Passover and Easter – Jewish and Christian Insights
Border Politics: America's Love/Hate Relationship with Immigrant Labor
The Human Genome: Knowledge Does Not Come Without Ethical Conflict
Social Connection and Well-Being: Cognitive Strategies Designed to Make the Individual Feel Socially Connected
Johannes Brahms: Creative Process of a Genius (a discourse with piano excerpts)
The State of the U.S. Constitution
A Free Speech Response to the Gay Rights/Religious Liberty Conflict
Pat Savage-Williams, M.S. Educational Psychology, Department Coordinator, Special Education, New Trier High School
An African American Educator's Perspective on Racial Division
Trust, Commercial Cheating and Morality from an Historical Perspective
Dr. Adam Waytz, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Northwestern University Kellogg
The Whistle-Blower’s Dilemma: An Examination of Ethics
The "Conflict" of Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives
Jane Adams: Chicago's Original Hands-On Activist
Going Together: The Power of Groups in the Pursuit of Individual Goals
Mike Meiners, CEO of Hackstudio, will speak on the topic, Going Together: The Power of Groups in the Pursuit of Individual Goals. He will illustrate how pursuits that challenge our courage, authenticity, grit and respect are doomed by our brain structure to fail in the long term. He will share research from bestselling authors Brené Brown and Simon Sinek, as well as stories from his experience helping kids, teens and adults “get their dreams done” and will share practices that LSUS can employ to help its members stay in the fight as they pursue their individual goals - all while drawing everyone a little closer together.
Hackstudio helps kids learn to succeed by being who they are. At Hackstudio, kids benefit from and contribute to a culture of support that encourages everyone to show up as themselves. In freeing them to pursue their deep passions and interests, Mike Meiners and his team set the stage for kids to develop identity through struggle and build their own knowledge, skills and relationships in order to reach their goals. Mike has a Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He previously operated Meiners Design, where he designed company identities, earned patents and won a national furniture design competition.
Linking Happiness to a Successful and Productive Life
Don Sandel, Director of Talent Development at Astellas in Northbrook, will speak on the topic, Linking Happiness to a Successful and Productive Life. With the recent advances in neuroscience, we have seen compelling research around the old paradigm that it is success first and then happiness later and how this has been turned on its head. (Happiness actually precedes success!) In fact, the brain literally changes when we are happy, optimistic, and positive versus neutral or negative. By retraining the brain and developing new positive mental models, we can improve our mindset, our resiliency, how we respond to negative challenges, and inspire our own performance--no matter the venue or focus area.
Don Sandel has a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University. Since graduation, he has amassed a number of highly specialized certificates in Human Performance Improvement, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, and, most recently, Applied Positive Psychology. Don’s expertise is in the field of positive psychology, specifically how a positive mindset enables higher performance. He is a sought after speaker on the topic, often presenting at local, national and international conferences, and has been published nationally. He has built programs for United Airlines, Allscripts and Astellas Pharma Inc.
The Evolution of Imagination
Dr. Stephen Asma, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia College Chicago, will speak on the topic, The Evolution of Imagination. Imagination is a major part of our inner lives. Indeed, it makes up a “second universe” inside our heads. We invent animals and events that don’t exist, we rerun history with alternative outcomes, we envision social and moral utopias, revel in fantasy art, and meditate on what we could have been and what we might become. Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Dr. Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source of our remarkable imaginational capacity. Imagination is neither a miraculous muse, nor a mechanical circuit of the brain. Instead, Asma argues, it is one of our earliest forms of cognition, and we can still access it today.
Asma is the author of ten books, including The Evolution of Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2017), The Evolution of Emotion: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition with Rami Gabriel (Harvard University Press, forthcoming), On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford University Press), and The Gods Drink Whiskey (HarperOne). He writes regularly for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Skeptic magazine, and Aeon. Asma has been an invited lecturer at Harvard University, Brown University, the Field Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Fudan University (Shanghai), University of Macau, Aarhus University Denmark, and many more.
Ever since we realized that the stars were distant suns, we have wondered if there were also planets circling them, and speculated as to whether or not there might also be life on them. In the last two decades, new planets have been discovered at a prodigious rate. But what about life? Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." We'll chat about what we know of other worlds, what we think life might be like, and how we are attempting to explore the profound question of whether or not we are alone in the Cosmos.
