Tag Archives: Soularize

Soularize 2011

This came from Spencer Burke of TheOoze yesterday.

Soularize 2011 in San Diego, CaliforniaIt’s been almost 10 years from the first Soularize in Seattle, and we’re exciting about hosting another learning party in 2011. As usual, this event will unite both traditional and non-traditional teachers, artists, theologians, thinkers, and social activists.

This year – sunny San Diego!
October 12-14, 2011

Save the date and plan to join us for one of the most unique experiences of your life. If you’ve been to a previous Soularize, don’t miss this 10 year reunion event. If you’ve never been before, you won’t want to miss it.

We’re partnering with an incredible church in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego to put on an incredible event that will cultivate a thought-provoking and spiritual experience while introducing a wide variety of ways to connect and grow with others on the journey.

Didn’t Soularize start a year earlier than that in in Los Angeles?  Whatever the case, San Diego in October looks inviting.  Update: I am planning to be there.


Last week Nathan Coloquhoun wrote this on conferences.

I’m tired of big monster churches, leaders and organizations not caring about the small and insignificant.

It’s everywhere. This conference has been going on in the States for the last few years. It’s called Q. It’s a play off the TED conferences, and generally I think it’s a good idea (we may or may not have something up our sleeve that is in similar taste). Except, I’m annoyed because it is invite only. I’m annoyed because from what I can tell it costs $625 to attend (Last year was $825 after early bird deadline). I’m annoyed because only the “remarkable leaders” will be there. There is so many things that annoy me about this type of idea that I want to get out of conference organizing all together.

I was going to reply but I didn’t have the time yet.  I was on FriendFeed today and I saw this post by Fred Wilson and he did a really good job of articulating what I was thinking.

I don’t go to TED and never have and don’t think I ever will. I don’t go to Demo or Techcrunch 50 or any of those kinds of events either.

I spent the weekend in Vegas with a bunch of people who go to the Lobby conference every year, including its organizer David Hornik. David was trying to convince me to come this year, but I told him the idea of a ten hour flight to Hawaii was not attractive to me. I suggested to David if he did it in a place where us east coasters could get to a bit easier, I might consider it.

Travel is a hassle. Its time consuming and gets in the way of doing other more productive things. I’ll gladly travel to the west coast or europe to visit our portfolio companies and meet with new investment opportunities.

But the idea of travel to get together with the same old group, the tech biz insider club, doesn’t appeal to me at all.

I do like attending events that happen in NYC, like I am doing tomorrow morning. I am speaking at Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit. I’ll spend the morning there, get some networking in, and be back in my office for our monday meeting in the afternoon. That’s how I like to do conferences, short, sweet, and easy. I think our industry places too much emphasis on conferences in an era where there are amazing tools to congregate online and find like minded people. I am not suggesting that face to face meetings aren’t important, they are critical. But schmoozefests at fancy resorts aren’t the kinds of face to face meetings I want to do.

And ‘by invitation only’ or high priced events are particularly bad in my mind. The most interesting people you can meet are the outsiders, the up and comers, and the hackers who can’t afford to lay out $4000 to attend an event and are never going to get an invite to an event where you have to know somebody or "be somebody" to get in. So I avoid those most of all.

Back in the 90s, I was unknown to the powers that be and could not get into TED. I don’t forget that and that’s why I’ll never go to it. I don’t want to play that game. If I ever got an invite to Davos or Sun Valley, I’d have a really hard time saying yes. These power parties are not for me.

Update: Bill Kinnon ripped into Q back in 2007

My thoughts are similar to Fred Wilson’s.  I am not a big fan of most conferences.  The travel is a pain when you live in Saskatoon (Saskatoon –> Winnipeg –> Toronto or even worse Saskatoon –> Calgary –> Winnipeg –> Toronto) and want to head east.  It can be a pain in the butt and is a big chunk away from family that isn’t always necessary.  Wendy gave me tickets to Jared Diamond last year in Saskatoon.  It was a fun evening but all he did was talk about Collapse which I guarantee you about 90% of the 1500 people in attendance had already read.  While it was a fun escape and evening, I wouldn’t have driven to hear that talk but in the past that is what I have gotten.  20 minute commercials for a recent book.   I don’t see Q as that much different and on top of that, whoever is behind it should be ashamed of ripping off TED that blatantly. 

