The Soularize Surprise (by Spencer Burke)
What do a Native American Potlatch, hotel fire, swimming with sharks, rave communion, MLK’s Daughter, and Damah Film Festival have in common?
They have all been some of my “surprise moments” at Soularize over the years. Somehow, this gathering has a way of awakening the parts of the conversation about Church that have either laid dormant or have been nightmares to be avoided. Beauty, tension, refreshing, controversy, debuts, rediscovery, adventure and facing our fears are many ways to describe this reoccurring phenomenon.
One surprise from our last conference was the roundtable that spontaneously convened. I looked around the room one night and I thought, “When will we have these people in the same room again?” So I grabbed my camera and invited Richard Rohr, N.T. Wright and Brennan Manning to an informal sharing of stories, hopes and predictions. They touched on a wide variety of subjects, from Jesus, to homosexuality, to the future of the Church and most interestingly, what they think the ramifications of 9/11 might be (remember this was recorded in Oct.2007).
I know it is a great luxury to take time away from family and work, it is expensive to travel, and now more than ever there are so many good events, causes, and offerings available to us. For some, it is an investment, a choice to meet together face to face, interacting with each other in ways that can only be experienced when your whole being is engaged. When I watch the roundtable video embedded below, I realize that these are one of a kind “surprises” as well. I was asked to write an endorsement for Brennan’s new book coming out next month and the reality of his situation was sobering. He will not have another verbal playground like this again. I am so glad I was in the room to hear, watch, ask, learn, laugh and be surprised.
Over the past 10+ years many of the collaborations, ideas and inspirations have come from meeting together at Soularize.
If there is a secret to this conversation, it is the friendships that develop. To be honest, they mostly happen in the hallways or over meals/drinks. Soularize creates the open and safe environment for people to test their theories, challenge their beliefs, and find personal renewal. And it is not only those who attend that are surprised by this “magical” opportunity. We have no “Green Rooms”, there are no clubs, everyone is invited to share their wisdom (we now have over 40 workshops – ALL submitted/facilitated by the attendees).
This year in San Diego, I wonder what we will be added to this legacy? “Blue Like Jazz The Movie” screening, a “Fire Starter” conversation, Homebrewed Christianity 3D Podcast, an undiscovered voice/workshop, or new friends? I hope you enjoy this clip and I hope you will consider experiencing Soularize for yourself.
SPECIAL OFFER: Be sure to take advantage of a one-week special offer of $199 (ending Sunday, September 18th).
See you in San Diego!
Host of Soularize