Faith and Writing… on Campus
Jewish royalty on our Father's side

What I took away from Festival of Faith & Writing

God created us in His image. To be creators. And this past weekend, I know I mingled among the best of them.


The Festival of Faith and Writing Conference was a huge success. Calvin College has a beautiful campus and those involved were so hospitable. Overall, just a pleasant experience. I made new contacts and have a notebook full of ideas.


Much to take in though! Each day offered various sessions. You had four to five authors or author panels to choose from for each session. About a hundred total writers presented. They ranged from journalists to poets to non-fiction to fiction to online bloggers. 


I thought I’d give you just a taste in today’s writing. I am going to tell you the writer’s name and some quotes from his or her session. I have a whole new reading list from the three days!


Gene Luen Yang (writer and illustrator of faith-based comic books... check them out for your kids).

“Is money the only way to justify art?”

 “Telling stories gives a life map to your kids.” 

 “A combination of words and pictures does something to your brain they cannot do separately.


Scott Cairns (poet; “Idiot Psalms” is one of his books)

“A great poem is one that can be read again and again and again.”

Advice to young writers, “Make good friends with really accomplished dead people!"


Christine Berhoef (author; partners with her husband as a church planter in Washington DC)

“Life is messy. Claim it. Embrace it.”

 “Be a safe place for someone to express their doubts.”

“[So many similar] conversations happen everywhere, but behind closed doors. They need to be brought to the table.”


Fred Banhson (author; professor at Wake Forest University) 

For what it’s worth, his book, “Soil and Sacrament,” is the only one I bought immediately after attending his session. I found it that interesting.


Upon visiting a Pentecostal farming community that also brews coffee in Washington state, Bahnson met a former crystal methamphetamine cook who is now the chief coffee roaster on the farm. The author referred to this as a “redeemed skill.” 




His time at Urban Adamah (Hebrew for earth) Farm in California actually made him want to convert to Judaism. But he identified a “great tension all week that that he and this group didn’t share our Messiah.”


Although I felt a bit like a groupie, I did get a chance to meet Rachel Held Evans. The blogger from whom I had heard about this conference. Her perspective was unique as she is not a professor nor an English major. Here are a few thoughts she shared:

“A lot of people are sort of afraid of grace getting out of hand. But grace has been out of hand for two thousand years!”


She longs for a church evolution.

“A kingdom that transcends politics and has no second-class citizens.”


In the closing session, Rachel shared her “mantra.” Some thoughts she has written down and keeps to the side of her notes whenever she goes to speak somewhere.


And really. So. Much. More. That was about half of the sessions I attended. The conference is bi-annual. I am already planning my return. Join me?


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