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“Lord, help me to bring my death into my life, lest death take my life away from me.” This prayer from theologian Paul Tillich is a lifelong spiritual task for everyone that becomes an existential goal for those facing terminal illness. Drawing on the narrative of Karen Speerstra’s turn toward death after ten years of treatment for ovarian cancer, Rev. Dr. Herbert Anderson, co-author with Speerstra of The Divine Art of Dying (2014), will examine the choices that enable people to live toward death with more intentionality, purpose, and meaning.
Rev. Dr. Herbert Anderson is a retired professor of pastoral care. He has taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, two Lutheran seminaries, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. In addition, Anderson is Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago where he taught for 15 years. He was on the pastoral staff at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle from 2001-2004.
Anderson is the author or co-author of over 100 articles and 13 books on topics such as death and grief, becoming married, family living, ritual and narrative, empathy, leaving home and living alone, men’s spirituality, care of the dying, suicide, outpatient care, hospitality, and ‘sense and nonsense in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.’ His most recent book, The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying, co-authored with Karen Speerstra, was a 2014 Gold Winner from INDIEFAB. It also received a 2015 Gold Winner award and Best of Small Press from the Nautilus Book Award. In 2015, Anderson was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Congress in Pastoral Care and Counseling at its meeting in San Francisco. Anderson is retired and living in Sonoma, California
Why do some people live out a life full of significance, impact, and meaning, while the rest live a ho-hum life—full of potential, but with no real purpose? Paul Angone, best-selling author and creator of the popular AllGroanUp.com, shares secrets from his hilarious and impactful book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! (2015) on how to uncover your unique Signature Sauce, fail on purpose, and find your calling in the least expected place. If you’ve felt stuck, lost, or confused, this funny and engaging talk is for you.
"Like advice from a wiser, funnier, older brother… Paul Angone’s been there, done that, and wants to save you some pain and some trouble." – Seth Godin, New York Times best seller.
Paul Angone is the best-selling author of 101 Secrets For Your Twenties (2013) and All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! A sought-after national keynote speaker for corporations and universities, he is the creator of AllGroanUp.com—a place for those asking “What now?”—which has been read by millions of people in 190 countries. Angone has been described as one of the leading voices to, and for, the Millennial generation, and has been featured on Bloomberg, Business Insider, the Chicago Tribune, TV morning shows, and hundreds of radio shows and podcasts. He is passionate about helping people get unstuck and find their Signature Sauce.
Salma Kamlesh Arastu will take her audience on a short journey through vignettes which will unfold strong spiritual aspects in her work and further explain how different cultures are integrated in her art. As an artist, she seeks to foster oneness among different communities and has created a body of work with continuous, lyrical line to express the joy in the universal spirit that unites humanity. Arastu has published four books since 2008 and, in this presentation, will focus on her latest book, Unity of Sacred Texts and Symbols (2015), and on her new project, "Unity Mandalas."
Born into the Hindu tradition in her native India, and embracing Islam later on, Salma Kamlesh Arastu has enjoyed the beauty of these two distinctive traditions first hand. At birth, she was given the life-defining challenge of a left hand without fingers. Through her belief in the unity of an all-encompassing God, Arastu was able to transcend barriers of religion, culture, and the cultural perceptions of handicaps. She uses her life experiences and her pain to bridge the solidifying divisions between different faiths that are so prevalent in our culture today. As a woman, a Hindu, a Muslim, and a multi-cultural artist, Arastu sees a unique opportunity to create harmony, peace, and understanding through the expression of The Universal in her paintings, sculptures, and poetry.
Arastu (whose maiden name is Kamlesh Hingorani) is a painter, sculptor, and poet from Berkeley, California. As a visual artist, she has almost 40 solo shows to her credit and has won several awards, including East Bay Community's fund for artists in 2012 and 2014, and the City of Berkeley artist’s grant in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Arastu’s three sculptures are in public places and she has five books published with her poems and paintings, including Dard Ki Seedhiyan in Hindi (1981), The Lyrical Line: Embracing All and Flowing (2008), Turning Rumi: Singing Verses of Love, Unity and Freedom (2012), Celebration of Calligraphy (2014), and Unity of Sacred Texts and Symbols.
The Other Einstein (2016) presentation will explore the life of Mileva Maric, who was Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself, and the manner in which personal tragedy inspired Mileva’s possible role in the creation of Einstein’s “miracle year” theories. This will include a discussion of how Mileva’s story was, in many ways, the story of many intelligent, educated women whose own aspirations and contributions were marginalized, or even hidden, in favor of their spouses—making The Other Einstein both a historical tale and a modern one.
Marie Benedict practiced as a commercial litigator in New York City before pursuing her passion for unearthing historical stories of women through fiction. The Other Einstein is the first in a planned series of novels which will share the narratives of women lost to the past. Benedict, who has also written novels under the name Heather Terrell, lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
The causes of youth homelessness are varied. Many young people experience homelessness due to lack of affordable and accessible housing, poverty, neglect, substance abuse, mental health issues, and physical and sexual abuse. Others become homeless due to severe family conflict that grows out of lack of support around sexual orientation and gender expression and identity. A disproportionate number of homeless youth (40%) identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ). Many are living in the streets and vulnerable to exploitation.
Communities have to find creative solutions to LGBTQ youth homelessness. The Host Home model is an ‘outside-the-system’ community and volunteer-based response to youth homelessness. It offers a transformative and intimate approach to providing LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness with homes and support.
Ryan Berg will begin his presentation with a reading from No House to Call My Home (2015) and end with a discussion about the host home model and how it can be applied to communities across the country to best support LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
Ryan Berg is a writer, activist, and program manager for the ConneQT Host Home Program of Avenues for Homeless Youth. His debut book, No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions, won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction, the 2016 National Council on Crime and Delinquency Media for a Just Society Award, and was listed as a Top 10 LGBTQ Book of 2016 by the American Library Association. Berg received the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature and was a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer’s Fellow. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Slate, The Advocate, Salon, Local Knowledge, The Rumpus, and The Sun. Berg has been awarded artist residencies from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He lives in Minneapolis.
Photo Credit: Marc Charbonneau
Since ancient times, storytellers have used their skills to influence the world and even change the course of history. Dennis Brooke will explore examples in this presentation, including biblical, the American Civil War, and the Camino de Santiago. He’ll also share three powerful storytelling techniques that you can use in writing, speaking, or personal relationships.
Dennis Brooke is the former president of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the author of the novel The Last Apostle (2016). He and his wife, Laurie, completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage (“The Way”) in the spring of 2016, walking from the French Pyrenees across Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. Brooke has been published in over two dozen international and local publications on topics ranging from storytelling to wooing your wife. His novel is based on the concept that John, the last apostle of Jesus Christ, is still alive and living in Seattle. Its first printing sold out two weeks before release, and it was a finalist and semi-finalist in several international fiction contests.
Brooke is a former US Air Force officer, who counts standing on the Berlin Wall in its final days as one of the highlights of his life. His work and travel have taken him all over the world, including Sydney, Australia, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Strasbourg, France. Brooke and his wife sold their house, put their remaining possessions in storage, and are now traveling globally. They are avid hikers, kayakers, and bikers who believe you create your own adventures.
