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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Front Porch Project, an Austin community's LiveJournal:

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Friday, July 17th, 2009
5:33 pm
[rumbelow]
Tuesday and Wednesday evening--
Hello, all!

Two very special events this week, if you can make them--local food goddess Marla Camp joins us in our "Tuesdays on the Porch" series at Texas French Bread, 29th and Rio Grande, for an evening of conversation and local food. (Clickie!)

Aaaand, we're going to be at the Vortex Theater this coming Wednesday for an evening with Nigel O'Hearn. This should be a great evening of conversation and drama. Please join us :)

One more minor (?) news article--the Front Porch Project is starting an on-going book study group Wednesday mornings at Book People. This week, the wrap-up of "Blessed Unrest." WEdnesday the 29th--Bob Jensen's new book, "All My Bones Shake." (More information...)

Take care,
Rumbelow
Monday, July 6th, 2009
10:22 pm
[rumbelow]
House-shopping with Pattiwax and Meadowbriar--
Is this the future home of The Front Porch Project and Loggia? Hard to say! But there's one of those unique consensus on the porch that this would be a good place to begin, so we wanted to give our members a brief tour of what just might be the newest music venue in Austin and the hottest off-Congress place for a cup of coffee.

Journey if you will through downtown Austin on I35. Just past the last of the skyscrapers, you hop on the access road at Cesar Chavez. On the left, if you're traveling in the early Spring, the green of the traffic median is a riot of yellows and blues as the wildflowers push into bloom. And on the right, Loggia, the Front Porch Project's home. The front lawn is a welcome garden just off the highway, a bright, colorful oasis.

You have to imagine the bright colors, because right now, the building is an inconspicuous gray color. We're going to have to fix that! Ideally some local artist will risk a stepladder to paint a swirling mural on the rails and supports of the second storey balcony (the diners won't see it, but the slower rush hour traffic will!) My vote's for a version of "Starry Night," but with more bluebonnets. We'll see what happens. But the garden on the front lawn is non-negotiable.

Meadowbriar, Pattiwax and myself took a trip to see this interesting building after a long weekend. After lunch at the IHOP on Cesar Chavez and I35, we snuck out of the parking lot down the block. The house sits in the middle of a circle of family businesses, wrapped by a parking lot of a small auto sales yard. It's got a nice front lawn, and potential for a covered outdoor stage area in the space behind the building. The interior is an exciting maze of rooms and subrooms--some of those walls are going to have to go to make room for arches and open space, but we'll certainly keep some of the nooks for more intimate dining. The building is a home converted to a two-floor office, with a small kitchenette upstairs. Every room has a cubby, a built-in shelf, or a display cabinet as a part of the wall--lots of display room and shelves for books and board games for the coffee-shop regulars, and books and gifts from Loggia's wares.

The upstairs balcony stretches the length of the building, wrapping around the side to lead to a little staircase between levels. Not the most scenic view, but there's a relaxing quality to traffic at night. Two sides of the same coin--the space is very visible from the road, and easily accessible from downtown, but the highway is a bit noisy for outdoor dining. So many compromises in life. We'll have to see if this is a place we grow to love, or a nest for us to grow and fledge. Could go either way!



It was really a treat to walk through the building and imagine the possibility of Life on the Porch. And Pattiwax hasn't mentioned how thrilled she is that the Loggia will have, well, a loggia, a big open balcony. The layout just sparks all kinds of ideas, and the potential of the area itself--a good-sized parking lot lends itself to outdoor art festivals, and the streets nearby have huge greenbelts that just cry out for events. We're only about 20 stone throws away from our friends at Boggy Creek farms, and a few vacant lots in the area lend themselves to eventspace. Lots of potential! More news when we have more news...


Saturday, July 4th, 2009
10:31 am
[rumbelow]
The Front Porch presents a month of Tuesdays :)
The Front Porch Projectmeets every Tuesday evening at Texas French Bread on 29th and Rio Grande, a couple of blocks away from the drag, for an evening of conversation and good food after-hours. Enjoy TFB's fine menu, wine and conversation--and please bring a friend!

Over the next few weeks, we've got a bunch of great speakers and facilitators lined up!

