I help people and organizations approach the world through a subversive lens…challenging assumptions and helping people embody an alternative to the imperial norm. I weave together the skills of a theologian, a pastor, a spiritual director, an artist and an activist to help people incarnate something new into our shadowed world.
This can take different shapes. Sometime this involves individual or group spiritual direction. Sometimes I develop customized workshops or courses. Sometimes I lead retreats or facilitate group discernment. Whatever form it takes, my vocation in this world is to help people turn from the false promises of Empire to embody something new—a creative expression of God’s (un)kingdom.
If I could, I would would offer my work to the world for free, as a gift. But I’ve learned through a lot of difficulty that I need to balance that desire with my needs as a worker.
GUIDELINES FOR CONSULTING/GUIDANCE
My standard practice for consulting is to talk to someone in person, on the phone, via Skype, or over email for free for an hour. After that, in order to honor my commitments to my family, work, and community, I would like to be compensated. If you cannot afford the suggested rates, I am happy to make special arrangements. I will never turn someone away due to limited finances.
- If your income (or organizational budget) is less than $30,000 a year, my suggested consulting fee is $40/hour.
- If your income (or organizational budget) is between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, my suggested consulting fee is $60/hour.
- If your income (or organizational budget) is over $75,000, my suggested consulting fee is $90/hour.
For extended consulting (like for a day or weekend), my suggested fees are the same as for speaking/teaching/facilitation. See the “Guidelines for Speaking/Teaching” section below.
GUIDELINES FOR SPEAKING/TEACHING
If you are interested in having me speak at your event, facilitate a workshop, lead a retreat, etc., please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- A description of how you would like me to participate, including the number of times I’d be asked to speak.
- The attendance and type of audience you expect, and a description of the event, along with dates.
- A brief explanation of your need and why you think I might be helpful.
- A description of your organization/institution/community.
- Your proposed compensation (see below).
- Your complete contact information including name, address, phone, and email of the primary contact person.
Compensation: I often participate in events for less if the organization has a limited budget or is one with which I have a strong personal connection. At the same time, if you are a part of a large or wealthy organization, or if your proposed event will require extra research or other challenges, I might ask for more. Each situation is different and I consider determining reasonable compensation a matter of dialog.
If your event is within 100 miles of the Twin Cities Metro area, $500 is suggested for a single-day speaking event. For multiple-day events, $600 is suggested for the first day with $500 for each following day.
If your event is outside of the Twin Cities area, a $600 minimum is suggested for a single-day speaking event. For multiple-day events, $700 is suggested for the first day with $600 for each following day.
Travel: Unless other arrangements are made, it is assumed that your organization or group will cover the costs of travel.
Lodging: Whenever possible, I would rather stay in a home than a hotel.
Food: It is assumed that your group or organization will provide for my meals both during his travel, as well as during my visit.
Cancellations: If you should need to cancel your arrangement, you are responsible for paying a $300/day cancellation fee unless I waive that.
Here are some examples of topics I have engaged as a speaker, teacher, or facilitator. As a consultant, most of my work has been in helping communities and individuals move more deeply into the intersection of radical action and deep spirituality.
Radical Hospitality: What does it mean to welcome the stranger as Jesus Christ? And how can this ancient practice revolutionize our way of seeing the world?
Jesus the Trickster: For 2000 years, Jesus has been used to reinforce the status quo. How does our faith change when we recognize him as a trickster who mocks the elite, turns common sense on its head, and shows people a dangerously alternative way to live?
The Kingdom of God and the American Dream: Christianity has been twisted in this nation to legitimize conquest, subjugation, and oppression. And today, what many call the Gospel is actually an imperial myth. How can we begin to disentangle Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God from the so-called “American Dream?”
The Prophetic Vocation: Seminaries train pastors, not prophets. And our churches tend to encourage respectability, not defiance. How do we take prophetic ministry seriously? And how do we begin to train and equip people accordingly?
The Dangerous Duty of Discernment: Jesus never promised us a holy book of answers. Instead, he promised us that the Spirit will “guide us into all truth.” How can we discern the Spirit together in a way that leads to faithfulness in the midst of alienating and dehumanizing forces?
Subversive Spirituality: The first real step in transforming the world is transforming our way of seeing the world. How do contemplative practices help shape us into being faithful witnesses to God’s presence in the midst of a broken world?
Jesus the Anarchist: The name of Jesus is invoked by those in power as well as those resisting that power. What were the politics of Jesus and how can they continue to inform us as we struggle for justice?
Practicing Jubilee in a Capitalist Society: When so much of our lives are shaped by capitalism, how do we begin to embody Jesus’ economic vision? When Jesus began his ministry, he evoked the ancient language of Jubilee—a time when the land was allowed to rest, slaves were released, and all debts were cancelled. How can we begin to practice mutual aid rather than self-interest, simple living amidst consumerism, and peace for the land amidst environmental exploitation?
Forming Intentional Communities: Interested in forming an intentional Christian community? Mark can share 15 years worth of insights to help you avoid pitfalls and establish solid practices.
For examples of larger retreat offerings, please look at some of the offerings of the Center for Prophetic Imagination, a nonprofit where Mark serves as the Executive Director.
Any income I receive for speaking, teaching, writing, or consulting goes towards the ongoing work of the Center for Prophetic Imagination. CPI, in turn, pays my salary, which is set at the median income of a school teacher in the state of Minnesota, which is $62,347 for a base salary or $88,115 for salary plus benefits. Currently, I make substantially less than that as we are still a new and growing nonprofit.