Geri Marr Burdman first met Dr. Viktor Frankl, founder of Logotherapy and renowned author of Man's Search for Meaning, in the late 1960s, shortly after she returned from serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia. Profoundly impacted by Frankl's unwavering conviction that the motivating force behind all human behavior is a pursuit of meaning, she actively promotes the principles of Logotherapy in her teaching, counseling, and global health work.
Drawing on her professional background as well as years of cross-cultural and global experiences, Marr Burdman emphasizes the vital importance of seeking purpose and meaning regardless of age, geography, or circumstances. In her presentations, she shares riveting accounts of people around the world who are discovering significance through living authentically and purposefully, even in the midst of change, uncertainty, and chaos.
Geri Marr Burdman, founder of GeroWise® International, is a health promotion and gerontology specialist who offers a unique interdisciplinary and transcultural perspective on our global search for significance. Her books and educational seminars focus on promoting quality and dignity throughout the lifespan.
Marr Burdman earned her PhD at the University of Oregon and has served on the faculties of Case Western Reserve University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Washington. She has presented her work in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, as well as Canada and the U.S. The Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy honored Marr Burdman with a lifetime membership "in recognition of her significant contributions in promoting the work of Viktor Frankl throughout the world." Her most recent books are As We Think…So We Age: Exploring Pathways to Meaningful Aging (2015) and Search for Significance: Finding Meaning in Times of Change, Challenge, and Chaos (2008).
Deep in every family history is a mystery of who we really are. Doreen Carvajal's The Forgetting River (2013) is an unexpected and moving story of an American journalist who unravels her Catholic family's long-buried Sephardic Jewish ancestry in Spain. As Carvajal searches for proof that her family was forced through the Inquisition to convert to Christianity 600 years ago, she moves into a mystical white pueblo on Spain's southern frontier to crack the secret messages left by hidden Jews—an ancient cry from the past. She comes to understand that her family's history flows like a river through time—and that while the truth might be submerged, it is never truly lost.
Doreen Carvajal is a Paris-based, former reporter at The New York Times who has covered a wide range of stories, from tracking a Serbian war criminal to tracing the heirs of art looted during World War II. She applied her own investigative skills to crack her Catholic family's secret mystery of Jewish identity - a journey which led to the Inquisition archives of Madrid and the hidden tombs of her ancestors in Segovia, Spain.
Join authors Rachel Cassandra and Lauren Gucik for a presentation of photos and stories about female street artists in Latin America. They will discuss art as a tool for social change, women's empowerment, and the importance of creating bonds of solidarity across borders. The presentation will include photos of artwork, portraits of women, and stories about their lives as artists. The women included create both legal and illegal work—murals and graffiti. Cassandra and Gucik will also answer questions about the process of interviewing the artists and making the book.
Rachel Cassandra is a writer, designer, and journalist. She's written for Vice, Good, Bitch, and Juxtapoz, and published Women Street Artists of Latin America in 2015.
In his provocative, powerful essays, acclaimed writer and journalist Jeff Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Rough deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, his 2016 book We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington, DC, the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.
Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005), garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He edited the book Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop (2007), and Who We Be: The Colorization of America was released in October 2014 to critical acclaim. It was published in paperback in January 2016 under the new title, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America. Chang’s next project is a biography of Bruce Lee.
Chang has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” by KQED as an Asian Pacific American Local Hero, and by the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts as one of its 2016 YBCA 100 list of those “shaping the future of American culture.” With H. Samy Alim, Chang was the 2014 winner of the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award at Stanford University. He has written for The Guardian, Slate, The Nation, The New York Times, and Mother Jones, among many others. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Chang serves as the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
Photo Credit: Jeremey Keith Villaluz
What do we do when fundamentalist Christianity damages our understanding of compassion and goodness? Memoirist Garrard Conley shares stories from his book Boy Erased, dealing with growing up in a fundamentalist household and attending a conversion therapy program. In the midst of harmful practices and intense bigotry, Conley had to dig deep to find compassion for himself and even for the counselors who harmed him. After over a decade of recovery, he now shares some of his insights on human nature.
Garrard Conley is the author of the memoir Boy Erased (2016), a narrative of surviving ‘ex-gay’ conversion therapy. He has written for Time, Vice, CNN, Buzzfeed, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other publications. Conley’s writing has covered harmful fundamentalist practices and, most recently, the embrace of conversion therapy and gender conformity among some in the political system. He has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, a high school teacher at the American College of Sofia, and currently teaches writing workshops in Brooklyn and New York City. Conley holds a Master’s degree in Literature and Queer Theory.
For more than three years, journalist Daniel Connolly followed a group of Mexican-American teenagers in Memphis, Tennessee, as they made choices about love, work, education, and the meaning of their lives. Their stories serve as a microcosm for a bigger story: roughly one in four young people in America today is a child of immigrants, and the decisions they make will shape our society for decades.
For more than a decade, Daniel Connolly has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for news organizations including The Associated Press in Little Rock, Arkansas, and The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee. An award-winning journalist, he's received support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists, and the Fulbright program. Connolly lives in Memphis and is one of the few reporters in the South who speaks Spanish. He developed his research on Hispanic teenagers into a narrative nonfiction work entitled The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America (2016).
Our current scientific understanding of the cosmos and the evolution of life within it provides a challenging example of the interaction of science with religious beliefs. The universe is 13.8 billion years old and it contains about 100 billion galaxies, each of which contains on the average of 200 billion stars of an immense variety. As these stars live and die, they provide the chemicals necessary for the evolution of life. Life came from stardust. Science sees the dance of the fertile universe, a ballet with three ballerinas: chance, necessity, and fertility. Join former director of the Vatican Observatory Fr. George Coyne, SJ to discuss this history of the evolution of life in the cosmos—a history which may lead us to a deeper understanding of what many secular physicists say themselves about the cosmos: that a loving Creator stands behind it.
Fr. George Coyne, SJ is an astronomer and former director of the Vatican Observatory, heading the observatory's research group based at the University of Arizona in Tucson for nearly 30 years. Since 2012, he has served as the Endowed McDevitt Chair in Physics at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Coyne is the author of Wayfarers in the Cosmos: The Human Quest for Meaning (with Alessandro Omizzolo; 2002), Faith and Knowledge: Towards a New Meeting of Science and Theology (2007), and A Comprehensible Universe: The Interplay of Science and Theology (with Michael Heller; 2008). He earned his PhD in astronomy in 1962 from Georgetown University and completed the licentiate in sacred theology at Woodstock College in 1965 when he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest.
