Programs by Michael Dowd
"Evolutionary Christianity"


"How can I thank you enough? Sunday was phenomenal! People loved Michael and thought he was smart, charismatic, and thought provoking."— Lori Nelson, Adult Religious Educator


"Michael's relaxed but exciting presentation brought out about 60 people on a weeknight. The crowd was very enthusiastic. People left feeling informed, inspired, and connected."— Rev. Bryan Jessup, Pastor



EVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANITY is an integral vision of the Christian faith that honors biblical and traditional understandings, conservative and liberal, while enthusiastically embracing an evolutionary worldview. It sees the entire history of the Universe and emergent complexity of matter, consciousness, culture, and technology in God-glorifying, Christ-edifying, scripture-honoring ways.

  • Click here for the San Francisco Chronicle Interview of Michael Dowd that appeared in the 25 April 2005 issue.

    Click here for "Let's Stop Trivializing God, the Universe, and Our Role in Evolution" - a press release and 12-page essay published in September 2005 in The Oracular Tree E-zine.

  • To see a short essay of Michael's on Evolutionary Christianity, click "Giving God Glory in Evolution: How Science Will Usher the Church into Its Greatness".

  • Click here for an evolutionary perspective on the major insights of the Christian tradition.

  • To see responses from ministers and church members, click Praise from Ministers and Congregants.

  • To see what science and religion leaders have to say about Michael and his programs, click Enthusiastic Recommendation from Science and Religion Leaders.

  • VIDEO & AUDIO Clips

    FOR LOW-SPEED MODEMS (phone connections): Click on "audio only," or if you click on "low" then continue to scroll down this web page to keep reading, while you wait 3 to 6 minutes for your modem to call up a single program. You will hear it start automatically and can then resume watching the video player pop-up box.

    * * *

    Reverend Michael Dowd has been called "America's evolutionary evangelist." When you preview one or both of the following 2-3 minute video clips from his mind- and heart-expanding two DVD set "Evolutionary Christianity," you'll know why!

       

      

    PREVIEW Disk #1:  

      HIGH band-width  
      LOW band-width  
      AUDIO only  

      PREVIEW Disk #2:

      HIGH band-width  
      LOW band-width  
      AUDIO only  

    Click here to learn more about Rev. Dowd's passion-filled and inspiring 4-hour DVD set (two 2-hour programs) on Evolutionary Christianity. In addition to expounding on many of the ideas found on this website, Michael also shares a realistically hopeful vision of the next 250 years. In the process he reveals how science will usher religion into its glory in the 21st century, and why liberals and conservatives need each other. Permission to make copies of one or both of these DVDs for friends or family is included in the purchase price of $30.00, plus shipping.

    * * *

    Foundational AUDIO & VIDEO clips

    We suggest you listen / watch these clips in order.
    Total TIME about 15 minutes.


      1. "Sacred Story" high   low   audio only 

      2. "More Meaning" high   low   audio only 

      3. "What Moses Knew" high   low   audio only 

      4. "14 billion Years" high   low   audio only 

      5. "The Gospel as Bigger" high   low   audio only 

      6. "Speaking of God" high   low   audio only 

      7. "Who Are We?" high   low   audio only 

      8. "Community Creativity" high   low   audio only 

    See below for more audio/video clips of Michael.


    THE REV. MICHAEL DOWD, a gifted teacher, preacher, and evolutionary theologian, at home in both conservative and liberal settings, has been called "America's evolutionary evangelist." His 1991 book, EarthSpirit: A Handbook for Nurturing an Ecological Christianity, was one of the earliest attempts to look appreciatively at New Testament faith from the perspective of a modern cosmology. During the 1980s and 90s, Michael pastored three United Church of Christ congregations, worked with Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical leaders across America on issues related to environmental sustainability, peace, and justice, and managed government funded Sustainable Lifestyle Campaigns on both coasts. His great joy is telling the history of everyone and everything in God-glorifying, Christ-edifying, scripture-honoring ways that touch, move, and inspire people of all ages and theological orientations.

    Michael is passionate about sharing the Gospel of God's love and grace as revealed in the Bible, on the cross, and throughout the entire 14 billion year epic of evolution, and doing so in a way that helps liberals and conservatives get each other in a more Christ-like way than was ever possible before.

    Since April 2002, Michael and his wife, Connie Barlow (an acclaimed writer of popular science books), have lived on the road, teaching and preaching an awe-inspiring, science-based spiritual message of hope and possibility in churches, colleges, and living rooms all across North America.


  • Click here for a short BIOGRAPHY in PDF for INTRODUCING MICHAEL at Christian events.


    Further background...

