BARTIMAEUS INSTITUTE


Bartimaeus Institute

Discipleship at the intersection of Seminary and Sanctuary, Streets and Soil, Soma and Psyche



About the Bartimaeus Institute

The "slow food" and "slow money" movements have worked to recover more holistic and relational approaches to important life practices. Since 2007 our Bartimaeus Institutes have sought to do the same for discipleship education in a world of impersonal conferences and insular tertiary institutions (see list below of past themes).

The Institute provides an opportunity for interactive and in-depth study of scripture and social justice in the Ojai Valley, CA with Ched Myers, Elaine Enns and friends. Building capacity for both proclamation and practice, we study lectionary readings as they relate to particular themes of social justice. Academic credit and limited scholarships are available; space is limited. Join this village of learning and engagement!


A video articulating the vision of the Bartimaeus Institute:




Past Institutes

The titles, themes and some resources such as programs, photo essays or reports from all our past Institutes follows:

  • Feb 20-24, 2017 Kinsler Bartimaeus Institute, 

    Working at the Intersections: Recontextualizing MLK’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ Sermon on its 50th Anniversary.

    With over 75 participants, we once again gathered at Forest Home, here in the Ventura River Watershed. You can view the Program Book (PDF 4.7MB) and a Photo Essay (PDF 497kB)

  • Oct 14-16, 2016. Fall Institute, Saskatoon, SK

    The TRC Calls Churches to Action: Building Capacity for Restorative Solidarity

    Over 100 church and native leaders wrestled with the “Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to Churches.” You can see the program booklet here (PDF 1.3MB).


    We explored how the Canadian TRC Report impacts Indigenous/Settler relations, and how Christian communities can build right relations. Participants looked at how to educate, advocate and organize around the Calls to Action to churches, including the challenges to:


    “formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation” (48);

    and to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius” (49).


    Indigenous and nonindigenous leaders mapped the new geography for the work of fostering justice and reconciliation, and reflected on how a theology and practice of “restorative solidarity” can help churches rethink discipleship, service, spiritual formation, worship and activism.

  • Feb 15-19, 2016. Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute:

    Landscapes of Trauma, Stories of Healing: Women in Luke’s Gospel

    We returned to Forest Home, where over 50 participants met together for five days. A photo essay is available here (PDF 550KB).

  • Oct 9-11, 2015.  Bartimaeus Institute-on-the-Road

    Identity, Theology and Place: Reinhabiting the Mississippi Watershed

    This Institute was held in Minneapolis, MN, co-hosted by the Church of All Nations and the Underground Seminary. Recordings of talks are available here.

  • Feb 16-20, 2015. Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute:

    "A Festival of Radical Discipleship."

    Our largest event ever saw 175 participants; the amazing Festival schedule can be viewed here (2.1Mb PDF), the list of workshops here (4.9Mb PDF). A photo essay can be viewed here (1.9Mb PDF). A transcript of Jennifer Henry's beautiful Ash Wednesday homily can be viewed here.

  • Apr 25-May 11, 2014. Permaculture Design Certification Course: The Peace of Wild Things

    The first ever Gospel-based PDC (to our knowledge) saw a dozen participants complete the internationally recognized permaculture design certification course, explored through the lens of radical theology and praxis. In this residential course, students graduated as certified Permaculturalists and were introduced to a diversity of embodied practices and critical analysis that helped empower and sustain faith-based work for justice and reconciliation. A photo essay of the course can be viewed here. (960KB PDF)

  • Feb 17-21, 2014. Kinsler Institute:

    Discipleship in the Wilderness: The Three Archetypal ‘Temptations’ Then and Now (Mt 4:1-12)

    As a preparation for Lent, we carefully read the story of Jesus’ “Vision Quest” and testing in Mt 4:1-12. We saw how each of the three temptations represent archetypal expressions of the economic, political and theological seductions through which empire seeks to shape our hearts, minds and practices. We explored how each of Jesus’ responses represent narrative cues to the “big story” of liberation in the Bible. And through this process we looked at the challenges facing us today, reflecting on some of the themes articulated in Ched’s book Who Will Roll Away the Stone? Discipleship Queries for First World Christians (Orbis), in celebration of its 20 anniversary. A photo essay can be viewed here. (863KB PDF)

  • Oct 11-14, 2013 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Coming into the Watershed: Permaculture, Ecoliteracy, & Bioregional Discipleship"

    was led by Chris Grataski, Ched Myers and Elaine Enns. It offered an introduction to the theory and practices of following Jesus in the way of ecojustice and permaculture. Exploring both meanings of “watershed discipleship” in this crucial historical moment of social and environmental crisis, we reflected on how scripture and theopolitics can animate and nurture personal and political sustainability. A photo essay can be viewed here. (863kb PDF)

  • Feb 18-22, 2013 Bartimaeus Institute:

    “There was a rich man who...” The Occupy Critique, Sabbath Economics and Luke 12-19.

