Past Lectures

RobinThe inaugural Lectureship event brought the Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers to Normal in October, 2010. Dr. Meyers is Senior Minister at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, in Oklahoma City, and a Professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University, and author of six books, including Saving Jesus from the Church. The weekend began with a luncheon for local clergy, followed by a free public lecture, “JESUS:  Galilean Sage or Supernatural Savior?” On Saturday he led a workshop on “THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH:  Raising the Body by Corrupting the Empire.”

Interfaith Amigos Lecture 2012The Interfaith Amigos headlined our next Lectureship event in April 2012. “Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman were brought together by the events of 9/11. Since then, they have brought their message of deep hope and profound possibilities for healing person and planet to audiences in the United States, Israel-Palestine and Japan.” Events included the Amigos speaking at the Friday evening services at both Moses Montefiore Temple and the Bloomington Islamic Center, in addition to a Saturday workshop and free public lecture, and leading the Sunday morning service at New Covenant Community.

Sister SimoneSister Simone Campbell was our third Lectureship speaker in November 2013. Campbell has served as Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney, and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues, and is known best for her organization of and participation in the “Nuns on the Bus” tour, which traveled through nine states during the 2012 presidential campaign highlighting the struggles of the poor and elderly.  Their summer 2013 “Nuns on the Bus” tour – 6500 miles through 15 states – brought awareness to common sense, ethical immigration reform. At numerous events during her three days with us, Campbell talked about faith, and how it can move us to achieve universal justice.

Stephen and RubenIn April, 2015 we hosted the Jesus Seminar on the Road, a weekend seminar featuring Professors Stephen Patterson and Ruben Rene Dupertuis as they explored “The Other Bible: Christianity Beyond the Canon.” Out of the hundreds of texts produced by early Christians in the first few centuries, a relatively small number eventually landed in the New Testament. Why? How did the New Testament come to be? What happened to the texts that were left out? And what might they tell us about the ideas that arose in early Christian circles and that thrived in the earliest years of Christianity? These and other questions were addressed with over 100 participants during this informative weekend event.

Brian McLaren joined us for a weekend in April, 2016. His public lecture on Friday night previewed his latest book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian. On Saturday he offered a timely workshop on “Healing a Fractured World,” which helped us consider how to remain active, compassionate, and loving in a time of bigotry and xenophobia.

In September, 2018 we hosted another Jesus Seminar on the Road weekend event featuring Dr. Arthur Dewey and Dr. Celene Lillie, who shared about “The Political Jesus.” The Jesus of history resisted the political and social realities of his day. Early Christians did the same. Neither one was necessarily successful in their aims, but what do we know about their attitudes toward the economy, immigrants, and war? How did Jesus and emerging Christ communities express concerns for justice and peace? Looking at the world today, what would they say about American politics?