Intersect: Conference On Science & Spirituality, Christ Church, 7/27 & 7/28

“Intersect,” a conference on science and spirituality, takes place at Telluride’s Christ Church Friday and Saturday July 27 and July 28. The event, moderated by Dr. Pat Bailey and Teresa Westman, features dynamic speakers (bios below) and discussion, related activities, food and drink. All are welcome. Tickets, $99 available at the door.

The great divide between science and religion that existed yesterday and remains in place today does a great disservice to both disciplines.

“‘Spirit’ comes from the Latin word ‘to breathe.’ What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word ‘spiritual’that we are talking of anything other than matter (including the matter of which the brain is made), or anything outside the realm of science. On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual…,” wrote cosmic sage Carl Sagan just before his death in 1996.

In the prologue to his book, “The Universe in a Single Atom,” the Dalai Lama had this to say, a variation on Sagan’s theme.

“I believe that spiritually and science are different but complimentary investigative approaches with the same greater goal, of seeking the truth. . . . Moreover, through a dialogue between the two disciplines, I hope both science and spirituality may develop to be of better service to the needs and well-being of humanity.”

“I think that both of those goals, truth and wellbeing, define what it means to me to be a spiritual leader, and I believe that both the discipline of science and the path of spirituality can serve those goals,” said Dr. Pat Bailey, pastor, Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church.

In that, umm, spirit, Christ Church hosts Telluride’s first ever conference on science and spirituality. “Intersect” is open to all. The event, which takes place Friday and Saturday July 27 and July 28, includes discussion, activities, food and drink. Dr. Bailey and Teresa Westman moderate.

Prior to the weekend event, on Thursday, July 26, 9 a.m., Bailey and Dr. Matt Segall will lead a discussion at Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library based on the book “The Universe in a Single Atom,” offered by the Library for a community read.

“I find it exhilarating to consider that my truth is not the TRUTH in any absolute or final, last-word sense; none of our truths are. Exhilarating because it allows me to ever be open to the more that is always emerging in our universe, including in our own consciousness. Exhilarating also because, while I understand that science and spirituality are different investigative approaches, I am increasingly finding certain intersects that I think will serve both, and I increasingly am hearing about those intersects from scientists as well. That is one of the Dalai Lama’s main points. The subtitle to his book is ‘The Convergence of Science and Spirituality”,” explains Bailey, who continues:

“In my own spiritual community, Telluride’s Christ Church, we try to create safe space for this conversation and convergence. Rather than gathering around a common creed, we gather around a common journey: life’s journey, which by its very nature is both material and spiritual. We believe that to do so expands both our understanding and compassion, which are both necessary for the deeper consciousness that we are capable of.

“That is why we thought it important to offer and resource the Intersect Conference for the wider Telluride community. That is also why we sought to bring together such a great group of presenters who understand the breadth and height and depth of thought on the topics. I hope you will consider attending the conference and engaging in the conversation.”

Intersect, presenters:

Rev. Dr. Pat Bailey is pastor of Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1987. Sixteen years of Dr. Bailey’s service in ministry was as a chaplain in the U.S. Army and he is an Iraq War Veteran.  Dr. Bailey holds a Master of Divinity from Columbia Seminary, a Masters in comparative religion from Emory University, and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Hismain professional interests are interfaith spirituality, evolutionary consciousness, nature spirituality, and accompanying others in spiritual community.

Drew Dellinger, Ph.D. is an internationally known speaker, poet, writer, and teacher whose keynotes and poetry performances—which address ecology, justice, cosmology, and interconnectedness—have inspired minds and hearts around the world.

Dellinger’s research, writing, and speaking on Martin Luther King Jr. and interrelatedness has been influential in recovering and highlighting ecological and cosmological dimensions of Dr. King’s philosophy.

Dellinger has been described as “a national treasure,” by Joanna Macy; “a deep and courageous poet” by Alice Walker; and as “one of the most creative, courageous and prophetic voices of his generation,” by Cornell West.

Dr. John Hausdoerffer is Dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability at Western State Colorado University and co-founder of the Mountain Resilience Coalition. His books “Catlin’s Lament: Indians, Manifest Destiny” and the “Ethics of Nature and Wildness: Relations of People and Place”​ focus on the history and future of post-colonial cultural and ecological resilience. He is currently co-editing a new book, “​What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be?”

Matthew T. Segall, PhD, teaches courses on process-relational thought and German Idealism for the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. His last course course at CIIS was ‘Process and Difference in the Pluriverse,’ which applied process-relational metaphysics to the present social, political, and ecological crises. He has published articles on a wide-array of topics, including philosophy, Gaia theory, religious studies, psychedelics, and architecture, and his most recent book is titled Physics of the World-Soul: The Relevance of Alfred North Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to Contemporary Scientific Cosmology (2016). He blogs regularly at footnotes2plato.com

Brian Thomas Swimme, Ph.D., is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), in San Francisco, where he teaches evolutionary cosmology to graduate students in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program. He received his Ph.D. (1978) from the department of mathematics at the University of Oregon for work with Richard Barrar on singularity theory, with a dissertation entitled Singularities in the N-Body Problem.

Swimme brings the context of story to our understanding of the 14 billion year trajectory of cosmogenesis.

“Intersect,” in the beginning, a brief history of the conference:

The Isthmus Institute was founded by Dr. James Hall and a group of other psychologists and theology professors in 1984. Dr Hall was a prominent psychiatrist — a Jungian analyst, a lecturer, an expert on dream analysis and the author of six books and numerous articles. His curriculum vitae ran eight pages. His psychiatric practice was among the largest in Dallas and he had a substantial reputation in the world of Jungian analysis, an approach to psychology that explores the unconscious using dreams and myths, among other tools. The mission of the Isthmus Institute was the examination of science and spirituality. Although Isthmus was based in Dallas and had connections with UT Dallas it conducted independent national and international conferences on such topics.

One of the members of Christ Church’s congregation was a founding member of the Isthmus Institute.

Westman explains:

“Christ Church received a generous donation of books, videos, and materials from the Isthmus Institute a few years ago. The Institute had a history or producing quality programming around the synergies of science and religion. After lots of discussion about how we might best support the current conversation about the intersection of science and spirituality going forward, (cosmology, consciousness, ecology, sustainability, etc), we decided to try a small two-day conversational conference this summer. Pat Bailey has been a leading voice on the subject since the beginning. I am also involved as Christ Church’s Spiritual Resources Coordinator. Our hope is to crawl before we walk, or run. The conference may be an every-other-year endeavor . . . . We’ll see how it goes. The conversation is consistent with the larger mission of Christ Church to be a space where people on their own spiritual journeys –of whatever stripe – can come together in dialogue, conversation, and support.”

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