“Evicted is astonishing—a masterpiece of writing and research that fills a tremendous gap in our understanding of poverty. Taking us into some of America’s poorest neighborhoods, Desmond illustrates how eviction leads to a cascade of events, often triggered by something as simple as a child throwing a snowball at a car, that can trap families in a cycle of poverty for years. Beautiful, harrowing, and deeply human, Evicted is a must read for anyone who cares about social justice in this country. I loved it.” – Rebecca Skloot
MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond’s New York Times best-selling book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), draws on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data. This landmark work of scholarship and reportage takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. As Jacob Blumgart of Slate writes, “Desmond’s book manages to be a deeply moral work, a successful nonfiction narrative, and a sweeping academic survey—all while bringing new research to his academic field and to the public’s attention.”
“Desmond is an academic who teaches at Harvard—a sociologist or, you could say, an ethnographer. But I would like to claim him as a journalist too, and one who… has set a new standard for reporting on poverty.” – Barbara Ehrenreich
Matthew Desmond is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography. In 2015, Desmond was awarded his MacArthur “Genius” grant for “revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor and its role in perpetuating racial and economic inequality.”
A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, Desmond is also the author of the award-winning book On the Fireline, co-author of two books on race, and editor of a collection of studies on severe deprivation in America. He has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. The principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector, Desmond’s work has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Photo Credit: Michael Kienitz
What began as an interactive post-holiday plan that puts an emphasis on home cooking and whole foods, the Bon Appétit cleanse has been expanded for the entire year. Following the principle that delicious home-cooked meals are the best way to develop long-lasting healthy eating habits, the recipes in Bon Appétit: The Food Lover’s Cleanse (2015)—most exclusive to the book—can be enjoyed throughout the year using a variety of seasonal ingredients. Food Lover’s Cleanse author, Sara Dickerman, presents healthy, appetizing, and satisfying recipes that support making good eating choices a lasting habit rather than a flash in the pan. In the spirit of the Festival, she will also interrogate what healthy eating means in a broader social context. How can sharing foods with others foster better health habits? How can we work on self-improvement without over-emphasizing the self?
Sara Dickerman couldn't write about foods for good health if she didn't believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of delicious, satisfying eating. (Put the emphasis on eating, not juicing, or brothing, or detoxing, or whatever verb is popular right now.) Beginning in 2011, Dickerman worked with registered dietician Marissa Lippert and Bon Appétit to create a yearly two-week Bon Appétit Food Lover's Cleanse recipe plan, giving readers 140 recipes to enjoy throughout the year.
Before becoming a food writer, Dickerman cooked in restaurants for many years, starting in California at Campanile and Chez Panisse before moving to Seattle where she worked at Le Pichet, The Harvest Vine, and Vios. Cooking in kitchens gave her a respect for ingredients, layered flavors, efficiency, and frugality that has informed her cooking to this day.
Dickerman’s articles have appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Seattle Magazine, The Stranger, Organic Life, Men's Health, and Slate, where her writing won a James Beard Award. She’s also been the restaurant critic for The Stranger, the food editor of Seattle Magazine, and a regular guest on Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW.
Anthony Doerr’s latest novel, runaway New York Times best seller All the Light We Cannot See (2014), is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and finalist for the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. The celebrated prose stylist brings his keen naturalist’s eye and his empathetic engagement with humanity’s largest questions to the parallel stories of Marie, a blind girl living in occupied France, and Werner, a German orphan whose extraordinary mechanical abilities earn him a place among the Nazi elite. The novel was on over a dozen year-end lists, including Barnes & Noble, Slate, NPR’s Fresh Air, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, Kirkus, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor.
“Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” – Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
Since the publication in 2002 of his first story collection, The Shell Collector, Anthony Doerr has been lauded for his lyricism, his precise attention to the physical world, and his gift for metaphor. Tamara Straus, a reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, characterized Doerr’s literary ancestry as a combination of “Henry David Thoreau (for his pantheistic passions) and Gabriel García Márquez (for his crystal-cut prose and dreamy magic realism).”
Nature is also an important theme in Doerr’s novel About Grace (2004), the story of a scientist who flees the country after having a premonition that he causes the accidental death of his baby daughter. Doerr’s memoir Four Seasons in Rome (2007) is a carefully observed account of the year he spent as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, accompanied by his wife and infant twin sons. His second story collection, Memory Wall (2010), features characters from all over the world who are grappling with issues of preservation and extinction, permanence and evanescence.
Doerr’s fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, and is anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He was notified that he won the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters on the day his wife gave birth to newborn twins. He has won the Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American Novelists.
Doerr has lectured at campuses all over the country on originality, the importance of failure, and the role of wonder in contemporary life. He is currently working on two novels, one set in 15th century Europe, and another set in the future. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr now lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
Photo Credit: Todd Meier
Through a selection of short readings, guided writing prompts, and an interactive values clarification exercise, we will explore the meaning of home, and of home-less-ness. Participants will be invited to add to a “Meaning of Home” community art project displayed at various locations throughout Washington, as well as through a digital advocacy website. Josephine Ensign will share her list of “Simple Ways to Help the Homeless,” and a list of resources to learn more about homelessness issues.
Josephine Ensign is a writer and a nurse. She teaches health policy, community health, and health humanities at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has been a nurse for over thirty years, providing health care for homeless and marginalized populations. Her medical memoir Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net (2016) has been named the University of Washington Health Sciences Common Book for academic year 2016-2017.
The intent of A Basic Guide to Understanding the Qur’an (2014) is to make the Qur’an accessible, clear, and easy to understand by all. Ahmad Ereiqat will discuss his book, which allows readers to make intelligent and well-educated judgments about the religion of Islam based on personal knowledge gained from reading and understanding the interpretations of the Qur’an verses.
Ahmad Ereiqat was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. He moved to the United States after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. To provide a better understanding of Islam, Ereiqat has written several articles in local community newspapers about Islam, Muslims, and the role of the mosque in the community. He performed Hajj to Mecca in 2011.
Ereiqat holds a Juris Doctor degree in Law and a BSc in Architectural Engineering. He speaks fluent Arabic and English, and is familiar with the ethics, laws, culture, thought process, and mentality in both the United States and the Middle East. This, coupled with his legal training and engineering background, helped Ereiqat prepare, structure, and present his book about the Qur’an and its message in a unique way, helping readers understand the religion of Islam (complete submission and devotion to God).
Teenage girlhood is special territory, a metaphorical dark woods through which every girl must walk. If the editors of the poetry anthology Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014) could give girls one charm to tuck into their pockets, it would be courage. Poet and young adult author Karen Finneyfrock will share poems from the collection and thoughts on how women and girls can build courage and encourage one another.
Karen Finneyfrock is a poet and novelist. She is the author of two young adult novels: The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door (2012) and Starbird Murphy and the World Outside (2014), both published by Viking Children’s Books. She is one of the editors of the anthology Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls and the author of Ceremony for the Choking Ghost (2010), both released on Write Bloody press.
Finneyfrock is a former writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House and teaches for Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the-Schools program. In 2010, she traveled to Nepal as a cultural envoy through the U.S. Department of State to perform and teach poetry, and in 2011, she did a reading tour in Germany sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.
