On Twitter, recently, I came across this line:
No one can be objective about their own theology.
I like it.
(If I could attribute it, I would; I’m a complete schmuck to have neither bookmarked the post nor followed the post-er.)
The point of the line, though, is that our theology, namely the way we look at God, at our faith, and what difference our take on each affects our life, is deeply personal.
Evaluating it critically can be a bit like evaluating our own children: those other kids are very cute, adorable even, and certainly smart, and can obviously catch a mean ball, and their manners are quite good.
Of course my child rises above their good efforts, but these other youth do just fine, just fine…
But almost a decade back, I started up OMG: Center for Theological Conversation, because through Life Experiences—some welcome, some not—I realized that every system, namely every way of thinking about God has its foibles, and more starkly, its failings.
But still, one can’t say nothing about God.
Something needs to be said, and, it turns out, some things can be said: perhaps not with certainty, perhaps not with complete clarity, but with integrity, and with basis, and with a funky mix of knowledge, chutzpah, and hunch.
Through OMG, I hope to give people a place and an opportunity to wander through one’s theology, to wonder about it, to be called-out by it, to reacquaint, rediscover, and rejoice in it…and perhaps even safely say to someone, “I like my kid…but I can’t help but notice that that other one over there is awfully great…and I might even like it better than my own…maybe I can adopt?”
Whether it be for an hour in-person conversation where I live, or at a local coffee shop, or via video conferenceing or old-fashioned phone, I’m happy to visit with you—and, as I’ve done on several occasions with other OMG-ers, with your partner, or that absolutely wonderful child of yours—to help you identify what you believe, why you believe it, and what difference it makes.
I also work with congregations, both by way of leadership and large groups, to hone the community’s grasp of God in the immediate context, and how that can be lived out in life together.
If you’d like a large-group speaker to address an element of theology, or to help raise some questions, or to facilitate some conversation about a particular facet of faith, ring me up.
In the next few months alone, for example, I’m presenting to a lay retreat in Canada, a theological conference in Pennsylvania, a clergy gathering with the UCC tradition (I even speak non-Lutheran!) in southern Minnesota, and a Saturday congregational adult education event followed by Sunday preaching in Toledo, Ohio.
Have thoughts, that is, I will travel!
The Spent Dandelion Theological Retreat Center offers similar opportunities for reflection, but here at our beloved North Shore home.
Come any season (yes, even during winter!) for a personal retreat: individual, with a friend or beloved, or perhaps even with your family.
Enjoy the fully-furnished studio overlooking the woods, the trails through our 20 acres of forest, and the natural beauty and art galleries and restaurants along the shore. Write, think, grab one of the thousands of books off my library shelves, and then spend an hour with me to sort it all out.
Consider either OMG or the Spent Dandelion as an opportunity for continuing education or sabbatical for clergy, church, or synodical staff, as a personal retreat, or as a gift for someone who could simply benefit from a bit of re-centering quiet and conversation.
No one can be objective about their own theology…or one’s own vocation.
But blantently subjectively speaking, I do believe that you and/or your group will find the time spent in conversation and/or retreat through OMG or the Spent Dandelion to be re-orienting, refreshing, and renewing.
All are welcome here.
I hope to welcome you here too.