    Michael graduated summa cum laude from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri (affiliated with the Assemblies of God), where he received a B.A. in biblical studies and philosophy, and from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (affiliated with the American Baptist Church), where he earned his Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Dowd served as a congregational minister for eight years, pastoring churches in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Michigan.

    In 1995 Rev. Dowd began working with the religious leadership of the United States on social and environmental issues that were coming up for a vote in Congress, as Religious Organizer for the Washington D.C. based National Environmental Trust. From 1997 to 2000 he headed the first government-funded program designed to produce large-scale citizen behavioral change along stewardship lines in the United States: The Portland Sustainable Lifestyle Campaign, in Portland, Oregon. In 2000 and 2001 he served as Campaign Manager of Global Action Plan's internationally acclaimed EcoTeam and Livable Neighborhood Programs in Rockland County, New York. Both programs helped neighbors build trust and a greater sense of community by supporting each other in living more stewardship-based lifestyles and creating healthier, friendlier, safer neighborhoods.

    A warm and charismatic, unpretentious speaker, Rev. Dowd has addressed more than a thousand religious and secular groups over the past 25 years. He has served on the board of directors of the North American Conference on Christianity and Ecology; the Ohio Conference UCC Integrity of Creation, Justice, and Peace task force; and the Hudson Valley Sustainable Communities Network. He has also served on the steering committees of the International Network of Biblical Storytellers and the UCC Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility.

    Prior to 1981 Michael rejected evolution and aggressively opposed those who taught it. Click here to read a short autobiographical essay written in 2003, entitled: "MY ROAD TO DAMASCUS: THE MAKING OF AN EVOLUTIONARY EVANGELIST".


  • AUDIO & VIDEO clips of
    CORE CHRISTIAN CONCEPTS


     8. "The Gospel"  high  low   audio only 

     9. "Sin"  high  low   audio only 

     10. "Original Sin"  high  low   audio only 

     11. Salvation"  high  low   audio only 

     12. "A God's Eye View"  high  low   audio only 

     13. "Faith"  high  low   audio only 

     14. "Resurrection"  high  low   audio only 

     15. "The Cross"  high  low   audio only 

     16. To Follow Jesus"  high  low   audio only 

     17. "The Way"  high  low   audio only 

     18. "Worshiping God"  high  low   audio only 


    Program Titles

    Note: Sermons and other presentations will be tailored to the particular needs and faith orientation of your congregation, and can be mixed and matched to accommodate any length of program: sermon, 1-2 hour workshop, or half-day or longer workshops.

    GIVING GOD GLORY IN EVOLUTION:
    How Science Will Usher the Church into Its Greatness

    Alternative titles or subtitles for the same talk:

  • DEEP TIME & HUMAN DESTINY: An evolutionary look at the will of God and meaning of the Gospel
  • WHY JESUS LOVES DARWIN AND YOU CAN TOO
  • THE GOSPEL OF EVOLUTION AND REVIVAL OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT
  • SHORT DESCRIPTION: Itinerant evolutionary theologian Michael Dowd explores how an understanding of recent discoveries in the sciences can broaden and strengthen our experience of God and open the future to hope. Using simple, easy to understand analogies and illustrations, Rev. Dowd shares a deeply inspiring perspective he says is destined to make a real difference in the life of the Church and the future of our world.

    LONG DESCRIPTION: Many Christians over the last century and a half have understandably rejected evolution because, until recently, evolution has been depicted as a chance, meaningless, mechanistic, purposeless, directionless process. The growing edge of evolutionary thinking today, however, points to a radically different and far more sacred understanding of the history of Creation. Evolution, from this perspective, can be embraced as God glorifying, Christ edifying, and scripture honoring. For a whole new generation of Christians following in Jesus' footsteps, helping to ensure a just, healthy, beautiful, and sustainably lifegiving world for future generations is an act of devotion to God and responsiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit today. This presentation will offer:
    a. a soulful, mind-expanding way of thinking about deep-time
    b. a God-glorifying synthesis of science and religion
    c. a dissolution of the old "Creation vs. evolution" debate
    d. a realistically hopeful, inspiring vision of the future
    e. a way of celebrating what God's been up to for the last 2000 years
    f. a solid bridge between conservatives and liberals

    NOTE: Click HERE to see a 2-page article based on this talk.

    (Presented at North Congregational UCC in Columbus OH; Capital University [Lutheran] in Columbus OH; Christ Church Episcopal in Hudson OH; First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton TN; Church of the Savior (UCC) of Knoxville TN; First Plymouth UCC Church of Denver CO; Lourdes [Catholic] College in Sylvania OH. An early variation of this talk, "The Great Story, the Good News, and the Amazing Adventure," was presented at Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Rockford IL.)

    EVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANITY:
    Bridging Differences, Inspiring Worship, Empowering Great Work

    PROGRAM ELEMENTS...

  • A mind-expanding exploration of how "The Great Story" — the epic of evolution told in God-glorifying, Christ-edifying, scripture-honoring ways — bridges science and religion and can lead to a more expansive, more meaningful, more embodied, and more this-world realistic experience of the core truths of the Christian tradition than ever before.

  • A heartful exploration of how this Great Story can enrich, strengthen, and deepen our faith in God and inspire our ministries.

  • A fascinating look at God revealed to humanity how the very atoms (chemical elements) of our bodies and everything around us were made inside of giant stars that lived and died before our Sun was born.

  • An examination of directionality in the cosmos (how evolution has led to greater complexity, cooperation, and interdependence over time) and a look at long-term evolutionary trends and short-term historic trends that are especially hopeful and inspiring for those of us committed to just, healthy, beautiful, and sustainably lifegiving future.

  • An exploration of the relationship of evangelism, peace-making, justice-making, and environmental sustainability work, which will show how those who are called to each of these ministries can complement and support each other.

  • An exploration of "Seven Great Post-Biblical Revelations" discerned by science (related to God, evolution, language, the Universe, time, humanity, and death) that can transform our lives and that are already transforming our world.

  • The program will conclude by exploring some of the core concepts of our faith (e.g., sin, salvation, heaven and hell, the kingdom of God, the cross and resurrection, the centrality of Christ, etc) in light of a deep-time appreciation of God's love and grace as revealed throughout the entire history of the Cosmos.

    THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF TIME FOR QUESTIONS AND RESPONSE

    (Presented at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis MN; Walker United Methodist Church, Minneapolis MN; Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Madison WI; St. Paul's University Catholic Center, Madison WI; New Faith United Church of Christ, Auburn CA; St. Dunstan's Catholic Church in Fredericton NB.)

  • Click here to learn how to purchase a 2-hr DVD of Michael's on the topic of "Evolutionary Christianity."

    EVOLUTION'S ARROW:
    How Understanding What God's Been Up to for Billions of Years Can Transform Your Life (and how it is already transforming our world)

    Is there a direction to evolution; is it going somewhere? If we imagine the entire 14 billion year history of the Cosmos as compressed into 100 years, then each minute on the "Cosmic Century Timeline" is 250 years. Given 100 years of tendencies and trends (the history of the Universe), what can we reasonably expect over the next minute — the next 250 years? What difference does a deep-time appreciation of what God has been up to for billions of years make in our lives and our world? Can it help us glorify God by ensuring a just, healthy, beautiful, and sustainably lifegiving world for future generations? And, importantly, how does this sacred evolutionary perspective honor yet expand traditional notions of "God's will"? These and related questions are explored in this soul stirring and mind expanding program.
          Background: Traditionally, many scientists and theologians have recognized that the Cosmos tends toward greater differentiation, greater complexity, and greater awareness over time (Julian Huxley, Edward O. Wilson, Teilhard de Chardin). Recently, direction has also been seen in improvements in the way information is retained and passed into the future (J. Maynard Smith and C. Szmarthy). And we are also now beginning to appreciate how evolution has produced, and continues to produce, cooperation and interdependence at ever increasing scale and evolvability (John Stewart, Peter Corning, Robert Wright).

    (Presented at First Congregational Church of Tacoma WA; Sisters of St. Joseph at LaGrange IL; La Casa de Maria Catholic Center of Montecito CA; Ecumenical Christian Ministries, Lawrence KS; Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco CA;)

  • Click here to learn about how to purchase a 2-hr DVD of Michael's on the topic of "Evolution's Arrow."

    SEVEN GREAT POST-BIBLICAL REVELATIONS
    (Discerned by Science)

    Click for a 2-page PDF document that discusses these 7 points.
  • Evolution understood in a sacred, God-glorifying way is a grand unifying, inspiring, empowering worldview.
  • Human language is inherently symbolic, meaningful, and consequential.
  • The Universe is not a thing, nor is it a place. What we call "the Universe" is a sacred story of nested creativity and cooperation at ever wider scale and levels of complexity.
  • "God" is sacred proper name for that Ultimate Reality which transcends yet embraces all other levels of reality.
  • "Creation" (the Cosmos as a whole), is in a process of becoming more than it was before and becoming more aware and intimate with God (and with itself) over time, and humanity is now an integral part of this process.
  • As a species and as individuals, we are maturing and our sense of self is expanding.
  • Death, destruction and chaos are natural and generative. Said another way, death and resurrection are integral to the Cosmos and are necessary for the continuing evolution of life and consciousness.

