SoL Courses Fall 2013
Grasses of South Central Texas with Floyd Waller
Description: What makes a grass a grass? How do you tell them apart? Learn from an experienced taxonomist about the basic structure and morphology of grass plants and how to identify the common grasses in our region. The first session meets at the SoL Center, to be followed by field trip locations. Bring a notebook and a 6-inch metric ruler to the first class; later, you’ll need a water bottle, snacks, hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. Recommended field reference, Grasses of the Texas Hill Country, A Field Guide, by Brian and Shirley Loflin.
About the Instructor: Floyd Waller has a Ph.D. in grass systematics from Texas A&M University. He has taught classes in grass identification at the San Antonio Botanical Center, Friedrich Wilderness Park and Cibolo Nature Center, and he does taxonomic consulting work at Texas Tech University at Junction.
Co-Sponsored by San Antonio Interfaith Partners:
High school students are welcome.
Location: Program begins at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Parish Hall (4201 DeZavala Rd., 78249) and continues at the Muslim Children Education & Civic Center (5281 Casa Bella St., 78249.)
Description: Enjoy a delightful evening of film, conversation and an interfaith panel discussion about peacemaking. The film, In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan, shares the story of St. Francis and Sultan Malek al-Kamil and a little-known thirteenth-century peace initiative in the Middle East. In 1219 during the Fifth Crusade, Francis took it upon himself to cross battle lines and reach out to the enemy. Their example is an invitation to join in respectful dialogue with people of different faiths and cultures. In this program you will have the opportunity to view the film, learn from a panel, engage in interfaith dialogue, share food, and visit a mosque and a church. This program is a part of the 2013 Pilgrimage of Compassion initiated by the peaceCENTER for San Antonio to become a City of Compassion. See http://sacompassionet.org for more information.
Preparing for the Effects of Climate Change: Communicating, Organizing and Adapting with Darby Riley
Description: How many more Sandys, Katrinas, and Moores can we afford? The question before us is, what can we do about human-caused climate change? How can we talk effectively to our fellow citizens about it? How can we organize on a nonpartisan basis to address this threat to all of humanity? Mr. Riley will show us how our neighborhoods and communities can better prepare for the coming severe events, we will learn to use all our varied skills and communication powers to get this word out. Every population center is responsible for
educating its citizens and doing its part to prevent the global and local catastrophe that will happen if we don’t wake up.
About the instructor: Darby Riley, a civil trial lawyer, attended the University of Texas-Austin and St. Mary’s School of Law. He serves on the board of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance. He has made numerous presentations to civic groups about global warming’s dire consequences.
Sacred Dance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Description: From Miriam’s biblical dance to Christian liturgical dance and the Sufi whirling dervishes, dance has been a part of religious traditions from ancient times. Our leaders will bring examples of the dances from different faiths, plus dances of universal peace and music from biblical and quranic traditions. You are invited to dance---whether you would like to jump up or watch with your heart dancing within.
About the instructors: Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D., is a professor of religious studies at the University of the Incarnate Word and the 2013 San Antonio Peace Laureate. The author of Dancing with Creation, she has led a workshop, Dance and Drama Incarnating Compassion, as well as many other projects in spirituality and the arts. Terri Boggess, Ph.D., is Chair of the Exercise and Sport Science Department at St. Mary’s University. Terri was led to sacred dance as she pursued the mind-body-spirit connection in holistic wellness. Catherine Cuasay has an M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapies and uses dance, music, and drama in both counseling and retreat ministries. Covita Moroney is a co-founder of the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. She has studied and practiced Christianity, Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism.
Description: How do we listen to Christ’s heartbeat? What are the signs that we are listening? What is then asked of us? The Gospel of John presents discipleship in precisely those categories. How do we become the “beloved disciple” who hears Christ’s heartbeat? This presentation will try to unpack John’s mystical description of discipleship. As Evagrius of Pontus, in the 4th century, put it: “Breast of the Lord, Kingdom of God: Who rests against it, A theologian shall be.”
About the Instructor: The Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. For most of the 35 years of his priesthood, he taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a community-builder, lecturer, and internationally renowned author. More than 60 newspapers worldwide carry his weekly column.
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Your Purse or Backpack with Carol-lee Fisher
Description: Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants, flowers and trees to restore, rejuvenate, and heal. This class will give hands-on guidance toward preventive self-care and the healing uses of essential oils -- the common remedies in your pantry and flowers growing in your garden. These oils store well so they may be prepared ahead and carried on a trip. You will learn basic applications and uses of essential oils of herbs, both on the body and in a room. Demonstrations will show you how to use three of the oils and one blend of oils, for many practical purposes. The healing oils provide relief for everything from soothing burns to overcoming mental fatigue and memory lapses. Carol-lee will supply oils for everyone to experience plus a purse-sized holder for the oils, with a card listing uses and applications. The session will close with a delicious treat homemade by Carol-lee.
