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RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONSBooksPublishedSpirituality and Dialectics Lexington Press, 2005 (with Maggie Mansueto)Knowing God: Restoring Reason in an Age of Doubt: Ashgate Publishers, 2002. Religion and Dialectics, University Press of America, 2002Towards Synergism: The Cosmic Significance of the Human Civilizational Project, University Press of America, 1995. Forthcoming/Under ContractKnowing God: The Ultimate Meaningfulness of the Universe, Pickwick PressKnowing God: The Journey of the Dialectic, Pickwick PressKnowing God: Doing Justice, Pickwick PressEmerging from the Matrix: Spirituality and Politics in an Era of Global Crisis, Wipf and StockIn ProgressThe Ways of Wisdom: A Summa for the New Age The Alchemist’s Kitchen: Cooking as Sacred AlchemyGod is an Apricot Tree (novel) DissertationBlessed Are the Meek, for they Shall Inherit the Earth: Popular Religion and Political Consciousness in the Italian American Community, Ph.D. dissertation, Graduate Theological Union, 1985. Dissertation committee included Robert Bellah, Clare Fischer, and Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum.ArticlesPublished in Refereed Journals and Books“Extending the Convivencia: Creating a Public Arena Constituted by Deliberation Around Fundamental Questions of Meaning and Value,” in International Journal of Communication 18: 1-2, January-December 2008 “Religion, Pluralism, and Democracy: A Natural Law Approach,” in Journal of Religion and Society 10 (2008). “The Political Significance of the Papacy, Historically and in the Present Period,” in Journal of Religion and Society 7. “The Journey of the Dialectic,” Fealsunacht: An Irish Journal of Philosophy 1, December 2000"Organization in the Universe," in The Evolution of Complexity, eds. F.  Heylighen, J. Bollen, J, and A. Riegler, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1999; pp. 59-88"From Hermeneutical Circle to Dialectical Spiral: Philosophy and Ideological Criticism," Culture and Power, (Tver, Russian Federation: Tver State University), Spring 1999; pp. 25-33"Organization, Teleology, and Value," Journal of Religion, January 1997, pp. 68-86"From Dialectic to Organization: Bogdanov's Contribution to Social Theory," Studies in East European Thought 48:1, March 1996, pp. 37-61"Beyond Postmodernism,” Filosofskie nauki (Philosophical Sciences), Moscow, Spring 1994; pp. 45-73 (also published as a "lecture," i.e. a required reading, at Tver State University)"The Current Situation in the European Countries of the Former Soviet Bloc,” in Russia and the West: A Dialogue of Cultures. Tver, Russian Federation: Tver State University, 1994; pp. 33-39 (Also published in Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 1:4; pp 15-38, and as a "lecture" i.e. a required reading, at Tver State University)"Religion, Solidarity and Class Struggle: Marx, Durkheim, and Gramsci on the Religious Question," Social Compass XXXV/2�3 1988; pp 261-277. (Reprinted with a critique in Occasional Letters, Calcutta)"Blessed Are the Meek...: Religion and Socialism in the Italian American Community," Proceedings of the American Italian Historical Association, 1985.  Published in Journals of Public Opinion“The Politics of Salvation,” in Commonweal, Volume CXXXV, Number 18.“The Shia You Don’t Hear About,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, 8 July 2007 “A Question Centered Approach to Liberal Arts Education,” Journal of Liberal Education, October 2006“Understanding America,” in Seeking Wisdom 3, Spring 2006“Why the New Pope Isn‘t Catholic –and Why I Still Am,” Tikkun, July-August 2005“Religion and Political Strategy in an Era of Civilizational Crisis,” in Seeking Wisdom 2, May 2005“Centralizing Higher Education a Mistake,” in Albuquerque Journal, 15 November 2005 “Seeking Wisdom and Doing Justice: Restoring the Spiritual Dimension to Dialectical Sociology and Politics,” Seeking Wisdom 1, May 2003 “The World From Below: A View from the United States,” a special report on the effects of market-driven globalization in the United States, prepared for the World Forum for Alternatives. “Leadership and Democracy in a Postmarket Society,” Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society, 14, Autumn 2001“What Can You Do to Change the World?” Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 13, Autumn 2000 (with Mary M. Mansueto)"In Defense of Metaphysics," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 12, Spring 1999, pp. 13-50"Against Philosophical Appeasement," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 11, Winter 1998; pp. 26-42 (with Mary M. Mansueto)"Organizing for Synergism," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 10, Winter 1997; pp. 16-42"The Current Crisis in the Catholic Church," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 9, Winter 1996; pp. 13-32"Organizing for Family and Congregation? A Critique of the Political-Theological Vision and Strategy of the Industrial Areas Foundation," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 8, Summer 1995; pp. 27-40"Psalm," (poem), Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 8, Summer 1995; p. 44"In These Dark Times...," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 7, Winter 1995; pp. 25-48"Visions of Cosmopolis: The Religious Dimensions of the UFO Phenomenon," OMNI, October 1994; pp. 64-69, 110"The Cosmohistorical Vision of Ernesto Cardenal," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 2:2, Summer 1994; pp. 9-15 (also published in Spanish translation in Nuevo Amanecer Cultural, 1 April 1995)"Towards Synergism: A Personal Journey," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 2:2, Summer 1994; pp. 32-48"The Next Steps in the Human Civilizational Project,” Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 2:1, Winter 1994; 14-46"The Current Situation in the European Countries of the Former Soviet Bloc,” in Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 1:4; pp 15-38"The Contributions of Complex Systems Theory to Ethics," Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Chaos Network, September 1993; pp. 271-276“Organizing Complexity,” Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Chaos Network, September 1993; pp. 98-104"The Crisis of Neoliberalism and the Emergence of a Progressive-Institutionalist Bloc," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 1:3, Autumn 1992; pp. 6-41"Synergism: The Transition to a Postindustrial, Postmarket Society," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 1:2, Summer 1992; pp. 11-44"The Industrial Areas Foundation: A Preliminary Analysis of its Social Base and Political Valence," Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society 1:1, Spring 1992; pp. 11-32"The Role of Religion in the Socialist Transition,” North Star Review 3, Spring 1990Book ReviewHertzke, Allen. Echoes of Discontent: Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, and the Resurgence of Populism. Washington DC, Congressional Quarterly Press; review in Review of Religious ResearchPapers Presented to Scholarly Organizations Invited Papers and Public Lectures “Only Metaphysics Can Save Theology,” invited lecture at the University of Dallas, planned for 11 April 2007.“Regrounding Ethics: Aquinas, Marx and our Tasks in the Present Period,” a five-day long Invited Lecture and Seminar, Department of Scholastic Philosophy, Queens University Belfast, June 2000."Spirituality and Dialectics," Academic Convocation Lecture, St. Joseph Seminary, Chicago, September 1999"Towards a Synergistic Sociology of Development," Paper presented to the Department of Sociology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and November 1992Contributed Papers“Enclosing the Sacred: A Critique of John Milbank’s Geopolitical Theology, paper accepted for presentation at the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, March 2008. “For Sapiential Literacy: The Role of Religion in Public Colleges and Universities,” paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November 2007.“The Magisterium Cathedrae Magistralis: Philosophical and Theological Foundations of the Principle of Academic Freedom,” paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November 2007.“Dialectics in Practice: Oral History, Individual Relational Meetings, Liberal Arts Education, and Public Deliberation around Fundamental Questions of Meaning and Value,” paper presented to the Oral History Association, 26 October 2007“Convivencia in the House of War,” paper presented to Going Global: An International Conference on the Future of Liberation Theology,” Baylor University, October 2007“Dialectics in Practice: Linking Scholarship, the Liberal Arts, Public Humanities, and Civic Engagement,” poster presentation, Imagining America Conference, Syracuse University, 7 September 2007“The Ways of Wisdom: Towards a World Theology,” paper presented to the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, Dallas, 4 March, 2007“Religion, Pluralism, and Democracy: A Natural Law Approach,” paper presented to the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, Dallas, 4 March, 2007“Civilizations, Mode of Production, and World System: The Significance of Macrosociological Categories for our Understanding of the Current Situation,” paper presented at the International Symposium on Civilizations and World Orders, Istanbul, Turkey, May 2006.