Summer Session 2012 - Special Events & Worship

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Tuesday Night Talks

Tuesdays, PSR Campus (specific locations listed below), 7:00-9:00pm
Free and open to the public

LectureWe are excited to be able to welcome the general public to our campus for a series of lectures and conversations given by distinguished members of this year's Summer Session faculty and special guests.

The "Talks" will be held on Tuesday nights (with one Thursday exception) during Summer Session. They are free of charge, and open to the public. Receptions at 7:00pm (all welcome) and talks from 7:30-9:00pm.

July 5 (Thursday): Peter Schneck | Watch Here

Brown Madonnas, Red Mothers, and the 'New Negro' from Germany

The rich images and religious iconography created by artists in the Harlem Renaissance were a watershed for African-American aesthetics, pushing the struggle for political and social equality into a cultural movement that was deeply concerned with self-representation and spirituality. Artists like Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence and others looked to both modernism and west-African folk traditions for creating new art that could be distinctly African and American. It is less well known how several key images that circulated in the Harlem Renaissance were made by a German  painter, Walter von Ruckteschell (1882-1941), based on his experience in colonial German East Africa  during WW I. This talk explores the fascinating transatlantic story of how African portraits and sketches by this German colonial army officer in present-day Tanzania ended up becoming seminal representations of the American “new negro” in the Harlem Renaissance. Co-sponsored by the Art & Religion PhD Program at the Graduate Theological Union and CARE (the Center forArts, Religion, and Education). **Please note this talk will take place on Thursday July 5th, not Tuesday**

Peter Schneck holds the Chair (professorship) for American Literature and Culture at the University of Osnabrueck in Germany, where he currently directs the International Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture. He has published widely on American literature, visual and legal culture, including the recent Rhetoric and Evidence: Legal Conflict and Literary Representation in U.S American Culture. As the former president of the German Association for American Studies, he has lectured throughout Europe and the United States on topics that range from multiculturalism and indigenous literatures in Canada, to Don DeLillo and postmodern spirituality, to theories of visual culture and mediatization. He is also co-editor of Philologie im Netz, one of Germany’s oldest  online journal for humanities scholarship. He is presently a visiting research fellow at the University of California, Irvine.


July 10: Hubert Locke | Watch Here

Girding for Battle: Faith, Politics and the November Elections

Watch lecture video here.

Liberal, progressive Christianity has an unusually high stake in the forthcoming national elections, not only because of the panoply of social issues that the Religious Right will insist on making as determinants of the election outcomes but also because the Right will do its best to make the election a litmus test of patriotism and national loyalty. These and other key considerations that will affect the November political experience will be examined and explores in this Tuesday evening presentation.

Hubert Locke Hubert Locke has focused his career on examining justice in society and has a long and distinguished record of community service. He has served on the boards of many prominent organizations, including the Bulitt Foundation, Common Cause, the Institute of European Studies, Group Health Foundation, the University of Washington Edward Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office, and Lakeside School.  Locke is vice chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Education Committee.  He is the author or editor of several books and has written numerous chapters in publications dealing with race, criminal justice, religion, and public policy.  He has taught at Wayne State University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Washington, where he also served as dean of the Graduate School of Public Affairs and as vice provost for academic affairs.  Locke served as trustee for the Pacific School of Religion and in 2012 was the acting president of the school. During Summer Session, he is teaching Speaking Truth to Power: The Minister as Public Theologian.


July 17: John Shelby Spong | Watch Here

Judas Iscariot: Did He Really Exist?  Was He a Person or a Symbol?  Why Anti-Semitism roots in this Character

Watch lecture video here.

The person of Judas, called Iscariot, is normally portrayed as the anti-hero of the Christian movement.  He is painted in dark, sinister colors and his name has become a synonym for betrayal.  When does he enter the Christian story?  Is it possible that he is a literary character and not a real person?  In this lecture I will examine this character biblically and historically.  I will note his entry into the Christian story, trace the growth of the Judas tradition and examine the role he has played in the history of Anti-Semitism.  Finally, I will discuss why I do not think he ever existed.

John Shelby SpongJohn Shelby Spong has been an ordained priest and an elected bishop of the Episcopal Church for 54 years.  As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North america, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. He has authored 82 books which have sold over a million copies, including: A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his autobiography, Here I Stand. During Summer Session, he is teaching Re-Claiming the Bible in a Post-Christian World.


July 24: Bob Johansen | Watch Here

Leaders Make the Future: New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World

We are in a time of accelerating disruptive change. In a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity- traditional leadership skills won’t be enough. How adroit are you at dilemma flipping- turning problems that can’t be solved into opportunities? Can you develop bio-empathy- the ability to learn from and apply the principles of nature in your leadership? Are you able to practice immersive learning- dive into very different-from-you physical and online worlds and learn from them? Dr. Johansen will provide role models, tools, and advice to help you develop these and several other future leadership skills.

