"The purpose of the Prairie Group is to study thought as it affects religion, religious experience, the church, in any relevant aspect, science, philosophy, political science, history and any other. It has a special interest in worship and the church and its ministry."--from the Prairie Group archives.
The purpose of this website is to communicate information to members of Prairie Group, to offer the papers presented at Prairie Group on-line, and to post upcoming assignments and reading lists for the next year's gathering.
The topic for the 2017 Group Gathering
will be:"Faith and Empire."
November 13-16, 2017.
Download a registration form here. Send your completed form to Daniel Budd, Birmingham Unitarian Church, 38651 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304 or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Paper Topics and Reading List
Paper 1 – A Broad Context of Faith and Empire
Introduce this year's topic by elaborating on what "empire" is. What makes it attractive? What are its demands and costs? And how have faith and empire challenged, weakened, and strengthened each other over time.
Writer - Matthew Johnson, Respondent – Tamara Lebak
Paper 2 - Ethics and Empire
What are some ethical frameworks and questions for use in assessing, challenging, and replacing empires, empire-aimed institutions, or empire-centered thinking within ourselves? How can liberal religion use ethics to obstruct empire?
Writer – Nicole Kirk, Respondent – Gary James
Paper 3 - Non-Western Understandings of Empire
Western civilization is not alone in living with and under empires. Similarly, the response to empires has not always come from a Judeo-Christian starting point. What are some of the uniquely non-western responses to empire? In what ways do they differ from, and are similar to, Western responses to empire?
Writer – Barbara Prose, Respondent – Luke Stevens-Royer
Paper 4 - The Doctrine of Discovery and American Empire
Address the history of United States Imperialism through colonization and westward expansion, including the involvement of our own Unitarian forebears in cultural assimilation efforts. Examine the theological and ideological underpinnings used to justify the genocide of native peoples, and what alternative theological understandings we might access for dismantling colonial structures and assumptions?
Writer – Connie Grant, Respondent – Rose Schwab
Paper 5 - De-colonizing UUism
Imagine a Unitarian Universalism exorcised of the practices, assumptions, and mindsets of empire. What would it look like - and what would it take - to de-colonize Unitarian Universalism? You may wish to be in conversation with the author of Paper 2.
Writer – Justin Schroeder, Respondent – Jennifer Nordstrom
Chaplain – Barbara Gadon; Aesthetics – Martin Woulfe
Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times, by Jorge Reiger
After Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring Peace, by Sharon Welch
Seeds of Peace: A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society, by Sulak Sivaraksa
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz