The Kindlings

Summary: The Kindlings is an international, relational movement dedicated to rekindling the spiritual, creative, intellectual legacy of Christians in culture. We produce The Kindlings Muse podcasts, a by-invitation retreat called The Kindlings Hearth and an annual summer faith, arts and ideas Festival on Orcas Island called KindlingsFest.

Dick’s Story: The Kindlings was born in 1999 when a group of media professionals met at my request at Post Effects in Chicago to talk about the impoverishment of the Christian subculture and our broader concern for a spiritual, intellectual and creative renaissance in American cultural life. Rand Miller (Creator of Myst and Riven) flew in from Tokyo. Composer Marty O’Donnell (Bungee/Halo) was there as was Tom Beaudoin, author of the just released Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X. Jim Reardon a writer for Rolling Stone and author of biographies of Jim Morrison and Oliver Stone was there, as was Lou Carlozo, then a writer with the Chicago Tribune. Anne Lamott was not at the meeting, but was in my circle of conversations about these issues at the time and she was literally one of our first donors. There were others at the meeting but my memory fails me.

We really didn’t know what we were going to do, but we knew it would involve the web, would be relational and would not be locked up in bureaucracy or the Christian sub-culture. We incorporated as the not-for-profit Center for Faith and Culture., A few friends put up some money to support the new venture and I left my nationally syndicated radio show and moved back to Seattle.

In Seattle my circle of friends concerned about these issues widened. Paul Ingram, a web designer climbed on board as did Joe Rehfeld, a Microsoft guy, and he introduced me to Jack Talley, another retired Microsoft guy.

We held a weekend retreat at Jack Talley’s Swiss Chalet in Cle Elum, Washington where I recall the conversation revolving around our distaste for the hostile and divisive, highly politicized religious culture in America. We also acknowledged that as artists we tended to have more questions than answers. Kindling wood seemed like a great metaphor because it provides a little warmth (not hostile heat) and a little light (enough to see the path in front of you) but not then blinding light of certitude. We decide to develop that metaphor with a new name The Kindlings. We still weren’t sure what we were doing, but we were having fun and we named The Kindlings way before Amazon named the Kindle.

Nigel Goodwin from the UK joined us along the way, as did Jeff Johnson and each brought his energy, craziness, flair, depth and spiritual richness to our movement.

Like every grassroots movement, The Kindlings is more organic than organizational, more relational than programmatic, and more serendipitous than calculating. We are a company of friends on a journey and you’re welcome to come alongside us..