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. 

Marcus Borg at House of Hope ~ February 20-22, 2015
“Jesus in the 1st and 21st
Centuries—Then and Now”


Among the best known Jesus scholars of our time, Dr. Marcus Borg has been frequently featured on PBS, NPR, ABC World News, The Today Show and other national media. Best of all, he will be the 2015 Didier Seminar speaker. Some will remember his stellar visit as 1999 Didier speaker. To prepare for his visit, we are trying something new, an All-Church Book Read. We will be reading Professor Borg’s latest book Convictions, which details his lifetime search for meaningful Christianity in our contemporary world. Growing up in a North Dakota and Minnesota Lutheran culture, Professor Borg’s religious explorations became a lifetime of scholarship and experience, including studying and teaching at Concordia College, Oxford University and Union Seminary and a distinguished career of writing and speaking. Recently retired professor of Religious Studies at Oregon University, he currently holds the honorary position of Canon at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, where his wife Marion was a priest until her recent retirement. Our All-Church Book Read kicks off on January 11 in Adult Enrichment and will run eight weeks with various groups and leaders. It will be easy to get involved—watch for the January Anchor for a variety of times and groups. Or choose it now for
your book group, for a January-February read. The book is in local bookstores. We look forward to sharing this new adventure, great discussions and fellowship, as we explore the thinking of Marcus Borg—and our own.

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.