Dr. Johansen was one of the first social scientists to study the human and organizational impacts of what came to be called the Internet. He created and led a program on emerging information technologies—now known as the Technology Horizons Program—that continues to be presented by the Institute for the Future, a leading independent nonprofit futures research group where he has served as president and distinguished fellow. Johansen works with top leaders across business, government, and nonprofit organizations, conducting workshops that encourage thoughtful consideration of questions such as: What are the leadership skills that will be needed to thrive in the future, given the external future forces of the next decade? A social scientist with an interdisciplinary background, Johansen holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, as well as an M.Div. degree with a focus on world religions from Crozer Theological Seminary. His books include: Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain Age (now in 2nd edition) and Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present.


July 31: Vivian Chavez | Watch Here

Cultural Humility, Moving, & Breathing Awareness

Cultural humility refers to a lifelong commitment to self-reflection, redressing power imbalances, and developing and maintaining mutually respectful dynamic partnerships based on mutual trust.  From a cultural humility perspective, the most serious barrier to culturally relevant teaching and leadership development is not a lack of knowledge of the details of any given cultural orientation but structural and interpersonal relationship issues including the failure to develop a respectful attitude toward diverse points of view.  This event will introduce the concept of cultural humility and through movement & breathing awareness engage with what it means.  The goal is to create a safe space for dialogue and practice.  Attention will be paid to the body/mind connection as an important nexus for diversity teaching & learning. Professional training institutions, community organizations, and schools of many disciplines have used the principles of cultural humility in their work to influence the content of interpersonal relationship and systems change.  

Vivian Chavez, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University. Her scholarship is partially informed by her standpoint as a woman of color and concerns the mind/body split characteristic of higher education. Doctor Chavez is a community organizer with extensive media advocacy and global health experience. She has traveled extensively and her courses infuse an international dimension to health promotion and disease prevention. Most recently she presented at the Medical Education for the 21 Century Conference on Teaching Health Equity in Havana, Cuba. She is coeditor of a leading textbook Prevention is Primary: Community Strategies for Wellbeing and is a registered yoga teacher. Her courses focus on solutions, resiliency and common values. With a passion for innovative pedagogy, Vivian teaches non-violence, embodied leadership and creative expression. Most recently she used a Community Based Participatory Research methodology to produce the book Drop That Knowledge: Youth Radio, Learning and Culture with Elizabeth Soep. During Summer Session 2012, she is teaching Community Organizing for Health & Social Justice.

What is cultural humility and why do we need it? [video]


August 7: Devin Zuber | Watch Here

Sermons in Stones: American Environmental Thought and Swedenborgian Nature-Mysticism

While many know of John Muir and his iconic battle to preserve the Yosemite wilderness, few recall how Muir's Sierra Club—that seminal forerunner of modern-day environmentalism--began in the art studio of William Keith, a Swedenborgian landscape painter. This talk excavates the hidden presence of Swedenborgian thought behind the history of American environmentalism, from Johnny Appleseed's early proto-conservation on the Ohio frontier to the circle of Swedenborgian artists and writers in the background of the Sierra Club at the close of the 19th century. Muir's tendency to view nature as a sacred script -- "sermons in stones," as he ecstatically wrote about the Sierra Nevada mountains—will be situated in relation to Swedenborgian concepts of "correspondence" that were part of the aesthetic vocabularies of Muir's Swedenborgian friends in Berkeley and San Francisco. Exploring these ideas can help us better understand the ways we continue to locate spirituality and authenticity in our contemporary experiences of the wild.

Devin ZuberDevin Zuber, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies. Dr. Zuber centers his inquiries in literary aesthetics, hermeneutics, and cultural history, which includes the environment as special zone of engagement. His scholarly interests include exploring the different ways people have imagined and constructed their relationship to the environment through various practices of cultural representation. He is also a Swedenborgian specialist, and particularly interested in the legacy of Swedenborg's thought in Romanticism. His work has appeared in Religion and the Arts,
American Studies, and Variations, and he is presently completing a book on Swedenborg's contribution to American environmental aesthetics. During Summer Session 2012, he is teaching Enviromentalism in American Religion and Culture.


Listen to 2011 Tuesday Night Talks:
Mary Hunt
Debra Haffner
Yvette Flunder
Angel Mendez-Montoya
Rosemary Radford Ruether


Special Conversation w/ Bishop Spong and Others:  Can Liberal Christianity be Saved? | Watch Here

Wednesday, July 18, 4:00-5:30pm, Bade Museum

Perhaps you saw the op-ed piece in the New York Times on Sunday — Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved, by Ross Douthat.

Douthat’s column presents another crystallizing opportunity for the mainline church to articulate the value of a progressive Christian Gospel.  Let’s not miss it.