Dr. Larson is the Associate Director at CIERA, Northwestern University astrophysics center He works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy. He received a B.S. in Physics from Oregon State University in 1991 and then earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics (1999) from Montana State University. He is an award-winning teacher, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, contributes regularly to a public science blog at writescience.wordpress.com, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi.
Dr. Neal Grossman, Associate Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago, UUA Principles and the Near-Death Experience
The near-death experience (NDE) has been the subject of scientific investigation since Raymond Moody’s book, Life After Life, was published about 40 years ago. These investigations have crossed many areas, from phenomenology (what do NDErs say they have experienced?) to epistemology (how do we know that the NDE is real?) to psychology (how are NDErs affected by their experience?). In his presentation, Professor Grossman will focus mostly on the psychological dimension of the NDE. He will argue that the NDE appears to induce personality or psychological changes in the experiencers, so that they become more naturally aligned with UUA principles.
Neal Grossman has a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Indiana University. His special interests are Spinoza, mysticism, and the epistemology of parapsychological research.
Dr. Emily Pace, Chicago Digital Humanities Coordinator, Lake Forest College and Former Director of UU-Affiliated Harvard Square Library Prophetic Witness: Separation of Politics and Religion
The United States Constitution is commonly understood to mandate a separation of religion from politics yet politics and religion have a long history of connection from abolitionism to women’s rights and numerous other social justice causes in the history of this country. Using an historical-critical approach, our speaker, Dr. Emily Mace, will guide us through the social justice-themed passages in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles that continue to inspire justice work today, passages which highlight the real complexity of separating politics and religion.
Dr. Mace has a Ph.D. in American religious history from Princeton University and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.
Service at Curt's Cafe' in Evanston, Susan Trieschmann, Owner, Curt's Cafe, Curt's Cafe' and Restorative Justice
Join LSUS and Curt’s Café Founder Susan Trieschmann for a breakfast social gathering and to learn about her experience with Restorative Justice. The event starts at 10:30. Ms. Trieschmann was once the owner of a large food service company but after going to college at the age of 48 and finding herself in a restorative justice class at DePaul, her life changed - for the better. She was fortunate enough to participate in circles of conversation in the Cook County jail for youth, in circles with victims and offenders at Evanston Police Department, and circles of conflict in her community. She has practiced the philosophy of restorative justice for over 10 years and has never walked away from a circle that hasn't changed her way of thinking or her way of respecting others and their life choices. She will share the basic philosophy of restorative justice and how it brought her to opening Curt’s Cafe five years ago. We will be meeting at Curt’s Café – 2922 Central Street in Evanston. RE class will take place at the Café.
NOTE: THIS SERVICE WILL BE HELD AT MALLICKRODT CENTER AT 1041A RIDGE ROAD IN WILMETTE.
Guest Speaker: Jon Grand, Manager, The Book Stall
Jon Grand, manager of Winnetka’s Book Stall, will speak on the topic, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth: Jefferson’s Search for the Essential Teachings of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist and was mistrustful of organized Christian religion, dogma, priests, and ceremony. But he believed that the teachings of Jesus constituted the greatest moral instruction ever given to mankind. To separate those basic moral precepts from what he felt was myth furthered the power of the church, Jefferson turned to four bibles in his possession, including his King James Version, and painstakingly cut out those passages which could be attributed to Jesus and glued them together in sequence to create a new bible. Gone were the miracles, the virgin birth and even the resurrection. What remained were the moral teachings, carefully glued together and bound in a slim volume which he called "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" or, as we know it "The Jefferson Bible."
Jon Grand was born in Washington, D.C. to a Foreign Service Officer and grew up between South America and Washington. He received a BA in English Literature and an MS in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His career was comprised of fascinating jobs in environmental planning, including Director positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Nordic/Baltic Region, in Copenhagen and in Chicago. In 2006 he retired and began to work part time at The Book Stall. A part-time job has turned into a more than full-time job which he loves.
Guest Speaker: Herman Bender, Independent Researcher and Archeoastronomer.
