David Weiss

is creating Community-Supported Theology

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The Cup of Tea
per month

At this level you might imagine your monthly support as inviting me to join you each month for a cup of tea.  

The Quick Snack
per month

Could you imagine treating me once a month to a basket of fries (or a bowl of fresh fruit) while we chatted theology?  

The Pitcher of Beer (or the Movie out)
per month

Few things spark conversation like a pitcher of beer or a good film. Pledge at this level and we’re on. 




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As a public theologian, I think out loud about contemporary issues … and God. Pretty much all day long. And because words are my first love I write public theology in language that aims to invite others to join me in reflection or conversation.

With graduate degrees in theology and Christian ethics, I draw on—and argue with—Christian theology. I grew up steeped in Lutheranism, though today I identify more broadly as a progressive Christian. I’m convinced that the deep truth of Jesus’ ministry regarding the revolutionary-transformative power of grace and compassion is not only consistent with a scientific worldview, but presents one coherent and profoundly human way to embrace such a worldview.

Community Supported Theology?
For several years now my wife and I have participated in a CSA: community supported agriculture. We “invest” in a nearby farm early in the spring, long before any produce is available, but come June through November we get a weekly box of garden fresh produce … whatever is in season, whatever the interaction of sun, soil, rain, (and storm, hail, insects) provides. We underwrite the farm’s independence; we make it possible for them to stay small, organic, local, nurturing of the earth they farm.

Community Supported Theology is a similar idea. Rather than being beholden to “the market”—the agenda of a particular church, school, or organization, I want to gather community support from those who’ve come to appreciate my work over the years. This way I can more faithfully attend to the inner press of the Spirit and let that energy flow through and inspire my theological thinking and creativity. To borrow a Minnesota Public Radio pledge line, through Patreon YOU make ME happen. Every dollar of monthly support frees up my time—from high in my head to deep in my gut—to do public theology.

Christian Faith and Climate Change
is where I feel pulled most these days. In fact, I’ve committed to blog on some facet of it each week for an entire year. I started the first week of Advent, making my first post on December 3, 2018.

Christian Faith and … Everything Else. 
Although my present pledge is to think and write about climate change, the beauty of Patreon is that it can (hopefully!) support me as I follow my theological imagination in a host of directions. Besides essay, I’ve used poetry, hymn, play, short story, memoir, and more as vehicles for theological reflection. And I’ve used my life, personal encounters, recent news reports on science or politics, and more as “seeds” for reflection. So, in addition to climate change, I’ll be writing about … almost anything else. One goal is to look back at things written years ago and identify those worth pulling out of my file cabinet, polishing up as needed, and sharing afresh. As with a CSA box of produce, I expect to offer you regular surprises as well.

I’ll also probably piss you off.
Sorry/not sorry. This is “community-supported” theology, but it remains “Spirit-driven,” which means that my thinking and writing is prone to unsettle you—and even (especially!) me—at times. I hope your support will be to the overall arc of my thinking, which is to do theology that promotes the flourishing of all life and that contemplates the wonder-beauty-tragedy that is life as well. And sometimes along the way, we’ll disagree about the details. And maybe we’ll each learn from each other as we go.

How it Works: Pledging in a Gift Economy. 
Patreon collects the monthly pledges you make (billed directly to a credit card you place on file or via PayPal), bundles them together, and pays the total to me on a monthly basis to support my work. In this way, a mini-multitude of small consistent monthly gifts become a (modest but growing) steady stream of income to allow me to focus more and more on listening, thinking, and writing. Patreon doesn’t take one-time gifts because its purpose is to provide steady income (even at a limited level) for creators—that’s me.

Most “creators” on Pareon use a transactional model: the more you pledge, the more rewards you get (usually that’s more access to the things a creator produces). However, I plan to operate on a GIFT basis. I do this partly for theological reasons: God operates on grace. But also for very material class reasons: I don’t want the person struggling to make ends meet who still pledges $2/month to get any less access to my work than the person able to pledge $20/month. So, whatever level you pledge at, you’re in. Period.

Moreover, as a public theologian, I think out loud in the town square (which is usually my blog, but occasionally a church or a school auditorium). My blog will remain free and accessible to anyone whether they pledge or not. But the freedom of my work depends of people being willing to pledge.

Additionally, those who pledge will get one or two unique benefits (at all levels): you’ll receive a brief quarterly newsletter that tells you what I’ve been up to and what my plans and hopes are for the next quarter. AND—assuming I reach a point where I begin to assemble writings for future publication, you may have the chance to weigh in on what gets published. You’ll be my inner circle of advisors.

Every pledge of any amount will help support my work. It may take several months for the combined pledges to make a significant difference in our household budget, but I hope you pledge at a level that is meaningful to you TODAY. Since every pledge gets the same reward, the pledge “levels” are just offered as ways for how you might think of your support.

NOTE: Overall, about 90% of your pledge will reach me. The rest goes to cover Patreon’s expenses as well as assorted credit card and transaction fees. That’s my “overhead,” and it’s worth it to have the added organization, reach and credibility that Patreon provides.

$2-$5/month: The Cup of Tea – At this level you might imagine your monthly support as inviting me to join you each month for a cup of tea. I’m setting $2/month as the lowest level pledge because there’s a small fixed fee for every transaction. If you pledge only $1/month, nearly half your pledge gets taken by this transaction fee, other credit card fees, and Patreon charges; but at $2/month, nearly 80% of your pledge supports my work and on a pledge of $5/month better than 85% reaches me.

$6-$10/month: The Quick Snack
– Could you imagine treating me once a month to a basket of fries (or a bowl of fresh fruit) while we chatted theology?

$11-$15/month: The Pitcher of Beer (or the Movie out) –
Few things spark conversation like a pitcher of beer or a good film. Pledge at this level and we’re on.

$16-$25/month: The Book Club –
Writing theology means reading theology; if you can see springing for a book a month to keep me well-read, this is your level.

$26-$50/month: Table Talk! –
All right, could you see yourself picking up the tab on a full meal once a month? Conversation on me. Even just a couple patrons at this level will make a HUGE difference for me.


$51-$100+/month: The Theologian in Residence –
Perhaps a congregation, or a group of folks connected to a congregation, would like to pool resources and make a pledge like this (or an enthusiastic individual—go ahead and surprise me!). If so, let’s talk about ways to get me in front of your community in person. If you can get me to where you are—and cover my housing and meals—I’ll do one public presentation for free (per year). Want several events over a weekend or weeklong residency? We’ll negotiate a package that works for both of us. Partnerships at this level become a significant way to help connect my work to the wider church and the wider world.

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