    This scripture intensive offered a theological response to the Occupy Movement, and a conversation with Cornell West and Tavis Smiley's recent manifesto on wealth and poverty, The Rich and the Rest of Us (2012). Led by Ched Myers, over 30 people explored selected texts from Luke's "special section" that appear in the Year C gospel lectionary. We looked at how the third gospel uniquely articulates the problem of social and economic disparity, how Jesus envisions the church as a new society in the shell of the old, and how these texts challenge First World Christians to practice Sabbath Economics. You can see the basic syllabus here.

  • July 2012 Bartimaeus Institute: 

     "Rooting Faith: Theology and Practices of Bioregional Discipleship" 

    Read the report here.

  • Feb 2012 Bartimaeus Institute: 

    "Reading Mark's Gospel Politically"

    Read the report here.

  • Feb 2011 Bartimaeus Institute: 

    "Watershed Seminary II: Healing Rivers": Where Hydrology Meets Theology and the Bible Meets the Bioregion

    Our first annual eco-theology Institute focused on forest defense; in 2011 it was rivers. Inspired by the "Watershed University" approach to bioregional literacy, we looked at river stories (including baptisms!) in the Bible, and sketched out the contours of a place-based theology and identity. Each participant explore their own watershed context in terms of spiritual, environmental, economic and political sustainability, using Brock Dolman's "basin of relations" framework. And we looked at local examples of river and riparian habitat restoration as we gathered together near the banks of the Ventura River. It was a "full immersion" into the problems, prospects and theological symbols of our watersheds.

  • Jan 2011 Bartimaeus Institute: 

    "The Sermon on the Mount from Anarchist, Anabaptist and Antiracist Perspectives"  

    We explored how Jesus' passion for social transformation was expressed in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and looked at how Christian practitioners of nonviolence have looked to this manifesto ever since. We honored the King Holiday by looking at what 20th century Anabaptism, the anarcho-pacifism of Tolstoyans and Catholic Workers, and Civil Rights activism have to teach us about faith and nonviolent movement-building. Ella Baker, Dorothy Day and Anna Schulz (right) were briefly profiled as practitioners of those respective traditions. In a special session Elaine reported on her recent trip to the Ukraine to investigate the complicated historical lessons to be learned from Maknovists and Mennonites during the Russian revolution. It was a timely conversation about discipleship and liberation politics!

  • Feb 2010 Bartimaeus Institute:

    Ecojustice, Sabbath Economics and Luke’s Gospel

    This was one of our most energetic Institutes yet. Thirty participants studied Luke’s gospel, the Ojai Valley watershed and the life and witness of Sr. Dorothy Stang. Two thirds of the participants were women, and 2/3 under age 35—trends we find encouraging! Highlights included:


    Sisters Roseanne Murphy and Judi Clemens represented Dorothy’s order, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and brought wonderful, engaging energy. The Sisters shared personal stories after we watched the film They Killed Sr. Dorothy. Institute artist Meg Lemieur did sketches during the week as themes were discussed, culminating in a portrait of Sr. Dorothy made out of natural material.

     

    On Wednesday we took field trips to Nopalitos Native Nursery and Sycamore Canyon, before being hosted at the Abundant Table Farm Project in Camarillo, where we ate delicious food out of their CSA garden. Guest speakers Don Seawater, an urban forester, and Calvert Foundation social investment animator Art Stevens stimulated our horizons of imagination.  Institute musician Jay Beck got us chanting and drumming throughout the week.

    See the photo essay here.

  • Jan 2010 Bartimaeus Institute:

    “Ambassadors of Reconciliation: A Theology and Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking"

    On the week of the M.L. King holiday we held our 6th Institute. We had 21 full-time participants from six states and two countries, representing thirteen ecumenical traditions. It was a rich time of bible study, social analysis and storytelling, with the focus on our recent Ambassadors of Reconciliation books.  

    See the photo essay here.


  • Feb 2009 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Transgressing Boundaries of Race, Class & Gender (Mark 4-8)"

    Read the report here. (PDF 3.9MB)

  • Jan 2009 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Jesus as a Practitioner of Nonviolent Action (Mark 1-3)"

    Read the report here. (PDF 591KB)

  • Feb 2008 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Jesus as a Teacher of Restorative Justice in Matthew"


  • Jan 2008 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Matthew’s Gospel between Seminary, Sanctuary & Streets"


  • Jan 2007 Bartimaeus Institute:

    "Luke’s Gospel and Sabbath Economics"