In this episode of Freestyle Christianity you will get to listen to a talk given by Kester Brewin at the festival Wake in Belfast. The subject of Kester’s talk was his recently published book Getting High: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the Dream of Flight.
We are all born flightless, every one. After so many thousands of years each of us still drops into the world smooth-skinned and featherless.’ Why have we never been content to keep our feet on the ground? In the 1960s this desire to get high exploded with the LSD counterculture and the Apollo missions. In this unique and dazzling book, acclaimed author Kester Brewin (MUTINY / AFTER MAGIC) explores the history of the human quest for transcendence, and how, following a family tragedy, it blighted his own life. Drawing on a huge cast of characters from the Montgolfier brothers to Renaissance artists, Hells Angels, astronauts, The Beatles, Gonzo journalists and dreaming hippies, GETTING HIGH is a wild trip into the ancient dream of flight, soaring through shamanic ritual, enlightenment science and punching a hole in what we think the 1960s was all about. Interwoven in all of this is Brewin’s own story. Growing up in a mining village in Yorkshire, his father was the local vicar, the man tasked with lifting this subterranean community each Sunday and offer it a vision of the above. But this pressure to open heaven has terrible consequences for the family, and a tragic illness sends each of them flying. Skilfully linking ancient history, the story of the 1960s and his own battles with the yearning to ‘get high,’ this is an important and timely book with an urgent message about religion, the promises of technology, and our need to keep our feet on the ground.
Wake is an annual festival in Belfast curated by Peter Rollins. In 2017 Wake will take place April 24-27 and the limited number of tickets are already out for sale, check out this link if you are interested.
If you have not already listened to Kester’s previous visit to the podcast, here is a link to his conversation with Josef from last fall: Technology and Radical Theology.