Santa Rosa Registration Page: Scholars, Praxis, Associates, and all interested explorers of religion, register here.

See information below on:
Schedule, Deadlines, Public Lectures, Academic Seminars, Praxis Forum, Registration and Fees, Local Resources, Hotel & Travel

Special anniversary event: The Jesus Seminar at the Pacific School of Religion!

Join John Dominic Crossan for a special lecture at PSR, March 18 at 7pm

Schedule

Wednesday, March 18

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin: “A Brief History of Christian Marriage: It’s Not What You Think”

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Mini Seminar on the Clobber Passages

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Ballroom

Associate's Reception

(Also: John Dominic Crossan at PSR in Berkeley, 7-9pm)

Dates & Deadlines At-a-Glance

February 17Discounted room rates expire
February 17Pre-registration Deadline
March 10Registration cancellation deadline
All registration refunds must be requested in writing.
March 18-21National Meeting

Public Lectures

The national meeting is open to anyone interested in scholarship about religion and religious literacy. Participants come from all walks of life, professions, and religious backgrounds. To support greater understanding of religion, Westar hosts public lectures conducted by Westar Fellows and other leading figures in the scholarship of religion.

Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin

March 18, Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
“A Brief History of Christian Marriage: It’s Not What You Think”

March 18, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
“Martin Luther and Radical Sexual Equality”

Guy Erwin holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from Yale University. He also received a Fulbright grant for two years of study at the University of Tübingen in Germany. His scholarly work focuses on the religious culture of Lutheranism, particularly its worship and piety, with a special interest in the visual arts and architecture.

Dr. Erwin is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s first synod bishop who is gay and partnered. He is also part Osage Indian—born in and still active with the Osage Nation of Oklahoma—and his Native heritage makes him another “first” among ELCA bishops.

Dominic Crossan

March 19, Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“Who is Your Jesus Today? Thinking with and Beyond John P. Meier”

March 20, Friday, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“The Historical Jesus and Human Evolution”

John Dominic Crossan was Co-Chair of the Jesus Seminar, Chair of the Parables Seminar, and Editor of Semeia: An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism, and Chair of the Historical Jesus Section within the Society of Biblical Literature. He was elected President of the SBL for 2011-2012.

He has lectured widely around the world and is regarded as one of the most prominent scholars of the historical Jesus. He has written 28 books, of which five have been national religious best sellers, and co-authored, with Marcus Borg, a series of other books. He has been interviewed on over 200 radio and televisions stations, including CBS, ABC, BBC, A&E, and the National Geographic Channel. One of the best known and best liked scholars of the Jesus Seminar, it is a pleasure to welcome Dominic back to Westar.

Ally Kateusz

March 19, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
“When the Bishop was a Woman and So was Jesus: Startling Revelations from Early Christian Art”

Ally Kateusz is Research Associate at the Wijngaards Institute of Catholic Research in London. Her interdisciplinary doctorate in History and Humanities is from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and she specializes in the intersection of women and religion in Early Christian art and texts. She has published articles in the Journal of Early Christian Studies, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and other venues. Her monographs have won noted awards, including the First Place Otis Worldwide Outstanding Dissertation Award. She is the author of Mary and Early Christian Women (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019) - a book that holds remarkable breakthroughs in Marian scholarship.

Academic Seminars

Westar Institute conducts collaborative, cumulative research in the academic study of religion, addressing issues, questions, and controversies that are important both to the academic community and to the general public. Two seminars are currently in progress: the Christianity Seminar and the Seminar on God and the Human Future.

Academic Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, March 18
Mini-Seminar on the Clobber Passages: The Bible and Homosexuality

1:30-3:00 p.m. Rescuing the Bible from Sexual Misappropriation
3:30-5:00 p.m. What does the Bible Really Say about Homosexuality?


Friday, March 20
10:30-Noon Christianity Seminar Session One
Presiders: Glenna Jackson
Presenters: Chris Shea and Jason BeDuhn

Phase I of the Christianity Seminar does not cover the later periods from the third through six centuries when actual Christian canons begin to form semi-officially. So, Phase I of the Seminar cannot consider canon questions. But in its last sessions this spring the Seminar will examine ways that the ancient Greek and Roman cultures developed general senses—and in a basically non-religious manner—of what texts were important to read and what kinds of authority such writings carried.  Similarly, this spring the Seminar will examine what kinds of non-canonical textual authorities were functioning in the first and second mostly decentralized centuries and for whom.

