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Interfaith Lecture Previews

Eric Meyers to Discuss Jesus’ Commitment to Judaism, Stronger Than Once Believed

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Eric Meyers

It’s an archaeological portrait of everyday life that Eric Meyers wants to paint in his interfaith lecture — a portrait of lower Galilee, the area where Meyers said Jesus Christ grew up.

“Literary and archaeological material has shown definitively that there was a strong culture of Jewish life established in Galilee,” said Meyers, a Biblical scholar, archaeologist and Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at Duke University.

In 1981, Meyers was part of the team that discovered the oldest known piece of an ark of the covenant while digging in the Israeli town of Nabratein, coincidentally the same year the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was released.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11 in the Hall of Philosophy, Meyers will present “Jesus in Galilee, A Jewish Perspective,” as part of Week Three’s interfaith theme, “What Archaeology Tells Us About Biblical Times.”

Other students of the life and ministry of Jesus had thought and concluded that the Galilee was deeply Hellenized, Greek-speaking and influenced by outside culture,” Meyers said. “Recent research has shown that was completely erroneous. There were virtually no known Greeks in the Galilee in the first century, except in the pagan Roman cities that surrounded it.”

According to Meyers, evidence from the hundreds of former Jewish villages and from his own expeditions has given him indications of “a Torah-led, Biblically inspired everyday life (in Galilee).”

“We have ritual baths, we have half-a-dozen synagogues in the north and a dozen or so in the south, especially in a place called Magdala,” Meyers said. “So, painting this picture, we see that Jesus’ ministry focused on the rural communities in the Galilee in the north and avoided cities like Sepphoris that were deeply Hellenized.”

That assessment is in stark contrast to some other archaeological descriptions of Galilee, according to Meyers.

One (description) is a very Greek version of the Galilee,” Meyers said. “Another is a Jewish depiction of the background of Jesus that is backward, out-of-touch and not informed by Torah or Biblical law.

Through Duke University and his local Jewish Community Center, Meyers said he’s taken students to archaeological digs in the Galilee area for nearly 50 years.

Meyers said he’s also experienced violent resistance by Orthodox Jews in response to his excavations.

“We’ve been attacked, bullied and had our digs invaded by them,” he said. “They’ve smashed up artifacts and turned over columns, things like that. The Orthodox are against digging graves, which has set back scientific archaeological research greatly in the region. DNA studies know about all sorts of things relating to human disease and health that would be greatly advantageous for scientists and medical research to know about.”

But for his interfaith lecture, Meyers said he wants to focus on demonstrating that Judaism played a greater role in Jesus’ early life and in his community than was previously believed.

These new studies have shown Jesus and his followers’ deep commitment to the Jewish faith as it was in the early decades of the first century,” he said.

Audience members at today’s lecture can access slides that accompany the presentation from their smart devices at
chq.org/screen.

East and West: John Dominic Crossan to Speak on Biblical Images and Depicting Jesus

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John Dominic Crossan

John Dominic Crossan believes the only radical difference between the East and Western Christianity’s portrayal of Jesus Christ’s life comes from the historical imagery of his resurrection.

People don’t realize there’s actually no direct description or depiction of the resurrection in the New Testament, only its effects,” said Crossan, a historian and New Testament scholar. “That left a vacuum that forced artists to ask, ‘How do we depict this thing if there’s no description?’ ”

Crossan’s new book, Resurrecting Easter, deals with the historical differences in how the East and the West attempted to fill this literary gap with imagery and tradition.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 9 in the Hall of Philosophy, Crossan will discuss tracing “Jesus: From Archaeology to Text,” and the significance of Easter imagery in collective historical consciousness.

Crossan’s lecture continues an exploration of the Week Three interfaith theme, “What Archaeology Tells Us About Biblical Times.”

“Eastern Christianity has an absolutely different image of Easter than the West,” Crossan said. “Otherwise, the East and West’s (Biblical imagery) is pretty much the same. There’s usually a crucifixion. But when it comes to the resurrection, because there is no direct description of it in the New Testament, the East and the West come up with radically different imagery.”

Crossan and his wife, Sarah, spent about 15 years on 20 expeditions traveling all over Eastern Christendom as part of the writing process for Resurrecting Easter.

In the West, according to Crossan, it’s more typical to see the resurrection depicted as Jesus rising from his tomb into heaven by himself.

But in the East, Jesus is often portrayed as grasping the hands of people around him.

Crossan said the significance of the differences in Easter imagery go back to Paul the Apostle.

Imagine someone saying to Paul, after he describes the resurrection in 1 Corinthians, ‘OK, Paul, we’ve all seen this crucifixion you keep talking about,’ ” he said. “ ‘We know what that’s like. Draw us a picture of the resurrection.’ Would he have drawn the Western image or the Eastern image? I think the Eastern depiction is in closer continuity to the New Testament.

In 1985, Crossan joined the newly formed Jesus Seminar, a controversial collection of critical Biblical scholars that measured the historicity of the stories surrounding Jesus Christ.

“The idea behind the Jesus Seminar was that scholars could discuss pretty much anything they wanted, no matter how radical it sounded,” he said. “Scholars could ask, ‘Did Jesus say this? Did Jesus do that? Did Mark make it up?’ We wanted to do (the Seminar) out in public.”

The Jesus Seminar wanted to use a public platform to show people how historians determined whether or not something in the life of Jesus Christ was historically accurate, or if it was a liturgical parable.

“For example, it’s said that Jesus was crucified, and crucified alone,” Crossan said. “And from that, we draw huge historical implications. The very fact that we can tell he was crucified and the rest of the 12 or 11 other disciples weren’t crucified in a row with him, tells me immediately that Roman judgement was that he was a nonviolent revolutionary. Not just a nonviolent nuisance. A nonviolent revolutionary.”

The story of Jesus’ crucifixion has led Crossan to believe that “the salvation of our species is nonviolent resistance.”

Otherwise, violence tends to spiral,” he said. “And it has been spiralling out for about 10,000 years. The only way to stop this spiral of violence is nonviolent resistance to violence. That’s the message and meaning I’m getting from this.”