Photo Credit: Inti St. Clair
Join authors Lauren Gucik and Rachel Cassandra for a presentation of photos and stories about female street artists in Latin America. They will discuss art as a tool for social change, women's empowerment, and the importance of creating bonds of solidarity across borders. The presentation will include photos of artwork, portraits of women, and stories about their lives as artists. The women included create both legal and illegal work—murals and graffiti. Gucik and Cassandra will also answer questions about the process of interviewing the artists and making the book.
Lauren Gucik is an artist, organizer, and food justice activist. She currently serves as the secretary of the Community Advisory Panel at KQED, the Bay Area's public media station. Gucik organizes the Dia de los Muertos Festival of Altars in San Francisco with the Marigold Project and is a lunch lady at Fare Resources. She published Women Street Artists of Latin America in 2015.
The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked a national debate about race and policing. How does our faith call us to respond? Leah Gunning Francis, a seminary dean and activist, was on the frontlines in Ferguson and has gathered the stories of clergy who stepped away from their pulpits and into the streets to call for justice. Come and hear some of their stories from her new book, Ferguson and Faith (2015), and the many ways our faith calls us to action.
Leah Gunning Francis is the author of Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community. From board rooms to book clubs, Ferguson and Faith is being widely read by people who are working to build the kind of communities that are just and hospitable for all. Ferguson and Faith is a collection of stories of courage and hope. Gunning Francis gleaned from these stories seeds of possibilities that, if nurtured, could serve us well into the future. These are the stories that were rarely imaged on television, yet they are integral to the fight for justice in Ferguson and resonate with the struggle for human dignity around the country. Gunning Francis interviewed clergy and young activists who were active in the movement for racial justice in Ferguson and beyond, and wrote the book while working on the frontlines in Ferguson and serving on the faculty at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
Currently, Gunning Francis is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. She has provided pastoral leadership for congregations in Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio, and received numerous awards, including the Candler School of Theology’s G. Ray Jordan Award for excellence in integrating academic study with constructive leadership and service, and the Fund for Theological Education’s Doctoral Fellow Award. Gunning Francis studied at Hampton University, Emory University, and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Visit leahgunningfrancis.com to learn more about her passionate work.
Life does not always turn out like we expected. Sometimes it turns out worse, sometimes better, but mostly just different. How do we survive and ultimately thrive through these changes to live with faith and not fear?
Rabbi Sherre Zwelling Hirsch is inspiring people to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives by giving a modern twist to ancient wisdom: a blend of ancient tradition and modern day applications. After serving for eight years as the first female rabbi of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, she left the walls of the traditional pulpit to bring her voice to a larger, more diverse “congregation.” With the publication of her first book, We Plan God Laughs (2009), and in her role as spiritual consultant to Canyon Ranch properties, Hirsch has become a nationally recognized personality who speaks across the country and frequently appears in the national media as an expert in her field.
Hirsch shares her intimate and friendly nature with people on all kinds of “pulpits,” from the Today Show to small Southern Baptist churches. She has served as a regular guest on Naomi’s New Morning, The Tyra Banks Show, and PBS’s Thirty Good Minutes. Widely known for her enthusiasm, wisdom, and expertise in human relationships, she is the go-to person for outlets as diverse as ABC News, Joan Hamburg Radio, Telepictures, and national YPO conferences. Hirsch also serves as the spiritual life consultant and lecturer for the Canyon Ranch Companies in Arizona and Massachusetts.
Her first book, We Plan, God Laughs: What to Do When Life Hits You Over the Head, reflects a theme in Hirsch’s own life and she expertly guides readers through a spiritual and introspective journey toward reaching their divine potential. Her second book, Thresholds, How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions, was published by Random House in 2015. Rabbi Hirsch lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four children.
Russell Jeung will explore his search for meaning as he considers the continual uprooting of his family, the struggles faced by his refugee neighbors, and the violence of American urban life.
Russell Jeung is Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. He's author of Faithful Generations (2005) and Sustaining Faith Traditions (2012), books on Asian American religion. His spiritual memoir At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus Among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors (2016) recounts his family's six generations in California, as well as his experiences living in the Murder Dubs neighborhood of Oakland, California, with refugees and undocumented residents.
In this talk, Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ will make use of the flow theory of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to help attendees understand the way play and sport participation are related to human flourishing and can even open out onto transcendence and spiritual experiences as these are described in Ignatian, Zen, Confucian, and Taoist spiritual traditions.
Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University where he teaches courses such as Sport and Spirituality and Religion and Sport in a Global Context. Kelly was an all-conference free safety and captain of his college football team and has coached at the high school and college levels. He has lectured internationally about the history and theology of sport, and sport as it relates to human development and spirituality. Kelly has participated in conferences about sport at the Vatican, including the Sport at the Service of Humanity conference in October 2016. He is the author of Catholic Perspectives on Sports: From Medieval to Modern Times (2012) and the editor of Youth Sport and Spirituality: Catholic Perspectives (2015).
Homesickness is our spiritual condition. Far from being a symptom of childhood anxiety or Millennial malaise, Erin Lane argues we have longing in our bones. Drawing upon her book Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe (2015) and her work with Parker J. Palmer’s Center for Courage & Renewal, Lane shares her earnest search for home and the practices that make the ache bearable: as a child of divorce, an accidental pastor’s wife, and a Catholic feminist in the American South.
Erin S. Lane is author of the book Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe and co-editor of the anthology Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith (2013). She works remotely for the Center for Courage & Renewal to develop programs that deepen the leadership formation of people of faith and support healthy congregational life. Confirmed Catholic, raised Charismatic, and married to a Methodist (pastor), Lane has a Masters of Theological Studies from Duke University and is a trained Courage & Renewal retreat facilitator. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Relevant, and Q Ideas. You can follow Lane on Twitter and Instagram @holyhellions or find more of her work at erinslane.com. She wants to live in Seattle when she grows up, but these days she’s putting down roots as a foster parent in Durham, North Carolina.
Our brains are particularly suited to ignoring environmental change and other subjects that are often couched in neutral language and seemingly not immediate. What can help us understand how to respond is a well-told story that has engaging protagonists, lots of conflict, and barriers to success. Scholar and author Rebecca Lawton shares insights from her book of short stories Steelies and Other Endangered Species (2014), and cites research on climate and the power of storytelling to move us to action.
Rebecca Lawton is a California-based author, fluvial geologist, and former river guide. Her pieces for general audiences have been published in Aeon, Brevity, Hakai, More, Orion, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Shenandoah, Sierra, Undark, and many other journals. Her creative writing honors include a Fulbright Scholarship, the Ellen Meloy Fund Award for Desert Writers, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, a WILLA award for original soft cover fiction, Pushcart Prize nominations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and residencies at Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers, The Island Institute, and Playa Fellowship Residency Program.
Lawton was an oarswoman on the Colorado in Grand Canyon and other rivers for 14 seasons. Her collection of essays about rivers, whitewater guiding, and the rafting subculture, Reading Water: Lessons from the River (2002), was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area best seller and ForeWord Nature Book of the Year finalist. Lawton recently completed her second novel, 49 North, literary fiction about international water crime. She is now working on Snakelands, the prequel.