1:30-3:00 p.m. God Seminar Session One—From God to the Future
Presenters:  Sarah Maurice Brubaker and Jordan Miller

The Fellows of the Seminar on “God and the Human Future” will reflect on the animating questions and key findings that have emerged from the seminar’s work to this point. Special emphasis will be given to the implications these questions and findings have on how to think theologically today.

3:30-5:00 p.m. Christianity Seminar Session Two
Presiders: Celene Lillie
Presenters: Erin Vearncombe and Hal Taussig

Session Two continues to examination texts that were important to read and the kind of authority they held in the decentralized first and second centuries.


Saturday, March 21st
10:30-12:00 God Seminar Session Two—
Cyborg Selves: Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman
Presenter:  Jennifer Thweatt
Respondents:  John Caputo and An Yountae

Author of Cyborg Selves Jennifer Thweatt will provide a brief summary of her book and sketch out further thoughts hinted at but undeveloped in the text with regard to the post-human and trans-humanism.  Westar Fellows John Caputo and An Yountae will provide critical feedback to lead into the open discussion.

1:30-5:00 p.m. Christianity Seminar Session Three
Presiders: Deborah Saxon
Presenters: Erin Vearncombe, Brandon Scott, and Hal Taussig

In one of the last Phase I sessions of the Christianity Seminar, the Seminar takes up and considers ballots about the very complicated first and second century realities when most of the groups studied by the Seminar, over the last seven years, did not consider themselves Christian. That is, by and large, the categories of “Christian” and “Christianity” did not exist or did not have common definitions.  A joint paper by Vearncombe, Scott, and Taussig lays out the issues and possible provisional categories and vocabularies for the Seminar to vote on.

3:30-4:00 p.m. God Seminar Session Three—
Varieties of the Human Future: Post-Humanism vs. Trans-Humanism
Presenters:  Jennifer Thweatt, John Caputo, and An Yountae

This session will pick up where Session Two leaves off to draw the contours of what is at stake between thinking of the human future in terms of the post-human or in terms of trans-humanism.  The aim of this session will be to come to a voting resolution that will guide the subsequent work of the seminar.

4:00-5:00 p.m. God Seminar Session Three continued—
Saving God from Religion: A Q&A session with Robin Meyers on a Minister’s Search for Faith in a Skeptical Age
Presenter:  Robin Meyers and Natalie Perkins

Westar Fellow Robin Meyers has published a new book that has been described as a “revelatory manifesto on how we can reclaim faith from abstract doctrines and rigid morals.”  This session will be a Q&A with the author to discuss how the book has been informed by, and can provide future direction for, the work of the God Seminar.

Participation in Academic Seminars

Westar has developed a new model of scholarly discourse that is open, public, accessible, collegial, and rigorous. Its academic seminars engage leading scholars from accredited institutions worldwide, while also embracing the public and the media as observers and participants.

All others, scholars and non-scholars alike, are welcome to audit the seminars.

Seminar Papers

The Seminar Papers, which will become available in March, are the basis for the discussions in the Friday and Saturday sessions. They will not be presented orally at the event. Persons wishing to follow the discussions should read the papers in advance.

Electronic copies of the Seminar Papers are available to the public and will be posted when they come available, usually 2 to 3 weeks prior to the event. Hard copies of the papers will be available at a cost of $25 each.

Order hard copies of seminar papers
Read papers online

Praxis Forum

The Praxis Forum is committed to bridging the gap between the academic study of religion and the on-the-ground experience of religion and spirituality in contemporary culture. Praxis is Westar's professional form of membership. We seek to support continued research and scholarship on the origins and impact of the Christian tradition, as well as fostering the faith and spiritual growth of religious communities.

Praxis is open to religious leaders with training in church, arts, chaplaincy, non-profit, social advocacy, new faith communities, and social service work. Westar is actively seeking interested members. If you feel you or someone you know would be a good candidate for this program, please visit our website or contact us for more information: [email protected].

Join the Praxis Forum as they discuss presented scholarship and its intersections with contemporary society.

