Without Buddha I Couldn’t Be a Christian
Monday evenings, 7-8 p.m.
Jan. 4, 11, 18, & 25
It would seem Buddhism and Christianity differ greatly. Buddhist world views diverge so radically from Christian perspectives. Yet many Christians have found that engagement with the Buddhist tradition has strongly enriched their Christian practice. Learning from Buddhism depends on whether one emphasizes the differences or the similarities. This group will focus on spiritual practices from both traditions, including both the practice of meditation and the engaged practice of transforming the world to relieve suffering. Each group session will bring the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha into dialogue. Topics will be announced several weeks before each session. No basic knowledge of Buddhism is necessary. Please join us for one or all sessions. There is no book, but group leader Santi will provide materials for each session.
Leader: Santi Rodriguez, Seminarian
*White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity
Thursday evenings, 7-8:15 p.m.
Jan 7, 14, 21, 28, Feb 4, and 11
*This class is recommended for people who have already begun to look at their own relationship with racism and/or have already completed the Racial Healing Circle curriculum through the Beloved Community.
Many of us who identify as white recoil at the idea that there is such a thing as white Christianity. In this book group, we’ll read Robert P. Jones’ White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity to discuss this challenging topic. Our discomfort will be a starting point as we engage with the history, the theology, and the socio-political ramifications of white Christianity in the U.S. Jones makes a powerful argument for repair, based on research from the Public Religion Research Institute. We’ll consider a wide variety of Christian denominations while keeping an eye on ourselves as Episcopalians. We’ll ask hard questions and help each other understand and appreciate the ways this book challenges us.
Book: Robert P. Jones, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020.
Leader; Lize Burr, MAR
Exploring Religion through Art
Wednesday evenings, 6-7 p.m.
Jan. 13-Feb. 10
Join us for a fun exploration of religion through a variety of art mediums including, painting, sculpture, performance art, prints, and more. Each exploration is interactive and different. You may attend when you are able without feeling obligated to attend all the scheduled dates. Bring your curiosity and questions. Each exploration will begin with a short introduction to one piece of art, the artist, and a silent mediation as we gaze upon the art. We will share our experience of the art and have fun! No materials or prior experience required. All levels welcomed.
Leader: Sandra Bravo, LPC
Medieval Reading Group: The Poem of the Cid
Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Jan. 14-Feb. 4.
Medieval Reading Group crosses the Pyrennes this winter to study the Spanish national epic, The Poem of the Cid (El Cantar de mio Cid), the 12th-century story of a great warlord (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar) who fights at various times for both Christian and Muslim rulers. “Cid” comes from the Arabic word sidi, meaning “sir” or “my lord,” and roughly translates as “leader.” Regarded today as the founder of Spanish identity, the Cid was actually a much more ambiguous hero, living at the time of La Convivencia, the much debated 700-year period when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived side by side on the Iberian peninsula. We’ll read the bilingual Penguin Classics translation by Burton Raffel.
Leader: Charles Calhoun
Racial Healing Circles through Beloved Community
Sunday afternoons, 2-4 p.m.
Jan. 17 – April 18 (no meetings for Spring Break and Easter)
This offering consists of two integral parts: 1) three sessions devoted to building the trust among participants that is important for sustaining discussions on difficult topics, conducted in a safe, loving Christian environment, in which everyone will have opportunities to share personal experiences about racial issues they may have experienced; followed by 2) nine sessions examining the history and consequences for Native Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans, of the dominance of Americans of European descent during the discovery, settlement, and development of the U. S., even up to the present time. A policy of avoiding present-day U. S. politics in group discussions has proven to be sound. Each dialog circle will consist of 10-12 individuals. Multiple topics will be discussed, by groups of two, four, or the entire dialog circle, depending on the subjects to be addressed. A maximum of two dialog circles can be accommodated, so space may be limited.
Leaders: Doug Bell and Pete Rose lead the St. David’s Beloved Community team. Dialog circles will be led by trained facilitators (not necessarily Doug or Pete).
Weekly Homework: About two hours of preparation weekly, consisting of one video (about one hour), and selected readings, provided in the Sacred Ground curriculum (accessed individually by link). Participants will also be given two books for ongoing reference during the course.
ENDORSEMENTS: The first offering of this course (Fall, 2020) met with widespread enthusiasm [see comments below by long-time St. David’s member Janet Sawyer]:
“I signed up for the class hoping to learn ways to promote racial connections and make St. David’s and me a part of this change. What a shock! I found that so much that I thought I knew and stood for was filled with great ignorance. The readings, films, and conversations with all participants brought a new sense of purpose and a determination to learn more and help others share in what I have gained. Take this class! It will change your life!”