Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I love a metaphor. One of my "jobs" is to come up with sermon images that get projected during worship. It's so much easier to find/create images when a metaphor can be found to represent the material. I've been working on the Easter images today and the theme is restoration. I'm giving the images an "old movie in need of restoration" kind of look to help convey the idea of restoration. I was looking for a Last Supper image and read how this masterpiece has been through many restorations.
Leonardo, always the inventor, tried using new materials for Last Supper. Instead of using tempera on wet plaster (the preferred method of fresco painting, and one which had worked successfully for centuries), he thought he'd give using dry plaster a whirl. His experiment resulted in a more varied palette, which was Leonardo's intent. What he hadn't taken into account (because, who knew?) was that this method wasn't at all durable. The painted plaster began to flake off the wall almost immediately, and people have been attempting to restore it ever since. - arthistory.about.com

So here's a metaphor that popped into my head. The Bible is a masterpiece that was created using the invention of the written word versus the tradition of oral history used for centuries before. The intent was to harness the rich and diverse collection of stories, history, wisdom, poetry, prophecy and first-hand accounts of God's work in the world, but the medium had some unexpected drawbacks. The most obvious is the problem of translation. I mean there are 20 English translations on biblegateway. Apparently there are even much debated, different styles of translation like formal equivalence, dynamic equivalence, and paraphrase. Like paint flaking off a masterpiece, there are words that become obsolete and are in need of having their meaning restored. I wonder how many translations have been misguided attempts at restoration? Other problems have come from the medium itself.

Print made us more individualistic
Thanks to the individualistic bias of the print age, we miss many of the biblical metaphors of the church because we assume these images are directed at individuals... In fact, nearly everywhere in the Greek New Testament where Paul says, "you", it is the plural "you all". - Shane Hipps, Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, pg. 96

Print introduced us to the concept of objectivity
We presume the Bible presents an objective set of propositions that everyone will discover if they just read it properly. This inflated sense of objectivity, fueled by printing, breeds an unfortunate and arrogant illusion of omniscience. It leaves little room for subjective experience and the work of the Holy Spirit. - Shane Hipps, Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, pg. 55

Just another random thought - good night.

the impact of IMPACT

Finally my latest excuse to delay working on the book is behind me. IMPACT's Nehemiah Action was held 3/15/07. It was a great event on many levels: the amount of participation exceeded the capacity in the MLK Performing Arts Center (well over 1350), the coming together of so many different faith communities unified in addressing social justice issues in the community, and the participation by many public officials.

While the concept of grassroots, interfaith organizations addressing social justice issues is not new in this country, it is certainly new to Charlottesville and Albemarle county. I'm not sure any of us knew what to expect from this first Nehemiah Action.


- I am so grateful to, Angela, our organizer for keeping us on track and getting us to this point.
- I am thankful to Peace for exceeding our attendance commitment.
- I realized again how blessed we are to have Pastor John as guide and mentor on our journey. The Worship God Wants set the tone.
- The City Councilors agreed to call this a public meeting. City Councilors Norris, Taliaferro & Lynch and Mayor Brown participated. Way to go City of Charlottesville!
- Albemarle County Board of Supervisors (BOS) would not agree to call this a public meeting. Five BOS came to check us out, but because of their process, they wouldn't all participate. Only Slutzky and Boyd participated. Change is the name of the game for Albemarle County.
- Norris was an enthusiast yes across all solutions. Because of his involvement with PACEM, he knows this crowd and he speaks with integrity. What can I say, I'm a big fan.
- Taliaferro was a strong yes across all solutions. His anecdote about meeting people that lived paycheck to paycheck and that just didn't seem right - was right on.
- Lynch's "yes, but" was weak. The environmental speech seemed ill-timed. I'm sure you wouldn't get an argument from many in the audience about its importance, but that's not why we were there.
- Brown's "no, but" was even weaker. We know the issues are complex. We know the County is not doing it's share for affordable housing. That's why we proposed solutions that were small steps in the right direction. That certainly seems better than no direction at all.
- Slutzky's "yes" was appreciated. He seems to be the lone Albemarle County BOS member that comprehends the severity of the affordable housing crisis.
- Boyd's "further study" was disappointing. There has been lots of studying done already, here & here. Not to mention the investment in research done by IMPACT's affordable housing research team members. Even the county has studied it here and concluded it doesn't do enough.

What did we accomplish?

When I started on the affordable housing research team, I hoped that we would accomplish the following and I think we made a good start:
- City to acknowledge and put in place measures to address affordable housing issues short-term and long-term.
It looks like the City will adopt Charlottesville Affordable Housing Investment Program (CAHIP) into its budget

-City to show commitment to addressing affordable housing issues by reflecting it in the city budget.
City has added additional $420K for affordable housing for 0-30% AMI into its budget

- Leverage existing programs and services and their ability to generate dollars from city commitment.
Additional $420K can be leveraged by non-profits

- A regional approach and commitment to addressing affordable housing: Charlottesville, UVA, counties.
Creation of a Regional Affordable Housing Task Force was proposed, the only affordable housing request made of the county, and even this seemingly "weak" solution is being resisted.