Dreaming of the garage blackboard lectures … and I’m told that a recording of my reflections are now on the website.

If you are in Melbourne on the last Sunday of the month, contact the organisers for the address and get to one, get to ‘em all. In fact, if you are visiting Melbourne and you can do one thing and one thing alone, then this has to be it.

I have just returned from one of the best events in which I have participated for a very, very long time: the Garage Blackboard Lectures. I am told that they started when a few students got drunk one night and thought, hey, let’s have some lectures in our beaten up old garage. And so it began.

The setting provided a very different and welcome feel:

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As you can see, a good crowd turns up – attentive, relaxed, with sharp minds and sharper questions:

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And this goes on for hours (I was there for more than six hours). Two speakers, each for an hour or so; plenty of discussion … and a keg:

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In the break we all had soup:

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No tired old positions here, since everything is up for debate and rethinking. This is where new ideas and practices happen.

The biggest surprise for me – on the question of Marxism and religion – was the number of theological questions: on grace, miracle, predestination, God, creation …

Thankfully, we were encouraged on our way by a Chinese revolutionary poster:

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I’m heading south of the border shortly for a couple of talks.

1. Queer Readings of the Bible, at the Jewish Museum. All part of the Midsumma Festival.

I’m joining Rebecca Forgasz, director of the museum, for presentations and then a freewheeling discussion. Rebecca will situate such readings in the Jewish tradition, while I’ll say a few things about ambivalent texts (Song of Songs) and camp readings (Chronicles).

Apparently you need to pay for this one (book on the site), which feels a little weird. But it seems to have a reverse psychology, since the tickets are selling rather quickly.

2. Garage Blackboard Lecture. This one is on Marxism and religion (translatability etc.), at a regular event that would have to be one of the more interesting and fascinating things going on these days. As they put it:

Garage in Brunswick.
Some seats.
Blackboard.
Hand-pumped Beer from a Keg.
Homemade soup and possibility of baked goods.
Lectures.
Two Speakers.
Dialogue.
Getting the Picture?

Apparently I get a chance to talk for about 45 minutes (along with Lachlan Ross). By the time the beer has flowed freely, we’ll be pumped with all manner of questions (and soup). No cost here!

Can’t wait.