“Religion in an Age of Civilizational Crisis,” paper presented to the Conference on Unity and Diversity in Religion and Culture sponsored by the UNESCO Chair on Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, Seattle, January 2005 “The Art of Politics: Teaching Students to Build and Exercise Power in Service to the Common Good,” workshop organized at the Campus Compact National Center for Community College's 12th National Conference, Reaching the Summit for Civic Commitment, Phoenix, Arizona, May 2003“Cosmic Teleology and the Existence of God,” Paper presented at the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Science and Religion, sponsored by the Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion and Dominican University, San Rafael, California, October 2002“The Liberal Arts Mission of Community College,” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges,” Taos, New Mexico, May 2002“Why the Mind’s Road to God Must Pass Through Cosmology,” Paper presented to the Gifford Bequest International Conference on “Natural Theology: Problems and Prospects,” Aberdeen Scotland, May 2000"Intellectual Formation for Pastoral Leadership in the Present Period," Paper presented to the faculty of St. Joseph Seminary, Chicago, August 1999"Journey of the Dialectic," Paper presented to the XX World Congress of Philosophy, Boston, August 1998"Cosmic Teleology and the Crisis of the Sciences," Paper presented to the XX World Congress of Philosophy, Boston, August 1998"Dialectic, Cosmos, and Society," Paper presented to the Symposium on the Evolution of Complexity, held as part of the interdisciplinary conference "Einstein Meets Magritte" at the Vrije Universitet Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, May 1995"Organization, Teleology, and Value,” Paper presented to the International Society for Universalism, Boston, Massachusetts, December 1994"The Contributions of Complex Systems Theory to Ethics," Paper presented to the Chaos Network Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota, September 1993"Organizing Complexity: Towards a Dialectical Theory of Organization," Paper presented to the Chaos Network Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota, September 1993"Beyond Postmodernism: The Contributions of Anthropic Cosmology and Complex Systems Theory to the Social Sciences," Paper presented to the American Sociological Association, Miami, Florida, August 1993"Christian Antisemitism and Otherworldliness," Paper presented to the Institute for Christian Jewish Studies, Baltimore, Maryland, May 1992"The Industrial Areas Foundation: A Preliminary Analysis of its Social Base and Political Valence," Paper presented to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion/Religious Research Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November, 1991"The Crisis of Liberation Theology and the Rise of the New Catholic Right," Paper presented to the Association for the Sociology of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 1991"Religion and the Crisis of Marxism," Paper presented to conference on the Role of Religion in Newly Pluralistic Societies, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, May 1991"Religion, Communism and the Dialectic," Paper presented to the American Academy of Religion, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 1990"Christianity, Antisemitism, and Empire," Paper presented to the American Academy of Religion, Anaheim, California, November 1989"Interfaith Dialogue in Action: Congregation Based Community Organizations," Paper presented to the Religious Research Association/Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Salt Lake City, Utah, October, 1989"Unity and Struggle in the Rainbow Coalition," Paper presented to the Religious Research Association/Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1989"Religion, Socialism, and Secularization," Paper presented to the Association for the Sociology of Religion, San Francisco, California, August 1989"Religion and Socialism in the Third World," Paper presented to the Religion and Social Sciences Section of the American Academy of Religion, Chicago, Illinois, November 1988"Political Dimensions of Marian Devotion," Panel Presentation to the Liberation Theology Working Group of the American Academy of Religion, Chicago, Illinois, November, 1988"Class, Gender, and Ethnicity: Shaping American Catholicism," Panel presentation to the American Studies Association, Miami, Florida, October, 1988"Religion and Politics in Global Perspective,” Paper presented to the Eastern International Division of the American Academy of Religion, Siena, New York, April 1988"Blessed Are the Meek...: Religion and Socialism in the Italian American Community," Paper presented to the American Italian Historical Association, Providence, Rhode Island, 1985.  "From Historical Criticism to Historical Materialism: Foundations for a Biblical Sociology," Paper presented to Norman Gottwald's Seminar on Biblical Sociology, 1983, Berkeley, California, extensively circulated and cited.

