It was a lovely year in northern New Mexico. Holly and I were part of the planning team this year (which was both wonderful and challenging), so we arrived Monday early afternoon (just after we had dropped off her laptop to Apple for another hard drive). Slowly other planning team folks trickled in: the Bronsinks, Laci, the Buists in their hot Ford Mustang, the Toys, the Stavlunds, the Hartmans, the ReImagine crew, Damien, Daley, and a few others. It was a wonderful reunion.
Troy helped me pack my pipe for the first time. We smoked it together outside on the porch swing while Pax napped inside. He told me of his experiences this last year with church and family and vocation.
It is for this reason that we go each year: to catch up and commiserate and hope with each other.
We were trying some new things this year. We thought we'd try to act a little more organized, helping integrate new folks into the flow of things. There were schedules printed, a meeting room decorated, meals planned, etc. This was all new to me. In years past, it seemed like things "just happened" but certainly there were always people at work behind the scenes.
I participated in a few discussions: Creativity as Incarnation, Transformation and Artifact with Holly and Troy and a discussion with Adam about Wilbur's Spiral.
The first of those discussions was really great (the second was also a good experience / discussion). Our group of 30 was quite diverse, considering who was in attendance at this Gathering. Church folks, artists, pastors, musicians, off-the-grid hippies and some pragmatists.
We talked for a bit about the role of art in our world and our faith communities. Troy offered a few approaches to understanding their relationship: The people of God as art, The work of the people of God as art, The people of God as curators of the world's art, The work of the people of God as cultural / missional artifact.
By "people of God" I don't necessarily mean "Christians" or "religious folks" but something like "people seeking to live in the way of God, knowing or unknowing".
We talked about the relationship that artists have with the community from which they are a part of. No art happens in vacuums, so how does the artist tell the future and speak her truth while staying connected to the greater community. Another way to ask it is In a world where we move beyond naive notions of autonomy, how does the artist act responsibly to the greater community? This whole conversation started over the worship music debate of whether or not people should write original worship songs or play the songs that the community likes. It was lively.
Holly talked of the creative process as prayer and how this last series has been transformative. The creation of the artifact was transformative for her...and the displaying of the pieces in our home was (at least hopefully) transformative for others.
I am reminded of the Rilke quote I shared:
You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness that you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the hour, the birth of new clarity.
- Ranier Maria Rilke
I think that is good advice for all of us. Let the spark be nourished by rich oxygen. Speak your truth. Live out loud. Create your art.
The leaves were green...which was a disappointment, but the air was crisp and 72', so I cannot complain too much. I was sick the whole week, but managed to stay interacting. We shared some songs, had a great dinner with the Fishers, introduced Paxton to Ella, extended our family again, and drank great piñon coffee. Mmm.
The trip to Ojo was magical. That place must have a residual memory of some great energy or something. It is just a transformative spot. It really is.
It was a great week for us. Having missed last year (we were giving birth to Paxton), it was all the more meaningful to be back.