It’s been a while since I’ve attended a non-Extravaganza conference. The last one, I believe, was a First Third event presented by Luther Seminary’s Children, Youth and Family Ministry program back in 2010.
So I’m happy to be heading south for the Subverting the Norm conference in a week and a half. Subverting the Norm describes itself as a
two-day event that brings together pastors, theologians, philosophers, church practitioners, researchers in religion and all those interested in exploring the relationship between postmodern theologies and the church.
Suffice it to say that I’m totally excited to attend, and for many reasons. Here are just eight of them:
- The list of presenters is incredible.
- One of the presenters, John Caputo, wrote a book entitled On Religion which is not only featured in one of my favorite photographs (which photograph is hanging in my kitchen), but also had an excerpt featured as a reading in my wedding liturgy.
- While we’re still speaking of presenters, it will be nice to finally meet in person several of the gracious folks who contributed to the Cancer & Theology series, including Kester Brewin and Peter Rollins,1 and catch up with other contributors like Tony Jones and Mike Stavlund.
- Speaking of the inimitable Mike Stavlund, I’m thrilled that he will be my roommate at the conference. I met Mike at the Christianity21 conference in 2009, and he’s directly responsible for the genesis of my awesome forearm tattoo. I’m excited to catch up and pick his brain about his excellent new memoir A Force of Will.
- The weather in Springfield is bound to be nicer than it has been in Des Moines.
- The pre-event with Peter Rollins, The Hellish Pursuit of Heaven, promises to be both fun and enlightening.
- Many of the breakout sessions look great, and I’m particularly excited for the session featuring Josh Linton on “What Am I Still Doing Here? My Life as a Progressive Youth Minister and Border-Line Agnostic,” John Vest on “Do(n’t) Tell the Kids: Precritical and Postcritical Naivete in Ministry with Children and Youth,” and Timothy Wotring on “Approaching Youth Ministry from a Poststructuralist Lens.” Full geek-out mode, engage!
- Finally, my own interactions with postmodernism and theology extend back to my undergraduate senior paper, which was titled Toward a Postmodern Youth Ministry: An Examination of Postmodern Youth Culture in Conversation with the Emerging Church. I’m excited to continue the conversation — both externally and internally — and to use the opportunity to sharpen my own thoughts on theology and ministry.
Are any readers of this blog attending? What else should I be excited about?
While Pete didn’t actually contribute to the series, I’m still holding out hope he’ll pen the preface to a forthcoming edition of the series. ↩