“A secular spirituality from the seasons?”

Wheel of the Year

EVENT: Sunday, July 9, 2017, 4-6pm at The Venue, 114 S Grant, Bloomington, Indiana

This summer, join me for a community discussion on the question, “Can we derive a secular spirituality from the seasons?” Held at The Venue in Bloomington, Indiana, the event will be moderated by longtime local journalist Mike Leonard. Light refreshments will be served.

The discussion will revolve around the same ideas which inspired my book, Spinning in Place, outlining a worldly approach to spirituality for the scientifically-minded.

As a longtime atheist, I’m skeptical of many expressions of religiosity. But over the years I’ve learned to see much of value in religion as well. To be fully human, we must be open to the full range of human experience. I wrote this book to show one way that humanists, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and skeptics might celebrate what it means to be alive here on this planet. Further, by placing a focus on the natural world, we can learn to be better citizens of the Earth.

I’m known in the Bloomington area for my role in the controversial television series, Rox, which debuted on cable there 25 years ago this summer and became the first TV show on the internet shortly thereafter. Rox was honored by a mayoral proclamation from Mark Kruzan in 2013. Now, I’m honored by the opportunity to return to Bloomington and speak about eco-spiritual practices.

I hope you can join me!

PS: Listed on Facebook.

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Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

I am so proud to be named one of the Urban Conservancy‘s 2014 Urban Heroes.

What, me a hero? I am not much afflicted with the infamous vice of false modesty, but I have to admit this makes me blush just a little.

Yes, the Lafitte Greenway in now under construction, but after all, I am not the one pouring asphalt and concrete, erecting lampposts and so forth.

Fresh Concrete

Lights on the Greenway

The award comes for my work with FOLC, of course. FOLC has played a vital role in advocating for the greenway. I think it’s safe to say that this work would not be underway presently if it wasn’t for FOLC’s advocacy.

I’m a founding member of FOLC, and I served as president of the group for three years. It’s because of that intimate involvement that I know just how much of a team effort this has been.

So while I will indeed revel in this little slice o’ glory, I’m mindful of the following fact: all I did was help start something.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’?

That’s right, I’m referencing Michael Jackson. I can do that because a) we’re both from Indiana and b) what with this Urban Hero designation I’m almost as famous as him now.

Look: starting something is actually the easiest part. Anyone can start something. People start things all the time, things that don’t last, things that fail to launch. The difficult part is keeping it going — sustaining the effort past the first initial blush of enthusiasm. That’s where the hard work comes in. After the inspiration, perspiration.

That’s where the team effort comes in. This project was blessed with the attention and support of a diverse group of people who brought an array of strengths with them to the table. If it had just been me, the project would have gone nowhere. I’ve piled up a few projects like that over the years. But instead, this project bloomed because people wanted it, and they pursued it with patience, focus, passion, and an attention to detail I could certainly never have mustered on my own.

To those many people who contributed their precious time and effort over the last nine years, I am extremely grateful.

Now get your tickets and help me celebrate.

Rising Tide III

Click here to register!

I was going to say “be there or be square,” but since this thing is organized by bloggers the opposite probably applies. (You know, because blogging is inherently geeky.) I plan to be there, at least part of the day, as parental responsibilities allow.

Panel #3

I’m gearing up for the New Media Consortium’s 2007 Regional Conference later this week. I’ll be on a panel called “Digital in the Wild” with Alan Gutierrez, Sandy Rosenthal, Ted Cash, and Christopher Reader (moderator). So I’m pondering the following discussion questions and working out what I might say.

  1. How did your technology needs change from before the flood to today, and why? I think I’ll talk about my personal experiences, especially in the immediate aftermath of the flood. I ran out and bought my first cell phone, a Blackberry which I’m still using. We didn’t get internet at home for for over a year. Hell, I couldn’t get a newspaper delivered to my home for months, or mail for that matter. So, a desperate thirst for information, and the Blackberry was the answer. I never saw the point of mobile devices before Katrina.
  2. What didn’t exist pre-Katrina that you’ve seen come about to help give people power to help themselves? The local blogosphere existed before the storm, but it certainly flourished and grew into something new afterward. It’s become an essential part of how I get intelligence about what’s going on in the city.
  3. What technology(ies) have made the biggest impact in advancing recovery work? Good old Yahoo! Groups. We use this for my neighborhood and though I have some quibbles with how they function, I like the easy, egalitarian nature of this tool.
  4. What failed to live up to the hype in your opinion as far as technology is concerned? Unfortunately: everything. All this technology falls short of what we’d want it to do. If I had to single anything out, I’d have to say: internet. It’s a great source of information for those who use it, but so many people are left out. I worry that it tends to reproduce and accentuate existing social divides.

Those are my raw and unformed ideas, subject to change between now and Thursday. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Panels, Panels, Panels

I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on “Media, Communication and Community: Private and Public Interests in Rebuilding New Orleans” this Wednesday night. It’s sponsored by the Xavier University Communications Department and it’s open to the general public. More info.

Next week, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on “New Media and Community Activism in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” This is geared toward faculty here at our fine University. I invited five local bloggers to participate and — surprise! — they all said yes. It was difficult to choose five people to represent all the hundreds of New Orleans blogs. If you’re a local blogger reading this and wondering why you weren’t selected, I hasten to assure you that you were next on the list. Honest.

And finally, I’m going to be on a panel sponsored by the New Media Consortium’s Regional Conference in November on a similar topic. It’s called “Digital in the Wild,” a coinage from Alan Guitierrez of Think New Orleans who will also be on the panel along with Chris Reade (louisianarebuilds.info/Young Leadership Council), Ted Cash (Common Ground), and Sandy Rosenthal (Levees.org).

Three panels in four weeks. That’s a lot of paneling.