Summary

I am  is a scholar of religion with roots in social theory, philosophy, and theology. I hold a Ph.D. in Religion and Society from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley (1985) and am the author of The Death of Secular Messianism: Religion and Politics in an Age of Civilizational Crisis (Cascade 2010), Spirituality and Dialectics (with Maggie Mansueto, Lexington 2005), as well as four other books. My articles have appeared in have appeared in leading scholarly journals such as the Journal of Religion and Filosofskie Nauki, as well as important journals of public opinion such as Commonweal and Tikkun. A leader in in interreligious dialogue and organizing, I have led pioneering efforts to create a new kind of public arena, democratic and pluralistic, but constituted by deliberation regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value and have served as a senior advisor to religious and political leaders both in the United States and internationally. I am currently President and Senior Scholar at Seeking Wisdom, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, interfaith research, education, and organizing institute. I teach for the University of Mary, Central Michigan University, and Excelsior College.

Work History

Work History
Jul 1991 - Present

President

Seeking Wisdom
Aug 2006 - Feb 2009

Academic Dean

Collin County Community College
Aug 2001 - Jul 2006

Assistant/Associate Professor, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Western Civilization

University of New Mexico Gallup
Jul 1999 - Sep 1999

Academic Dean

St. Joseph Seminary
Oct 1996 - May 1997

Profesor Titular B de las Sociologia de las religiones

Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez
Sep 1995 - May 1996

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Sep 1993 - May 1994

Research Associate (Assistant Professor), Religion in Urban America Project

University of Illinois at Chicago
1988 - 1991

Director, Justice and Peace Commission

Catholic Diocese of Dallas

Education

Education
1982 - 1985

Ph. D.

Graduate Theological Union
1977 - 1979

M.A.

Yale University
1974 - 1977

B.A.

University of Chicago
1971 - 1974

High School Diploma

Latin School of Chicago

Skills

Skills

Religous Studies Program Administrator

I have played a significant role in advancing the study of religion as an aspect of the liberal arts curriculum, as a field of scholarly research, and as a locus for public dialogue and deliberation, and have done so in institutions in which this presented complex political challenges. As a dean at Collin College I have successfully expanded our offerings in the area of comparative religion, wrestling with concerns both principled and pragmatic. Both secularists and fundamentalists within our institution argued that religious studies has no place in a public institution. And the department of philosophy expressed concern that an expansion of offerings in religion would compete with their own, already fragile courses. Working three other Deans, three department chairs, and a diverse group of faculty from philosophy, interdisciplinary humanities, English, anthropology, sociology, and history, I forged an agreement which has allowed us to expand our offerings beyond the introductory level. As a professor and department chair at the University of New Mexico – Gallup I introduced new curriculum in comparative religion, where engagement with religious questions was complicated by the presence of Native American communities for which discussion of religion with outsiders was regarded as threatening.  Enrollment in these courses by Native American students was consistently high. As a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, where even the nonconfessional study of religion was perceived by many as threatening the university’s militantly secularist heritage, I introduced a new curriculum in the sociología de las religiones (and did so during a minor crisis in Mexican Church-State relations during which the Mexican government was threatening to revoke the charter of the Archdiocese of Mexico and subject the archbishop to daily fines). My leadership in advancing the cause of religious studies is rooted in a highly developed vision of both the role of religious studies in the university and of the nature and purpose of the university itself. In November 2007, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion I presented two papers which outline this vision. The first, entitled “For Sapiential Literacy,” focuses on the role of religion in the liberal arts core, something which I argue is fundamental to the task of cultivating free human beings and citizens who can make and evaluate arguments regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value. The second, entitled “The Magisterium Cathedrae Magistralis: Historical, Philosophical, and Theological Foundations of the Principle of Academic Freedom,” addresses the problem of academic freedom, something which I situate in the context of the larger mission of universities and of the professoriate in leading the communities they serve in reflection regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value. (During that conference I also attended the Teagle Leadership Workshop on the Religion Major and Liberal Education which gave me a good sense of how other institutions are approaching this issue).  

Consulting

I draw on my background as a senior academic leader, organizer, teacher, and theologian/philosopher/social theorist to   help institutions reflect on their mission, position themselves within their fields, develop strategic, operational, and tactical plans, identify and develop effective leadership and organizational structures, help religious institutions develop new pastoral strategies for an era of sapiential literacy and global/multicultural engagement, help civic/community organizations and other NGOs engage faith based organizations, help colleges, universities, and other educational institutions strengthen liberal education, promote student and public deliberation regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value, and recover their focus on "big picture" questions.  

Teaching (Religious Studies and Liberal Arts Core)

I have developed a distinctive approach to teaching the liberal arts.   I teach using an updated version of the medieval quaestio method: I pose a question, expose students to a wide range of different approaches, and encourage them to take and defend positions on fundamental questions in the context of the ongoing debate rather than simply mastering and adding footnotes to existing scholarship. I use classical texts and contemporary scholarly books and articles to represent historically important answers to these questions. I add to this a concern for the sociohistorical context out of which philosophical and theological questions and positions arise, and for the practical implications of various answers to those questions. My courses are writing and debate intensive and make extensive use of scenarios and role plays to establish the importance and context of questions and build interest, as well as visual materials and music to support visual and auditory learning.   I have specific experience teaching a variety of courses in Religious Studies (Comparative Religion, Eastern Religions, Western Religions, Religion and Society, Religion and Politics, Religion and Ethnicity, Religion and Science, Social Ethics, Catholic Social Teaching), as well as liberal arts core courses in philosophy, civilization studies, and sociology. I have also developed innovative interdisciplinary honors seminars such as Silk Roads and Silicon Superhighways: Religion, Conquest, and Trade Historically and in the Present Period and Emerging from the Matrix: Responses to Modernity in Philosophy, Social Theory, Film, and Literature.    

