If you’d like to bring together a group of writers in your church for some writing tips and explorations of how writers write about faith, all while writing about your own faith experiences, consider bringing Writing Faith to your church. I can adapt this workshop to fit your needs. The full workshop is 13 weeks, but I can also teach 6 week, 4 week, one day seminars with themes. The workshop is normally built for those who haven’t had a lot of previous publishing experience or writing workshop experiences but who want to write, and who probably write in their spare time.
I can adapt the workshop for more advanced writers.
Themes available for shorter workshops:
Writing the Sacred Journey: In this course we write memoir, talking about our lives as a sacred journey and writing to try and capture the journey for ourselves and others to read. Journeys don’t have all the answers–but they have insights. We’ll read a lot about memoir and spiritual memoir in particular. Kathleen Norris, Anne Lamott, Andre Dubus, Annie Dillard are a few of the writers we read.
Writing for Social Justice: How can we use our faith to write about social justice? Justice, equality, the environment, race and gender, poverty, homelessness–these are BIG issues our society faces and it will take people who can talk about their own personal experiences to change the minds of those who make decisions. We will read some great writings from those leaders in social justice: Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mark Doty, Annie Dillard, and many others. We look at their writing to find ways of writing about our own lives and our own passions.
Writing the Spiritual Biography: So many people pass through our lives, helping us, mentoring us, and yet no one really knows them well. We have encountered people we’d like to write about–either a memoir piece that examines their intersection into our own lives, or a longer work that examines their lives. Learn how to write about those people who have meant something to you, your church, your family. Learn about interviewing, about writing someone else’s life. We’ll read excerpts from spiritual biographies, and write a few of our own.
Writing the LGBT Journey: this class is specifically designed for writers who identify as LGBT (or LGBTTQ…). We will use writers primarily who fall outside the expected gender boxes to talk to us about their faith. We will learn the importance these writers have in the discussions of faith and social justice. We will learn to write about our own bumpy, messy spiritual journeys that are probably marked as much by despair as they are by blessing. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Mark Doty, Jan Guenther Braun, as well as stories from anthologies of LGBT writers of multiple faiths, and fiction.
Writing Faith into Fiction: Fiction has the potential to be more powerful than memoir. It’s sneaky that way. It makes us care about characters, changes our minds about people, all by spinning a story. Jesus knew this. He spoke in stories. You can too. Fiction techniques are easy to learn–and couple well with memoir techniques. We will be reading excerpts and stories from some of the best writers of faith out there and picking up their techniques. Marilynne Robinson, Langston Hughes, John Updike, etc.
If you’d like to hear more about what I can offer your church, you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to a workshop I’m holding at UDLLI (Jan 12-Feb 23) and sit in for the first day (or take the class!) or come to Harmony Creek Church in Dayton Ohio, Jan 25, where I’ll give a talk about this class to their church in the Salon. There I’ll talk about what I teach, and we might even do an exercise or two. Look at this website to learn more about the course as well.
Please join us in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the weekend before the Festival of Faith and Writing (at Calvin College), for Writing the LGBT Spiritual Journey Workshop, APRIL 5, SATURDAY, 9am–5pm.
For the LGBT person of faith, the journey has not been easy. Many of us are refugees from mainline denominations that offer faith but only to some, or only with clauses attached. Some of us have escaped into better, more accepting faiths or denominations–but that journey may not have been easy. Charting our spiritual journey, though, can help bring focus and fulfillment to our lives as part of the LGBT community. Writing our spiritual journeys also completes the missing parts of society’s spiritual journey. In this Workshop we will read LGBT writers of faith, as well as writers of faith in general, to pick up tips and techniques that will help you write about your journey. If you like discussing spirituality in the context of the LGBT community, with others like yourself, and exploring through writing what your journey has discovered, come join us. Using writing exercises, games, techniques of professional writers, and your own lives, you will create writing that struggles, overcomes, even heals, as it maps the spiritual journey of your life. All faiths are welcome. All struggles are welcome. Even if your spirituality doesn’t fall neatly in a box, join us. Boxes aren’t the best places for spirituality anyway.
This class needs a minimum of five people to run. Some reading will be sent to you via email before the workshop begins. Cost is $80 per person. Sign up early so we can be sure that the workshop runs, and that you receive readings for the workshop. Bring a journal, a pen, and the heart of an explorer.
To sign up, follow this link. For more information, please contact Fountain Street Church.