Tuesday, July 7, 6:00: Brad Carlin, the executive director of Salvage Vangard Theater--on local theater, improv, and the local art scene. Salvage Vangard Theater "creates and presents transformative, high-quality artistic experiences that foster experimentation and conversation." A mission statement we can TOTALLY get behind! Come and foster conversation with with Brad and the Front Porch!

Salvage Vangard Theater will be hosting an evening of improv and conversation with the Front Porch on July 22. This Tuesday's event is a taste of things to come!

Tuesday, July 14, 6:00: Mason Arnold, a founder of Greenling Organic Delivery--local and organic food and Austin entrepreneurship.

Greenling is a group delivering local food and organic produce straight to your door. They're focused on building a sustainable future through changing people's habits and lifestyles, a few small changes on a wide level. Greenling is the group that delivers the big plastic bins of farm-fresh produce, making organics more accessible and affordable for Austin.

Tuesday, July 21, 6:00: Marla Camp, owner and publisher of Edible Austin. Edible Austin is a gem of local food, recipes, and sustainable dining, and we're honored to have Marla join us!

What can we possibly say about Edible Austin? Pick up the magazine at Whole Foods, Central Market, or the farmer's markets, it's a lovely--and free--publication showing off local foodies, bringing great ideas literally to the table, and tempting you with healthy and exciting recipes. We are amazed, gentle reader, that we can pick this up off the "gimme" rack before shopping (amazed, and somewhat dismayed, as our pocket books have lost more weight than we have this year!)

Tuesday, July 28, 6:00: To Be Determined

Tuesday, August 4, 6:00: Susan Leibrock, community relations director, The Sustainable Foods Center. Working to redefine food distribution and marketing in Central Texas.

The Sustainable Food Center creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and participate in the local food system, through education, relationships with local farmers, and organic food gardening. Responsible for the launch of the Austin Farmer's Market, a farm-to-cafeteria program in Seton hospital. As we work toward the launch of Fresh, we're delighted to share a dialog with SFC!

Our speakers for the summer have been chosen as part of our focus on sustainable foods leading up to the Austin premier of Fresh: The Movie. Check our News Blog for the latest information on this film!
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
8:25 am
[rumbelow]
Tuesday evening at Texas French Bread--
It's early, and pre-coffee, so I tried to say "Texas French Porch," which just makes no sense.

Yesterday evening, we had a lively discussion at Texas French Bread on 29th and Rio Grande. The general topic was food and sustainability, buying local. The TFB folks are participants in the Austin Farmer's Market and advocates of local buying and slow food, and lead the conversation, which ranged a bit.

One of the more interesting tangents--if someone was there and could refresh my memory on who, exactly, said this--was in a thread of discussion about subsidized food prices that create an inexpensive and unrealistic food market for mass-produced, grocery store produce and meats, while creating an *apparent* high price for organic, local foods. While there's some truth that the prices for local food are high, since there's generally a lack of economy of scale, some of this is just that local food is priced realistically, without large subsidies.

One of our guests compared (while acknowledging the length of the stretch of analogy) that the pricing scheme, the result of a 50-year experiment in mass agriculture, and the industry struggle of agribusiness vs. local, resembles the depressed pricing of of a slave-based economy, which, frankly, America got over (well...that's probably arguable, but our *domestic* slave economy at least). A slow process let us see the link between ethics, pricing, and production, and that's the sort of situation we face with sustainable agriculture.

The evening's menu was a farm-to-table menu of fresh produce, very vegetarian-friendly. I had a tasty roasted beet salad with feta and carrots. Excellent food, illustrative of much of the discussion.

Next week--Tuesday at 6:00--we'll have a speaker from Made in Austin to speak about his efforts to create a native Austin brand. Should be fun, make it if you can!

(Cross-posted to Bodega Days)
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
4:26 pm
[rumbelow]
June 21 postponed--
Sounds like we're going to have to put off the June 21 event until some other Solstice. Kind of like a row of dominoes, one thing fell into another and the event became unworkable. Ach, well, on to Tuesday evening conversation at Texas French Bread. See you there?
Saturday, June 13th, 2009
10:52 am
[rumbelow]
An invitation to the foodies--
One of our big upcoming events, a fundraiser/friendraiser for Made in Austin, crops up on June 21--not that far from now! The Open Source Diner has been tasked with providing foodstuffs for this event.

