Friday 7 June 2013

Think different

There are two well-known statues in Kidderminster. The first is of Rowland Hill, who in effect invented the Royal Mail with his idea for the Penny Post that allowed you to send a letter anywhere in the country.

The inscription on the pedestal reads: "To his creative mind and patient energy the world is indebted for the Penny Postage introduced 1840." Witherspoon's pub in Kidderminster is called "The Penny Black".

The other statue, just next to the lock, is of Richard Baxter.

This remarkable theologian and pastor worked for many years at the time of the English Civil War, as the minister of the church of St Mary and All Saints (behind him in the picture). In a period of much controversy, both political and theological, he attempted to be a unifying force, while never ignoring or fudging the hard thinking that had to be done. His books are still read today, with considerable benefit.

We stayed last night at Wolverley, and whoever was responsible for their church building was also thinking different.

It's an Italianate style, and I can't say that I cared particularly for either its exterior or its interior, but it certainly stands out, in its setting high above the village. The houses below live in another sort of dialogue with the  sandstone outcrops that are such a feature of this area, and rear of some of the houses, like those we saw at Holy Austin yesterday, are in effect caves in the hillside.

Those who created the Staffs and Worcs also had to think different, faced with new and specific challenges. Coming through the cut in the sandstone late last evening was a very special experience, though the light was so hard to capture with the camera.

Thinking different – not always easy when people at large have standardised ways of seeing the world.


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