3 Vids and the Retreat Content

I'm turning into the blogger-who-posts-videos guy. That's fine. It's cheap entertainment.

Phaedra and I are wearying down under our Lenten holy obligations. I think we bit off too much. You can tell me I told you so if you're so inclined. That's ok. Maybe we're weak. I mean, we are. And we know we're supposed to feel our weakness and helplessness. But next year, we're only doing two out of three: caffeine, sweets, alcohol. You can only toast with so much spirit using a glass of water.

Here is a summary of the content we'll cover at the retreat for pastors and ministers to artists. We have maybe 10 spots left. So if you know anyone who could or should be there, please pass this along. If you've read this already, you can skip to the videos below.


Leaders & Dates & Setting
Makoto Fujimura, Brian Moss, Steven Purcell and David Taylor. April 20-23. The Laity Lodge in Central Texas.

Content: Overview
The aim of the retreat is not to offer a how-to, i.e. how to run an effective arts ministry. Its aim is to explore what it means to pastor hale and whole artists who bear fruit “in due season” (as per Psalm 1). We’ll have all kinds of artists in all kinds of occupations and stations of life in mind—in the marketplace and in the church, professional and amateur.

TALK #1: Our preparation as pastors (David)
Our best pastoring takes place out of a sober appreciation of our own brokenness. So St. Paul believed in 2nd Corinthians 12. Once we understand our own need as “wounded healers,” in the language of Henri Nouwen, to daily abide in a Healer-Deliverer Jesus, we will understand better the importance of two pastoral virtues: compassion and courage.

Just as we need people to show us compassion, because we are weak and sinful, so we will need to show the artists under our care a patient, long-suffering, compassionate love. And just as we need the courage of God to overcome the frailties of the flesh and the temptations of a fallen world, so we will want to inspire artists to be courageous in the face of many obstacles (and we could spend all day long identifying that illustrious list).

TALK #2: Reflections of a pastor-artist (Makoto)
In this talk Makoto will reflect on his experience as a church planter in New York City, as a husband and father, as an artist, as a pastor and friend to artists, and as one who has been pastored himself. Makoto will use his recent book, Refractions: A Journey of Art, Faith and Culture, as a launching point for discussion.

TALK #3: Pastoring the artist as a person (David)
As artists we are not fundamentally what we accomplish, but who we are and in Whom we are found. We are broken but being made whole. We are dead in Christ but more alive than ever. Who we are before God, as beloved, becomes the ground for all our living no matter the circumstances of our life.

A true knowledge of yourself as an artist involves the knowledge of your nature, your calling, and your primary disciplines. Your nature is both delimiting and liberating. Your calling is one and many. Your primary disciplines are spiritual, relational and artistic. Your disciplines are the nourishing and reconstructive instruments of your true life. Your disciplines remind you that an “insight is not a muscle.”

TALK #4: Pastoring the artist in relation to their work (David)
Love God and do whatever you want, Saint Augustine allegedly declared. Or in Dallas Willard's terms, if we can help artists cultivate well-formed hearts, their work will become whatever it needs to become—extravagant, quiet, prophetic, wacky, soothing, dark, bright, winsome, terrible, lovely, strange, and so on.

There are three disciplines that help an artist be fruitful in his or her work. The first discipline is diligence and the key idea here is that “something begets something, while nothing most certainly begets nothing.” The second discipline is study. A key to our depth as artists is “to keep reading outside your tradition.” The third discipline is community. Within a life-giving community, all the vibrant particularity and diversity of artists can become a benefit for the common good.

A singular benefit of this retreat
The kind of people you will find collected in one room. You will be with your kindred, people upon whom God has placed a similar call to love and shepherd artists. Some of the most long-lasting effects of this retreat will be the relationships that you form that might not have been formed otherwise.

Makoto and I will give four talks total. These will take place in the morning times and will lead to small group discussion, much of it spilling over into our meal-times. Our meals will be one of the best parts of the retreat. Afternoons will be largely free. Folks will be free to make art down at the fully equipped studios, go for walks, paddle down the river, hike up the bluff, take naps, read, swing in the hammocks, play sports and so on. Evenings will consist of special performances, fun stuff, and leisurely conversation around a fireside pit. Our last morning, Thursday, we will worship together, celebrate communion together, pray for each other and send each other back into the world.

The Laity Lodge website has all the practical information. See here.

VIDEO 1: A woosy kid unknowingly asking metaphysical questions.

VIDEO 2: I confess with this video the sin of jealousy. I believe with all my heart that we could achieve world peace if only people broke out into song more often. The video clip is 8 minutes long, but worth watching to the end.

VIDEO 3: Mothlight Creative. Go watch their work. Go see what a couple of humble hearted, uncommonly talented filmmakers are able to pull off with not that many resources. I met Samm and Kathryn in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. I like them. And I really like their work. Here's a sample.

Psalm 106 from samm hodges on Vimeo.


Kelly W. Foster said…
"I believe with all my heart that we could achieve world peace if only people broke out into song more often."

Amen, brother. I'll start breaking out into song in everyday life as soon as you do.
shannon newby said…
My husband and I are coming to the retreat and we can't wait! Also, I'm finishing up a series of paintings on the season of Lent and am inspired by your wife's "experiments!" Beautiful stuff. We're looking forward to meeting you very soon! :)
bekava said…
Interesting retreat idea... I found your blog a month or so ago and enjoy reading it.
Blessings from a Christian artist in San Francisco,
Kelly, does breaking out into song in the freezer section of the grocery store and causing your wife mortal embarrassment count? I'll start there and move on to more public settings as I gain more courage.

Shannon: so great you'll be able to join us for the retreat. It's a great group that's coming. As a point of connection with you and your husband, I attended an Austrian school when I was a kid and during college I did a study abroad at Wuerzburg University in Germany. I can't promise my German is anything but rusty, but I was happy to see y'alls long-term goals and looking forward to hearing more about it, perhaps even auf Deutsch.

Bethany: thanks for saying hi. I enjoyed seeing your work on your website. All the best to you as you complete your degree.
By the way, the photo I posted is of a bee chomping down on my pink lemon tree in my back yard. It's bee heaven back there.
DebMc said…
I found your blog via someone mentioning it on the Well Trained Mind homeschool forums.I'm a Christian who loves to write, photograph, quilt, garden, decorate, paint, and inspire others to do something wonderful.

I'm enjoying reading!

Your retreat sounds very intriguing. There are too many tugs on our wallets this year, but next....yes, I'll start planning for that.
Deb, I wonder if your "someone" is Katy Monwai. She mentioned to me recently that she'd been discussing art on a homeschooler's website. In any case, I'm glad you're out there writing, gardening, and helping others live creatively.
Unknown said…
My wife and I planned to attend the retreat but, alas, summer camp and the kid's tuition came first. I'll be praying. I know it will be incredible.
Samm Hodges said…
david! thanks for posting our work! If I'm ever in the area I'd love to grab a beer/coffee (if it's not lent, that is).

grace and peace,

Mark, alas. Perhaps next time. But thanks for saying howdy and I love all the quotes you post on your blog entries. They're so good.

Samm: no worries, mate. The nectar of the barley or the coffee bean will be most enjoyable. Lent isn't forever. And thank God for that.
Brad said…

I'm a new, but incredibly encouraged, reader. LOVE all of this. I'm an intern with a St. Louis plant with very similar artistic vision (www.citychurchstl.org, you'll especially love the core values). Please tell me that the content of this retreat will be available for download. As a poor seminary student, that's about all my wife and I can afford!

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