This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wildgoose 4 + Scandrette, Dark, Fromberg

Mark Scandrette 1.

            Mark Scandrette led a group in a time of meditation.  Beforehand he gave a brief introduction: stillness prayer is a physical act of repentance: to return to the presence of the Creator.  Even just stopping and sitting is itself a radical statement.  We sat in silence for about 40 minutes.  It was wonderful… though somewhat uncomfortable since I was sitting on a rock.

David Dark.

            I missed the first part of Dark’s talk.  He was full of quotes.  (Probably an enneagram 5….)  Here are a few:

“To be ‘spiritual but not religious’ is like being human but not flesh and blood.”  Phyllis Tickle.  
“Poetry is never a choice; it is a verdict.’  Leonard Cohen.  
“True religion is constantly open to repentance.”  Don Shriver.  
“Poetry is the older form of analysis.”  Alan Ginsburg.  
“Poetry is the news that stays news.”  Ezra Pound. 

Here’s some more, apparently from Dark himself, filtered through me:

--If you don’t use your imagination, someone else will use it for you.
--What you believe is what you see is what you do is who you are.
--We are learners of truth, not copywrite holders.
--Your witness is what you are already doing, not what you say it is.
--Confession is where we start receiving the witness of others.

            Dark was speaking in a venue called the Geodesic Dome.  The dome was made out of branches roped together.  The theme for talks in the dome was “A question I can’t answer.”  Having missed the beginning, I don’t know what Dark’s question was, and for the life of me I can’t infer it from the part of the talk I heard.  But he was interesting anyway.
            He seemed to be saying that everyone is religious, even anti-religious people.  Even anti-religion is a form of religion.  Our religious commitments are revealed in our daily life.  He also talked about “the myth of critical detachment,” which is a common refrain of postmodernism. 

Paul Fromberg.

            Fromberg is a priest at the St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, in San Francisco.  His talk was in the “Storytelling Tent.”  He focused on food, with an emphasis on the Eucharist.  He favors a radically open communion.
            The function of the Eucharist is to re-member the body of Christ in a world that seeks to dis-member people.  The Eucharist confects reality; even the furniture also has to do with the reality: the table has to be one where everyone is welcome, because we want to be made real.  Distinctions are irrelevant.  Jesus demands that everyone be fed right now.  His open table is what got him into trouble.  He was undermining his followers’ devotion to purity rules.  It was a radical gesture, to incorporate the unprepared.  God is already here; now you must respond. 
            We see God’s justice in Jesus’ actions: indiscriminate desire for each one of us: for all, not just some.  The kosmos works against God’s justice, telling us we’re not good enough, there’s not enough to go around, our bodies are filth, and only by killing will we be saved.  He takes our fear and spins it into a massive tissue of repentance.  The truth does not defend itself.  Jesus used no retaliation.  It would have destroyed his mission, which was to reveal the love of God.  Justice has nothing to do with violence.
            Jesus is radically inclusive at his table.  Eucharist recreates human imagination to see what is true: we are one body.  There are no divisions.  Jesus identifies with victims and enemies, for we are with them as well.  Read everything through the cross.
            In answer to the inevitable question about Paul’s exhortation about participation in the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11, Fromberg pointed out that Paul is saying that it is necessary to “discern the body.”  Paul would say that the genuine ones in the community are the inclusive ones, not the ones who put various (often self-serving) fences around the table.
            Fromberg’s talk reminded me that one of the recurring themes of emerging Christianity is openness.

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