One of the Front Porch's ongoing concepts is to work with local foodies and food vendors to create a menu that's uniquely and completely Austin. In our summer campaign we're going to be helping organize fundraisers for several local organizations, beginning with the Made in Austin group. If you'd like to get some publicity for your food biz, are interested in being one of our food partners when Loggia opens in September, or just want to support us and the organizations we're working with, we'd LOVE to have you on the Open Source Diner team!

We're looking for foodies to help serve the crowd (we're estimating 50-100) on our Longest Day party. We should be able to at least partially subsidize ingredients, though donations are appreciated, since we're donating as much as we are able to Made in Austin when the evening is over.

Interested in playing, helping our indigenous businesses, and helping us get the Front Porch Project word out? Let us know!
10:51 am
[rumbelow]
Upcoming events:
Hello from the Front Porch!

We're starting to fill up our summer schedule with new events and opportunities for conversation, music, food and entertainment. Our web calendar can be found at:

http://www.frontporchproject.org/calendar/

* Tuesdays on the Porch: An ongoing event hosted by Texas French Bread. Tuesdays, from 6:00-8:30, you're invited to join us at Texas French Bread on 29th and Rio Grande for an evening of conversation, music provided by a local artist, food provided from a selected menu by TFB. This Tuesday the 16th the focus will be on food and sustainability--a recurring theme as we build up to the Austin premier of "Fresh." Guest speakers: Murph and Ben Willcott, Texas French Bread.

* The Longest Day Party: Join us at the Long House, Sunday, June 21, from 6 to 10, as we celebrate the longest day of the year and raise money and awareness for Made in Austin. Local musicians and food from the Open Source Diner team. Children are welcome! The Long House is located on Live Oak near Oltorf and South Congress. Artists, addresses coming soon.

* Wednesday Morning Book Study: Every Wednesday morning at 10:30. Sometimes, we talk about books! Currently we're working our way through "Blessed Unrest," a reflection on the combined impact on the ecological, indigenous peoples, and human rights movement.

*The Austin Premier of Fresh: The Movie: Co-hosted with the Alamo Drafthouse and Edible Austin. Expect this movie premier on August 18 and/or 25, dinner by the Alamo chefs. This event is a fundraiser for the Sustainable Food Center. Guest speaker, members of the local sustainable food community. More information coming soon.

Thank you, and we hope to see you soon!

Best wishes,
Jacob: Webmaster, The Front Porch Project
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
7:00 am
[rumbelow]
One down, X-1 to go!
The kickoff event at St. David's Church went off pretty well. Granted, a few bugs to work out in our script, but we'll iron those kinks out.

Artist Roy Bellows talked about his design for the ark of the...uh...well, still not sure, we've been occasionally calling it the Ark of the Conversation, a travelling temple until we find our new home. Author Greg Garrett did a few readings from his novel "Shame," Meadowbriar and Pattiwax gave some background on the Front Porch Project concept (and we learned that "Meadowbriar" is the street he grew up on), I was forced to speak briefly on the Front Porch blogs, and a good time--and empanadas, and locally-made beer and wine--was had by many.

Mother Falcon's music was exceptional, rich and liquid and thoroughly above par. I've learned that I can't get even very OBVIOUS innuendo.

What's next on the calendar? 6/21, a Long Night party at The Long House--children are welcome, food and music and conversation from dusk till dark. More specific information to come.

Tuesday/Thursday conversations opening up at Texas French Bread on South Congress. Not sure what the topics are. I suspect one of the topics will be:

FRESH: The Premier. A movie about food. Hosted by the Alamo Drafthouse. We'll probably be trying to get some volunteers together to make this movie a success.

Aaaand a few more church events like the St. David's one. Again, more as I know more, and thanks to everyone who showed up--Photos coming soon!
Sunday, May 24th, 2009
10:44 am
[rumbelow]
Did we mention the Amazon store yet? and, concept for new book study--
Every Wednesday morning at Spider House coffee, 10:30-ish, we've been meeting to discuss...well, it started with a few books on the Emergent Church, but I think we're moving into "Blessed Unrest," a study of the local/slow/sustainable/fair trade/ethical food movement. From that, and from the fact that we are currently without a bookstore, we set up The Front Porch Project A-Store, an affiliate store with Amazon.Com.

