January 2016 Presentations

Topic: Religion & Economics

Presentation Summary for Robert Walker, Buddhist

When I first looked at it, I thought the question would be stated: — how do religious institutions relate to the realities of economics? Some kind of green energy is necessary to survive, whether it’s actually money, or food/clothes/shelter via labor, natural resources, barter. Religious institutions, and their communities (adherents, devotees, whatever) consist almost entirely of confused people with difficulties relating to livelihood, sexual relations, and survival issues that include money issues. These are not outside of religious practice, but relate to the human condition which religious practice is supposed to address. After all, religions are practiced by confused  beings. Shakyamuni Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist, and he didn’t need Buddhism for his path — he was already enlightened when he started to teach in his late 20s or early 30s, and the paths he made available were a gift to confused people.

I’ve heard it said by my teacher that people get into religion, in many cases, to tame themselves, and because they feel depressed and stuck. The Western world was ripe for various spiritual teachers in the 1970s, for instance, because people felt confused, overwhelmed, depressed, cynical about the oppressive and overpowering materialistic culture that was all around them and that they were subject to. People were sick of fake promises of salvation, fake advertising that will give you what you need to be happy — the right food, the right drugs, the right perfume, the right exercise program, the right spiritual path that’s the very best and perfect for you. At the same time these same people, the larger culture, who were so hungry for something real, were also still completely gullible and seduce-able into all sorts of materialistic garbage,. Still, because of the depression and yearning and intelligence of those times, it also became possible to present spiritual teachings that presented some actual discipline that related to life. Without some discipline of taming out-of-control habits, addictions, selfishness, there is little possibility of discovering any creativity or spontaneity in living. One finds oneself enslaved by habits, with no real time for love or creative work. Love, after all, is a verb. It’s not just what one feels, but what one does, how one puts one’s whole life together. And money is part of that. As Michael Philips says in his seventh law of money, and I paraphrase: there are worlds without money, but you don’t live in them.

For most of my “adult” life, money issues, “fear about survival issues,” have been a significant challenge for the religious institution that I have been connected with, both institutionally and in relation to individual people, including myself. “If we don’t raise this money, we could lose our building!”, etcetera. It takes bravery to earn a living. It means relating to the realities of the world. It usually means doing things that are unrelated to pleasure-seeking, but are merely related to what situations demand. This is true even if one’s work is exactly what one loves to do. Work, relationships, money, could bring us down to earth.

And one could become a whore to money. Out of fear, we could find ourselves doing all sorts of disgusting things, selling out our principles, in the name of personal survival, institutional survival. One could forget what we got into the whole thing for in the first place. With respect to another aspect of human life, one could be in love with someone, get married, but in living with them, we could find ourselves servicing each others addictions and fears more than we’re opening up our hearts with honesty to the challenge of being a human being. Marriage could be a beautiful, challenging discipline, some message of how to love not only that person, but everybody. But there has to be honesty, openness, bravery, and in particular lots of gentleness and nonaggression and forbearance. You can’t learn much if you’ve taken refuge in arrogance and think you have your life and the other person all figured out.

Back to money and livelihood: it’s part of life. It’s not the root of all evil. I think the verse actually goes, “The love of money is the root of all evil”, which I read: addiction to money, cowardice in relating to the natural fear of survival, leads to degenerate, evil activity. By evil I mean mistaken, harmful. Not so much bad, but you could wake up one morning to discover that you’ve pissed 2/3 of your life away with such cowardice. And what’s life for? Whenever we wake up to that, whether we’re 15 years old or 21 years old or 62 years old, we could be inspired to discover a genuine spiritual path.

In my career working with spiritual organizations, one in particular, there have always been money issues. Everything from timidity — the fear of doing something meaningful for others because it seems too expensive in time, labor, and money — to personal corruption, such as embezzlement, using funds of the organization (church) for personal projects.

Spiritual organizations, like all organizations, need money to function. It’s like family. The money won’t always be used perfectly. It’s important that the leader of the organization be free of the kind of cowardice mentioned above, and have some kind of fearless approach that cares more about benefiting others that about creating some kind of in-group that only serves itself. I think there’s always that dynamic tension. Once you have a good thing going in a community, the question arises: how much can we open this up to others? It’s a money, time, labor issue, and also a personal one: we may be selfish enough to just want to nest with our old friends instead of finding ways to open this beneficial situation – the situation we have benefited from — to others.