If you want me to come to your conference: give me speakers who aren’t out to sell something, give me an affordable venue, make sure some friends are going to be there, and don’t price it as a for profit event.  If you have to pay people $20,000 to speak, I don’t want to hear them.  Give me Soularize, give me Cultivate Gathering, give me Evolving Church.  Don’t give me Q.  I’ve already read the book and downloaded the videos off of the TED website.

Soularize in a Box II

This came via Spencer Burke today.  I got my copy and it is well worth the full asking price and is an incredible deal at 50% off.

Soularize in a Box

This holiday season, give an entire conference in a box!  Use the code, “HOLIDAY08” at checkout and receive
50% OFF Soularize in a Box Vol 2!

Featured in this 2 disc set:

  • N.T. Wright
  • Richard Rohr
  • Brennan Manning
  • Rita Brock
  • Frank Viola
  • Michael Dowd

and many others!

You get 40 hours of both Audio AND Video combined!

"I hate dat Derek Jeter too"

A couple of years ago when we were in Boston for Soularize, our hotel had a little (kind of big) fire in it.  As we were exiting, some Boston firemen were entering the building with axes and  theirfire hose.  I was expecting them to have their game faces on and be in the zone to fight whatever danger they would face but no, this is what we heard as we left and they entered the fire, “I hate dat Derek Jeter too.”

mlb22_djeter4_photo_01_md I was out tonight and I saw a McFarlane Derek Jeter figurine on sale and it brought back all of these warm (pun intended) memories of Boston and to remind me that somewhere in Boston right now is an overweight Boston firefighter with a handlebar mustache hating Derek Jeter when he should be concentrating on his job.

I also noticed that he had done up a Calgary Flames Grant Fuhr figurine as well.   It looked pretty accurate but it had one mistake, he was actually stopping the puck.  Calgary Flames know that didn’t really ever happen when he was in Calgary.

Maybe not my best decision ever…

Considering this photo was of the sharks that I was swimming with in Bahamas (just call me the Shark Whisperer), this story is a bit unnerving.   (we were doing the same thing but with a company called Stuart Cove).  We actually signed a waiver saying that if I was attacked by sharks, no assistance would be given and if I made it back to the boat, no medical help would be administrated.  (here is another photo of the sharks)

Is 4 a.m. the new midnight?

Kyle Martin IM’d me and while we were chatting, asked me what the video was that was shown to kick of Soularize.  I had no idea but after looking and looking I finally found it. 

So what did I find?

“The slam poet/tech artist/paper sculptor Rives does eight minutes of lyrical origami, folding history into a series of coincidences … all » surrounding that most surreal of hours, 4 o’clock in the morning. This elusive hour, both very late and very early, appears often in art in literature as a way to describe the most extreme states of affairs. Rives — aided by a nimble mind and extensive online research — reveals 4 a.m. as an iconic moment, drawing hilarious historical connections.

The shorter version is it is a funny link worth clicking on.

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Selected photos from Soularize and the Bahamas

Burger King and the Black Watch of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in Nassau

The Black Watch of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines parallel parked in downtown Nassau.  Not sure how much it cost to plug the parking meter.

 Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning giving a workshop.

 Rita Brock speaking at Soularize

Rita Brock’s main session.

 Getting organized at New Providence Community Center

New Providence Community Centre’s Garden where the church has a greenhouse to research agriculture for the island.  Bahamas imports 99% of their food and the cost of food is incredible.

 Sacred Space at The Campus at New Providence Community Center

An art garden at New Providence showing the history of slavery in the Bahamas.

 Party at the Soularize HQ

Jim Schoch and Father Richard Rohr on the deck of the Soularize HQ.

 View from my bedroom

The view that I woke up to each morning


Bishop Tom Wright speaking in his main session


Mark Scandrette and Kyle Martin chatting on the boat ride back from Rose Island

 Dwight Friesen chilling on the boat

Dwight Friesen relaxing on the way home from Rose Island.


