The Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at UC Santa Barbara is presenting a series of free public lectures that address the topic of "Progressive Religious Voices: Changing Priorities & Shifting Alliances."
The lectures are made possible, in part, by a Ford Foundation grant awarded to Wade Clark Roof, the J. F. Rowny professor of religion and society at UCSB, to reassess the changing role of religion in public life as it relates to social justice and a new agenda for social change.
On Saturday, February 7, author and pastor Brian D. McLaren will give a talk titled "Everything Must Change: Rediscovering Christian Faith as a Spiritual-Social Movement." He will speak at 3 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. McLaren will discuss what he considers to be the most imperative global crises, how Christians are equipped to grapple with them, and how Christians can join with people of other backgrounds as advocates for change.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C., will speak on "Being the Hands of God: Jewish Perspectives on America's Social Justice Agenda" at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, in Victoria Hall, 33 W. Victoria St. His lecture examines the origins of that tradition in Jewish thought and its role in Jewish history. He will discuss how those ideals are applied through the active pursuit of peace and justice.
On Thursday, April 2, Sister Joan D. Chittister, founder and director of Benetvision, a publisher of spiritual materials, will give a talk titled "Spirituality and Culture" at 8 p.m. at The Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St. Chittister will discuss how culture changes and the implications those changes have for contemporary spirituality. Her presentation focuses on the stages of revitalization, global definitions of the seven capital sins, and American society as it moves into the 21st century.
Edina Lekovic's talk is titled "In Our Own Words: A Changing Agenda in Muslim America." Communications director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Lekovic will speak on Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m. in Victoria Hall. Founded in 1986, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is a national American Muslim advocacy and public policy organization headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in Washington D.C.
On Sunday, May 24, The Reverend Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, will speak on "Citizens Cain and Abel: Theological Anthropology and Progressive Religion" at 3 p.m. in Victoria Hall. Thistlethwaite will discuss the tendency of Americans –– and social policy –– to alternate between optimistic and pessimistic views of human nature. She will examine how a more theologically informed view of human nature can help avoid these drastic swings and bring greater balance to public policy.