WHEN TEARS SING: Lament as a Way Home to the Heart of God
The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” Words of Tennessee Williams, on his tombstone, mirror a way home to the heart of God. When vulnerable and fragile persons find one another, when vulnerable and fragile communities come together, a spirit of hearty resilience and deep joy germinates verdant life between the fissures of a terrible broken world. The Christian tradition names this experience koinonia. Where koinonia is, there is ecclesia, church.
During this program, participants will create koinonia, church, by bringing their lived experiences into plenary and small group conversations and exercises. Particular “voices” will join the conversations and experiences: the Civil Rights Movement of the South; the Missing Generation those who died from AIDS from 1992 to 1993; lament psalms; as well as fiction, non-fiction, and cinema. Over the course of the week, participants will learn practical models of relation that will make a difference for the good in the communities to which they will return. Bill, with the help of biblical, theological, psychological, literary and visual resources, constructs lament as fundamentally relational. His research and experiences in parish and non-parochial settings has led him to trust that when more of life-the-way-it-really-is, is addressed in communities through relational practices and commitments, greater solidarity emerges, deeper joy is aroused, and more fervent passion for justice is awakened.
Resource Person: Rev. William Blaine-Wallace, PhD, is a retired Episcopal priest. He has ministered in parishes, hospices and in mental health and educational settings. Presently Bill maintains a pastoral counseling, consultation practice, and a spiritual direction ministry. He is the author of Water in the Wastelands: The Sacrament of Shared Suffering (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003) and the newly released When Tears Sing: The Art of Lament in Christian Community (Orbis, 2020). Bill has contributed to books and journals in the fields of pastoral theology and spirituality. He and his spouse live on a farm in the foothills of western Maine.
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