Anne Morisy’s second session from the Breakout Pioneer conference.
Guy Stanley, a sociologist from Exeter has a triangle concept. Instead of defining people by their class he defines them otherwise.
The precariate is a multitude of insecure people, perhaps frustrated educated youth, women in oppressive labour, the criminalised. they have a more restricted range of social, political and cultural and economic rights than citizens elsewhere. This leads to anxiety.
There is a theory the all of us are living our lives in order to lessen our sense of anxiety. Our choices are based on this – limiting our anxiety in life.. Affluenza is a part of this. People who ‘do God’ have, according to the psychologists, opted for a wise method of limiting anxiety. Faith helps you be healthier, wealthier and wiser according to the sociologists’ scoring method.
In an acute place of anxiety, we react rather than respond, and numb ourselves to the pain we are feeling and to the hurt we may be causing others. Emotional distancing. We are inclined to herd with others, as it makes us feel secure when others join us in our grievance.
When the middle class gets anxious, they try to look good in relation to the powerful, in order to feel secure. You make the powerful value you by anticipating what it is that the powerful want to see happen. When the middle class get anxious, the dastardliness that happened gets buried and hidden from view. We tend to scapegoat, finger point. Allocating blame is presented a a way of explaining something.
We also forget how to have fun together. Before a community can communicate or hear anything, it needs to play and laugh.
responding to high levels of anxiety
We need to be able to manage our own reactive tendencies in order to minister in these situations. We need to be able to lower the voltage in a situation, and diffuse a situation. But need to be careful, as if you can do this, people will and to get you onside in order to increase ten efficiency of the herd (the cause).
If we have a systems approach, rather than blaming others, we discover that we are all fallen people. For example, identify with the people who are being blamed by saying “that could have been me” this brings the conversation to a theological level not a scapegoating one – the plight of sin.
At this point Dave Male’s phone rang….
Getting people together, being the person that says “let’s do this” or “could we?” identifies with the anxious and says “we are all in it together”.
Jesus is the final scapegoat. The gospels encourage people to see the world through the eyes of the scapegoat, who refused to let death be the final word. (this is the first time in history that literature is written from the perspective of the scapegoat – Renee Girard)
Therefore, scapegoating gets you nowhere, as Jesus has risen again. Christians enact Jesus’ triumph over death in the Eucharist [and should in their lives].
Our missions when people are bothered, bewildered and precarious is to become more reflective rather than reactive and to challenge the new-tribalism and opportunities for resentment.
the invitational domain of metanoia
Or: a new way of seeing and understanding.
Invitation is quite a large part of pioneering, inviting people to join in. The invitation is to express “venturesome love”.
in inviting someone to take a step of venturesome love, it will put us in touch with raw and abrasive aspects of life
In the inherited church, discipleship has been reduced to ,doing jobs in church’. Outside the inherited church, what does it look like? What are people being transformed into? Discipleship needs a structure or colleagueship for it to be expressed, which invites you to express something venturesome. This is the only way you are likely to have anything different in the way you life your life. It affirms our ability to do things for the first time.
It is therefore class treason, as you are encouraging people for wide fraternal relations across class and tribe borders.
Morisy claims that there are less and less opportunities in inherited church to express venturesome love. “would you read the lesson” is not venturesome and you are unlikely to talk to your neighbours about it. Grannies Taking sewing machines to Zimbabwe, for example, is.
But anxieties need to the named and assessed and you need a structure of participation for those within and without. And a flow of virtue comes out of the excitement of the venturesome love project. E.g. We are cleaning the streets so that we can have a football match against the Tanzanian kids… Not out of a sense of internal virtue that we want to create,
Think of the experience economy, Starbucks or Ikea.. People want the experience and ambience more than the products, and that’s how they sell.
Experiences give people a story rich life
The risks of the experience bring people to a place of having to rely on another, and they may say “god help me” or “God please help them” and begin to have a little bit of confidence in the possibility of God.
In helping people who you are alongside to have adventuresome love might have an effect, a cascade of virtue, on the other generations. E.g. The grandchildren of the older ladies who went to Zimbabwe to bring a seeing machine thought “my granny’s cool” . And i may just help them to live in the light of giving venturesome love and taking risks for the good.
It enables us to know the other.
there are occasions rising up out of this when some liturgy is required. Eg, opening a new debt centre. The liturgy is to give people material to ponder in their heart. After the conversations and the opportunities for log and the making of invitations comes pondering it.
in a harshly secular and precarious environment we need to take the life of Jesus more seriously. [in addition to the death are resurrection]
Sometimes the formula of cross and resurrection gospel does not travel into secular culture. I is no less true but focussing on Jesus giving life can be a much more understandable and appealing concept.