I don’t have a lot of time to write this, but before I head off to my day job, I want to invite you. I have to let you know. I have to share this great gathering that I’m looking forward to, even though it is still months away.
It’s called the Glen Workshop. It takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Glen is a place where art and faith dance across the mesa under a purple sunset. I cannot recommend it enough.
Today is my last day at the office. I have resigned to pursue an artist’s life for the next year. That’s all the courage I can muster so far. A year. All the commitment I can make. But it’s a start and it’s enough. I would not have made this move without the Glen Workshop. The people I met there in the desert have changed my life in the best of ways.
Last year three friends joined me from Edmonton, and I met one more upon arrival. At the welcome reception, they asked me to explain why I thought they should come. What was it I loved so much about the Glen Workshop?
I didn’t have to think long and I believe my answer holds true today.
I love the Glen Workshop because we belong there.
In every community of faith there are creative people wrestling on the margins. Wrestling ideas the community may not be ready for. Wrestling doubts and questions not ready to be uttered aloud. Questioning their verbal amens. Struggling to reconcile the artists propensity for subversion with religion’s requirements of submission. We are there in every community of faith–hanging out and hanging on at the 'wild edges'.
The Glen is a place where all of us marginals meet. A place where no prelude is needed to tell one another our stories. We enter one another’s stories in the middle, beyond the rudimentary explanations of how faith and art might work together. Beyond questions of why art matters and why an avante garde artist would ever believe in something as old and cliché as Jesus Christ.
The Glen is a gathering of those who get it. Not all of it, of course, but we get the pursuit. We journey together in lockstep for a week. We all feel strangely home on this sacred tourist site.
Oh yeah. There are also workshops.
The lineup has been released this week and registration is officially open. There are stellar presenters to lead the workshops. A new offering in assemblage. A week with food. Poetry. Songwriting. Film. So much more. I’m having a hard time choosing my track.
Two videos have also been released, and they communicate my feelings about the Glen Workshop so well. Take ten minutes (a little less, really) and watch them both.
You’ll notice that both videos end with a dance.
I’m so glad. That dance is a metaphor for all that is best about the Glen Workshop. Those dancers are artists. University professors and authors. Printmakers and poets. Screenwriters and pastors and priests. Cutting loose in a sacred boogie. This is the only place some of these peope will dance. The only place they feel free enough to let their limbs fly. This dance party is earned over a week of tears and laughter; shared meals and shared work.
I hope you’ll join me on the dancefloor this summer. If there’s anything I can do to help you get there, don’t hesitate to ask.