IVP - Strangely Dim - Shane Claiborne Swiped My Credit Card

October 12, 2009

Shane Claiborne Swiped My Credit Card

I'm still processing a seminal event I attended this weekend, Jopa Productions' Christianity 21 conference in idyllic Edina, Minnesota. I'm sure people are blogging this week about the event, but you can also get a sense of the conference by reading the Twitter feed, which is organized under the hashtag #C21. The event was noteworthy for any number of reasons, but three stand out for me:

  • This was the first major event organized by Jopa, newly founded by fellow architects of Emergent Village, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt.
  • This national Christian conference on leadership gave the stage exclusively to women, with the audience equally balanced between men and women.
  • My first snow of the season came early, even by Minnesota standards.

The conference was equal parts reunion and showcase. Both were a draw for me. I got to catch up with a number of people I don't often get the opportunity to see, including Mark Van Steenwyk, who blogs at The Jesus Manifesto, and who gave me a recipe for pumpkin spice syrup for homemade lattes. Laci Scott reminded me of my early Emergent misadventures with yoga in dress socks. Anthony Smith and I endured unapologetically dirty dishes as we noshed over a buffet breakfast. I watched Doug Pagitt negotiate better food service from a hotel that was crowded with Christian hippies and bearded collies. Spencer Burke and I talked about a conference I didn't even go to. Mark Scandrette and I joked around about narcissism and comic books. Mike Stavlund and I bonded over haiku and other writing styles. And Shane Claiborne, notorious anticapitalist (or something like that), swiped my credit card so that I could gain entry to the event. For whatever reason, that makes me laugh.

Beyond the reunion, I was introduced to some prodigious thinkers and practitioners. Nadia Bolz-Weber, who blogs as the Sarcastic Lutheran and whom I'm a nerdy fan of, facilitated a great conversation with Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence. Julie Clawson represented Likewise Books well as she discussed Everyday Justice. Alise Barrymore, a pastor-scholar from the south side of Chicago, brought the house to its feet as she talked about growing down. Jenell Paris addressed the thorny issue of how important we should consider our sexuality, with implications for how we talk about homosexuality and Christianity together. Mimi Haddad asserted the equality of women to men in the eyes of God, a sentiment that pretty much everyone in the room shared but which needed to be said, and it was said eloquently, nonetheless. Debbie Blue celebrated the incarnation with a meditation on roadkill, which sounds gross (and is no way to lead into lunch) but was brilliant. Alyce McKenzie had a running theme of returning the products of our culture--self-sufficiency and self-absorption among them--in exchange for the values of the kingdom of God. On and on and on the speakers went, with perhaps the focal point coming from Lauren Winner, who forecasted what she hopes will be the twenty-one things people think of a hundred years from now when they think of Christians.

I can't imagine that everyone agreed with everything, but it was fun, and it was substantive, and it was seminal. And I got a killer syrup recipe out of it. And be warned, Shane Claiborne: I will be watching my credit card invoice carefully, and if anything looks hinky, I'm coming for you.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at October 12, 2009 9:57 AM Bookmark and Share


Sounds like a blast! I hope I can make it next year for one of these events, but for now I will have to extract information from Anthony Smith and Steve Knight about the weekend! Glad to hear everything went well.

P.S> Watch out for that Claiborne guy. He's always getting into trouble! ;p

Comment by: Steven Burleson at October 13, 2009 7:53 AM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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