1999| God at 2000

1999| God at 2000

The 1999 Lecture Series studied the idea of God in the year 2000, and asked seven popular speakers to present their own personal perspectives as they addressed the question, "How I See God/The Sacred. This was followed by the "God at 2000" symposium featuring the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and included a full slate of national and international scholars in a conference that was televised nationwide.  The 1999 "Ideas Matter" series is sponsored by the OSU Philosophy Department and the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture.

Speakers this year all addressed the theme of "How I See God/The Sacred" and included:

Marcus Borg
Jill McAllister
Rabbi Larry Halpern
Jan Bays
Isaiah Jones
Kathy Moore
Nicholas Yonker

as well as the God at 2000 Symposium which featured Desmond Tutu, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Lawrence Kushner, Diana Eck, Joan Chittister, Marcus Borg, and Karen Armstrong


"How we think about God matters. Our concepts and images of the sacred shape our sense of the reality or unreality of God, our sense of God's character, and our perception of what life with God is all about."
  -Marcus Borg, Oregon State University - Symposium speaker and organizer

How I See God/The Sacred

Seven popular speakers will present their own personal perspectives as they address the question, "How I See God/The Sacred."

Marcus Borg portraitOctober 12 - Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor in the OSU Philosophy Department and organizer of "God at 2000."

Marcus J. Borg (Ph.D., Oxford University) is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture. Known as one of the leading historical Jesus scholars of this generation, he is the author of nine books, two of which have become best-sellers, Jesus: A New Vision and Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. He has lectured widely in this country (including at the Smithsonian and Chautauqua Institutions) and overseas (England, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, and South Africa). His books have been translated into German, Dutch, Korean, and French.

An outstanding teacher, Borg has received all of OSU's major awards for teaching, including one from the legislature. He is the first person in the College of Liberal Arts to be designated "Distinguished Professor" by the university. He has twice been President of the CLA Faculty Council.

Borg teaches both lower and upper division courses. His courses include Great Ideas, World-Views and Values in the Bible, Philosophy and Religion, World-Views and Environmental Values, Great Figures: The Historical Jesus, and a variety of special topics courses.

Borg sees philosophy as primarily concerned with the role of ideas in our lives. "Ideas matter," Borg says, "much more than we commonly think they do - especially our world-views and values, namely our ideas about what is real and how we are to live. We receive such ideas from our culture as we grow up, and unless we examine them, we will not be free persons, but will to a large extent live out the agenda of our socialization."


Jill McAllister


October 19 - Jill McAllister, Unitarian minister from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and former pastor at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Corvallis.



Educational and Pastoral Background

  • B.A. Duke University (Botany, Environmental Science) 1980
  • M.S. Washington University, Saint Louis (Technology and Human Affairs) 1982
  • M.T.S. Mt. Angel Seminary (Theological Studies) 1991
  • Clinical Pastoral Education, Oregon State Hospital (Psychiatric) 1991
  • Parish Internship, UU Congregation of Eugene, OR 1992
  • Ordained at Corvallis UU Fellowship 1992
  • Received into UU Fellowship 1993

Pastoral and Professional Experience:

  • 10 years of congregational lay leadership
  • 5 years of full-time parish ministry
  • 8 years on UUA Board of Trustees, 4 years as First Vice-Moderator
  • 3 years on Exec. Committee of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (founding member)
  • Adjunct Professor at Oregon State University Dept. of Philosophy (World Religions)
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, American Philosophical Assn. 1996
  • Focus on families and children, feminism, racism, homophobia, mental health

Personal: Born May 8, 1958
Married to Walter Balk (UCC minister)
Mother of 3: Ian; Caitlin; Calvin
Activities and Interests: Scout Leader, Soccer Coach, Classroom volunteer, Music (Sacred, Pop, and Folk), Piano, Ballet, Cooking and Nutrition, Fabric Arts, Poetry, Walking.


Rabbi Larry Halpern


October 26 - Rabbi Larry Halpern, Rabbi of Jewish congregations in West Linn and Bend, formerly senior rabbi in Orlando, Florida.


Jan Bays, Roshi


November 2 - Jan Bays, Roshi (teacher) at the Zen Community of Oregon in Portland, and a pediatrician specializing in child abuse.


Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi, was ordained as a Zen priest in 1977 and received Dharma transmission (authority to teach) from Maezumi Roshi in 1983. She is continuing to deepen her own practice by studying with Shodo Harada Roshi of Sogen-ji Monastery in Japan. She is a wife, mother, and pediatrician working in the field of child abuse.

