Friday, 30 January 2009

Darwin in our time: 200th anniversary

Earlier this month I listened to Melvin Bragg's  Radio 4 programme   Dawin in our time  to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1809. What was fascinating was that he went to Cambridge to train as an Anglican clergyman, but found his vocation in Geology and Botany, becoming  to use the generic term,  a naturalist. 

Darwin's 'Tree of Life'

His big theory of natural selection, grew out of good scientific observation. He was meticulous in recording his observations and went on to try to understand how it all fitted together.    

The 'either/or' of science and faith has been most unhelpful. We are after all encouraged to be seekers of truth.  And Darwin was certainly a seeker after truth, although this ostensibly became less and less connected with the church.


I was fascinated to discover  in the latest SAMS magazine   SHARE  2009/1   page 10/11. Charles Darwin eventually became a keen supporter of their work among Indians in South America.  He was initially  
shocked by the appearance, language (“scarcely deserves to be called articulate”) and customs of the Fuegians, dismissing them in A naturalist’s voyage in these words: “I believe in this extreme part of South America man exists in a lower state of improvement than in any other part of the world”.
The connection was Sir James Sulivan, a Vice-President of SAMS, was a long-time friend of the naturalist and had sailed with him as second lieutenant on the famous voyage of the Beagle. Sulivan later recalled:
“Mr. Darwin had often expressed to me his conviction that it was utterly useless to send Missionaries to such a set of savages as the Fuegians, probably the very lowest of the human race.

In 1870 Darwin wrote to Sulivan:
“The success of the Tierra del Fuego Mission is most wonderful, and charms [or shames] me, as I had always prophesied utter failure. It is a grand success. I shall feel proud if your Committee think fit to elect me an honorary member of your society”. He later added: “I certainly should have predicted that not all the Missionaries in the world could have done what has been done.”
Robert Young in From Cape Horn to Panama, 1900, wrote:  
“No one was more astonished and gratified … than Charles Darwin, [whose] subscription to the Society’s funds, continued for many years until his lamented death, was, according to the Spectator [of 26 April 1884], ‘about as emphatic an answer to the detractors of missions as can well be imagined’”
Maybe the Fuegians were a case of supernatural selection.


The Church of England website has a helpful article Good religion needs good science by Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs. There are also articles on a brief history of Darwin,   Darwin and the Church and Darwin and Faith.
Darwin has been much maligned and caricatured by the Church, and still is today.  He suggests that 'some rapprochement between Darwin and Christian Faith is needed'   This is his attempt 
Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Halfway up the Hindu Kush

I received the following from a friend, David, who I met in Afghanistan. He is hoping to start up travel tourism in the remote Wakhan corridor, home of Marco Polo Sheep in Badakhshan, along the Amu Darya (Oxus River). He is part of Mountain Unity a non-profit organisation that promotes travel tourism in NE Afghanistan. 
Follow the link below to watch a film about Mountain Unity's fact finding trip to the Afghan Hindu Kush where we investigated how tourism could bring development and stability to the peaceful far north east of the country.
Video: Tourism in the Afghan Hindu Kush  (don't forget to select "watch in high definition" on the bottom right of the screen.)
Video:  Visit the Wakhan Corridor       
Website:    mountainunity                 
Tourism may sound like a crazy idea but already Mountain Wilderness, the Aga Khan Foundation, GTZ, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Wildlife Conservation Society and a number of other organisations have recognised the potential of climbing and trekking in the Wakhan Corridor and invested in building infrastructure and capacity.
Tour operators have been successfully running fully booked tours into the Wakhan for a number of years and mountaineers are returning to take advantage of the good weather, short approaches and numerous unclimbed routes.
Why not visit the site and leave your comments. Who knows maybe one day you'll be, in the words of Katie Melua,   'Halfway up the Hindu Kush'

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Eureka - inspiration from unexpected sources

shell-eureka by isriya.

'Eureka: The best ideas come from the most unlikely places' 

I stumbled across  a short  9 min DVD film in a Cancer Research Charity Shop in Muswell Hill. You can view it on the Shell real energy site. 

