on saturday, amidst an all-day rainstorm, we headed out to shirley's and jerry's peach creek farm near string prairie, texas (about 17 miles south of bastrop). the occasion — so i thought — was susan's 60th birthday. given the timing and the venue, this made perfect sense.
when we arrived, however, i quickly realized i was the honoree. and since it was a week before my 40th birthday, i was truly surprised. amy had worked hard sending e-vites the month prior, and we had a diverse grouping of friends, old and new, who had made the trek out to syler hall — the pavilion named after my in-laws.
waldemar was in town from boston, so that made the day extra special. friends came in from places varied as houston, austin, marble falls and san marcos. thanks. what a great way to say goodbye to my thirties (or as my friends put it, hello to my fifth decade of life).
Last night was the spring Franciscan Retreat for my church community. It was a good, healing time for me, and it helped me to slow down and ease out of some depression, I believe. I'll link to photos that Gordon took once they're live. I didn't do the photo-taking this time, though I usually take a batch. There were others to play that role. — it's a great time — differences are set aside, younger and older generations mingle, food and drink are shared, there's a lot of playing and music and art and storytelling.
Then at lunch, I ran into some old friends, the Roberts, and was able to catch up. That was nice.
Then I met Amy and the kids over at our neighborhood association's annual block party. It reminds me what a great neighborhood we live in. The police and firemen were there, loving on the kids (although the firemen got called away twice on real emergencies!) — volleyball, frisbee, balloons, face painting … it's a great time — differences are set aside, younger and older generations mingle, food and drink are shared, there's a lot of playing and music and art and storytelling.
six takeaways for youth media publishers,
designers, game developers and marketers:
click to see my original post at Toolbox Studios' blog:
6. Teens [still] don't Tweet. While Twitter was hands down "the" tool at this year's SXSW Interactive (and one we recommend be part of any company's corporate communication plan... see more at #5), the 140-character micro-blog trend isn't being as eagerly adopted by teens. Anastasia Goodstein's YPulse teen panel again validated this hunch: You're just not going to reach a majority of 14-to-18 year olds with the über backchannel. Better to occupy the mobile space and MySpace. Facebook is there as well, but the "I wanna customize my space" fave MySpace is still top dog among this cohort. Should be interesting to see how this trend develops as Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate and grow the microblogging/lifestreaming space.
5."Not making plans is so totally Web 3.0." — this line from Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, framed a second, related truism—Twitter was clearly still the rockstar and darling of sxswi. As McCarthy pointed out, when lines to get into parties at the Austin confab got too long, flash-mob intelligence via Twitter created new meetups, new parties, on the fly.
With a multitude of third-party tools and add-ons, Twitter offers increased freedom and mobility to stay on top of news and events in whatever niche you're interested in following.
And to those following the youth crowd, just because they aren't all on Twitter (yet), that doesn't mean their socializing isn't happening on the net—teens are embracing MySpace and Facebook, but moreover, they're embracing the relationships emerging from those connections. As Harvard fellow and youth media scholar Dana Boyd points out, "We have this belief that kids are just addicted to social network sites. If anything, they’re addicted to their friends. This “addiction” to friends is precisely what makes social networks so important, especially for tweens, who are more limited in their socializing options (until they can drive). There’s school, extracurriculars and the movie theater on the weekends, but with social networking they can be sure not to miss a single OMG moment.”
4. Get out of the way and let your audience explore. Interestingly, this reminder came out of an interactive game development session, although it was emphasized in later Web 2.0 panels as well. As one gaming expert stated, "the complexity of our gaming interfaces should level up with our users as they proceed [with gameplay]." The key idea here seems completely intuitive, but it found new currency with me at the Playing On! Interface Lessons from Games session: when we design games, instead of front loading the game with tutorials or a discursive set of rules, we should allow the player to start gameplay and learn progressively.
In the 2.0 panels, this prioritization of the audience surfaced more in the context of public relations and customer management. With social media, we all know you can't exert control over everything online as you once could. You can't play by the same rules, either. You have to learn to listen to the conversation, insert yourself/your company genuinely, and be okay that you can't predict or dictate the outcome. You can only monitor and react to it.
3. Design is still king. Evidenced everywhere I turned. Good design creates context. Good branding creates curiosity, loyalty, buzz and desirability. Too many examples to name. Okay, maybe one: Alex Bogusky's B-cycle (bicycle sharing) initiative.
2. It's all about R&R. Not rest and relaxation, but rewards and reputation. A fascinating seminar borrowed from the language of game playing mechanics and found parallels to be brought to bear in all of our social media apps. Rewards will need to move beyond simple point-tallying and actually show bling for levels attained (exemplary games display which level a user has achieved, which in turn earns him/her instant street-cred). The best of these apps incorporate some kind of collecting mechanism as well—a metaphoric trophy case—to show off those accumulated points. Whether it's medals on an army officer's uniform, merit badges on a girl scout's sash, or a collection of karate level belts, humans collect visual indicators of our advancement. Finding creative ways to do this on the application level rewards your avids, and offers a clear path for noobs who want to engage with your brand.
