PSR details additional Earl Lectures workshops

January 11, 2010

A far-reaching range of topics, approaches, and ideas prevail in the workshops of the 109th annual Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference. From January 26 to 28, 2010, attendees are welcome to explore the wide variety within the theme “Spiritual but not Religious: Chasing the Divine,” in the break-out sessions led by theologians, ministers, artists, and educators.

Marquita Chamblee and Joellynn Monahan invite attendees to learn the Faith Styles mode of spiritual development to better understand those outside traditional religious communities. Chamblee, the Dismantling Racism Program director for Pacific School of Religion, and Monahan, pastoral associate at Berkeley’s New Spirit Community Church, will investigate the spiritual-but-not-religious experience as it varies according to an individual’s ethnicity, race, and religious background.

From ancient cultures and religion to modern-day ecology, interconnectedness is the thread that brings together disparate modes of thought. Lawrence Ellis, a spiritual activist and complexity-science organizational consultant, will present “Reconnecting with Ourselves and the Earth in This Time of the Big Shift” and brainstorm ways to apply interconnectedness in everyday life.

Through contemplation, prayer, and meditation, prison inmates can undergo spiritual transformation, as previously incarcerated Carl M. Irons did. He and prison volunteer Rose Elizondo will describe the varied spiritual paths behind bars in the workshop “Going Inside on the Inside: Personal Stories of How We Stopped Running from Our Own Demons and Began Chasing and Embracing the Divine Within.”

CL Nash, PhD candidate of systematic theology at Edinburgh University, will examine the roots of womanist thought through the perspectives of two African American writers, Zora Neale Hurston and Linda Brent (aka Harriet Jacobs). Their spiritual and religious journeys will be compared and contrasted to contemporary African American theologians and ethicists.

Rev. Fred Plumer explains that searching Christians and those who identify as spiritual but not religious can experience profound transformation and enlightenment through the experiential knowing of the divine rather than the cognitive adherence to dogma. Plumer, president of the Center for Progressive Christianity, will present one way to teach this journey-based path in “Progressive Christian Spirituality: A Paradigm Shift.”

Workshops are open to the public by advance registration ($125), and people from all spiritual, religious, and educational backgrounds are welcome. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available. For complete details and to register, see