The Beach Bar on Rose Island.

Notes from N.T. Wright.

Here are my notes from my session with N.T. Wright at Soularize.  I was running video during the session but then Spencer fired me and had Adam Klein run the video so I was able to take some notes.  The entire talk will be for sale in a while on Soularize Feedlive and in Soularize-In-A-Box via TheOoze.   I hesitate to post these notes because I was tired after a long day and was busy with other things.  If they reflect poorly on N.T. Wrights theology or his talk, make the assumption that is it my fault and not his.  I did borrow some of this from Kyle Martin who took some excellent notes of all of the sessions.

Worship band at Soularize 

We gathered at New Providence Community Church for a reception and a wine tasting.  After the worship band warmed things up and Spencer introduced Bishop Tom Wright, things got started. Acts for Everyone

Bishop Tom spoke on Acts (his book Acts for Everyone is coming out in December) and began by saying how we need to read through Acts in large sections as opposed to a verse by verse study (Frank Viola made some of the same points the next day — I’ll blog some about his seminar tomorrow). It is a story and must be read that way to understand the whole.  He also made the point that the book was probably written as a part of Paul’s legal defense.

He spoke about the nature of Acts being a riot a day influenced by the actions of believers.  He also talked about how a fellow Bishop who remarked that when Paul spoke, the people rioted and when [the Bishop] spoke, people made tea.  Bishop Tom talked about how the Kingdom of God is the overlying theme of Acts. It begins in Acts 1 and extends after the 28th chapter. Acts is the story of the kingdom of God breaking into the world…living this Kingdom life will cause riots and those that will carry out this message will face persecution. Bishop Tom speaking at Soularize

Acts 1-11 says nothing about going to heaven when you die. It is about the restoration of Israel but it looks different than the Jewish people originally thought.  The Kingdom of God looks like a community hanging with people from all worlds, with God living out his promises, as God claims the world as his own.  The Second Coming of Jesus is Jesus coming to earth to rule and reign and to ultimately renew it.  Not us being taken away to heaven which contradicts what most evangelicals believe and partly explains the lack of a theology of earth that has played a part of global warming.

Wright then spoke on the ascension which confuses many because it is not a literal ascension upward. It reminded me a story of my brother coming home from Sunday School and learning how Jesus went to heaven on a Popsicle stick.   Instead it is the place where heaven and earth intersect/overlap/interlock. Jesus didn’t go up, he went into God’s space. Jesus is at home in the space we call heaven. Jesus was already transformed and this ascension leads us through Acts.

To the Jew the temple was this overlap (inside the temple was heaven, and the temple was on earth). But Jesus was a human not a building and its for the whole world.

Acts 1-13 has a Jewish focus where we have Jesus community lived out in the temple in the outer courts attracting Jews. Jesus is announced as the Messiah.

Acts 13-28 Jesus is announced as the Lord of the world and Caesar is not.

The early Christian community is the church the place where heaven and earth collide. Bishop Tom mentions 1 Kings 8 and Isaiah 6 = connected to Acts 2. It is the place where the spirit comes alive and the community is equipped to share to everyone in the culture and provided opportunities. the name of Jesus carries power.

Acts 7 has Steven preaching in the temple as a marker to Jesus and he is martyred. Acts 4-5 leads into this by sharing how we must obey God rather than men, not looking for trouble but allegiance brings trouble at times.

Jews see water, sea as dark and evil. Look at Noah, Jonah, Moses and the sea as the dark chaos of creation. In order to bring the message of hope Paul must go through the dark and evil sea.

Wright connects Luke to Acts through the crucifixion and the shipwreck Paul goes through. Jesus going to Jerusalem, Paul to Rome; climax of cross and shipwreck for the ultimate message to be declared. Luke’s theology is woven into narrative. People must go through fire and water (cross) in order to show Jesus as lord which happens over and over to Paul.

