The Clarence Jordan Symposium
In 1986 while living in Pennsylvania, Jessie Glick, member of Plains Mennonite church where Sue and I were attending, handed me a VHS tape. It was The Cotton Patch Gospels written by Tom Key and Russell Treyz with music by Harry Chapin. The musical which played off-Broadway was based on the writings of Clarence Jordan- The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John. I loved this version of the texts, and Clarence’s whimsical and biting take of the teachings and life of Jesus helped incubate my own work.
Fish-Eyes, written with Lee Eshleman in 1994, owes a debt of inspiration to Tom Key, Russell Treyz and Clarence Jordan. I am privileged on September 29 to be part of Clarence Jordan Symposium. It is celebrating the 100th “birthday” of Jordan and an appreciation of his work. Clarence Jordan was a innovative progressive thinker and life example creating Koinonia Farms, a racial integrated farming community in Americus, Georgia.
Tom Key, who became a friend a number of years ago, will be there to perform Cotton Patch. Our friend Shane Claiborne will also be there, plus people I’ve wanted to meet, including Rosalynn Carter and her husband Jimmy, Phillip Gully, David Hooker and others. I am providing “Moments of Whimsy” between speakers all day and look forward to honoring the memory of Jordan’s life and work by performing pieces inspired by his style of writing!