Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interested in Dorothee Soelle? A summer course/retreat possibility

I don't as they put it believe in god
but to him I cannot say no hard as I try
take a look at him in the garden
when his friends ran out on him
his face wet with fear
and with the spit of his enemies
him I have to believe

Him I can't bear to abandon
to the great disregard for life
to the monotonous passing of millions of years
to the moronic rhythm of work leisure and work
to the boredom we fail to dispel
in cars in beds in stores

That's how it is they say what do you want
uncertain and not uncritically
I subscribe to the other hypothesis
which is his story
that's not how it is he said for god is
and he staked his life on this claim

Thinking about it I find
one can't let him pay alone
for his hypothesis
so I believe him about

The way one believes another's laughter
his tears
or marriage or no for an answer
that's how you'll learn to believe him about life
promised to all

I had posted this poem here at Acts of Hope many moons ago. It is from the series of 10 poems "When He Came" in Dorothee Soelle's book Revolutionary Patience (1977).

So -- SOELLE IN SUMMER" - June 17-July 31 - a mix of retreat and course, online, with opportunity for both individual reflection and conversation. Interested?

A few people have already expressed firm interest in this and I need a few more before I can make a final decision about offering it. Do write me privately at if you are interested. (Or if you leave a comment here on the blog, please let me know how to contact you!) If there is enough interest, I will begin registering people this weekend.

(Note: both spellings, Soelle and Sölle, are correct.) 
This online course/retreat would, as the name indicates, focus on the work, thought, and spirituality of Dorothee Sölle (1928-2003), theologian, poet, peace activist, Protestant and ecumenical Christian, spouse and mother, teacher, socialist, and from mid-life on, feminist. She was the author of The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance, Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian, Revolutionary Patience, Theology for Skeptics, and many other works, most of them not in traditional academic treatise form.

Readings would not be too lengthy, but topics in Soelle's work are of the "oh, that's deep" sort.

--history, evil, and Christian political engagement
--silence, language, and poetry in the struggle to name God
--suffering and the vulnerability of God
--Jesus and friends
--church as community of memory, resistance, and hope
--feminism, disobedience, and human wholeness
Offering from me by and/or about Soelle twice a week. Requirements: reading, reflection and prayer and/or meditation, check-in twice weekly (online, in writing) with me and the other retreatants. Cost: $245 for the full seven weeks (i.e. $35 per week).


Jan said...

I am definitely interested.

Jane R said...

Thanks, Jan! I saw your FB note but hadn't seen this yet. You don't have to e-mail me now, I will consider you committed. I have your e-mail address (e-mail me if it has changed) and will write you Monday to let you know whether this is a "go" or not. Just a few more people pre-registering and we can make this work!

Unknown said...

Dear Jane,

This looks so interesting! I wish with all my heart I could afford to take the course. What I will do is look into Soelle's work. While getting my MA in Pastoral Studies at Seattle U (eons ago, it seems, but only 2001), I took a course in Women's Spirituality, but don't remember reading anything by Soelle. I hope you'll do some posting from those talking the course, especially if they write poetry. Gail

Jane R said...

Hello Gail -- as you may have read before on publicity for previous retreats, I usually offer a discount to people in financial hardship situations when I run retreats, but course-retreats and courses are even more work, and given the need to pay the rent, I decided for this course-retreat that I first needed a minimum of registrations before offering any discounts. I'm almost at that minimum (I just need two or three more people paying full freight)and at that point I will be happy to offer a discount. Would you be willing to write me (readwithredmont at earthlink dot net) and let me know how much you could afford? I try to make my online offerings accessible to as many people as possible. What I can do after you write me is put you on a waiting list and then let you know as soon as I get the minimum of registrants I need (assuming I do)to make this economically sustainable. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your message!

By the way, there is a full description of the retreat here.