Discipleship at the intersection of Seminary and Sanctuary, Streets and Soil, Soma and Psyche
Discipleship at the intersection of Seminary and Sanctuary, Streets and Soil, Soma and Psyche
Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute 2023
Feb 20-23, 2023
At Camp Forest Home on unceded Chumash Territory in the Ventura River Watershed, California.
The 2023 Institute has concluded
Image left - Kelsey McKenzie: The Creative Kel,
Image below - BKI class of 2020
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:
The titles, themes and some resources such as programs, photo essays or reports from all our past Institutes follows:
February 20 to 23, 2023
Nearly 70 participants returned to the Ventura River Watershed on unceded Chumash land to
begin their 2023 Lenten journeys with kindred spirits.
You can read the Program Book (PDF) here and see a 2-page photo essay here (PDF).
February 18 to 21, 2022 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute
Connecting Schools of Prophets: Building Literacy for Radical Discipleship
In 2022, trying to ease the Zoom fatigue, we offered a scaled down version of what we did online in the 2021 BKI.
We talked with
colleagues who have been experimenting with curating such spaces around
North America; reviewed the recent history of such labors; and examined our
strengths, weaknesses and prospects going forward.
You can read the Program Book (PDF) here.
February 12 to 15, 2021 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute
Deepening Practices of Restorative Solidarity
In 2021 the BKI was online (wasn't everything online in 2020/21?). For the third consecutive year we explored the work of decolonizing discipleship. We looked at how white settlers can build just relations with Indigenous and other communities of color in North America, hearing from seasoned faith leaders who are theologian/activist/pastors. The online BKI included “community mixers,” book and film debuts, and for the first time two pre-Institute Zoom gatherings (available free on the BCM YouTube page: Winter Solstice and MLK holiday) and several post Institute workshops for ongoing engagement. The Program Book is available here and a photo collage of many of our guest speakers and attendees is here.
Feb 17-21, 2020 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute
Unsettling Histories | Decolonizing Discipleship | hukišunuškuy
Image:“Bartimaeus Billabong”, painted for the 2019 BKI by Australian Indigenous artist, Safina Stewart. www.artbysafina.com.au
The BKI2020 was once again held in the Ventura River Watershed, with around 90 participants and resource people taking a deep dive into their own familial and communal immigrant/settler histories—where their people came from, where and how they/we settled, how they/we colluded and collided with the colonial project, then and now.
Available now are the Photo Essay and Program Book from the week
Feb 18-22, 2019 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute
Indigenous Justice and Christian Faith: Land, Law, Language
Image right: Wowasake kin slolyapo wowahwala he e “Know the power that is peace” Diptych icon of Black Elk, Robert Two Bulls.
Over 150 people gathered again at Camp Forest Home in the Ventura River Watershed
You can see details of the speakers here; the Program Book; and the Photo Essay. Also selected talks from the 2019 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute are now available as Bartcasts.
Feb 19-23, 2018 Kinsler Bartimaeus Institute:
Digging In: Heels, Histories, Hearts
101 participants came together from across North America for this week of learning, reflection, connection and sharing. Once again Forest Home was our oasis in the midst of the recently-scorched Ventura River watershed.
Our Program Book (PDF 4.9MB) tells you what you missed, and this Photo Essay (PDF 700KB) shows you! Selected talks from the 2018 Kinsler Institute are available as Bartcasts (Episodes 8, 9, 12, 13 and 17). PRAISE for the 2018 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute:
Apr 7-8, 2017: "Remem-bearing" and Renewal: Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Uprising/Riot
On April 7-8, 2017, ReconciliAsian and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries co-convened a gathering to "remem-bear" the
1992 Los Angeles Uprising/Riot. We gathered to do our work around
history, unresolved trauma, and how it impacts justice issues today. ReconciliAsian has an excellent program summary page including photos and videos you can view here.
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."
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"
Feb 2012 Bartimaeus Institute:
"Reading Mark's Gospel Politically"
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"