Douthat began his column with a reference to the groundbreaking work of Bishop John Shelby Spong, who just happens to be on the PSR campus this week teaching a summer school class.  Bishop Spong has generously agreed to participate in a public conversation in response to Douthat’s piece on Wednesday afternoon, July 18, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., in PSR’s Badè Museum.

Bishop Spong will be joined in that discussion by other panelists, including Dr. David Hollinger, Professor of History at UC Berkeley.  Dr. Hollinger was recently interviewed by the Christian Century on what the mainline church actually achieved in the 20th century.

John Shelby SpongJohn Shelby Spong has been an ordained priest and an elected bishop of the Episcopal Church for 54 years.  As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North america, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. He has authored 82 books which have sold over a million copies, including: A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his autobiography, Here I Stand. During Summer Session, he is teaching Re-Claiming the Bible in a Post-Christian World.

David Hollinger is Preston Hotchkis Professor of History at UC Berkeley.  Dr. Hollinger was recently interviewed by the Christian Century on what the mainline church actually achieved in the 20th century.




Film Showing: Tell Me Something I Can't Forget

Wednesday, July 18, Mudd Hall 102, 7:00-9:00pm
Free and open to the public

LeftOn Wednesday evening, July 18, there will be a showing of the internationally award-winning film, Tell Me Something I Can't Forget, followed by a discussion of using writing to empower the silenced.

The film features the Chicopee Writers' Workshop in Massachusetts, a project designed to give economically disadvantaged women the opportunity to confront their difficulties and develop their talents through creative writing. Using verite footage, interviews and narrative sequences, this moving film reflects the diversity of the group and the direct, honest format of the workshop. Taking its structure from the writers' work -- poetry, narrative pieces, short works of fiction and journal entries -- Tell Me Something I Can't Forget examines the role of creativity in everyone's life. Directed by Diane Garey and Lawrence Hott.

We will be joined by Mary Tuchscherer, founder of VoiceFlame supporting women writers in Malawi, and author of Nda Ku Ona / I See You with My Heart an anthology of women's stories in Malawi, Africa and North America.


Film Showing: Love Free or Die

Wednesday, August 8th, PSR Campus, room TBD, 7:00-9:00pm
Free and open to the public

Love Free or Die is about a man whose two defining passions are in direct conflict: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom. His consecration in 2003, to which he wore a bullet-proof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since. Love Free or Die follows Robinson from small-town churches in the New Hampshire North Country to Washington’s Lincoln Memorial to London’s Lambeth Palace, as he calls for all to stand for equality – inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history. Directed by Macky Alsto, and winner of the Special Jury Prize for documentary at Sundance 2012.


Weekly Receptions

Mondays, July 9 - August 7, Mudd Hall Lobby, 1:00pm
Free and open to all

cocktail-partyEvery Monday during Summer Session at 1:00 we invite Summer Session attendees
to gather together with PSR students, faculty, administrators, and
staff for fellowship, refreshments, and good conversation. If you've
never been to Summer Session before, you can take this chance to get
oriented; if you're a long-time Summer Session participant, come and
share your love of the school with new visitors!


Prospective Student Information Lunches

Wednesday, July 11th and Wednesday, July 25th, Bade Museum, Holbrook Hall, 1:15-2:30pm
Free, RSVP

Thinking about attending seminary or pursuing graduate studies in theological education? These lunches are for you.  Meet Pacific School of Religion’s admissions staff, current students and administrators.  Learn more about PSR’s programs of study and community life.  RSVP to or sign-up during the Summer Session Monday Mixers. Lunch is free. Be our guest!


Worship & Spiritual Life

PSR Chapel of the Great Commission, 1798 Scenic Avenue
Free and open to the public


Tuesday/Thursday Mornings, 8:30-8:55am
Morning Prayer
(ecumenical and interfaith) is offered by PSR every Tuesday and Thursday during Summer Session from 8:30 a.m. to 8:55 a.m.

Wednesdays, 7:00pm
Taize Prayer
(candlelight prayer and song) is offered every Wednesday at 7:00pm by New Spirit Community Church

Sundays, 11:00am
Service of Holy Communion (ecumenical) is offered Sunday mornings at 11:00am by New Spirit Community Church

Individual appointments for pastoral counseling are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with the pastor of New Spirit Community Church, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Metropolitan Community Churches.

For information on services or for appointments contact Rev. Jim Mitulski ( or look for him in the New Spirit cottage by the Scenic Ave. parking lot.

Contact Donnel Miller-Mutia (, 510/849-8257) for referrals to other local pastors, or check out this list of local denominational resources.


Concert: Unveiling Our Future with Steve Seskin

Saturday August 4, 7:00pm at New Spirit Community Church

Steve Seskin is a successful songwriter who has written seven number one songs, including Grammy-nominated "Grown Men Don't Cry" and "Don't Laugh At Me," winner of NSAI Song of the Year and Music Row Magazine Song of the Year in 1999. "Don't Laught at Me" was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and became the impetus for the Operation Respect/Don't Laugh at Me project, a curriculum designed to teach tolerance in schools.