As for the selfish neurosis of the community members and leaders at different levels — first it’s important to acknowledge that religious organizations, for the most part, consist of unenlightened people — people who need to learn how to tame their extreme emotions, harmful behavior, and they have problems with money and issues related to fear of survival. Not only do they/we need to tame themselves in that way, but that’s part of the purpose of having a spiritual path altogether. So, there will be mistakes and imperfections.

If one accepts the mistakes and imperfections, the next step is to find a way to bring those mistakes and fears out into the open, with honesty, to go beyond the tendency to keep the dirty laundry secret. This doesn’t come about because of holding some ethical principle, but speaking for the Buddhist context I’m familiar with, it comes, first of all, from study and practice, which could be the basis for people making friends with themselves, being honest with themselves. I suppose prayer would be part of that step in some traditions.

Then, having developed some kind of sympathetic attitude and honesty in regard to ones strengths and weaknesses, accepting oneself as a human being, but being willing to look in the mirror, the next crucial important thing is to be available to others. There needs to be friendship, developing communication, and honesty. A true friend is someone who can love you and relate with you and be honest with you, warts and all, and does not give up on you. That takes time, interpersonal face time, as well as individuals gradually developing into caring adults rather than defaulting into acting like selfish children. This is not necessarily a function of age, being a selfish child. Anyone can do it. And anyone could be a loving adult, could grow in that direction.

When money issues come up — when bad conduct is discovered — are the relationships strong and loving and honest enough to air that out, bring the situation to some kind of spiritual path rather than purely destroying the situation. What might that look like? When such situations arise, we have to discover how to do that.

Presentation Summary for Frank Lucatelli, Bahá’í

The Baha’i Faith subsists on the contributions of its members only. Funds from other sources, such as appeals for money from the general public, grants and gifts from foundations or corporations, etc., are not accepted to support the Faith.

The following quotations are writings on the subject of money expressed by the founders of the Baha’i Faith: The Bab, Baha’u’llah, and Abdu’l-Baha.

Self-Sufficiency:
“Economy is the foundation of human prosperity. The spendthrift is always in trouble. Prodigality on the part of any person is an unpardonable sin. We must never live on others like a parasitic plant. Every person must have a profession, whether it be literary or manual, and must live a clean, manly, honest life, an example of purity to be imitated by others. It is more kingly to be satisfied with a crust of stale bread than to enjoy a sumptuous dinner of many courses, the money for which comes out of the pockets of others. The mind of a contented person is always peaceful and his heart at rest. He is like a monarch ruling over the whole world. How happily such a man helps himself to his frugal meals! How joyfully he takes his walks, how peacefully he sleeps!” (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 452)

A form of tithing ( Huququ’llah ) for Baha’is:
“The Centre of the Covenant (Abdu’l-Baha) has affirmed the obligation of Huquq in these words: “The Lord as a sign of His infinite bounties hath graciously favoured His servants by providing for a fixed money offering [Huquq], to be dutifully presented unto Him, though He, the True One, and His servants have been at all times independent of all created things.” This weighty ordinance, as testified by the Pen of Glory is invested with incalculable benefit and wisdom. It purifies one’s possessions, averts loss and disaster, conduces to prosperity and honour and imparts divine increase and blessing. It is a sacrifice offered for and related to God, and an act of servitude leading to the promotion of His Cause. As affirmed by the Centre of the Covenant, Huquq offerings constitute a test for the believers and enable the friends to become firm and steadfast in faith and certitude.” (Compilations, Huququ’llah)

The calculations for Huququ’llah:
“The Pen of the Most High (Baha’u’llah) hath ordained that the Huququ’lláh is payable on nineteen mithqals of gold. That is, the Huquq is levied on money equalling this amount. As to other possessions in silver or otherwise, it is payable when they equal this in value, not in number. The Huququ’lláh is payable only once; for example if a person acquireth a thousand mithqals in gold and payeth the Huquq thereof, the Right of God ceaseth to be applicable to that amount, except in regard to what accrueth to it through commerce and transactions; when such profits reach the prescribed minimum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. When however, the original sum changeth hands, the Huquq is again payable as it was the first time; in this event the Right of God must be given.”

