Festival of Faith and Writing, the Final Day

In Miscellaneous by Caris Adel1 Comment

On EssaysPatrick Madden

Essays are the study of the everyday, but transcendent and transformative.

“I have no more made my book than my book has made me.” – Montaigne

The written ‘I’ and the writer ‘I’.  The character ‘I’ is not the writer ‘I’.  Essay conveys the quality of the author’s mind.  Your voice should be one you’re comfortable reading out loud.  The persona, speaker, narrator of an essay should have a faithful relationship to the actual person you are.  Should be recognizably you.

Each voice writes its own perspective.  It’s all been done, but there’s always room for more.  “The point of the essay is not the subject, but the voice.”

You write to discover the inner life.  I write myself to myself.

The essay is the closest thing we have on paper to exploring the human mind. – Scott Russell Sanders

Those of us who are drawn to practicing this form tend to believe in our possessing a core reality or self. Essays form character.

When you’re writing essays, you’re not interested in giving answers.

You’re exploring a question for which you have no answer.

To write an essay, have to have a strong emotional pull toward a subject, but with bewilderment.

Essay explores a question, commentary explores a conviction.

Flip experiences around.  “a pleasing encounter with a pickpocket“.  The subject takes the lead and the persona follows.

Shane Claiborne

On becoming a christian – don’t question consumption habits, just buy christian stuff.

Thankful for Sunday School teachers who teach God Loves, but what do goofy games we play in SS and youth group have to do with the broken world we live in?

{kids leave the faith} because we didn’t dare them to take the gospel too seriously in light of the world we live in.

We need to read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in another.

 Our faith is not an escape out of this world, but a way to engage it.

Wrestle with what it means to wrestle with people in the world -addressing brokenness issues.

Stop complaining about the church we experienced and start being the church we dream of.

Prayer is trying to convince myself to be who God wants me to be.

Following Jesus is deeper than our ideologies and identities.

Stories create a hiccup in our world of consumption.

Be creative to fight – we need imagination.  Don’t conform – transform your mind.

Provoke possibilities of imagination to change the world.

(quoting MLK) We can’t speak against the violence of the ghetto without speaking against the violence of government.

Iraq, the land of our ancestors.  We didn’t invent Christianity in North America, we just domesticated it.

War, this violence, is what happens in a world that’s lost its imagination.

These are extreme times.  What kind of extremists will we be?  Extremists for love.

We can imagine the world differently from how we’ve been handed it.

Create beautiful stories that provoke for love.

We get to leave a trail of light behind us, so the world sees something more beautiful and hopeful than what we have right now.

Q and A with Shane Claiborne

Write 4 or 5 times what you need, and then edit it down.  Mine for gems.  Art and writing need to come together.  We need theological books with pictures and stories.

Good writing sparks dialogue that doesn’t end with the last page of a book.

Integrate writing with the rhythms of life.  We have to have the grit of life.

We have to have imagination in a post-industrial world.  Everybody is a teacher and a learner.

If community is the goal, you miss the point.  If you focus on God, the community is the blessing.  Love the people around you and community will build.

Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes.

Our deepest longing isn’t for sex, but love and intimacy.  Marriage is one way of community, but not the only way.

Celebrate where we find ourselves.

If we can’t laugh, the devil has won.

Don’t just protest.  Protestify.  Build up, don’t just complain.

We need to sit and be present with people.  We need to have our rituals.  We can stop to drink tea in the middle of chaos, because the chaos will still be there.

Need to have circus theology – laugh in the face of death.

Justice in the Bible is paired with righteousness.  It’s setting right what’s been wronged.  It’s about forgiveness and restoration.  Restorative justice sets the oppressed and oppressors free.

We all suffer in different ways.  1% and 99% is not good for anybody.  The gospel is good news to the poor and sets the rich free.

The difference between a stick in the mud and a flute, is the stick is full of itself, but the flute is empty, so it can be filled with beautiful music.

2 things are critical in community:  Straight talk – direct, honest, done in love.  Murmuring is poison for community.  Confession – being able to say I’m sorry.

Josh Garrels  – Parables

{I was so bummed to miss his concert Sat. night.  I went with friends to see Blue Like Jazz instead.  The choice between great and great.  What’s a girl to do? }

There is significance attached to landscape.  Place.

Use stories to explain the landscape of the Kingdom. Jesus used story to reach the religious people.  He told contextual stories that were relevant.  They were embedded with God’s principles.

Jesus was speaking to the deep worldview questions people have.  We have to understand the common language.

Story can bridge the gap.  We have our opinions and rational arguments.  But we have to come in the back door to connect with people.

Songs and stories are taking us somewhere and we internalize them.

If they are authentic to the kingdom, and they are moved by it, it can change their spiritual landscape.  They will give you authority in their life.  Embed the nature of Jesus in story.  The story can heal people and even cast out demons.  It confronts people.

Are we cutting in a way that brings redemption to the culture?

What are the stories in our culture that we need to be telling, that are embedded with the Kingdom?

If you know God, he has shown you something.  Embed that in story.  What eternal principle is guiding your work?  How is faith driving your work?  Art needs to engage the culture and offer something redemptive.

Experience the place.  Scripture leads to experience.  Scripture is the map to experience, but we don’t worship the map.

Deeply embed with kingdom and redemption.

It comes from a place that is natural to you, from your place of wrestling.

We can build a bridge – a good bridge – between us and God, between each other.  A bad bride could be a wall.  If it’s a weak bridge, it has a lie in it.

Sometimes people create a weak bridge, and then build a protective wall around it and call it good.   He is hopeful about the future of ‘christian art’.

Day 1 Notes

Day 2 Notes

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