1. A Social Vote for Change Probably the most memorable session I went to was a lunch at Stubb's BBQ, where the topic was "Social Media for Social Change" — a lot was said about the distinction between using social media for charity and using the same tools to effectuate actual social, systemic, societal, or institutional change. 700 people RSVPd for this lunch. I was lucky to arrive early, which means I got in the door, actually ate a great brisket lunch (ironically/awkwardly eating my BBQ sitting next to two new friends who work at PETA2), and settled in for the conversation. The panelists included pioneer Beth Kanter, David Armano, Scott Goodstein, Stacey Monk, James Young and Randi Zuckerberg. For an engaging overview of the conversation, read Kanter's brilliant summary blogpost here.
Yesterday I gave an hour-and-a-half design breakout session for participants at the 2009 Baptist Media Forum at Camp Buckner, up near Inks Lake. The seminar was entitled Between Heaven & Helvetica: How Good Design Can Energize Your Existing Communications. I hadn't delivered a talk that long before, so I was a little nervous to say the least. I figured I'd leave a half-hour for Q&A and prepared what I thought was an hour's worth of content.
My stated purpose was to "embark upon an interactive, multi-sensory conversation among designers, self-proclaimed non-creatives, quasi-creatives, and people who have to work with creatives in order to sketch at the intersection(s) of good design, good theology, and our role as culture creators." True to form, it was meandering and quirky — a soupçon of history, theology of the Imago Dei, a little design philosophy and advice, and visual inspiration/stimulation (I hope).
About 15 minutes into it, I realized I had too much content, but pressed forward, and we ended up getting through most of it without much compromise. Before I went on, my friend Marcus Goodyear gave a great presentation on online community building; I knew he was going to skew his content heavily (actually completely) online, so I weighted my presentation toward traditional media and channel-neutral branding design.
The preso was a mashup featuring three youth media case studies tied to some theological points I made at the presentation's "history unlesson" ... as well as a gallery of twenty logos I had designed, which I will glom together and present to you below. I also re-fashioned and re-presented my "six design nuggets for non-creatives" talk as a 10-minute overview.
I was really pleased with the mix of people — I asked the group of media professionals (I assumed I'd be getting mostly PR folks, writers and editors) to classify themselves (how modern of me): almost a third of the room comprised designers and creatives. Another third considered themselves quasi-creative, and only one guy thought he was a non-creative.
My friend Tim Snyder made the trip out to the hill country with his visiting friend (my new friend) Josh. They audited the whole session and Josh participated in the interactive [Playdoh sculpting!] portion of the talk as well. With them and Marcus and my friend Brad Russell from The Baptist Standard there in the room, I was more at ease than I would've been.
After the presentation, Tim and Josh and I spent the rest of the day together. On the drive back to San Antonio, we stopped in the Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Falls, TX. That's Josh and his chocolate meringue pie. After that we crashed at my house for a bit ( I really needed a nap) before heading to Alamo Drafthouse Theater to see Slumdog Millionaire.
It was a nice break in the middle of the week.
I leave you with an excerpt from an essay by Leland Ryken that I published in Communiqué back in the day, and dredged up for the conversation yesterday (but didn't have time to share with the group):
Here's a handful of the logos I've designed* — I used these in the presentation:
*the All Saints logo was a collaboration between myself and Von Glitschka, whose work also made it into the presentation.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 07:52 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Baylor U, Design / architecture, Ecumenicism, catholicity, Graphic design, kingdom stuff, Missiology, Moleskine sketches, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Travel, Worship / Liturgy etc., youth media / social networking / etc | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
-- note -- sorry about abandoning the live blogging last night. it was engaging, to be sure, but just not conducive to blogging.
5:52 pm - I'm here at St. Mark's, San Antonio, in the historic heart of downtown. The room is abuzz, and for a so-called emergent topic, the place is brimming with folks over 50. At 39, I'm clearly the youngest person here. Mary Ellen is here from ¡Viva! — and we were able to talk a bit about the upcoming Open House. Phyllis Tickle's flight was delayed, and she just showed up.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Friday, November 14, 2008 at 06:04 PM in Economics, empire, consumerism, Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emergent San Antonio, Emergent U.S., Emerging church, kingdom stuff, Mis Amigos, Missiology, My life / family, Religion, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Theology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
that's my mom in the blue striped shirt; that's my dad down there in the shades and baseball hat.
this morning amy and i accompanied my parents to comfort, texas 45 miles northwest of san antonio, up in kendall county. growing up we drove through comfort to get to my summer camp, and my parents have enjoyed weekends there before.
we enjoyed the small town parade and being pelted by candy. i can wholeheartedly recommend high's café and store on high street. i enjoyed a lot of old typography and hand-lettering on signs). we saw a family friend who was actually in the parade. we didn't stick around to see miss comfort crowned later this afternoon. instead we headed back to eat lunch at the longhorn café, one of the triumvirate of great san antonio burger joints (the other two being chris madrid's and chester's, followed very closely behind by orderup).