“Beseech ye God — magnified be His glory — to grant that His loved ones may be privileged to take a portion from the ocean of His good-pleasure, for this would serve as the means for the salvation of mankind, and may of their own accordance carry out that which would purify them and cause them to attain everlasting life….”

“The Primal Point (The Bab) hath said that they should pay Huququ’lláh on the value of whatsoever they possess, but notwithstanding, We have in this greatest Dispensation exempted the residence and household furnishings; that is, such furnishings as are needful.”

 

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November 2015 Presentations

Topic: Religious identity and its relationship to cultural, racial or ethnic identity

Presentation Summary for Robert Walker, Buddhist

Students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Buddhist teacher, were encouraged by him to think of themselves as “practitioners of the teachings of the Buddha” rather than as Buddh-ists. It’s not like joining a club, or identity in the sense of having an in-group. It’s a discipline and commitment related to taming one’s aggression and clarifying confusion, which could be the basis for extending to others and being of some benefit to the world. In that process, identity in terms of being part of an in-group could be an obstacle. When strangers come to your place of worship, it would be better if they didn’t have to break through some barrier of in-group-ness, but could meet with some welcome, interest, and open-heartedness.

On the other hand, there’s no problem at all with being proud of one’s religion, or culture, or ethnicity, or family. Such positive pride, alone, never hurt a fly. The need to put others down, for one-upmanship, is not pride but insecurity and fear. If there is insecurity, or if one thinks that there is something to protect, humans tend to turn mean. It’s predictible when economic conditions deteriorate, as they have in this country continuously during the last 4 decades of my life, at least, people, out of terror, look for scapegoats and find ways to persecute and oppress each other. Minority groups, women, and children always bear the brunt of this, everywhere, always. I’ve been taught that, in order to work with this on a larger scale, a political scale, it is first necessary to tame, at least to some degree, one’s own aggression and make a relationship with fear. Of course, one never perfects that, but there has to be some personal discipline rather than just going around laying trips on other people.

However, there is no need to be ashamed of one’s culture. In fact, it’s important to find uplifted and brave and loving cultural examples to venerate and use as reference points for one’s path as a human being. In the Buddhist traditions, that would be the life of Buddha as an example to be followed, dharma or teachings as practices and conduct to show a path or way of life, and sangha or community as fellow practitioners who can support each other in this process and create a decent world together. What religion or culture does not venerate positive life examples, have some teachings and disiplines to live by, and promote the formation of communities to practice virtue? Any religion could be examined from that perspective.

Of course, for a Buddhist, the existence or nonexistence of God or gods is irrelevant. As a Buddhist, one would tend to relate to other religions by encouraging the ways that they support each other in their practice of kindness, virtue, generosity, etc. It is possible to find common ground in the intention to create a good world together.

Evil — malicious destructive activity — is a very human thing, and religions are designed in part to address that. But since humans are fallible, the practice of religion can be perverted into supporting aggressive and destructive activity. This is true of all religions, Buddhism included. When discipline falls apart and when times get rough, it’s easy to lose the heart of one’s tradition and just get caught up in scapegoating and ideological warfare,which leads to actual warfare. We need to access teachings and approaches within our traditions that undercut the human tendency to choose aggression, violence, and exploitation of the weak. This is particularly difficult, because evil, the pattern of harming others, always is practiced by people who are very fearful, who think they are fighting for their lives. It’s very difficult to have a discussion with someone who thinks you’re out to get them, and who thinks they are fighting for their lives. But devotion, faith, and discipline can produce individuals who have the power to relate to others’ aggression, as difficult as that is.

When one takes on a spiritual discipline and has commitment to it, that becomes a definite force in one’s life. That is certainly true of my experience of Buddhism. It’s individualizing, maybe lonely, and it also becomes the basis for humility, decency, simplicity, and kindness to oneself and others. I think this is possible for spiritual disciplines from various traditions. I also think it has a lot to do with becoming an adult and being able to take responsibility for oneself and to serve others. I also think it’s possible that, if one does not practice what one preaches, it’s very unlikely that one will have the power to affect the world positively at all.

