Joined Up thinking – Meetings, Apple vs Adobe, The Church of Scotland, Andrew Marr & creative change


Several things have collided this weekend.

I doubt any of them make sense, in a joined up sense but in my brain somehow they make sense….
– Steve Jobs thoughts on using flash in iPhone, iPod and iPad.
– A small section in the Andrew Marr show (BBC Sunday mornings) on the relationship between MP’s and the electorate.
– The current tranche of press releases from The Church of Scotland on the future of the CofS
– and an ecumenical meeting of clergy with the local Community Planning Partnership.

Something has to change.
I was thinking this as I sat in a two hour meeting between staff and clergy, and local political instruments. In the meeting the head of the local Non-Government Independent Charities which are core funded by the Local Government, (do you see what they did there?), saw an impotent, poor excuse for a meeting. I found the whole thing disappointing.

on reflection a couple of things hit me.
– we had chosen to engage, but the relationship was not an even one. we were being regarded as useful information and propaganda sources, but not ‘partners’. The power relationship was skewed so far out of kilter
– secondly our engagement had been needy. As minorities within the relationship, we had gratefully taken everything we had been given with a respectful and humble attitude. (Just like Jesus?) My friend came up with the paraphrase of Jesus ‘Innocent as lambs, slippery as fuck.” In our meeting we had got the innocent bit right, but the slippery, well we were probably grippy rather than slippery.
– thirdly our engagement was uncreative,without focus or agenda, and chaired in a bizarrely partisan basis by the chair who was part of our group.

something needed to be changed. Yet I am unsure how to articulate the change which is necessary.

I dont think my experience of this is unique, but when i then read the mass of press releases coming out of the Church of Scotland in the run up to the general assembly I began to wonder about how universal these thoughts are.(CofS have been talking about money, how they do church, part time ministry, Gay clergy. Just about anything they can.)
As I have read things from press releases, quote for ministers, and leaks from reports, I got that feeling again. As a pew dweller I have no real power within the church. Everything is decided by committee, (the essence of Presbyterianism) at local, and national level. this give democratic authenticity to decisions but there seems to be a general unwillingness to change. My problem here is my understanding of any church as the only institution which exists primarily for the benefit of those outside it.
Engagement is on the established terms.
creativity is not a noted by product of any committee meeting of any sort.

something needed to be changed. Yet I am unsure how to articulate the change which is necessary. (I am unsure I have articulated the problem well!)

Some light as shed on this by the small section in the Andrew Marr programme, where they did a bit on the relationship between the MP’s and the electorate. its basic theory was that the electorate think of it as an upper class lower class relationship. (MPs upper class, electorate Lower class) yet politician after politician, in their memoirs and comment thought of it more as the relationship between the masters and servants, with Mp’s being as the servants.

I am unhappy leaving that expressed view unchallenged, but when you apply that thinking or position to the CCP or the CofS, the power dynamic changes, and the opportunity for change becomes something which can be worked towards. the problem then is how to make change happen and something creative for those involved.

Hence the inclusion of Steve Jobs open statement on the relationship between Apple and Adobe. It does several things very well. It outlines the problems, and outlines the future course of action which seems sensible given the argument simply put forward.
(You can read it here. Thoughts on Flash @ Apple.com
His comments are accurate, seem reasonably considered, yet clear and decisive action is called for. Change is advocated for.

My dominating thought though reading this was who is doing this for that meeting we had, who is doing this for the CofS assembly stuff i have been reading, (even who is doing this for the MP’s). something needed to be changed. It was articulated well the change which is necessary.

I wonder where else that is done?
I wonder where else that is done creatively?