This page is continuously updated.
KC Interfaith History Project continues
When Even Evil Will Ordain the Good -- Mar 5, 12, 19, 26
Live Music in
Kansas City Silent
Table of Faiths TBA
A final first edit of the Al
Brooks memoir is now complete. We are in the proof-reading
King Holiday Essay —
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.
2020 TBA 6-9:45pm CT
The graduate credit course
C-RP511 is held remotely via Zoom and at
The course, created by Dr Vern Barnet, and currently taught by Dr Matthew Silvers with Vern taking the Feb 17 session, explores questionslike these:
DISCOVERING PRESUPPOSITIONS ABOUT OTHER FAITHS -- AND OUR OWN
B. LEARNING ABOUT OTHER
C. ENCOUNTERING FOLKS OF
KC Interfaith History Project continues . . . .
Former CRES Board chair Larry Guillot and former
CRES intern, now CRES historian, Geneva Blackmer met with Vern for lunch
2019 Febuary 21 to review progress and plan next steps. Geneva, with both
her interfaith experience and library skills, has scoured local and state
archives, interviewed folks, and drafted what is even at this stage by
far the most complete look at how ecumenical and interfaith activities
have developed in the KC region, but the work is ongoing. Visit the KC
Interfaith History Project.
Below, Vern, standing behind an easel with a large
print, discusses his sonnet about an unexpected encounter with an icon
at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral when the only light was from a candle
on the side, as recounted in his sonnet (#79) “The
Quest for the Historical Jesus” in his book, Thanks for Noticing,
of the first session in the Lenten series described above.
I had the great privilege of attending a very timely presentation this evening, given by my brilliant and dear friend Vern Barnet, whom I call the Joseph Campbell of Kansas City. Called “When Even Evil Will Ordain the Good,” it was a thought-provoking Lenten meditation on the nature of evil and how it can be reconciled with the notion of a good God. How can a good God allow, for example, the coronavirus? To explore this profound topic, Vern used a painting by Velásquez, as well as one of his own sonnets, “The Cosmic Christ: A Meditation on Velázquez’s Christ after the Flagellation contemplated by the Christian Soul'”--
Who is this Christ? You, scourged, now look at me
BY PATRICK NEAS
Usually at this time of year, Kansas
City is filled with a joyful cacophony of musical and theater performances.
But in 2020, it’s more reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.”
In her landmark 1962 environmental classic, Carson wrote how the misuse
of pesticides could lead to a springtime bereft of bird song.
AN INVENTIVE STRING QUARTET
A MOBILE WORKFORCE
COUNTING EVERY PENNY
You can reach Patrick Neas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vern offers his conclusions
from 50 years of experience and study: in a troubled world, what paths
lie forward? and how can one dare offer praise for the intertwined mix
horror and beauty of existence?
“Civil Religion” has a bad name. Even Robert Bellah, who popularized the term in 1967, abandoned it because it has come to connote right-wing desires to fuse church and state as in the case of one proposed Constitutional amendment, meant to recognize the “sovereignty of Christ.” But isn't citzenship -- beyond sectarian and partisan claims -- really a sacred gift and responsibility?
Annual TABLE OF FAITHS
The 31st anniversary of the founding of
The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council,
now independent but originally a program of CRES.
Although this event is not sponsored by CRES, we list it since its “Vern Barnet Interfaith Service Award”is named for CRES minister emeritus, the founder of the Kansas City Interfaith Council (1989), then a program of CRES.
2019 November TBA Sunday 4 pm
Having spawned several other organizations,
including the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council,
we 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 here.
A Free Monthly Discussion Group Led by David E Nelson
C R E S senior associate minister
president, The Human Agenda
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to
win an argument,
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’sThe Battle for God
2020 Vital Conversations Schedule
to see last year's fascinating programs, click
January 8, 2020 — The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among his fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood — where greater pain awaits. And so when Ceasar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity. Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era; he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.
Releasing Conversation: Share your name and one resolution you might make for the decade of the 2020s.
Questions for Conversation
February 12 — Taking Civility Out of the Box: The Insanity of Incivility and What Can Be Done About It by Barbara Mason Condra.