Paul utilizes Roman citizenship and political powers. It is not our job to get the right people in, it is to keep accountable the people in positions of power. Acts has been thought of as a document to help Paul on his trial at end of Acts.

Wright finished up with Luke having justification as a woven theology in his narrative. One day God will sort it out, and we should live in anticipation in the present for the the future. To be saved is to live out the Jesus way of life as heaven and earth intersecting. Jesus is powerfully present in Acts through faithful battered followers – Acts 2:42.

Again, you will be able to get the full video in a short time from Soularize Feedlive and later in Soularize In a Box II.  I am looking forward to reading Acts for Everyone and hope to explore the topic more.

Here are all of my photos from the session with Bishop Wright.

Soularize + 1 :: Father Richard Rohr

I am spending the day at a private home in the Bahamas with the lads from the Soularize HQ, Father Richard Rohr, and other invited friends and guests for a workshop and day of learning. (Todd has some photos)

Before that Todd, Jim, and I managed to escape to downtown Nassau for some touristy sightseeing and buy Nassau branded things made in China.  While I was downtown, I saw the ugliest shirt while in a market.  The storekeeper saw me and grabbed my arm and she told me I needed it.  After saying it was something that a crazy member of royalty would wear, she named me Earl of Nassau III.  We weren’t sure that she was able to bestow me that honor but I did get a good deal on the ugliest shirt on the planet.  How ugly was it?  When I put it on, a couple of guys had seizures, three whales beached themselves, and one container transport ship set itself on fire.  It isn’t so much a shirt but a weapon of violence.

After wolfing down some food, we ended up on the other side of the island in the same gated community as Sean Connery (he lives across the street) and am listening to Father Richard Rohr who is talking about…

  • You can be an extrovert and be a contemplative.  It is about controlling your chatter.  The mind is only capable about reprocessing the past and worrying about the future.  The mind can not be present and this is a substitute for life.

Father Richard talked a little longer and then we were set out to find a quiet spot for a while to listen to God and quiet the chatter.  More about that later.  More Father Richard

  • When you don’t have an experiential faith, you rely on dogma.
  • 83% of human thought is repetitive and useless.  We have compulsive addictive ways of capturing reality (the Enneagram helps one realize this – I am a Type 5)
  • Romans 8:16
  • We have to detach and go to a new place to abide to observe ourselves and discern our patterns.  This is deeply humiliating and most people stop.
  • Small minds can’t see anything because they are too self absorbed.
  • Liberal politicians is not that much different that conservative politicians – it is still all about winning and still about their ego.
  • Contemplation should not be taught to monks if they are still slamming doors – Thomas Merton
  • The ego is the unobserved self
  • Any addiction (good or bad) is horrible for you.
  • Contemplation teaches you to be a holding cylinder and not an exhaust valve.  Hold on and learn from it.
  • Judgmental mind is not seeking truth but rather seeking control.
  • Most Christians are split people.  Torn internally.
  • Father Rohr gave me a handout that I need to post later – Jordon
  • Merton told his own community because he said, “You aren’t contemplatives, just introverts”

Shark Diving

Yesterday I plopped down $35 for the right to be eaten by many, many man eating sharks in the Bahamas at Stuart’s Cove.  I wasn’t going to go but after seeing Bishop Tom and many of my friends deciding they thought it may be cool to die at the teeth of some sharks, I went (apparently I am part lemming).  We drove across the island to a cove, were assigned some flippers (so the sharks don’t think our feet are food) and boarded a boat to meet our deaths.  Once we got out there, they lower some chum below you in the water while you snorkel and watch the action.  Sounds kind of safe right?  Not really.  First of all the liability form states that if you may not be rescued and there will be no medical assistance offered if something does go wrong.  Secondly there are not just a couple of large sharks but about 50 of them.  One just about knocked Spencer’s underwater camera out of his hand and one ran into my foot.  I have never experienced physical fear in my life until yesterday when I was terrified when we got in and I looked down and saw not only sharks but some of the largest fish I have ever seen.