Before Interstate 35 forever changed traffic patterns in San Antonio, there was the Bun-N-Barrel. It opened its doors one bright morning in 1950 along one of the main drags — old Austin Highway — a few blocks from where I now live. It once comprised three restaurants: the more famous Bun-N-Barrel (a classic drive-in for burgers, fries and shakes), a walk-up and take-out barbecue pit in the back, and the Terrace steakhouse a few yards uphill. Supposedly in the 50's John Wayne and the cast and crew of The Alamo were regulars. The drive-in is an apropos meeting place ("Honk for Curb Service") for folks who painstakingly restore classic automobiles.
Out in the barbecue pit, they use the original pair of firebrick pits to cook and smoke their barbecue using Texas hill country oak. For 65¢ per pound ("10¢ per pound extra for whole pigs, boar, or large game fish"), they'll take whatever game you've killed and cook it for you.
An hour ago I was heading home to get some work done at my home workstation, and for some reason I felt the lure of the barbecue pit. It has been years since I'd been around back and wasn't sure it was still open. Sure enough, Joe and Josie were behind the counter, the industrial plastic container was filled with sweet tea, and I was able to get a chopped BBQ sandwich replete with fries, dill pickles and onion slices in no time. Inside, it smells like the real deal, and it thankfully the decor hasn't changed much since opening day.
The iPhone seemed anachronistic to unsheathe in this joint, but I captured a few images on my way back out to the car (click thumbnails for larger images):
believe it or not, back in 1990 i was a young, relatively thin and tan summer counselor at singing hills, the elementary-school-aged summer camp at laity lodge youth camp (LLYC) — an amazing 1900-acre encampment nestled
in a canyon along the frio river. that's me in the white hat.
there i taught 6 and 7 year olds how to properly use a carabiner, how to tie abseiling harnesses from scratch, how yell to their belay and rappel off cliffs; i prayed with homesick kids, played guitar in nightly "round-up" worship services, got in shaving cream fights, played a lot of dodge ball and capture-the-flag, snuck the kids out to secret midnight popsicle parties that were really over about 9:45pm, worked on art projects with them, and painfully worked through the most immature, insanely jealous stage of my fledgling relationship with a young, beautiful girls counselor named amy, but that's another conversation. the memories go deep there. and in short, i grew to love the place.
now its almost two decades later and i still have this affinity with that land, with the water and the hills and the people i've met.
this weekend we made one of at least three yearly pilgrimages back to leakey, texas, back to LLYC, and specifically, back to the camp's annual work weekend.
it's a blast, despite that "work" word. a lot of alumni families, current staff, work crew and random folks who have been associated with the youth camps for the last 40 years bring multiple generations of their own families there to pool their energy for a weekend and come together to put the finishing touches on the camp just prior to opening day. we sweat, we work hard, and in exchange, we get fed like kings (e.g.: saturday evening was beef tenderloin), we get to stay in the same cabins as the campers, and we worship there along the banks of the frio, singing many of the same old-school worship songs we did 18 years ago, replete with hand motions and silly inside-joke asides. whether you're back east, in the deep south, or up in the texas hill country, any camp that's survived 40 years builds up a lot of traditions. we sleep, we laugh. we talk.
this year's work weekend, i was on the grounds crew. weeding flower beds and later raking acorns out of a volleyball sand pit. harder than it sounds. in prior years i've hauled heavy equipment out of their winter storage barns, climbed precarious ladders to clean cobwebs off of huge wagon-wheel chandeliers in the ranch-house, hauled speaker mains and monitors into place in their pavilion, worked with six or seven men to drag unbelievably heavy pontoon docks into the water for the swimmers ... that kind of thing.
we go home and then, two months later, we'll take our kids to be campers there. this year, three out of our four kids will be old enough to attend. we can only afford the one-week session, but the kids love it nonetheless. amy and i have this years-old tradition with the kids. on the last stretch of the highway, just before arriving at camp, we pass a road sign for the haby ranch.
"Hey, Mama…," I call in a really over-the-top vaudeville voice.
"Yes, Daddy?" she sweetly comes in on cue, knowing what's next.
"Say, that's the sign for the Haby Ranch … do you know who used to live at that ranch?"
and then as an answer — to the younger kids' delight and to the older kids' chagrin — the whole mini van launches into an overly loud version of Bill Grogan's Goat, a call-and-response kids' song we used to sing for our campers back at singing hills:
Bill Grogan's Goat (repeat),
Was feelin' fine (repeat),
Ate three red shirts (repeat),
Right off the line (repeat).
Bill grabbed a stick (repeat),
Gave him a whack (repeat),
And tied him to (repeat),
The railroad track (repeat).
The whistle blew! (repeat),
The train grew nigh (repeat),
Bill Grogan's Goat (repeat),
Was doomed to die (repeat).