It is the story of a Dutch engineer whi is responsible for energy resources. Whilst under stress working in SE Asian oil fields he struggles with leaving undrillable oil behind. He returns for a break to Amsterdam and confronts his wayward teenage son. And discovers that inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. 
I found it quite compelling even if it is a bit slick and commercial and seems to ignore environmental issues.   
But it encouraged me to keep looking for indirect, 'snakey, bendy' solutions to what might look initailly like insurmountable problems. Inspiration is a gift. 


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Diary of an Aid worker in Gaza

Picture of Islamic Relief aid worker, Hatem Shurrab
Hatem Shurrab works for Islamic Relief in Gaza

It is worth looking at the diary of a relief worker in Gaza on the BBC website 

It reads as a very ordinary, human insight into what has been happening, proof if any is needed that development crosses international and interreligious borders.   We can all pray for peace ..
25th January
Amid the rubble and destroyed buildings people are trying their best to return to normal life - if there ever was such a thing in Gaza.Part of that process is the children going back to school. Some of the schools have reopened and the pupils are eager to return...... 
I spoke to seven-year-old Mariam, from Tal El Hawa. Like other children she remembers the day the first bombs dropped and is now happy to be back in her classroom.
"I remember I was in an Arabic exam when I heard the bombs. I was too afraid until my dad came and took me back home. On the way I also heard very loud explosions," she said.
"Now it is calm. I am so happy that I am back at school. Today at school I chatted with my friends and classmates while we were sitting on the steps. Each of us had a story during what happened. Three of them had their homes totally destroyed. Our teacher also asked us about what happened with us. I told her about what happened."

Unfortunately today 27th it has all started again- 

Jonny Baker Worship Tricks Cartoon

A friend, Martin pointed out to me the Ongoing adventures of ASBO Jesus blog  where there is a good depiction of a colleague, Jonny Baker, our blogger extraordinaire, who has a side-line in alt. worship. The cartoon of 14/Jan/09 says it all .... 
If the pic below is too small, then click on the original 628 . Which I suppose is always a good principle in life - to 'always click on the original'.  


Monday, 26 January 2009

Big Garden Birdwatch - the power of participation

This weekend 24-25th Jan was the Big Garden Birdwatch. 

According to the RSPB it has now been going for 30 years. It started by asking young birwatchers to count the birds in their garden and has grown into the biggest survey of its kind.  Some 3 million BGB hours  (380 years!)  have been clocked up and 6 million birds spotted. RSPB then literally work out the pecking order! Because the survey is conducted the same way each year, population trends are observed and the RSPB can then target those species more in danger.   It's the best wildlife survey in the world. 

It's also a great example of how social networking contributes to research and the power of participation. I felt I had taken part in something much bigger. Contribution creating ownership.  

I spent a great hour before Church on Sunday morning and saw Magpie, WoodPigeon, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long Tailed Tit.   And three Grey Squirrels.  The highlight was seeing the longtailed Tit and the Woodpecker in the Garden for the first time.  And the birdsong was heavenly. Better than Church.  Which is maybe why we are told to 'consider the birds of the air'  - what John Stott  calls 'Orna-theology' !

The results of the survey will be out in March. 
Big Garden Birdwatch

The Ox and the Cow

One day Mullah Nasruddin went to his neighbour, known to be a mean fellow.

"Sir," he explained, "your ox has gored my cow and killed her after she refused his amorous advances." 

His neighbours shot back, "So what has that got to do with me? Should a man be held responsible for what an animal does." 

The Mullah answered cheekily,  "Thank you, Sir. Actually it was my ox that gored your cow."

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin

Somehow this story mkaes me think of Internation relations in the Middle East and other parts of this world of conflict!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Great movie set in Mumbai.  Slumdog millionaire captures the hope of a Nation as a nobody is transformed into a somebody.  A classic tale of love triumphing over evil.  

Read the film's  synopsis


Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India¹s "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much?
Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show¹s questions.
Each chapter of Jamal¹s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show¹s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show?
When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out.....

But as for the rest, go see the film. It's got that feel-good factor. And make sure you stay for the Bollywood-style credits.  As for me I'm off to Mumbai at the beginning of Feb to go and see for myself . . . . . 