As time went on, the sharks came up higher in the water as they know the chum gets fed to them later.  Once we were out of the water, the feeding frenzy began and it was unreal as well.  I took some photos with Todd Littleton’s SLR so when he uploads them to Flickr, I will offer up some links.  Would I go again?  I would go in a heartbeat.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever done.  The underwater video footage that Spencer took was amazing and I will post the link to Google Video once he uploads it.

Soularize 2007 :: Day One

Day one of Soularize started out way too early in my humble opinion.  Either that or the night before was too short.  I woke up covered in bites from the sea lice the night before. 


So Thursday we all woke up being with small chunks of flesh missing and headed to the Wynham Resorts to board some buses and head to Paradise Island so we could get to the docks and head out a private island.  The boat was three stories and like an idiot I headed to the top deck.  The first part was calm.  We saw Tiger Woods house, Eddie Murray’s private island and headed to open waters where the water got rough.  On the top deck, a bunch of us got tossed around for a bit before we got to the private island.  Many us, including N.T. Wright here when snorkeling.  I had never gone before and after Mike DeVries gave some important tips on how not to swallow sea water (global sea levels actually went down that afternoon), it was a lot of fun and not something that one can easily do in Saskatchewan, even in the summer (algae and too cold).  It did rain several times but the way I looked at it, I wasn’t going to get any wetter whatever we did and that rain was tropical rain after all.  By the time we had left the island, I was pretty much sun burn free but on the way back, I got burnt nicely.

 N.T. Wright snorkeling in the Bahamas

After another swim in the ocean, it was time for a reception at New Providence Community Church.  The church features an elaborate art garden with sculptures showing the Bahamas history of slavery and oppression.  While the reception at the church was supposed to be held in the garden, the day’s rains forced it onto the church porch where wine, Kalik beer, and soda.

After the wine tasting and the reception, Bishop Tom spoke for an hour.  I am pretty familiar with N.T. Wright’s work and Kingdom theology but he said some things about eschatology and the kingdom that kept me up thinking for a bit after his session and challenged me because according to his talk, I tend to separate church and state too much and perhaps give to Caesar more than what Caesar deserves.  I hope to talk some more with him about this.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was that later in the day, I was relaxing on the deck (and my bedroom this week) feeling the sea spray when Todd walks right into the sliding door hard enough to cut his forehead open.

Some more on Soularize from Alan, Kyle, and MikeHere is my Flickr set of Rose Island


Today was spent setting up for Soularize.  After breakfast we headed to New Providence Community Church and took a tour around.  NPCC has the most innovative church campus I have ever seen.  The photos on Flickr tell the story better than I could but as a church they have a better understanding of metaphor than most congregations that I have ever seen.  They also have a Sunday school where 1/3 of the year is spent in art classes, 1/3 of the year is beach reconstruction, and 1/3 of the year is spent gardening to help reduce the financial impact of living on an island that must import 99% of their food.    Their commitment to people suffering with HIV/Aids goes beyond what I have seen anywhere else as well.

We were supposed to be there by 2 and I wanted to connect up with the Pedersons who are staying 4 or 5 miles away.  Not only that but wild dogs attacked Mark Scandrette and Jim Palmer (they ran away and I later joked, became the first two humans to record a 3 minute mile) while jogging this morning between here and there.  Back at the condo, we got stuff for supper and went for a swim in the ocean.  As I entered into the water I felt like something was stinging me all over and mentioned a tingling feeling.  I was laughed at and mocked and then everyone else started screaming in pain.  These small bug like things were biting all of us all over.  We moved into deeper water (I know, I know, the correct course of action would have been to leave) and were freaked out by a glowing thing near us, so we had to go shallow which meant more biting and screaming.  The phrase “Ahhhhhhhh!” and “What are these things”?” we said at a great volume by many of us as we retreated to the pool.

To say the Internet connection is flaky at the condo would be an understatement.  We have some radio transmission towers nearby which we think may be part of the problem.  Even Apple Support hasn’t been able to help and it cuts in and out, often as I want to send an e-mail.

Tomorrow we are joining Bishop Tom and his wife on a private island with a main session with the Bishop at night.  I will blog the main session and enjoy some more reliable Internet tomorrow night.