Increasingly we have come to realize that our digital devices are both powerful and powerfully distracting. Many of us are wrestling with how to use them to their best advantage, and to ours. In this presentation based on his new book, University of Washington professor David M. Levy will describe the methods he’s developed over many years of research and teaching to help people develop a healthier and more effective relationship with their digital devices and apps.
David M. Levy is Professor at the Information School, University of Washington in Seattle. He earned his PhD in computer science at Stanford University and a diploma in calligraphy and bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute in London. For nearly 20 years Levy was a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, exploring the transition from paper and print to digital media. At the University of Washington since 2000, he has focused on bringing mindfulness training and other contemplative practices to address problems of information overload and acceleration. Levy is an active member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) and is on the board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and the Mindfulness in Education Network. His new book, Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives, was published in January 2016 by Yale University Press.
As life unfolds, we create relationships and become attached. These deep connections give our lives meaning. And because everything passes, because we are each here for a limited time, we are always letting go. How do we live fully with this awareness? How do we love in the face of loss? How do we stay open to joy and sadness? Psalms intertwined with mystical teachings guide the practice of Jewish Mindfulness, providing support as we face the truth of impermanence.
Named in 2014 as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Jewish Forward, Rabbi Yael Levy is the director of A Way In, a Jewish Mindfulness organization based in Philadelphia with an international online presence that includes people of many different spiritual paths. Her approach to mindfulness is rooted in Jewish tradition and grows out of a deep commitment to spiritual practice and a passionate belief in its potential to change not only individuals but also the world.
Levy is the author of Journey through the Wilderness: A Mindfulness Approach to the Ancient Jewish Practice of Counting the Omer (2012), and the forthcoming Directing the Heart. She creates contemplative religious services, teaches mindfulness classes, and leads Jewish Mindfulness retreats, connecting participants with the beauty and wisdom of the natural world. Levy serves as a spiritual director for rabbinical students in the Reconstructionist and Reform movements and as part-time rabbi at Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and has completed courses for Jewish professionals at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and other publications.
Play is the foundation of creativity, constructive problem-solving, and the capacity to wrestle with life to make it meaningful. Play nurtures curiosity, awe, and wonder. Given the opportunity, children naturally play joyfully about experiences, hopes, and fears. Yet today’s commercialized, screen-saturated world seems to prevent rather than encourage make-believe. Join psychologist, activist, and ventriloquist Susan Linn as she identifies some of the most pernicious threats to children’s play and explores solutions for parents, educators, clergy, health professionals, and policy makers.
Psychologist Susan Linn is a research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital and lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. From 2000 to 2015, she was Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Linn writes extensively on creative play and the impact of media and marketing on children. Her book Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (2004) has been praised in publications as diverse as The Wall Street Journal and Mother Jones, and helped launch the international movement to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers. The Boston Globe called Linn’s book The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World (2009) “a wonderful look at how play can heal children.” Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, Good Morning America, the Today Show, Sixty Minutes, The Colbert Report, and in the acclaimed documentary The Corporation.
An award-winning ventriloquist and children’s entertainer, Linn appeared on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and is internationally known for her innovative work using puppets in child psychotherapy, helping children cope with major life challenges. She has given numerous talks on the importance of creative play, the impact of media and marketing on children, and the use of puppetry as a therapeutic tool in venues throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, and the Republic of Georgia. Among other honors, Linn received a Champion of Freedom Award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association for her work on behalf of children.
Why do you want to live? What is the meaning of your life? What do your actions reveal about whom or what you love? Surgeon-researcher-philosopher Lester R. Sauvage, MD explored these questions with patients for over 40 years. Dr. Sauvage’s co-author, Barbara Mulvey Little, invites you to answer these questions as she shares his wisdom and her memories and insights gleaned from working with this saintly genius. Dr. Sauvage performed 10,000+ life-saving surgeries and his research unlocked the key to successful cardiac bypass surgery. Yet his book Opening Hearts (2015) reveals his most important discovery: consciously choosing love is the ultimate medicine that heals our body, mind, and spirit.
Barbara Mulvey Little was invited to work with Dr. Sauvage in what became the last 18 months of his life. Recognizing his passion to complete this book as his enduring healing legacy, Little drew from her skills as writer, editor, hospice caregiver, and spiritual director. To write Opening Hearts, she combined Dr. Sauvage’s ideas, writings, and her experiences with him, with her own insights and experiences of healing, grief, and spiritual crisis. Throughout their collaboration, one of the book’s primary topics—the spirituality of consciously choosing love—was constantly put to the test: Dr. Sauvage suffered a stroke, the death of his beloved wife of 60 years and its accompanying bereavement, and increasing physical dysfunctions from Parkinson’s disease that challenged every aspect of life for this once-vital, independent man. Yet Dr. Sauvage remained faith-filled and focused on completing his book.
During editing, Little read aloud from the book-in-progress and in the process soothed Dr. Sauvage’s dying wife and comforted Dr. Sauvage in his grief and infirmities. His saintly example throughout their collaboration inspired Little then, and continues to do so now. She believes that Dr. Sauvage was so consciously and spiritually aware that he chose the time of his death; he died in his sleep within 48 hours of full publication.
Little is an author, freelance book editor, journalist, and workshop facilitator. Her other work includes Scripture & Meditations for the Rosary (2016). She is currently working on a novel about the destructive power of secrets and redemptive power of forgiveness.
Photo Credit: Maureen O’Brien
What does the halal dietary concept have to do with conscious living and clean eating? Does eating halal lead to a healthier or more spiritual life? Cookbook author and website publisher Yvonne Maffei will explore the halal as a divinely-ordained lifestyle encompassing how Muslims prepare and enjoy food, and discuss the deeper meaning of halal (permissibility) and tayyib (purity) which are concepts everyone can benefit from, regardless of religious or spiritual affiliation.
Yvonne Maffei is a graduate of Spanish & International Studies from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She was raised to have a real passion for global cuisine, cooking and writing about her experiences, and set out to make a career of it. After years of teaching languages, Maffei moved her teaching platform from the classroom to the internet by starting her website MyHalalKitchen.com, which reaches a global audience of over 1.2 million on Facebook alone. She has written three books: Clean Your Kitchen Green (2010), Summer Ramadan Cooking (2013), and My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips, Lifestyle Inspiration (2016). The books aim to showcase the diversity of halal cuisine and how to make delicious and healthy substitutes for ingredients in classic American, Asian, French, Italian, and Latin recipes that anyone will enjoy. Maffei also gives cooking classes, presentations, and lectures about halal cooking and healthy eating, and consults with schools, hospitals, and businesses on how to source healthy, halal ingredients to prepare fresh new ideas for halal meals.
Is your church facing a budget crisis? Does it fight about money—or keep secrets? Rev. Margaret Marcuson will help you learn a way to understand what’s really going on (in us and in others) when money becomes an issue, and how to lead around money with lowered anxiety and more clarity. What you will take away: a new way to approach the money challenges all churches face, and a greater ability to celebrate the resources every congregation has.