The first function of religion could be to tame individuals aggression, lust, etc., and the harmful actions  to oneself and others that come out of that. If one cannot do that, it is very difficult to figure out how to work with more subtle political and social issues like racism. I don’t know of any societies that have not suffered from racial and gender persecution, exploitation of the weak, slavery — some combination of these. We could study societies in the past that have had some success in overcoming such human weakness and which have created uplifted cultures. This could help us figure out how to create a decent world together.

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Presentation Summary for Neil Chase, Soto Zen Buddhist

In my experience, my religion or religious identity is something that, on the one hand, has allowed me to cross cultural boundaries (one’s set for me by my birth culture and the religious identity I was encultured within; forms of Christianity with roots in Europe and the Near East) and, on the other hand, has made me aware of or even subject to stereotypes associated with that assumed identity.

In terms of expectations or stereotypes relating to ‘who is a Buddhist’, one experience, in particular, stands out for me. As we were looking for a venue to be married in, my half-Chinese-American wife who identifies as a Catholic Christian and I (White American of European and Near Eastern descent) identifying as Buddhist met with a Roman Catholic priest for a consultation. We told him that one of us was a Buddhist and the other was a Catholic and we wondered about the possibility of getting married in his church. The priest smiled and said: “Let me guess [pointing to me], you’re the Catholic and [pointing to my wife] “you’re the Buddhist.” Then we corrected him. We were pleased to learn, by the way, that the ceremony would’ve been possible according to Church doctrine. However, we chose to be married in another venue.

As a Western convert to Buddhism, over the years, I’ve noticed an ethnic divide within the just about every form of the religion as it exists in North America. There are Dharma Centers, Zen Centers and so on created for the interests of Western, modernist Buddhism (primarily meditation and intellectual approaches to Dharma) and then there are more traditional temples that cater to the needs of Asian-American Buddhists, which can overlap with the focuses of convert sanghas (congregations) to a degree, but usually emphasize rituals, ethics, devotional practices, observing Buddhist holidays and performing certain rites (particularly funerals) for sangha members. Convert and ‘ethnic’ Buddhist communities do interact for particular events and some sanghas contain a mixture of ‘cradle’ Buddhists and converts, but, typically you can see two different kinds of Buddhism existing in the West these days. I once visited a Buddhist temple in Queens, NY, that had an interesting mixed sangha. Chinese and Taiwanese-American members seemed more interested in gathering to chant sutras in Chinese in the Buddha hall, while, simultaneously, in the meditation hall, mostly Western converts were practicing meditation.

In my limited observations as someone who has practiced with Tibetan Buddhist and Zen groups in the U.S., it has appeared to me that the typical convert to Buddhism is a college-educated white person. However, in my own Soto sangha based in Indiana, we have begun to attract a large number of members of Latin American descent; from Colombia, in particular; members who are remote but attend retreats regularly. So, the culture of my sangha has become an interesting mix of Japanese Buddhism with Anglo and Latin American sensibilities.

Ultimately, while there might be some concepts within Buddhism that transfer awkwardly into twenty-first-century American culture—certain social applications/implications of the concept of karma come to mind—I believe the essence of Buddhadharma with its deep insights into the human condition is something that can help people re-evaluate their identities and could be a valuable resource for healing tensions among people of any religious, ethnic or racial background.

September 2015 Presentations

Topic: Meditation, prayer and related spiritual practices

Sōtō Zen Buddhism Perpective By Neil Chase

Meditation of some kind is central in the practice of most forms of Buddhism. Formal seated meditation was most commonly reserved for monastics for much of the religion’s history, but today, particularly among Buddhists in the West, many lay people–as well as monks, priests and nuns– practice meditation regularly.