Several nonprofits are using these A-stores as a way to recommend books and give other people an opportunity to support their organization without any additional cost--in essence, Amazon gives a modest (6% or so) back from anyone who makes a purchase from Amazon after entering from this site.

At any rate, it's not (currently) as flexible as the full Amazon store, but it will let you purchase items from your wish list. Once we've finished our current revisions of the Front Porch home page, I'll add some more versatile searching tools, but actual search functionality isn't built into the current Amazon A-store engine.

Enough about THAT, though. I'm toying with an idea for a new blog/community--a fantasy/SF monthly book study 'blog. Each month, the group would pick a new book to read (we'll probably start with the Wicked trilogy--Wicked, Son of a Witch, Lion Among Men). The moderators would post probably once a week with some topics over the scheduled reading for the week, and community members with interesting ideas re: that section (or the ones before) could post their own ideas, with discussion in the form of comments.

The group would meet once a month for a social thing--maybe the comedy gold "Wizard People Dear Reader" movie viewing if we start working through the Harry Potter books, or similer semi-themed socials.

Tentatively, I'm calling the blog "9 3/4ths and Lamar," in my head. Interested? Interested in moderating?
Thursday, May 21st, 2009
1:23 pm
[rumbelow]
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Pattiwax and I have been having a minor feud over the naming of cats the Front Porch Project's brick and mortar store. I think I'm over the general "well, obviously I'm right" phase of the feud, and have started listening to the voices that aren't in my head on this one...

So, the question comes down to "Logia" or "Loggia"?

The first one is A) a collections of wise sayings, or B) the sayings of Jesus that aren't specifically in the bible. The second one is an architectural feature, an internal room, usually a long hall, that's open to the elements through porticullus or columns. It tends to be a decorated area, a gallery (more in the architectural sense than the artistry sense). It's also, I learn through research, by definition a porch.

There's a bit of a pun involved because both spellings share a common pronunciation. I've been leaning toward the first one primarily because I think the spelling is a little more obvious and it'd be easier to work into a logo. However, the "Loggia" spelling has a stronger tradition in coffee houses, academic architecture, and as a type of porch, it's got a bit of a play on words as well. The second word actually is probably a stronger "concept" word.

I'd appreciate any thoughts people might have on this. Since we really haven't put the word into general circulation yet as our business name, there's still time to adjust spellings before our big event at the end of May...
Monday, May 18th, 2009
6:33 pm
[meadowbriar]
the way, the torah, the dharma of dialogue
Regardless of how one might think or feel about Obama’s person or politics, there is one consistent bit of brilliance that comes to the fore, and that is his understanding and practice of dialogue. I think his recent commencement address at Notre Dame gives us a model for how we might learn to dialogue with one another as citizens in the public square, to find the common ground upon which we might come to newer understandings, and to develop a fresh capacity to collaborate for common good.

As Scott Appleby, professor of history at Notre Dame, said in a CNN analysis of the speech, “The president reached out, sought common ground, stood his own ground, but was willing to model for us what it means to be in a university setting and to be in a democracy in which values are cherished and disagreements are broached honestly.”

In his speech, Obama faced head-on the moral dilemmas that arise when rival goods compete for absolute loyalty. He said:

“The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts….”

Then he directly posed the million-dollar question:
“The question, then -- the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without…demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side? And, of course, nowhere do these questions come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion.”

At this point, Obama admitted frankly that the views of the two camps over abortion was simply irreconcilable. He understood that each side would continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction, even as he hoped that each side could do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

But to answer his question about dealing with intractable moral quandaries, Obama recalled the beloved past president of Notre Dame, Father Hesburgh, who long spoke of Notre Dame as both a lighthouse and a crossroads. Obama affirmed the lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, even as he brought it into creative tension with the crossroads, where "differences of culture and religion and conviction can co-exist with friendship, civility, hospitality, and especially love."

Following his address, the cable networks duly juxtaposed both conservative and liberal commentators: at best, there was a sense that Obama had oxygenated the exhausted public discourse over abortion with some new civility; at worst, there was a fear that Obama’s approach was nothing more than moral relativism. But I do not think that Obama is a moral relativist. Rather, he models something new and refreshing that offers hope for the current impasse in the public square: Obama presents a model for dialogue that couples the assertiveness of moral conviction with the reverence of humble openness.

