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Calendar of Events, 2004-2005
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Friday, September 10, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
O Taste and See: A Conference on Food and Religious Values

North Park Seminary, 3225 W. Foster Ave., Chicago

  • A wonderful, rich day of theological reflection and the application of faith to the issues of modern food production. Four distinguished theologians from around the country will come together to share their views, from different religious perspectives, on the implications of conventional agriculture for people of faith. Their reflections will feed an Open Space dialogue by participants as we take what we've heard and try to apply it to our lives as a practice of faith. The $20 registration fee includes lunch.
  • sponsored by Faith in Place, www.faithinplace.org
  • contact Rev. Clare Butterfield at 773-278-4800, ext. 125 or clare@faithinplace.org

Thursday, September 23, 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Restoring the Walls--A Call to Faith and Action: Faith-Based Approaches to Restoring Chicago's Neighborhoods

Lakeside Center, McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.

  • The program will begin with a talk from Mayor Daley, and will then continue through a series of workshops. Workshops will include Building Community Wealth; Offender Re-Entry and Faith-Based Solutions; Models of Faith in Community Development; Organizing in a New World; Accessing Public and Private Funds for Community Programs; Faith, Public Policy, and Social Reforms; Responding to the Needs of a Hip Hop Generation; and Putting Health Back into Our Communities. Optional neighborhood tours will depart at 1:45 p.m. Pregistration is required, and limited to the first 1,500 respondents.
  • sponsored by the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department
  • for full program and registration form in PDF format, click here.

Sunday, October 2, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Prairie Fest

Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin, 39 W 830 Highland Ave., Elgin

  • Join with fellow people of faith to celebrate the prairie in its fall glory. Activities will include lectures on Chicago Wilderness and the tallgrass prairie, live acoustic music, craft and food vendors, labyrinth walks, and more.
  • contact Mary Alice Masonick, MAMASONICK@aol.com
  • for more info, visit http://www.uuce.org/prairiefest/

Tuesday, October 5, 4:00 p.m.
Religion & Environment Initiative informational meeting and Earth Charter discussion

Swift Hall 406

  • The University of Chicago Religion and Environment Initiative (REI) is an interfaith community of students, scholars, and others who share concern for our environment. In conjunction with like-minded individuals and organizations, we explore the links between religion and environment in all spiritual traditions, educate others about those links, and act on our concern for the environment on both practical and scholarly levels. Come learn about past and future projects, and how you can get involved. After the informational meeting we will hold a discussion of the Earth Charter, www.earthcharter.org.
  • contact 773-834-0621 or envstd@uchicago.edu

Saturday, October 9, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Earth Charter Chicago Community Summit

Unity Church, 1925 W. Thome, Chicago

  • lectures and workshops around the theme of "One Earth Community: Creating Our Future"; topics will include conscious activism, how to access independent media in Chicago, alternative energy, nonviolence, and civic participation
  • visit http://www.earthcharterchicago.org for a full conference schedule.
  • contact Linda Osborn at 847-331-5236 or brightwing@mindspring.com


Monday, October 18, 7:30 p.m.
"Integrating Environmental Concern and Religious Faith: A View from the Presentation Sisters"

Calvert House, 5735 S. University Ave., Chicago

  • talk by Joetta Venneman of the Sisters of the Presentation
    (www.dubuquepresentations.org)
  • cosponsored by Calvert House and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • contact Dave at 773-834-0621 or relenvin@uchicago.edu


Sunday, October 24, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Faith in Place's Annual Harvest Celebration Dinner & Fundraiser

Unity Temple UU Congregation, 875 Lake St., Oak Park

  • Celebrate with Faith in Place as we recognize this year's Earth
    Stewardship Congregations, review another good year of work, and gratefully accept donations and silent auction purchases to support our future.
  • contact Rev. Clare Butterfield at 773-278-4800, ext. 125 or
    clare@faithinplace.org

Wednesday, October 27, noon to 1:00 p.m.
REI planning meeting

Swift Hall, Room 406A

  • help us plan religion & environment events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Monday and Tuesday, November 8 and 9
"Faith, Ethics and the Environment: The Response of a Catholic University" conference

