Welcome to the Hollister Institute
The Hollister Institute provides opportunities for stimulating discussion and thoughtful exploration for everyone, whether or not they are members of a church. Courses are offered at St. Benedict’s Church in Los Osos. For more information about Hollister courses, contact Lorienne Schwenk at email@example.com.
The Places that Scare You by Pema Chödrön
Tuesday nights 7:15-8:30 pm, April 23-May 28 (6 weeks)
Tuesday night book study – Pema Chödrön, a North American Buddhist out of the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, teaches that we always have a choice – no matter what. In this book, she provides tools to help us navigate the scary stuff we encounter on our life’s journey. According to Chödrön, we can awaken to our “basic goodness” and stay in the present moment by “seeing through the strategies of ego that cause us to resist life as it is.” She says we can allow the scary stu ff to make us even more resentful and afraid or we can use wha t scares to become softer, kinder, and more compassio nate. This book offers help in unblocking habitual patter ns that we have created out of fear – while in survival mod e. Beyond this very human fear, she says, there exists another state, one of openheartedness and tenderness. Led by June Beck and Ann Edwards.
Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker
Thursday mornings, 10 am - noon, resuming April 11
During the first millennium, Christians filled their sanctuaries with images of Christ as a living presence –a shepherd, teacher, healer, or an enthroned god. In early Christian art, Jesus is serene and surrounded by lush scenes, visions of this world as paradise. Yet once Jesus appeared as crucified, paradise disappeared from the earth, to be encountered only in eternal life. In Saving Paradise, Brock and Parker – Protestant and Unitarian theologians – take a new look at Christianity, asking how its early vision of beauty evolved into visions of suffering and death, and what changes in society and theology marked that evolution. Saving Paradise also retrieves a life-affirming Christianity that the world today sorely needs. Led by Bob Pelfrey and Donna Ross.
Part I (5 sessions) – January 10, 17, 24, 3; and February 7
Part II (6 sessions) – April 11, 18, 25; and May 2, 9, 16
For more information on Saving Paradise, go to http://savingparadise.net/
To register for these discussions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To order a copy of Saving Paradise, contact your local bookstore or go to www.Amazon.com
About the presenters of Saving Paradise:
Bob Pelfrey is a long-time member of St. Benedict's, and a retired instructor in art and humanities at Cuesta College.
Donna Ross is a retired Episcopal priest, now assisting in worship and teaching classes at St. Benedict's.
About the book, Saving Paradise:
When Rita Brock and Rebecca Parker began traveling the Mediterranean world in search of art depicting the dead, crucified Jesus, they discovered something that traditional histories of Christianity and Christian art had underplayed or sought to explain away: it took Jesus Christ a thousand years to die.
During their first millennium, Christians filled their sanctuaries with images of Christ as a living presence in a vibrant world. He appears as a shepherd, a teacher, a healer, an enthroned god; he is an infant, a youth, and a bearded elder. But he is never dead. When he appears with the cross, he stands in front of it, serene, resurrected. The world around him is ablaze with beauty. These are images of paradise—paradise in this world, permeated and blessed by the presence of God.
But once Jesus perished, dying was virtually all he seemed able to do.
Saving Paradise offers a fascinating new lens on the history of Christianity, from its first centuries to the present day, and asks how its early vision of beauty evolved into one of torture. In tracing the changes in society and theology that marked the medieval emergence of images of Christ crucified, Saving Paradise exposes the imperial strategies embedded in theologies of redemptive violence, and sheds new light on Christianity’s turn to holy war. It reveals how the New World, established through Christian conquest and colonization, is haunted by the loss of a spiritual understanding of paradise here and now.
Brock and Parker reconstruct the idea that salvation is paradise in this world and in this life. They offer a bold new theology for saving paradise, grounding justice and peace for humanity in love for the earth, and opening a new future for Christianity through a theology of redemptive beauty.About the authors of Saving Paradise:
Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker are co-authors of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us. Parker is president and professor of theology at the Starr King School for the Ministry. Brock is director of Faith Voices for the Common Good and a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
first and third Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm
St. Ben's Drop-in Dream Group meets every first and third Thursday at St. Benedict's. The format is similar to twelve-step meetings: confidentiality is required regarding any dreams shared with the group, and sharing is not required (everyone supports by their presence). The group is "open" to newcomers but there is no commitment to attend on a regular basis. There are no instructional or workshop-related activities unless noted in advance. The interpretative assumptions and language are Jungian (see Robert Johnson's "Inner Work").
Anyone who would like to be notified of future meetings should send an email address to Bob Pelfrey (email@example.com).
For those interested in a year-long study
see the Education for Ministry program