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header.logoPlease do register for the 2016 Spirituality Gathering “Justice Lives in Relationship” at Earlham School of Religion, April 27, 2016.

We have tried arguments for environmental concern, doctrines, and of course moralizing and guilt-trips. None seem to transform human action. So in our time together let’s explore a more fruitful route: ecospirituality.

This will not be an abstract analysis of theories. Instead, we will seek to experience the world as many of the new (and ancient!) ecospiritualities experience it. Our case studies and exercises will include (time allowing) Native American, ecofeminist, Jewish kabbalistic, Christian mystical, Hindu panentheistic, Franciscan, and poetry-based approaches.

Environmental ethics grow organically out of these thoughts and practices, not out of the lofty realms of theory.

Featuring Keynote Speaker Philip Clayton
Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology

Register HERE

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Interreligious Approaches to the Sacredness of the Earth
Philip Clayton

In this workshop we seek to step into the minds and the hearts of practitioners across the world’s major religious traditions. The relationship between humans, animals, all living things, and the earth itself is understood in radically different ways across the traditions: how similar are we? How unique are humans? Should we seek compassion for this world or to escape it; to merge with it or to “cultivate” it? This workshop on comparative spiritualities will include Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Confucian and Taoist texts. Although examining the texts will bring out marked differences, will it also surface common beliefs, attitudes, and practices?

Philip Clayton is the Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology. He specializes in unanswered questions at the boundaries of science and
religion, of values and ethics, and of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. A member of the Religious Society of Friends, Clayton works to formulate constructive responses to developments in contemporary science, philosophy, and culture. He has also been a leading advocate for comparative studies of spiritual traditions and the internationalization of the science-religion dialogue. As P.I. of the “Science and the Spiritual Quest” program and as Provost of a multi-faith university, he worked to expand these fields to include Muslim and Jewish scholars, the Dharma traditions of India, and the religious traditions of Southeast Asia. Clayton is the author of several dozen books, including The Predicament of Belief: Science, Philosophy, Faith (2011); Religion and Science: The Basics (2011);Transforming Christian Theology: For Church and Society (2009); and In Quest of Freedom: The Emergence of Spirit in the Natural World (2009). He also edited The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (2006).

Religious Leaders fight for Climate Justice
Grace Ji-Sun Kim

COP21 (Paris Climate Change Conference) was a success as 195 countries were able to adopt the Paris Agreement. It made history and it is good news for everyone as countries are recognizing the urgency of climate change. However, much works still need to be done and it is up to everyone to make a difference in how we live and how we lower our carbon emissions. This workshop will explore what it means to be good stewards, how do we think theologically about creation and what steps do we need to take to work towards climate justice.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. She is the author of Embracing the Other; Here I Am; Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice co-edited with Jenny Daggers;Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style” co-written with Joseph Cheah;Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers;Contemplations from the Heart; Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit; The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other; and The Grace of Sophia. She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”. She is an ordained PC (USA) minister.

Grounding Our Faith: Contemplative Work with the Land
Bill Cahalan

How can our Quaker faith help us face the growing ecological crisis and its physical and spiritual challenges in the coming years?  One vital path is to begin working with neighbors as we bypass unsustainable suppliers to harmoniously reconnect with the natural sources of our lives such as soil, seed, water and the living landscape. This expression of simplicity and integrity can open us to the Light in each other, in the land community, and in all of creation.  We will, through stories, a guided experience, and a short video consider worshipful or contemplative work practices by which we commune with, rather than seek to rise above, the living world.

Bill Cahalan, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist who had led retreats and published articles and booklets on themes related to this workshop.  He is a member of Community Friends Meeting in Cincinnati, clerk of the Earthcare Committee of Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, and lives in an urban ecovillage with his wife and son.

Contemplative & Mindful Drawing
Michael Hieber

This workshop is designed to demonstrate, through a series of interactive, hands-on (non-messy) activities, how drawing can be used to help promote and enhance contemplative and mindful states of mind and life practices. Mindfulness practices, such as the use of specified drawing approaches, are intended to help focus the attention and calm the mind. Mindful and creative exercises can help us learn how to push back distractions from our conscious mind in favor of focused attention and engagement, “stepping back” for at least a moment for a fresh look at the possibilities. No previous drawing skill or expertise is required to participate in this enjoyable and engaged session.

Michael Hieber is an emeriti faculty member of Miami University teaching art for 36 years, including drawing, design, and a variety of art discussion courses that he created for the university. He is an associate of the Miami University’s Center for Contemplative Inquiry and Mindfulness Practices and has been a daily practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, yoga, and Taoist principles drawn from the study of the Tao Te Ching for over 30 years and is a Quaker.

Delighting together: Improvising a Rule of Rhythm and Flow
Travis Etling & Tracy Davis

Saint Benedict understood clearly that the spiritual life needs a certain amount of structure in order to flourish, and so he wrote the first comprehensive monastic “rule.” Benedict’s “rule of life” was designed to prepare a person for the true human vocation which is nothing less than union with the divine or theosis. Yet, today when we think about a “rule of life” the words we often associate with this “rule” include, well – rules! We think discipline, accountability, commitment, asceticism, individual striving and “will power.” The structure that contributes to the flourishing of spiritual life though is most generative when it is flexible, joyful, communal and informed by the innovative movement of the Spirit. The Spirit moves like breath or water with life giving, creative purpose. In this workshop participants will develop or discover a “rule of life” that is sustainable,
innovative, incarnational, collaborative and most importantly joyful.

Tracy Davis is pursuing an MA at Earlham School of Religion. The subject of her thesis is meditation as an interfaith practice of peace. Tracy’s Christian Quaker path is enhanced by daily disciplines that come from diverse traditions including Sabbath keeping, yoga and meditation. Her passion is leading educational and spiritual pilgrimages to India. Tracy is also a registered nurse and a member of Durango Friends Meeting, Durango Colorado.


Travis Etling is an MDiv student at Earlham School of Religion. Before coming to ESR, Travis worked in public education with students with emotional disturbances as a special education teacher, special education supervisor and principal. He has been joyfully practicing and continuously renovating a “rule of life” for several years. Travis is a member of Cincinnati Friends Meeting, Cincinnati Ohio.






8:15 am Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am Worship
9:45 am Keynote Address with Philip Clayton
11:30 am Lunch
1:00 pm Workshop Session I
2:15 pm Refreshment Break
2:30 pm Workshop Session II
3:45 pm Break
4:00 pm Closing Gathering

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