Center for Continuing Education, University of Notre Dame

  • the goal of this conference is to explore the ways that a Catholic University can respond, both as a university and as Catholic, to the many environmental challenges facing society today
  • registration fee $125, $50 for students, includes refreshments both days
  • for more info, visit http://al.nd.edu/faithethics/

Monday, November 8, 8:30 p.m.
The Oneness of Humanity as the Solution to Global Crises:
Baha'i Perspectives on the Environment

Cobb Hall 102

  • Only a comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by universal values and principles, can inspire individuals to take responsibility for the long-term care and protection of the natural environment. Baha'is find such a vision in the teachings of Baha'u'llah, and believe that these same spiritual principles are found in all religions. Please join us as we discuss Baha'i perspectives on the environment.
  • If you have time before the talk, here are links to some recommended readings:
    1) brief overview of the Baha'i perspective on the environment:
    http://bahai.uchicago.edu/conservation.htm
    2) a statement on Sustainable Development and the Human Spirit:
    http://www.bic-un.bahai.org/92-0604.htm
    3) information regarding Social and Economic Development, which Baha'is regard environmental issues falling under:
    http://www.bahai.org/article-1-8-0-1.html
  • cosponsored by the Baha'i Campus Association and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • contact Dave at 773-834-0621 or relenvin@uchicago.edu

Wednesday, November 10, noon to 1:00 p.m.
REI planning meeting

Swift Hall, Room 406

  • help us plan religion & environment events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Saturday, November 13, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
First Midwest Environmental Ethics Conference

Stenstrom Center, Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL

  • Keynote speakers and over 25 presentations in four concurrent sessions will address all aspects of environmental ethics, including education, history, public policy, theology, and more. Conference is intended for all levels of participants, from academics to policymakers to community organizers. Keynote speakers will be Michael P. Nelson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, coeditor of The Great New Wilderness Debate and coauthor of American Indian Environmental Ethics: An Ojibwa Case Study, and Buddy Huffaker, Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
  • contact Jay Friberg at 815-921-3473 or j.friberg@rvc.cc.il.us, or visit http://ednet.rvc.cc.il.us/~jfriberg/fmeec.html.

Saturday, November 20, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Cosmos, Mysticism, and Reverence for Life

Institute for Spiritual Leadership, 5498 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago

  • This participatory event will include meaningful and awe-inspiring science teaching by acclaimed science writer Connie Barlow, which will then be translated into empowering and uplifting lessons for heart and soul by Rev. Michael Dowd, author of Earthspirit: A Handbook for Nurturing an Ecological Christianity. There also will be opportunities for reverential and playful participation by those who attend, and for participants to share their own cosmologies and understandings of the nature of ultimate Reality.
  • FREE for U of C students, faculty, and staff who register by November 15
  • sponsored by the Institute for Spiritual Leadership, www.spiritleader.org
  • to register, call Jane Zimmerman at 773-752-5962, ext.17

Wednesday, November 24, noon to 1:00 p.m.
REI planning meeting

Swift Hall, Room 406

  • help us plan religion & environment events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Wednesday, December 1, noon to 4:00 p.m.
Make Your Own Recycled Holiday Greeting Cards Workshop

Reynolds Club Marketplace, 5706 S. University Ave., Chicago

  • come use recycled/reused/salvaged materials to make your own holiday greeting cards
  • cosponsored by ECO and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • contact Dave at 773-834-0621 or daftandi@bsd.uchicago.edu

Wednesday, December 8, noon to 1:00 p.m.
REI planning meeting

Swift Hall, Room 406

  • help us plan religion & environment events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Saturday, December 11, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Green Holidays for Kids

Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd., Chicago

  • Sustainable living starts young! In this fun, hands-on class, children will make ornaments and wrapping paper--all with recycled materials. Participants are encouraged to bring in recyclable items from home that can be made into something new. There is a $5 fee for this class to provide materials for all participants. The class will be taught by the award-winning Kay McKeen of SCARCE.
  • pre-registration is required; contact 312-746-9642 or e-mail greentech@cityofchicago.org

Sunday, January 23, 4:00 p.m.
Tu B'Shvat Seder: Celebrate the New Year of the Trees

Bartlett Commons Trophy Room, 5640 S. University Ave.

