catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 10 :: 2006.05.19 — 2006.06.02


Practice resurrection

While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes were standing by them.  They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?"

Acts 1:10-11a

When Rob and I leave the Pittsburgh Hilton around midnight after a long day at the annual Jubilee Conference, every gathering area in the hotel is loaded with students.  Many are chatting and laughing.  Some are singing around the piano in the lobby.  Others are engaged in intense conversations with new friends.

At a time in their lives when students are dedicating huge amounts of financial resources to formal education in a university classroom, many are so eager to learn that they pay even more to attend Jubilee.  No doubt they pay to see people like Lauren Winner and Tony Campolo impart their wisdom from the main stage.  However, the unscheduled time can be just as important for their personal formation as the keynote sessions and workshops.  The key to the weekend's success is gathering in community: people of many ages and backgrounds coming together with the common purpose of figuring out what a working faith looks like.

Inspired by the unique effectiveness of such face-to-face gatherings as Jubilee, *cino has entered into a partnership with the folks at Russet House Farm in Ontario to offer a conference this summer called Practicing Resurrection.  While the atmosphere will be much different from that of Jubilee, our hope is to harness that same power of gathering in community to discover and affirm the practice of faith deeply rooted in daily life.

Inevitably, many of our planning resources are going into the formal aspects of the conference, like securing presenters, creating a shelter for keynote addresses, planning worship and scheduling arts events.  However, just as many days of the conference will be dedicated to informal gathering as those that are occupied by more formal happenings.  In this week-long conference, Monday through Thursday have no agenda, and I'm honestly thrilled by that.  Here is an excerpt from the Incomplete Manifesto by Bruce Mau Design (called to my attention by conference co-planner, Henry Bakker):

39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces—what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference—the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals—but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

While we hope to achieve a balance between structure and un-structure, informal community will be key at Practicing Resurrection.  In fact, the name of the conference itself is inspired by a manifesto that glorifies counter-intuition—or rather, glorifies re-remembering the intuition with which we are gifted as creatures made in the image of God.  This intuition would have us living and breathing the Creator always in everything, rather than compartmentalizing our worship to select areas of life and social systems.  We have only to look around us in our homes and in our communities to see hundreds and thousands of ways to practice our call to be witnesses of God's love.

And so you're invited to join your fellow travelers in learning better as a community how to live into the resurrection every day in all things—from homes to vacations, from city streets to forests, from clothing to food.  Whether you're looking for the scheduled stimulation of a keynote address or the surprising revelation of an improvised moment, Practicing Resurrection will be a rewarding destination on your route through the summer of 2006.

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