Mr. Herman Bender will speak on the topic, Seeking Center: Cheyenne Cosmology - Becoming One with the Universe. In this talk, Mr. Bender will delve into the ideal of Center. The first time Mr. Ralph Redfox, a traditional Cheyenne elder and grandson of the last Massaum priest came to visit Mr. Bender, he announced that he had come "seeking center." Center is considered to be profound, within, without, multiple and universal. Center can be recognized as having both a physical component at a sanctified place and as a personal ideal to be sought, i.e. “the truth within” (Goodman 1992:31). A physical, geometric center was established at the Starman site which, along with the cross-diagonal solstice alignments, was meant to quarter time and space.
Herman Bender is an independent researcher, writer and editor with a background in geology (professional emphasis) and an amateur astronomer with decades of experience. He is nationally and internationally published in the fields of archeoastronomy, prehistoric trail research, petroform research, applied geophysics, cultural landscape studies and Northern archaic shamanistic traditions. As a specialist in Plains and Woodland Indian astronomy traditions and related cosmologies, Mr. Bender has worked with a number of Native American tribes including the Northern Cheyenne, Lakota, Ojibway, Potowatomi and Ho-Chunk. Much of this work is related to Native American land claims, repatriation issues and establishing cultural identities.
Guest Speaker: Jim Kenney, Executive Director, Common Ground.
Jim Kenney, Co-Founder (with the late Ron Miller) of Common Ground, will speak on the topic, Buddhism and the Interdependent Universe. The ancient Buddhist philosophical system, which undergirds the Buddhist religion, is based squarely on the concept of an interdependent universe. In this view, every thought, word, and physical action influences every other. My path through life is intertwined with the paths of others, even those I’ve never met or known. My choices resonate somehow with yours. What makes this teaching even more intriguing is the fact that the idea of complex, interdependent systems in a profoundly “holistic” universe has come to play a very influential role in physics and other sciences. Join Jim for an exciting glimpse of a very profound and challenging notion.
Jim Kenney did his doctoral work in the History and Literature of Religions, at Northwestern University. He has served as CG's Executive Director since 1986. He was a Trustee-Founder of the Parliament of the World's Religions and served as the organization's Global Director from 1995-2002. He is currently the Executive Director of the Interreligious Engagement Project (IEP21). He also served until 2017 as Project Coordinator for the International Interreligious Peace Council.
Guest Speaker: Jay Ellison, Ph.D., Dean of Students, University of Chicago.
Dr. Jay Ellison, Dean of Students, University of Chicago, will speak on the topic, Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces: Discussing Questions of Freedom of Speech on Campus. In the last few years there has been an increased focus on issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech on college campuses in the United States. Much of the push against academic freedom and freedom of speech has come from within the academic community itself. Controversial speakers have been invited to campuses, only to be shouted down by people who disagree with their views; speakers have had their events canceled, sometimes due to their controversial ideas or out of campus safety concerns. Dr. Ellison will discuss the University of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to academic freedom which is not always easy or comfortable.
Dr. Ellison is the Dean of Students in the College at the University of Chicago. He founded two offices in the Dean of Students area, the Center for College Student Success (CCSS) dedicated to serving students from under resourced areas, first generation, and undocumented/DACAmented students, and the College Center for Scholarly Advancement (CCSA), which supports students and alumni in nationally competitive fellowship and scholarship competitions, and advises students planning to attend graduate school in the arts and sciences. He was named one of the top ten influencers in Higher Education for 2016 by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Ellison received his Ph.D. from Harvard (2002) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Guest Speaker: Lauren Bondy, LCSW and Karen Jacobson, MA, LCPC, LMFT, Co-Founders, Parenting Perspectives.
Karen Jacobson, MA, LMFT, LCPC, and Lauren Bondy, LCSW Certified LifeLine Practitioner, will speak on the topic, How to Raise Strong, Respectful and Kind Children. As parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we know that it is critical to nurture strength, respect and kindness in children. In this fun and interactive workshop, we will learn many key and necessary tools for nurturing the very best in children. Find out why true respect cannot be commanded and why respect begins with the family.
