Friday, 19 April 2013

Hidden Perspectives launch.

'Hidden Perspectives'.... in words from the Sheffield Dept of Biblical studies (because I can't begin to describe it myself):

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…is a new project at Sheffield and the brainchild of Katie Edwards. It is so modern, it has a Facebook page. And there is a blog too which is run by Emily Foster-Brown. It is a ‘very pink’ blog. Here is the ‘About’ blurb:
Hidden Perspectives is a large-scale pioneering public engagement project that aims to open up interpretations of biblical narratives to underrepresented groups. The project is a jointly organised by Dr Katie Edwards at The University of Sheffield and LaDIYfest Sheffield.
Hidden Perspectives encourages inclusive discussion on dominant interpretations of biblical texts and narratives found in scholarship and mainstream culture. Working with groups and individuals from range of faith and non-faith backgrounds, this ambitious project aims to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and diversity in which biblical texts can be interpreted.
In 2013 the project will focus on sexuality, gender and the Bible and intersecting issues relating to identity, diversity and representation."
Sheff bib studies blog

As it says above, it is so modern! Because of the involvement of SOTS members, it means I can say with confidence that 'SOTS' does not stand for 'Sounds Of The Sixties'.

So here are a few pics, some are my own, and some (the ones with me in) from the Hidden Perspectives blog, taken by the official photographer who attended the launch on April 11th. That was a thoroughly wonderful occasion which cheered me up enormously. Katie Edwards is clearly much loved by the many students who know her in Sheffield; she is a great ambassador for all things biblical, with public relations skills second to none. Chris Meredith is a talented young member whose PhD thesis on the Song of Songs will be published soon; those who heard his recent paper will know what an engaging speaker he is. There is to be a festival launch on 1st June, for which see:

The lovely Katie

Chris 'Song of Songs' Meredith with Memsec.

Chris again, slightly hidden too.

Sheffield Department of Biblical Studies.

Cheerful Memsec with empty glass (but it was re-filled).

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The things she took with her (1)

Oooh dearrr, I haven't been here in ages, so I might be my only reader unless I alert a few kind friends to my re-start. Things have changed, as friends know, and I'm in a new place on the SW Pennines.
New friends

The sheep here looked up and started to follow me in hopeful lines when I appeared with my stick, so I beat a hasty retreat as I didn't want their eager little faces to turn to diasppointment. In the distance is Watergrove Reservoir, and the hill is Brown Wardle which I mean to walk this week.

 I have quite a bit of time available for thinking now, and I've been mulling over the carload of things I brought with me. Just one carload had to be selected to last a few weeks and make it possible to work, so I went round each room identifying the things that I thought would serve some purpose in a new and reduced-size 'lair', which I call 'the Perch'. My hand reached for and packed two sewing machines and several books on Hebrew grammar and vocabulary, so this gave me  a good idea of what my 'body, mind, spirit' combination (thankyou, Waterstones etc!) was wanting to get on with. (As Qoheleth knows, the hand is a pretty good guide to the thing that really interests you if you find it hard to choose with your brain: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might..." Eccles. 9:10). Then there were a few little things that crept in because they were objects with a story attached to them, important stories. Take the collapsed-looking little object here; this looks like a shadow of its former self, as though it has had the stuffing knocked out of it, and of course it has (and it was stuffed with sheeps' wool collected from barbed-wire fences). It was once a pincushion, and not just any old pincushion, but one made out of the fabric that I used to make my
'going away dress' in 1976, when brides 'went away' and didn't collapse in a heap after far too long a day with two noisy parties behind them.

With hindsight, it might have seemed better not to make a pincushion out of the fabric, but then I don't believe in magic so I'm not seriously worried about that. The human mind, though, seems to find that it makes meaning to fit the material facts, and so having had to take the thing to pieces and remove the stuffing and all the needles that had disappeared into its insides, I have now turned my thoughts to what I can make out of it, since I never throw such things away. I made a new pincushion, a super-duper thing weighted down with a lead fishing weight so it doesn't knock off chair arms, and so this old one needs to be made into something else.

One saying that had stuck in my mind was that a marriage can be described as a container for a family, and mine certainly has been this; I'm sure marriages can be other things too, but this is a good start. So I thought that I must find some use for this little scrap of cloth, something that sums up the kind of hopeful thoughts that don't come easily at a time like this, and the words 'little house' come to mind, and of course I am now myself in a little house. So thought I might pad the sides of it, but leave it hollow for putting things in that need to be kept safe, and maybe not specify just now what I think will be put in it. I feel sure that it will contain something though, in the fulness of time, not meaning of course that time now is merely empty.

I've been greatly comforted in my "severe depression" as the doc* calls it (and thankyou, fluoxetine! "Prozac") by my own rendering of Psalm 88 (the gloomiest one) in the form of an 18th C-style tie-on pocket. It isn't at all evident from the pic here that the pocket has a soft velvet grey lining into which to slip the hand; it seemed to me when I made it that people in this state needed comfort, as they needed to linger in their gloom a little while until properly ready to leave it, and now I have found it to be true from experience. So perhaps the pincushion will become something new when the time is right. We people who sew things about the Bible and life know that it isn't a one-way process, but rather the slow process of sewing actually feeds in new thoughts to the interpretative enterprise. Thus, I am hoping that when I find the right thing to do with the deflated little ex-pincushion, that it will start me off on some new thoughts that will help us all in this rather sad state that obtains now.

*See  the good doc's own writing .