Saturday, December 27, 2008
Introduction to the church as "Culture Pub"
Is anyone out there familiar with VOX? Someone recently mentioned to me that they are a religious organization, a piece of information I was rather surprised by as my few visits to their former space on X and 19th didn't necessarily speak to me of anything religious per se. After receiving this tidbit of information I decided to do a little looking into the VOX website and myspace pages for more info about their project.
A careful reading of both their website and their Myspace pages didn't reveal anything of a specific religious nature in regards to VOX although there were a few friend comments on VOX's myspace that were of a religious nature. On both sites they talk at length about wanting to foster a creative community in Sac and a desire to nurture creative talent in all of its forms. Seems cool.
Here's the mission statement from the above mentioned sites:
"VOX Sacramento is a California nonprofit, public benefit corporation, run solely by a volunteer Board of Directors and Officers.
VOX exists to nurture the creative process in anyone, by promoting artistic experimentation, providing the opportunity to collaborate, serving the community, and working in a supportive environment.
Currently, we're a once a month art and music venue manifesting its presences during the Sacramento Art Walk on Second Saturday. Our passion is for the city and for people, and seeing people live their passion to make a difference.
Soon to become a resident artist community focused on providing artists with the opportunity to create new work and encourage risk-taking and innovation in the arts and ideas essential to our human progress...
Essentially, a research-and-development lab for the arts!"
Hmmm, zero mention of god, Celtic evangelism, or church as far as I can see.
After reviewing these materials I then selected a few of the board members names and googled them. Dropping the name Eric Sweiven into google came back with some interesting results. I found the site for VOXtropolis a sort of global VOX network whose intention is to found "culture pubs" all over the world.
Sweiven discusses these pubs in a blog post made last year on the VOXtropolis site in reference to the Sacramento pub saying:
"My name is Eric Sweiven, I’m a church-planter. Over the last 16 months myself and a team of missional leaders have hosted art and music shows in Sacramento, called VOX Parties. These have been hosted at two places. First as a traveling show where we loaded and unloaded a 23’ truck full of furniture, decorations, coffee bar and even walls (the venue would not let us hang art on the walls, so we created our own). Then, more recently (since Feb ’07), at a semi-permanent location that will soon be leveled for new development."
A church? Hmmm, it doesn't mention that on the VOX site. In fact until recently I don't think I ever heard mention of religion in regards to the VOX project.
Here's another Eric quote taken from a different post made in July of this past year that I find interesting:
"Interestingly enough, our “target audience” doesn’t know me as a pastor, but as a venue/gallery director, or creative manager, or as a collaborator. With each event we promote and put together, I come in direct contact with people I’d never have the opportunity to meet otherwise."
Don't get me wrong... I'm cool with religion. Though I'm not personally religious, I respect wholeheartedly the religious beliefs of others... to each his own. What I don't get is why the religious aspect of these "pubs" are such a seeming secret. Why zero mention of church or religion on VOX's various sites? Why doesn't Eric's target audience know him as a preacher?
As a local writer I find it a little frustrating that this information is so important to the group and not front and center to the audience. Having written about local arts and culture for the past two years I would not have immediately known that I was sending people to a disguised church. Perhaps it's just me but these motives don't seem particularly honest.