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Out of China: Monumental Porcelain

I visited the Lightbox in Woking, my local museum, on Saturday to see a new exhibition: 

Out of China  Monumental Porcelain By Felicity Aylieff

An exhibition of giant vessels, majestic in scale, produced between 2006 - 2007, which shows how the artist has taken the medium of clay and its decoration to a new sculptural level.

They were produced by the senior tutor at the Royal College of Art during a sabbatical in China. The work was done in Mr Yu's Big Ware factory in Jindezhen, China where traditional, massive vases are produced decorated with flowers and dragons.    Chinese patterns have been 
adapted and painted with large calligraphy brushes.  Names like:   Chasing Black,   Hu  Die Ji Jie - Butterfly Season, Lian Hua - Lotus Flowers,  Chinese Ladders.   They are huge - taller than people -  some 2 and 3 meters high.  They are a symbol of the Rising China - bigger,  better,  brighter.   

Read all about it on 24 hour Museum. The exhibition is running in Woking,  15 Jan to 15 March and entrance is FREE 

Around the World in 80 Faiths

Around the World in 80 Faiths title screen

A beautifully filmed exploration of world faith, which arouses my curiosity, in a gripping, disturbing, perplexing, fascinating, confusing, enlightening 'cultural-touristic' romp through 80 different faiths, religions, sects and rituals in 6 continents.  I wonder what, if anything, will make sense by the end of the series. 

Around the World in 80 Faiths started on 2nd January 2009, on BBC2

In eight episodes, part-time Anglican vicar Peter Owen Jones explores the astonishing diversity of the world's religions as he travels around the globe, observing and taking part in the most important rituals of 80 of the world's faiths.
On the way he explores some of the planet's most beautiful and holy places. He meets snake handlers, Voodoo practitioners, whirling dervishes, horse-riding Sikhs, Shamans and Taoist monks seeking immortality.
He participates in some truly remarkable events, including an Aborigine baby-smoking ceremony, exorcisms, a séance, a Christian healing, Muslim prayer, a Hindu cremation and Zoroastrian wedding.
Pete starts his journey in Australasia and Indonesia followed by the Far East and Africa.
From there he travels through the Middle East, North America, India, South America and finally Europe.
From the great massed festivals of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism to intimate rituals practised by remote tribes. From religions half as old as time to brand new cults and sects, this eight-part series will bring a genuine understanding of the deep diversity of human spirituality.
from the BBC website
You can view the trailer here

Around the World in 80 Faiths

Peter Owen Jones (a bit of a Tom Baker-ish Dr Who look alike) is an Anglican Priest from Sussex. There is a book to accompany the series. There is even a Flickr group to share relevant photos and of course discussion groups.  And you can see the episodes in bits on YouTube.   Lots to get involved in. 

Friday, 23 January 2009

Osaka Church Baptism

After all the Big Headline news on macro issues, I thought it was nice to hear some micro news from a small church in Japan.  

From Pam in Osaka (Mon 19th Jan) 

We  had a very blessed Communion Service with the Baptism, Confirmation and also Thanksgiving Prayers for the baby you can see in the middle of the picture.
Emiko is next to the Bishop and then her daughter who came to the church
for the 1st time. She was baptised with the name Theresa as she wants to know what is a Mother's love as she feels because of a divorce and 
stroke 14 years ago she could show love to her children. Her words at
lunch as to what God has done for her in the last two and a half months
were a blessing to us all. 

The Bishop has now visited 16 of the churches in the diocese-6 more to go. He started his sermon by saying looking at the congregation we were the youngest church so far. He actually said a big age drop. I am so thankfull that God has blessed Shonai with an age range. The oldest is actually 98 and has only just stopped coming to church after a fall. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


See full size image

Further to my last Blog,  the Benediction at the end of Obama's inauguration by Dr Joseph Lowry finished with the words: 
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when  black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- when yellow will be mellow -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- and when white will embrace what is right.  Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Apparently it has caused a bit of stir on YouTube as being racist,  which I think is ridiculous.  I thought it was humorous and inclusive.  