He heaved a sigh (repeat),
Coughed up the shirts (repeat),
And flagged the train! (repeat).
the song is timed by daddy to wrap up just as we arrive on the camp property. the kids get dropped off, we drive home, and miss 'em and send them care packages.
then, one week later, we drive back to pick 'em up and hear the crazy camp stories that we used to tell our own parents. and we remember that camp is ineffable. we remember getting frustrated with our own parents' line of questioning following camp. so we don't pry too much, making sure to leave camp a sacred mystery. i am already predicting that kate, who shares my tendency for waxing nostalgic, will weep much of the ride home because of the painfully beautiful experience and the inevitable departure. it is a thin space, to be sure.
but this place, part of the HEB Foundation, is more than just a youth camp.
many of you are aware of the related adult, ecumenical retreat center there on the same property, overlooking the river, a couple of hours' drive from san antonio. heck, this summer alone (!) you can catch the following at laity lodge's adult retreats: lauren winner, j.i. packer, marva dawn, gordon macdonald, david dark and sarah masen, michael card, gordon atkinson, ashley cleveland, charlie peacock, and cynthia clawson. whew; that's just a partial list. now, a friend of ours, john, has started a family camp there at laity lodge as well. this is in addition to everything i've already mentioned, plus free foundation camps for groups during the year.
in a few weeks, it'll be time to pull the kids' camp trunks out of the barn and start filling them with flashlights, rain ponchos, and travel-sized toothpaste. there will be health forms to get signed and more gasoline money spent than we'd rather.
and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a college grad student googling for capture-the-flag, just making sure she's got the rules straight in her head. and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a school nurse biding her time until she can spend nine weeks with "camp" instead of "school" in her title. and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a young, relatively thin and tan college kid, making sure he's got picks and backup strings and capos packed tight in that hard-shell guitar case.
let the summer begin
for about a week i had facebooked a 'maybe' as to whether i'd be able to make it to the netzer co-op and its shindig (worship/food/table/fellowship experience) tonight. turns out i was able to attend, and boy was i happy to have gone. i brought the girls with me as well, and it was good for their soul and spirit.
the netzer co-op is an intentional community with its epicenter in downtown seguin, texas, not far from texas lutheran university. its denizens seek a life in Christ, times of shared word and table, artistic alt.worship, and a balance between inward (contemplation and worship) journey and outward (missional engagements with the poor, for example) journey.
since shortly after its inception, i've been blessed to call these folks my friends, and surprised that i've found a place in their community as guide, mentor, elder, and spiritual director, the latter distinction neither by certificate nor official training but with fear and trembling.
it was great taking the girls to a shared meal with a new community, to let them see their friend 'mister tim,' michael and bri leading a group in worship; to sit at the feet of brianna while she painted; to listen to jeff and tim playing simple worship songs. good for them to see reiley and t.j. from covenant there as fellow guests and participants. the gathering was taking place in the unfinished space above the chiro-java coffee shop. what started as a dream for the netzers more than a year ago, to sink roots at this location, is coming to fruition. the quite-affordable group housing they're looking at is only a block away!
there were three eastertide stations corresponding to Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again. abigail was very interested and engaged at the stations; we prayed together and i helped her hammer a nail into a wooden cross after discussing the symbolism; at the second station we helped each other light a votive and add it to the growing points of candlelight' the third station had the collage i had made (the one which tim used in chapel on wednesday) and asked us to consider what we should do next.
i left feeling hopeful about the next generation of Christ-followers, including the twentysomethings i left behind in seguin, and my passel of pre-tweens as well.
we proclaim this mystery:
Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 01:11 AM in Christian Year | Easter, Emergent San Antonio, Food and Drink, Jesus Christ, Mis Amigos, Miscellany, New monasticism / intentional community, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
— Oscar Wilde.
Ah the '90s: In honor of chris' wedding, here's a music video and a companion interview video i filmed of his band Love Coma twelve years ago — disclaimer, 12 years ago I was in my mid-20's, the technology of doing your own video production on a Mac was in relative infancy (with this many transitions and funky after-effects, you had to render your work over a weekend using a standard 1996 desktop Mac) and come back in on Monday morning to verify what you thought you had done); rendering, filming, editing, computer animation (yep, I did that too), and cro-magnon post production. i think i blogged this elsewhere once, but after the first day of filming the video we found out the female dancer in the video was a ... em .... you know, female dancer.
Young and naïve was I.
Interesting note for locals: In the interview, about 3 minutes in, you can see the shell of the old Alamo Cement plant in the video, prior to its becoming Quarry Market.
Austinchange.org and Brian McLaren hosted a series of conversations in Austin yesterday revolving around his new book EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE. Some links from Bob Carlton… The Austin American Statesman had some great coverage:
Per Bob, "These initial blog posts represent the breadth of POVs from some of the 600 people who came to one or more of these 4 events:"
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 11:18 AM in Politics, Church & state, Current Affairs, Economics, empire, consumerism, Emergent Austin, Emergent San Antonio, Emergent U.S., Emerging church, Fair trade, Justice, kingdom stuff, Miscellany, Missiology, My life / family, Peace / war / resistance, Pop culture / consumerism / ultramodernity, Postmodernity/postmodernism, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Theology, Theology of war | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
great weekend. ten highlights:
10. food for the journey. The anachronistic Isaak Restaurant (Air Conditioned!) in Junction, Texas. My pick: the Chicken-fried Chicken (no gravy, saucer of honey on the side) in all its artery-clogging goodness.