About the Instructor: Carol-lee Fisher apprenticed with herbalists Donna d'Terra and Rosemary Gladstar in the coastal mountains of California. She went on to study aromatherapy with Dhyana Dluca. She opened her private practice in 1996 and later moved to Texas, where she was president of the San Antonio Herb Society. Carol-lee teaches about herbs to local and national audiences, with many television appearances to her credit.
Couple Talk: Renew the Depth and Delight of Communication with Marian Higgins
Notes: Child care with a certified teacher provided. Parents to bring snacks. RSVP required.
Description: This popular class is designed for committed couples who want to learn a new way to talk and a new way to listen to their partners. It is for couples who wish to explore their relationships for deeper understanding and to develop a curiosity and desire to truly listen to their partners. Join us as we venture forth with small and large group discussions plus group demonstrations.
Recommended Book: Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt.
About the Instructor: Dr. Marian Higgins, a clinical psychologist, received her Ph.D. from the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. Higgins recently retired after 25 years in private practice, contract work with Laurel Ridge Psychiatric Hospital, Child Protective Services, and Boystown, as well as serving as Counseling Coordinator at the Community Clinic.
The Theology of Creation: Reflection on Genesis with Glenn Ambrose
Description: Explore the Judeo-Christian understanding of Genesis 1 and 2, including creation and our place in it and incarnation and our relationship with God. Emphasis in the course will be on the goodness of creation from the beginning and our responsibility in creation as co-creators and co-caretakers.
About the Instructor: Glenn Ambrose is Professor of Religion at the University of the Incarnate Word. He received his Ph.D. from the graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. His focus as a scholar is on systematic theology, sacramental theology, philosophical theology, religion and culture, and theologies of liberation. He is the author of The Theology of Louis-Marie Chauvet, Overcoming Onto-Theology with the Sacramental Tradition.
Weather for Our Grandchildren: Choices for Sustainable Living with Bill Spinks and Dale Moore
Description: Although there are still those who doubt, most people who look at the climate change issue feel the weight of human consumption on our planet and wonder what they can do now for their descendants. This course, based on the Northwest Earth Institute study guide entitled Choices for Sustainable Living, will examine the problem of our future responsibilities. With readings, videos and lots of discussion, we will explore solutions and activism that will leave weather sufficient that our grandchildren will not curse us.
About the Instructors: C.W. (Bill) Spinks, Trinity Professor Emeritus of English, is a sometime poet, author of numerous articles in myth and semiotics, and publisher and editor of Trickster’s Way, an on-line journal. Dale E. Moore, a computer programmer and business owner, is interested in the interaction of science and religion.
The Life and Witness of Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection with David Germer
Description: A spiritual teacher and beloved writer, Henri Nouwen is the author of The Wounded Healer, Inner Voice of Love, Return of the Prodigal Son, With Open Hands, and many more books read worldwide. He believed that what is most personal is most universal; he wrote, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.” (The Henri Nouwen Society) Participants in this class will read Genius Born of Anguish: The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen, a new biography of Nouwen by Michael Higgins and Kevin Burns (available at Viva Bookstore.) The book will frame and orient the discussion, which will focus on the life of Nouwen and the profound theological and spiritual insight that he consistently articulated.
About the instructor: David Germer, Director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian Church, is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. His two favorite classes have been Christian Discipleship and Ethics and Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Imperfection, which radically reshaped the way he thinks about and lives out his spiritual life as a disciple of Jesus. He and his wife, Tracy, are the parents of 2 young sons.
Although there is no charge for this event, we ask you to reserve seats in advance by contacting the church office (210-732-9927 or email@example.com) due to limited sanctuary seating. The concert, held at UPC with a reception following the performance, is the SoL Center’s gift to SoL Center participants and the UPC congregation in honor of Lou and David Williams. Donations to the SoL Center, and specifically in honor of Lou and David Williams, will be gratefully received.
About the Artists: The concert will feature a sampling of North and South American repertoire of the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. SAVAE is a unique group of seven supremely talented singer-musician-composers. You will hear songs from their most recent recording, Revival Tonight, an album of beloved American music, as well as selections from their Latin American repertoire. SAVAE is best known for its meticulous research into the history and dialects of the music it records. SAVAE has made five other recordings and been heard on the soundtrack of a major Hollywood release (Kingdom of Heaven), on television documentaries, and on National Public Radio broadcasts.
