PROGRAMS & REPORTS
— Program, 2d Wednesdays 1-2:30 pm
Holiday Essay — 2018 Jan 15
2018 Feb 2 Fri 7pm —
What is Islam?2018
March 4 Resurrection Lutheran Church, 9100 Mission Rd
Quartets 2018 March 13 Tom Brous speaks on his
Prothero 2018 April 30
in a Pluralistic World —
2018 May 7 – July 27 —
Mondays 6-9:45pm CDT
[2017-2018 academic year Easter term]
Vern teaches the graduate
credit course C-RP511
Baptist Theological Seminary
Council's "Table of Faiths"
2018 May 8
Day Essay pending
World Religions Lectures
— 2019 Feb 15-16 Fri-Sat
PROGRAMS & REPORTS -- DETAILS
Holiday Essay — 2018 Jan 15
Download a PDF of Vern's
2-page summary of the genius of the spiritual approach of Martin Luther
King Jr by clicking this link.
Feb 2 Fri 7pm — honoring
Grace and Holy
Trinity Cathedral during World
Interfaith Harmony Week THE
A complimentary reception hosted by the Central Seminary
An exhibition of art in the rare Saint John's Bible
Organ pieces performed by Paul Meier on the Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ
The Sacred Arts Chorale performing the complete Missa
Pange Lingua by Josquin des Prez (1450?–1521) -- Kyrie,
Gloria | Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei
Guitar, ud, and other music performed by Beau Bledsoe
Poetry from Wm Shakespeare, George Herbert, John Donne, T S Eliot, W H
Auden, and Vern Barnet, with actor Eddie Straub
:: Of course,
the full candle-lighting ceremony, incense, asperges
CLICK ON THE BURNING CANDLES or
HERE FOR A FULL REPORT
Weekend 2018 Feb 9-11— report
2018 March 4 Sunday 9:15 am
Resurrection Lutheran Church, 9100
Dr Vern Barnet discussed
our indebtedness to Islam and answered questions, in an informative hour
The session began with this "Quiz to Initiate Discussion
1. T/F — The three largest faiths in the world
are, in order, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
2. T/F — Well over ten per cent of American Muslims
3. T/F — Records show Muslim presence in South
Carolina as early as 1790.
4. T/F — Most Christians in the occupied Palestinian
areas have been sympathetic to the Muslim population.
5. T/F — Judaism comprises less than one per cent
of the world’s population, mostly in the United States, Israel, and France.
6. T/F — Muslim slaves are buried in New York near
the site of the 9/11 attacks.
7. T/F — By 1919, a mosque had been built in Michigan,
by 1934 in Iowa, by 1957 in Washington, D.C., and in Kansas City by 1981.
8. T/F — The Muslim Student Association (UMKC’s
chapter formed by 1984), with other groups, led to the founding of
the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
9. T/F — Saudi Arabia, our ally, a Sunni nation,
is home to the Wahhabi extremist form of Islam.
10. T/F — Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned more times
in the Qur’an than Muhammad (pbuh).
11. T/F — Traditionally Yaser Arafat was welcomed
at the Christmas observances in Bethlehem at the Church of the Nativity.
12. T/F — Although the current administration is
especially hostile to Iran, with its Shia majority, the US has never interfered
with its democracy by overthrowing its government and installing a dictator.
13. T/F — The US trained a Saudi, Osama bin Laden.
14. a/b/c — Greater KC has (a) one mosque (b) three
mosques (c) more than ten.
15. T/F — The first nation to recognize the independence
of the United States of America was a Muslim nation.
16. T/F — The Jackson County Diversity Task force
including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist members, formed after
the 9/11 attacks to survey the 5-county area, presented a 77-page report
with three pages of recommendations to the community on Sept 10, 2002.
17. T/F — Muslim lands offered Jews safety when
they were expelled after the Christians reconquered Spain.
Click for answers.
||Vern said "Kansas City would
not be Kansas City except for Muhammad (PBUH) by pointing our that Giralda
Tower on the Country Club Plaza is often used as a symbol to identify Kansas
City, with the original full-size minaret still standing in Seville, once
the tower from which the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer was made.
After the session, members
of the class hold an enlarged image of a AAA map cover for Kansas City
after the talk. They are Bob Dona, his wife Sharon, and the Rev Ted Schroeder,
who invited Vern.
Eliot's Four Quartets Promoted
Brous spoke at the Retired Clergy Luncheon March 13. T.S. Eliot’s “Four
Quartets” may be the most important religious poem since Dante's Divine
Comedy, Brous suggested, and like Dante, even with the Comedy's
beauty and power, discovering the depths of its meaning its not easy.
Now there is a guide through
this masterpiece: Why Read Four Quartets? Tom's book encourages
readers to “take up, read, and inwardly digest” these sacred poems.
Both for general reader unacquainted with this work and those who already
cherish it, the poems are made more accessible.
Many critics do not take
Eliot’s own spirituality seriously enough to explore it; literary analysis
is often emphasized to the exclusion of viewing the poems in a personal
or biographical manner. In sharp contrast to these typical studies, this
book endeavors to show that the quartets can be read as the story of Eliot’s
own mystical journey to the Divine, a journey by which we ourselves can
Tom Brous is a retired
attorney-at-law and adjunct law professor. He has studied and lectured
on Four Quartets for over 30 years.
The program was arranged
through CRES and Vern introduced the author.
Thanks to Jen Greene
for these photos.
2018 April 30, Stephen Prothero and Vern discuss
the merits of Prothero's 2010 book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival
Religions That Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter, which
Vern is using as a text at Central Seminary. Another
member of the audience at the annual Religious Studies lecture at KU happened
to have a copy of the 2011 column Vern had written about the book and showed
it to them. Prothero signed Vern's copy of his new book, Why Liberals
Win (Even When They Lose Elections). Prothero's lecture reviewed his
earlier and continuing concern about American religious illiteracy, about
which he wrote in his 2007 Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs
to Know--And Doesn't.
Prothero's website is
a Pluralistic World —
2018 May 7 – July 27 —
Mondays 6-9:45pm CDT [2017-2018 Easter term]
Vern teaches the graduate
credit course C-RP511
Baptist Theological Seminary
The course, led by Dr Vern Barnet, explores these
DISCOVERING PRESUPPOSITIONS ABOUT OTHER FAITHS
0. Getting acquainted:
Our backgrounds, travel and other experiences, and perspectives as we approach
1. What meanings do terms
such as belief, dialogue, epiphany, holistic, mission, myth, pilgrimage,
religion, ritual, sacred, sacrifice, scripture, secular, spirituality,
worship, have for us and today’s society?
2. What attitudes have
scholars identified as ways folks approach faith perspectives other than
3. What does “pluralism”
mean? What are its theoretical, practical, and personal meanings? How does
it apply to the local community and the “global village”?
4. Where are we aided
and challenged by other traditions? How might our own and other traditions
address environmental, personal, and social disorders?
B. LEARNING ABOUT OTHER FAITHS
1. How do sociological,
historical, phenomenological, and other methods of studying religions differ,
and how do they help us understand another’s faith?
2. What are the basic
structures, texts, facts, practices, and variations of other faiths?
3. How do faiths compare
4. What is more, and what
is less, useful for each of us today?
C. ENCOUNTERING FOLKS OF DIFFERENT RELIGIONS
1. What are the basic
styles and purposes of interfaith engagement? What are the significant
interfaith organizations and programs affecting the student’s community?
2. How do I discover my
community’s faith complexion and my opportunities within it?
3. What issues with boundaries
arise and how can they be negotiated?
4. What do we learn about
ourselves as we learn about others? Can I be committed to my own faith
and respectful and open to others? If so or if not, what does that mean
for my ministry?
During the May 14 class (hosted locally by HJ's
Youth and Community Center, a facility of St Andrew's Episcopal Church)
which included two remote students, a reflection appeared on the monitor
behind Vern and a student particularly apt with electronics as well as
religion, captured Vern making some obscure theological point as if he
were holding a light saber for emphasis. Vern denies that he is an incarnation
of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but is disappointed that the electonics seemed to obscure
his halo which too few can discern in any circumstance, anyhow. Maybe as
the technology improves . . . .
Congratulations to the Greater Kansas City Interfaith
Council for its uplifting "Table of Faiths" dinner 2018 May 8 at the Overland
Park Convention Center -- and to award recipients, Jewish Vocational Services
(Table of Faiths Award) with Hilary Cohen
Singer, and Mindy Corporon and Melinda Coproran -- "Faith Always Wins"
(Steve Jeffers Leadership Service Award).
The program, chaired by the Rev Kelly Isola, included inspiring speakers
Bill Tammeus, Aisha Sharif, and Alvin Brooks.
were the ways the speakers and activities elaborated the theme of the evening,
"to know and be known," a theme around which Vern's book, Thanks
for Noticing, was created, citing a Muslim Hadith Qudsi (page 17-18,
28, 31, 51, 75, 95, 101, 161, 186.)
Vern, who organized the
Council in 1989, was given the first Table of Faiths
award by then-Mayor Kay Barnes in 2005 shown here, after Vern had retired
from the leading the Council.