NatGeo Archaeology Writer and Editor Kristin Romey to Trace ‘Footsteps of Jesus’

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Kristin Romey

The view of human history may be clouded by the passage of time — but because of people like Kristin Romey, it’s now possible for some to throw their gazes back through the fog of the “used to be,” and glimpse insights into antiquity.

“Unless you’re an emperor and you’ve got your face on a coin, archaeology is super difficult,” said Romey, an archaeology editor and writer for National Geographic, “especially when it comes to zeroing in on a single individual, and even proving that person’s existence.”

Romey has reported on archaeology for National Geographic since February 2016, and in 2017 wrote a feature for the magazine on “What Archaeology is Telling Us About the Real Jesus.”

At 2 p.m. Monday, July 8 in the Hall of Philosophy, Romey will bring clarity to the beginnings of Christendom as part of the Week Three Interfaith Lecture Series: “What Archaeology Tells Us About Biblical Times.” Romey’s lecture will walk “In the Footsteps of Jesus: A journalist’s quest into the origins of Christianity.”

When we set out to look at the archaeology of Jesus Christ, it wasn’t to say ‘he existed or didn’t exist,’ ” Romey said. “That’s not the point. What really interested me, with my background in the archaeology of the Classical world, is the chaos of the first century.

Oppressive Roman rule, squabbling Jewish factions and the antagonism between the two led to a “pressure-cooker of time,” according to Romey.

“So it’s kind of interesting to place this Jewish guy who lived in Roman Palestine into that whole mix,” Romey said. “The development of Christianity really comes out of this first century political pressure-cooker.”

But Romey said Jesus wasn’t the only one proclaiming he was the son of God during that time.

There were plenty of guys out there roaming the deserts and saying that they had a direct line to God,” Romey said. “Why we ended up with this one specific guy who was prosecuted and crucified by the Romans — at some point, we can’t explain what that is. There are accidents in history all the time.”

Part of Romey’s journalistic work has focused on the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which contains what is said to be the sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb.

“What I found out through my reporting was that at the time that Jesus was crucified, about 33 A.D. or so, the location of the Church of the Sepulchre was actually outside the walls of Jerusalem,” Romey said. “It was on a main road leading to the coast, between Jerusalem and the coast. That area had been an old limestone quarry that had been repurposed as a burial ground for wealthy Jews. The archaeology shows us all that.”

Romey has spoken to archaeologists who said the New Testament provided clues which, in turn, pointed to that burial site as being the most logical possibility for the location of Jesus Christ’s tomb.

Romey said National Geographic applies a way of approaching subjects for storytelling that can be applied to anything, not just the story of Jesus Christ.

National Geographic provides a very unique perspective on things,” Romey said. “I’d like to (give my audience) not only a background of looking at Jesus as a character in history, but also how the standard approach to reporting and storytelling that National Geographic does works equally well for Jesus as it does for snow leopards.”

Mayor Brown to Discuss How Inclusion and Diversity Led Buffalo’s Growth for CWC

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Although Buffalo Day at Chautauqua has come and gone, this weekend the Chautauqua Women’s Club is sponsoring a second day in recognition and appreciation of the transformation of New York’s second-largest city. Situated within Erie County and along Lake Erie’s southeastern shore, this border city forms part of the Canada-United States Buffalo Niagara Region.   

A “Celebrate Buffalo Arts” sale featuring pieces from 15 select Buffalo artists will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 6 under the tent on the lawn in front of the CWC House.

And at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown II will give a talk titled, “Inclusion Infusion: How embracing diversity and inclusion is bettering the City of Buffalo in government and beyond,” for the Contemporary Issues Forum.

From graduation and going forward, I was feeling Buffalo was a very segregated city,” Brown said. “There was a divide. Even though Buffalo was considered a City of Good Neighbors, the neighbors didn’t live together. There was a decline in certain neighborhoods and an income decline.

Brown, who was elected in November 2017 to his fourth four-year term leading Western New York’s largest city, grew up in Queens. A first-generation college graduate, he ventured west to earn a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and journalism at the State University College at Buffalo, also known as Buffalo State College.

Years later, Brown completed Harvard University’s program for senior executives in state and local government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

I had an interest in how politics helps shape our world, our nation and our communities,” Brown said. “I wanted to work in public communications in a political environment, which I did.

Although he started out as a regional sales representative for Bristol-Myers Squibb after college, Brown was soon hired as the chief of staff to the president of the Buffalo Common Council, the city’s representative assembly and legislative branch. He then served for two years as an aide to an Erie County legislator, and another two years as an aide to the deputy speaker of the New York State Assembly.

“From those positions, having done extensive work in the community, I made the decision that I could have a greater impact on the community than by being a staffer,” Brown said. “I was interested in community development and improving the landscape of the community.”

In 1989, Ebony magazine recognized Brown as one of “30 Leaders of the Future,” citing his leadership skills in particular. Two years later, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Buffalo Chapter bestowed on him the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for community service.

Brown said that economic development — “creating jobs and opportunities for other residents” — was very much of interest to him, as was “getting average, everyday residents more involved so they’d have a larger voice in the community.”

After Erie County’s executive appointed him director of the county division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Brown served in the position for eight years. In July 1993, he resigned to run for public office.

The same year, Buffalo Business First included him on its “40 Under 40 Honorees.”

Brown’s first publicly elected office was the seat for the Buffalo Common Council’s Masten District, which he won in September 1995, after defeating the incumbent, who had held it for 18 years. Brown was reelected twice to this seat.

In 2000 and 2004, he ran for and won the state senate seat for the 57th district — making history by being the first African American New York state senator to represent a district outside of New York City, and the first member of a minority race to represent a majority white state senate district.

Two years after his second senate victory, Brown was elected Buffalo’s first African American mayor.

There were many people who told me, ‘Don’t do it or you’ll lose,’ ” he said. “I had a vision that I could … bring people together, and through diversity, equity and inclusion make Buffalo more vibrant. … Now in 2019, being in my fourth term, we’ve seen well over $7 billion of economic development in the city.”

