There was a good spirit at the IEPC, things went well despite the huge distances covered. I am still left with some questions about methodologies. Perhaps this has to do with some thinking about the age of creativity being the age that must follow on the age of post-modernity. PArt of me felt we should dare to do a conference like this in a truly different way, trusting process more than input, participation rather than frontal delivery. Yet I would not have wanted to not receive Paul Oestreicher's wonderful opening keynote address. I've been trying to think about how a Barcamp methodology might work for an international conference like this - at least for part of it.
As we take up threads and go forwards I wonder whether our institutions are able to take the thread of real creativity and reform forwards, do we dare to think about how to do things in a different way, so as to truly network our stories and experiences and also have a truly common experience and learn to speak with something like a common voice.
Just some passing thoughts. We still need written ecumenism, and our thinking needs to be stretched and challenged more in that format. We need to move beyond well-behaved ecumenism to something that remains respectful but which is truly engaged and open to new ideas. The arts have from the outset been part of the WCC's history, maybe we need to discover that a bit more in these times, the arts can help us htink and act in new ways. More about new methodologies later - I must remember to get on my plane! In the end logistics are logistics!