  • Come celebrate the Jewish New Year of the Trees with us. Enjoy yummy organic and vegan fruits, nuts, and cookies while we learn about Jewish environmental traditions and about our local environment. Voluntary donations will be used to purchase native plants for a new Native Plant Garden (to be planted this spring near Rockefeller Chapel). Free; people of all faiths are welcome.
  • cosponsored by Hillel, Jewish Action, the Religion and Environment Initiative, Baha'i Campus Association, Chicago Friends of Israel, ECO, GCI, and the Vegan Society
  • contact Aya at aya@uchicago.edu or Dave at relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Tuesday, January 25, 1:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Swift Hall 406, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Monday, February 7, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Ideas of Nature in Cosmology and Quantum Physics

Lutheran School of Theology, Common Room 350, 1100 E. 55th St.

  • seminar presentations by Donald York, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, and John Albright, Visiting Professor of Religion and Science at the Lutheran School and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science
  • free and open to the University community, but preregistration is requested
  • for more info or to preregister, contact the Zygon Center at 773-256-0670 or zcrs@lstc.edu

Tuesday, February 8, 1:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Swift Hall 406, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Tuesday, February 22, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
"Progressive Politics, Preaching, and November 3"
Talk with Rev. Karen Hutt

Swift Hall, Room 403, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • After the 2004 elections, how does the preacher address political questions without alienating her flock or aggravating nascent divisions among them? As political affiliations become increasingly aligned with religious beliefs, how does a progressive voice in the pulpit make theological sense to the range of fellow Christian "liberals, moderates, conservatives, and undecideds" in the pews?
  • sponsored by the Ministry Club, University of Chicago Divinity School
  • for more info, contact gsparks@uchicago.edu

Thursday, February 24, 1:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Swift Hall 406, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Sunday, February 27 to Tuesday, March 1
Jewish Environmental Leadership Institute

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.

  • As the Jewish community becomes more aware of the importance of the environment, we continue to find new ways to integrate our Jewish living with caring for creation. Join many Jewish and environmental professionals and activists as we explore Jewish environmental scholarship, education, advocacy, green building and more!
  • During the 3-day program, we will tour green synagogues in the D.C. area, hear about innovative environmental projects in Israel, visit Capitol Hill to hear about the current political climate and what you can do, learn about new Jewish environmental scholarship, and build a community and strengthen the Jewish environmental movement.
  • Sponsored by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
  • To register or for more information, visit www.coejl.org/bloome2005/index.shtml.

Tuesday, March 1, 8:30 p.m.
"Hinduism and the Environment" presentation by Sarita Muley and Kavitha Selvaraj

Hutch Commons, Reynolds Club, 5706 S. University Ave.

  • this presentation will give a brief overview of the environmental values that are inherent in the texts and lifestyles of practicing Hindus
  • free Indian food will be served
  • cosponsored by the Bhav Bhakti Hindu Society, ECO, and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • for more info contact Esther at eebowen@uchicago.edu; to read more about Hinduism and the environment, see http://environment.harvard.edu/religion/religion/hinduism/index.html

Thursday, March 3, 1:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Divinity School Cofee Shop, Swift Hall basement, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Friday to Monday, March 11 to 14
2005 Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice:
"Make All Things New"

Washington, D.C.

  • The 2005 Ecumenical Advocacy Days will highlight the urgency of pursuing wise and peaceful solutions to conflicts and the need for aid, debt, and trade policies that benefit our impoverished brothers and sisters throughout the world. Participants will examine U.S. policy regarding the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, global economic justice, global security, eco-justice, and U.S. domestic issues. There will be challenging speakers, issue briefings and training in advocacy. Comprehensive briefings will precede visits with members of Congress or their key policy staff assistants.
  • to register or for more info, visit www.AdvocacyDays.org

Saturday, April 2, 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Getting Paid to Cause Trouble: Organizing for Social Justice

University Center, 525 S. State, Chicago

  • come meet organizers from local community organizations and unions who are "walking the walk" and learn about careers for young people in social change
  • free and open to the public; refreshments will be served
  • sponsored by the Center for Working-Class Studies and the Wieboldt Foundation
  • for more info, e-mail ccws@hotmail.com

Sunday, April 3, noon
Tikkun Campus Network Organizing Meeting

South Lounge, Reynolds Club, 1135 E. 57th St.

