Pub Church — Black Elk’s Story with Glenn Smith


OnApril 14th, we’ll host legendary Texas journalist and political consultant, Glenn W. Smith at Scholz Garten, 5:30-7pm. The luminous and multi-talented Dave Madden brings the music. We’ll have the chance to explore and converse with Glenn about his quest and latest project. Here’s how he describes it:

I began this quest because of a mystery in my own life, but it became a labor of love, an attempt to save a life.

        Vandana Singh, “Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra”

The project’s working title is Exiles in Paradise: An American Story A blend of fiction and non-fiction, we’ll follow the life of John Francis McKearney, born in Ireland, educated in a Paris where he encountered the young Black Elk and other Lakota traveling with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Black Elk and McKearney shared more than an encounter in Paris. Their families were exiled by the same cause:  McKearney’s family lost their tenant farm in Ireland in an agriculture depression fueled my an enormous increase in food imports from America. That was made possible by the taking of Native American land and western expansion.

While Black Elk became a respected holy man, McKearney’s life was filled with turmoil. He died young — ministering to the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, people he hadn’t seen since his schoolboy days. The book is a look at the lives of exiles at a time when the globe is filled again with tens of millions of refugees. Seen through the eyes of two spiritual men, Black Elk and Father McKearney, it is revealed as much as a spiritual journey as a physical one.

What are the spiritual consequences of being exiled in paradise, which is one way of terming life in America? And, did Father McKearney find spiritual peace along his American journey?

Read Glenn’s full bio below!

Music will be performed by pub church regular Dave Madden. Madden is usually on the Chronicle’s “best of” lists for his skills behind the keys, but this award-winning multi-instrumentalist will blow you away with his versatility as a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist as well. Check him out here!

Full Bio: Glenn W. Smith

Glenn W. Smith has spent the past 40 years in journalism and politics, where he’s made a name for himself as a writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and, as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says, a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” CNN commentator Paul Begala says, “He has unmatched experience, a graceful pen (or pixel nowadays) and deep insight into the best and worst of us.” Novelist Sarah Bird speaks of his “lucid and lyrical” prose. And, she says, “He’s fun.” Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington says Glenn writes with “grace and abundant humor” and “uses his colorful experiences in Texas to enlighten us all.”

Smith helped lead Ann Richards’ successful 1990 campaign for Governor of Texas. He worked for former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Earlier, Smith was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. A former managing director of the prestigious public affairs firm, Public Strategies, he coordinated national campaigns for groups such as MoveOn.org. In 2004, he authored the highly acclaimed book, The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction. He also wrote Unfit Commander, a book that detailed George W. Bush’s mysterious disappearance from military service.

As a senior fellow at George Lakoff’s prestigious Rockridge Institute in Berkeley he studied, wrote and taught on the power of metaphor and narrative in political communications. He also lectured on religion and politics at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley. As a sponsor and organizer, he has pulled together numerous national events with progressive religious leaders. He also organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church in New York City as well as “Freedom and Faith” bus tours, which was a nationwide campaign for social justice and progressive values.

Smith is currently senior strategist for Progress Texas. He writes a bi-weekly column for the Austin American-Statesman and a weekly column for the Quorum Report, Texas’ leading political newsletter.

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