On Journeying with those in Exile
It is with great pleasure that I introduce one of my favourite blogs tonight – Dan’s On Journeying with those in Exile. For some odd reason he doesn’t appear to be linked to by many (perhaps because his blog is in the livejournal.com format, rather than blogger or Wordpress?), though he is extremely well read, and his posts are often very thought provoking. He is not afraid to share his own thoughts, and most posts have a liberal sprinkling of nice quotations from all manner of sources. What is more, he has popped up on Chrisendom every now and then, and has given me some superb book reading suggestions that I’m most grateful for. Indeed, my present fascination with Hans Urs von Balthasar can be traced to one of his earlier book recommendations. Though, sorry Dan, Hauerwas’ The Peacable Kingdom is still sitting on the to-read pile ...
I asked him to say something about himself, and why he blogs - and I’ve decided to leave it unedited as, quite simply, I wouldn’t know what to cut out. My comments are in yellow.
I particularly like his month by month book reading overviews. See, for example, his 2005 July, August, September, October, November, December, 2006 January and February offerings.
“So a bit about me and why I blog (I'm just going to think and type at the same time so you can edit out whatever you want).
I am currently at Regent College (Vancouver, Canada) finishing the second year of a Masters of Christian Studies and my focus is on ‘Christianity and Culture’. I'll be writing my thesis next year and will likely be supervised by Hans Boersma. [For those who haven’t heard of Boersma, he has recently authored Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross and Imagination and Interpretation, and a couple of books on Richard Baxter. Though perhaps you may have heard of him through his contributions in the Revelation series.]
I also work full-time nightshifts at a shelter for street-involved youth in the downtown ghetto (which is known as the neighbourhood with the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS in North America ... largely due to drug use and needle sharing). I'm quite passionate about these kids, and other people who have been abandoned, as I'm sure you've noticed on my blog. In a way it's what I grew up with. A lot of my friends were street-kids (or close to it) when I was young, and I was kicked onto the street by my parents when I was in highschool. God really transformed my life through all that shit, and it gave me confidence and hope that what happened for me could happen for anybody else.
I'm also working on starting a non-profit for women, men, and transgendered people of all ages that are trying to exit the sexual exploitation trade. It is my goal to establish a network of Christian community houses that have rooms reserved for the person exiting to come and live with them as a friend/neighbour. In this way I hope to overcome a lot of the power barriers and other issues that exist in the social services field. I am trying to approach the issue from a Christian -- not a secular professional social service -- perspective. I've spent a number of years working with street-kids and other marginalised groups (here in Vancouver and back in Toronto) and I feel like Christians have mostly gotten themselves behind the 8-ball when it comes to journeying in intimate love relationships with suffering and (god)forsaken people.
I am currently living in a Christian community house with six people (myself, two other singles, and a married couple with a newborn baby!) and we try to live together more "intentionally" than other homes, and so we share a few meals together each week, pool money for groceries, pray together, and do other other things that build community (like drinking beer together). [Beer?? Liquor?? I shake my solemn and extremely holy head]
I have a lot of trouble pinning myself down to a particular Christian tradition [Boy do I know the feeling], not because I dislike all the traditions, but because there is so much that I love about each of them. However, I have no interest in copying Brian McLaren's attempt to be Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Charismatic, Evangelical, (ad nauseum until all such titles and traditions lose their meaning). If push came to shove I'd align myself with the Anabaptists.
So why do I blog? Well, it started out as an interesting way to journal thoughts, and then, after moving to Vancouver, it also became a way of staying in touch with people in Toronto. It's also a way for me to get feedback and a way to have the body of Christ hold me accountable in my thoughts. It's a small attempt at engaging in a group hermeneutic. And it's something I love doing. Reading and writing have always been passions of mine.”
He is presently working through a Semiotics for Dummies series, parts one and two are already posted. Also, as such lists seem so popular, have a look at his own introductory theological reading list here. Bit more convincing than mine me thinks. Plus, given the title of his blog, it will come as no surprise that it contains a decent amount of Tom Wright, which is never a bad thing!
Lastly, a thanks to Dan for letting me share something of his story here, and for his great blog.