Brian Mclaren, Steve Mcintosh, Bruce Sanguin, Morgan Mckenna, and Ross Hostetter sat down and had a conversation about ‘evolutionary Christianity,’ a developing theological worldview popularized by contemporary authors like Ken Wilber. Bruce Sanguin is a spiritual teacher and founder of Home for Evolving Mystics. Steve McIntosh is an integral philosopher and author of Evolution’s Purpose, who I had the pleasure to meet in person and podcast with.
“We do not have a new story yet. Each of us is aware of some of its threads, for example in most of the things we call alternative, holistic, or ecological today. Here and there we see patterns, designs, emerging parts of the fabric. But the new mythos has not yet formed. We will abide for a time in the “space between stories.” It is a very precious – some might say sacred – time. Then we are in touch with the real. Each disaster lays bare the reality underneath our stories. The terror of a child, the grief of a mother, the honesty of not knowing why. In such moments our dormant humanity awakens as we come to each other’s aid, human to human, and learn who we are. That’s what keeps happening every time there is a calamity, before the old beliefs, ideologies, and politics take over again. Now the calamities and contradictions are coming so fast that the story has not enough time to recover. Such is the birth process into a new story.”
I started this blog in the Spring for several reasons. First, I had recently had a “reconversion” and wanted to more deeply explore my faith. Second, I was frustrated in some of my interactions with both agnostics and religiously-oriented people who believed there was somehow a conflict between faith and reason. Third, I had discovered the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and thought that his message needed to get out to a wider audience. Fourth, I wanted to correct some misconceptions of Teilhard de Chardin, both from “conservatives” who thought he was an “unorthodox” Christian and from “liberals” who wanted to strip the Christianity out of Teilhard de Chardin’s vision.
“At the July 2013 Integral Theory Conference in San Francisco, Giorgio Placenza met with Roy Bhaskar, well known ontological philosopher of Critical Realism and Keynote Speaker at the Conference. Bhaskar was a founding member of the Centre for Critical Realism and the International Association of Critical Realism. He is currently employed at the Institute of Education in London where he is working on the application of CR to Peace Studies. Placenza has published in Integral Leadership Review and has maintained a wide-ranging interest that impinges on various aspects of reality, aspects such as the mind-body problem, philosophy, cosmology and physics.”
There is another webinar out from the collaboration between the BPH and the HHP in Amsterdam. This time, Wouter Hanegraaff gives a one-hour crash course on the wonderfully obscure and fascinating German Silesian Christian theosophist/mystic/pietist (or however one wants to label him) Jakob Böhme (1575-1624). This cobbler from Görlitz was the author of some fairly heterodox theological texts, written in unsystematic, poetic, highly symbolic and mythologizing style. In this webinar, Hanegraaff focuses mostly on Böhme’s cosmogony – or rather, his theogony. In stark contrast to Christian orthodoxy, Böhme held that God was not eternal nor really transcendent, and certainly not immaterial or purely “spiritual”. To the contrary, he was obsessed with “the birth of God” from an original, primeval, unknowable chaos, the Ungrund (“un-ground”). Materiality and corporeality are always highlighted.
In spite of a busy schedule, darting into one presentation and then out to another, I managed to squeeze in an enlightening conversation with Sister Jeanne Ranek and Dr. Neville Kelly during a lunch break at the conference. Sister Jeanne is the first woman monastic leader to participate in the Integral Theory Conference, and Dr. Neville Kelly is an Adjunct Professor (and former Visiting Assistant Professor) of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Mt. Mary College.
You’ll hear the podcast begin with Dr. Kelly responding to the criticisms being raised at the conference about integral theory’s tendency towards cognitive abstractions (raised by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens himself at the keynote).
What strikes me now, re-listening to this conversation, is what Sister Jeanne says about tradition: “Genuine in-touchness with tradition should really empower one to development.” During our conversation, I began to consider the possibility that it’s not only the monastic community work that might provide a model for planetary culture and inter-theoretical discussions, but also theology, which might provide insight to evolutionary thought (thinking along the lines of Teilhard de Chardin and Omega Point).
There were some lovely responses and critical observations by Dr. Kelly and Sister Jeanne that convinced me of the importance of tradition in our post-postmodern playground of meta theories.
Please listen and enjoy.
This Episode’s Related Links and Information:
Dr. Kelly will soon be published in her latest work: Reweaving the Threefold Cord: Integral Theory and the Christian Tradition-An Introduction.
The fates had aligned at the Integral Theory Conference. Trish Nowland, Trevor Malkinson, and myself were about to go to bed. Lights were dimmed, sleeping bags rolled open, our friend Nathan Hohmann was sleeping.
But we kept talking. Inevitably I turned on the microphone, and clicked record. You’re listening to evolutionary-esoteric pillow talk. Consider it a philosophical riff on Roy Bhaskar’s Critical Realism, or one too many glasses of wine, or as the giggling ecstasy of newly kindled friendship.
Join us! As we discuss creation mythologies, spiritual emanation, integral spam, the evolution of archetypes, dopplegangers, celestial twins, and even metal bands.
“All the tennis sessions were based in integral life skills… self-awareness, teamwork, taking responsibility.”
In this episode, I talk with John Thompson and Sean Wilkinson about their presentation at the Integral Theory Conference: The Birth of Integral Sports. John and Sean have a fascinating success story to tell about the fusion of Integral Theory – and practice – with sports. Together they started a Tennis Academy, grounded in integral principles. It wasn’t long before it became a kind of integral “community center” for the whole neighborhood. Even parents ended up benefitting from workshops… and integral coaching! Despite the fact that many of them would never have otherwise known what it was.
John and Sean practice “Circling,” which is an interrelational reflective practice, a form of shared mindfulness where you note the thoughts and feelings going on within you as you relate to another person.
Circling had a huge impact on the children’s development, as you’ll see. Listen in and hear their story.