These are not easy times for important conversations because it is difficult to converse when there is a lack of civility. Barbara addresses this issue from her perspective as a retired teacher, school administrator, and volunteer. She will be with us, along with others from The Assistance League of Kansas City. She addresses the questions: Why are so many people angry and meanspirited? How will a lack of civility damage our democracy? Am I going to have to accept incivility as a way of life?
Releasing Conversation: Share your name and identify a “civil person” you know or have witnessed and explain why you choose that person.
definition for “civility”: being polite and respectful to other people…The
word “Civility” equates the idea of being civil to the right of being a
citizen…Strong opinions and beliefs can be stated and emphasized but name
calling and belittling of each other is not present.” Pages 12-14. What
other places do you gather where civility is needed? How do you respond
to those who are not civil?
The group was very engaged (and quite civilly!) in questions about civility.
Author Barbara Mason Condra (in the red sweater) is at the far table.
March 11 — Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi. “Given our circumstances, ‘neighbor’ may be too casual a word to describe our relationship. We are intruders into each other’s dreams, violators of each other’s sense of home. We are living incarnations of each other’s worst historical nightmares. Neighbors? ” In this taut and provocative book, Halevi endeavors to untangle the ideological and emotional knot that has defined the conflict for nearly a century. Using history and personal experience as his guides, he unravels the complex strands of faith, pride, anger, and anguish he feels as a Jew living in Israel.
Following the discussion, several participants posed for a photo.
Link to Clif Hostetler's review of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Releasing conversation: Share your name and identify your home community.
“As the Qur’an so powerfully notes, despair is equivalent to disbelief
in God. To doubt the possibility of reconciliation is to limit God’s
power, the possibility of miracle – especially in this land. The
Torah commands me, ‘Seek peace and pursue it’ ---even when peace appears
impossible, perhaps especially the.” (18-19). Why is
the author writing this as letters to a Palestinian neighbor?
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April 8 — Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Evervday Hurts by Harriet Learner, Cassandra Campbell (Narrator). The courage to apologize, and the wisdom to do it well, is at the heart of effective leadership, marriage, parenting, friendship, personal integrity, and what we call love. “I’m sorry” are the two most poweful words in the English language. Harriet Leamer is one of our nation’s most loved and respected relationship experts, renowned for her scholarly work on the psychology of women and family relationships.
Releasing Conversation: Check in with your names and share briefly what you have learned in the last 30 days.
1. “The challenge
of apology and reconciliation is a dance that occurs between at least two
people. We are all, many times over, on both sides of the equation.” (p.
3) Think about times you have been on both sides of the equation. What
has helped heal and what has not worked for you?
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May 13 - Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro. In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA, Dani Shapiro received the astonishing news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Over the course of a single day, her entire history — the life she had lived — crumbled beneath her. In just a few hours of internet sleuthing, she was able to piece together the story of her conception ad, remarkable, find a YouTube video of her biological father. A true story that reads like a novel.
June 10 – American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders by Jacob Needleman. Needleman has spent a lifetime studying the religious traditions of the world looks at the wisdom of the American Spirit by focusing on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, The American Indian, Frederick Douglas, Walt Whitman and others. He shares his perspective on where we have been and his vision of what is still possible in this nation.
Sacred Citizenship by Vern Barnet
We will also read an updated version of our friend Vern Barnet’s paper of “Civil Religion” which has been part of classes on World Religions. Vern will be with us to share his insight and our vital conversation.
July 8 – Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
“From the frontline of social justice comes one of the most urgent voices of our era. Bryan Stevenson is a real-life Atticus Finch who, through his work in redeeming innocent people condemned to death, has sought to redeem the country itself. This is a book of great power and courage, It is inspiring and suspenseful. A revelation.” Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns.
August 12 – The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss
The author artfully recasts the saga of women’s quest for the vote by focusing on the campaign’s last six weeks, when it all came down to one ambivalent state. The dauntless – but divided – suffragists confront the “Antis” – women who oppose their own enfranchisement., fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. Atkins Johnson Farm and Museum “Votes for Women: The Fight for Women’s Suffrage in Kansas and Missouri” August 5 – October 3, 2020. This exhibition is made possible by the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area traveling exhibit program, administered by the Watkins Museum of History. Museum admission is free. The creator of the exhibit will speak at the opening on August 5. Algon Not so Minor: The Supreme Court Denies Women's Right to Vote
Wednesday, August 26 at the Gladstone Community Center 6:30 pm.
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