[Springboard] THE ARCHIVE OPPORTUNITY
jrvergarajr2031 at aol.com
jrvergarajr2031 at aol.com
Sun May 24 23:30:57 EDT 2009
I am sitting on the fourth floor of an apartment building in the city of Shenyang, Liaoning Province in China, catching up on email (my host non-resident son's computer - all in Chinese - is finally getting user-friendly) and Bill Parker's little narrative on archives, a living legacy, the order dynamic, Greensburg, etc. started shaking the foundations again!
I live in Saipan now; I went into a radical transition last January during MLK Day away from the educational challenges, internal contradictions, and employment comfort of the Public School System, into literally hanging over the abyss - in this case, over the Marianas Trench which is the deepest trench in the world to the followers of Alex Trebek - and aiming to join a Palauan and his Chinese wife to care for a ten-hectare hillside slope as a demo earthbound friendly farm for our neighborhood and island.
Just delivered a bushcutter and chairsaw that will help us clean part of the 'jungle' three weeks ago, and discovered a patch of Marijuana plants strategically hidden in a slope. Not of commercial quantity, and though I do not smoke the stuff, I have been known to support the cause of the hemp growers and users for many reasons, the discovery gave me pause about our joint venture. Am in Manchuria to finalize a 'mission of mercy' I undertook two months ago, and will be out of here by mid-June.
I had adopted a Retreat mode that has brought me on rails to Hardin (Moscow of the East) in Heilongjiang, and Dandong (China's20Hang Guo ren - Korea) in Liaoning, acroos Chao Xian (North Korea), to Dalian (the international port that Japan and Russia built) later this week, and a final couple of days in Beijing. [Manchuria (Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang) is not as crowded as the Fujian river valleys and basins, nor as devastated as the Pearl River Valley industrial development of Guangzhou-Kowloon-Shenzhen, nor as cut-throat as the dynamism of the Nanjing-Suzhou-Hangzhou-Shanghai quad, but the haze in the meadow is no longer steam but smog, and this historic stomping ground of the Hans, the Mongols, the Manchus, the Slavs, the Nippons and the Hangguls - rich in natural resources and a diversity of culture, is headed straight to the Cleveland-Pittsburg axis of unearthiness!]
Anyway, dissimilar to GWB's presidential papers parked at my old alma mater SMU, I am intrigued by the notion of a living legacy process, the leaving behind of verbal and graphic images and audio-renderings of experiences, feelings and thoughts as they are occurring, in addition, of course, to Wayne Marshall's concern that the file cabinets of the Order Archives are preserved in some accessible format, to capture if we can the marvelous journey to human communities in Gaia that the covenanted self-concious community Bill is addressing had undertaken in the tail end of the 20th C.
Suddenly, I am self-consciously thinking Order again!
Might be momentary. I will probably go back and pick up my shovel to effect my flower gardens and fruit orchard, goat-chicken-du
ck-fish farm cum meditative shack, but I would like to somehow be osmotically, if not symbiotically, connected to Bill's enthusiasm and OCU's ecological interest.
BTW, our brain waves must be in syn. John Cock's reflection today is on the Paul Hawken's commencement address to Portland U grads - "You are brilliant, the Earth is hiring." Ever skeptical of purveyors of hope, Barack's brilliance and efficacy notwithstanding, I am, however, bouyed when something on the ground like the Dean of OCU springs up on an otherwise bleak backdrop, or the numerous Chinese household-size peach orchards along the Yalu river I saw yesterday, in contrast to the bald hillsides in North Korea across the river converted into grain fields for Russian vodka to pay for their fossil fuel requirements, and once again, one's vortex is spun into many whirlpools again and again.
The daze is staggering, almost like a Sufi whirl after eight hours of it, and I am reduced to humming Elie Stock's Stillness Lingers in My Soul once more.
From: Bill Parker <bparker175 at cox.net>
To: springboard at wedgeblade.net; Colleague Dialogue <dialogue at wedgeblade.net>; Order Ecumenical Community <oe at wedgeblade.net>
Sent: Sun, 24 May 2009 11:00 pm
Subject: [Springboard] THE ARCHIVE OPPORTUNITY
To the People of the Order,
What I am really excited about is a development with one of the Universities in town, Oklahoma City University, a Methodist affiliated University. They have decided that what it means to=2
0be educated from that University is that every student must be aware of the necessity of taking responsibility for the earth’s environment, sustainable development, the ecological realities they must address, and a lifetime commitment to addressing the systemic contradictions in sustainability worldwide.
That is bold by itself but the Dean wants to house the OE/EI/ICA archives for the purposes of research into the details of being an order, seeing what a group of people did coming from all walks of life, culture, and national origins to respond to the realities of the 20th Century. There is particular interest in why and how people like us decided to give all they had for the sake of what they decided was the appropriate response in their time. When I reflect on that from a personal viewpoint, I am overwhelmed myself by these decisions. For example, if I take the money Suzanne made and turned over to the Order (average $24,000 per year) and the money I did not make because I worked “in” (average $48,000 per year), the total financial contribution to the EI/ICA was over $1,000,000 during the years we were in the Order. You multiply that by the total number of people in the Order, your imagination gets a clear image of the radical nature of our corporate life. This is not a minor consideration and it is a profoundly significant contribution from the People of the Order to the programmatic institutions of EI/ICA. I told him that getting the archives probably won't hap
pen but perhaps a secured back-up second copy in a different city from the original archives might be possible. This is what the “Living Archives” is all about.
He was very positive and I thought it would be a discussion we would have for quite a while before anything happened, if anything would ever happen. But, he said they wanted to build a green village on the basis of the reconstruction of Greensburg, KS, you know the town that got totally destroyed by a tornado not too long ago. This green village would be for faculty, scholars, and staff living in as an intentional community. There would be an urban retreat center in the heart of the village that would reflect the world’s religion their practices and symbols. Then there would be a building established just for the Archives with conferencing and training capabilities. The Archives would be in a climate and humidity controlled environment designed for the best preservation practices. He said these were in the works. In a later meeting, he said the University has signed off on this and appropriated the money for it. He expects it all to be built in two years with a 2 story residential building for the participants and scholars of the urban retreat center and the program coming out of the Living Archives to be finished in 5 years. But, he says we don't have to wait 2 years before we start.
He especially liked the concept of a Living Archive. I described it as a method for anyone
to conduct research into our Archives whereby, rather than trying to read and figure out the meaning of the 4X4X4 lecture format with illustrations, we would actually do the course with pedagogues who were skilled in teaching it as it was taught in the 20th Century. This would not require weeks or months of re-interpretation as some have done on RSI to get it into the 21st Century. Neither does it require the invention of a new program. The stated purpose of the Living Archives is to illustrate what that particular group of people created to respond to that 20th Century environment. Then we would build a 21st Century movement by conducting workshops after the course to articulate what their experience of the course means to them for the 21st Century. This interest in the People of the Order and what they did is why I am focused on the Archives. It’s not the ICA, nor EI, though they will benefit from it significantly, that is of interest but the legacy of that group of people who birthed those programmatic institutions, and what their spiritual and human journey was, and is.
I have seen no other opportunity like this. JWM’s archives are at Wesley Seminary because of Bishop
Jim’s archives going there. But this gives a whole new meaning for JWM’s archives, his Living Archives, his Living Legacy.
As we deliberate on the future of these archives, let the ICA Board, the Archives Meeting and the rest of us consider this possibilit
Take care of yourselves, for there is a very good reason for you to do so. Bill Parker
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