I’m on my way home today from the 2018 Theopoetics Conference. The image above is from the workshop that I co-facilitated with Darci Jaret of Park Avenue Baptist Church and Art in the Image.
Theopoetics is a new word for many and an exhilarating idea for me. In our closing session this morning, we talked around breakfast tables about better language than “conference” and “session” for describing the spaces we made together at this event. During this weekend at the charmingly New England-y Walker Center for Ecumenical Exchange, we explored the ways that art and religion find one another in this world – considering both in their broadest contexts and, simultaneously, their most personal and particular implications. We rejoiced in Friday’s opening presentation by The Sanctuaries DC as a *true* opening – a yielding of our hearts and bodies and most vulnerable selves to the truths of others and of our own souls. We remembered with wonderment the power and courage of each participant’s willingness to be that – a full participant – and marveled that we never saw crossed arms or other shields-up postures. We remarked that even in the minority of sessions where there were trappings of academia – typed handouts or notes or slides on a screen – we were taken beyond the role of passive receiver to active, whole-hearted listener and embodied listener. We suggested that the weekend would be better described as a gathering, and the time we spent in community together more precisely named as a conversation.
There were amazing people at this gathering, and I am ridiculously pleased to say that three of the 75-ish attendees were there because I encouraged them to attend, just based on how cool the opportunity looked when I happened upon it online pretty much by chance. I’d be proud to be responsible for many more ARC event attendees. My next steps will be to build upon the art piece that Darci and I began, and to help with a June event in Atlanta at Centerform (details to follow). And especially, to keep learning, pondering and passing along ideas about theopoetics.
My favorite of the concept’s developing definitions? Co-creating with Creation. Selah and ashe and amen.