Numerous types of meditation can be found within the various Buddhist traditions/schools. There are methods that involve calming the mind, developing awareness or mindfulness toward thoughts and sensations, complex visualizations or recitations of mantras. The specific kind of meditation practiced in the Sōtō school of Buddhism which I follow is called shikantaza (“just sitting”). It is a form of seated meditation that is done together with group of people or by oneself. The meditator sits on a cushion and faces a wall with eyes open; the gaze of the eyes is slightly downward; the hands are folded into a particular shape called a mudra; breathing is slow and even through the nose. Unlike many forms of Buddhist meditation while practicing shikantaza there is no particular goal or aim other than simply holding the posture and letting go of thoughts as they arise. There is an attitude of complete surrender or simply letting go. In a sense, it’s not a true form of mediation since there is no object being meditated on. Shikantaza can create a feeling of great openness that resonates in the mind-body long after a period of sitting is done. It is a very subtle practice and thinking about it too much, especially while sitting, hinders what shikantaza is meant to be.

The Sōtō school is a sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism that was founded by a monk named Dōgen in the 1200s AD. The form of meditation he developed ,shikantaza, is thought to have been derived from a Chinese Zen (Chan) form of meditation called “silent illumination.” Dōgen’s shikantaza differs slightly from ‘silent illumination’, however. Although Dōgen was considered a Zen monk, his thought was also greatly influenced by the philosophies of the Tendai and Kegon schools of Buddhism and their understanding of a core Mahayana Buddhist concept known as ‘buddha nature’: the idea that each individual possesses the potential to become a buddha (or fully awakened being). Dōgen’s philosophical influences informed his understanding of meditation and, in turn, that understanding continues to define the understanding of meditation in Sōtō Zen Buddhism today. From the perspective of Sōtō Zen meditative activities can include shikantaza, but also mundane activities such as cooking and cleaning. All of these activities, if performed with the right attitude are considered ways to work at awakening oneself and are, simultaneously, ways of expressing a latent awakened nature.

As a lay Sōtō Buddhist, I often practiced meditation intensively before I had children (for three and a half years I even practiced daily at an American Sōtō temple; I sat for at least 50 minutes each morning and participated in extended meditation retreats), but today I consider taking care of my family a kind of meditative practice. Currently, I maintain a small home altar and chant briefly every morning and occasionally, in the evenings, I do still sit in meditation.

Bahá’í Perpective By Frank Lucatelli

The following statements about prayer and meditation are quoted from the Baha’i Writings:

“When a person becomes a Bahá’í, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God.”
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 70)

“Fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. Bahá’u’lláh in one of His Tablets affirms that He has revealed the laws of obligatory prayer and fasting so that through them the believers may draw nigh unto God. Shoghi Effendi indicates that the fasting period, which involves complete abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset, is

…essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 176)

“Someone present asked how it was that in prayer and meditation the heart often turns with instinctive appeal to some friend who has passed into the next life.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá answered: “It is a law of God’s creation that the weak should lean upon the strong. Those to whom you turn may be the mediators of God’s power to you, even as when on earth. But it is the One Holy Spirit that strengthens all men.” Hereupon another friend referred to the communing of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah; and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “The faithful are ever sustained by the presence of the Supreme Concourse. In the Supreme Concourse are Jesus, and Moses, and Elijah, and Bahá’u’lláh, and other supreme Souls: there, also, are the martyrs.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 96)

The following comment about meditation is my personal observation:

It has been my experience that thinking in its purest form is the reception of ideas from the universe at large. When I consider thoughts that I have had that turn out to be useful to myself and others, I am at a loss as to how that thought formed in my mind. It is as if a gift were given to me.

When I meditate, I find that it is not so different from what I consider to be pure thinking, by that I mean that it is a state of being that is most conducive to stimulating pure thought. I find it difficult to distinguish the difference between my state of mind when purposely meditating and when unconsciously rapt in thought.

The conclusion that I have accepted is that the practice of meditation is a technique for quelling one’s promptings to act and quieting one’s emotional desires, in order to attain a state of pure thought.

Buddhism Perspective By Rober Walker

Sometimes, what Buddhists call “meditation” other traditions call “contemplation”, and vice versa.

In the Buddhist tradition, “meditation” refers to a family of practices that are relatively without form, either simply being present and open or using the breath or some other simple reference point to come back to being in nowness. Such approaches may be called mindfulness, mindfulness-awareness, zazen, vipassana, calm abiding. They all have their own nuances, and are part of a path that includes hearing and understanding the buddhadharma, and contemplating the meaning of those teachings in one’s life. Meditation matures the teachings in the mind-stream of the practitioner, and helps bring them to life.