  • Come learn about the Tikkun Campus Network, an interfaith, progressive organization committed to creating a more just and compassionate world. You can read more about the organization at www.tikkun.org.
  • Free pizza will be served.
  • for more info, contact Aya at aya@uchicago.edu

Sunday, April 3, 1:00-6:30 p.m.
Our Food--What We Don't Know Conference

Beth Emet Free Synagogue, 1224 Dempster St., Evanston

  • Keynote speaker will be Fred Kirschenmann, Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Other speakers will include author Jeffrey Smith speaking on genetically engineered foods; Dr. Peter Orris on pesticides and their dangers; Prof. Martin Jaffee on water's growing scarcity and contamination; and Karen Hudson on "Factory Farms, Harming Our Environment and the Animals."
  • All are welcome to this free interfaith event.
  • for more info, visit www.bethemet.org/Highlights/FoodForum.pdf

Monday to Wednesday, April 4 to 6
Spirituality, Psychology and Ecology: Ancient Wisdom, New Frontiers Conference

Institute for Spiritual Leadership, 5498 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago

  • What does the process of personal transformation have to do with moving us toward a peaceful, sustainable earth community? How can we intentionally collaborate in this process of personal and spiritual growth in ourselves and for others? Come join an international learning community as we explore these issues in depth. Together we will enhance our personal commitment and transformative practices; connect personal, local, and global concerns; formulate and strengthen our supportive bonds; and, through dialogue, identify specific personal and communal actions we might undertake.
  • Keynote speaker will be Dr. Robert L. Moore, Professor of Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Spirituality at the Chicago Theological Seminary and author of Facing the Dragon: Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity (Chiron Publications, 2003).
  • sponsored by the Institute for Spiritual Leadership
  • registration fee, but volunteer and scholarship opportunities available
  • for more info visit www.spiritleader.org/isl.nsf/pages/upcomingprograms or contact Pat Bombard at bagislusa@aol.com

Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9
"We Shall Be Moved by Love: Reclaiming the Voices of the Moral Left" conference

Lutheran School of Theology, 1100 E. 55th St., Chicago

  • those presenting at and attending this free interfaith conference will seek common ground among the varied voices of the religious left, so that we can find ways to act in solidarity on our passions for progressive social transformation. The conference will include a 6:00 pm Friday night interfaith worship, followed by dinner. On Saturday there will be workshops, presentations, and displays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Presentations and workshops will cover topics such as religion and the environment, an anarchist's perspective on the moral left, engaged Buddhism, and training in the methods of nonviolent protest. The conference is free and open to the public.
  • cosponsored by Lutheran School of Theology, Meadville/Lombard, the Religious Left, and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • for more info, contact Bob Janis at weshallbemovedbylove@yahoo.com or 860-716-4998 or visit www.nowwhatmoralvalues.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.
Golem as a Jewish Myth of Nature

Lutheran School of Theology, Common Room 350, 1100 E. 55th St.

  • session led by Rabbi Byron L. Sherwin, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago
  • part of "Ideas of Nature" research seminar for faculty and students
  • for more info or to preregister (for free), contact the Zygon Center at 773-256-0670 or zcrs@lstc.edu

Wednesday-Thursday, April 13-14
Global Ethics: The Search for Common Ground conference

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.

  • In a time of war in Iraq, government-sponsored murder in Darfur and continued violence between Israel and Palestine, there is a rising demand to determine shared standards for justice and human rights, and to find solutions to global problems that can be embraced across a range of nations and cultures. But is a truly global ethic possible--or even desirable? Scholars representing numerous institutions, religions, and national backgrounds will join keynote speaker Dr. Leonard Swidler, founder of Temple University's Global Dialogue Institute, to wrestle with these big questions.
  • The conference is free and open to the public but registration is requested online at http://rockefeller.uchicago.edu/registration_form_Ethics.html or by calling 773-702-7059.
  • for more info call 773-702-7059 or visit http://rockefeller.uchicago.edu/globalconference.htm

