Thinking Through February

Well, folks, we’re officially 1/12 through 2015. Yesterday, that dastardly groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, and Mother Nature delivered with harsher temperatures.  Surely, many of you have managed to break your New Year’s resolutions by now, but I would like to think that a few of you have remained strong, holding with fervor on to your newest devotions and routines. But, whether you’re right on track with your new diet or stuffing your face full of pizza and schnitzel, there’s no reason not to celebrate with The Front Porch this month– we’ve just got too many good folks coming around to miss any of it.

If you’ve made it to one of our more recent Parable events, you may have noticed a growing impatience for deeper conversation amongst our growing congregation. In response to this tension, we’ve invented a new position at The Front Porch– thinker-in-residence– and we’ve filled this position with one of our most beloved Parable guests from last year, Pittman McGehee. Priest, poet, Jungian analyst, and more, Pittman’s unique skill set should be innately ideal for him and for our Parable constituents as he guides us toward understanding our multidimensional, psycho-spiritual reality. Pittman will now be leading a second Parable gathering each and every month in efforts to take us on these next steps. Get excited, because it’s going to be a new, deeper, more dialogical approach to Parable that we’ve never tried before. Get in on this experiment on February 8th at Scholz Garten in the usual spot. There will be no music and no communion– this gathering is all about the conversation.

Of course, we wouldn’t cut you off from your regular Parable rush. We’re doubling down each month. While Pittman teaches his class on one Sunday a month, we will occupy another with our usual team of Steve Kinney, John Burnett, and Dave Madden’s band of friends. Our guest this month, Christine Albert, has more awards than we dare to list here. Visit the event to find out more about this amazing humanitarian/musician/producer/Grammy Award’s chairman, and why you won’t want to miss hearing about her nonprofit, Swan Songs, in her interview with John. Christine will join us on February 22nd for our usual Parable hullabaloo.

Walt Wilkins will be our artist for Unplugged on The Front Porch this February. If you’ve never heard Walt before, check out this video. You’ll understand what makes Walt Wilkins a staple contributor in the Austin music scene, and why you should be excited that he’ll be joining us at Unplugged on The Front Porch the third Thursday evening of the month, at 7PM in the sanctuary at All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

Side note about Unplugged and why it works: For me, Unplugged is special for two reasons. The first is that it offers true music appreciators the opportunity to respect the universal language of rhythm and intonation with the same sacred and mystical veneration we might offer the divine. The ambiance in the church inherently helps people understand spatially the power of what music does for us as human beings, together, sharing that moment in that expansive and ancient room. My second reason for loving Unplugged on The Front Porch lies in its ability to tap into an artists’ true motivations and perspectives on the world around them. Whether through the interview or the intimacy of the venue, it always seems like Unplugged turns the artists into real people before our eyes as the wax notions of celebrity and spatial division melt away in the humility of the Front Porch message. End side note.

February will also mark the beginning of our brand new series for Lent, which will focus on dialogically dissecting short films each Friday of the Lenten season. We are calling this series a “Film Church,” bringing in leading film experts to help us delve deeper in understanding this often underappreciated artistic medium. Lars Nilson of Austin Film Society will lead our first meetup on Friday, February 27th, at 7PM, where he will present and lead discussion over the film, The Karman Lane.” We hope you’ll come check this out as we explore a fantastic new idea. We’ll also be revamping our program for high schoolers, The Window, as the month closes out. We’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading my first update. More will surely come. I hope to see you on The Front Porch soon! Also, don’t forget to check out our Amplify Austin Campaign. It should be live in just a few days.

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