Press On the Blog Con

July 18, 2006, 5:27 pm | Posted by

The New Jersey Jewish News writes:

“Jews and Christians, Buddhists and Muslims, and at least one self-proclaimed pagan will gather to continue in person the kinds of conversations they wage on-line as authors of blogs, the Web diaries that range from the queasily personal to the politically influential.”

And the Times Union of Albany, New York points out that, “Because faith and politics have the capacity to both divide and connect the progressive faith blogging community, as evidenced by Obama’s editorial, organizers hope this conference will be a chance for bloggers of faith to unite and learn from collective perspectives.”

For me, two successes stand out from the first Progressive Faith Blog Conference: the four interfaith worship services and the conversations concerning the most productive ways to mix personal faith and prophetic politics.

Everyone present participated in a Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian worship service. Each service was hosted by a person of that faith. During the closing circle several people pointed out that while interfaith dialogue gets a lot of talk, the actual practice of sharing individual worship is rarely attempted. Throughout the weekend, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Baptists, Buddhists and a Pagan mediated, chanted, shared the Eucharist, and knelt for Islamic prayers. And judging by the blog posts, folks are still thinking and talking about the significant experience.

The panel leaders and the audience discussed emerging technology, the nature of our community, and the path to political engagement. With thirty-seven of the most prominent bloggers in the community, attendees worked to define the parameters of progressive religion and how best to work with the secular left. Defending the separation of church and state emerged as a point of common ground. In addition, several small committees were organized to set up a roving blog carnival, to plan a conference for next year, and design an aggregated feed that compiles, organizes, and sends out a bundle of progressive faith blog posts. Perhaps the conference will emerge as a central event as the progressive faith blogging community unites?

I am off to sign up at Street Prophets.

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Reflecting on the blog con

July 17, 2006, 2:45 pm | Posted by

The conference concluded on Sunday and the bloggers (aka, friendly people) reflect on the experience. The North New Jersey Jewish News pre-covered the event.

The Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian interfaith services made a big impression on many attendees including Mata H. at Time’s Fool. Discussions continue over how best to communicate with our secular progressive friends and how to integrate spiritual practice into blogging. Here is Hoarded Ordanaries mediating on the experience.

Velveteen Rabbi provides thirteen categorized posts from her live-blogging of the event.

Both Talk to Action and Bruce Prescott posting on Christian Alliance for Progress push for action over the Indian River Incident, a case of religious discrimination that came up often during discussions over separation of church and state.

Thurman writes:

“The highpoint of Saturday was the roundtable with Bruce Prescott, Pastor Dan, and Arthur Waskow (sorry, Arthur, I almost called you “Rabbi” again). To them fell the task of trying to define “Progressive faith”. Arthur said that he doesn’t like the term and prefers prophetic – which I pointed out to him would, in the church of my youth, earn him a burning at the stake. He rightly pointed out that it is our job to reclaim that term and, when used it its proper context, is a much more powerful stance than “progressive”, which is, at its heart, a political term.”

Hussein Rashid at Islamicate posts his thanks here. And he shouts out to Andrew at Semitism.net who gives props right back. A little Islamic-Jewish dialogue of our own.

Also, read Hussein’s summary of the Blogging Faith and Politics panel.

For more blog con thoughts, and to get information from the Talking Tech panel, visit the conference blog here.

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Read and/or join the live discussion.

July 15, 2006, 10:27 am | Posted by

To read and join in the live updates on the panel discussions go to the Progressive Faith Blog Con web site.

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Talking About Our World

July 15, 2006, 10:22 am | Posted by

Rachel Barenblat, Emily Tessone, Hussein Rashid are currently speaking about Roots and Branches, the Nature of Our Community.

Emily Tessone works at the Pluralism Project at Harvard College.

Are we one community, are we several communities?

No one in the room only reads blogs from their own faith tradition.

What is beneath our diversity?

Tim Simpson from Christian Alliance for Progress points out that it is easier for him to talk to progressive Muslims or Jews than traditionalist folks of his own Presbyterian faith.

Mik Moore jspot points out that blogging tends to attract folks who come to argue. He wonders what in blogging that can promote dialogue.

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Blog Con On!

July 14, 2006, 10:19 am | Posted by

David and I arrived, ate at Red Robin (unlimited fries and drinks!), and started meeting the great bloggers of the progressive faith community.

These folks are even more cool in person. Not only does Dr. Bruce Prescott (Mainstream Baptist) write a strong statement against religious intolerance in public schools but he sports an impressive handlebar mustache.

Check the Progressive Faith Con Blog for live updates tomorrow as the panels discuss topics such as blogging scripture and using new technologies.

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