A project looking at the overlap and conversation between faith/theology and the arts and social justice
summer autumn 2019
Under the skin
Belonging is such an abstract notion. Only when provoked do I recognise that so much of my behaviour is driven by deeper goings on.
Active in the subtle depths of my being are groans that draw sometimes reactionary, sometimes wholesome performances in attempts to satisfy these mercurial yet permissible and legitimate ghosts.
So much of Western visual culture fosters unhealthy an bias’ to fitting-in. Constantly offering the new, the latest, subtly encouraging us to keep up with the Jones’. Brené Brown shares that fitting-in is changing oneself in order to meet the needs of others, whereas in belonging; one is accepted as they are. Grace, has the magnitude to give up our desire to change others, to who we think they should be. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana shared our inner conflict as he wrote in the lyrics ‘Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be.’
A welcome, is the beginning of belonging, an invite is a warm request to inclusion, open palms or a close embrace can centre our longing. There is the feeling though, even in the centre of our own tribe, our own family, of shared beliefs, that there is still an ache, still a longing to belong. Life is full of moments, moments of fullness and moments of distance. The trick is to a wallow in the fullness and acknowledge the emptiness lightly. The open hearted have learnt to embrace the mystery in others are ready to be generous.
Words by Micah Purnell
Project partners, and funders
A project initiated by the Centre for Theology and Justice in collaboration with Passion Art in partnership with Micah Purnell, St Ann’s Church, Manchester, Manchester Cathedral and the Methodist Central Hall with help from the Anchor Foundation.