Sundays 9 – 10 AM

Gatherings include viewing short videos and lively discussions.

You can participate either in-person or via Zoom.   All participants will have an enhanced experience by being able to see and hear each other, via an Owl Labs 360-degree view video camera/speaker/microphone!

2024 Schedule of Topics

February 4 – March 3: Contemplative Vision: Awakening to Beauty, Truth, and Goodness

As we enter the Lenten and Easter Seasons, we’ll watch and discuss videos from a conference put on by Contemplative Outreach in 2007 featuring Father Richard Rohr and Father Thomas Keating, two renowned teachers of contemplative spirituality.  Richard Rohr is a prolific author and speaker who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Thomas Keating, who died in 2018, was a Trappist monk known as one of the principal developers of Centering Prayer, a contemporary method of contemplative prayer.  Contemplation is the well from which all our action in doing justice flows.  It keeps the fire of God’s love burning and inhibits our burning out.

YouTube videos of the conference

March 10 & 17 – New Member Inquiry – Leaders of different ministries at Immanuel will share about the various ways we seek to be God’s hands and feet in the world with anyone who desires to learn more and perhaps become a member of the congregation.  Email Pastor Mark if you’re interested in participating.

March 24 & 31 No Class for Palm Sunday (joint procession around Raymond Park with other are congregations) and Easter Sunday

April 7 (no class)

April 14 – May 12: Continuing Contemplative Vision Conference videos

Past Sessions:

January 28 – An Ethics of Dust, Luke A. Powery: Rev. Dr. Luke Powery dives into the issues of race through a theology of dust, challenging listeners to think beyond our racial identities and acknowledge our need for one another.    Watch Luke Powery’s TheoEd talk

January 21 – Creating God in Our Image, Lydia Muñoz: Executive Director of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry of the UMC, Rev. Dr. Muñoz argues that worship spaces and the way we behave in them have been largely shaped by whiteness and calls for more authentic liturgy in worship.  Watch Lydia Munoz TheoEd talk

January 14 – Four Words that Change Everything, Lisa Sharon Harper: In memory of her great-grandmother Leah Ballard who lived in slavery, Lisa Sharon Harper preaches the good news of God’s liberation.  Watch Lisa Sharon Harper’s TheoEd talk

January 7 –  Money, Wealth, and the Bible: Former financial analyst and professor of Hebrew Bible, Dr. Roger S. Nam, walks his listeners through the ways the Bible conceptualizes wealth, from God’s covenant with Abraham to the teachings of Jesus, and challenges us to acknowledge the differences between ancient economies and our own.

Watch Dr. Nam on YouTube

December 3rd – 31st: The “Circles of Trust” invite us into deeper contemplation of the dynamic between our inner lives and our outer bearing in the world. Expanding on the principles and practices developed by Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, “Circles of Trust” offers insight and guidance for all who seek to map an inner journey toward wholeness, to live a more authentic, meaningful and resilient life.  We will watch and discuss a series of 5 minute videos.

A link to the videos

November 26 – Otis Moss III, By Any Green Necessary – In this passionate talk, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III presents innovative, inclusive, and environmentally conscious ways the church can partner with God in bringing about community transformation.

View Otis Moss III on YouTube

November 19 – Brian McClaren – Faith After Fundamentalism – Through reflections on his own fundamentalist upbringing and faith journey, Brian McLaren encourages listeners to continue growing in their faith in a way that allows them to embrace where they have come from and be gentle with their past selves.

View Brian McLaren on YouTube

November 12 – Making A Land Acknowledgement – discussion of a recent article in The Christian Century, My Land Acknowledgment: My family owns a residential plot in suburban Chicago. I decided to find out what used to be there, by Ben Norquist, a researcher for Churches for Middle East Peace, Wheaton College, and independent scholars.  pdf of My Land Acknowledgment

September 24 thru November 5 – Six Session Book Discussion – Second Thoughts on the Second Coming, by Ronald J. Allen & Robert D. Cornwall

September 17, 2023 – Dr. Jennifer Carlier: “Finding God in the Basement”

In this moving testimony of her own experience with addiction, Dr. Carlier implores faith leaders to practice vulnerability and brokenness in the church sanctuary so that all may feel welcome in that space.   Watch Dr. Carlier on Youtube