09. free time. I had time aplenty to sketch, sleep, hike with the kids, nap, deepen friendships, make pancakes for 20 people two days in a row, and love on my kids.
08. clap!clap!clap!clap! Big (and bright) stars + chilly weather atop the fabled McDonald Observatory, where I saw Comet 17P/Holmes with the naked eye, viewed the Pleiades star cluster with binoculars, saw twin star clusters through a small telescope, saw the Andromeda galaxy with my own two eyes, saw the Ring Nebula through one of those huge, cool Jiffy-Pop-looking observatory telescopes you see in the movies. Contemplated a Creator-God and evolution.
07. butterflies. noticed — really noticed — butterflies for the first time since childhood.
06. texas-sized stories in situ. The design of the McIvor Conservation Center where we bunked, the trails at the Davis Mountain Preserve, the roads from Balmorhea, TX to the Preserve, meeting the Conservancy's on-site preserve manager and off-site biologist and listening to their stories of the last 10,000 years' worth of West Texas inhabitants, discussing Livermore point arrowheads to prehistoric buffalo kills; from castle-building Irish-Texans to 1,000-year-old pictographs and wolf-cave archaeological digs.
05. cover songs. Singing (loudly) and playing guitar with co-workers late into Friday night. Didn't see that one coming.
04. the new santa fe. Downtown Marfa's art scene. Saw Andy Warhol's "Last Supper" and Maria Zerres' "September Eleven" at the Ayn Foundation's galleries in the Brite Building.
03. rhymes with glance. Watched my wife set out lunch for a certain frequently-yellow-jerseyed cyclist at the aforementioned Conservation Center kitchen — this only weeks after her Kevin Bacon encounter. Video proof forthcoming. Then spotted said cyclist and a car full of friends cruising in a convertible blue '50s tail-fin car the next day.
02. maximum minimalism. Chinati Foundation. Lewis was right. I shouldda visited years ago. I'm going to take a pilgrimage there this time next year, and you're invited. Amazing.
01. clap!clap! Instead of going home after the long weekend like any sane person would've done, I took Jordan to see Stomp! at the Majestic, per his persistent request. (his first time, my third; I never get tired of it). Somehow we landed third row seats.
Friday i worked from home on client work until mid-afternoon, then started out on a trip up to austin where i met bob carlton for dinner prior to the Austin Emergence 2007 panel discussion thingy.
Intuiting, perhaps, that i was born just miles from leon springs, texas, bob suggested we meet at Rudy's BBQ on 183. Over brisket and sausage and Rudy's now-famous BBQ "Sause" [sic], we shared in some good conversation and learned about the "hand-spa", then headed a couple miles away to this well-groomed, mall-like mega-church campus (ewww; i was half-expecting the perfect landscaping to have piped-in music from those injection-molded theme-park rocks. instead i quickly found the money-changers — err, sponsors — in the campus café).
so not a very likely setting for an emerging church confab; in fact, it had all the trappings of the contemporary-pop-culture-church-as-performance i've been running away from the last ten years: professional lighting rigging, three massive projection screens, tech geeks in back in a mixing board booth worthy of a concert hall, elevated-stage-instead-of-altar, auditorium, overstuffed chairs for the speakers, lapel mics, slick, auditorium seating for the rest of us and pre-produced video loops with schmutzy typefaces and royalty-free video loops. nothing to situate itself in time and place. OK: i'm not being very gracious. and i know this. and i will stop. now.
In the end I was impressed by most of the speakers and by the moderator, Scot McKnight, who I already had been tracking via books and weblog posts (and my bro-in-law syler's coffeeklatches with the prof) ...
My late-night dining partners were my buddies from Netzer Co-op. The entire current incarnation of the co-op was present, I believe: Lay-abbot Tim, Abbess/Painter Brianna, Contemplative Michael, Worship-Artist Ryan, and Novice Jonathan. I was honored to play the role of, as my friend Mark Menjivar would say, holy listener. They were/are at a turning point in their fledgling community all-too-similar to where Trinity House was at a year or so ago. Then I gave them some imperfect sage-green advice to go with Bri's green-green enchiladas. Usually-silent Michael suggested that after an evening of talking about theology, that they ditch the next morning's event and go buy sandwich fixings and spend the morning handing out food to the poor in Austin instead of listening to talking heads at the conference. Which is exactly what needed to be said. And done. I could've hugged him, the suggestion was so spontaneous and on-point. We stayed out too late and dragged ourselves to my gracious in-laws' where beds and sofas were awaiting my friends and me.
Next morning, thanks to Google Maps and the iPhone, we discovered Pacha, a cool little fair-trade coffee joint in Austin. Must return to soak in more. Planning to go to just the first session and then go with Netzer, I was drawn into the conversation in a deeper way than the day prior. I also got to meet Danielle Shroyer, the pastor of a fellowship in the DFW area that a few of my friends frequent. I like her: she's got a great perspective on many things.