When he first became mayor in 2006, Brown said he “wanted to get people to believe in themselves and each other more.”

Enhancing the quality of public education is one of many ways in which he has been trying to raise individual and community self-esteem.

Although New York’s education law does not provide mayors with the authority to manage the city’s public schools, Brown said that his efforts to support public education include increasing municipal aid and instituting reading and higher education programs.

I have a literacy program that I started in the New York state legislature,” Brown said. “ ‘Reading Rules’ is the mayor’s summer reading call. Last year, more than 2,000 children completed the summer reading challenge.

He has also established the Mayor Byron W. Brown Summer Youth Internship Program.

According to Brown, this year the city will be employing more than 1,700 young people. Among other things, program participants learn job and life skills that better prepare them for continuing education and future success.

In 2011, under Brown’s leadership, Buffalo became the second city in the nation to partner with the nonprofit Say Yes to Education. The city contributes to a Say Yes fund that pays for support services for at-risk, economically disadvantaged youth and their families. It also provides full scholarships to impoverished children for college or vocational training.

We have seen graduation rates increase and college matriculation rates increase,” Brown said.

Buffalo’s finances present a challenge that is central to Brown’s mayoral responsibilities.

“The management systems we have put in place enabled us to increase the city’s credit rating and reduce its tax burden,” he said. “In 2019, people are paying less in residential and commercial taxes than they were in 2005. That has stimulated more investment residentially and commercially.”

The prime lending rate in the City of Buffalo has also been reduced.

During the past several years, Buffalo has been receiving national and international attention for its booming waterfront redevelopment, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, expanding fine and performing arts, in addition to new and historic architecture.

According to Brown, economic development has increased in all directions. In the city’s previously neglected East Side neighborhood, he said there are currently more than $300 million worth of redevelopment projects.

Job creation is another accomplishment of which Brown is proud.

Just last week M&T Bank made the decision to bring its tech hub, with 1,000 jobs, to Buffalo, and to locate it in One Seneca Tower, the tallest building in Buffalo,” Brown said. “There’s a much greater sense of optimism.

Author and Cato Fellow Mustafa Akyol to Delve into Removing Moral Roadblocks in Islam

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Over the past two decades, Mustafa Akyol has studied the complexities of both Islamic theology and the arguments behind religious freedom.

I’m not doing theology for theology’s sake, I’m doing it for human rights,” said Akyol, a journalist, nonfiction author and senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

And indeed he is — while Akyol has authored books like Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, he was also arrested briefly in 2017 by Malaysia’s “religion police” while giving a lecture there on free will in religion.

At 2 p.m. Friday, July 5 in the Hall of Philosophy, Akyol will lead the second Interfaith Friday of the season with a lecture on Islam and the problem of evil. Akyol will be in conversation with The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Chautauqua’s vice president of religion and senior pastor.

Akyol is a regular contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and is currently working on his next book, titled Reopening the Muslim Mind for Reason, Freedom and Tolerance.

I’m writing a new book which delves into the theological conundrums of early Islam, which I believe are quite important today,” he said.

One key dispute in early Islam that Akyol said he’ll cover in his new book is the Euthyphro dilemma, a philosophical problem involving a view of morality and theism discussed by Socrates in one of Plato’s dialogues.

“It goes back to Socrates,” Akyol said. “It’s based on a question: ‘Does God order something that is objectively right and ban something that is objectively wrong, or do things become right or wrong based on God’s commandments?’ ”

By way of an example, Akyol said to consider the sixth of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.”

The Euthyphro dilemma, according to Akyol, asks if killing became morally wrong because God included it in the Commandments, or if it was already bad, and the Ten Commandments came about as a reminder of that.

This was a big dilemma for theologians, both in Christianity and Islam,” he said. “In Christianity, it ultimately led to the Divine Command Theory.

According to Akyol, the Divine Command Theory says that “whatever God does is right, and whatever God bans is wrong.”

“In Islam, (the theory) is represented by Ash’arism,” he said, referencing the theological school of Sunni Islam that employs an orthodox guideline in its teachings.

The problem with thinking in such a binary way, according to Akyol, is that it “doesn’t leave much room to discuss the problem of evil.”

The solution from (the Ash’ari) perspective is: ‘Whatever God is doing is good, so why are you even asking?’ That is a roadblock on moral reasoning,” he said.

While Akyol questions the moral frameworks of Islam and their social consequences in his books and lectures, he said he hopes attendees of his Interfaith Friday lecture will understand that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are fundamentally similar religions.

“They’re all different forms of Abrahamic monotheism,” he said. “That’s why the same theological questions that have been asked throughout history have bothered Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.”

In the 20th century, however, Akyol said the politics of modern life drive adherents to these religions apart — even though he said they have more in common than they might realize.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for instance, makes a lot of Muslims and Jews think that there’s a big rift between us,” he said. “That’s a political issue. There’s a world of faith and belief that should not be boiled down to politics.

Judy Shepard to Discuss Son’s Legacy and LGBTQ Progress

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Judy Shepard

Judy Shepard, co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation along with her husband, Dennis, is an advocate for LGBTQ rights and a public speaker with a purpose.

Shepard’s son Matthew was brutally murdered in October 1998. The murder, an LGBTQ hate crime that helped to galvanize a new chapter in the gay rights movement, led to changes in policy at the federal level in the United States.

“In October of 1998, Matthew accepted a ride from a couple of young men who proceeded to rob him and beat him,” Shepard said in an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2009. “They tied him to a fence outside of Laramie, Wyoming, and left him there to die. He was found 18 hours later and passed away four days later.”

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 in the Hall of Philosophy, Shepard will discuss “The Legacy of Matthew Shepard” as part of the Week Two Interfaith Lecture Series, “Common Good Change Agents.” Shepard will be joined by reporter and co-founder of The Atlantic’s American Futures project, James Fallows.

James Fallows

“I became a sort of spokeswoman for the cause — we thought people would recognize Matt’s name and hear what we had to say and listen to us, and that maybe we could change hearts and minds,” Shepard told DeGeneres.