September 10, 2023 – Rev. Jim Wallis: “Crossing the Color Line”

Reflecting on his own experiences growing up in segregated Detroit, Rev. Wallis provides a brief history of racism in the United States and makes an impassioned religious argument against structural racism and White Christian nationalism.   Watch Jim Wallis on Youtube

5/14 & 5/21 – Leaders of Immanuel will be sharing about the congregation’s ministries with persons interested in becoming members, or anyone who is curious.  [Note: We hope to do another session Fall of 2023]

5/7/23 – Compass Podcast conversation in which Rev. Dr. Mark Teasdale helps us adopt a healthy understand of the Christian ideas of evangelism and salvation.

Mark Teasdale is E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He is ordained in the United Methodist Church, and is the author of Evangelism for Non-Evangelists, Methodist Evangelism, American Salvation AND, most recently, Participating in Abundant Life.     View interview of Professor Mark Teasdale on Youtube

4/23 & 30/23 – Christianity and Its Future: Diana Butler Bass and Elizabeth Schrader Polczer

We’ll take 2 weeks to watch and discuss the video of this engaging conversation that took place in Goodson Chapel at Duke University on October 16, 2022. Dr. Diana Butler Bass, who received her doctorate in Religious Studies from Duke, is an award-winning speaker and widely-acclaimed commentator on religion and contemporary spirituality. She was in conversation with Elizabeth Schrader Polczer, doctoral candidate in Religious Studies at Duke and the 2022-23 Anne Firor Scott Public Scholarship Fellow.  Watch Dr. Bass interview on Youtube

3/26/23 – The Right Rev. Robert Wright – The Leadership that Love Demands

Bishop Wright challenges his listeners to think of leadership as a “delivery system for love” and provides insights into how to develop the leadership skills necessary to best love our neighbors. The Right Rev. Robert Christopher Wright was elected June 2, 2012 as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.  Watch Bishop Wright on Youtube

3/19/23 – Dr. Kristen Du Mez – Confronting Our Histories

Dr. Du Mez describes her process of studying the history of White evangelicalism for her best-selling book, “Jesus and John Wayne,” and challenges her listeners to dig deeper into and be honest about our own religious histories. Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a New York Times bestselling author and Professor of History and Gender Studies at Calvin University. She holds a PhD from the University of Notre Dame and her research focuses on the intersection of gender, religion, and politics.    Watch Dr. Du Mez on Youtube

3/12/23 – Dr. Gary Mason – Jesus and Religious Ethnic Nationalism

In this moving talk, Dr. Mason walks his listeners through a history of what he calls “toxic religion and toxic politics” and then proposes a way to reframe our understanding of religious violence by looking to the eternal kingdom of Jesus. Gary Mason, is a Methodist Minister, and holds a PhD from the school of Psychology at the University of Ulster. He was also awarded an honorary Doctorate in Divinity for his role in peace building in Ireland, from Florida Southern College. He completed his theological studies at Queens University and holds a Bachelor’s in Business Studies from the University of Ulster.    Watch Dr. Gary Mason on Youtube

3/5/23 – Deanna Van Buren – What a World Without Prisons Could Look Like

Deanna Van Buren designs restorative justice centers that, instead of taking the punitive approach used by a system focused on mass incarceration, treat crime as a breach of relationships and justice as a process where all stakeholders come together to repair that breach. With help and ideas from incarcerated men and women, Van Buren is creating dynamic spaces that provide safe venues for dialogue and reconciliation; employment and job training; and social services to help keep people from entering the justice system in the first place. “Imagine a world without prisons,” Van Buren says. “And join me in creating all the things that we could build instead.”  See Deanna’s Ted Talk on Youtube

All Sundays in February – Book Study of Valarie Kaur’s See No Stranger

We will watch some videos to introduce the main concepts so you don’t have to read the book to participate, but it will deepen your learning.

How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur — renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer — describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are part of me I do not yet know. Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation.

1/29/23 – Shane Claiborne – An Ordinary Radical

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. From working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta to standing against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Shane lives his life as if Jesus really meant the things he said.