About the Honorees: Lou and David Williams have graciously and enthusiastically led, served, and supported the missions of University Presbyterian Church since the late 1970s. Lou became involved in the mission of the SoL Center in 2006 while working on an International Restorative Justice Conference brought to San Antonio by the Center. She joined the SoL Board in 2007 unaware of the great changes to come. Within six months she was named Vice Chair and then Chair of the board. Lou’s calm, confident leadership brought the SoL board team together to help bring in a new director and a new outlook for the Center. Lou and David are being recognized and honored for their deep commitment to the work of the SoL Center and University Presbyterian Church.
Description: In this course discover your innate goodness through the simple practice of mindfulness meditation—following the breath, walking mindfully and contemplating a select thought. The opportunity to be friendly to one’s self opens the door to empathy and compassion for others. You are welcome to bring your meditation cushions. Those without cushions will receive instruction on meditation sitting in a chair. Recommended reading: Turning the Mind into an Ally, by Sakyong Mipham. The two-hour session will be completely interactive with brief instruction periods.
About the instructor: In 1995, Shastri Linda Mockeridge attended a meditation weekend with the San Antonio Shambhala Center, The Art of Being Human, and began a mediation practice and the study of the ancient teaching of Shambhala, which focuses on basic goodness and enlightened society. She became a Buddhist in 1997, attended teacher training in 1998 and Vajrayana seminary in 2003. She has taught Shambhala Buddhism in many cities, offering meditation programs to professional conferences, treatment centers and schools. In 2010 she was chosen as one of the first 58 Shastri (literally in Sanskrit, “teacher learned in the texts and commentaries”). She is the Shastri for the Texas Region. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Trees of San Antonio and South Central Texas with Paul W. Cox
Description: Learn about trees found in our region, including natives, exotics, appreciated and vilified species. Become familiar with their identification characteristics, culture and points of interest. We will focus on oaks, pines, and palms grown in our area that can be difficult to identify. The first session will meet in the classroom at SoL Center followed by two field trips, to the San Antonio Botanical Garden and the Trinity University jogging trail.
About the Instructor: Paul W. Cox has served the San Antonio area as a botanist for over 30 years. An alumnus of Stephen F. Austin State University, he received his M.S. in botany and B.S. in biology / forestry. Paul is an international speaker on horticulture, native plants, endangered plant species, prehistoric flora and tropical plants. He has named and released many new plants. He is senior co-author with Patty Leslie Pasztor of Texas Trees--A Friendly Guide, winner of two awards for significant contribution to horticulture.
Description: The theory of evolution and the course of US history come into question when an unabashed creationist seeks re-election as chairman of America's most influential board of education. This 2012 film, directed by Scott Thurman, documents the politics involved in the adoption of new science and history curriculum standards for Texas. It depicts dentist Don McLeroy, leader of a right-wing coalition, who finds himself not only fighting to change what Americans are taught, but also fighting to retain his seat on the board. Michael Moore said, “I hope every American sees this film.”
About the instructors: Kathy Miller, President of the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) since 2005, was one of McLeroy’s chief challengers. She has helped the Austin-based organization become a respected and influential champion of religious freedom, civil liberties, and strong public schools. As a spokesperson for TFN, she has testified before the Texas legislature and the U.S. Congress, and appeared on major TV networks and national newspapers. Rev. Kelly S. Allen is pastor of University Presbyterian Church.
Elijah: Miracle Worker and Prophet Who Never Died with Sam Stahl and Kelly Allen
Description: Elijah is one of the two personalities in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) who never died. He was transported to heaven in a fiery chariot. In both the Jewish and Christian traditions, he will return to earth to herald the coming of the Messiah. Elijah was a zealot for God, intolerant of paganism, and a champion of social justice. Because he performed numerous miracles, he has become a fascinating figure to study. In this course, we shall read the biblical narratives in which Elijah’s activities unfold.
About the Instructors: Samuel M. Stahl is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth-el of San Antonio and the author of two books, Making the Timeless Timely and Boundaries, Not Barriers. Rev. Kelly S. Allen is Pastor of University Presbyterian Church.
Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty with Mustafa Akyol
Description: Columnist Mustafa Akyol will discuss his provocative new book Islam without Extremes. He provides an interpretation of Islam that synthesizes liberal ideas and respect for the Islamic tradition. News from the Muslim world often suggests that Islam is incompatible with freedom. However, through his careful re-examination of the currents of Muslim thought, Akyol offers a persuasive and inspiring intellectual basis for reconciling Islam and religious, political, economic, and social freedoms.
About the Instructor: Journalist Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish political commentator based in Istanbul, Turkey.
A regular commentator in the Turkish media since 2002, he is currently a columnist for Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s foremost English-language daily. He has spoken on many platforms, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, and Mont Pelerin Society. Born in Ankara, Akyol graduated from Istanbul Nisantasi British High School and from the International Relations Department of the Bosphorus University.