upper room daily devotions

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Updates on The Well (Anne Lamott, Alexander McCall Smith, Tony Jones, and others) and Life

John Dominic Crossan
I recently read somewhere that my blog ranks fairly high on a list of United Methodist bloggers. That freaked me out a little bit. If one checks, one would find that I haven't written since September; that's a long l-o-n-g time in the blogosphere. Frankly, this blog is very dusty and must cry tears of loneliness the way it is neglected. But, by the time I write, edit, and send my church newsletter; maintain our church website; update our church facebook page; write on our church twitter feed; and keep up with my own facebook and twitter accounts, I have nothing left to say. Let's not forget the weekly sermon, either. Or the faith and values project I am working on with interfaith partners at Seattle University. When I entered ministry, I was a strong extrovert on the Myers Briggs. No more, friends. I can go for days without wanting to share anything. But, here I am with some updates about ministry, life, thankfulness, and happenings.

Our new ministry at QAUMC called "The Well, a gathering place for conversation" continues to bring provocative and thoughtful people to lead conversations, provide music, and facilitate encounters with the divine. This year our line up has included:
Carrie Newcomer
Luis Rodriguez
Anne Lamott


Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

Tony Jones
  • Wes Howard Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson on Empire and God
  • Cornel West and Tavis Smiley on "The Poverty Manifesto"
  • Robert V Taylor on "A New Way to Be Human"
  • Carrie Newcomer on Spiritual Autobiography and a concert
  • John Dominic Crossan on "The Power of Parable"
  • Kathleen Norris on "Acedia and Me"
  • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove on "The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture"
  • Jennifer Knapp on "Inside/Out Faith: Can You Be Gay and Christian" and a concert
  • Luis Rodriguez on "It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing"
  • Philip Gulley on "The Evolution of Faith: How God is Creating a Better Christianity"
  • Bill Mallonee and Muriah Rose on "Faith, Art, and Cultural Relevance" and a concert
  • Macky Alston with his film "Love Free or Die"
  • Interfaith Forum on Marriage Equality
  • Alexendar McCall Smith on Location, Civility, and Humor
  • Tony Jones on "A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin"
  • Anne Lamott on "Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers"
  • Anne Lamott
This has made life very full, very busy. I am grateful for these wonderful talks, for the beautiful music, for the conversation, and for the time spent with these incredible artists, thinkers, dreamers, and teachers. I am grateful for all of the people who have pitched in and helped move chairs, run sound boards, sold books, welcomed guests, cleaned, and prepped. I am grateful for the people who have ventured in to our get togethers - for their generosity, their questions, their heart-longing aches, their laughter, and their good wishes on another year of conversational experiments. And, I am grateful for the God of love and life who inspired us to start this ministry.

It seems that we in America spend an awful lot of time yelling at, talking past, and misquoting one another. We want to do the exact opposite of that at The Well; we want a safe place to ask hard questions about life, faith, God, community, our world, our politics, and to struggle with the hard problems that face us in our world. We strive to help one another find the right language to talk about our faith and spiritual journeys so that we might better appreciate the struggles and quests of our neighbors.
Katie M Ladd and Alexander McCall Smith
We live in a complex and wounded world. It is also a wonderful world filled with breathtaking diversity. Both of these things are true at the same time.

I am loving this adventure. Thank you to all who have adventured with us. Many blessings on your holiday weekend. Many blessings to you as Advent approaches. We hope you wish us well - that we might find the money to continue into the new year. We have a plan; we just need the tools to make it happen.

All of this and so much more is why I am more absent than present on this blog. I hope to come back soon refreshed and ready to dialogue in this space. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wes Howard Brook and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

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