New Yorkers: “Spiritual Not Religious” for Haiti
“Spiritual not religious” is the mantra of a generation. It is a disclaimer over and against organized religion, the rise of fundamentalism, and the epistemic skepticism of the postmodernity. To put it crudely, the bankruptcy and bullshit of the church have helped to shape a new religious identity. Nevertheless, the questions of being, meaning, despair, hope, love and desire remain unanswered. What does it mean to be a moral creature at this moment? How does one develop and maintain an ethics of justice and hope in the face of an era populated with doubt and uncertainty?
The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, where I have served as fellow-in-residence, has created a Spiritual Not Religious Study Group as a space to wrestle with these questions. This open seminar is designed to create dialogue for those who seek a life of ethics and meaning but do not consider themselves religious. Several questions will be raised accordingly: How does one describe a just life? What holds a community together? How can one be moral without believing in God or a certain organized religion or dogma. What are the sources of a moral life outside of organized religion? While the work of Felix Alder and the tradition of the Ethical Culture Societies will serve as a reference point for the study group, this open seminar will use a variety of sources including the arts, current events, popular culture, religious literature, philosophical texts and community conversation.
This week session will delve the ethics of a just rebuilding of Haiti.
Reading Schedule March 4, 2010:
- Cornel West, “Truth” in Astra Taylor’s Examined Life (New York: New Press, 2009) pg. 1-24 (and, in part, here at Killing the Buddha)
- “Christian Imperialism in Haiti? Missionaries, Theo-tourism, and the Invasion of the Global South,” by Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado
- “‘Biblical’ Disaster in Haiti: Pat Robertson and the Curse of Unyielding Ignorance,” by Anthea Butler, Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, Sarah Posner, Becky Garrison, and Matt Recla
Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
53 Prospect Park West, Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York
The Study Group is an open seminar so one can attend at any time.
Class meets at 6:30pm
Thursday, March 4th
Thursday, March 25th
Thursday, April 22nd
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is the Senior Minister of Lemuel Haynes Congregational Church (UCC) in South Jamaica Queens, New York. He is third generation ordained Elder in the Church of God in Christ. Rev. Sekou holds fellowships with the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Institute for Policy Studies. His forthcoming book is Gods, Gays, and Guns: Religion and the Future of Democracy.