When the attack occurred in 1998, Chautauqua Institution’s Vice President of Religion and Senior Pastor, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, was watching in horror along with the rest of the LGBTQ community.

Robinson is widely known as the first openly gay man to be elected bishop in the Episcopal Church.

“It hit (the LGBTQ community) hard because we knew it could’ve been us,” Robinson said. “The remarkable thing is that Judy Shepard, who is this shy, introverted person, turns the tragedy into the (Matthew Shepard) Foundation and this amazing work.”

When Shepard walks up to the microphone, however, Robinson said she looks “10 feet tall,” and speaks with the authority of a seasoned orator.

“The fact that she could do that is just amazing,” he said. “It’s like her personal tribute to Matt and to what she did as a mom, to change this unspeakable tragedy into something good for so many people.”

Robinson said he wanted Shepard to lecture at Chautauqua because he thought she fit Week Two’s “Common Good Change Agents” interfaith theme well.

But the prevention of hate crimes like the one that took Matthew Shepard’s life is also on Robinson’s mind.

“The most important agenda item for the future is passing the federal Equality Act,” he said. “At the moment, every state has a different set of protections for LGBTQ people. But 29 states have none. So in a majority of states, you can be fired for being gay. You can be refused an apartment, you can be thrown out of a restaurant. Until we get a federal law that covers all 50 states, LGBT people are going to be at risk.”

James Fallows to Speak on Underreported Optimism of Small Towns in America

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James Fallows

James Fallows understands America.

After visiting and reporting on dozens of small towns and cities all across the country, he’s witnessed first-hand both the trials and triumphs of communities that tend to be overlooked by traditional news media.

And he understands that the ticking, whirring gears that come together to make up the country’s unique social and political landscape are wound tight.

At 2 p.m. Monday, July 1 in the Hall of Philosophy, Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and co-founder of the publication’s American Futures project, will begin Week Two of Chautauqua’s Interfaith Lecture Series with “Is Common Good a Lost Cause? Sources of Strain, and Re-Connection, in Modern America.” The lecture is one part of the Week Two interfaith theme, “Common Good Change Agents.” All this week, Fallows will be in conversation with people making changes in their own communities, including with Judy Shepard on Tuesday; Chuck Yarborough on Wednesday; and Emily and Stuart Siegel on Thursday.

In addition to writing for The Atlantic since the late 1970s, Fallows’ work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books and Slate Magazine, among others.

Truly, in the decades that I’ve worked for The Atlantic, the question for me has been: Is America going to make it?” Fallows asked.

The answer to that question sent him and his wife Deborah — a writer and fellow at New America, a nonpartisan think tank — on a roughly four-year plane trip to smaller towns and cities throughout the United States.

“I think for me, the biggest takeaway from the project was how much is going on at the local level,” Deborah Fallows said. “What we thought was unusual or remarkable at the beginning, at the first town or so, eventually became an expectation of some version of the same.”

She said she also was surprised that public libraries across the country had changed into “the heartbeat of the communities.”

When we were growing up, the library was just a place to get books,” Deborah Fallows said. “Now, it’s a core institution of the communities. They’re filling in the gaps that towns discover and speaking to the wants and the needs of the community, whether it’s education or access to technology or civic and social questions that need addressing.

Fallows said the impetus for American Futures originated after he returned from China, where he was reporting internationally for The Atlantic.

“We moved back from China in 2011,” Fallows said. “In China, my wife and I had mainly been (reporting) in small towns. We felt as if it was time to apply the same perspective we had there, here.”

Instead of asking small town residents their views on national politics, Fallows said their strategy for American Futures was to instead ask about local issues that weren’t as likely to be polarizing.

“In everything we do as journalists, we try to convey things we have seen that might be of interest to people, things that we think might be new,” he said.

The decision to start the American Futures project, according to Fallows, was “part intent, but mainly an accident.”

It was supposed to last two months, but ended up turning into four years,” he said.

Fallows said his goal for his lecture is to give people a “tangible, realistic and optimistic sense of what can be done in this country.”

Amy Brown Hughes to Open Interfaith Fridays with Evangelical Perspective

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Amy Brown Hughs

Amy Brown Hughes was hesitant to start on the path of becoming a theologian.

With an age-old narrative that largely excluded women from the field, her classrooms lacked the representation she needed to envision her own success. But, Hughes refused to sit this one out. Instead, she decided to write a new narrative.

At 2 p.m. Friday, June 28 in the Hall of Philosophy, Hughes, assistant professor of theology at Gordon College, will open Chautauqua’s Interfaith Friday Series with “With One Eye Squinted: God, Evil, and Suffering.”

Hughes originally went to school to become an English literature teacher, but said it quickly became clear she needed to pursue what she was really good at: theology. With a lack of female representation in the profession, she said it was initially difficult to justify the switch.

“I did a theology degree without knowing what I was going to do with it,” Hughes said. “I had a lot of encouragement to do missions work, but not so much to be a clergy person, so it didn’t even occur to me that I could be a theologian as a woman. I wasn’t actively told in my degree that was the case, but it was just the narrative. … I had biblical studies professors who were women, but I never had a theologian.”

After graduating from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, Hughes went to Texas to work for a missions organization, and shortly after starting, she realized it was not something she wanted to do as a career. Instead, she decided to go to Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois, to earn her master’s degree so she could teach.

It was at Wheaton that she took her first class with a female professor and gained the inspiration she needed to move forward in her program. 

“It was some really awesome mentors there that said, ‘Hey, you should really pursue this, you should write a thesis, you should teach my class, you can do this,’ ” she said. “Having a woman as my professor really helped. I could see myself doing the job.”

One of those mentors encouraged Hughes to stay with Wheaton to earn her doctorate. When she was working on her dissertation, her adviser asked if she knew of any other Evangelical women doing work in theology.

“I sat there and I felt stupid because I couldn’t think of a single one,” she said. “After about 30 seconds, he put me out of my misery and told me there isn’t anyone. I am the first woman to graduate from the Ph.D. program at Wheaton College.”

In 2015, Hughes started teaching at Gordon, a private Christian college in Wenham, Massachusetts. After almost four years, Hughes said the experience has been better than she could have ever imagined.

