I'm a 27-year old solo pastor of a Disciples of Christ church (Plymouth Creek Christian Church) in the western Minneapolis suburb named Plymouth. So I guess I technically miss out on the salon age-range by 2 years, but figured it wouldn't hurt to express interest, in the event you find yourself in need of another participant.
I began listening to the SoF podcast two years back, during my first year of ordained ministry in Lexington, KY, and enjoyed the broad reach of the show's curiosity. It became a personal favorite after the Joe Carter episode, which told a story about the spiritual "Nobody Knows" that I couldn't get out of my head. I used/sang that in an Independence Day sermon, and thanks in great part to the story, I felt for the first time I preached a sermon that truly connected in a deep way with my congregation. This taught me something visceral about the power of story to buttress, or even undermine broadly shared values like freedom or truth. Hopefully so that a more inclusive, life-giving narrative can be constructed.
Anyway, that was a then, and last August I've was called to serve a small, intimate community in the suburban Twin Cities. As a young adult, first-time solo pastor, I'm constantly aware of challenge and the need for humility in spiritual understanding. With so many of my contemporaries avoiding this suburban environment for hipper, more eclectic urban neighborhoods, what I see and respond to on a day-to-day basis seems like stuff I shouldn't care about. I was taught about urban ministry at a southside Chicago divinity school; I served a downtown congregation in Lexington. The suburbs were supposed to be places of escape, insularity, unacknowledged racism, and an uncritical celebration of sameness. But it's is where I'm from (Littleton, CO), to be fair, and where I now serve. And while sometimes correct, I'm finding this caricature of suburban ministry incomplete.
The people I minister with are reason #1 for that, of course, and as I've grown to love them, my heart has opened to the wisdom of this new environment, and how it might connect even further with the gifts of rural and urban contexts across the globe. I guess that's much of why this event interests me, besides the chance to see SoF live. Joshua DuBois seems like a wise, courageous faith leader, and I'm curious to know more about his vision for connecting people of faith across political, geographic and ideological spectra. I'm aware that much progressive Christian theology (my 'tradition') focuses rightly on the material needs of poor urban neighborhoods, and the unjust lack of balance in living standards throughout the world, environmentally and economically speaking. Suburban folk both can be vilified as poster children for such problems, but also looked to for resources and renewal if a way forward exists. I imagine Joshua DuBois knows more about these issues than I could dream of, and so I wonder how his leadership will help people of faith throughout the country hear each other's wisdom more gracefully, speak more directly with government and 'secular' institutions who care about similar stuff, and how we all can help out in ways that don't get young pastors fired for 'preaching politics'!
Hope that's helpful. Thanks for coming up north. Looking forward to your questions, and Dubois' response.
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