This year I will be running a small event over three and a half days designed to delve into the theory and practice of pyrotheology. By offering a cocktail of in-depth talks, discussions and interactive workshops this event will flesh out a vibrant and counter-cultural expression of faith that cuts across the usual divisions between theist and atheist, believer and unbeliever, religious and spiritual.
Whether you are inside or outside the current religious structure this event has been crafted for those who are interested in seriously exploring the radical kernel of Christianity. The whole event is designed to empower and encourage people to fully embrace difficulties, face up to unknowing, and reconnect with the depth of our lives.
Taking place in the bar where ikon offered many of its most innovative gatherings (nestled in the midst of Belfast’s cultural heart), this event and will not simply involve talks and discussions, but will include a rich tapestry of fringe events such as workshops, live music, pub nights and debate. This event is committed to creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shows the context out of which pyrotheology arose, offer ways of putting the ideas into practice and providing space for people to enjoy N.Ireland in all of its mystery, beauty and cultural depth.
A few things you can expect,
- A detailed exploration of my latest work
- Access to not yet published material
- In-depth discussion dealing with individual and group development
- Creative workshops designed to put the theory into practice
- Special guests (speakers, musicians, magicians and more)
- Great Guinness in great local pubs
- A chance to make new friends, listen to great music and see the beauty of N.Ireland
Full itinerary and special guests are being announced gradually on this page, so keep checking back.
Date: 23rd – 26th April 2013 (with an informal gathering on the evening of the 22nd)
Spaces: Limited to 45
Cost: £250 (early bird rate of £200 with promotional code). This excludes accommodation and food. We hope to offer a few free beds for those with limited resources and will provide a list of places to stay (from the lavish to the cheap) soon.
I’m excited to announce our first special guest for the Idolatry of God event taking place in Belfast over four days in April. He has been a close personal friend to me for many years and is someone I respect deeply. This is also the first time he has done anything in Europe, so this makes his appearance in Belfast even more significant. The picture will have already given the game away, so without further ado it is none other than the writer, speaker, equality activist and general troublemaker Jay Bakker.
Jay stands in the civil rights tradition of Martin Luther King Jr with his commitment to social justice, especially in his outspoken critique of sexual prejudice. Indeed he was recently the first person of faith to win a PFLAG award. Jay initially gained the spotlight because he was the son of TV evangelists Jim and Tammy-Faye Bakker, but has now come into his own as a writer and speaker committed to the themes of grace, justice and love for all.
Over the years he has stared in the six-part documentary One Punk Under God been a guest on shows such as Larry King Live and The Joy Behar Show and featured in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Time, The Economist, FHM and New York Magazine.
His highly anticipated new book – Faith, Doubt and Other Lines I’ve Crossed – is due to be released shortly before the event (February)
Jay will be interviewed by the award winning television and radio presenter William Crawley. William is a leading journalist and cultural critic in the UK having received the Andrew Cross Award for speech broadcaster of the year (2006) and being bestowed a Doctor of Literature from Queens University for services to broadcasting (2012). Over the years William has presented a vast array of radio programs for the BBC as well numerous television documentaries, interviews and current affairs programs.
As we continue to work on The Idolatry of God Retreat we realized that we needed someone who could address the wider cultural, political and religious significance of Pyrotheology. Whoever we invited would not only require an expert knowledge of the radical movement in general, but also an in-depth understanding of my own project and the new collectives that it calls for.
As the curator of the event I knew immediately that we needed Katharine Moody. A few emails later and I’m pleased to say that she said “yes.” With two books set for immanent release (Post-Secular Theology and the Church: A New Kind of Christian is A New Kind of Atheist and Radical Theology and Emerging Christianity: Deconstruction, Materialism and Religious Practice) Katharine is a writer, speaker and academic who is making a name for herself as one of the new generation of critical religious thinkers. Working at the intersection of philosophy, theology and religious studies, as well as possessing a deep understanding of lived religion, she is a leading interpreter of my theological project (along with that of John Caputo and Slavoj Žižek) and is thus perfectly placed to bring an added depth and direction to the retreat.