Progressive powwow

Prof Marcus Borg

Prof Marcus Borg

The triennial Common Dreams Conference of religious progressives will be held in Canberra this year from 19 to 22 September.

President of the Progressive Christian Network of Victoria, Dick Carter, said the conference will host an impressive list of local and international speakers, writers and researchers covering various progressive religious issues.

“The theme is ‘midwives of change’ in terms of how progressives can support a new movement or change, not only in Christianity, but in other religions as well,” Mr Carter said.

“Progressive Christianity seeks to understand Christian beliefs and doctrines in the light of modern biblical historical scholarship and current scientific knowledge.

“It values inquiry and intellectual integrity and rejects biblical literalism and inerrancy – it’s open to diversity of opinion.

“We’ve got some outstanding speakers who will be very accessible to everyone who attends.”

The conference’s keynote speaker is Professor Marcus Borg, Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, USA.

“The conference will kick off with a major public lecture from Marcus Borg, then various presentations and workshops,” Mr Carter said.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for people to interact and network.”

Known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar, Professor Borg held the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007.

He is the author of 20 books, including Meeting Jesus Again for the First time, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, Speaking Christian, and Evolution of the Word.

Other speakers include Rev Bruce Sanguin, a leading Canadian theologian and writer and Rev David Felten (USA) co-founder of the acclaimed Living the Questions series of adult Christian education resources. The conference also boasts a line-up of Australian and New Zealand scholars and writers, including Dr Val Webb, Dr Margaret Mayman, Dr Greg Jenks, Dr Nigel Leaves, Dr Lorraine Parkinson and Rabbi Aviva Kipen.

Full details of the conference program, speaker profiles and presentation extracts visit or phone (03) 9571 4575.

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