I'm getting very excited about our retreat plans. I am certainly grateful to all of Steven Purcell's hard work to get the word out and the right folks connected. This past year's retreat went so well, it filled up in fact, that the Laity Lodge staff has graciously allowed us to do it again. Here's my description of last year's, and here's my report in the aftermath (with the title "Michael Jordan Prayed For Me").
In this entry I'm including basic information about the retreat. As always we appreciate you getting the word out to folks who might want or need to come.
DATE: March 4-7, 2010 (Thursday to Sunday)
SPEAKERS: Luci Shaw, David Taylor (yep, that's me), Steven Purcell, and probably other folk TBA.
SPECIAL MUSICIANS: We're particularly excited to welcome Vito and Monique Aiuto, also known as The Welcome Wagon. Vito is the pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NYC. Along with his wife and under the production genius of Sufjan Stevens, they produced an album of hymns, pop covers and folksy originals. Do click the link to read a full description of their work. It'll be super to have them at the retreat.
LOCATION: the Laity Lodge, just outside Kerrville, Texas. It's a gorgeous place, just ask anybody who's attended. If you want to see the middle of almost nowhere in Texas, then you'll definitely want to come.
THEME: the spiritual and artistic formation of artists.
FOR WHOM IS THIS RETREAT: for anyone who senses a call to shepherd artists. In the church. In the marketplace. In educational settings. In coffeeshops. In official and un-official capacities. This retreat is for anybody who feels a yearning to love artists and to help them grow strong and whole and holy.
WHO ATTENDED LAST TIME: Mako Fujimura (director of IAM), Brian Moss (Prayer Book Project), Duffy Lott Gibb (coordinator of arts at Regent College), Luann Jennings (director of arts at Redeemer Presbyterian, NYC), Matt Guilford (with Campus Crusade), Terri Fisher (a mom living in San Antonio who feels called to pray for artists), Troy Bronsink (senior editor, Generate magazine), Matt and Geinene Carson (directors of OM Arts Link), Adam Langley (seminarian, Baylor Truett Seminary), Lance Mansfield (brains behind the ByFor Project), Roz Dimon (Director of Communications at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in NYC), Jack King (a 78-year old retired law professor), Travetta Johnson (music and arts minister at All Souls Church in Knoxville, TN) and Michael Jordan (Pastor of Music and Creative Arts at Greenwood Community Church in Castle Rock, CO). And that's only a smidgen of great people who came. We had folks from Georgia to Washington state, Iowa to California. It was a great group.
REGISTER: if you wish to join us next March, please register here.
TALKS: as of now Luci and I will give one talk each. We'll probably plan a panel like last year. We want to create as much space as possible for small group conversation, personal reflection and ample meal-time exchanges.
A. David Taylor's talk (as of today):
"Art and the Church:
Lessons from the 16th-century for the 21st-century"
In my talk we’ll look at how one leader in the 16th-century navigated the tricky waters of “church art.” In the course of his pastoral and theological observations, Richard Hooker, an Anglican divine, concluded four things:
1) Our external life ought to be an expression of invisible realities.
2) The wisdom of the ancients should hold heavier sway over the innovations of the youth.
3) When we do innovate—and the church has always had occasion to amend old forms and to introduce new ones—we should allow the authority of the church to decide these matters, chiefly because wisdom operates best in communal form.
4) The church should not enforce its guidelines too rigidly but rather allow for a degree of latitude in their application to the different circumstances of local churches.
Together we will explore what this looked like in his time—regarding music, architecture, poetry, clothing, images. We’ll also consider what it might mean for us in our time and in our different circumstances. We’ll discover, I think, that there’s very little new under the sun. The old ones, however, can certainly teach us a few things.
B. Luci Shaw's talk:
"Thumbprints: On the Art of Paying Attention"
Just as a crime scene investigator hunts for fingerprints to identify a perpetrator—or just as we examine impressions on a clay mug for clues to the skill of the artisan, so we watch for the fingerprints of God visible throughout Creation.
Such imprints are there for those with eyes to see, not only in the environment of objects and events around us, but in us, made as we all are in the imago dei. How else can we account for our human attraction to the beautiful, or for the form and pattern and significance evident in every civilization? How else understand our own human impulses to create and experiment and originate?
All of art is an imprint, a demonstration of what our imaginations glimpse and harvest and craft into a form. As artists we tell the world, “Here’s what I’ve been given to give away! Take a look! Take a listen!” We will discuss together how to encourage authentic responses in ourselves and each other so that our art may be evidence that we are open to the glory of God. We’ll search for their meanings by learning to pay attention, examining ways for our art to become incarnational, that is, to embody and en-flesh our vision of God, tracing his prints in the transcendent as well as the earthy and ordinary.
IN THE END: We invite you to join your kindred for four days of talking, playing, eating, resting, and praying on behalf of our artist brothers and sisters who are serving the church and the world. As leaders we will be committing to pray for everybody who needs to be at the retreat. We will pray for God's provision for you. And we'll pray that God's will be done in and through artists and those who minister to them. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.