A QUICK WORD FROM RYAN
as the title suggests, we have a couple very exciting announcements to make. the first one is that we have a new leader on board at eikon, derek blaylock. derek will be leading the second half of this announcement—which i’ll let him do below—called midrash. we’re super-excited to have derek on board. he’s a great guy who i know you guys will want to get to know more.
when derek isn’t rambling about politics and theology, you can find him enjoying a good cigar and a hoppy pale ale or obsessing over some tiny school in the midwest called kansas (or maybe it’s mizzou…we can’t remember…). his blog, dialogo de derek, is a great way to find out a little more about him (not to mention a good place to find a good cigar or beer recommendation). if you want to know even more about him, you can check him out on our leaders page.)
alright, enough from me. here’s derek.
Midrash is a Hebrew word that—when roughly translated—means “commentary.” We’ve taken the word Midrash as the title for our group and created an avenue for people from all walks of life to get together and discuss pertinent topics that impact our lives, our culture, our city, our state, our nation and our world.
THE WHY & WHAT OF MIDRASH
With Midrash—and Eikon—we value engaging culture to show that God’s truth is evident everywhere. The main crux of the issue is that we realize the Bible isn’t an authority for everyone and as such, we want to be involved in different happenings that show how God’s truth intersects everyday life. As a community of Jesus followers, we need to find ways to engage culture in a compelling manner and meet people where they are both spiritually and socially.
Art—of all forms—is a major influencer in our culture, so we base a lot of our gatherings around different art forms. But, we don’t envision a bunch of high-brow art critics standing around sipping dry martinis. :) We’re very ordinary people who enjoy fun and lively discussions about all sorts of topics (and you can even choose your own beverage…).
We host various types of gatherings including the following: coffee shop discussions, film nights, art gallery viewings and the occasional large panel forum. The main types of gatherings, though, are large group discussions in which we throw out a culturally relevant topic and allow for open conversation, facilitated by a moderator. Topics in the past have ranged from violence in the U.S. to animal rights to racism in Little Rock. Our discussions are held at local restaurants, coffee shops or bars—places that are able to accommodate group discussions.
No doubt, people want to talk about the topics we discuss, but just haven’t had the opportunity. We want to provide that opportunity! Our group is open to all kinds of people: religious, irreligious, atheists, nihilists, spiritual, and non-spiritual…everybody.
Does all this sound familiar? Midrash isn’t, in fact, new to Little Rock. You may know that we took a bit of an extended break over the last fews months. We’re excited to say that Eikon is now sponsoring Midrash, as we think Midrash and Eikon make a perfect marriage. The core principles of Midrash are the same ones that guide the Eikon community. So, we’re now refocused and excited to get things going again!
THE WHERE & WHEN OF MIDRASH
We’ll return with a coffee shop discussion on Wednesday, September 9 at The House (in Hillcrest)(check their website for address and subsequent directions) from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30ish p.m. (NOTE: Midrash gatherings will change locations and times from month to month.)
We’ll be discussing the role of social media in our lives, spawning from the book, “Bowling Alone” by Robert D. Putnam. (NOTE: By all means, reading the book has no bearing on your level of participation. It certainly is not a prerequisite for attending and engaging in the conversation. It’s simply a jumping point for a broader conversation.) By plugging into our computers and phones, are we unplugging from each other? Is our social capital as a nation declining or improving as a result of these technological innovations? Is it just a passing fad or is it a step towards our society becoming more reclusive?
Midrash is a welcome place for respectful discussions and we hope you’ll come out, grab a brew, share your view and lend an ear to others’.
(Not only do we just enjoy the social and personal growth aspect of Midrash, but we also think there’s a Biblical connection. Check out the following passages of Scripture: Acts 17: 16-34, Matthew 6: 10, II Corinthians 3: 16-18, Genesis 1: 26-28. These verses speak of God’s calling for us to redeem creation through him.)