In Birmingham, there is currently an exhibition of the ‘I See You’ tapestry for the charity Open Doors at St Martins in the Bullring – a kind of sowing together of an expression of love for women who are being tortured and killed across the world because of their faith.
In between work sessions I went to see it.
And then it came to me. The idea…
I could do this… Open Doors and persecuted Christians are so neglected that there might just be a way for me to make the whole thing a little more… public. Pragmatism. I stood outside St Martins in the Bullring, where the event is taking place, and I realised that I could simply buy a plastic petrol filled canister, sneak it into St Martins, pour it over the tapestry and set fire to the whole expression of goodwill. Then they would listen. Then the tolerant British people would be persuaded that all this is real and that we really need to support charities like Open Doors. A little radicalised, I warmed to the idea, like a fire burning in my brain. Sure, I would get caught most likely, but it would be for the greater good, for a cause.
And, as my family know, I have a track record of burning places down (so be very careful if you harm me or mine… I have matches and sometimes make bad choices).
I thought I had better pray about it before the action occurred as I didn’t want collateral damage and felt it might be seen the wrong way. Unfortunately (and rather boringly), God seemed to be hinting that I should not actually physically burn down this thing as I would be hated and misunderstood. Instead, it seemed he wanted me to be writing the words that you read right now.
I have to admit, my motives were not entirely pure. The exhibition, some pictures of which you can see, seemed to only contain the very best designs. Now… I’m not saying that the UK Christian community is competitive, but in this case, I’m saying that Capitalism has infiltrated the Christian church. Some of these designs were great. They were on fire. And where was my design? It wasn’t there! I felt betrayed. Well, wouldn’t you? Sure, I had been busy and had only used stickers and felt tip pens, but that was no reason not to put my selfless artwork on show. Instead, supporters like this, got the limelight, supporters who clearly were more interested in display than anything else. What kind of cruel trick was this from The Almighty ©?
To give some context, as I fear I may have been a little confusing so far… Last year there was a Christian charity campaign called ‘I See You’ by a great charity called Open Doors whose task it is to help persecuted Christians around the world from the relative safety of the West. The campaign was aimed at suffering Christian women and supporters were sent pieces of cloth and asked to embellish them with the words ‘I see you’, both to show suffering female Christians that they were not forgotten and to show the Government in the UK the amount of support there was for those who are tortured and persecuted because of their faith. The cloths were presented to the great and the good, to Parliament, and are now going on display in churches.
I was busy when I did mine. But I dutifully sent back the cloth with my design and with a few tasteful stickers on it. I took pictures of my design but sadly my phone and pictures got erased in a bathroom flood which made my Samsung J3 go kaput. Which rather put out my fire. I emailed our MP, Gavin Williamson, asking him to support the Open Doors event and meetings for the umpteenth time and was only slightly alarmed today when for all of his words of support I heard that he couldn’t be arsed to attend the event.
So I didn’t burn down the display. Instead I wrote these words which you are kindly reading.
But the worst of it is this… I don’t actually know that God really said in my religiously inclined brain: ‘Don’t burn it down, write a blog about it instead.’ Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I fear I have made a fundamental error and offended The Almighty © (as usual). I think my idea was probably better. If I had carried out my plan I really do feel that I could have said in a courtroom, at the end of my life and Judgment Day ©? , ‘I can explain everything… well, most of it’.
Anyway, if you want to support Open Doors, I could not recommend them more. They need all the publicity they can get. But I bet my idea would have worked better.
P.S. Please do not be tempted to burn down places. The repercussions are a bad experience.