After spending 40 minutes trying to get a travel agent aggregator to tell me the truth about flight prices (which amazingly seem to change just as I try to reserve them; I won’t name the site except to say that you need one to get down river) , I’ve just booked my travel to Christianity 21 in Minnesota next month. In case you don’t know, this promises to be a fascinating event, hosted by my friends Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, with the purpose of exploring some of the questions arising at the intersection of faith and culture. 21 presenters will have 21 minutes each to ask these questions; and a collapsed hierarchy with boundaries erased between speakers and participants who are invited to talk with and not above or at each other. I’m genuinely excited to be going, to see old friends, and spend a couple of days thinking in conversation with some really interesting people – the most obvious innovation of this gathering is the fact that all the speakers are women, but it’s not – as these speaker lineups usually imply – a conference aimed at a female audience.
This must be one of very few events run on similar grounds, anywhere in the world, if not entirely unique. The very fact that the event is happening may turn out to be its most significant contribution; the fact that the organisers have not made a big deal about the huge sociological and ecclesial significance of the event is part of the reason why I think it’s so important. It almost doesn’t matter what actually gets said at the event – I think Christianity 21 may turn out to be a prophetic statement about the nature of being human, historic gender (and other) inequalities; the fact that I expect there will be some real substance to the conversations is more than enough reason to get to Edina, Minnesota in a little over two weeks’ time, if you’re able. Would love to see any readers of God is not Elsewhere there – let me know if you’re going.