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Will I Meet Evangelicals and Emergents at “Seizing an Alternative” in June?

May 17, 2015

Have you heard of “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization”, a conference, June 4-7, in Pomona, CA? If not, I think you’ll want to at least know about it – see what it’s covering, who will be there, etc.

There are a number of reasons.  To begin, I understand the Evangelical world, having “lived” there to age 45 or so… and I yet follow it enough to know its powerful influence in U.S. culture, politics, environmental issues, etc.  And that influence extends around the globe.  It is tough to accomplish much legislatively, at least on a national level, without some level of Evangelical “buy in” or support.  And lately Evangelicals have been helping to elect many who are not environmentally wise but often oppose important directions we need to go on a national level (as well as other levels). And what about creative solutions, potentially from Evangelicals as well as others, to widely-recognized problems? (Climate change being just a leading one of them.)

If they become so-minded, Evangelicals could offer much more leadership on stewardship of the earth, care for those most affected by ecological disasters that are not always “out of the blue”, etc. Also, Evangelicals, and especially the open and searching among them such as “Emergents”, will here have opportunity to see the intensely earthy and practical side of Process theology and philosophy which can seem too complicated to many.  So I’m hoping I will see them in good numbers at this important and high-powered conference in just a few weeks, although I’m not optimistic… for reasons I won’t go into now.

My main purpose in this post is to strongly encourage anyone to attend who can possibly free a long week-end in early June… or even one day or two, for those living near enough.  Plenary sessions, with internationally known speakers such as Bill McKibben and Indian physicist Vandana Shiva, are free and open to the public.  Single-day registrations are also available.

But even if you can’t come, I think you’ll find it worth your time to look over information about the conference on its website here.  Many professions and academic disciplines are contributing, offering their members and others interested an amazing variety of topics both theoretical and practical.  There are 82 groups (or “tracks”) organized under 12 sections.  That means 82 simultaneous sessions at certain hours of the day… the tortuous aspect being that you can only be in one each session (switching between tracks is allowed but not encouraged).

I was privileged to go to an early planning session for the conference, as an outsider, well over a year ago.  I was impressed that they were working  hard on ways to maximize the practical results of the conference; create effective follow-up and follow-through.  So I expect that this will not be just another feel-good (or perhaps bad) seminar after which everyone goes back to mostly whatever they were doing and little of lasting value happens.  Here will be gathered passionate people who are willing to rattle cages and take action, many in the habit of doing so for a long time already and seeking synergy to multiply their efforts.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2015 10:07 pm

    Hi Howard. Thanks for inviting evangelicals and “emergents” to the Whitehead conference. The emerging church is not something I am all that familiar with, but I get the impression (having just read the wikipedia page) that this movement would get along quite well with process folks.

    I hope to be able to meet you in Claremont in a few weeks. I’m organizing a track in section III on Alienation from Nature called “Re-imagining Late Modernity’s Reductive Monism,” in which I’ll give a talk on Whitehead’s ontological pluralism, as well as giving a talk in another track in section IV Re-envisioning Nature/Re-envisioning Science on the place of religion in human and cosmic evolution. Which of the 80+ tracks are you planning on participating in? Will you be speaking?

    Best,
    Matt

    • May 20, 2015 9:42 pm

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks much for the info. It will be great to meet you! I’ve signed up for Section 6-A, Reimagining and Reinventing the Wisdom Traditions (with Jim Burklo), the Track called Christian Process Theology, Bruce Epperly. It may be that I will visit another track at some point… not sure yet. We’ll figure out a way to be sure to meet over lunch or something!

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