Ms. Jacobson and Ms. Bondy are on the cutting edge of innovation helping families become more self-aware so that they can thrive. With passion, humor, and their signature-style demonstrations, they offer family members practical tools for promoting healthy development and nurturing the unique potential of their children. As keynote speakers, they have been called “a dynamic duo; highly exciting and solid presenters who are practical, empathetic and experienced at the work they do.” They have authored numerous published articles, appeared on ABC-7's Connect with Kids as well as radio appearances including Hay House Radio.
Guest Speaker: Scott Paeth, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies, DePaul University.
Dr. Scott Paeth, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, will speak on the topic, Conditional Vs. Unconditional Love: Is Adult Love Always Conditional? This presentation will look at the various ways that “love” is understood. How does love function in adult relationships? Is there any place for unconditional love in adult relationships, or is all love in some sense conditional? Examining the idea of love from religious and psychological angles, Dr. Paeth will explore what it means for our lives and our relationships.
Dr. Paeth holds a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in theology and ethics. His research interests focus on applied ethics, public theology, and the work and legacies of Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr. He teaches a number of classes including “Contemporary Moral Issues,” “Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States,” and “Medicine, Ethics and Society.” Dr. Paeth’s publications include The Niebuhr Brothers for Armchair Theologians (WJK 2014) and Shaping Public Theology (Eerdmans 2014). As director of the Center for Interreligious Engagement at DePaul’s Department of Religious Studies, he focuses on one central question: What are the requirements for building sustainable bridges among individuals and communities with different religious cultures?
Guest Speaker: Liz Garvey, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and LSUS Member.
Liz Garvey, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, will speak on the topic, Interpersonal Conflict: What 30 Years of Research Has Taught Us About Managing It. Count to 10 before speaking? Revel in the catharsis of unbridled self-expression? Be a bigger person/don’t sweat the small stuff, and avoid conflict altogether? Thanks to psychological and neurological research, conventional wisdom on how to handle conflict – and the role it plays in our lives - has been both confirmed and discredited. Learn why you should be grateful for interpersonal conflict…and how to handle it productively!
After careers as a singer, realtor, and homemaker/volunteer, Liz earned her AMFT - Masters in Counseling with a concentration in marriage and family therapy from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. For the last few years she has worked as a couples counselor at Couples Counseling Associates in Chicago, and this year served as a staff member for the second annual couples retreat weekend sponsored by Victories. Additional experience includes designing and leading career counseling groups, as well as co-facilitating a grief support group. Liz prides herself on continued professional development, and has completed Level 3 training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy as well as the Immersion Course in AEDP (a method of healing attachment trauma).
Guest Speaker: Judy Beck, Retired Lake Michigan Manager in the Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Ms. Judy Beck, former Lake Michigan Manager in the Great Lakes National Program Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will speak on the topic, Lake Michigan: Our Globally Significant Resource. In order to have a sustainable Lake Michigan, a watershed of literate and engaged stewards is necessary. Since 1987 when the US and Canada signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, stakeholder involvement in the governance of the Great Lakes has been underway. Different approaches and funding scenarios have changed over the years and have provided a history of experiences and lessons learned. Also changing over the years are the Great Lakes themselves- their climate, their water levels, and species mix of natives to invasives. Research has continued to change our knowledge base and provide new tools. Now is the time to combine the stewardship legacy with current knowledge and tools to continue restoration and protection of Lake Michigan.
In her tenure with the EPA from 1995-2014, Ms. Beck managed the multi-agency implementation and stakeholder involvement in the Lake Michigan basin of the US/Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. She has also been active and held office in the League of Women Voters at the local, state and national levels. She combines 32 years of federal experience with 32 years of locally elected and appointed public village positions and has significant non-governmental experience for a unique view on successful stakeholder involvement.
Lake Shore Unitarian proudly presents the highly skilled musical talent of members of our congregation, including classical piano, violin, flute and guitar performances. The children in our Religious Explorations class will also perform a special program. Don’t miss these touching virtuosos!
Dr. Ivan Ciric, M.D., Professor emeritus of Neurosurgery at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, will speak on the topic, Listen to the Patient: Of Life and Neurosurgery. Dr. Ciric will share with us his experiences as a neurosurgeon, from the early years of his career when he did not have sophisticated imaging, such as the CT and MRI, or advanced tools, such as the operating microscope and the Gamma Knife, that we benefit from today. In his talk, as in his book, he will emphasize the importance of listening to patients’ stories, not only as a means of deriving at a correct diagnosis, but also to offer undivided attention and empathy to patients at the moment of their greatest need for spiritual comfort and solace.