Jan Chozen Bays is the author of Jizo Bodhisattva: Modern Healing and Traditional Buddhist Practice, Tuttle, 2001. In traditional Buddhist belief, a bodhisattva is an ideal enlightened being who has forsaken entry into nirvana until all beings are saved. Jizo, one of the four great bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism, is known as "the Bodhisattva of the Greatest Vows." With its express vow to help all beings in all realms, Jizo is regarded as the protector of travelers - whether their journeys are in the physical world, or in spiritual realms. Jizo also has special significance for pregnant women and parents whose children have died.


Isaiah Jones


November 9 - Isaiah Jones, Campus minister at Westminster House, Presbyterian pastor, hymn-writer, Grammy Award winner.


Kathy Moore


November 16 - Kathy Moore, chair of Philosophy at OSU and a nature writer and seeker who is willing to be surprised. 


Kathleen Dean Moore is professor of philosophy and the founding director of the Spring Creek Project for ideas, nature, and the written word. Her current work is in the area of philosophy and nature, where she has published two books of essays: Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World (Lyons Press, 1999), winner of the 2000 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award; and Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water (Lyons and Burford, 1996; Harcourt Brace, 1996), recipient of a 1996 Northwest Booksellers' Award. By combining personal narrative with natural history and philosophical inquiry, she seeks to "bring philosophy to life" in essays published in journals that range from Field and Stream, Audubon (forthcoming), and Wild Earth to the North American Review and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She is currently developing a new field course, the Philosophy of Nature.

Kathy's Ph.D., from the University of Colorado, is in the philosophy of law, where her particular interest is in the nature of forgiveness and reconciliation. Her book, Pardons: Justice, Mercy, and the Public Interest (Oxford UP, 1989, 1997) outlines a neo-retributivist argument for pardons.

Long interested in innovative teaching, Kathy was named a Master Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts in 1995. She is the author of two textbooks that connect the skills of critical thinking and effective writing, Reasoning and Writing (Macmillan, 1993) and Inductive Arguments: The Critical Thinking Skills.

Kathy and her husband Frank, an OSU biologist, have two grown children, Erin and Jonathan. They are all wild for anything wet--big rivers, small boats, desert canyons, and the edges of the sea.

 "Moore's intense love for and close observation of nature combine with a keenly philosophical mind, reminiscent of the work of other fine philosopher-naturalists such as Thoreau, Dillard, and Muir." -- Library Journal

Nicholas Yonker


November 23 - Nicholas Yonker, former chair of OSU Religious Studies Department, Emeritus Professor, and author.

Nicholas J. Yonker is an Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Oregon State University. He taught at OSU for 30 years before retiring in 1992.

Yonker is the author of God, Man, and the Planetary Age: Preface for a Theistic Humanism, published by the Oregon State University Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and was a contributor to the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Born and raised in Michigan, Yonker received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and his master's and doctoral degrees in religious studies from Columbia University in New York City.

He and his wife Thea currently live in Corvallis.


God at 2000 Symposium

Mark your calendar for "God at 2000" at Oregon State University February 11-12, 2000. This nationally televised symposium will feature noted lecturers and authors Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sister Joan Chittister, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, and Karen Armstrong, along with professors Diana Eck (Harvard), Seyyed Hossein Nasr (George Washington University), and Marcus Borg (Oregon State).

An on site audience of 1,100 people and a national audience at over 600 locations linked by live satellite television will participate in the symposium.  The lecturers are from the three major western religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity (Catholic and Protestant). Following each lecture, there will be live interaction with both the on-site and television audiences.

"God at 2000" is modeled on the highly successful "Jesus at 2000" symposium, held at Oregon State in February of 1996. As with "Jesus at 2000," audio tapes and video tapes will be available, and a book on the symposium will be published.

Karen Armstrong portrait
Karen Armstrong, a leading British commentator on religious affairs now well on her way to a similar status in the United States, is the author of 10 books, including the best-selling A History of God. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun and became a freelance writer and television broadcaster in 1982.
Marcus Borg portrait
Marcus Borg, Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, lecturer and author of ten books, including the best-selling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and the award-winning The God We Never Knew.
Joan Chittister portrait Joan Chittister, Benedictine sister, lecturer and author of 19 books, including Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God and There Is a Season, both of which received a first place book award from the Catholic Press Association. Her newest books are In Search of Belief and Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men.
Diana Eck portrait
Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religions and Indian Studies at Harvard. Author or editor of five books on religion in India, her best-known book is the award-winning Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banares.
Lawrence Kushner Lawrence Kushner, rabbi, author and lecturer whose work reflects the Jewish mystical tradition. His ten books include The River of Light, Honey from the Rock, The Book of Words, and most recently, Eyes Remade for Wonder.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr portrait
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. One of the world's leading experts on Islam, he has been a Gifford Lecturer and is the author of over 20 books and 250 articles.
Desmond Tutu portrait
Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, retired Archbishop of Cape Town, churchman, author, and lecturer.