1/22/23 – Valerie Kaur, TED talk: 3 lessons of revolutionary love in a time of rage

What’s the antidote to rising nationalism, polarization and hate? In this inspiring, poetic talk, Valarie Kaur asks us to reclaim love as a revolutionary act. As she journeys from the birthing room to tragic sites of bloodshed, Kaur shows us how the choice to love can be a force for justice. View Valerie Kaur Ted Talk on Youtube

1/8 & 15/23 – Brian McLaren – from Wild Goose Festival July 2022  View Brian at Wild Goose on Youtube

Brian is an author, speaker, and public theologian. He shares about the struggle to live out the Christian faith in these unsettled times. His latest book is Do I Stay Christian?

December 11 & 18 Jim Wallis & Ken Medema at Wild Goose Watch Wallis and Medema on Youtube

Jim Wallis is a globally respected writer, teacher, preacher, and justice advocate who believes the gospel of Jesus must be transformed from its cultural and political captivities. He is a New York Times bestselling author, widely recognized public theologian, renowned speaker, and regular international commentator on ethics and public life. Ken Medema has shared his passion for learning and discovery through storytelling and music with an ever-growing circle of followers around the world. Ken has been performing for almost 50 years in many different venues: churches, conventions, colleges, corporations and more for groups ranging from 50 to 50,000 people.

November 20 -Dr. Yolanda Pierce: “Salvation & Soul Food: Lessons from my Grandmother’s Kitchen

Drawing on her personal experiences growing up in the church and her grandmother’s kitchen, Dr. Yolanda Pierce challenges us to reconsider what it means to be a theologian and what sources of theology we should honor.  Watch Dr. Pierce on Youtube

November 13 – Diana Butler Bass at Wild Goose 2022

Diana is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books.  Diana preaches about how Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha in John 11 might have originally been only about one Mary.  Watch Diana on Youtube

November 6 – Liz Dyer & Sara Cunningham/ Deconstructing and Reimagining Our Faith at Wild Goose Festival 2022

These two women both had to reexamine their belief systems when their gay children came out to them.  Sara Cunningham is an author, activist, and founder of the non-profit organization Free Mom Hugs. Liz Dyer is a writer, speaker, activist and founder of the Mama Bears organization.  Watch Deconstructing and Reimagining Your Faith on Youtube

October 23 & 30 – Healing Our Divides – A Panel of Speakers at Wild Goose Festival, September 2021

Our society has become quite polarized – what do we do about it? Recent times have put a spotlight on the deep divisions in our culture. Much has been written and said that describe racial, political, religious, and other divides, but there is not enough practical information on what we can do about them. How to Heal Our Divides is a project (including a book) highlighting organizations that are taking real action to address these issues and heal divides in effective and practical ways. In this panel Brian McLaren, Alexia Salvatierra, Doug Pagitt, Guthrie Graves-Fitsimmons, Jeff Burns, and Brian Allain will discuss the project and some of the featured organizations. Learn how you can help make the world a better place!  Watch Healing Our Divides

October 16 – History of Reparations (PBS, 12/20) Plus, a June 2021 ABC News Report on Virginia Theological Seminary, which was built by slave labor, making reparations

In 2014, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article for The Atlantic “The Case for Reparations” went viral. Tracing everything from the racial terror of slavery to the rampant housing discrimination of the 20th century, Coates made the case for financial reparations for the descendants of those who were enslaved in the US. However, the argument for reparations extends back much further than 2014 and also has significance beyond the Black American community.  Danielle Bainbridge talks about one of the most controversial topics moving through American politics for over 150 years.

PBS -History of Reparations on YouTube  ABC News on Virginia Theological Seminary Reparations

October 2 & 9:  Richard Rohr, Catholic priest and Franciscan Friar, on Science and Nonduality.

Father Richard will offer a concise history of how Western Christianity once had, soon lost, tried to retrieve, and now is roundly rediscovering its own traditional understanding of unitive consciousness (which was our word for non-dual thinking).   This possibility was brought to the fore by Thomas Merton in the middle of the last century, and is now flowing in many positive directions. It is now our task to rediscover the pre-Enlightenment Christianity that reveled in “the cloud of unknowing”, what some called “learned ignorance”, and the very notion of Mystery itself.  Only when we got into competition with rationalism and secularism, did we adopt this rather recent mania for certitude and a very limited kind of scientific knowing. Almost the entire history of Protestantism emerged in this period, and thus the contemplative mind is an utterly new revelation for them, and frankly for all of us, as we again learn to be comfortable living on the edge of both the knowable and the unknown.

