The Quixotic Pastor

Monday, July 09, 2007

Highlights From The Sweat Lodge Conference

Sooo, after a conference induced absence of nearly 13 days, I am finally updating my blog. There's so much to share!

I think Rainbow Pastor has a different name for our denomination's General Conference of 2007 in Scottsdale AZ, but in my mind it will always be the Sweat Lodge Conference because 1400-1500 attendees [1] sweated, a lot, just getting from place to place and [2] it was a wonderful spiritual and educational experience.

Of course, before the actual General Conference itself, we had Clergy Conference, and neatly sandwiched in between was Global Justice Sunday.

I will be reflecting on my experiences in more detail as this week progresses, but here's an hearty appetizer tray:

  • Rainbow Pastor and I shared some meals and sat together for worship and business meetings fairly often. We laughed a lot --RP even snorted her beverage twice! Watch for a picture to be posted eventually on one or the other of our blogs.
  • I met some new friends and became better acquainted with several of my colleagues. To some of them I am sending a link to the RGBP webring so they can explore and possibly join up. Or maybe delurk, as the case may be.
  • We had some GREAT speakers at the Clergy Conference. James B Nelson, of Embodiment fame, spoke about his most recent work in the recovery movement as recounted in his more recent work Thirst, sharing openly about his own alcoholism and subsequent journey out of bondage. Joretta Marshall, formerly of Eden Theological Seminary, now affiliated with TCU's Brite Divinity School, spoke to us gathered clergy on the subject of our brokenness, grace and forgiveness --I think she has a book on this subject coming soon. Then we had a body-work workshop with two very gifted individuals, Kirk Prine and Donnie Lobree, directed at us clergy types to remind us how to listen to and learn from our bodies among many other things.
  • We had some great preachers and speakers for General Conference too --most of them from other denominations and traditions. So we heard a kick-ass sermon on the doing of justice entitled, "What's Love Got to Do With It" by the Rev. Lynice Pinkard --that CD I am definitely ordering. We heard from Bp. Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, who is very much an MCC ally. Bp. Carlton Pierson discussed with us what happened to him when he came out as a radical inclusionist [I will be ordering and reading his book The Gospel of Inclusion ASAP] and was rejected as a heretic by his church as well as his Black Pentecostal tradition. Bp. Pierson, by the way, will be featured this Friday on ABC's 20/20 --this is an interview you will not want to miss. Rev. Jay Bakker of Revolution fame shared with us about Jesus and Justice and exclusion as well, as did Peggy Campolo, on the subject of the fellowship of the suffering, those who have suffered exclusion for all kinds of reasons from the church.

You can tell that this was a very full and rich experience ... and I am still trying to digest the feast! But now I'm hungry for brunch, so I'm going to go eat. More later!


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