Rev. Margaret Marcuson helps clergy make their lives easier. She speaks and writes on church leadership and finance, and works with church leaders nationally across denominations as a consultant and coach. Marcuson is the author of Leaders who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry (2009) and Money and Your Ministry: Balance the Books While Keeping Your Balance (2014). She is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Marcuson was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts, for 13 years. A Seattle native, she lives in Portland, Oregon.
"Dear Ma, I am going to Montana…" Too young to help his much older siblings pay the bills, with a prayer and postcard notification, 14-year-old Carl Mayer left home to follow his cowboy dreams, escaping dreary Depression Era Saint Louis, Missouri. In a life marked by courage, grace, and gratitude, his search for fulfillment ranged from cattle ranches to the USS Arizona, from riding rails to encounters with Hollywood stars, from swabbing decks to building ships—all reported in scores of letters home, each carefully saved by his mom. Those letters and conversations with Rev. Dr. Donald Mayer’s centenarian uncle tell Riding Kid's story in his own words.
Rev. Dr. Donald E. Mayer is a United Church of Christ (UCC) pastor. He and his wife, Lynnea, are among a group of people who helped to found Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry (STM), and were honored with the establishment of the STM UCC scholarship in their name. Mayer's most recent pastorates were Eagle Harbor UCC on Bainbridge Island, followed by interims at Plymouth UCC in Seattle. During pastorates in the Midwest, Mayer served as president of the St. Louis Board of Education and chair of the Dekalb County Illinois Housing Authority. Between Elmhurst College and Eden Seminary, he did voluntary service for the Church of Christ in Hong Kong, China, and participated in a World Council of Churches workcamp for Union Christian Church, Shillong, India. The Mayers have a son and daughter, and five grandchildren. A son killed in an auto accident inspired Letters to Peter: On the Journey from Grief to Wholeness (2010). Letters to Peter was previously included in the Search for Meaning Festival.
Paul Louis Metzger, Professor of Theology and Culture at Multnomah University and Director of The Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins, will discuss his latest book, Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend (2015). The book is a spiritual travelogue of his family’s journey in Japan that is part Augustine’s Confessions, part Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is told from the perspective of an experience of friendship, cooperation, and dialogue as an Evangelical Christian for over a decade with the late Zen Buddhist priest Abbot Kyogen Carlson of Dharma Rain Zen Center, Portland.
Paul Louis Metzger is the founder and director of The Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah University. The New Wine, New Wineskins framework is integrated into his courses at Multnomah Seminary and University, where he serves as Professor of Theology and Culture. Metzger is editor of the journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture, which is a publication of New Wine, New Wineskins. Integrating theology and spirituality with cultural sensitivity stands at the center of his ministry vision.
Metzger is the author of Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend (2015), Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (2012), New Wine Tastings: Theological Essays of Cultural Engagement (2011), The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town (2010), Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (co-authored with Brad Harper; 2009), Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church (2007), and The Word of Christ and the World of Culture: Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth (2003). He is co-editor of A World for All?: Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (with William F. Storrar and Peter J. Casarella; 2011) and editor of Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology (2005).
You’ve probably never heard that Islam teaches you have to repel ugliness and evil with that which is beautiful and excellent. Ebrahim Moosa shares his experiences as a student in the madrasas, Islamic seminaries, in India in his youth, as discussed in his book What is a Madrasa? (2015). As a student of medieval Islam, he shows how great figures like al-Ghazali embodied learning and knowledge. Moosa frequently writes and speaks about how self-critique and advancing a theology of generosity can boost Islam as a tradition today and combat stereotypes.
Ebrahim Moosa is a prize-winning author and scholar at the University of Notre Dame. As a scholar and public intellectual, he is listed among the 500 most influential Muslims. Moosa writes about Islamic law, ethics, and theology and is dedicated to advancing the education of Muslim theologians in India. He is also the author of the prize-winning book Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination (2005).
Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of the hit Canadian television show Little Mosque on the Prairie. She talks about her memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque (2016) where she details her journey from a medical school reject to creating the first television show about Muslims living in the West.
Best-selling author Zarqa Nawaz created the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the West. Little Mosque on the Prairie premiered to record ratings on the CBC in 2007. It finished airing its 91st episode in 2012 after completing six seasons, and is now being broadcast to over 60 countries. The show demystified Islam for millions of people around the world by explaining how practicing Muslims live their lives from dating to marriage to burying their dead.
Nawaz got her start in TV and film after being tragically rejected from medical school. Following that crushing blow, she made some short comedy films, including BBQ Muslims, Death Threat, Random Check, and Fred’s Burqa. In 2005, she made the ground-breaking documentary Me and the Mosque for the National Film Board of Canada about Muslim women’s battle with patriarchy in the mosque. This documentary ultimately inspired Nawaz to create Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Nawaz’s best-selling comedic memoir Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is about growing up with conservative, religious parents who drove her nuts. But as her husband continually reminds her, 'you was able to take those kooky childhood stories and get a book deal out of it, so stop complaining.' Released to widespread acclaim in Canada, the memoir was shortlisted for a number of prizes, including the Kobo Emerging Writers Prize, the Stephen Leacock Award for Humor, and the Saskatchewan Book Awards. Nawaz has four children and a husband stashed away in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The rising population known as "nones" for its members' lack of religious affiliation is changing American society, politics, and culture. Corinna Nicolaou's experiences reveal points of contact between the religious and the unaffiliated, suggesting that nones may be radically revising the practice of faith in contemporary times. They also exemplify the vibrant relationship between religion and American culture and the enduring value it provides.
Corinna Nicolaou’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Texas Observer, Salon, and Narrative Magazine, among other publications. Her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and her writing can be found on her blog One None Gets Some: Mining Religion for Essential Wisdom to Live Better. A None’s Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam (2016) is Nicolaou’s first book. It was named a Booklist Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Book for 2016 and is shortlisted for the 2017 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award.
How does a writer decide what genre best suits their subject matter? How tethered are various forms of writing to our expectations about truth and fiction? Hannah Faith Notess, a poet and essayist, will read and discuss poems that draw on subject matter from real-life experiences, invented experiences, sacred works, and imaginary worlds such as those that exist in fairy tales or video games. She'll argue that wrestling with big questions can happen in any of those realms—and sometimes all at once.
Hannah Faith Notess is the author of The Multitude (2015), winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize, and editor of Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical (2009). She edits Seattle Pacific University's Response magazine.
After leaving religion behind for 20 years, Kaya Oakes returned to the Catholic church of her childhood and embarked on a career writing about the religious experiences of people on the margins of faith: young adults, women, people of color, LGBTQ people, seekers, "nones," and those living between faith and disbelief. She will lead a discussion about the challenges and graces of writing about, and from the perspective of, those often ignored or pushed aside in conversations about religious experience.
Kaya Oakes is the author of four books, including Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture (2009), Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church (2012), and The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In Between (2015). The Nones Are Alright received a Catholic Press Association Award and was nominated for Religion News Association's best book of 2015. Oakes is an editor and contributing writer at the website Killing the Buddha, a senior correspondent at Religion Dispatches, and a regular contributor at America. Her writing on the Catholic church and American religious experience has also appeared in The Guardian, Religion News Service, Cross Currents, Foreign Policy, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet, and many other publications. Oakes is also an expert on the Catholic church with the Women's Media Center.
