Monday, 24 January 2011

Labour

According to my profile on Goodreads.com, I am currently reading Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography. I'm on page 280, which the website helpfully tells me is 62% of the way through. It's pretty good; Fry's command of the English language remains as elegantly authoritative (and verbose) as ever. But I've got to say, the ease with which he entered and entrenched himself in the British media landscape makes me bitterly green. He was actively scouted by his agent and handed a job at the BBC after a successful tour of his Cambridge Footlights sketch show in Australia.

My only experience with trying to get a job in Australian public television was a highly uncomfortable interview with Andrew Denton about his show Hungry Beast. I was lucky to even get the interview and it was incredible that I even made the shortlist. Still, I left unsure if I was really suited to TV or whether it was just that particular show/producer/concept that was the problem. I don't know, I love writing and performing my own material for the camera, but as soon as I approach anything resembling "showbusiness" I can't help but feel I'm in over my head. Is there a place for a person like that in the job market?

Ugh, why am I even blogging about this? Work has been awful this past week. I was unceremoniously shafted from the children's section last week, being told that once my contract for working there is over I'm going back to regular floor service. I wasn't expecting this at all and I was (and still am) pretty angry about it but there's nothing I can do, so even the thought of going to find another job after this one finishes just fills me with dread. A whole other employer to frustrate me? Whoopee! Still, only nine weeks of Purgatorial labour to go, then I get flung out into the wild unknown of the UK. Will I sink or swim? I don't know! I'm very excited and more than a little anxious.

This has been yet another blog about work. Ha. I'm sure I'll be more exciting soon.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What of Work?

Tonight I went up to Brisbane to see my friends Jeshua and Corinne. I lived with Jeshua and his family during 2007 when I moved up to Darwin to find work. Corinne was Jeshua's girlfriend at the time (and is now his wife) and back then she lived around the corner from us. While Jeshua and I grew up together as childhood "best friends", I got to know Corinne and her family really well over the course of '07 too. They came down to Brisbane from Darwin as the first leg of a holiday, and are staying with Jeshua's aunt. Even though I almost never see them anymore, I still count Jesh and Corrie as two of my most precious friendships.

Considering Jesh and I grew up together and did practically everything together, it was really weird seeing the massive difference in our lives. Now he is a successful Northern Territory police officer and Corrie got a job as a primary school teacher - they're building a life together. Meanwhile, in 2010 I struggled to find a job that uses my degree, so I am planning to move to the United Kingdom for a few years just to see what's in store for me there. Part of me wants to "settle down" too, but mostly I just want to go out and adventure for a few years. Or a lot of years. I'm wondering if there's a compromise that must be made between getting a job you love and doing other things you love. Like, if I were to be where I wanted to be professionally, would that mean I couldn't go travelling as much as I do? Probably. Maybe.

The other day a friend of mine set up a meeting between me and one of the local commercial radio stations here on the Coast. They wanted tips on how to be successful in online video, &c, and my friend thought I was the perfect one to advise them - and that I might get paid to do it. I went along but they didn't really 'get it'. I don't think it'll turn into paid work. While I was there I was talking to my friend's boss about some volunteer work I did at one of the community stations here. He asked why I left and I explained it was because I'd planned on going to South America, but that it fell though and I never went back to the station. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Friend: "Rohan tell them why you were going to Peru!"
Me: "Well, I was going so I could help out with-"
Boss: "Wait! Don't tell me it's ANOTHER mission."
Me: "What?"
Friend: "Yep! He was going to help out at a non-profit!"
Boss: "No no no! Don't tell me any more about it! Everyone you introduce me to has gone off to help other people somehow."
Friend: "Yes, that's because I have the best friends ever!"
Boss: "No! No more! I already feel guilty enough about what we're doing here and you're only making it worse!"

The comment was probably not meant to come out like that, but I couldn't help but think to myself, If you're feeling guilty then WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? You could get a job at any non-profit you liked, but instead you choose to work in commercial radio and feel GUILTY ABOUT IT?

