2017 Washington Island Forum

June 26 - 30, 2017



(1) Sea of Galilee (Wed 05_14_08)Presenter:   John Dominic Crossan is generally regarded as the leading historical Jesus scholar in the world. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography and The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus? Crossan was educated in Ireland and the United States, received a Doctorate of Divinity from Maynooth College in Ireland in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. He was a member of a thirteenth-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites (Ordo Servorum Mariae), from 1950 to 1969 and was an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969. He joined DePaul University in Chicago in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He is now a Professor Emeritus in its Department of Religious Studies.

Through four comprehensive lectures, Dr. Crossan will examine:

  • Is the God of the Christian Bible violent?
  • Is the historical Jesus, Rider on the Peace-Donkey of Gospel, or the apocalyptic Jesus, Rider on the War-Horse of Revelation, the norm, criterion, and discriminant of the Christian Bible?

(Based on How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis through Revelation. 2015).

 “Original Sin”: Sexual Temptation or Escalatory Violence?
Since sin is originally mentioned in Genesis 4:7, why did Christianity locate original sin with Adam, Eve, and sex rather than with Cain, Abel, and violence? If civilization saves us from barbarism, what saves us from civilization?

 Covenantal Law: Human Destiny or Divine Sanction?
In Genesis 1 humans are stewards of God’s world and sanctions for failure are never even mentioned. But in Deuteronomy 28 is all about rewards and punishments. Where is the evidence for divine punishments as distinct from the terrible evidence of human consequences?

God’s Kingdom: Violent Revolt or Non-Violent Resistance?
Caught permanently between warring super-powers, Israel dreamed of an end to warfare, oppression, and injustice. Not, however, simply as its dream of peace for itself, but as God’s dream of peace for the world. But was this to be realized violently or non-violently?

Christianity’s Criterion: Historical Jesus or Apocalyptic Jesus
The historical rides into Jerusalem on a Peace-Donkey but the apocalyptic Jesus returns on a War-Horse. Did Jesus change his mind or Christianity change its Jesus? Is the non-violent resistance of Jesus both the revelation of God’s Dream for the world and the normative criterion of the entire Christian Bible?

The Washington Island Forum is especially tailored to lay leaders and pastors who want to deepen their spirituality and connect with the message of the scriptures in a more profound way.

Forum Setting: The Forum is a 40 year tradition and is sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches and The Christian Century magazine. Enjoy four and one half days of worship, workshops, discussion, and contemplation in an ecumenical retreat setting on Washington Island, just north of Door County Wisconsin. The week begins with a welcome and opening picnic Monday afternoon at Trinity Lutheran Church. Tuesday through Thursday enjoy morning prayer and workshop sessions at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center (TPAC) with John Dominic Crossan, and optional afternoon discussion groups. Friday begins with a Eucharist, a final workshop and discussion, with departure at noon.

Lodging, meals and recreational opportunities are offered by numerous Island establishments. More information can be found at the Washington Island Chamber of Commerce website. Homes and cabins are available for rent through Door Passage Vacation Rental and sites like VRBO, Flipkey and HomeAway. Registrants will receive a packet of information in May 2017 containing an Island brochure, draft Forum schedule, a ferry schedule and other helpful information. The Forum is limited to 250 participants. It is advised that you also reserve a place of lodging early, and inquire about refunds should your plans change. For a video of Washington Island, watch this Discover Wisconsin episode or a YouTube video

For those traveling by air, the closest larger commercial airport is Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.  If flying, we recommend that the flight arrive in Green Bay no later than 1:00pm on Monday or leave before 5:00 on Friday.  It is approximately a three hour drive from Green Bay to Washington Island.  If you prefer the General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, the travel time to the Island is about four and a half hours. The last ferry to the Island is 6:00pm and the last ferry off the Island is 5:00.

Download a brochure with a registration form to pay with a check.

Register online with PayPal or Credit Card:

The registration fee ($299) is due at time of registration. Registration also includes Opening Picnic meal for registrant and daily refreshments. Additional picnics for guests may be purchased in May 2017. Other meals and lodging are not included and must be arranged separately. A refund is available with a cancellation fee of $25 if registrant cancels by May 1, 2017. After May 1, there is a cancellation fee of $75.

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