U.S. Catholic describes Oakes’s work as "uniquely suited to bridging the gap between the secular and religious worlds." Her books are widely taught in courses on religious studies and creative nonfiction, and she frequently speaks in secular and religious venues on issues of religion, social justice, and equality. Oakes teaches creative nonfiction, literary journalism, research, and expository writing at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a native of Oakland, California.
When a Muslim daughter and her Christian mother agreed to write their way to interfaith peace, what did the give-and-take of journaling through an impasse teach them about the power of the pen to heal a deep divide? Award-winning Christian author and essayist Patricia Raybon and her impassioned educator daughter Alana Raybon, a convert to Islam, disclose the truths, troubles, and triumphs of co-authoring when the contributors are struggling not just to write their book, but to reconcile their deepest difference.
Alana Raybon is a seasoned elementary school teacher currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a lead teacher of 6th grade reading at Valor Collegiate Academies—a free, public, college-preparatory charter school serving a diverse population in South Nashville. Raybon found her calling to education while working with troubled teens at a youth home in her birth state of Colorado, and later as a paraprofessional in a 2nd grade classroom. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in education, she married and moved to Texas where she taught for ten years as a 3rd-7th grade lead teacher to a diverse population in Houston’s Spring Branch area. Now in her second year at Valor in Nashville, Raybon is pursuing a master’s degree in educational policy at Vanderbilt University. While teaching, she has been a mentor to new and student teachers, a school accreditation advisor, and a tutor.
Raybon is the co-author with her mother, Patricia Raybon, of Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace (2015). It recounts their journey to bridge their faith divide after Alana converted to Islam while in college. She has shared that journey on the Today Show, the Tavis Smiley Show, Colorado Public Radio, Nashville Public Radio, the Patheos blog, the Nashville Tennesean, Guideposts, Glamour, the Tennessee Tribune, Spirituality & Health, and Faith Street. She also blogs occasionally at the popular site Muslim Matters.
Married 12 years to her husband, Paul, Raybon is a mother of three young children and has a teenage stepson.
When a Muslim daughter and her Christian mother agreed to write their way to interfaith peace, what did the give-and-take of journaling through an impasse teach them about the power of the pen to heal a deep divide? Award-winning Christian author and essayist Patricia Raybon and her impassioned educator daughter Alana Raybon, a convert to Islam, disclose the truths, troubles, and triumphs of co-authoring when the contributors are struggling not just to write their book, but to reconcile their deepest difference.
Patricia Raybon is the award-winning author of My First White Friend (1997), a winner of the Christopher Award; I Told the Mountain to Move, a 2006 Book of the Year Finalist in Christianity Today magazine’s annual book competition; a One Year® devotional entitled God’s Great Blessings; and co-author of a tribute to African American spirituals called Bound for Glory (2011). She is the co-author, with her daughter Alana Raybon, of a faith memoir entitled Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace (2015). Raybon’s personal essays on family and faith have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, Country Living magazine, the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, Guideposts, In Touch Magazine, Christianity Today, The Washington Post’s “Acts of Faith” blog, The High Calling, and other faith-related and news blogs, and aired on National Public Radio.
A journalist by training, Raybon earned a BA in Journalism from Ohio State University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also a certified instructor of the Journal to the Self® Workshop. A former editor of The Denver Post’s Sunday Contemporary Magazine and a former feature writer at the Rocky Mountain News, Raybon taught journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder for 15 years, and was promoted in 2006 to professor emerita. She’s now a full-time author and speaker, and teaches at writing workshops, conferences, and retreats nationwide. A mother of two and grandmother of five, Raybon lives with her husband, Dan, a retired educator, near Denver in her beloved home state of Colorado.
With an emphasis on the embodiment and conveyance of meaning in humorous and compelling storytelling, and through examples rather than abstraction, David Roche will screen the video Love at Second Sight, which is derived from his book The Church of 80% Sincerity (2012). He’ll follow with a short reading from the book and a Q&A session.
“He lost the great big outward thing, the good-looking packaging, and still the real parts endured. They shine through like crazy, the brilliant mind and humor, the depth of generosity, the intense blue eyes, those beautiful ballet hands.” – Annie Lamott, Salon
David Roche has been a pioneer in disability arts for over 25 years. Initially, it is his face that distinguishes him. What really makes him unique, both as an author and speaker/performer, is his remarkable spirit, warmth, wit, and authenticity. Roche has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. The story of his heroic journey from shame to strength, as told in his signature show The Church of 80% Sincerity, has inspired standing ovations from the White House and Kennedy Center to Olympics Arts Festivals, from New Zealand to Moscow, London to Sydney, and across Canada and the U.S., and is compellingly told in his book with the same title. Roche is featured in the Canadian National Film Board film Shameless: The Art of Disability. He and his wife, Marlena Blavin, recently released Love at Second Sight, an educational video for schools about appearance and acceptability.
When people asked Sigal Samuel whether her novel was autobiographical, she said no. She didn’t realize she was lying. The Mystics of Mile End (2015) tells the story of a dysfunctional Jewish family growing dangerously obsessed with Kabbalah—what could that possibly have to do with her own secular family in Montreal? But as a result of writing the book, Samuel learned that her great-great-grandfather had been a revered Kabbalist in Mumbai. She journeyed there in search of his lost secret society, ending up on an obsessive mystical quest that eerily resembles that of her fictional characters.
Sigal Samuel is an award-winning novelist, journalist, essayist, and playwright. She has published work in the Daily Beast, the Rumpus, the Forward, BuzzFeed, Electric Literature, and the Walrus. She has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, and Huffington Post Live. Samuel’s six plays have been produced in theaters from Vancouver to New York. The Mystics of Mile End, her debut novel, won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Best Novel and the Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award. Samuel earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and her BA in Philosophy from McGill University. Originally from Montreal, she now lives in Brooklyn.
Families have the incredible potential to be places of belonging and becoming, where each member feels safe, cared for and loved, and supported to develop who they are for the greater good. Yet today’s families face many competing demands that frustrate this potential. What’s needed is an intentional approach to family life that is creative, soulful, and globally aware—and the utilization of tools and skills that can help families create a thriving culture together.
Mark Scandrette is an author, teacher, activist, and coach for leaders and teams who want to create a better world from the inside out. He is the founding director of ReIMAGINE: A Center for Integral Christian Practice, where he leads an annual series of retreats, workshops, and projects designed to help participants apply spiritual wisdom to everyday life. His multidisciplinary studies in applied psychology, family health, and theology have shaped his approach to learning and transformation. A sought after voice for creative, radical, and embodied faith practice, Scandrette frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences nationally and internationally, and also serves as adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Scandrette’s most recent books include FREE (2013), Practicing the Way of Jesus (2011), and Belonging and Becoming: Creating A Thriving Family Culture (2016). He lives with his wife, Lisa, and their three young adult children in an old Victorian in San Francisco’s Mission District. He loves walking city streets and discovering beauty in unexpected places. Scandrette is passionately engaged in sustainability practices and efforts to create safe neighborhoods for all people through organizing to end police brutality.
