Theology Pub- “Living Without Anxiety Within an Anxious World”

theology pub

Talking about anxiety at Theology Pub

Pastor, youth worker, and social media expert Adam Walker Cleveland has started a creative series of events here in my hometown called “Theology Pub.” Basically, he invites people to show up at a local downtown pub and listen to speaker present a few theological ideas (in about 10 minutes or less) then he breaks everyone into small groups, gives them a few questions, and lets them talk as long as they are interested. Adam and the guest speaker move from group to group to address questions and stimulate conversation. A couple of weeks ago Adam invited me to speak on “Living Without Anxiety Within an Anxious World.” The Playwright Public House (which holds about 75 people maximum) was jammed with 50 or so folks for Theology Pub and another 20 or so for some woman named Kate who was turning 32. It was a crazy environment, most folks had no religious affiliation, just interested in reducing anxiety. The room was packed and noisy with televisions, Rolling Stones music over the speakers, and lots of loud talking and laughing from Kate’s party. Adam crammed our group into the corner (see photo above) and I shouted at the top of my lungs, but most folks still had a hard time hearing–nevertheless people strained their ears and stayed late into the evening talking about various practices that helped them “get grounded,” or “come home” to themselves. So many folks were desperate for another way to live/be in the world.

After the event wrapped up (around midnight) Adam and I planned a “part 2” which will happen tomorrow night at his church. My hope is to lead the inter-religious (and non-religious) group in a practice that will help them recall and remember moments when they felt “at home,” “grounded,” “connected.” This practice comes out of my work with the Center for Engaged Compassion and is a core practice in our work. If you’re in the area show up at First Presbyterian at 7pm, January 29th.

Cover Story on Bullying

Tomorrow night I facilitate a local true storytelling event through the Hearth:Real Stories by Regular Folks. The theme is “Bully Stories” and the proceeds from the event will be given to Choicepoint and their bully prevention campaign. The event promises to be our biggest yet, particularly since we’ve had a number of bullying and hazing events take place in our local schools resulting in legal action against students. You can read about the local cover article from the Ashland Daily Tidings on my experience of bullying as well as statements from local students here.

Bully Stories and a Bully Prevention Campaign

The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks will present it’s winter storytelling event to help raise funds for a public school program that promotes awareness around bullying. I’ve gathered seven brave tellers from Southern Oregon for a powerful night of true stories by bullies, the bullied, and bystanders. Tellers include local car dealer Steve Roe, writer James di Properzio, improv teacher Kyndra Laughery, retired teacher Andrew Seles, theater teacher Michael Fitzgerald, and lawyer Carolyn Anderson. Cost is $5 and all proceeds from the night will go to Mediation Works and their ChoicePoint bully prevention campaign. The event takes place 7 to 9pm, on Thursday January 24th at a NEW LOCATION provided by the Unitarian Fellowship at 87 Fourth street in Ashland. The evening will be hosted by Mark Yaconelli with music by Duane Whitcomb and friends. Bring family and friends as we increase our understanding of bullying and it’s effect on our community.