Exploring Intersections of Spirituality and Social Change: Symposium Discusses Spirituality’s Role in Making Positive Impact

David Steindl-Rast
David Steindl-Rast

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium: Exploring the Intersections of Spirituality and Social Change on Friday, Sept. 27 will generate discussion and action around how to make a wholehearted, positive difference in the world. The event will take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall and is hosted by the Libraries’ department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) in partnership with A Network for Grateful Living (ANGL).

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is inspired by the life and work of David Steindl-Rast, a 93-year-old Benedictine Monk known as the “grandfather of gratitude” and a figure in the modern interfaith dialogue movement. The Libraries’ Special Collections houses Steindl-Rast’s papers. Steindl-Rast will be traveling from Austria to participate in the symposium.

"We are thrilled to have David with us as both a guest of this event and also as a presenter," said Kristi Nelson, executive director of ANGL. “This will likely be his last trip to the U.S.”

The afternoon features other accomplished, contemporary scholars, who are also spiritually-inspired activists and leaders, to engage this theme in its many facets. 

  • Mirabai Bush, founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-developer of Search Inside Yourself at Google, and recent author of “Walking Each Other Home with Ram Dass”
  • Lucas Johnson, executive director of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project and former leader of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization
  • Rachel Bagby, award-winning performance artist, poetic innovator and creator of Dekaaz Facilitation, and author of “Divine Daughters: Liberating the Power and Passion of Women’s Voices”
  • Gregory Ellison II, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Emory University and founder of Fearless Dialogues, a non-profit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have conversations on taboo subjects like racism, classism and community violence 
  • James Crews, mindfulness workshop and retreat leader, award-winning author of two poetry collections, “The Book of What Stays” and “Telling My Father” and editor of “Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection” 

Open to the public, the Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium aims to connect and inspire all interested in exploring the intersections of spirituality and social change. General admission tickets are $20 and free for Five College students. Tickets are available via the Fine Arts Center Website.