We drink it. We swim in it. We wash our bodies, clothes, dishes, and cars with it. We spend the first months of life immersed in it. We are baptized in it. We dam it. We pollute it. We waste it. We thirst for it. We drown in it. We can’t imagine life without it. We take it for granted. Water.
When we do a 360 at Vine Street, we look at something from every possible perspective and address it with as many of our senses and capacities as possible. We have done hunger:360, homelessness:360, prison:360, aging:360, and now it’s time for water.
We may well have discovered the one thing that touches every dimension of our life: physical, spiritual, political, economical, theological - or can you name one aspect of life that doesn’t participate in water’s flow?
Every 360 contains elements of study, worship, art, fellowship, and service. Take a deep breath. Dive in:
On Wednesday, October 17, we meet for our regular Wednesday Nights at Vine Street dinner at 6pm, and at 6:30, we turn the dining room into a studio. We'll use sheets and sheets of water color paper, water colors and brushes, scriptures with a water theme, and our imagination to create paintings for the sanctuary. This is a fun activity for people of all ages!
On Sunday, October 21, our worship will immerse us in remembering our baptism, listening to and touching water, and reflecting on Paul's words in Romans 6:3-11, and more (think about the paintings we created the Wednesday before). On the following Sundays, we will continue to include water in our worship services: the threatening waters of the flood, the absence of water in the desert, and the deeply human gesture of sharing a cup of water.
On Tuesday, October 23, we will watch the first of several movies, Blue Gold: World Water Wars. We meet at 7:00pm in the Fellowship Hall.
Wars of the future will be fought over water as they are over oil today, as the source of human survival enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?
On Wednesday, October 24, after our 6pm dinner, we will learn about the watershed our church is located in. Monette Rebecca will be our guest speaker, and she will tell us about the Richland Creek watershed and how to take good care of it. Monette is the Executive Director of the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance.
On Saturday, October 27, we will have a wonderful opportunity to tour the Omohundro water treatment plant in Nashville. This is a special treat, since Scott Potter, the Director of Metro Water Services, will lead the tour in person. If you love great architecture (!), or have a thing for giant cast-iron pipes that have been in service since 1873, or are just curious about how your water gets from the river to your tap, this is a can't-miss experience. In order to participate, you must be 13 years of age or older, and you need to sign up (that too is part of keeping our drinking water safe). [Thomas did a brief pre-tour, and he won't stop talking about how great it was; the editor] Sign-up form
On Sunday, October 28, during our 9:30am Adult Education hour, G. Dodd Galbreath will talk to us about water as a limited resource, and the political and economic implications of that reality. You may remember that during the most recent drought in the South East, legislators in Georgia wanted to reopen the debate about where exactly the border between Tennessee and Georgia runs, and it was all about the water of the Tennessee river. Dodd Galbreath is the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University. Serving two former Tennessee governors of different parties, Galbreath led efforts to implement a nationally recognized wetlands conservation plan; to create one of the nation’s first environmental justice plans; and to pass five legislative proposals for sustainable use of Tennessee’s water supplies and native rivers.
On Tuesday, October 30, at 7:00pm, we watch another great movie in the Fellowship Hall, Flow: For the Love of Water
Water is the very essence of life. It sustains every living being on this planet and without it, there would be nothing. Literally. In her film, director Irena Salina sounds the alarm: our life-giving water is a resource in peril across the planet. The film highlights the local intimacies of a global crisis.
On Sunday, November 4, during our 9:30am Adult Education hour, we will learn about water in the rituals and prayers of our Jewish and Muslim neighbors. In the Christian tradition, the ritual use of water has not always been limited to baptism and footwashings, and we will discover how some other ancient traditions have continued in Judaism and Islam. We have invited Cantor Tracy Fishbein from The Temple, Congregation Ohabai Sholom and Daoud Abudiab from the Islamic Center of Columbia to teach us.
On Wednesday, November 7, after our 6pm dinner, Scott Potter will talk about how much he loves his job. Scott is the Director of Metro Water Services, and he will tell us about the joys and challenges of providing clean and safe drinking water to all Nashvillians. How much water do we use in Nashville on an average day? How long has the water been in the pipe before it comes out of your tab? You can ask him just about anything!
On Sunday, November 11, during our 9:30am Adult Education hour, Steve Young will introduce us to the work of Living Waters for the World. This non-profit, headquartered in Spring Hill, TN, trains and equips mission teams to share the gift of clean sustainable water with communities in need. We might decide to send a team from Vine Street!
On Sunday, November 11, at 4:30pm we will watch Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. The consensus among critics, according to wikipedia, is that "While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children and Miyazaki fans of all ages." [I agree; the editor] Bring the kids!
On Tuesday, November 13, we will watch The Milagro Beanfield War, one more movie (7pm, Fellowship Hall) from the inexhaustible treasure trove of Jim Carls's cinematic list.
In Milagro, a small town in the American Southwest, Ladd Devine plans to build a major new resort development. While activist Ruby Archuleta and lawyer/newspaper editor Charlie Bloom realize that this will result in the eventual displacement of the local Hispanic farmers, they cannot arouse much opposition because of the short term opportunities offered by construction jobs. But when Joe Mondragon illegally diverts water to irrigate his bean field, the local people support him because of their resentment of water use laws that favor the rich like Devine. When the Governor sends in ruthless troubleshooter Kyril Montana to settle things quickly before the lucrative development is cancelled, a small war threatens to erupt.
We are also working on scheduling a clean-up day along Richland Creek (watch for details in your e-mail box), but let us tell you about one more project we're very excited about: during the weeks of water:360, we will build a photography gallery at our website. Most of you have a digital camera or a phone with a camera. What we want you to do is document how you encounter water on a daily basis. The sink in the morning is an obvious starting point, but then we want you to keep your eyes open for the countless ways in which water is part of your day (please don't jump in the pool with your phone). You can pick a day and make it your Day of Water Attentiveness, or you can click away anytime you come across something with a water connection that may have gone unnoticed had you not remembered this public art project. Send your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the picture fairy will take it from there.