In his own words, Obama said:

“And in this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. In other words, stand as a lighthouse. But remember, too, that you can be a crossroads. Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It's the belief in things not seen. It's beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.”

For many of us, especially those of us rooted in more ‘enlightenment’ ways of understanding truth that are in terms of objective, propositional, or rationalized conceptions, Obama’s approach may seem like some tricky kind of ‘neo-Relativism’ (and thus liberal?), but I think that is because his way of thinking is in fact so wonderfully relational, incarnational, and contextual. Obama seems to be aware of potential confusion between his approach and more conventional ways of thinking about moral truth. He thus moves by the end of his speech with a plea that we hold our moral convictions humbly, lest we find ourselves blinded by the self-righteousness that comes as the fruit of idolatry. He says:

“And this doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open and curious and eager to continue the spiritual and moral debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works and charity and kindness and service that moves hearts and minds.”

My hope for the Front Porch Project in Austin is that it becomes a place for genuine dialogical interaction that builds a really diverse community that can collaborate for common good.
Monday, May 4th, 2009
9:28 am
[rumbelow]
Some industrious marketing
A busy few days on the Porch.

Pattiwax and Meadowbriar have been hard at work fleshing out their event schedule for the next few months, or The Season of Fundraising. Tough work in this economy, but necessary. Our big kickoff event is going to be on May 31, Sunday evening from 6-9, St. David's Church in downtown Austin--our web friends are very much invited.

Since our base of our face-to-face is strongest in church circles, we'll probably start our campaign church-hopping, and the Church Event is going to be the backbone of the campaign. While we're not a Christian or necessarily church-focused group, the FPP *does* have a spiritual component, and churches are stable, large groups. All of us--even me, the token chip on his shoulder agnostic--know how to talk to "churchies." There'll be other events, lots of outdoor celebrations, Solstice-y, seasonal stuff in the park, for our non-churchy and churchy friends to mingle.

The dominant metaphor of the Summer campaign is going to focus on a travelling ark, a la Indiana Jones. The Ark of the Covenant is a pretty loaded symbol, but it has some good stuff in it. Like all good symbols, it's got a constellation of meanings. It was a symbol of war, a traveling god-box to give the Israelites an edge in battle. Maybe we won't go there. It was also a traveling temple, a place for celebrations when the tribe was in the wilderness, until they build the temple again--a symbol that contains its own end. That's more the angle we're going for. Plus, it melts nazis, which is excellent.

On other news, we've peppered UT Austin and some of the other more central bulletin boards with notices--postcards with business-card-sized tear-aways with our website and information. No immediate response from this, but it's only three days in, one must have patience.

We've also set up two of the probably 4-5 business blogs we're planning to establish. They're all works in construction. The first one, The Open-Source Diner, is a resource and conversation point for the "community of the kitchen" we hope to create. The second one--well, like the temple, I think this one will probably disappear eventually, but for now, Recommendations from the Porch will feature books that we recommend, for our book studies, our friends, and just good reading with a community focus. For now, we'll link to an Amazon "A-Store" with our recommendations, and if we get a few pennies back from that, or from any other purchases we make (I know 2% of my annual book fix would buy that cappucino machine we wanted :) ) so much the better. We're building the Recommendations blog now, so that'll take a day or so to get looking good.

The third blog we have in the works is one focused on the conversation of community-building. There's some logistics to work out there, but it's envisioned as a back-and-forth dialogue on involvement, inclusion, and other topics.

I'm *guessing* that we'll have two more blogs after this, though no-one's really said yea or nay on this one. It's likely there'll be a Logia blog, with stories from the shop when it opens, and I suspect we're going to want to start an Emergent Church-focused blog.