Let Us Stand for the Benediction

I was sent a link to an article in Christianity Today on Benediction: Reclaiming the lost art of Blessing. Worth reading. It appeared in Leadership and describes an experience at Village Church

Brian McLaren's Song  With Kindness from songs for a revolution of hope  is available to watch on You Tube 

he writes: 
It's encouraging to know that my song "with kindness" is being used as a benediction song in a growing number of churches and other gatherings. Here's a video from the closing service at IWS in Florida ...
The words and chords are available on restoration village

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Historic Day - Washington and Oxford

See full size image

Today Barack Hussein Obama was inaugurated as 44th President of the United States. His father's village in Kenya went wild.  
I found his speach  moving and rooted in reality. At last an intelligent President!  No more Bushisms!   
The full text of Obama's speach is available on the BBC website)  He talked about the USA taking responsibility and held out an open hand to the Muslim world.  It's what people will call an historic day. The picture Barack Obama-Martin Luther King by BenHeine  just shows the significance with which the event is viewed by the civil rights movement. The first African American president. He will become, already is an Icon. 
The final prayer mentioned by Rev Joseph Lowery (something like) - Blacks not turning back, Browns 'turning around', Yellows being 'mellow' and Whites doing what's 'right'. (I'll correct this when I find the original and post a link). 
Maybe the US of A will now be able to embody this level of integration and social inclusion.  

We had our own Historic Day in CMS when members voted for the merger between CMS and SAMS.  The legacy of Allen Gardiner was remembered when he came to CMS in 1844 with the vision to reach the Pataognian Indians, but then there were not the financial resources to expand into South America. So a separate agancy was fomed.   Now 165 years later ..... 

These events may not have had quite the same level of interest. But 108 CMS members voted -only one against -  almost 100% in favour.  The significance is the shift in power from the global North to the global South that this represents. As Africans,  Asians and Latin Americans take their righful place in God's mission. It is about reponding to what God is already doing. Mission is no longer White. (not that it ever really has been). It is multicoloured. 

Maybe the two events are connected  after all      

Monday, 19 January 2009

Prayer for Obama

I was sent a copy of this picture back in November- prayer over Obama   - I dont know anything about the circumstances but it is  a powerful image, surrounded by his brothers and sisters.  And it seems pertinent the day before his inaugaration as a reminder for us to pray.  
It is an important occasion with all sorts of consequences - not least for the Middle East preace process. My hope is that the he will be able to deliver on some of the things that have been promised. Change is in the air.  

A Friend of mine from CMS  - Yemi  -  will be at the inaugaration - I dont know how he managed to wangle it  but he did,   He is a man with connections and it reminds me  how connected we are - 6 degrees of separation and all that.   

Friday, 16 January 2009

Hudson River plane crash

Passengers await rescue on the wings of the ditched aircraft

As a frequent traveller the story of the N.Y. Hudson River Miracle really hit home. 
Some of the pictures show just how incredible it was. All 155 people rescued  and it was COLD (-5 oC).  It's certainly good to hear good news occasionally in the midst of so many things going wrong.   And it is reminiscent of those other N.Y. plane crashes in Sept 2001  with a very different end result.  This one was caused by a flock of birds. Nothing sinister.   Maybe that is why this story has hit home. Given all the pain and agony and disbelief that was caused back in 9/11  it is such a relief do see a disaster averted. 

Now that reminds me  I must book those plane tickets. I've got to go places.   

Thursday, 15 January 2009

More on Gaza January 09

CMS statement on the Gaza crisis

Canon Tim Dakin, CMS General Secretary
(Photo: © CMS)

Grieved by loss of life, longing for justice, praying for peace – Tim Dakin of CMS comments on Gaza

CMS has a long-term commitment to working in Israel-Palestine in order to share the love of Christ. Our partners have included those who have different Christian, ethnic and political perspectives.

At this time of crisis we are grieved by the appalling loss of life in Gaza and call for an immediate ceasefire and a return to negotiating about disagreements rather than resorting to violence.

As a matter of justice we believe that Israel should grant greater access for relief workers and supplies in order for the people of Gaza to have their basic food and medical needs attended to. This is a matter of urgency.

We also acknowledge the long-term problem and provocation of rockets launched from Gaza into Israel, yet we find the disproportionate use of force by the Israel Defence Forces a matter which clouds the justice of their cause and stokes up further emotive responses in the wider region.

As Christians we are praying for peace in the name of Jesus the Prince of Peace, longing for a time when people of all faiths and none can live together in Israel-Palestine on the basis of there being justice for all.

