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Reimagining God and Nature in the Face of Extinction

February 22-23, 2019

Santa Cruz, CA

Perhaps no two other phenomena of our contemporary era define the world as do globalization and climate change.  Globalization means both the “space-time” crunch of sped up communication, transportation, and production technologies that mean the world is much faster and that we are perhaps living at a pace that outstrips the planet’s carrying capacity.  It also means that there is no location on the planet, if there ever was, that is not criss-crossed with global flows of energy, information, and materials.  Some have responded to this with calls for a “return” to paracholism and nationalisms.  Others have argued that we can continue our path of the globalization of neoliberalism as usual, with social and environmental checks.  At the same time, and related, global climate weirding means that human activities have forever changed the face of the planet, leading some to call our contemporary era: the Anthropocene.  How can we navigate between nationalism and globalization as usual, toward some sort of alternative that acknowledges we are all part of a planetary community (along with many earth-others), in an effort to address problems that face the entire planet?  What role has religion (and especially monotheisms) played in helping to create our current planetary problems and what role do religious communities and in particular the theological imagination have in helping us to chart a different path forward? This symposium will be an opportunity to think about and discuss these urgent issues.

Karen Bray (Ph.D., Drew University) is an Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wesleyan College and a candidate for Unitarian Universalist minister. She is interested in how secular institutions and cultures behave theologically. Her work has been published in various academic journals.

Whitney Bauman is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University in Miami. He has taught courses such as religion and science, environmental ethics, technology and human values, and religion and queer theory. In 2012, he served as a visiting professor of religion and nature at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is the author and editor of several books, including Religion and Ecology: Developing a Planetary Ethic(2004) and others.

Program Details

The Death of Nature and the Theological Problem of the “Anthropocene”

(Bray and Bauman)

Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm

A Planetary Alternative I: New Materialism, Black Thought, and Gravely Attending to to the Climate Apocalypse


Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am

A Planetary Alternative II: Developing a Non-Reductive Religious Naturalism 


Saturday, 11 am – noon

Pantheological Opportunities for and Challenges to Climate Justice

(Bray and Bauman)

Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm

Questions and Answers

Bray and Bauman will share some concluding thoughts, followed by questions and discussion.
Saturday, 3–4 pm


Progressive Christian Forum of Santa Cruz

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

Peace UCC

900 High St

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

For local information, contact:

Jim Weller

[email protected]


All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by Feb 15) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.


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