Registration & Fees

Click the image to download a form to register by mail

Not a Westar member? You can add a Westar membership ($60 or $120) to your registration and register at the member price. Westar members get access to live virtual events, additional online resources, a subscription to The Fourth R magazine (6 issues annually), discounts on national meeting registration, and 20% off Polebridge books & media. Learn more.

Refunds are available if requested in writing by March 2 minus a $40 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.

Seminar Papers, which will become available in March, are the basis for the discussions in the Friday and Saturday sessions. They will not be presented orally at the event. Persons wishing to follow the discussions should read the papers in advance. Electronic copies of the Seminar Papers are included with registration. Hard copies of the papers will be available at a cost of $25 each.

Order hard copies of seminar papers

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available on request. Attendance at Westar events qualifies for CEUs for clergy and other educators. Full attendance at Westar’s national meetings earns 2 CEUs (.5 per day). Please notify us of your interest when you register, or fill out the CEU request form. During the event, applicants will be asked to check in with a Westar staff member each day on arrival and departure. A certificate will be sent immediately following the event. Please contact us with any questions.

Resources

Westar Bookstore
Westar publishes scholarly books in religion under the Polebridge Press imprint and publishes series books under the Cascade imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Westar books include reference works for biblical scholars, historical books for scholars and the public interested in the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity, and philosophical and theological books that address contemporary problems and ideas in religion.

Westar books arise from Westar seminars, research projects, and individual scholars. Westar also has an academic journal called Forum.

Books and periodicals that disseminate the results of critical scholarship on religion to the public are offered at a 20% discount to conference attendees.

Hospitality
Westar national meetings are more than the sessions themselves; Westar is a community of people who enjoy candid, intellectually honest conversations about religion in general and Christianity in particular. The Garden Room is made available each day for casual conversation with other attendees over complimentary drinks and snacks. Usually the Garden Room is available between sessions and hospitality is offered after sessions.

Local Restaurants & Sightseeing
Santa Rosa is a blend of wine country, farms, redwood forests and ocean views. Local museums and features include the Charles Schulz MuseumSafari West wildlife park, and Pacific Coast Air Museum. The 800-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is located 45 minutes outside Santa Rosa. Visitors interested in ocean views, seafood, and coastal hikes can drive to Jenner or Bodega Bay in approximately 40–45 minutes.

No visit to Santa Rosa is complete without enjoying local award-winning wines. Visit the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau restaurants page and Taste Santa Rosa for more information on local dining options.

Hotel & Travel Information

All events will take place at:

The Flamingo Resort Hotel
2777 Fourth Street
Santa Rosa, California 95405

The convention room rate at the Flamingo Resort is $149 single or double occupancy, plus tax. For reservations, call 800-848-8300/707-545-8530 and reference the group "Westar Institute" or visit the Flamingo Resort website. A block of rooms will be held until February 17 at which time they will be released for sale to the general public. Book early to ensure a room. Reservations after the deadline will be on a space available basis at the group rate. To reserve rooms at the convention room rate beyond the meeting dates, call the hotel directly and reference the group "Westar Institute" rather than using the online link.

By air

Alaska Airlines provides nonstop service to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa (STS) from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Santa Rosa is also served by San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) airports.

The Airport Express provides service from SFO and OAK to Santa Rosa. Travel time is about two hours. From the Santa Rosa drop-off point, you'll need to get a cab or Lyft/Uber to the hotel.

Currently buses depart San Francisco airport every hour, on the half-hour, from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Airport buses pick up on the Lower Level (outside Baggage Claim area) in the center island at the pillars marked “Airporters.”

Buses depart Oakland airport every two hours, on the half hour, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Buses pick up outside the Baggage Claim area, at the Ground Transportation Center platform marked “4D Scheduled Buses.”

Airport bus schedules change frequently. To be sure of up-to-date schedules and fares, for maps, and to get online discounts, visit www.airportexpressinc.com or call toll free at 800-327-2024.

By car

The Flamingo Hotel is located at the corner of 4th Street and Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa, approximately 55 miles north of San Francisco.

  • Take Hwy 101 North to Santa Rosa
  • Exit Hwy 12 (East toward Sonoma)
  • Stay on Hwy 12 (which joins Farmers Lane) to 4th Street