This year was a doozy. My plans for this to be a regular and creative newsletter ran up against some family crises, but mainly against our Herculean effort to purchase and restore a 100-yr-old church building for the church where I pastor. But Tau nonetheless grew slowly and made new connections and opportunities. Allow me to tell you about a couple plans for 2024 that can be summarized as New Journeys and a New Journal. These endeavors are simply new iterations of our previous aims, but they will allow us to have much more to offer others throughout the year and to many more people than just those on our big-commitment retreats.
JOURNEYS + JOURNAL
We are offering our second flagship retreat to Panama the first week in February 2024. We already have some very lovely and creative people committed, with room for a few more. Reach out if you are interested or know a good candidate.
The slight tweak this trip is that we are placing a special focus on taking creatives and makers. I've realized, generally speaking, these people are a natural tribe for me. They also tend to encounter the world with a contemplative gaze, feel deeply and empathetically, and are thus often wounded and hopeful for ongoing transformation in themselves and the world. They are also, like clergy, often broke and under-supported. So we are inviting a lot of them on our retreats this year. We are hoping that it might lead some of them to make new creative works and collaborations inspired by our time together and the unique places we go – works that can then be shared with you and the world, perhaps even as little "field guide" journals from our shared journeys.
Speaking of journals, one of the initiatives we want to focus on in 2024 is turning this website into a much nicer and collaborative space that demonstrates the contemplative gaze through various forms of media: film, long-form and lyrical writing, poems, new songs, and so forth. Some of these works will be fruit from our retreats, but we plan to commission more. If it goes well we would even consider occasional print magazines. In order to pursue this fully we will need new funds to commission artists to create or share works that further the ethos, culture, and ways of being that Tau is pursuing.
A major tweak to our retreats is that I've prototyped some mini-retreats here in NYC that Tau can conduct throughout the year. These can change with the seasons. We live on an archipelago, surrounded by water. There are boats and ocean beaches. We have major rivers and I make a pilgrimage to one of them nearly everyday. We also now have a venue we can make use of and/or launch from in Central Brooklyn: a gorgeous 25,000 square-foot historic church. We have unbelievably talented partners and friends in the city we can collaborate with on all sorts of creative programming. This is my home and I know it intimately. It's why Tau exists: I'm in the belly of the beast, the most effective shrine to and engine of Mammon in the history of the world and one of the planet's most overdeveloped landscapes. If you can contemplate here, you can contemplate anywhere. And you can. There is nature breaking through the concrete all over the place; the birds, whales and oysters are making a comeback; there are parks with nooks for repose; there are sacred built spaces; there is, always and everywhere, the God who lives in us awaiting our attention. And so we plan to offer shorter and daylong retreats where we will team up with awesome partners to offer locals and out-of-towners transformative and immersive experiences where they will learn some holistic tools to take steps toward well-being and flourishing in their own lives and environments.
Obviously, we can share this new journal and our new journeys year-round, with less commitment from clients, and create the opportunity to grow Tau's offerings and outreach more quickly. All of this will take new funding. Would you consider contributing a financial gift so we can begin to bring this vision into reality? And then join us in person or online for our shared pilgrimage toward shalom. Thank you and merry Christmas.