“I was made to do this,” Hughes said. “I find it to be challenging in really good ways.”

According to Hughes, Gordon stands out due to its ability to make theology accessible to everyone.

“Theology is not just about what you think about things, or having a position on something, or just being able to argue your point,” she said. “I bring to the table a real commitment to an accessible understanding of what theology is. Just watching these students realize that they can participate in the broader, really important conversations is super rewarding for me.”

As a representative from the “broader Evangelical tradition,” Hughes is going to discuss how to think about difficult questions, specifically questions about instances of suffering around the world.

“I am going to talk about how we can discuss what it means to be a person of faith without alienating everyone around us,” she said. “Every major world religion has resources for how we as humans can think about difficult things and how we overlap with other people and other religions. How can we work together so that we can come alongside one another and walk with each other through those difficult times?”

Not only does she want to discuss how to work through the questions, Hughes also wants to use her lecture to help start conversations that will prevent additional conflict.

“You have to think about being with people in those moments of suffering, but also think about how we cannot continue finding ourselves in those situations,” Hughes said. “What are the larger conversations we need to have with one another to mitigate some of these larger issues and restrict those impulses by saying, ‘Hey, this thing that you are bringing into the world is actually causing other people to suffer’? It is so important that we learn to start these conversations so we can really start moving forward.”

Amy Laura Hall to Share Julian of Norwich’s Little-Known Story

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Amy Laura Hall

Amy Laura Hall nannied to pay her way through college and graduate school. As much as she enjoyed instructing children, her first time leading an adult Sunday school class is where she found her calling. Having the opportunity to teach, or re-teach adults, is why she calls lecturing at Chautauqua her “dream gig.”

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 in the Hall of Philosophy, Hall, Duke University’s Divinity School Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, will continue Week One’s interfaith theme, “Religious Moments That Changed the World,” with her lecture “Is Fear Your Only God? How a Medieval Visionary, Julian of Norwich, Teaches Courage, Still, Today.”

“What I absolutely love is watching people who are grown-ups learn new things,” Hall said. “They learn new things about themselves, new things about people they already thought they knew; things about history they thought they knew. Teaching groups of adults complicated questions that I can then try to help them figure out, it is what most makes my heart sing.”

When Hall started teaching at Duke in 1999, her first class was a group of 100 Christian ethics students. The syllabus only consisted of men. 

“That’s an embarrassing fact but it’s just true,” she said. “I’ve been a feminist since I could sing ‘I am woman, I am strong’ as a little girl so it was nuts that I had no women in the class. I started asking around for a woman in the tradition that I could assign as a basic text and several people said I should teach Julian of Norwich.”

Julian of Norwich was a medieval anchorite and the author of the earliest known book written in English by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love. Despite the numerous recommendations, Hall initially felt Julian’s words were naive and blatantly irresponsible.

“I had no interest in teaching a woman who wrote and thought that ‘all would be well,’ ” Hall said. “I didn’t see how that could possibly be helpful to anyone.”

In an effort to give Julian’s work a second chance, Hall started reading the text alongside the Penguin Classics translation.

“Adding a translation was an absolute game-changer,” she said. “It analyzed her text within the time period using lots of historical sources to explain how to get to the bottom of what she was trying to say. It changed my perspective about how significant it was that she had seen a vision of God’s all-lovingness at the time that she did.”

Hall went on to teach the translation alongside Julian’s two original texts for the next 20 years. Finally, she decided to tell Julian’s story in her own words with her latest book published in 2018, Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich, the inspiration behind today’s lecture. 

“Teaching her words to students at the Divinity School who are overwhelmingly Protestant, and many of them trained, as I was, to think that texts by men are more important than texts by women, changed everything for me,” she said. “It has helped me try to figure out how best to introduce seeing the world with Julian of Norwich to a general readership, how to claim that her words matter.”

Unlike Shakespeare, Julian wasn’t writing for royalty. Revolutionary for her time, she chose to speak to the masses, the reason Hall believes she fits so perfectly into Week One’s theme.

“That right there makes her a moment in history that really matters,” Hall said. “She was writing in the vernacular, she was writing in English. She was writing in the language of farmers in England, not of the chains in command. Reading her closely today can help people see the possibilities for defying the strictures of conformity, obedience and hierarchy.”

Macky Alston to explore role, responsibility of film in religious, social issues

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As senior vice president for prophetic and creative leadership at Auburn Seminary, and as an award-winning filmmaker, Macky Alston believes faith and film have a powerful connection.

But this connection, he said, has not been utilized in 21st-century filmmaking.

Macky Alston

“I’m a documentary filmmaker,” he wrote in his blog. “I have seen the power of documentary film to transform lives. I am also an organizer for justice in communities of faith. I have seen the power of communities of faith to transform lives. What I yearn to see is the full power of documentary films in communities of faith to transform lives.”

At 2 p.m. Wed., Aug. 22, in the Hall of Philosophy, Alston will discuss faith and film in his lecture, “Playing (with) God: Revelations from the Filmmaking Front about God, Good Storytelling and How to Do Right by Each Other as We Make Sense of Life.” Alston’s lecture is part of the Week Nine interfaith theme, “The Intersection of Cinema and Religious Values.”

Alston premiered his first film, “Family Name,” in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film followed Alston’s journey to uncover the history of his last name, a pursuit that led him from New York to Alabama. Along the way, Alston meets several African-American families with the same last name, all of which have a different story to tell. The film received Sundance’s Freedom of Expression Award.

Since “Family Name,” Alston has directed four more films, which have explored topics like economic inequality and LGBTQ+  issues like same-sex marriage.

“I have learned some lessons in my own work at the intersection of faith-rooted justice work and documentary filmmaking,” he wrote on his website.

Alston’s most recent film, “Love Free or Die,” tells the story of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Chautauqua’s vice president of religion and the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.

“The last film I directed, ‘Love Free or Die,’ told the story of the church putting its life on the line for LGBTQ justice, following Gene Robinson, the first openly gay person to be elected bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom, and the movement he was a part of that changed policy and culture in church and state in the U.S. and abroad,” Alston’s website reads.