Watch Richard Rohr on YouTube

September 25 – Lisa Sharon Harper on patriarchy, reparations, and orthodoxy.  Lisa is the Chief Church Engagement Officer at Sojourners and has written extensively on shalom and governance, immigration reform, health care reform, poverty, racial and gender justice, climate change, and transformational civic engagement.  Watch Lisa Sharon Harper interview on Youtube

September 11 & 18/22 – A Christian Case for Reparations & Dismantling White Supremacy – Duke L. Kwon & Gregory Thompson, co-authors of Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair

Watch interview of the authors on Youtube

5/29/22 – Dolly Chugh on Fighting Bias Here are also links to talks she has given Google talk – September 2018 University School of Business – August 2020

5/8/22 – The Bible For Normal People – Peter Enns speaks on some of the difficulties of believing in the God of the Bible at the February 2019 TheoEd Talks in Atlanta.  Watch Peter on Youtube

5/1/22 – Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, TheoEd talk: What It Means to be Human – Dean of the Chapel at Spelman College, Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, asks questions core to our faith and humanity, including why it can be hard set limits, embrace rest, and extend grace to ourselves after failures and mistakes. Watch Dr. Neichelle Guidry on Youtube

4/24/22 – Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes,  Inclusion from the beginningIf inclusion is to be meaningful it must be based on the idea that every one and every thing is included from the beginning. Not included in socially constructed hierarchies with allegiance to one political system or another but included in a web of life set forth from the foundations of the earth.  Watch Dr. Barbara Holmes on Youtube

March 20 – April 3  – The History of the Christ (3 sessions) – Father Richard Rohr

3/20/22 – Part One: In this fifteen-minute video, Father Richard explains how a succession of medieval scholars developed a theology around the religious and spiritual intuitions of Saint Francis of Assisi. He highlights how God has always spoken through creation since the beginning of time, and invites viewers into the struggle of understanding the Christ mystery.  Watch Part One on Youtube

3/27/22 – Part Two: In this nine-minute video, Father Richard shows that the Universal Christ is rooted deeply in tradition. He highlights the story of St. Ignatius of Antioch who began using the term “catholic” or “universal” to describe the Christian Church. He highlights what Christianity has lost through the separation of Eastern and Western churches. We need to regain an understanding of “original goodness.” Watch Part 2 on Youtube

4/3/22 – Part Three: In this ten-minute video, Father Richard looks at what was gained and lost in the Protestant Reformation and the challenges for Western religion that come through the Enlightenment. He encourages viewers to try and engage the Universal Christ not just as a rational idea but a participatory reality. Watch Part 3 on Youtube

March 13 – Dr. Chanequa Walker Barnes TheoEd talk: Pathological Whiteness.  Dr. Walker-Barnes is a clinical psychologist, public theologian, and ecumenical minister whose work focuses upon healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression. Watch Dr. Walker Barnes on Youtube

February 27  Father Greg Boyles, founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention ministry in LA. Part 1  Watch Father Greg Boyles

March 6 Father Greg Boyles, founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention ministry in LA. Part 2

February 20  – Rev. Dr. Lauren Winner on “Magnolia Trees and Cardigan Sweaters: Unexpected Metaphors for God”  Watch Lauren Winner

February 6 – Jim Wallis on “Voting Rights is Now a Faith Issue” part 1

February 13 – Jim Wallis on “Voting Rights is Now a Faith Issue” part 2 Watch Jim Wallis on Youtube

January 30 – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, author of “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” speaks on the Big Questions.  Rabbi Sacks was a British Orthodox rabbi and leading philosopher, theologian, author, peer and public figure. He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.  He died in November of 2020 at the age of 72.   Watch Rabbi Sacks on Youtube

January 23 – Nadia Bolz-Weber on “Forgiveness and being Church”.  Watch on Youtube

January 16- Austin Channing Brown on “The Double Sided Pursuit of Racial Justice.”  Watch on Youtube

January 9 – Ted Smith on “Reckless Love Living for Things That Die”. In this provocative talk, Ted Smith, Professor of Preaching and Ethics at Candler School of Theology, considers how and why we are called to devote our lives to things that do not last.  Watch on Youtube