Archives For June 2012

Prayerflags

I opened Saturday’s sessions by listening Cathleen Falsani talk about Anam Cara, a Gaelic phrase that means ‘soul friend.’ Falsani talked about how she gave up on involvement in Christian community after the church she was part of split over a doctrinal issue. The split was painful and it left her feeing jaded and disillusioned.

So, she became a ‘wolfpack of one,’ and counted herself among that growing number of ‘spiritual, but not religious’ exiles from organized Christianity. That all changed in the wake of the death of one of her friends from college.  Continue Reading…

Overheard at the Goose

June 23, 2012 — 4 Comments

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Just a quick update after a full day of Wild Goose action… I’ll wait until sometime next week to post more thorough reflections on the experience…

The theme for Wild Goose 2012 is Exile and Return. From what I’ve observed and heard, both parts of that theme are present in nearly every conversation. There are plenty of people who are hurting, sad, angry, or cynical about “organized religion,” in general, and “institutional Christianity,” in particular. This is spirit was present last year as well.  Continue Reading…

Listening to the Goose

June 21, 2012 — 1 Comment

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For the next several days I’ll be at the Wild Goose Festival at Shakori Hills near Pittsboro, North Carolina. This is the second annual iteration of the event. My wife and I were supposed to have attended its inaugural last year, but an unexpected job change followed by a cross-country move resulted in us forfeiting our tickets. Boo.

This year, George Fox Seminary is sending me as a representative to talk to people about our programs. What a great job! I love the place where I work (and where I’m also a student, working on my DMin) and it’s easy for me to talk to others about why they should consider seminary education in general, and GFU in particular.

Unfortunately, my wife isn’t with me, though. Bummer. But that means I have plenty of time to meet new folks and to listen.

Listen.

That’s what I hope to do at WGF this year. I heard very mixed things about it last year (read my friend Chris’s posts for some insight) and am interested–if not a little concerned–about the shape of the conversations this year. Last year there seemed to be a lot of evangelical ressentiment, a path I’ve gone down (or through) and have found a nice, less-cynical, more-hopeful place at the other end. I’m not sure it’s helpful to camp there for long.

So, I’m looking forward to Ian Cron’s conversation on “The Post-Cynical Christian” and Jim Wallis on “Baseball, Unexpected Hope, and the Vocation for a New Generation.” Oh, and also the “Theology of Beer” session… I’m also going to pay a lot of attention to the Sacred Space at the festival. I’m on the planning committee for Sacred Space for Wild Goose West, debuting later this year.

But most of all, I want to listen. I want to hear the shape of conversations and let them enwrap me. It seems that last year the participants wove a hair shirt. What will this year bring? As I am able, I will update this space with thoughts, reflections, and images. 

And if YOU want to come to the Goose, I could use some help staffing my exhibitor booth, especially on Saturday and Sunday, since I have to leave a bit early. I have a pass for you in exchange for your volunteer labor! Send me a message on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tattooed.preacher

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been slowly working my way through Thomas Merton’s Cold War Letters. The anthology is a collection of 111 pieces of personal correspondence written between October 1962 and October 1963, the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In the period just before he wrote the letters, Merton came under fire from the Archdiocese for his increasingly vocal opposition to nuclear war, an opposition the Catholic Church was slow to adopt. As a result, Merton circulated the collection of letters privately with a disclaimer on the first page: “Not for publication.” The letters weren’t made public until 25 years after his untimely death in 1968.  Continue Reading…

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Over the next few weeks my reading for my doctoral coursework is self-selected, rather than assigned by the program’s lead mentor, Dr. Jason Clark. He gave us space this summer to pick one or two books and take our time reading them deeply. The books could be classic literature, theology texts, works related to our own research, whatever we like. 

I hemmed and hawed for a while. At first, I settled on reading through Jim McClendon’s three volume systematic theology set. I have it and I’ve always wanted to read it. But that just seems tiring right now. Plus, I’m slated to dig into some of Paul Ricoeur’s work for my own research this summer. I think that’s heavy enough. Continue Reading…