March 23, 2011
IVP Conference Happenings
Lately we’ve had several exciting opportunities to support our authors by attending conferences across the country. Here's a snapshot of just three of the most recent events.
Big Tent Christianity
In February, online print publicist Adrianna Wright attended Big Tent Christianity, a newer event with the goal to “bring people together from across the country to proclaim what unites us as followers of Jesus in this modern world.” This particular Big Tent event was a relatively small affair held at Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix, AZ. Here, Mark Scandrette, author of the forthcoming Practicing the Way of Jesus, spoke on cultivating mission, creating a “Jesus Dojo,” and what emerging Christianity looks like.
A few weeks later, Adrianna also attended the Jubilee conference, an event for the Coalition of Christian Outreach (CCO) staff and their students, held at the David L. Lawrence Convention center in downtown Pittsburgh. At this established event, numerous IVP authors spoke at various plenary sessions, including Soong-Chan Rah, Walt Mueller, James Emery White, and Kent Annan (pictured here discussing his new book, After Shock).
In early March digital marketing manager Andrew Bronson had the opportunity to attend the SCUPE conference in Chicago. SCUPE is the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education, an agency offering educational programs for pastors interested in better serving their urban communities. The conference focus this year was on peacemaking, and one of the speakers was our very own IVP author, Shane Claiborne. Along with his book, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers (coauthored with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove), IVP featured many of our newest social justice books including the Duke Center Resources for Reconciliation series, Social Justice Handbook, Mobilizing Hope by Adam Taylor and the most recent book from Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor.
IVP is committed to publishing books on critical topics like social justice and peacemaking, and conferences like SCUPE help spread the word about these relevant resources.
To find out more about SCUPE and their mission, please visit scupe.org.
A Look Ahead
We're also revving up for another great Q conference this year. The Q Gathering meets to bring the church and our cultural leaders together to explore ways we can express the Gospel in our modern cultural context. If you’ll be in Portland between April 27-29, come check it out! Our own Adam Taylor was just added to the exciting speaker lineup, and you won't want to miss him. For more information, please visit qideas.org
Posted by Rebecca Larson at 3:39 PM
March 1, 2011
Preparing for Lent with Juliet Benner
(Many thanks to Juliet Benner, author of Contemplative Vision, for this post.)
Lent is a time of preparation for Easter and the mysteries of life, death and resurrection that we celebrate during Holy Week. Many Christians understand this preparation primarily in terms of things that they choose to give up for the 40 days before Easter. But if Holy Week is a ritual walk through the events of the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps the most basic way of thinking about preparation for this is to view Lent as spreading our engagement with these Holy Week events over 40 days rather than 7. What if you could use Lent as a 6 week journey with Jesus in which you spend time with him in Gospel meditation, watching his interactions with others and getting to know him? Think of how this would prepare you for Maundy Thursday when you accompany him to the Last Supper with his disciples. Or how it would help you enter more fully into his suffering and crucifixion on Good Friday, or your waiting with him on that longest day of the year - the Holy Saturday of his entombment. And think how this would help you then journey with Mary Magdalene to the tomb on Easter mornings, or be with the disciples when they first heard the news of his resurrection.
This is preparation that my book, Contemplative Vision: A Guide to Christian Art and Prayer can greatly assist. What I present in it is a series of guided meditations on Biblical passages and Christian art that have been based on them. Any of the meditations would be suitable, but after reading and reflecting on the introduction and first chapter, which present a discussion of the role of seeing and awareness in Christian spirituality and which would form an excellent focus for the first week of Lent, five are particularly well suited to Lent and could each serve as a focus for the next five weeks - Chapters 2, 3, 10, 9 and 12. Following them in this order they would lead you through a focus on Jesus’ preparation for ministry, relationships with others, journey to Calvary and death on the cross.
To enter into these meditations, I would suggest that after a moment of silent prayer, you read the text aloud, slowly and prayerfully. Do this several times leaving lots of reflective space. Then look at the piece of art that was based on this text. Again, don’t rush. Allow yourself enough time to really see it, and to notice what you sense and feel. Notice what God might be saying to you through the art, and how the art leads you back to the Scriptures. Then, slowly read the chapter in the book that brings together the art and the passage, moving your attention back and forth from the painting to the commentary. Then spend some time with the reflective questions at the end of each chapter.
When you have finished, take time to thank God for the gifts you have received. And think about how you want to respond to them. You might, for example, decide to respond in some creative way. But whether it feels creative or not, simply make your response your own, and do respond.
Spending some time in each of the six weeks of Lent in this way will unquestionably prepare you for Easter. But beyond this, it will prepare you to walk more closely with Jesus - more attentive to his presence and attuned to the realities of his incarnation. In short, it will help you know Jesus and it will deepen your relationship with him. If this is what you desire, consider this as part of your Lenten journey this year.
Posted by Rebecca Larson at 6:00 AM