Tickets are $15-$25 or more, sliding scale. Benefit Concert for New Spirit Community Church at 1798 Scenic Ave Berkeley, CA 94709.


Art Exhibit:  Shedding Light on the Layers of a Lamp: Creation, Production, and Symbolism at Tell en-Nasbeh

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, Holbrook Hall, 10:00am-3:00pm
Free and open to the public

Ancient LamThrough Fall 2012, the Badè Museum at the GTU will host Shedding Light on the Layers of a Lamp: Creation, Production, and Symbolism at Tell en-Nasbeh. This show is the product of the joint venture between the Badè Museum and the Doug Adams Gallery, entitled Mining the Collection, in which the Badè Museum curators work with a resident artist at the Doug Adams Gallery to explore the Tell en-Nasbeh collection together, sharing a variety of ideas and concepts, and creating two exhibits that revolve around a shared interest in a particular aspect of the collection. The Doug Adams Gallery exhibit is entitled "Dimensions of Dark," featuring the work of Cathy Richardson.

"Archaeologists can learn a lot about the activity areas of an ancient site based on the specific findspots of lamps. Lamps offer incomparable insight into the varying levels of artistic skills and production in antiquity. Yet, at a deeper level, lamps also attest to the importance of cultural style and to the connection tangible objects can have with ideological and spiritual beliefs within a specific culture and social group...."

Visitors to the Badè can also enjoy the ongoing "Behind the Scenes" exhibit and the permanent display about the archaeology of Tell en-Nasbah.


Exhibition and Lecture: The Night Sky

Thursday, July 12, Doug Adams Gallery, Holbrook Hall, 6:00-8:00pm
Free and open to the public

Please join us for this interdisciplinary look at "The Night Sky", with references to celestial aspects of darkness and light. Three speakers will ponder "The Night Sky" through scientific, literary and visual lenses, against the backdrop of Cathy Richardson's "Dimensions of Dark" exhibition in the Doug Adams Gallery.

Catherine Richardson grew up near the Moors and Dales of Yorkshire England and attended Art College in London for her BFA. The natural world has always provided poetic intrigue for her, and she has used painting, sculptural installations and drawings as a platform to explore various ways of expressing the phenomenology of place. After graduating with an MFA from John F Kennedy’s Arts and Consciousness program, Catherine was awarded the Sonoma County Emerging Artist Award and twice nominated for the prestigious Eureka Fellowship. She shows in galleries in the Bay Area and is represented by Hammerfiriar Gallery in Healdsburg California.

Devin Zuber is an assistant professor for American Studies, Literature and Swedenborgian Studies at the Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Dr. Zuber received his PhD at City University of New York, where he was awarded the alumni and faculty award for most distinguished dissertation for 2009-2010. Before coming to Berkeley, Devin was the in-residence Eccles fellow for American Studies at the British Library in London, and taught for three years as an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Osnabrueck in northern Germany.

In 1999 Mr. Ben Burress joined the staff at the new Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California as Project Coordinator for the Lockheed-Martin Solar-B Focal Plane Package Education/Public Outreach program. Mr. Burress has also developed and implemented a solar exhibit, designed and conducted astronomy classes for elementary and middle school students visiting Chabot, researched and produced interpretive materials for Chabot exhibits, kiosks, and displays, and developed online content, simulations, and interactives for the Chabot website. Burress earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, with an Astronomy Minor, from Sonoma State University. He is currently an astronomer and content developer at Chabot Space & Science Center.


Art Exhibit: Earthen Spirit by Yisrael K. Feldsott

Thursday, June 28th through Friday, September 21st 2012 at the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library

An exhibit of works by Yisrael K. Feldsott, Earthen Spirit, will be on display in the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library from June 28 to September 21. From his studio in Bolinas, Feldsott creates works that represent his deep journey into spiritual life and healing. The opening reception followed by a conversation between the artist and art historian Peter Selz will take place on Thursday, June 28, from 5 to 6:30 pm in the library.

The exhibition is made possible by the Jane Dillenberger Fine Arts Endowment Fund.

For additional information about the artist, please visit his website and the Paul Mahder Gallery.

For more information about this exhibit, contact Caryl Woulfe at 510/649-2541.

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We reserve the right to change course descriptions, instructors, dates and hours of instruction, meeting places, and prices. In the event of a conflict between printed material and information on this Web site, the information on this Web site takes precedence. Courses that have been cancelled due to low enrollment may be absent from this list. Please contact the Summer Session Office for any questions regarding cancelled courses. Before registering please ensure that you have read the information included on the Registration and Logistics page, including information about refunds.