CMS is able to accept donations to pass on to partners bringing relief to families in need in Gaza, including Al Ahli hospital. You can give by credit or debit card by using the link below, or send a cheque, payable to Church Mission Society, to CMS, Income Team, Watlington Road, Oxford OX4 6BZ, clearly stating that your donation is for Gaza.

see also BBC website in pictures 
In pictures: Inching into Gaza

Africa needs God

Matthew ParrisMatthew Parris   From 

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset

This article was published on my birthday and it makes for fascinating reading. It is  a helpful  apologetic for Christian, faith-based aid, development and charitable ‘mission’ work . 

do read the full article from Times Online


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Asia Updates: January 2009

KOREA : New Bishop’s plans

The Rt. Rev. Paul Kim will be installed as the 5th bishop of Seoul on 15th January. His grandfather was martyred during the Korean War when he remained in his parish in the area of communist rule. His father was also an Anglican pastor. He studied at a seminary in Toronto.
His theme after 8 years' of ministry is said to be 'church growth' and 'mission abroad'. It is compared to the 3rd bishop who stressed on 'church planting', and the 4th bishop who drove to 'ecumenical dialogue' and 'TOPIK – humanitarian support to North Korea'. 

The blue print of mission from the diocese is summarized in the booklet of the diocesan synod in 22 November 2008: "The diocese of Seoul sent about ten pastors to the Japanese Anglican Church, and will continue to send two or three pastors every year. A series of discussion is needed with CMS who has set one of their centers in Seoul and also some dioceses in US, to draw a plan to send young pastors, evangelist and lay MPs to do diverse ministry in diverse areas … To set a network of pastors and MPs and supporters; To partner with CMS, to set a policy of mission abroad; To form strong supporters at the level of parishes, organizations and groups; To have more close relationship with Korean pastors who work in other country"

This plan shows that he is open to CMS as a partner who can make the plan work. He invites CMS as the way of forming the policy of his ministry concerning oversee.……. If the new bishop is pursuing church growth, then Alpha Clergy, Diakonia Training Center and Cross Station will be the key groups for his ministry, and the results will strengthen the contents of mission.
‘To deliver the heat of Jesus' love, a flame should be started. I feel morning calm in Seoul. Harmony overwhelms discords.’                          Rev Simon

PAKISTAN: Priest Kidnapped 

“A priest of the Diocese of Peshawar, Rev. Tanzeel Zafar, has been kidnapped on his way home from the Diocesan Centre, Peshawar. 

Rev. Tanzeel Zafar is the Priest-In-charge of Charsadda and Shabqadar parish and is also Assistant in Mardan Parish, N.W.F.P. He left St. John’s Cathedral for his home in Swati Gate, on Friday afternoon. 
However, he did not reach there.”

(Frontier News Diocese of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan January 09)

UPDATE: ‘We wish to thank God Almighty that last evening (Sunday 11 January 2009) at about 8.00 p.m., the above named Priest was thrown by his abductors at the gates of St. John's Cathedral Church, 1-Sir Syed Road, Peshawar Cantt: He was immediately rushed to Lady Reading Hospital and given emergency treatment. He is deeply traumatized and has been severely beaten.

GAZA:  Love and the Enemy 

The events in Israel and GAZA have dominated the news. Tanas shares his response:

This morning as I sat down to have my breakfast, I switched on the television to watch the news of the Gaza crisis. As I watched what is happening, with many women and children been killed, schools destroyed and houses turned to rubble, my heart broke and tears filled my eyes. Violence is increasing on both sides, more Israeli soldiers are getting killed, many of the Israelis who live close to the Gaza border are in fear and it seems like more people are getting angrier, losing hope and wanting revenge. …
.…. in my role with CMS I am trying to respond in a creative way and find ways to help Christians in the region work together in mission. I have Palestinian friends losing loved ones. I have Jewish friends being called up into the army. I do not want to take sides, I want to be on Jesus’ side and have others join me. Yes, there are injustices that we need to address. But we need to learn how to address them with love. Only Jesus can help us act out his toughest commandment:                 “Love your enemy.”                                                                                   

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sri Lanka to Scotland Jan 09

