Church/Austin=Weird

You might recall that about a year ago, I hoodwinked a few other pastors into co-writing a grant application with me. I am no fool, I chose some smarties with mad writing skills. And lo and behold, we received a grant. It's like a pastor's Make a Wish sort of deal. We get $10,000 to spend over the course of two years--all aimed at on-going support for this little group of six clergy. We are exploring the theme question of Membership: What in the hell does it even mean to belong? (To church...to the world...to one another). I will let you know when we have that all figured out. Every month, our group of six leaves the city for a 24-hour retreat together. It's an extended breath/pause. We eat. We sleep. We reflect. We read thick book and talk about them. We return to our regularly scheduled programs. One of the the most exciting things in recent history is that the seminary that is sponsoring this whole grant Make a Clergy's Dream Come True thing is Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. No, not Spam-a-lot Austin, MN. We are talking Austin, Texas. One of my three favorite US cities of all stinkin' time. (St Paul/Seattle/Austin)  The food! The music! The City Limits! The clubs! The bats! The amazing seminary that is flying our whole group down on Monday!

Part of being recipients of this grant program is that we get to go to Austin for four days and meet The Others (the other recipients). They roped Mark Yaconelli into spending the time with us as we explore The Power and Practice of Personal Story Telling. "Christianity is a religion passed on through storytelling. The Bible, for the most part, is a collection of oral stories that were told, remembered, and handed down within a community of storytellers.  Through presentation, contemplative exercises, theological reflection, and a variety of narrative practices, participants will encounter the power of personal storytelling for healing, spiritual formation, community building, outreach, social justice, and other ministries. The retreat will give participants exercises and space to explore their own life experiences as well as develop practical processes and strategies for helping others "give testimony" to the work of the Spirit in their lives."

I will be gone--wearing Fat Baby's in Texas-- this coming week. Pray for me (bossy, bossy). And I will tell stories about Humble Walk and all you amazing folks.