Friday, April 15, 3:00 p.m.
Beyond Kyoto: Exploring the Economics, Ethics, and Politics of Global Climate Change

Coulter Lounge, International House, 1414 E. 59th St., Chicago

  • At this Earth Week kick-off event, distinguished panelists will discuss the economics, ethics, and politics involved in addressing global climate change.
  • panelists will include Daniel Bromley, Anderson-Bascom Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison; William Schweiker, Professor of Theological Ethics, Divinity School, University of Chicago; and David Doniger, Policy Director, Climate Center, Natural Resources Defense Council. Prof. Ted Steck, chair of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Chicago, will moderate.
  • a reception with free food and drink will follow the discussion
  • cosponsored by the Environmental Concerns Organization, SGFC, the Chicago Environmental Policy Association, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • for more info, contact Alli at ahannon@uchicago.edu

Sunday, April 17, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Volunteer Work Day in Nichols Park Wildflower Meadow

Nichols Park, 55th & Kimbark

  • this service opportunity is being sponsored by the Green Zone student environmental group at the Lutheran School of theology
  • for more info or to sign up, contact Heidi Murken at heidimaria80@hotmail.com

Monday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.
Ideas of Nature in Christianity

Lutheran School of Theology, Common Room 350, 1100 E. 55th St.

  • session led by Anna Case-Winters, theology, McCormick Theological Seminary
  • part of "Ideas of Nature" research seminar for faculty and students
  • for more info or to preregister (for free), contact the Zygon Center at 773-256-0670 or zcrs@lstc.edu

Thursday, April 21, 2:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Swift Hall, room 406, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Saturday, April 23, 10:00 a.m.-noon
Volunteer Work Day in Jackson Park

Jackson Park, behind the Museum of Science & Industry

  • this service opportunity is being sponsored by the Green Zone student environmental group at the Lutheran School of theology
  • for more info or to sign up, contact Heidi Murken at heidimaria80@hotmail.com

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.
2nd Annual Interfaith Social Justice Passover Seder

Ida Noyes Hall, first floor library, 1212 E. 59th St.

  • cosponsored by Newberger Hillel Center, Jewish Action, Vegan Society, Religion and Environment Initiative, Baha'i Campus Association, and Green Campus Initiative
  • for more info, contact Aya at aya@uchicago.edu

Friday, May 13, noon
"Prophecy in Action: Green Sisters, Earth Ministry, and the Ecozoic Era as Lived Practice"

Center for Gender Studies, 5733 S. University Ave.

  • In this free, B.Y.O. brown bag lunchtime talk, Prof. Sarah McFarland Taylor will introduce us to the fascinating world of "Green Sisters"—the growing movement of environmentally activist Roman Catholic religious women who are actively planting earth ministries across North America. Focusing on the prophetic dimensions of this movement, Taylor brings to light sisters' creative efforts to conserve traditional religious and cultural forms while opening up these forms to "greener" (more ecologically-minded) interpretations. Drawing on portions of her forthcoming book, Green Sisters: Catholic Nuns Answer the Call of the Earth (Harvard University Press), Taylor demonstrates how, despite considerable challenges, these green sisters creatively and successfully manifest an innovative daily ecospiritual practice that intertwines bioregional philosophies, cosmological contemplation, expressions of American Catholic religious life, manifestations of "green culture," feminist concerns, and social justice action.
  • Sarah McFarland Taylor is an assistant professor at Northwestern University where she teaches American religions, Religion and Ecology, and Women's Studies in Religion. Her book, Green Sisters: Catholic Nuns Answer the Call of the Earth (forthcoming from Harvard University Press), documents the growing movement of environmentally activist Roman Catholic religious sisters in North America. She has served as national co-chair of the Religion and Ecology section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), currently chairs the "Religion, Ecology, and Culture" section of the Midwestern regional AAR, and co-chairs the Religion and Popular Culture section at the national level. Taylor received her Ph.D. in Religion and American Culture with a Ph.D. emphasis in Women's Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • cosponsored by the Center for Gender Studies, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • For more information about the talk, please contact Dave Aftandilian at 773-834-0621 or relenvin@uchicago.edu. To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact Gina Olson at 773-702-9936 or golson@uchicago.edu.

