A faith for the dissatisfied
Joel Mckerrow is an award-winning writer, speaker, educator, creativity specialist and one of Australia’s most successful performance poets. The Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT has had the privilege of having Joel lead the Bible Studies at its Synod in 2017.
He is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation TEAR Australia and was the co-founder of community arts organisation The Centre for Poetics and Justice. Joel was also the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships and is the co-host of the podcast The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality.
Alongside his literary and performance work, he has spent the last 17 years within schools, youth centres, churches, and theological colleges walking alongside thousands of young people from many different religious traditions, in their quest for spiritual and identity formation.
Through this work Joel has become known worldwide for being an experienced practitioner and thinker in the space where creativity meets personal formation meets social justice. From The Justice Conference to The Global Health Conference; from the ITEC education conference to the Greenbelt Festival; from the Sydney Opera House to the Metropolis (Montreal), Joel is invited to share on these issues throughout the world.
Joel loves to carve wood in his spare time and, with his wife and two kids, he is a member of Eastern Hills Community Church in Melbourne, Australia.
So it goes without saying that a book project from Joel has been anticipated and so his new book Woven: A Faith for the Dissatisfied will be launched at The Justice Conference on 15-16 November.
“This book is about Jesus. It is about my journey toward Jesus,” explains Joel about his latest project. “Which may sound strange to some of you, but it is true. It is a journey of losing a Jesus that was too small and looked way too much like me, to a Jesus that began to mesmerise me.”
“A Jesus calling me to something much grander and more holistic and more inclusive than I had thought possible. A Jesus who was drawing me into the true and into the beautiful.”
“This is not a book of cookie-cut spirituality. It is not a book of answers, nor programmable spiritual growth. This book is a question. An invitation. A beckoning toward movement and a faith that can weather the storms of life.”
A story of letting go
In Woven, Joel McKerrow dares to put forth that our questions, struggles and doubts are not something to be feared, but may actually provide us with the path toward a vibrant faith. Joel takes his readers on a pilgrimage, from childhood belief to grief over a lost religion, to a richer, more sustaining faith that was previously unimaginable to him.
Woven is a story of letting go and of surrender. Of opening up to a radically challenging Jesus. A Jesus who calls us out the fishbowl realities of our lives. A Jesus who too likes to ask questions. A Jesus who dines with the lowly and the broken. Woven is the story of finding faith amidst the complexities. Of finding hope amidst despair. Of finding a God that calls us into something far more wide reaching and magnificent than we have realised.
The Christian world has not journeyed well alongside their young people, going through this, with statistics showing that 60-80% of young adults who grow up in the faith end up throwing it all out by the time they are 22.
Woven: A Faith for the Dissatisfied, puts forth that this time of searching and struggle and dissatisfaction does not have to lead to the discarding of ones faith, but rather, is a necessary process toward spiritual growth. Indeed it is the very movement that leads to the birthing of a young persons autonomy in their faith journey as distinct from the cultural Christianity they have grown up within.
In the book Joel works through his own life experiences, offering these reflections as a guide that we may traverse this season healthily and well.
This is a demanding and compelling account of what it means to rethink our Christian beliefs and find both a restoration and a reconstruction into the expansiveness of God’s story.