Scholarship in Theology/Philosophy/Social Theory

I have a record of cutting edge scholarship addressing fundamental questions of meaning, value, social theory and strategic analysis.   I hold a Ph.D. in Religion and Society from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California (1985). My research focuses on four problems: 1) regrounding and revitalizing a dialectical metaphysics of Esse and a (radically historicized) natural law ethics in response to modern and postmodern critiques and in dialogue with recent developments in the physical, biological, and social sciences and with humanity’s principal wisdom (philosophical and religious) traditions, 2) revising dialectical social theory so that it takes into account the way in which societies approach fundamental questions of meaning and value, and thus the ends to which they order themselves, as well as the role of material (ecological) constraints in shaping social structure, 3) developing a world “Convivencia” theology which engages fundamental questions across humanity’s principal wisdom traditions, with a particular focus on questions of political theology, and 4) retheorizing and revitalizing the tradition of liberal arts education and the role of universities in leading the communities they serve in deliberation around fundamental questions of meaning and value.   I have published four books and numerous articles in both refereed journals and journals of public opinion. I have four more books under contract with Wipf and Stock Press. My articles have appeared both in major academic journals such as the Journal of Religion and Filosofskie Nauki as well as leading journals of public opinion such as Commonweal and Tikkun. I could, in short, approach the tasks of academic leadership from the standpoint of a strong intellectual foundation. I was tenured and promoted at the University of New Mexico-Gallup and have continued to publish actively since then.  

Interfaith Organizing

As Director of the Justice and Peace Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas I built a sponsoring committee of 50 congregations for what was then the largest organization in the Industrial Areas Foundation network and raised $625,000 to support this and other social justice initiatives. I joined to this organizing effort a program of training for clergy and emerging lay leaders focusing on social analysis, political theology/social ethics, political strategy, and basic organizing skills. I also led highly successful campaigns for city charter reform to increase minority representation and funding for infrastructure improvements in the Rio Grande Valley.   My work in this field continued with an in-depth interview study of interfaith organizing in Chicago as part of the Lilly Endowment Funded Religion in Urban America Project at the University of Chicago during 1993-1994. I have continued to consult for religious institutions and NGOs.

Public Humanities/Citizen Deliberation

I have a record of making the institutions I have served centers for public deliberation regarding fundamental questions of meaning, value, and public policy.   I arrived in at the University of New Mexico – Gallup just before 9/11 and initiated, in response to the tragic events of that day, a series of dialogues intended to heal dangerous tensions between the region’s Navajo and Zuni majority and the large Muslim trader population. These early dialogues eventually developed into a complex program of deliberation regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value which engaged scholars and religious leaders from First Nations (mostly Diné and A:shiwi), Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Baha’i, and Jewish communities, and which attracted attention from key funders, including the Ford Foundation (we were semifinalists for the Difficult Dialogues competition). In one of our more unusual programs a Native American Church roadman (spiritual leader) defended the “clash of civilizations” thesis against a panel representing nearly every other major religious tradition on the planet.) During the 2004 Presidential campaign, we expanded into the public policy arena, organizing citizen deliberations with support from McNeil Lehrer Productions’ By the People Program.  At Collin I organized similar programs, tapping into the rich diversity of the Collin County’s “global suburbs.”  

Liberal Education/Civic Engagement

I have led efforts at five institutions to strengthen the liberal arts core curriculum, developing a distinctive approach which integrates deliberation regarding fundamental questions of meaning and value with active civic engagement.   A question-centered approach engages students in exploring questions already posed by life itself and credentials the classical texts of both their own and other traditions as credible alternative answers to those questions. Civic engagement provides a basis in experience for understanding why a free human being and a citizen must be able to make and evaluate arguments across disciplines and formulate independent answers to fundamental questions of meaning and value. I have a record of strengthening engagement with diverse cultural traditions and integrating broad global perspectives. I have special experience working with working class, ethnic minority and other first-generation students. I lead relationally, organizing faculty seminars which catalyze reflection and change rather than importing pre-established models.  

Academic Leadership

I have served as a program director, department chair, and academic dean responsible for as many as 70 FTE faculty, schedules of up to 350 sections, and budgets of up to $3.5 million.