The film was released in 2012, before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality. Alston wrote in a blog post that before film production, he had worked on research at Auburn Seminary on how to shift the mindset Christian voters who were conflicted on the issue of same-sex marriage. He said the research focused on teaching people to support LGBTQ+ rights because they were Christian, and not in spite of it.

“During the year of our screenings, we used that research to equip those who attended the 400 screenings to engage their conflicted Christian friends and family in conversation to help them vote on the right side of history,” he wrote on his website. “We also worked with the state campaigns, in partnership with national LGBTQ justice organizations, to train leaders of faith to make the moral case for equality in public and in the press.”

Alston described this experience as enlightening and wrote that it showed him the influence — and responsibility — he has as a filmmaker to engage the public in pressing social, political and economic conflicts.

“Key to movement work, to faith traditions and to documentary film is (the)  right relationship,” he wrote. “Creating a practice and a world in which the full humanity of all is honored and the conditions needed for all to flourish exist.”

Friar Michael Calabria to discuss universal meaning in religious films

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The film “The Sultan and the Saint” tells a tale of an 800-year-old encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and the sultan of Egypt on a battlefield during the infamous crusades.

Centuries later, Michael Calabria, OFM, said this historical event is increasingly relevant.

Friar Michael Calabria

“Although it’s portraying a historical encounter 800 years ago, this film has enormous relevance and importance for conversations about interfaith relations and interreligious dialogue,” Calabria said.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Hall of Philosophy, Calabria will discuss the importance of this movie, his role in production and the intersection of religion and film during his lecture, “The Sultan and the Saint: A Franciscan Reflection on an Interfaith Encounter.” This lecture is part of the Week Nine interfaith theme, “The Intersection of Cinema and Religious Values.”

Calabria, founding director of the center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University, served as a consultant for “The Sultan and the Saint,” which was released in 2016. The Unity Productions Foundation film has been nominated for an Emmy Award and received 19 other accolades. “The Sultan and the Saint” will be screened at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the Chautauqua Cinema, and Calabria will participate in a talkback following the film.

Calabria said his role on set was to engage in conversation with director Alex Kronemer, an experience that gave him an inside perspective about the depth of the film. For his lecture, he said he will share his reflections with Chautauquans.

“I’m going to highlight and supplement some things about the film, so that when people see it, they have a little bit more information,” he said. “I want to really flesh out why this encounter continues to be so relevant.”

Though the film focuses on a historical religious event, Calabria said its purpose is not confined solely to religious discussion. He believes films like “The Sultan and the Saint” play a larger role in demonstrating the long and disputed struggle for tolerance, among other social issues.

“Very often, religious films are made because they are speaking to a contemporary issue or audience, even though they may be portraying a Biblical incident or a historical incident from the distant past,” he said. “So religious films can often speak to our contemporary experience of society, of politics and of various social issues, one of which is religion.”

Calabria has a personal history of interfaith work and teaches courses on Islam, the Quran, Christian-Muslim relations and Middle Eastern culture. He also serves as the special assistant for dialogue with Islam for the Order of Friars Minor.

In his role at St. Bonaventure, Calabria said his center targets four different disciplines: on-campus instruction, off-campus instruction, scholarship and community outreach. He said each of the center’s responsibilities targets a different aspect of interfaith work through Islamic studies.

On-campus and off-campus instruction includes lectures, courses and other educational opportunities, while scholarship and community outreach look toward impacting the larger community.

“Scholarship refers to the scholarship that I engage in in the field of Islamic studies, which involves presenting at conferences and things like publishing a newsletter,” Calabria said. “The community outreach refers to reaching out to the Muslim community locally, within New York state and internationally, as well.”

Filmmaker Daniel Karslake to speak on intersection of homosexuality, religion

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Daniel Karslake recalls his childhood at Chautauqua growing up down the hill from the Hall of Philosophy.

Dan Karslake

“The Hall of Philosophy was always my favorite building at Chautauqua because when I was really little I’d run up the stairs, run past the benches and run to go get bubblegum,” he said. “I later learned that was the place for interfaith dialogue at Chautauqua, and I tried to never miss those lectures. This is super deep in me, and it has been a place for conversation and looking at different ways of belief.”

Years later, Karslake will return to his favorite childhood place — this time on a different side of the podium.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, in the Hall of Philosophy, Karslake will discuss how filmmaking intersects with religion and social issues during his lecture, “For the Bible (& the Constitution) Tells Me So.” Karslake’s lecture is part of the Week Nine interfaith theme, “The Intersection of Cinema and Religious Values.”

Karslake’s 2007 film “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, explores the intersection of religion and homosexuality. The film has been translated into more than 20 languages and has received numerous Best Documentary Audience Awards around the world.

During his lecture, Karslake said he will explore the influence the Institution had on production of his first film.

“As someone who grew up here, Chautauqua Cinema is my home theater,” he said. “The Cinema has always been a place that has had a mission of its own to have popular but very quality message films here. I was always very moved by virtually every movie I ever saw here. Everything comes back to Chautauqua.”

Karslake, who also produced a movie about hunger and poverty called “Every Three Seconds,” is also connected to Chautauqua through the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, vice president of religion. Robinson appeared in “For the Bible Tells Me So” to offer his experience as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop.

Upon the initial release of the film, Karslake said there was negative pushback from opponents who “clearly had not watched the film and didn’t understand its purpose.” More than ten years later, Karslake said the documentary continues to act as a catalyst for conversation about social change.

Unfortunately, he acknowledges that the conversation is not always positive.

“About three years ago, I started getting death threats again out of the blue,” he said. “I live in Berlin, so my husband and I weren’t tuning into what was happening in the United States at that time. The next day there was a Republican debate… and seven or eight of the candidates were saying some of the most anti-LGBTQ+ things I’d heard in years. I hadn’t heard that in public discourse in America in quite a long time.”

Despite negative pushback, Karslake said his role as a filmmaker is instrumental.

“What tends to come out of the film is much more understanding and hope for kids who are LGBTQ+  and who are growing up in religious environments,” he said. “It’s a message around the world that keeps resonating. The power of film is amazing, I’m in awe of it. It’s a huge responsibility, but I’m lucky.”

