Today my heart lept when I found Elvis Perkins‘ tour schedule to have been altered to include a Portland date. I thought for a moment I’d miss it because I’ve already booked a flight to Denver for a weekend camping trip tradition with my brother and friends, but found in a fortuitous alignment of schedule that I’d booked the ticket for Friday morning instead of Thursday night like I typically would. Mr. Perkins plays Thursday, September 3rd at the Doug Fir, I hope to see you there.
Between all the conversations and other events that have been happening this weekend, I’ve been trying to reflect on the conversations I shared on Saturday. I was invited a few weeks ago to participate in a small gathering and discussion within walking distance of my home (gotta love Portland) that was called “The Future of Christianity”. In reality the title didn’t seem to fit the discussion but I believe the title was taken from a short video we watched to spawn discussion points. The video is a discussion primarily between two philosopher/theologians who I’m actually somewhat familiar with, though have had little more time in the past than to skim a book or two. The men in the video were Ken Wilbur and Thomas Keating, both very brilliant in their individual, yet complimentary ways.
The video talked much about Wilbur’s integral theory of consciousness, which is basically a way of describing paradigms in relation to spirituality and culture. There’s a certain incremental spectrum he uses for illustration which is rather inconsequential to my thoughts here other than to say the idea raises eyebrows (among the company in attendance) over its linear nature. In other words, it suggest a linear progression of what we commonly might think of as enlightenment, and doesn’t seem to offer room for the particular values in the categorizations it places at its lower levels. Some of these devalued categories include things like mysticism and ethnocentrism. Its true that these exhibit negative qualities in many contexts but to place them linearly as inferior values seems arrogant and rash.
Anyway, my point is not to explain the theories. (Which by the way really are rather interesting and aptly named by Wilbur in one of his books, A Theory Of Everything. Quite the title huh?) What struck me most about the day was the connections shared between participants, which in a community like this, seems to be as intentional as the discussion itself. Not only was I able to attend with two close friends, but upon arrival, I discovered that the event was something much different from the emergent church exercise I had the impression it would be. Not only did the age range have a great span but so did the particular positions held within the faiths. Not only were there representatives from many Christian denominations but there were also present (intentionally included) people from the Jewish and Islamic faiths.
Bringing together people of many faiths offers differing perspectives which is invaluable in itself and turns the imagined world of different people into a real one. At its core, the purpose of the discussion was simply discussion and to find familiarity and common ground between a diversity of cultures. At the discussion it often carried the name, the commonality of virtue. There was no problem to fix or solution to compromise on. It was simply to understand and share mutual existence. That is something most of us are good at talking about but not so good at finding in reality. In reflecting on the experience with my friend Joel, we realized that really, this was a unique moment in time, and a surreal and blessed one at that.
I’m still processing the experience even now, even beyond the great conversations we shared among beautiful souls during the day. I posted a series of quotables to my twitter throughout the event, which spawned a bit of conversation on my facebook in particular. I’d like to expand some more on some of those thoughts, particularly ones by Thomas Keating as well as the event organizer, Chuck Cooper, but will save those for a later post.
We drove to the coast again this weekend, this time to see the whale migration, but were disappointed to find that it was too windy, foggy, and rainy to see anything. The nice gentleman at the coast informed us, however, that only some are migrating right now. We’ll be able to see them all summer long apparently, as long as we pick a day to travel when the ocean isn’t angry and taking it out on whoever comes to see whales.
So since the whale trip was spoiled, we made the most of the afternoon. I took these shots when I arrived back in Portland. I’ll have more to share in a few days.
So today Michael Chen and I acquired press passes to the Portland Trail Blazers game at the Rose Garden. The deal was that bracelets for a local charity in honor of a Portland police officer killed in the line of duty were being worn by some of the Portland players. If I understand correctly, one of the guys at work is helping with the website for the charity and needed some shots of the players wearing the bracelets. I have no problem taking a few photos in exchange for a press pass. Coolest part was, we had two reserved seats, one was about 10 feet from the bench. Here’s a few photos from the evening:
Which, in a way, translates to maps. Especially maps like Google’s.
I remember back in college, some friends and I found one of the first websites that provided archived satellite images. Of course, we looked up our home towns, our parent’s houses, our college buildings, and whatever else we could find. Those were the simple days of the internet. Before the Googles, and the Facebooks. The Twitters and the Amazons. Ok, so I’m sure Google and Amazon at least had been founded by then, but at least they weren’t taking over the world yet.
Anyway, all that to say that I found this pretty cool site with pretty cool maps of cities. The cities are laid out according to neighborhoods in a slick modern typographic style, and me, being a lover of typography, especially condensed sans typography, naturally fell in love. And hark! Portland is among the cities chosen. I’m sure you don’t need my further inarticulate explanation. By now you’ve already seen the image below.
See if you can find the Sunnyside neighborhood and it will be like you’re staring down on me from on high. I’m sure I’ll get an erie feeling or two.
Also, be sure and visit Ork Posters’ site. And buy a poster, because even though I love this map, I’m not buying one.
Evan and Leanna (brother and sister) are friends I met though a friend who recently moved to Portland. Last weekend, the weather in the northwest was just beautiful, so I called them up for a spur-of-the-moment trip to a park for some photos. I can’t really express how appreciative I am of having good friends to spend time with and take pictures of, (on occasion), and the day’s photos could hardly have turned out better. Enjoy, and see more on my flickr.