A few days prior to this I'd made my Project for Awesome video promoting World Vision Australia. Now, World Vision Australia is an example of an organisation I would fall over myself to work for, especially in the field of communications. World Vision's "social media diva" Richenda happened across my video and sent me these tweets:



As most of you probably know, I'm a real words person, and I'll treasure these tweets for a long, long time. That experience of dealing with the people at the commercial station, who were all very professional but ultimately nonplussed by my enthusiasm and what I had to say, really contrasted with Richenda's strong affirmation for the work that I'm putting into my online content. I thought, "Long term, do I want to be working commercially and feeling guilty and paralysed by my job like the guy in the radio station?" Of course the answer is no. Instead I want to be in Richenda's position where I can have the enthusiasm in what I do to encourage other people like she encouraged me. I'm not saying that automatically comes from working at an NGO or non-profit, but it made it pretty clear to me that, long term, that's actually where I want to be.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Emergent Christianity

Happy new year everyone! As I am writing this I am quite sick and have a headache, but not because of partying too hard - no. I've been sick since Christmas and still haven't managed to shake it off. SUCH a shame.

Anyway, today I've just been resting by sitting around reading this book* I borrowed from work. It's a fascinating book about Emergent Christianity in the United States. I'd never heard of this group before so I was interested to learn what they stood for and I've got to say, some of it sounds very familiar to things we've covered at 12:two (my church) or eerily similar to conclusions I have come to personally after participating in (almost aggressively pluralistic) online communities.

The book contains 20 "dispatches" scattered throughout the book. These more-or-less summarise the movement. I'm going to type them out so I can see them all together:
  1. Emergents find little importance in the discrete differences between the various flavours of Christianity. Instead, they practice a generous orthodoxy that appreciates the contributions of all Christian movements.
  2. Emergents reject the politics and theologies of left versus right. Seeing both sides as a remnant of modernity, they ook forward to a more complex reality.
  3. The gospel is like lava: no matter how much crust has formed over it, it will always find a weak point and burst through.
  4. The emergent phenomenon began in the late 1990s when a group of Christian leaders began a conversation about how postmodernism was affecting the faith.
  5. The emergent movement is not exclusively North American; it is growing around the globe
  6. Emergents see God's activity in all aspects of culture and reject the sacred-secular divide.
  7. Emergents believe that an envelope of friendship and reconciliation must surround all debates about doctrine and dogma.
  8. Emergents find the biblical call to community more compelling than the democratic call to individual rights. The challenge lies in being faithful to both sides.
  9. The emergent movement is robustly theological; the conviction is that theology and practice are inextricably related, and each invariably informs the other.
  10. Emergents believe that theology is local, conversational, and temporary. To be faithful to the theological giants of the past, emergents endeavour to continue their theological dialogue.
  11. Emergents believe that awareness of our relative position - to God, to one another, and to history - breeds Biblical humility, not relativistic apathy.
  12. Emergents embrace the whole Bible, the glory and the pathos.
  13. Emergents believe that truth, like God, cannot be definitively articulated by finite human beings.
  14. Emergents embrace paradox, especially those that are core components of the Christian story.
  15. Emergents hold to a hope-filled eschatology: it was good news when Jesus came the first time, and it will be good news when he returns.
  16. Emergents believe that church should function more like an open-source network and less like a hierarchy or a bureaucracy.
  17. Emergents start new churches to save their own faith, not necessarily as an outreach strategy.
  18. Emergents firmly hold that God's Spirit - not their own efforts - is responsible for good in the world. The human task is to cooperate with God in what God is already doing.
  19. Emergents downplay - or outright reject - the difference between clergy and laity.
  20. Emergents believe that church should be just as beautiful and messy as life.
Um, that was rather a lot longer than I thought it would be, but there you go. It's given me a lot to think over. In high school I did a unit of philosophy as part of my history studies. The unit mostly concerned postmodernism and my teacher had a very dim view of it. Without ultimate, immovable, capital-T Truth, she implied, Christianity was impossible. But ever since then I've found that applying Christian theology to postmodern philosophy has only deepened my insight, not lessened it. It was pretty cool to see that articulated so clearly here.

I had more I was going to write, but that giant list is intimidating me and I fear you'll never read anything I ever write ever again if I continue. I'll leave the rest of this post for another night.

*The New Christians by Tony Jones