FROM GETTING A WORD IN EDGEWISE
I often reflect on how people were “astonished” by Christ’s teaching, “for he taught them as one who had authority and not as the scribes” [Mark 1: 21-22]. I don’t think that meant he spoke down to people from some lofty height. I think that meant he spoke from his heart, from his mind, and from his gut. If I have a "gift," it may be that I speak, through no real choice of my own, from my gut.
I thus can speak to groups of drunks. I can speak to aspiring writers, to readers, to bloggers. I can speak on prayer, on addiction as spiritual thirst, on the paradoxes, irony, and humor of our pilgrimage on earth. I can speak to old people and kids, nuns, priests and punks, seekers of all stripes and die-hard agnostics.
I’ve had a conversation with Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete at a Crossroads Cultural Center event in NYC. I’ve been the keynote speaker for Fr. Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Ministries' staff Day of Recollection. I’ve spoken for Theology on Tap, Catholics at Work, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and Hollywood screenwriter/Catholic gal Barbara Nicolosi’s RCIA class. I’m giving a retreat for recovering women alcoholics next May at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
I’ve also spoken to the L.A. branch of the social justice lay Catholic Worker movement, to my friend Brad’s AP English class at Belmont High in inner-city L.A., to book clubs, literary salons, arts and culture panels, and to creative writing classes for my friends Sam Dunn, Dinah Lenny, and Kerry Madden. I’ve spoken to more addicts, drunks, co-dependents, sex and love addicts and compulsive underearners, in and out of jail, than I could possibly count.
Here are some topics about which I can work up a talk of just about any length:
Addiction, Conversion, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Holy Hell: The Tragicomedy of the Cross
Christianity: The Surprise Ending
The Artist’s Life: The Thin Line Between Passion and Pathology
Pilgrim Feet: The Wonders of Walking, Pondering, and a 90-Buck Digital Camera
At the White Heat: Notes from "Catholic" Blogger
The Gospels: Brokenness and Beauty
Thérèse of Lisieux: Mystic, Comic, Revolutionary
Parched: Deserts, Deep Woods, and Dark Nights of the Soul
Redeemed: The Crucible of Conversion
Christ on the Outskirts: Everyday Mysticism
Holy Hell: Addiction, Death and Resurrection
The Wounded Healer: The Twelve Steps and the Gospels
A Contemplative in the City: How to be a Monastic and Not Leave Your Day Job
Pilgrimage: How to Drive Cross-Country and Back in Seven Weeks Going to Mass Every Day While Your Heart Is Being Crucified by Unrequited Love
Praise the Mutilated World: Spiritual Crisis
Batter My Heart: Anger, Resentment, and Grief
For more info, give me a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org.