Karslake said the intersection of religion and homosexuality continues to be a contested issue, and he is currently working on a sequel film to “For the Bible Tells Me So” called “For They Know Not What They Do.”

At 4 p.m. today at the Chautauqua Cinema “For the Bible Tells Me So” will be screened.

Joel Hunter to represent evangelical Christianity in interfaith Friday talk

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For nine years, Joel Hunter served as a spiritual adviser to former President Barack Obama, a position that sent him across the globe on scholarly and spiritual pursuits. In 2014, Hunter attended a conference in Tehran called “World Free of Violence and Extremism from the Perspective of Abrahamic Religions,” which was dedicated to dismantling stereotypes of religious extremism as a means to work toward peace.

“We believe that we have something in common, and out of the commonality of our religious communities, we can build the kind of relationship and trust that politics simply can’t,” he said to Payvand. “Only through religious leadership or the exchange of religious leaders, we believe peace is going to be successfully built between our two countries.”

Joel Hunter

At 2 p.m. Fri., Aug. 17, in the Hall of Philosophy, Hunter will bring years of interfaith dialogue experience to inform his discussion during the Institution’s eighth Interfaith Friday. Hunter will represent evangelical Christianity as he engages in dialogue with the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Chautauqua’s vice president of religion.

For 32 years, Hunter served as senior pastor of Northland Church in Florida, and grew the congregation to about 20,000 weekly attendees across three locations. In 2017, he left that leadership role to pursue volunteer and nonprofit work. Hunter described this transition as a calling from God.

“When I knelt at the altar to give my whole life to Jesus, I was a part of the Civil Rights movement,” he wrote on Northland Church’s website. “My focus on Jesus was not only for personal salvation after this life but also for compassion towards the marginalized in this life. My call to follow Jesus and serve the vulnerable is stronger than ever.”

Hunter now serves as founder and chairman of the Community Resource Network, an organization dedicated to helping homeless and impoverished families. He also chairs the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, a Florida nonprofit group that works alongside government officials and other organizations in a collaborative effort against homelessness.

Hunter said the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness represents an intersection across political, spiritual and social spheres.

“We have huge community leadership and momentum here,” Hunter said on the show “Welcome Home.” “Everyone from our government officials to our business people to our nonprofit provider people specializing in homelessness and the faith community guide about $50 to $60 million in this central Florida area to the most effective way … to get people permanently housed.”

Having spent years in the public sphere, both as a well-known pastor and as Obama’s adviser, Hunter is often cited as both a religious and political figure. However, Hunter’s friend and radio co-host, the Rev. Bryan Fulwider of Orlando, said Hunter does not let politics divide his character.

“He is always willing to stand on principle for what he truly believes in,” Fulwider told The Washington Post. “Joel likes to say that the reason he works across religious lines as an evangelical Christian was that he knew that no one group could do the job of caring for the needs of the community and the world alone. He did some courageous stuff.”

Hunter regularly works to engage different communities through “A Community Conversation,” a program he started that hosts radio shows, blogs and videos that discuss current social issues.

The program’s radio shows include “Power Talks” and “The Bright Side,” in which Hunter brings in social issue experts to engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Drew Dellinger to discuss Martin Luther King Jr.’s advocacy for interconnectedness between people, nature

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and activism are often identified by famous speeches and writing, notably pieces like “I Have a Dream” and “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King’s ability to empower social justice advocates through the written and spoken word is a staple of his legacy.

But Drew Dellinger commends King for extending his activism far beyond race relations. He remembers a less famous statement made by King in 1965 that he deems “ecological ethos.”

“At one point, King says, ‘One cannot be concerned (just) with civil rights. It’s very nice to drink milk at an unsegregated lunch counter — but not when there’s Strontium 90 in it,’ ” Dellinger said. “He was concerned about this nuclear testing that was pouring radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere. That’s an environmental statement.”

Drew Dellinger

At 2 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 16, in the Hall of Philosophy, Dellinger will discuss King as an ecological and cosmological scholar during his lecture, “All Life is Interrelated: The Interconnected Vision of Martin Luther King Jr.” Dellinger, author of the award-winning book of poems, Love Letter to the Milky Way, is speaking as part of Week Eight’s interfaith theme, “Not to be Forgotten: A Remembrance on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Dellinger is the founder of Planetize the Movement, a progressive movement dedicated to encouraging the intersection of justice, ecology, cosmology and art. A well-known poet and scholar, Dellinger has studied the interrelated nature of the world. He said this interconnectedness is an ancient idea, but the idea is not a core belief in the modern Western world.

Instead, Dellinger said Western culture ascribes to a separation between humans and nature.

“Interconnectedness is a staple of spiritual, religious and mystical wisdom over the millennia,” he said, “ … but it’s one that we lost track of in Western culture and in the worldview of modernity. Indigenous traditions have always felt that all things are connected, and we have a deep kinship with all species of the planet. In Western culture, they began to develop this idea that humans were separate from the Earth and nature. That’s a bizarre turn in the thinking of human beings.”

By “separating” humans from the Earth, Dellinger said humans disregard their responsibility to care for other beings. This encourages abusive behavior in social, political and economic spheres.

“We still behave as if we can dump poisons and toxins and nuclear waste into this living, interrelated system of the Earth’s biosphere and think we’re somehow going to be insulated from that,” he said. “Our practices and our politics have yet to catch up with both the ancient understanding of interdependence, and our new scientific and spiritual ways of reconnecting to that age and sense of interconnectedness.”

Part of King’s activism was established around returning to roots of interconnectedness, Dellinger said, as a means to practice respect and tolerance. When Dellinger first began studying King, he said he immediately recognized that King’s purpose was much larger than racial equality.

“Because I was coming to King’s work with a background in ecology and cosmology, I was especially attuned to the ways in which King was talking about interconnectedness,” Dellinger said. “As I delved into these primary sources, looking at his speeches, writings and sermons, it really jumped out at me — he’s talking about interrelatedness and interconnectedness.”

