Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fold it, Ship it, Roll it.

Boy in the Bands Had an Idea: "I saw the answer to a problem few have and even fewer have written about: a folding pulpit or reading desk for congregations that rent Sunday space in a non-church facility. Unitarian Universalists don’t worship at the Y as much as in the 60s, and so a lot of tricks to make such a space work are probably lost."
I like the solution, though my brind is sifting through other ays to do a similar thing. (a big old- fashioned trunk, so things wouldn't fall out?)
I think space-renting would be a good way to start up congregations fast. Why don't we do it as much? I wonder if small UU groups could borrow UCC churches for free or cheap.

My friend Cj was once looking trough a book of road-trip stops in New York State, and she pointed out a church that was 3 feet by 5 feet. I think it was the world smallest, it's centainly New York's smallest.
I was imagining what must have driven some pious but poor pioneer who could only get enough wood for a 3x5 church. Then read the it was built in 1989. I said "oh, they just bought that at Home Depot!"
Now I've been wanting to start churches for a long time, so I said that if I just had a place to put it, I could get a shed and turn it into a church. Cj then volunteered the backyard of her boyfriend's soon to be bought house, She even called him to make sure it was OK.
Now this was not a completely original idea for me, every year, a local charity has a 'Playhouse Project' in which they auction off half a dozen very high end playhouses. I think the cheapest playhouses go for $4,000. The year I remember most, they had (among others): An HSBC bank playhouse that looked just like a tiny bank, a whimsical Dr. Suess playhouse, and a tiny curch: 8'x8', four small pews, stained glass, hardwood floors, steeple and brass bell.
It was beautiful.
I'm always on the lookout for church-on-a-budget ideas. There was this school bus for sale once...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Robin Edgar mad at non-UU?

Anthony Perks, a gynaecologist, has posited the idea that Stonehenge is a symbolic representation of female genitals when viewed from above. David Miles, and archeologist, disputed the theory, and Robin Edgar (A disgruntled Unitarian) was upset by what David Miles said.

Here is how David Miles was quoted in the Observer:
"It is intriguing theory, though it has failed to impress experts. David Miles, chief archaeologist for English Heritage, which owns the site, said Perks's theory, although interesting, was essentially untestable. 'You can come up with just about any idea to explain a structure like Stonehenge if you stare at it for long enough. And if Stonehenge was built so that it looked like a female sexual organ when viewed from above, how were people supposed to see that? As far as we have been able to tell, they didn't have hot-air balloons in prehistoric times.'

In fact, scientists have shown that Stonehenge was not built in one single act of construction, but was put together over a period of more than 1,500 years in a series of successive modifications and improvements. Nor was it built by the druids, the people most often associated with the site. In fact, many more ancient tribes and societies - individuals attempting to make their impact on the landscape of England - were responsible.

'The archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes once said that every age gets the Stonehenge it deserves,' added Miles. 'For example, in the 1960s, at the dawn of the computing era, researchers argued that you could use Stonehenge as a giant calculating machine.' Later, in the more mystical New Age, it was argued that the monument was really a spaceport for aliens, while, in the Middle Ages, it was said Stonehenge was built by giants. 'By those standards, this latest idea seems to say something quite odd about the twentyfirst century.'

And here is how Robin Edgar described David Miles's statements:
  • "flippant and gratuitously dismissive"
  • 'sarcastically dismissive response in the media was uncalled for and at least one of his comments that served to publicly discredit Dr. Perks' theory with the "voice of authority" was a totally spurious non-argument that may none-the-less have been very misleading to the public.'
  • "As far as I am concerned David Miles and indeed English Heritage whom Mr. Milres publicly represents owes Dr. Perks an apology."
  • "flippantly dismissive comments that clearly serve to publicly discredit Dr. Anthony Perks Stonehenge theory"
To me, even the little that was quoted from Miles does not seem to be particularly flippant or dismissive, certainly not excessively so. He is a scientist, and science is about skepticism. We also do not know how much else was said in the actual interview. I do not think that an apology is in order.
Now, Robin Edgar has a personal interest in the idea of 'an eye above', and the idea that ancient societies believed in heavenly viewers. There is a case to be made there and Miles did not address it (or it was not quoted) so it is worth bringing up, but I think Robin Edgar's reaction was out of proportion to David Miles's comments.

This has implications to interpreting Robin Edgar's words against Unitarian Universalists.