Thursday, May 19, 2:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Divinity School Coffee Shop, Swift Hall, basement, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621

Thursday, May 19, 4:00 p.m.
"Theological Ethics and Technological Culture: Towards an Integrative Theological Moral Anthropology"

Swift Lecture Hall, 3rd floor, Divinity School, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • talk by Michael Kraftson-Hogue on Hans Jonas, James Gustafson, and environmental ethics
  • sponsored by the Ethics Club of the Divinity School
  • for more info, contact David Decosimo at decosimo@uchicago.edu

Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22
Hands-on Stewardship Weekend

various locations including Logan Square in LaGrange Park and Harms Woods in Evanston

  • come join Faith in Place and friends for gardening, prairie restoration, or some work on a farm. Pick a location that's good for your congregation, let Faith in Place know you're coming (clare@faithinplace.org). Chicagoans will be gathering on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Faith in Place Garden, corner of Dickens St. (2100 N.) and Whipple St. (3150 W.). Other locations include Hodgkins and Naperville on Saturday and Evanston and LaGrange Park on Sunday.
  • for more info, contact Rev. Clare Butterfield at clare@faithinplace.org

Wednesday, May 25, 4:00 p.m.
"Should We Reverence Life? Reflections at the Intersection of Ecology, Religion and Ethics" talk

Regenstein Library, Room S-118, Franke Institute, 1100 E. 57th St.

  • talk by William Schweiker, Professor of Theological Ethics in the Divinity School and Professor in the College, University of Chicago
  • We live in an age in which human and non-human life is endangered. In this time, it is vitally important that people grasp the moral significance of the intrinsic worth of finite existence. How ought we to think about this worth of life? The idea of the "reverence for life" has dominated much technical and popular discourse on issues ranging from judgments about the end of life to issues in genetic engineering and environmental ethics and policy. For many people, it is obvious that morally and religiously sensitive individuals will naturally endorse the belief that life is "sacred" and thus worthy of reverence, especially human life. For these people, we ought not to alter human life nor qualify our presumed worth in relation to other realms of life. Conversely, there are a host of thinkers and also popular movements that insist we must "unsanctify human life" in order to acknowledge the moral standing of animals and other forms of non-human life including ecosystems. And still other thinkers and movements now look forward to a posthuman future through the genetic manipulation of the species. This lecture address this most thorny of issues in current social thought, and it does so at the intersections of ecological, religious and ethical forms of reflection. It argues that we must affirm the intrinsic worth of finite life, but that the rhetoric of the "reverence for life" is actually unhelpful in making that affirmation. More explicitly, the lecture traces the rhetoric of the "reverence for life" back to its origins in the ethical mysticism of Albert Schweitzer and then moves forwards to the current uses and denials of this discourse among theologians and philosophers. In the end, I contend that the idea of "reverence of life" is deeply flawed for moral reflection and therefore propose the idea of the "integrity of life" as a more adequate concept for articulating the appreciation but not deification of the worth of sentient existence. I explain the ethical and theological reasons for this shift in thought. The lecture concludes with indications of what this shift in perspective means for concrete issues confronting contemporary reflection on the human future.
  • a reception with free refreshments will follow the talk
  • cosponsored by the Big Problems Program in the College and the Religion and Environment Initiative
  • for more info contact Dave at envstd@uchicago.edu

Thursday, May 26, noon
Discussion on Theology and Global Capitalism with Kathryn Tanner

Swift Hall 403, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • The Theology Club presents Kathryn Tanner, professor of theology in the Divinity School, who will share a chapter from her forthcoming book, "Putting a Theological Economy to Work: Global Capitalism Reconsidered."
  • All are welcome. A free vegetarian pizza lunch will be provided.
  • for more info, contact David Albertson at dca@uchicago.edu

Thursday, June 2, 2:00 p.m.
REI bimonthly meeting

Swift Hall, room 406, 1025 E. 58th St.

  • help us plan religion & environment-related events and activities
  • contact relenvin@uchicago.edu or 773-834-0621
 
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