For the record,
the 2018 program incorrectly listed Vern as the first recipient of the
Jeffers Leadership Service Award; Steve tragically died in 2008
and the first Jeffers award was given that year. Steve and Vern had worked
together many years on numerous projects, and with the assistance of Michael
E Nelson and Michael C Brannigan, and with help from members of the Interfaith
Council, completed Steve's dream of an 'interfaith PDR'-- Physicans' Desk
Reference, the internationally published 740-page
Essential Guide to Religious Traditions and Spirituality for Health Care
Vern says, "Although I
am deeply grateful to the Council for the inagural Table
of Faiths Award, it would be wrong for me to allow the error to
stand that I received an award in the name of my precious friend, Steve.
I remain overwhelmed by the the Council's Table of
Faiths Award and its generous inscription." The award reads, The
Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council presents the inaugural TABLE OF
FAITHS AWARD to The Reverend Vern Barnet, D.Min. for his lifelong career
dedicated to encouraging interfaith dialogue, for his vision in founding
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and for the compassion and
wisdom he exhibits every day.
Those who have
received the Steve Jeffers Leadership Service
Award include Dr Robert Hill, Ahmed El-Sherif, Queen Mother Maxine
McFarlane, Donna Ziegenhorn, Mayor Sly James, Bambi Shen, the Rev Dr Wallace
Hartsfield Sr, Shakil Haider, Dr Sofia Khan, and this year's recipient,
as noted above, Mindy Corporon and Melinda Coproran -- "Faith Always Wins."
After the inaugiral award,
the Table of Faiths Award has been given to
Ed Chasteen and Don and Adele Hall (all three in 2006), The Kansas City
Star and Alvin L Brooks (two awards), Shawnee Mission Medical Center, All
Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Notre Dame de Sion, the Kansas City
Public Library, Unity Church of Overland Park, Children's Mercu Hospital,
the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Blue Valley School District, the Dialogue
Institute - Kansas City, and, as noted above, Jewish Vocational Services.
CRES is seeking to provide
an accurate history of interfaith activities
in Kansas City, so any corrections to this list are welcomed.
2019 Februrary 15-16 Friday-Saturday
Vern lectures in Atchison on world religions for
students in the Benedictine Sister's Souljourners
spiritual formation program leading to spiritual direction ministry at
the Sophia Center, 751 South 8th Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002.
Vern describes the three families of faith by telling
stories suggesting where these families typically find the sacred; epitomizing
texts are studied; Buddhism and Islam given special attention; and the
benefits of interfaith exchange celebrated.
of all kinds click for information
We can provide a customized
ceremony or direct you to a wedding chapel with low-cost package services
(flowers, photographer, etc.)
THANKS to Robert and Shye Reynolds,
a CRES fund to assist couples with fees for weddings has been
established, to celebrate their marriage June 19, 2002, on the occasion
of their thirteenth anniverary.
our publications page
in progress: KC Star, Many Paths
columns and fresh essays:
Families of Faith and the Three Crises of Secularism
asked for a compilation of columns Vern wrote for the KC Star, 1994-2012,
and the essays fatured in Many Paths. Here are tentative chapter
headings for the selections:
The Three Families of Faith ? Faith and the Arts ? Science and Religion
? Teachers of the Spirit ? Ritual and Worship ? Religion and Public Policy
? Specific Faiths (Buddhism, Islam, etc) ? Comparative topics (reincarnation,
gods, water, prophets, etc) ? How the column began and ended
If you would
like to engage Vern
or another member
of the CRES staff
for a speech,
or other work
with your organization
please visit www.cres.org/work/services.htm
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Vital Conversation Coffee
2nd Wedneday of the month
MidContinent Public Library
6060 N Chestnut Ave, Gladstone,
You are welcome even if you
have not read the book or seen the movie
A Free Monthly
Discussion Group Led by David E Nelson
C R E S senior associate
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to
win an argument,
Vital Conversations are intentional gatherings
of people to engage
but to win a friend and advance civilization.”
in dialog that will add value to the participants
and to the world.
In Vital Conversations, we become co-creators of
a better community.
The discussions began May 24, 2002,
at the CRES facility
by examining Karen Armstrong’s
Battle for God
is magic and a mysterious activity that feeds the mind, transports the
imagination, sooths the soul, and expands life. It is most often
done in solitude and yet connects us to so many others both near us and
far from us. Many readers enjoy the opportunity to share their reading
discoveries and to expand from the sharing of others. Reading is
an important aspect of our common humanness.
Vital Conv. Coffee
an open exchange of ideas
with no preset agenda
4th Wednesday monthly
311 NE Englewood Road
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not
to win an argument but to win a friend and advance civilization.”—Vern
Conversations — A Program of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith
Council, CRES, and Mid Continent Public Library Antioch Branch, 6060 N.