Audiences of all backgrounds will be captivated by the phenomenal true story of the black “human computers” who used math to change their own lives—and their country’s future. Set against the rich backdrop of World War II, the Space Race, the Civil Rights Era, and the burgeoning fight for gender equality, this talk brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who worked as mathematicians at NASA during the golden age of space travel. Teaching math at segregated schools in the South, they were called into service during the WWII labor shortages. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had jobs worthy of their skills at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, in Hampton, Virginia. Even as Jim Crow laws segregated them from their white counterparts, the women of this all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War. They were part of a group of hundreds of black and white women who, over the decades, contributed to some of NASA’s greatest successes.
In this keynote, Margot Lee Shetterly talks about race, gender, science, the history of technology, and much else. She shows us the surprising ways that women and people of color have contributed to American innovation while pursuing the American Dream. In sweeping, dramatic detail, she sheds light on a forgotten but key chapter in our history, and instills in us a sense of wonder, and possibility.
Writer, researcher, and entrepreneur Margot Lee Shetterly is the author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). A highly anticipated film based on her book will be released in January 2017. It stars Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Shetterly is also the founder of the Human Computer Project, a digital archive of the stories of NASA’s African-American “Human Computers” whose work tipped the balance in favor of the United States in WWII, the Cold War, and the Space Race. Shetterly’s father was among the early generation of black NASA engineers and scientists, and she had direct access to NASA executives and the women featured in the book. She grew up around the historically black Hampton College, where the women in Hidden Figures studied. Along with Aran Shetterly, Shetterly co-founded the magazine Inside Mexico. She graduated from The University of Virginia, and is a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow.
After a successful professional soccer career with the Seattle Sounders FC, Michael Tetteh “takes the field” with corporate audiences to inspire greatness based in his true-life story. Having overcome tremendous obstacles in his youth, Tetteh’s story is an emotional tale of poverty, politics, and a quest to play professional soccer. Growing up in Ghana, he dreamed of competing against the world class players he idolized. Achieving this dream, however, pales in comparison to Tetteh’s leadership quest to change a nation. Individuals worldwide are inspired hearing about his journey from a mud hut to playing in front of 70,000 fans in Major League Soccer. His unique approach to leadership combines fitness and leadership to create perfect harmony in the workplace.
Twenty-seven-year-old Michael Tetteh was born in Krobo Odumase in the Volta Region of Ghana. His soccer career began early in life when he played for the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, before moving to California. He attended the University of Santa Barbara where he played for the school soccer team. Tetteh’s professional career began in 2011 when he was drafted by the Seattle Sounders, playing successfully for nearly three years. As a Sounder, Tetteh was considered to be one of the rising stars, but he suffered a series of hamstring injuries that persistently sidelined him. Still in his early twenties, he decided to give up soccer to concentrate on other interests, including leadership, public speaking, coaching, and publishing.
Tetteh is a certified John C. Maxwell Speaker in the U.S., leading businesses to set smart goals and overcome tremendous odds. His recently published book Giftocracy: Awakening the Seeds of Greatness (2016) describes Tetteh’s path from impoverished youth through his successful soccer career and his inspiring journey of self-discovery.
Tetteh’s wife, Kristen, has an amazing story of her own. She was crowned Miss Washington in 2007 and, in that same year, went on to place in the top ten in the Miss USA beauty pageant. Now she is the communications director at the Washington Global Health Alliance.
In his memoir Faith, Doubt, Mystery: A Catholic Journey (2015), psychologist James J. Tracy shares his trek in Catholicism. He started out as a sickly first-grader in parochial school, where he daydreamed about God and infinity. As a teenager, he confronted sex and faced guilt. As a Jesuit, Tracy struggled in a whirlpool of devotion, doubt, and a desire to know. The arc of his memoir, which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016, reminds readers that each of us is on a journey that calls for self-reflection and a humble pursuit of wisdom.
James J. Tracy is a Seattle native who, as a Jesuit, earned his bachelor’s degree at Gonzaga University. After leaving the Order, he was awarded a PhD in Psychology at the University of Connecticut, where his dissertation focused on morality and choice, a combination that had permeated his life as a Catholic. Tracy held academic appointments at Bryn Mawr College and in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical School before he chose full-time clinical work in independent practice. For over 30 years, he worked with a wide range of clients—pilots, police officers, and politicians. He also worked with couples grappling with the challenge of commitment. Tracy came to believe that each person’s life is a journey filled with choices. Those choices, he asserts, can be understood and used as a springboard to achieve greater awareness and wisdom in living day-to-day and in preparing to leave the planet.
Seattle University partnered with the Lutheran World Federation (2014) and the World Council of Churches (2016) in addressing the challenges of religious belonging in the 21st century. As a consequence, a joint SU-LWF book on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim explorations of these challenges was published in the late spring of 2016. Michael Trice, one of the conveners of the conference, will present on central themes within public theology, as a result of these meetings at Seattle University. There will be an opportunity for participatory conversation throughout.
Michael Reid Trice serves as a public theologian and as Assistant Professor for Constructive Theology and Theological Ethics at the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and brings expertise in religious pluralism. He is the School of Theology and Ministry's Assistant Dean for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. Trice served for eight years as the Associate Executive of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Dialogue for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Trice's work includes collaboration with the Lutheran World Federation and the National and World Councils of Churches, and he serves as the Secretary for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He teaches and presents internationally, and is currently writing a book entitled Theology of Generosity: Reimagining the Core of Human Belonging. Trice continues his current research interest on the theological practicalities of reconciliation when trespass and trauma defy language. His book Encountering Cruelty: A Fracture in the Human Heart (2011) won the distinguished original dissertation award for Loyola University Chicago. In addition to teaching, Trice has served on the White House Task Force for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation.
Trice received his PhD in Constructive Theology from Loyola University Chicago, alongside the Evangelische Fakultat at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich, Germany. He earned his master degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Trice spends his time with his wife and daughter exploring the Puget Sound with their Hovawart.
Writer/activist Kate Willette never wanted to be a writer/activist. Her plans involved teaching, raising children, volunteering in her church, and writing fiction. Willette will talk about the day all that changed, and about what can happen when a challenge steps up to meet us. Her particular path from “Why me?” to “What can I do?” to “How can I do it better?” is the subject of this presentation. It’s a narrative about taking your life and shaking it for meaning.
Kate Willette’s most recent book, Don’t Call It a Miracle: The Movement to Cure Spinal Cord Injury (2015), was commissioned by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. For the last eleven years, she’s been a lively voice informing a worldwide community of people living with paralysis about research, advocacy, and science. Willette’s live blogs of the annual Working 2 Walk conference, her books, and her new podcast, SCI Curecast, are admired both for the information they deliver and for their clarity. The Reeve Foundation believes so strongly in Don’t Call It a Miracle that it has invested resources in making it available at no charge. When Willette isn’t roaming around Seattle’s Capitol Hill with her dog Utah, she can usually be found at her desk, spinning new plans to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.