I had a day free until the evening yesterday and so decided to hop on a bus and go ‘downtown’. Inspired by Stephen Fry on a program I forget the name of last year and his love of Pike Place Market I was determined to make a visit there to start with. I loved it and ending up wandering for hours, taking photos, having lunch which was my first try of Clam Chowder (wonderful!!). I even managed to have a coffee in the original first ever Starbucks.
I loved the market because of its calm bustle and diversity. I ended up taking quite a lot of photos which are all posted on my Flikr site. The creativity and diversity of the market in some ways sum up what Seattle seems to be about – a city that likes to be creative and encourage creativity in others.
For me, it was exciting to see such a colourful array of stalls and wares sprawling into one another. Artist, tradespeople, sellers, buyers all interacting together in a lovely mutual respect. Young and old together supporting and encouraging each other. The atmosphere of the place is hard to describe; but there is something ‘of the spirit’ around the attitude of this place. There is something about the vibe and the decor that clearly adds to this atmosphere. There is also something about the attitude of the stall holders. They are happy and seem to accept that some people come to buy, and others come with cameras maybe to buy but primarily because it is a bit of a tourist draw. (Yesterday I went to take photos and wander, while next time I will be going to purchase gifts to take home).
That acceptance is, it strikes me, something that has been lost by some in established, or inherited, church. There is a primary reason for the market (to make money) and there is a primary reason for the church (although I am not sure what that might be) and yet people interact with both the market and the church for a variety of reasons. They come because they are drawn, but are not necessarily there for the same reasons we are, and may not be anything like the primary reason above.
That acceptance of the market needs somehow to be embraced by church. A church where all can come and go, be accepted, explore, discover, ask, challenge and interact without expectation is something I want to be involved with.