In the mindfulness-awareness approach as presented by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, via the meditation masters of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Gampopa, the technique includes simple open posture on a chair or cushion, eyes open, a light touch of attention identifying with the breath going out (ordinary breathing, not special breathing) as it mixes with space, and seeing thoughts as thoughts — letting distractions bring one back to the simplicity of the present. The intention is not to manipulate one’s state of mind, or fabricate any special state of mind, but simply to wake up in the midst of whatever mind and world one happens to be in. Emotional upheavals, if they arise, are simply regarded as thought-process; one is present in the midst of them, as simply and directly as possible. Such energy is not suppressed or acted out, but included in the human experience of being awake and present. Experience could be simple and naked. This practice is done formally, on a meditation cushion or chair for periods of time — 15 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour — or for much longer periods, mixed with walking meditation.

Mindfulness-awareness practitioners in this tradition also relate to awareness practice in everyday life, not using the breath or turning inwards, but simply being open to the world, having good posture and looking out. In general, in this approach, any tendency to turn “inwards” and dwell on thoughts is used as an opportunity to open one’s eyes and wake up.

In this lineage and other Buddhist lineages, there are 100s of variations of this basic approach, some more conservative, close to the vest, so to speak, and some more loose and open. This would be considered to be a relatively open approach.

Buddhist traditions also include many contemplative practices, contemplations, where one draws one’s attention to a particular concept or theme — such as compassion,r impermanence, love, the preciousness of the opportunity to be a human who could beneift oneself and others — and explores the depth of it. For instance, for a compassion meditation, one might think of the suffering of beings — oneself, one’s friends, people in war zones, family members, animals — making the intensity of that suffering as vivid to one’s mind as possible. And one then sends the wish that they be free of suffering, offering relief. This would be a support, in everyday life, to the possibility that one might related decently and directly with the pain of the world as it comes to you, or in service work, rather than withdrawing. The practice of tonglen, sending an taking, is a compassion practice that is particulary important in the Kagyu-Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, and has been broadly shared.

Buddhist traditions also include approaches that are similar to prayer — more likely referred to as “aspirations” or “supplications” or “guru yoga”. Although the buddhadharma is a nontheistic tradition, not praying to a higher power or creator, the example of beings who have fully realized wisdom and compassion, enlightened beings, is greatly respected, and their example and wisdom is considered to be a living force that one can turn one’s mine to and connect with. In that process of supplication or guru yoga, it is understood that one’s own nature is no different than that of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, realized beings. It’s not a process of asking a higher being to inject something into you that you don’t have, but a process of requesting that one’s own wisdom-nature be brought out, that obscurations to wisdom and compassion be overcome, following the example, inspiration, and energetic encouragement of those enlightened beings.

KALAMAZOO INTERFAITH FORUM CALENDAR 2015-2016

Please click on the location address to open the map/directions.

SEPTEMBER 2015
Topic: Meditation, prayer and related spiritual practices
Location: Kanley Chapel, Social Room (Rm. 190), Western Michigan University (Floor Plan)
Date/Time: Sunday September 13, 2015, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

OCTOBER 2015
Topic: How do each of us try to embody the KIF mission/vision?
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday October 11, 2015

NOVEMBER 2015
Topic: Religious identity and its relationship to cultural, racial or ethnic identity
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday November 8, 2015

DECEMBER 2015
Topic: Religion & science
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday December 13, 2015
JANUARY 2016
Topic: Religion & economics
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday January 10, 2016

FEBRUARY 2016
Topic: Children, family and religion
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday February 14, 2016

MARCH 2016
Topic: Language, translation and its impact on transmitting/communicating religious concepts and traditions across cultures
Location: Olmstead Room, Mandelle Hall, Kalamazoo College
Date/Time: Sunday March 13, 2016

APRIL 2016
Topic: Concept of sin, blasphemy, wrong deeds/actions or departures from orthodoxy in the views of different religious traditions
Location: Frank’s Office
Date/Time: Sunday April 10, 2016