And I love the theological underpinnings of Josh Carney's mind. Resolved: after his commendation (being the third or fourth this year, I will next read Jürgen Moltmann).
I felt pangs of guilt for Tim and I never joining up with the rest of Netzer on their outing. The praxis engagement and resultant reflection would've been better for me. I rationalized it away several times: I was Tim's ride so I needed to stay; I'm too old and just got in the way of their youthful missional expression; I knew I needed to get back on the road at about 2pm; I really wanted to talk to several of the folks afterwards, including Glenn and David (right). Kept thinking about the distribution of the food going on while I was wrapping up my stay at the conference. But I never went. Tim and I left and grabbed lunch and sat down to record a podcast interview for his blog at Jo's and then I hit the road for SA.
Came home, and prepped for this morning: I facilitated a discussion in our 'mystics/cynics/pilgrims' class at church (sort of the sunday school dropouts) about the way of the pilgrim, and led hymns, a taizé chant, worship songs, and an original composition in front of the congregation. the song that I wrote I dedicated today to my grandmother who turns 90 years old this week.
That's where I was this evening: at Lorraine Pearman's 90th birthday party.
Read a little Alan Roxburgh this evening, blogged this, and will be going to sleep.
Sorry not much critical reflection of the conference.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at 11:21 PM in Economics, empire, consumerism, Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emergent Austin, Emergent Gatherings, Emergent U.S., Emerging church, Justice, Mis Amigos, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Podcasts, Pop culture / consumerism / ultramodernity, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Taizé, Theology, Trinity House (2005-2006): an experimental missional Christian community, Weblogs, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Papas y juevos con cheese y bacon; crispy bacon, por favor.
Yes, Laci: the tortillas are home-made, just moments before landing on my table. The camera didn't catch the steam rising, but this will burn your mouth, they're so fresh. The salsa is fresh and the salt just a little coarser than you standard fare. the soft, fluffy tortilla is the perfect yang to the crispy bacon's yin. We don't do burritos here.
Dr. Pepper (fountain, not can, lots of ice, in an extra large restaurant-supply-company style glass) is the answer to your next question. Lunch, under $5.
Just returned from helping facilitate the second Franciscan spirituality retreat out at Covenant. I was blessed to part of the first one back in March, and it was good to return to the rhythms of fixed-hour prayer with others, good to contemplate a rule of life. Tim Heavin is really doing the organizing, with several members leading vespers, compline, lauds and terce; I'm left to plan some of the canticles and other music.
i went ahead and also added a makeshift prayer station, sort of inspired by something lily lewin would do. it had a good set of headphones playing chants and choral settings appropriate to the canonical hour. i also found use for the century-old, rusty, square nails i had pulled from boards recovered from Sue and Tom's house in Galveston: we set up a little silver dish offering the nails that folks could take as a memento/artifact from the retreat (jokes about stigmata ensued).
Our family's spiritual journey has led us to the community here at Covenant — a simple community; cross-generational, ecumenical (generously incorporating practices and cues from everything from Baptist to Wesleyan/Holiness to Anglo/Catholic), self-described as "a place where the less than perfect are more than welcome", and one with a growing contemplative culture. Here Amy feels loved, valued, and welcome; and the kids are loved, and engaged with friends. I'm healing and re-engaging and worshiping God here. We joined the congregation as members today.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 02:12 PM in Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emerging church, Justice, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Trinity House (2005-2006): an experimental missional Christian community, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
When I think of really good hamburgers in San Antonio, I naturally think of Longhorn, Chesters, Orderup and Chris Madrid's. Natch. But there's one I had forgotten about. I humbly submit Luther's. Over by SAC; Evergreen @ Main. Hot, fresh burgers and fries. No-nonsense. Back in the day they were famous for chili as well.
No credit cards accepted, either.
Oisín is the friendly, neighborhood barista where I get my coffee at Ruta Maya. Moreover, he is an accomplished artist; check out his stained glass.
Underground Books is a new book co-operative established "to provide access to books—and everything they offer—to our communities in San Antonio. Specifically our target areas are the West, South and East Side communities that have lacked access to books for generations. Our goal is to provide a progressive alternative to the market-determined access of books.
"Underground Books will be the only community owned bookstore in San Antonio. We will belong to the community, not only through the usual co-op investment process, but also through events and activities that can bring the community together."
Here's the sign/logo I designed for the U/B co-op.
Associated Press excerpt via Houston Chronicle:
SAN ANTONIO — Linda Pace, an heir to the Pace Food fortune who founded a well-regarded contemporary art program, died of breast cancer at age 62.
"Her legacy to San Antonio is that she brought the international visual arts community to the city and brought the vitality of the San Antonio's visual arts community to the world," Drutt said Tuesday. [more]
San Antonio's art scene and downtown (as a viable, living neighborhood) is certainly better off due to linda pace's influence. you'll be missed, linda.