 Summer 2007

Paul and Ina with Abigail and Hannah have returned to Scotland in December after 5 years in Sri Lanka and Paul has taken up an appointment as priest at an Episcopal church in Aberdeen. Paul was curate of St Paul's Church Kandy, the largest church in Kurungala Diocese of Church of Ceylon and also latterly combined this with his role Rural Dean. In the wake of the Tsunami Ina founded a dicoesan counselling ministry called Shakti which the diocese is planning to continue and develop. Just before they left Bishop Kumara Illangasing wrote to Adrian in an email,
"Thank you so much once again for all your help. I have had very good conversations with Paul, Ina and the family. I recently visited them at home and bid farewell. It was a wonderful opportunity that I had to pray with them and commend them to the next stage of their lives and ministry back in the UK. I do hope to keep in touch with them and as I have always mentioned to you, Paul and Ina made a tremendous contribution to the life of St. Paul's and the Diocese. I am most grateful. "

Ina, Bishop Kumar and Shakti

its a small world

'It's a small world '

How often do you hear that when you meet someone and discover you know someone who knows someone you know. Well I am reading 2 books at present to learn more about Web2:0 social networking, which explore this phenomena: 

here comes everybody

jonny baker has written an excellent series of 4 blogs about Shirkey's book  'Here Comes Everyone' particularly small world theory  -  what's become known as 6 degrees of separation 

Its all about participation  
Shirkey talks about a simple three-fold process:  

sharing - co-operation - collective action

sharing creates the fewest demands and you can see it happening via flickr (photos), digg (stories), blogs and the number of small niche communities with common interest or concern. co-operation requires a bit more co-ordination especially if there is to be some collaborative production involving decision making. something like wikipedia manages this sort of participation really well. then collective action is definitely a harder step. it needs a strong enough shared vision which binds a group together and people will put effort in for. shirky says this is much more rare.

See full size image

talks about a 4 fold process: 

naming some practice - a passion/vision that someone has 
connecting with other - finding others with the same vision
nourishing a network - connecting together an synergising 
illuminating - highlighting what is happening though sharing the story widely.

This ‘life cycle’ happen all the time through networks and they 'change the world', but they are invisible to old ways of doing things.  

about jonny     Jonny tells a story as an example  
i was thinking about the truth isn't sexy campaign and have written something about it recently thinking about how networks work (it will be in the next CMS magazine Yes). this is a short version... it began with an idea (or a rage against injustice more like). a friend of mine si had a concern about sex trafficking following visits to bars where girls were visibly being picked up. the first phase of the process was sharing. chatting with a few friends he got connected with a few other people who were involved in care for sex workers or political campaigning. a few e-mails, google searches and coffees later, he begin to build up a picture of the scene and the various economic, immigration, political and cultural factors at play. crucially he also connected with some others - the second phase collaboration - who caught the vision for doing something and a small team was formed with aimie & shannon picking up the baton. the team quickly found themselves part of an informal network of brilliant people working on their own projects but also collaborating together. an idea began to form – no-one seemed to be working at the customer demand end of things, with men who pay for sex. via a few networked connections, a design agency got involved and a beer mat and poster campaign was born called The Truth Isn’t Sexy - the third phase collective action. 200,000 beermats have been distributed in city centre pubs and NUS bars along with other events and media and cross party MP’s have praised the truth isn’t sexy in the house of commons with the minister in charge of this area now publicly stating the importance of addressing demand - the main political objective. the group are going to self publish an activist's handbook for others wanting to take collective action on something...
the campaign cost virtually nothing apart from printing costs. It wasn’t spearheaded by an organisation. volunteers made it happen as networks of people shared the idea, co-operated and joined in collective action. this network of people is not a club you can join – it was much more organic and invisible. It wasn’t something that was led – at least not in any traditional sense – though the people involved had a high level of skill at getting people connected and participating. the technological tools that are available in the world of digital media, all free if you have a computer – e-mail, web sites, blogs, social networking sites and so on - were absolutely crucial to the process. this process is so simple that you can miss it! It’s particularly easy to miss if you are looking for success with an organisational or old paradigm pair of glasses - measurable outcomes in organisational strategy achieved by professionals supported by systems of hierarchy and control


there is more on this in the latest CMS YES Magazine 'Mission in a Post-modern world' in an article by  jonny baker