The deeper Dellinger dove into King’s life and writing, the more he uncovered about his ecological and cosmological insights. Dellinger’s essay, “The Ecological King: A Vision for Our Times,” originally published by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, explores this aspect of King.

Now, after years of research, Dellinger said he sees King as a different type of activist and scholar. But this perspective on King, he said, is often overshadowed by King’s work as a civil rights movement leader.

“I think we had pigeonholed King as a social justice, civil rights and human rights thinker, and he certainly was one of the great examples of that, but he’s more than that,” Dellinger said. “He’s not just talking about social justice, civil rights and human rights. He’s talking about the interrelated structure of all reality. He’s talking about the survival of the planet.”

Clara Ester to reflect on being witness to Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

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It’s been 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and Clara Ester still describes the experience as “almost unspeakable.”

Ester, now a retired deaconess of the United Methodist Church, was a college student and activist for the sanitation workers strike in 1968. She was outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis when King was fatally shot.

“I witnessed him being lifted up and thrown back,” she said. “I cannot figure out how I managed to do it, but I took off and ran up a flight of stairs and stepped over his body and tried to get a pulse. I couldn’t.”

Clara Ester

At 2 p.m. Wed., Aug. 15, in the Hall of Philosophy, Ester will reflect on the enduring impact of this experience through her lecture, “Spirituality, Advocacy and Activism: an MLK-Inspired Life,” presented in conversation with the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Chautauqua’s vice president of religion. Ester’s lecture is part of the Week Eight interfaith theme, “Not to be Forgotten: A Remembrance on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Ester will be lecturing instead of Ruby Nell Sales who, due to health issues, was unable to be at Chautauqua.

In the years following King’s death, Ester said she could not discuss her experience.

“Nobody pressured me for years,” she said. “Even when I speak of it today, it kind of tears me up on the inside because of who he was and what he was doing. For him to be taken away was so hard.”

Ester, one of the founders of People United to Advance the Dream, turned her pain into activism. After graduating from college in 1969, she joined the United Methodist Church Women’s national organization. She was stationed in Mobile, Alabama, where she worked through the Dumas Wesley Community Center in the distressed area of Crichton, which was predominantly African-American.

Ester fought for more programs that benefit African-American community members and helped transform the neighborhood. The DWCC continues to serve the Crichton community through resources like transitional housing and the After School Achievement Program. In 2017, 95 percent of the clientele were minority families in Crichton.

Through her work with the sanitation workers strike and the DWCC, Ester said she never forgot King’s mission.

“I have stayed engaged,” she said. “He’s gone, but his dream is still with us because that dream is still so alive. We still have to get on the battlefield and do the necessary things we need to do to make this a better world.”

Ester was born in Memphis in 1947, before the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and said it is undeniable that progress has transpired. She said racism is vocalized less in modern society — though that does not translate to complete equality.

“I come from a city where I know the Ku Klux Klan (members) are still alive, and I know they raise their children that way,” she said. “But now, we don’t hear or see from their actions like we used to.”

In terms of digression, Ester said she has seen an increased presence of hatred across political and social institutions.

“Now we are back at a point (where) we are not hesitant to say that we hate, and we are not hesitant to (commit) hate crimes,” she said. “That’s the kind of hate I thought would go away, but I guess it doesn’t go away until it dies.”

Rochester Zen Center teacher John Pulleyn to represent Zen Buddhism by engaging in interfaith dialogue

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Fifty years ago, John Pulleyn first found Zen Buddhism through a simple shelf mushroom. While hiking with friends in Vermont, Pulleyn spotted the fungi growing off the side of a tree and remarked how disgusting it was.

“My friend turned to me and said ‘You know, Alan Watts would say that it’s your mind that’s disgusting,’ ” Pulleyn said. “For whatever reason, I knew that was exactly right. Then I started reading Alan Watts, who was an early popularizer of Zen Buddhism, and I just went on from there to read everything I could get my hands on.”

Now, as head of Zen training at Rochester Zen Center, Pulleyn is able to share and teach Zen Buddhism every day — and next, he’ll bring his passion to Chautauqua.

At 2 p.m. Friday, August 10, in the Hall of Philosophy, in the Institution’s seventh installment of the Interfaith Friday Series, Pulleyn will represent Zen Buddhism. Pulleyn will engage in interfaith dialogue with the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Chautauqua’s vice president of religion.

Pulleyn describes Zen Buddhism as an accepting practice and said he believes Chautauquans of all faiths will benefit from learning about his religion.

“The wonderful thing about Zen Buddhism, and I think about almost all forms of Buddhism, is that they’re so tolerant of other paths,” he said. “You hear a lot of people saying all these different paths lead to the same mountaintop, metaphorically speaking. I think that’s a strong thread in Buddhism — this understanding that what’s important isn’t the particular path you take, but your sincerity and your determination and sticking to it.”

As a meditation teacher, Pulleyn admits it can be difficult to connect with the present. He said the practice of meditating is a “lifelong experience,” meaning Zen Buddhism is a constant journey of awareness.

“Most of us spend an awful lot of time sifting through thoughts in our heads,” he said. “That’s fine when there’s something you need to figure out, but most of the time that activity is just a separation between us and the reality of where we are … and Zen is just like any other practice — the more you do it, the better you get at it. Zen is really about living in a world of direct experience and noticing what needs to be done and responding with compassion.”

In addition to encouraging awareness, Pulleyn believes Zen meditation can strengthen believers of all religions and “fortify their faith.” At the Rochester Zen Center, he said being a Buddhist is not a requirement for members. Pulleyn said by welcoming everyone, the center fulfills a Buddhist ideal to pursue a unique path to happiness.

“At our center, we don’t say you need to be a Buddhist to be a member; you just need to have faith that this path is going to be helpful for you,” he said. “The Buddha was really strong on the idea that you need to try things for yourself and find what works. Find what’s conducive to happiness for the benefit of yourself and others.”

Pulleyn last came to Chautauqua in 2017 to share his practice through the Mystic Heart Meditation Program, which he said is another great opportunity to spread the positive intention of Zen.

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