Diana Butler Bass  

Friday Evening Lecture: "Faithful, but Not Fundamentalist: Christianity for the Rest of Us"

Saturday Workshop: "The Three 'R's' of Vital Christianity: Retraditioning, Reframing and Reimagining"

 
  When: February 10 & 11, 2006  
  Time: Friday Evening Concert: 7:30pm, $15
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – 3:00pm, $50
 
  The conventional wisdom about mainline Protestantism maintains that it is a dying tradition, irrelevant to a postmodern society, unresponsive to change, and increasingly disconnected from its core faith tenets. Researcher, historian, author and public speaker, Dr. Bass’ lecture and workshop at The Center will explore the voices, vision, and practices of an emerging mainline spirituality in the Christian church and its potential impact on political life.

In the Saturday workshop she will examine the ideas of tradition, story-telling, and imagination as important spiritual practices for vital congregations and Christian leadership. Both events will draw from her research project on vital liberal congregations, a three-year study, funded by the Lilly Endowment, that will be completed in December 2006.

 
 

Diana Butler Bass holds a Ph.D in American religious history from Duke University. She is senior research fellow and director of the Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, a Lilly Endowment–funded research study of vital mainline Protestant churches at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia.

She is author of “Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community,” and “The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church”.

 
   
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Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr.  
Friday Evening Lecture: “For the Healing of the Nations: Let Justice Roll"

Saturday Workshop:
“Teaching Moments in History"
 
When:  February 24 - 25, 2006  
Time:   Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $15
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – 11am, $30
 
  The Center welcomes back The Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr., for a Friday evening lecture and Saturday workshop. Forbes is hailed as one of the nation’s foremost preachers, also called “the preacher’s preacher.” He has taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York, is retired Senior minister of Riverside Church in New York City, and is asked to speak to national and international audiences on the issues of justice and the need for social, economic and political transformation. Deeply informed by the Biblical tradition, Forbes speaks with passion that this moment in history, is a “teaching moment.” He urges us to listen and learn. Dr. Forbes will call us to pay attention, make a difference and live with gratitude. Our future depends on it.

 
 

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is the fifth senior minister and first African-American to serve The Riverside Church, one of the largest inter-denominational and interracial congre-gations in the nation. Forbes is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church, has served as professor of preaching at Union Theological Seminary, and is a member of Auburn Seminary’s core teaching staff. Forbes is a community activist, interfaith leader, published author and conference leader for the National Council of Churches.

 
   
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Huston Smith & Marcus Borg  
Friday Evening Lecture: “The Heart & Soul of Christianity”

Saturday Workshop:
“The Heart & Soul of Christianity: The Conversation Continues”
 
 
When:  March 17 & 18, 2006  
Time:   Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $20
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – Noon, $35
 
The Center welcomes back Huston Smith, who speaks of the reality of the Sacred and embodies it as well! Dr. Smith will share conversation with friend and colleague, Marcus Borg. Friday evening’s lecture will explore their decades long dialogue on what is at stake when we attempt to construct a world-view in response to Ultimate Reality. In the Saturday workshop, Huston Smith and Marcus Borg will discuss the place of justice and non-violent resistance in Christianity and other wisdom traditions. Saturday’s workshop will include participants from the new Center program, “Seeking Justice in the 21st Century.”  
  Huston Smith is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University. For fifteen years he was Professor of Philosophy at M.I.T., and a decade earlier he taught at Washington University in Saint Louis. Most recently he has served as Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley.  
 

Marcus J. Borg, the Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at OSU, is internationally known for his work on the historical Jesus and the developing Christian traditions. “Borg is the clearest and most articulate voice for what it means to be Christian today.” Borg is the primary faculty for The Center’s Seeking God in the 21st Century program. He is author of a dozen books including the best selling “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.” His most recent best selling book is “The Heart of Christianity.”


 
   
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Barbara Brown Taylor  
Friday Evening Lecture: “Faith on the Edge”

Saturday Workshop:
“Practicing Faith on the Edge: Incarnation, Encounter & Resistance”
 
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When:  April 21 & 22, 2006  
Time:   Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $15
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – 3:00pm, $50
 

At the leading edge of the new millennium, American Christianity is suffering an identity crisis. New scholarship, new neighbors and new attitudes toward human sexuality have all posed major challenges to traditional Christian self-understanding. Does the way forward lead back to the center, where we may re-commit ourselves to the core articles of our faith, or does it lead to the very edges of doctrinal safety, where we may be called to re-invent ourselves in order to love as we are loved by God? Barbara Brown Taylor is a best selling author, sought after speaker, great preacher and elegant theologian. Join her Friday evening as she presents her thoughts on living a “Faith on the Edge.”
During the Saturday workshop, Barbara Brown Taylor will explore what a believer is to do when it seems that the center will not hold and when battles of belief only deepen our despair. Thankfully, Christian teachings offer some very specific things to do, God- given practices of incarnation, encounter and resistance. Barbara Brown Taylor will address these three practices, guaranteed to save our lives, and will engage participants in discussion of each.