This community will stay open indefinitely! Livejournal is such a convenient way to make something that's publicly accessible, the FPP_Austin forum will be our main "let's have dialogue" conversation space. All our members are welcome to participate in the conversation :)

Best wishes,
Rumbelow
Monday, April 27th, 2009
10:17 am
[pattiwax]
primordial ooze
I guess it took millions of years (or just six long ones) to turn hot, bouncy molecules into something that could be a building block for humans--then 'lo and behold' hands, feet, eyeballs, and then ideas. What is the stuff of ideas?
I don't think it will take millions of years or even days to create the Front Porch Project and then Logia. But there are all of these hot, bouncy ideas, notions, wishes, dreams and even some stuff. We can spend hours, yes, days thinking about slow foods, a community of the kitchen, foodies, the best scone, chicken salad, or smoothie. We dream a lot and we get specific a lot. Being a community of dreamers, we have to make ourselves put it on paper, or put it on the calendar, or make the appointment.
We think we've organized the ooze. Now we're looking for friends who understand and want be a part of this--whether supporting financially, adding their ideas to the ooze, bringing contacts and new friends, or coming often when we're up and running.
We're trying to learn to be simultaneous--we can have events and gatherings before we have our own roof. That's how we'll get good at hosting and meet new partners. We want to meet face to face with anyone who wants to hear the story from the horses' mouths.
Any minute now there'll be events to join, groups to form, communities gathering. What are the topics--you name it--yes, you. Did you say whole foods, home-brewed beer, jazz, violins, sing-alongs, social justice, community action, philosophy, ethics, religious evolution, love, truth, ecology. Well, you're gonna have to pick, or quit your day job.
It feels like slow chemistry, but look at the world around us, whatever chemistry or hand created it over those six long, long years did some pretty fantastic stuff. Who can even understand orchid varieties. Oh, that we are that creative with the hot, bouncy ideas we've sloshed together.
I hope those who will come are gettin' hungry.

Current Mood: bouncy
Friday, April 24th, 2009
4:34 pm
[rumbelow]
Web page is a go (again...)
The 2.0 version of the Front Porch Project website is up and running. Of course it's a work-in-progress. The calendar will be in a state of inexcarnidation (fleshing out?) as we add events to the schedule. I'm hoping to add a more active widgit to update...something...with the latest posts to this community and from our Twitter account, and a reasonably useful "join us!" survey-type thing, though that will be a bit of a learning curve.

Take a look through the website! I've got at least one photographer who's helping me take photos of particularly interesting porches for background imagery. She's got a good eye for color.

Next, working on the website for Logia, and perhaps the new logo--here's the current logo:

Logia logo, large

Which is a little out-of-context, it'll make more sense on a mostly white page. Pattiwax has expressed a preference for a slightly more handwritten "G" shape, and possibly something that emphasizes the play on words "logia" (collection of sayings) and "loggia" (a gallery), a visual echo of the "G" or similar. More as there is more!
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
5:07 pm
[meadowbriar]
Naming
The Front Porch Project is coming. It is emerging slowly yet inexorably...at least insofar as it overcomes its fear of being 'named'. We have had a curiously difficult time getting named over the past several months. I'm not just referring to the name that labels us as "The Front Porch Project," though that is certainly part of it. I'm also referring to the deeper sense of being named as something or someone that 'knows' and can be known, as well as "called." While our name as "The Front Porch Project" generally identifies us as an entity in Austin, Texas, we are still in the process of naming our parts, something that requires an understanding and interpretation of who we are and of where we stand in the world.

The act of naming is thus an act of conjuring up something or someone and giving it, him, or her an identity and a voice--without which there can be no dialogue, and there is no front porch project apart from dialogue.

So we are being named, which means we will be known, engaged, challenged, and called into being.

The front porch project is now needing others to help call it into being: call us by our name and ask us to respond--a relationship is birthing!
Friday, April 17th, 2009
10:39 am
[meadowbriar]
While our mortal bodies age and weaken and our powers wane, we are invited by the Christian tradition at this time of the year to shout "Alleluia" even at the grave because "Christ is Risen." What could this possibly mean?! How does it matter?!

In our mortality, we hunger, hurt, lust, and fear. Or we learn, perhaps eventually, to stop trying. All is vanity. What is the use?

Then there are those undeniable times of inspiration, moments of energy and renewal, that arrive (more often than not) through caring friends. We regain some perspective and a little faith is restored--just enough to rekindle hope. And hope does not disappoint: we take a deep breath and feel less fear. It's a new day, and it's all we've got. So we take a step forward, now feeling less alone. We risk again. We do in fact matter. And now our mortality is suddenly appreciated for what it is: a gift, a means, a way.

Then comes the surprising question: who are "we" who inhabit our mortality?! We find we are somehow more than its limits; at least we no longer give it the very last word. We also find we are awakened by the word of the other, who addresses and welcomes us. We are being called to come alive from out of the dead ones and into dialogical relationship yet again.