Brother Cletus is a local artist and Marianist monastic whose work I've come to love. When we were in Rockport a couple of weeks back we were admiring some of his new pieces and Amy noted Cletus would have an art opening at Viva Arts — part of the Viva Bookstore where Amy works. And that's where we went tonight. His current show is called "Painted Churches of Texas and Italy" and it seems to be a stylistic cousin of some pieces in his Missions series. Some were flat-area acrylic on panel; others were watercolors from churches in Italy.
Amy and I fell in love with one of his paintings tonight and we were able to purchase it! Very rare for us to do something like that, but we're glad we did. And, kind of outta the norm, you got to actually take home the piece right then and there ... patrons were walking around Viva taking them straight off the wall — crazy but cool ... Cletus is prolific to the point that he can come back tomorrow and hang other pieces from the same series.
Here's the new view from our dining room table:
The depicted church is Zion Lutheran in Moulton, TX, built in 1904.
jordan graduates from woodridge tomorrow. and* i suppose woodridge graduates jordan tomorrow and jordan will be graduated from woodridge by tomorrow as well. whew. in any case i won't be able make it to the ceremony. godwilling i'll be up in austin at the cs3 conference tomorrow; i'm really, really hoping they'll have the adobe cs3 moleskines there, but it's a pipe dream.
*USAGE NOTE [VIA] The verb graduate has denoted the action of conferring an academic degree or diploma since at least 1421. Accordingly, the action of receiving a degree should be expressed in the passive, as in She was graduated from Yale in 1998. This use is still current, if old-fashioned, and is acceptable to 78 percent of the Usage Panel. In general usage, however, it has largely yielded to the much more recent active pattern (first attested in 1807): She graduated from Yale in 1998. Eighty-nine percent of the Panel accepts this use. It has the advantage of ascribing the accomplishment to the student, rather than to the institution, which is usually appropriate in discussions of individual students. When the institution's responsibility is emphasized, however, the older pattern may still be recommended. A sentence such as The university graduated more computer science majors in 1997 than in the entire previous decade stresses the university's accomplishment, say, of its computer science program. On the other hand, the sentence More computer science majors graduated in 1997 than in the entire previous decade implies that the class of 1997 was in some way a remarkable group. • The Usage Panel feels quite differently about the use of graduate to mean “to receive a degree from,” as in She graduated Yale in 1998. Seventy-seven percent object to this usage.
resolved. i am learning how to sing travailler c'est trop dur.
phonetically. i don't know french, but i've loved this song since college,
and just googled for the lyrics, when i realized it referred to my hometown! i had no idea:
Tu connais, c'est loin d'un grand bout d' là, de Saint-Antoine à Beaumont
Mais le long du grand Texas, j' l'ai cherchée bien longtemps.
i also didn't realize how widely covered this song is. i'm in good company.
next time Deverter+Soupiset plays at Orderup, I'll try and debut this one.
Travailler, c'est trop dur, et voler, c'est pas beau.
D'mander la charité, c'est quéqu' chose j'peux pas faire.
Emergent San Antonio invites you into
A Day of Dialogue & Sabbath
April 28, 2007
You’re invited to the major Emergent|SA Cohort event for this spring. The event will be a day of praxis (action + reflection). Jump in your car — or better, share the half-hour ride — out to a relaxing little internet café in Seguin where we’ll start things off. In the morning we will begin with an “open spaces” dialogue with our cohort lead learners Tim Snyder, Paul Soupiset, and Travis Baker.
If you’re new to, familiar with, or vaguely curious about the emerging church conversation, this slow-paced day is a great way to get to know some kindred spirits, find an on-ramp into the emerging conversation, meet new friends and chill over coffee in Seguin. There will be plenty of time for stillness and personal reflection as well as group interaction. Extroverts and introverts alike will feel at home.
lunch, we'll have several Sabbath opportunities available in the
surrounding neighborhoods. We’ll close the event with an evening prayer
Location: ChiroJava in Seguin, Texas
(114 S. Austin Street on the main square; see map below)
Date & Time: April 28, 2007 9:30am - 5:30pm
Cost: FREE (bring your own money for lunch and optional dinner)
Hosted by: ClayPeople Community, ChiroJava, Emergent|SA, and INTERMISSION at Texas Lutheran University
uncle syler took these great photos of the kids down at the creek near my mother-in-law's house in Austin (clockwise from upper left): cousin kaila, my daughter abi, my son jordan, my daughter kate, cousin ellie, cousin foster. the shot reminds me of my own childhood, playing with neighborhood kids in the creek behind my parents' house. more spring break photos of his family (guest-starring my kids) are online here at syler's blog. the other cute photo is our little kate, jumping into the creek.
