The Calvin W. Didier Annual Seminar on Religion and Contemporary Thought

*The CALVIN W. DIDIER ANNUAL SEMINAR on Religion and Contemporary Thought is a study opportunity typically comprised of a weekend event  presenting an opportunity for participants to listen to and dialogue with an expert on a topic of current spiritual interest.  

Background:  The Calvin W. Didier Annual Seminar on Religion and Contemporary Thought was endowed in 1993 as a retirement tribute to Reverend Didier in honor of a ministry mindful of the many voices of the spirit and the profound changes we continue to experience in contemporary thought and culture.  This yearly seminar is dedicated to the spiritual growth through the best comprehensive thinking in religion, the arts, letters and science.  We seek to present inspiring and acknowledged leaders in their various fields. 

Didier Seminar April 15, 16, 17

What does it mean to say, “ I am spiritual but not religious?” Diana Butler Bass, the nation’s leading commentator on religion and culture, suggests this statement is currently the most voiced in American culture today. Like other aspects of American life, she says, Christianity is going through a challenging period of change. There is an awakening that is reshaping Christian belief, behavior and belonging as people ask anew, “Where is God?” Mark your calendars to explore the observations and projections of famed contemporary religious historian Diana Butler Bass on April 15, 16, and 17. In conjunction with this year’s seminar, you are invited to join the All-Church Book Read of Dr. Bass’ most recent book Grounded, for sale after church on February Sundays. Brunch and dinner discussion groups will be held in members’ homes during the first two weeks in April. We look forward to sharing dynamic new ideas and conversations together.

Past Speakers and Topics:

  • 1998 - Rev. Dr. J. Andrew Overman - "Jews and Christians - How Did We Start and Where are We Headed?"
  • 1999 - Rev. Dr. Marcus Borg - “Jesus in Contemporary Scholarship”
  • 2000 - Dr. Richard Horsley -” Jesus Paul and the New World Order”
  • 2001 - Rev. Dr. Calvin Roetzel, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Salmon, Rabbi Barry Cytron- “ Contemporary Biblical Scholarship: What Have We Learned and What Does It Matter?”
  • 2002 - Dr. Elaine Pagels - “ The Challenge of the Gospel of Thomas: Different Views of Jesus and His Message”
  • 2003 - Dr. Gordon Kaufman - “How  Do We Do Theology Today? : Serendipitous Creativity”
  • 2004 - Dr. Dominic Crossan -” The Historical Jesus and the Kingdom of God Then and Now”
  • 2005 - Rev. Dr. ( Sir) John Polkinghorne -”Belief in God in an Age of Science"
  • 2006 - Dr. Don Swearer - “Buddhism”
  • 2007 - Rev. Dr. Martin Marty - “Must Faiths Collide?”
  • 2008 - Dr. Philip Jenkins - “The Next Christendom”
  • 2009 - Dr. Imam Seyyed Hossein Nasr -” The Heart of Islam”
  • 2010 - Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault - “Meditation and Visionary Seeing in the Christian Tradition”
  • 2011 - Dr. Wilson Yates, Prof. Michael Dennis Browne, and Dr. Stephen Paulus - "Theology, Spirituality, and the Arts." Rev. David Miller and Dr. David Miller - "Light in Deepest Night" (A Lenten Meditation, based on writings of Julian of Norwich)
  • 2012 - John Philip Newell - A New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and the Human Soul"
  • 2013 - Professor Paul Knitter - "Must My God be Bigger than your God?" (Moving Beyond Competition to Cooperation).
  • 2014 - Dr. Amy-Jill Levine - "Jesus, Judaism and Christianity"
  • 2015 - Rev. Dr. Marilyn Salmon - "Jesus Then and Now"