“What teaches us the saying of Thou is the instinct for communion. This instinct is the longing for the world to become present to us as a person, which goes out to us as we to it, which chooses and recognizes us as we do it, which is confirmed in us as we in it. The child lying with half-closed eyes, waiting with tense soul for its mother to speak to it—the mystery of its will is not directed towards enjoying (or dominating) a person, or towards doing something of its own accord; but toward experiencing communion in face of the lonely night which spreads beyond the window and threatens to invade.” --Martin Buber
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
9:09 am
[rumbelow]
The word for the day is "Logia."
Or is it "Loggia"? We're not sure.

Pattiwax, self, brainstorming for names over coffee at Genuine Joe's (a nice little coffee establishment with available rooms near Anderson and Burnet). After about two hours of not-too-fruitful conversation, Pattiwax mentions, "I like the word Gallery."

A quick perusal of the Synonymicon turns up "loggia," which means, essentially, a room with three walls, the fourth opening out to the outside or hall or another room. Not a bad word.

I do a quick check for the word "Logia," assuming any five-letter string with appropriate vowels means SOMETHING in English. Turns out Logia is:
1) A collection of wise sayings (from "Logion," singular)
2a) A collection of the sayings of Jesus
2b) A collection of the sayings of Jesus *not contained in the bible.*

Loggia and logia have the same pronunciation, or can have, at least.

We've been looking for a name for the coffee/retail/venuespace for the Front Porch Project's HQ, and we think we may have it.

Now, there's the *minor* issue of "Logia" vs. "Loggia." Any opinions on this one would be helpful.

Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
9:07 am
[rumbelow]
An agnostic gripes about the "Emergent Church" Concept.
I'm finding myself increasingly unable to handle the phrase "Emergent Church." The word "Emergent" contains a bounty of possibilities. It is something growing, bursting. The average person looking at a seed--unless it's like a coconut or something--can't begin to imagine what kind of plant would grow from it.

To then cap that fountain off with the word "church" limits it so much. It says to me "See, here is this infinite possibility. Let us turn it to something we understand. It is as if someone seeing the birth of the universe said, "Thank goodness, now we'll have all the cinder blocks we'd ever need."

Is it fair for the observer to say to someone building a faith out of scraps, generating something new, something that the observer can't begin to predict, "Gosh, it sure is great that you're turning all that energy over to Jesus!"?

/me end rant.

Am currently, with assorted others, reading the works of Peter Rollins, "How (Not) To Speak of God", a postmodernist dissection of the end of faith and the growth of the "Emergent Church." He's very proud of his avant-garde services and doubt-embracing style, but in his own way, he's as dogmatic as anyone else is. Why should the death of faith as the current church understands it blossom, phoenix-like, into a new church celebrating the same god?

From a worst-case scenario dialogue about deities held between Unitarian Universalists: "Is it a real faith if you've made up your own god? Like, a Dungeons and Dragons player who says he worships Vecna?" "Pfbth. How can you call yourself a UU and not understand that Vecna-worship is as valid a faith-path as reformed Judaism?"

Enough digression for one day...

Current Mood: moody
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
10:42 pm
[rumbelow]
That's a wrap :)
www.frontporchproject.org is ready to go! There's a lot of fleshing out that needs to happen, and the graphics are...eheh...a little rough, but I think we're ready to go to beta :)

Thanks BTW, exigencelost, for your help with this one!

Current Mood: accomplished
2:11 pm
[rumbelow]
A Naming Party?
Meadowbriar, Pattiwax--how about this for an event? A get-together to name the darn shop we keep talking about! We've got a name for the Front Porch Project, but not the coffee-space, gift and bookstore that we're working on.

Here's my thoughts--get a dozen bottles of wine, crack the darn things open at our leisure, I'll bring a half-dozen different fondues (chocolate, bailey's and chocolate, white and dark chocolate, rum chocolate...you know, just the essentials...) We've got a couple different spots for venues, but my vote is for that house at the foot of South Congress?

Invite everyone who's interested in playing? Make an evening out of it? Everyone can wear "HELLO MY NAME IS" tags, and maybe we get to break a bottle of champagne on something. Of course, we don't have a SPACE yet, so we may just have to break it over a map of downtown Austin :)
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