Chestnut. Gladstone, MO 64119 The Second Wednesday of each month from 1
to 2:30 pm.
VC Coffee — the Fourth Wednesday at 8 am at Panera Bread, 311 NE
10, 2018 The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This classic work of American literature has not
stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene.
It is “The Big Read” for the greater Kansas City area. It is about the
Vietnam War but so much more. It gives the reader an opportunity to think
about war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.
The New Jim Crow
Once in a great while a book comes along that changes
the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement.
The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani
Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that
the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness.
HipHop artist Miles
Megaciph was the special guest. You can download a portion of
his contribution to the discussion at this
icloud address. Here are other sites of interest:
Miles "Megaciph" Thomas
Nuchi Du Takara on YouTube
14, 2018 Boxes by Temp Sparkman
We are what we remember. We all have our own boxes,
downloaded from our hard drives. They appear early in life. Some of them
are like others’ boxes. Still, what’s in them are uniquely ours. Author
Temp (photo left) was with us to assist in discussing his book and our
unique individual boxes. He illustrated several of his own boxes, and the
group, led by David Nelson, discussed the one or more of the assortment
of boxes each of us is familiar with as ways of understanding ourselves
(and each other) better.
April 11, 2018 God Against the Gods: The History
of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch.
The last stand of paganism against monotheism is
one of the great “what-if’s in history. How would the modern world look
today if the worship of many gods had been tolerated instead of persecuted?
Breaking a long-lived taboo, this book reveals the dark side of monotheism
and the bright side of
May 9, 2018 Radical Dharma: Talking Race,
Love, and Liberation, Angel
Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens with Jasmine Syedullah.
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the
legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at
large and Buddhist communities this urgent call to action outlines a new
dharma that considers the ways that racism and privilege prevents our collective
Our guest, who knows the
authors, was the Most Ven Sunyananda Dharma, who offered a different perspective
on approaching the privilege and oppressions found thoughout history --
and on working for a more just future-- and suggested that our first responsibility
may be becoming better ourselves to see the present more clearly. It was
a very lively conversation with many questions and brilliant responses
and observations from our guest.
In the absence of David
Nelson, Vern facilitated the 90-minute discussion.
June 13, 2018 Our Fathers: Making Black Men,
people don't understand why black lives must matter and why the racial
divide seems to be taking the country back 50 years. Like the mythical
Sankofa bird, the answer to what's missing now lies in what existed before.
This book focuses on one block of St. Louis in the mid-20th century, where
African American businessmen living the American Dream also created a sense
of community for boys in that neighborhood. Lewis will be with us to participate
in our conversation.
July 11, 2018 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary
circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence,
heart, and unflinching honesty. “As w continues to fight the battle against
police brutality and systemic racism in America, The Hate U Give serves
as a much-needed literary ramrod.”
August 8, 2018 The End of White Christian America
by Robert P. Jones
America is no longer a majority white Christian
nation. This book explains how this seismic change has profoundly altered
the politics and social values of the United States.
September 12, 2018 God: A Human History by Reza
In Zealot this author gave us a new and refreshing
look at Jesus. In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship,
he narrates the history of religion as one long and remarkably cohesive
attempt to understand the divine by giving human traits and emotions. This
has its benefits and problems which he points out clearly.
October 10, 2018 Sinners in the Hands of A Loving
God by Brian Zahnd
Brian Zahnd founded Word of Life Church in St.
Joseph, Missouri, more than thirty-five years ago. In this book, he asks
important questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful toward sinners
true or biblical? He offers a more faithful and life-giving alternative
to those who read the Bible and practice Christianity.
November 14, 2018 Celestial Mechanics by William
The author, who is known for his non-fiction travel
adventures, embarks on an exploration into the value of knowledge and rational
thinking, the essence of being harmoniously alive, and the very nature
of the Cosmos. This fiction novel of haunted love explores the nature of
reality, dreams, and leads the reader on a journey toward something vastly
December 12, 2018 Convictions: How I Learned
What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg
Do Christian beliefs still matter? Do they really
change us or the world? Bestselling author Marcus J. Borg reflects on the
convictions that he has developed over the course of his life and why they
provide a part of hope for those seeking to be faithful Christs in the
twenty-first century. He was among the most widely known and influential
voices in progressive Christianity. As a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, Borg
was a major figure in historical Jesus scholarship.
Selections are subject to change. If you would like
to be reminded and have additional information, contact David Nelson at
email@example.com or call (816) 453-3835
ABOUT CRES PARTICIPATION
Having spawned several other
including the Greater
Kansas City Interfaith Council,
continue to offer programs initiated by and through others
but we no longer create our
own in order to focus on our unique work.
For interfaith and cultural
calendars maintained by other groups, click