Pendle Hill holds fast to its tradition of being a place of deep listening, speaking and hearing truth spoken with respect for all. Open dialogue and the exchange of ideas often yield new insights – “buds of new thought.” Below are just a few examples of our events that attracted many newcomers and sprouted new thinking in the past year.
In a recent series of three lectures on “The Challenge of Progressive Christianity,” John Dominic Crossan revealed the meanings of Jesus’ and Paul’s messages by returning to the matrix of time, place, tradition, and vision in which they were delivered. Knowing how their teachings were understood by their contemporaries opened new views into the role of contemporary Christians as non-violent resisters to the escalatory violence of Empire.
Opening the conference Beyond Gender-Based Violence, freedom and human-rights activist Ruby Nell Sales pointed out that we cannot understand gendered violence without historical accountability for what she calls the “cult of white womanhood.” Without this examination, she posits, we will continue to contribute to a social system that allows the exploitation and degradation of black women.
At our May conference on Truth and Healing: Quakers Seeking Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, we learned of Quakers’ part in causing intergenerational trauma among Indigenous Peoples. We were confronted with several important questions: As we become more aware of our history, how are we called to acknowledge the harm we have caused, apologize, and make amends for it? Among other speakers, Mark Charles reminded us that there cannot be healing without truth, and much of what is passed on as the truth of U.S. history is myth. Only by confronting the truth that our nation was founded to benefit colonizers can we begin to decolonize our minds, institute real democracy for all people, and move toward right relationship with Native Peoples and our planet.
World-renowned developmental biologist Scott Gilbert teamed up with “love activist” .O to deliver an intriguing presentation that retold the story of human development, from the beginning of sperm and egg, as one of cooperative interaction (rather than competition, as many people are taught). They showed us that cooperation in community is both an original approach to human development, and one that must be reasserted through life.
Chad Nicholson of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund informed us of the growing movement to recognize the rights of nature. By acknowledging rights as inherent in ecosystems, we can begin to establish a sustainable relationship with our earthly home.
In “Forage and Feast,” Hayden Stebbins and Geraldine Lavin, two ethnobotanists, led a tour introducing us to medicinal herbs and edible wild plants throughout the campus. The group then turned their foraged harvest into a feast. For many participants, doing so was a (delicious) first.
Pendle Hill relies on the support of friends like you so that we may continue to generate new buds of learning and understanding. Thanks for your support!