A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

After Greenbelt

Hi folks. Greenbelt was brilliant, as it usually is. Being a "contributor" (I sang in my church's service) I got to go for free and only had the ridiculously expensive festival food stalls to contend with.

The highlights for me were taking part, obviously, in our service, but also in the "Scratch Panto", in which random Greenbelters could star in Aladdin. so many people turned up that most roles were shared - I was a Genie! It was very funny and great to see such a talented bunch of loonies at work, including several dames and a variety of Aladdins. Also, seeing Peterson Toscano was cool. He's a performer who does one man plays - he's gay and has spent about 17 years of his life involved in "ex-gay" programs, only to discover that he was still homosexual and end up putting on plays like "Doin' time in the Homo No Mo' Halfway House", which my old housemate (the male Quaker Vegan) had on DVD. I love how he can be both hilarious and tender, sometimes at the same time - but then I guess the whole "ex-gay" thing is both comic and tragic. I queued for ages to get to see "The Re-education of George Bush" on Saturday night, thus both missing Beer and Hymns and being rather frustrated when we were then turned away because the venue was full. Luckily, Greenbelt saw sense and got him to do an extra show on the Monday afternoon, in which he did highlights from several shows. His new show, Transfigurations, sounds brilliant.

I also went to Folk club this year, but only once, alas, mainly because I just didn't have time to cram it in with everything else I wanted to go to. The Iona community did a number of things so there was no shortage of singing for me to do - they did some beautiful African/African American spirituals, the kind that make me grin manically when I'm feeling happy or burst into tears if I'm feeling down. There was a very moving service about Israel and Palestine on the Sunday night.

My housemate Sophie has written a book. It's in Proost's pocket liturgies series - she's written some beautiful poetic liturgies, as well as some poems and stories for the book. I am, of course, really jealous. Especially since her name was mentioned in the Greenbelt programme. Annoyingly, the book wasn't on sale at Greenbelt otherwise I might have got a signed copy. She says all her friends will get sarcastic comments. Still, I have a mention in the dedication :) and she got Rachel and me to do some readings on the Sunday - we also listened to Proost's other "unusual suspects".

And I met Dave Walker and other Wibsiters when I gatecrashed the Wibmeet. It was fun. I think I might have scared him a bit. It was nice to meet a community of bloggers, leaving me rather tempted of switching my blog (shock horror!) to a wiblog. I could start a separate blog but I find it hard enough maintaining this one.

On the Monday night, I went to see Delirious. Or "Delirious?". I find that question mark rather irritating. It was an odd experience, and I didn't stay the full time, annoyingly missing History Maker, because Sophie and I ended up at the chocolate fountain (then the beer tent. Then seeing Steve Tomkins, whom I embarrassed myself in front of last year when I failed to recognise him whilst enthusing about his alter-ego Rev Gerald Ambulance). I felt strangely warmed by Delirious, that mixture of nostalgia and longing for genuine faith... A feeling I'd had all weekend, partly not believing and partly believing. Reminds me of a time I spent apologising to God for not believing in him. But I don't feel that I can honestly abandon my questions and place all my trust in God when I'm not sure there is one. And the other problem is that I do so want to believe in God... But I know full well that wanting to believe is not the same as believing, and it's not really a reason to believe. The really compelling thing about the theory of a Godless universe is that it doesn't need to give an explanation for anything... I can appeal to God - "This doesn't make sense!" but if I appeal to the universe "This doesn't make sense!" its silence replies "It doesn't have to."

There are little signs. About a month ago I dragged the last of my things from York to Bradford, found I had too much stuff and it seemed that no one wanted to help. I prayed that that someone, anyone, would help me with my heavy bags, but no one did... And at Greenbelt, I saw a girl struggling with her bags, and of course no one was helping, so I offered to help and we got chatting, and I helped her put her tent up... and I wondered if the whole point of leaving me to struggle with insanely heavy bags was so that I'd understand when someone else was struggling. Or maybe it was just a coincidence.

It's funny but I get mad at God sometimes when he answers my prayers. I wonder why he hasn't cured AIDS, I wonder why I should ask for him to help me at all when there must be hundreds of families who've prayed desperately for help and not got it.... Sophie wrote a piece in her book called "Life in all its fullness" about how Jesus never said it would be easy, but promised life in all its fullness, with all of the joys and pains. It's something I found rather helpful. I find Jesus very compelling - I often can't help but think of what Jesus might say or do in any particular situation, and that combination of loving acceptance of the poor and anger at the religious authorities is very inspiring...

I don't know. My housemate G (Hiya!) wants to go church-hunting soon (no, in an entirely benign way :) ) so I will probably go with him and see what happens.

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  • At 2:00 pm , Anonymous Neil said...

    Great to meet you at the wibmeet, you got a brief mention on my blog too! Wish I had got to talk more about things, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by Christians and would have been good to have a chat about things, perhaps another time.

    How are you readjusting back to normal non-festival life?

  • At 7:29 pm , Blogger Dr Moose said...

    Hello! We never did get to cross paths, did we? I haven't written up GB yet. All I will say is that is soooo hard with 2 small children. But yes, I enjoyed Delirious? and that feeling of absolute certainty (which I haven't had for years). Enough yes, but absolute, no.

    I really must blog, but with a house move in 10 days...



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