Dr. Ciric was born in Vienna, Austria, and grew up in a small wine producing community in the Danube Valley, Yugoslavia. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Belgrade and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Cologne, Germany. Upon joining the staff of Evanston Hospital and the Northwestern University faculty in 1967, Dr. Ciric introduced microsurgical techniques in the treatment of various neurosurgical disorders. Over the years, he has developed special interest in the microsurgery of pituitary tumors, acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, cerebral gliomas and of various spinal disorders. Dr. Ciric has published countless articles throughout his career. In his retirement, he enjoys traveling with his wife Anne.
In addition to Dr. Ciric our program will include two special musical guests - Agnieszka (violin) and Patrycja Likos (cello)will accompany LSUS Musical Director Elif Allenfort.
Dr. Jerry Goldman, Research Professor Emeritus, Northwestern School of Law, will speak on The Changing Role of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is a political institution. Its justices abjure political symbols but engage in politics by the very nature of their activities. Changes in the way the court conducts business have altered its role. And recent changes in the selection of its occupants will further alter the institution. Politics is part of the Court’s’ warp and weave, but it has largely hidden this influence in order to assert non-partisan, above-the-fray decision-making.
Dr. Goldman joined the faculty of Northwestern in 1975 after completing his Ph.D. in political science at The Johns Hopkins University. He was among the first recipients of the all-campus Charles Deering McCormick Chair of Teaching Excellence. He is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation in the use of the information and computer technology including the EDUCOM Medal for demonstrated excellence in the application of computing technology to political science. Dr. Goldman is the co-author of a leading American government textbook, The Challenge of Democracy, now in its 14th edition. His magnum opus, The Oyez Project, is a free authoritative archive of Supreme Court audio recorded from October 1955 to the present.
Rick Rosenfeld, Executive Director, Hands of Peace will speak on the topic, Hands of Peace – The Power of Dialogue and Breaking Down Barriers Among Teens. Hands of Peace is an interfaith organization that empowers young people to raise their voices as leaders of change. Through the power of dialogue, Palestinians, Israelis and Americans partner to pursue peace, equality, freedom, and justice. Each summer, Hands of Peace brings together 44 teenagers in Chicago and 44 teenagers in San Diego – mostly from Israel and Palestine – to begin building bridges and working toward peace. The summer program is only the beginning of the journey. All the students attend year-round seminars and activities in the Middle East to put their lessons into practice, and some of them return for a second year program. American alumni work on social justice projects in the United States, including efforts to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Hands of Peace believes that a peaceful future depends on the leadership of the next generation.
Mr. Rosenfeld joined Hands of Peace in June 2016 after a career thatspanned both non-profit and profit sectors. He was a manager at The Rotary Foundation in Evanston in the late 1980s/early 1990s. After a stint in management consulting, he launched an educational travel company that focused on sending U.S. graduate students overseas to learn about cultures and business in more than 100 countries. He returned to the non-profit sector with a core belief that Hands of Peace will be part of the solution for a just and positive peace for all Israelis and Palestinians.
Katherine Ozment, author of the award-winning Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age, will speak on the topic, Secular Spirituality: The Path to Grace Without God. She will talk about her three-year-long journey to research and document the dramatic rise of the nonreligious across the United States. What accounts for the sudden increase in those who check “None of the Above” when asked their religious affiliation? And what are the so-called Nones doing to meet the human needs which religion has met for millennia? Ms. Ozment will share inspiring examples of the many creative ways which secular Americans are forming and finding new communities rituals and sources of meaning as they chart a path toward grace without God.
Ms. Ozment has worked in publishing for more than 25 years, including as a senior editor at National Geographic, for which she once rode a donkey through the desert of Jordan and Israel on assignment. Her essays andarticles have been widely published, including in such venues as National Geographic, The New York Times, Boston, Salon, and Fitness. Born in Arkansas, she graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and received her Masters in Writing from DePaul University.
The LSUS Annual Meeting for pledging members will follow a shortened coffee hour after the service.