 
  Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest, a popular speaker and workshop leader, and one of the “twelve most effective preachers in the English language,” according to Baylor University. Ordained in 1983, Taylor served urban and rural parishes in Georgia for fifteen years before assuming her current post as Harry R. Butman Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. In recent years, she has lectured on preaching at Yale, Princeton, and Duke Universities, and has preached at churches throughout the country. Taylor is author of ten books, including “The Preaching Life” and “Leaving Church: A Love Story.”  
  "Barbara Brown Taylor possesses a gift that is in short supply, of conveying a living sense of the transcendent, holy and grace full in and through the stuff of our lives."-Sewanee Theology Review  
   
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James Finley  
Friday Evening Lecture: “The Teachings of Meister Eckhart”

Saturday Workshop:
“Letting Go: Turning to Meister Eckhart as Guide in Contemplative Living”
 
 
When: May 12 & 13, 2006  
Time: Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $15
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – 3:00pm, $50
 
  The teachings of the 14th century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart are filled with timeless wisdom for all who seek to live a more contemplative way of life. In the Friday evening presentation James Finley will introduce the spiritual principles that guide all of Eckhart’s teachings on the mysterious process in which we awaken to the Godly nature of life itself.
The Saturday workshop will be a one day retreat utilizing Eckhart’s teachings on self-transformation. Time will be given for silence, group meditation, personal reflection and discussion of the themes presented. Topics presented include: setting out on the path of self-transformation; the habitual awareness of God’s presence; realizing eternal oneness with God day by day.

 
  James Finley is a former monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky where Thomas Merton was his spiritual director. He is author of “Merton’s Palace of Nowhere”, “The Contemplative Heart” and “Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God”. A clinical psychologist in private practice, he has given silent retreats throughout the United States and Canada.  
   
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The Very Rev. Alan Jones  
Friday Evening Lecture: “Recovering the Presence of God in an Age of Violence & Anxiety”

Saturday Workshop:
“Confessions of a Progressive Traditionalist”
 
 
  When: May 19 & 20, 2006  
  Time: Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $15
Saturday Workshop: 9:00am – 3:00pm, $50
 
  Religion as world-wide phenomenon is in upheaval. It is blamed for much of the violence in the world and, at the same time, religion inspires acts of compassion and self-sacrifice, which speak to its healing and redemptive power. Science too is in upheaval. Some seem to think it will save the world, others believe that our trust in it is ill-founded. What are we to make of it all? How are we to navigate the rough waters of modern culture in which the choice seems to be between the rigid certainties of an unthinking religiosity and the arrogant emptiness of secular culture? These questions and others will be explored in Rev. Alan Jones Friday evening lecture at The Center.

We’re in a crisis caused by our vision of God being too small. It’s no wonder that it’s hard to find one’s way today in a fractious and divided church and commonwealth. In Saturday’s workshop, Rev. Jones will discuss his sympathy with both sides – with Fundamentalists who are appalled by the culture and with liberals who are appalled by the ignorance of the right when it comes to the confluence of power and money.

 
  The Very Rev. Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco since 1985, previously he served as the Stephen F. Bayne Professor of Ascetical Theology at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from 1972 - 1982. During his tenure, he founded and was the first director of the Center for Christian Spirituality at General.

He is author of many books including, “Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality,” and “Reimagining Christianity: Reconnect Your Spirit Without Disconnecting Your Mind.”
 
   
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Brian McLaren  

SUMMER SEMINAR KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Friday Evening Lecture: “Beyond Us and Them: Being Christian in the Generous Orthodox Way”

 
When: June 16, 2006  
  Time: Friday Evening Lecture: 7:30pm, $20 (included in Seminar price)
 
  Brian McClaren, an acclaimed speaker and leading voice of the “emergent church” movement, is founding pastor of an innovative, non-denominational church in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. He is a highly regarded author, a fresh voice integrating radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy and post-modern, ecumenical and missional Christian faith. McClaren takes us beyond “us and them” and challenges Christians, be they centrist, inside, outside, or on the fringe to reconsider their message and how to communicate it. This lecture reflects The Center’s interest in intra—Christian dialogue. We are privileged to have Brian McLaren be a part of this important week.  
  Brian D. McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region. He is a leader in the Emergent Church Movement, a popular speaker, and author of many books including, “A New Kind of Christian,” which won Christianity Today’s “Award of Merit” in 2002, and “A Generous Orthodoxy”.  
  “The generous orthodox way is not to claim to have the truth captured, stuffed, and mounted on a wall… Orthodoxy is a way of seeing and seeking, a way of living, a way of thinking and loving and learning that helps what we believe become more true over time, more resonant with the infinite glory that is God….” -Brian McClaren  
   
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