Speaker: Michael Dowd

Living Fully and Lovingly in the Age of Dying: Deep Adaptation

Reverend Michael Dowd is a Christian minister, author, and eco-theologian.  He is known as a bridge builder, making connections between liberals and conservatives, religious and non-religious people, science and religion, and showing how a sacred view of Big History, human nature, and death can inspire each of us to live with greater joy, integrity, purpose, and passion. 

The heart his current "post-doom" work about living in the age of dying is summed up in his two-part video series, Collapse and Adaptation Primer. According to Rev. Dowd, "These two videos are a 'crash course' in post-doom and deeply adaptive thinking and living. They contain a distillation of humanity’s best and most up-to-date collective intelligence regarding Earth system science, ecology, abrupt climate change, environmental history, and collapsology .... Special attention is given to how we can support each other in staying sane, sober, and inspired in chaotic and challenging times."

Core to his way of seeing, Rev. Dowd approaches nature from a sense of gratitude, sacredness, and understanding that he is here to be in service to all life and all creation.  Through his work, he has come to deeper understanding of the predicament of modern human civilization, and engages in efforts to give voice to this context, along with his perspectives on a “Christian response”, grounded in compassion and goodwill.  He supports audiences in transcending belief systems in a way that deepens connection to the core of their faith.

Rather than seeing religion and science as antithetical to each other, Reverend Dowd’s work brings the two together.  He believes we are in the midst of an “evidential reformation”, with people increasingly open to religious interpretations based on new scientific, historical, and cross-cultural evidence.  For Reverend Dowd, this includes a belief that “Big History is the new Genesis” – that ecology is the new theology. Reverend Dowd believes in the sanctity of Big History -- the 14 billion year science-based sacred story of cosmic genesis, from the formation of the galaxies and the origin of Earth life, to the development of self-reflective consciousness and collective learning, to the emergence of comprehensive compassion and tools to assist humanity in living harmoniously with the larger body of life.”  His work seeks to bridge the "how to live" questions with deep acceptance of reality and big history.

This marriage of science and religion forms a thread throughout Dowd’s life and work.  Raised a Roman Catholic, Reverend Dowd had a “born-again” experience at the age of 20 and began attending an Assemblies of God church, eventually earning a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) and serving as a United Church of Christ minister.  In 1995, Reverend Dowd became the Religious Organizer for the National Environmental Trust, working with religious leaders from a variety of faiths on social and environmental issues, eventually presenting policy ideas to Congress.  Reverend Dowd has also worked with The Portland Sustainable Lifestyle Campaign, and with Global Action Plan’s (now The Empowerment Institute) EcoTeam and Livable Neighborhood programs.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, and on television throughout the U. S. and Canada. His book, Thank God for Evolution, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and religious leaders across the spectrum.

Reverend Dowd and his wife, science writer, evolutionary educator, and climate activist Connie Barlow, have spoken to some 3,000 groups throughout North America since April 2002. Reverend Dowd has delivered two TEDx talks and a program at the United Nations, and conducted three acclaimed online conversation series: “The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity” (2011), “The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness” (2015) and “Post-doom: Regenerative conversations exploring overshoot grief, grounding, and gratitude” (2020). Regardless of the format, Reverend Dowd's work provides audiences with applications of evolutionary and ecological wisdom that break through the confusions of these rapidly shifting times.

This conversation will focus on the topics related to his most recent “post-doom” work conversation series.  What is overshoot, and how does it connect to a Christian minister?  What does a “post-doom” context have to do with a service-oriented life?  How can traditional religious institutions (and their community members) gracefully integrate an ecological worldview?  How can one become resilient in a way that is aligned with evolution, ecology, and perennial wisdom teachings? 

Join us, along with your volunteer hosts Kozo Hattori and Birju Pandya, in conversation with this deep thinker anchored in faith, history, and science.


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