Enterprise club this week has Muhammad Nasir helping you create your marketing plan. He is now known to many of you and he has been offering informal mentoring for quite a few weeks now. More info click here.
The next fab skills swap is on Thursday 7-9.30pm in the start-up Polish cafe, Flirt, in Ley Street. Please see here for what's on offer. Come along, join the Timebank, spend an hour of your time and experience some wonderful community spirit! And start-ups - get out there, offer your service, build your customer base! Info here.
The Sophia course is starting this week on Thursday afternoons. Two places still available. Info click here.
The Bishop of London spoke about "a transforming vision of a wider us." Giving a sneak preview of the sermon to be preached by the Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martins, on Sunday, he said that we have a message of "faith in the face of fear, hope in the face of death, and love in the face of suffering." Sam says that through partnership development "we want to find abundance in scarcity, we want to expand our programmes and deepen our common life so we too can be a blessing to communities beyond ourselves."
In my sermon at the midweek Eucharist I quoted George Monbiot, who wrote in a recent article, that individuation – the focus on the meeting of our individual needs - ‘is exploitable’ and therefore social hierarchies have been ‘built around positional goods and conspicuous consumption.’ As a result, ‘we are lost in the 21st century, living in a state of social disaggregation that hardly anyone desired but which is an emergent property of a world reliant on rising consumption to avert economic collapse, saturated with advertising and framed by market fundamentalism.’
In this messy world our partnership development will seek to "enrich common life and culture, alleviate and in time eradicate poverty and injustice, and promote love, joy and peace."
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for creating a hierarchy of needs. ‘This is a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.’ At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic needs of human beings; needs for food, water, sleep and sex. Maslow’s model works as a hierarchy because a pressing need must be mostly satisfied before someone will give their attention to the next highest need. The other levels of his hierarchy include: safety; belonging; esteem; exploration; harmony; and self-actualization.
The temptations which Jesus faced in the wilderness (Matthew 4. 1 - 11) can be mapped onto Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The first temptation is about his basic need for food – ‘command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ Jesus responds by, in effect, saying that his basic needs have already been met. As a result, the final two temptations come higher up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, being to do with the need for esteem.
The temptation to jump from the pinnacle of the temple is about the temptation of celebrity; in this case, gaining esteem by undertaking a sensational act. The final temptation is about the gaining of esteem through the exercise of power and wealth – the kingdoms of the world and all they offer in terms of wealth, power and worship are offered with the only price paid being the worship of someone other than God.
Jesus essentially responds to each temptation by saying that God is all he needs. Whatever our human needs may be – basic, safety, belonging, esteem, exploration, harmony or self-actualization - Jesus is clear that God meets and fulfils every need as we make him central to our lives.
Maslow observed normal human behaviour and used his observations to create his hierarchy of needs. The temptation to put the focus on ourselves and our needs as we go through life is strong in each one of us. Maslow sees that and designs his theory accordingly.
George Monbiot, in a recent article, says that we have built our society on our need to have our individual needs met. He writes that individuation – the focus on the meeting of our individual needs - ‘is exploitable’ and therefore social hierarchies have been ‘built around positional goods and conspicuous consumption.’ As a result, ‘we are lost in the 21st century, living in a state of social disaggregation that hardly anyone desired but which is an emergent property of a world reliant on rising consumption to avert economic collapse, saturated with advertising and framed by market fundamentalism.’
Jesus turns this on its head by putting the focus on God. Maslow says that what matters is that our needs are met; making us the central players in our own drama. Jesus says that God has to be central. It is when we put him first that everything else falls into place and we have the sense that all our needs are met in him.
In the wilderness, Jesus was hungry, was living in obscurity and was both poor and lacking in influence. Although his basic needs and his need for esteem were not met in human terms, nevertheless, because God was central to his life and being, he was fulfilled despite his evident lack of food and esteem.
In his second letter to the Church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 1. 3 - 11, 4. 8 - 9), St Paul writes of being so utterly, unbearably crushed that he and his colleagues despaired of life itself, but were consoled in their affliction by God. As a result of this consolation, though afflicted in every way, they were not crushed; though perplexed, they did not despair; though persecuted, they were not forsaken; though struck down, they were not destroyed. In the same way as we have seen with Jesus and his temptations, the testimony of Paul is that despite their needs not being met humanly, the centrality of God to their lives meant that they were fulfilled nevertheless.
So where is our focus in our lives? Do we do what Maslow observed was common to human beings and focus on the meeting of our needs - putting ourselves and our needs first - or are we turning Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head and making God central to our lives, our thinking and our actions? Our choice will determine whether we, as consumers, continually chase fulfilment throughout our lives never fully finding what it is we seek or alternatively, as Christians, come to know fulfilment even when the needs which Maslow noted are not met as he envisaged.
Lesley Sutton is an artist, curator and community arts worker who aims to encourage creativity within the local community by sharing her love of all things beautiful and creative.
During Lent 2014 she curated a visual arts trail (PassionArt) across the city of Manchester using both sacred and secular spaces. Each art work was accompanied by a meditation encouraging spaces for reflection within a busy city. The booklet that accompanied the trail can be read by clicking here - PassionArt_WEB.pdf.
Ana Maria Pacheco is a painter, sculptor and printmaker who was born in Brazil in 1943 and has lived in England since 1973. Her work exhibits a compelling yet disturbing merging of Brazilian folklore, classical myth, mystical Catholicism and political satire. "Mythical and religious themes, usually given a dark edge, figure in much of her
work" and she "deals with issues of control and the exercise of power, drawing upon the tensions between the old world of Europe and the new world of her Brazilian birth."
"The variety of Pacheco’s sculptural work is remarkable and with its tough humanist core, her project
constantly provokes us to seriously question the true extent of our own humanity, and of our uses
and abuses of power. Ana has said that her 'art shows how vulnerable we are'. Large and enduring
themes; violence, journeys, death, love, transformation and metamorphosis reflect her high
seriousness, but at the same time her work is neither pompous nor devoid of humour. With a cast of
characters that are betrayed, tortured, ecstatic, seductive, grotesque, bestial or divine, her work can
arouse extreme emotions, a process that some concluded art no longer has the power to elicit."
Four separate but simultaneous exhibitions, in four different Norwich locations, will bring major
sculptural work from Pacheco to Norwich for the first time.
Event at Norwich Castle Friday 27 March | 5.30 – 7.30pm Norfolk Contemporary Art Society and Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery present Ana Maria Pacheco and Colin Wiggins in conversation 5.30 – 6.15pm – exhibition viewing 6.15 – 7.15pm – conversation in the Town Close Auditorium Seating is limited so pre-booking is essential To reserve tickets please email email@example.com NCAS members | £5.00 – Non-members | £7.00 (payment at door)
The "tender, intimate and emotional paintings" of Evelyn Williams "are concerned with the subtleties and complexities of relationships and the human predicament." Her work explored human relationships by establishing formal rhythmic relationship between figures and by charging them with intense emotion. "Her very personal paintings followed her progress through life as child, lover, mother and grandmother."
From tomorrow the Martin Tinney Gallery has an exhibition of approximately 25 works which features the last paintings she worked on. "These are powerful, haunting paintings which, fully aware that her health was declining rapidly, show the artist facing her own mortality with her customary directness and tenderness."
Fay Weldon has said: “Evelyn Williams’ work is imbued by an unmistakable mixture of grace and greatness. It is 'awesome' - if we can get back to the true sense of the word. It fills you with awe. In its restraint, its gravity, the sense it imparts of female endurance, female beauty, the power and seriousness of love between woman and child, woman and woman, man and woman, her sheer courage in taking on board the nature of the universe in its most unsmiling mode, it achieves greatness, and will outlast all of us”
Sister Wendy Beckett says: “All Evelyn’s work has a deep contemplative stillness within it. The dignity of her figures – women above all – is a consequence of their listening hearts. Looking at Evelyn’s paintings I think of Keats “Unheard Melodies” … love is her theme”