so, while i was determined to sketch the exterior of "po-po" family restaurant on saturday night (every time i drive out that way the sign catches my eye like some beacon symbolizing more than it does), there was no good vantage point that was free from traffic-bourne gravel, loud noises, public scrutiny. so i did what anyone would do. i sat there, bottom in the gravel, leaning my back on the rear bumper of my car, across the road from the restaurant. i stayed there, sitting indian-style (the politically-correct term acording to my kindergartener is criss-cross), and sketching while my legs fell asleep until my friend blake walks into my scene and almost into the restaurant. surprised, i yelled out his name, before thinking about how i looked and smelled (straight from a camping trip on both counts, unkempt, unshaved [ok, that part's pretty normal for me] and unwashed, replete with wild hair). he squinted at me and sort of half-yelled "paul?!?" back at me. I nodded in the affirmative as i saw his wife
janice janis and the rest of his kids walk up from stage left, and my other friends travis and ginger with their kids walking in stage right. by this time i'm standing from my seated, panhandling position and we all have a good laugh at my expense — they asked if i needed any money (i'm reminded of doug pagitt's warning-against-reductionist-thinking aphorism) and i assured them i was simply doing a plein aire painting/sketch thingy (travis must've seen the moleskine sketch series before?) and they went on their way, into po-po. small, small world, when you're in the middle of nowhere and that happens. when it came time to do the watercolor part of the sketch i reached back to get the bottle of water, and realized that it was back on the four-wheeler at the camp site. i wasn't about to go in a place called po-po looking/smelling like i did in order to ask for a cup of water, so i went down a half-block to the nelson city dance hall, toward the rear entrance, where i almost knocked gary p. nunn over as he and hus people were unloading equipment. really. i slipped inside the bar, asked for a water, whereupon the bartender replies, "don't got any water but here, grab one'uh'em ice-teas o'er there." So I proceeded to paint saturday's lentenblog sketch using teacolor paints instead of watercolor paints.
drawn at lunch on the san antonio river while i was out photographing reference material for an illustrator. the mental image of the woman with the black eye walking by me (see note above in illustration) stayed with me all day long. in what smaller more subtle ways did I — did you — inflict violence today? teach us to be peacemakers. i'm still holding out making peace in a few areas in life. gave me something to chew on besides just the mediocre enchiladas suizas.*
*the good enchiladas suizas can be found at rosario's, corner of south alamo and st. marys.
the radio was off. i was driving up to austin this morning and really thinking deeply about genesis one, for no particular reason. ruminating on the first chapter of the hebrew bible. about the earth being formless and void — a blank canvas — and the spirit of God coming and hovering over the תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, watery chaos, to bring order and meaning and purpose and hope out of nothingness. then i'm sitting three hours later in a living room in austin listening to a friendly acquaintance talk about hope and purpose — i'm not making this up — and he goes straight for genesis chapter one. and i get one of those — "yes, Paul, that was Me this morning talking to you on the road trip" moments.
one might think that lenten art ought to be rendered in greys, perhaps using rustic vine charcoal or comprising still life tableaux. you'd hardly expect whimsy. that isn't appropriate. nor humor. nor vivid color. nor visual puns. this is all wrong. entonces…
the moleskine ('mol-a-skeen'-a' — but in conversation, simply 'mole-skin') sketches are primarily a means for me to slow down and be still every day during the 40 days of lent. it's an imposed discipline wherein i must sit still long enough to breathe, consider the blank page before me, and pour myself onto the page with intentionality. yes, to express myself, and then to share with God, with you, whatever. the color makes each session last a little longer — the painting must dry before i scan it, for example.
sometimes i create the pen-and-ink sketch during my lunch break and then take it home and watercolor in the evening after my kids are in bed. other times i create the whole thing over lunch or a cup of coffee. the traffic signal painting was drawn at the intersection of houston and st. mary's street in downtown san antonio, sitting outside sip, over panini with roasted chicken, chipotle mayo and goat cheese (i substitute this for jack cheese and it makes all the difference) i didn't give up goat cheese for lent.
tonight's moleskine lentenblog was different in that i didn't draw anything new, but rather cut-and-pasted random sketches from an old notebook i was getting ready to toss. this deconstruction and assemblage allows new meanings to emerge simply by placing objects in proximity. not unlike playing with poetry magnets.
so anyway, my intention is to continue creating at least a sketch every day of lent, to reflect on the way of Jesus, listen to God, and by means of frail and fumbling prophetic imagination, to "create… an alternative to the current system" [Bruggeman]. who knows, maybe soupablog will move from discursive to performative symbol. ;) speak truth to power.
and now a word or two about the supplies i use. i have a very compact, frequently rubber-band-wrapped, supply list:
for those who have asked me offline, here's my current equipment list.
• staedtler pigment liners (4-pack: .01, .03, .05, .07 mm), black
• moleskine water color notebook, large
• windsor & newton artist's watercolor compact set (11 cm × 13.5 cm)
all of this is small enough to fit in a large jacket pocket or the smaller pocket in my $5 gap backpack. i try and take these supplies with me on every vacation, every road trip, and lately, i keep them with me everywhere i travel.
i'm hoping to display the whole lentenblog journal at guadalupe coffee co. later in 2007 in a gallery setting. (san antonio, tx, usa)
so these sketches are for God. and for me. and for you. enjoy the rare bit of color during lent. think of it as a foretaste.