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Reviewing Month of Marks

Well that went fast. 

Sorry for the lack of posting recently – something kinda amazing happened in the middle of the month of marks.

I realised that whilst I see this blog and baking as a creative outlet, it isn’t my main creative outlet in life, it isn’t what I’m most passionate about.  No, my passion in life is my job, what I do for a living. With all this reflection and discussion about what creativity is, I realised that what I do for a living is about creativity, and about connecting other people with that creativity to re-present and re-shape life.

Here’s where I should probably explain a bit about what I do. I work for a multi-faith organisation focused on anti-poverty work – it encourages faith communities to be more involved in the poverty issues in their neighbourhoods and helps them to do something about it in a number of ways. Sadly, I don’t do anything anywhere near as sensible as community development officer. No. I do theology. I help groups reflect on the activities that they are engaged in, help them articulate how this relates to and is an expression of their faith, and work with them to hopefully discover how ‘non-religious’ activities  that support needs in the community – like arts groups, drop-ins, refugee support, adult education  – are as vital to their identity as how they worship on their holy days.

For the most part it involves being with people in what they do and what they are going through. I like to focus on listening to what is really happening in communities, what language and symbol they use to express their connections to one another and a sense of the sacred, and help reflect that back in ways that can provide a sense of identity and belonging for those groups. Basically, I get to drink tea with a lot of awesome people and see that the hope that they present and live out in the midst of a lot of brokenness and make that hope real and tangible, not a glib hope that tries to mask over the really horrible stuff in life.

Since starting month of marks, I’ve realised that there is a lot of creativity in this line of work. Partly because no-one has ever done this job before, so I get to be creative in figuring out how this should work in the most useful way for the organisation and the communities I work with make it up as I go along. However, there’s also a lot of creativity in learning how to communicate with people, to notice who is often left out of the community and how encourage others to address that, and to listen to how people are already making deeply reflective connections between what looks like ‘community development work’ and tradition forms of being a faith group.

So, with the confidence and reflective insights that I’ve gained since the start of the month, I’ve started speaking up a bit more about what I think is going on in the neighbourhoods that I work with. Somehow, out of that, I’ve started four new projects in the past two weeks. Some are distant, big and scary, and require a lot of work (like getting past racism and hatred) and others are happening at the end of this week (dialogue groups in response to religious art around the theme of suffering and hope).

Having started out on a wee creative journey that I thought would just be about trying a few new recipes and blogging a bit more, I’ve ended up realising the deep rooted nature of creativity in so much of life, appreciating so many different forms of what is truly creative, realised that I can make a lot of ideas into reality, and started doing my job in a much more honest, integrated and real way.

Hope you guys have managed to gain as much as I have.

Oh, and I just became an auntie to the cutest little boy in the world.

 *all photos from chez beeper bebe

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3 comments on “Reviewing Month of Marks

  1. Wow, your job sounds so interesting! Hope you manage to make it on Saturday, would love to hear more about it. So pleased to hear you have got so much out of this month of creativity and reflection.

    Oh, and congratulations again, auntie :)

  2. amazing, Clare. amazing.

  3. It is wonderful to hear more about your job–as the Chinese say, find a job you enjoy and you never have to work…and I am sure that your listening and ideas will be greatly valued by those you meet.
    And looking forward to hearing more about the new arrival

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