Portland and Imago Dei: A Top Ten

Brief prologue to actual entry:
Phaedra and I have sent out our support letter today. We're 1 month to RD: Resignation Day, June 1. Hoo-ha. I met with David Cassidy for lunch today. He's top dog over at Redeemer Presbyterian here in town. Good guy, he. Great lunch. I talked over the phone yesterday with the boys over in Talhahassee who are working on the The Door Post Film Project. Nice opening vid, boys. Nice. I also hung out with Melinda Carter and her Fireseed Anthology girls. And I may be headed to Nashvillian Landia (i.e. Nashville: Home of Music from Ear to Shining Ear) the second week of August.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program. Portland. Imago Dei. Artists retreat this past weekend. It rocked. They rocked. Big green coniferous trees rock.

Phaedra and I had a fantastic time with the artists from Imago Dei Community Church. Here is a Top Ten reasons to retreat with imago-dei-licious artists from Portland.

10. You get to see magical mushrooms (non-hallucinogenic) and funky flowers--like this:

9. You meet ancient of days people like Anneli nee Holmgren. Anneli had written me back on April 13, 2003. This is an excerpt from her email. . .

Hi David -- My name is Anneli Holmgren... I live here in Portland... and well, I was perusing the internet recently looking up all the sights on arts ministries. . . I am a graphic designer/artist and my church here, Imago Dei Community Church, has asked me to be director of the arts ministry. We are just getting going, in fact just this afternoon, I was sitting with a friend writing out our own values, vision, and goals.... So why am I emailing you? hmmm... I guess I have a ton of questions about directing such a ministry, just starting out, and open to any advice about leading a group of artists to do anything! :) My church is full of all sorts of highly creative people who are anxious to be unified as a community. And the leadership is fully supportive of incorporating the arts into worship and such. It is an exciting place to be... and a bit overwhelming too.

It was such a sweet thing to get to meet her in person, five years after the fact. And what a great work God has done in their community. How He weaves his wacky-wondrous web, connecting us in the strangest, most delightful ways. Her husband is pretty swanky too.

8. We jammed out with the mongolian-irish-japanese-grunge-bluegrass-electronic poetry minstrels. I really have no other idea how to adequately describe one of the most satisfying spoken word-music experiences of the past decade.

Here is a sound clip. Dude in dreadlocks was a latter day Dick Van Dyke. They called him Ben. He slew that banjo into submission.

7. We sowed.

We inked. We made postcards. We ate food artistically. I did yoga with Jesus.

6. We took pictures up against very cool red barn walls.

5. I had a great time speaking to about hundred artists coming principally from Imago, but a few traveling further distances from Oregon, Washington and even British Columbia.
(No seriously, people, I get the whhh-ii-llii-ees when I sit down to make art.)
What a great group of artists. Phaedra and I were very impressed with their desire to grow spiritually and artistically and communally. We love you guys!

4. Josh "the Butler" and Jan "the Jan" were two awesome pastors to artists.
Josh, a local, Jan, an import from Ireland, impressed us thoroughly. Their mission? To help believer artists become mature in all aspects of their life. What a great mission. Their arts website is comprehensive and their reading list excellent. Read away, my friends, read away. Josh and Jan treated us royally and we now feel we have dear friends on the oregonian coast.

3. We stayed the night in an elementary school. We slept in the counting room. We drew our names on our own personal chalkboard. They call it The McMenamins Kennedy School: a school converted into a hotel. To-tally cool. The "hotel" not only has the (not so) usual restaurant and bar, it has a movie theater, a soaking pool and a working brewery. And if you care, you can enjoy a whiskey and a cigar in the "detention" room. Not your grandpa's grammar school.

2. Did we mention the beautiful woods? Yep, we loved them. We wanted to eat them and put them in our suitcases. Sigh.

(I am lord of this path. I am. For this picture. I wave my stick at insects. Shoo, insects.)

1. The toilets. We think Austin is progressive. Nope. The Portland airport's toilet's provide you with environmentally friendly flushing experiences. See for yourself:

All in all we had a very rich, very encouraging time. At the end on Sunday the artists gathered around Phaedra and me and prayed for us. They sent us out, west coast-style, into this new season of our life. We loved it, what a gift. And we can't wait to see what God will be doing in and through this blessed community to transform the artistic highways and biways of Portland.


Dennis Family said…
Hey David,

It was a real treat having you here. Thanks for all of the encouragement and smart stuff you said.
lori jo said…
Hi David - I was at the retreat and I enjoyed your talks so much. I'm actually going through some of the notes I took right now and wish I could contact you to find a quote! It was by Nicholas Wolterstorff and all I wrote was "the institutions emphatic insistance..." and in parentheses: "excellent." I intended to just type his name and those few key words into the google bar later but it hasn't turned anything up for me and I was wondering if you had a moment and you remember what it was...could you email it to me? Thanks! And gosh, this is ridiculous.
lori - lojofarm@yahoo.com

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