    (Presented at St. Martin's Forum, Minneapolis MN; St. Benedict's Center, Middleton WI; New Faith United Church of Christ, Auburn CA)

    CHRISTIANITY IN AN EVOLVING UNIVERSE

    Science presents a very different understanding of reality than that available to the biblical writers and early theologians, who believed that the world was flat, that the sun and stars revolved around us, and that God resided just on the other side of the dome of the heavens. How might vital Christian concepts and doctrines such as sin and salvation, the kingdom of God, heaven and hell, and Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, be understood in light of a 14 billion year evolutionary Cosmos? How can a fully up-to-date scientific understanding of the Universe enhance and deepen our faith in God, our relationship to Christ, and our experience of the Holy Spirit? And how does the Good News of Christianity become Great News for the 21st century in the context of the epic of evolution?

    (Presented at College Heights United Church of Christ, San Mateo CA; La Providencia Catholic Center for Spiritual Renewal, Alpine CA; Sisters of Nazareth, Spalding Retreat Center, Nazareth KY; and Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg IN)

  • Click here to learn about how to purchase a 2-hr DVD of Michael's on the topic of "Evolutionary Christianity."


    AN INCLUSIVE PROPHETIC CHRISTIANITY
    OF THE HEART

    In recounting his personal faith journey, Rev. Dowd shows how a pentecostal fervor gained during a born-again experience as a young man continues to enrich his life, his sense of the sacred, his trust in time, and the intimacy of his relationship with God — even while preaching the new sacred story born of science. During this presentation Rev. Dowd shows how the facts and mysteries of Creation revealed by the evolutionary sciences foster faith, hope, love, and a revival of interest and enthusiasm for the profound insights of the Christian tradition. The beauty of this perspective can perhaps be seen most clearly in how it supports each of us to discover our calling — where our heart's great joy and the world's great need intersect — and how it assists us as individuals and communities to fulfill the Great Work of our time: ensuring a just, healthy, beautiful, and sustainably life-giving world for future generations, and doing so to the glory of God.

    (Presented at First Congregational Church, Oakland CA; Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Madison WI;)

    THE COSMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS' LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION: An Evolutionary Perspective

    Key points from the preceding sermons and workshops, presented during Lent or around Easter.

    (Presented at Foothills Congregational Church, Los Altos CA.)

    THE COSMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF ADVENT/CHRISTMAS: An Evolutionary Perspective.
    Alternate title: Solstihannukwanzamas: An Inclusive Cosmic Celebration

    Key points from the preceding sermons and workshops, presented during Advent or around Christmas.

    (Presented at Church of Today, Farmington Hills, MI; Call to Action, Saginaw, MI)



    Scheduling Presentations / Fee

    Michael does not have a set fee for his services. He prefers to trust God and the generosity and budget of the church or organization hosting him. For Sunday services, most congregations offer an honorarium in the range of $150-$250. Occasionally, instead of an honorarium, a love offering has been taken up after the sermon. Michael's commitment is to go wherever there is interest, whether or not he is compensated. (During the week he often speaks in high school, college, and university classrooms, free of charge.) Michael always offers a free two hour follow-up workshop on one of the evenings following a Sunday service. (A basket is placed in the back of the room for donations and love offerings.)

    The main way Michael and Connie support themselves and their itinerant educational ministry is by offering, after church services, what they consider to be the most inspiring books and tapes available related to science and religion, evolutionary spirituality, integral theology, and a realistically hopeful, ecologically sustainable, God-glorifying vision of the future. Attendees may visit their self-serve book table after programs during coffee hour and/or after workshops.

    Michael and Connie's itinerant lifestyle is made possible by a commitment to voluntary simplicity, the generosity of those who open up their homes to them for a few days or longer, and by trusting God. They are very easy houseguests — quiet, clean, tidy, prefer to sleep in their van, and pretty much just work on their computers during the day. They don't need to be entertained, eat everything gratefully, are allergic to nothing, and Michael enjoys doing dishes. :-) If you are willing to consider the possibility of hosting them, click here: Providing Home Hospitality for Michael and Connie.

    To learn when Michael and Connie will be in your region, see their ITINERARY. To discuss the possibility of scheduling one or more of these presentations at your church, retreat center, or institution, contact: Michael@TheGreatStory.org


  • Click here to see video clips and descriptions of programs Rev. Dowd has offered in Unitarian Universalist, Unity, Religious Science, Buddhist, Jewish, Native American, IONS, environmental, and religious and secular educational settings.

  • A conversational essay, written by Michael in 2002, that shows how The Great Story enriches, and is enriched by, his Christian faith.

  • A 2-page article: Giving God Glory in Evolution: How Science Will Usher the Church into Its Greatness, published in The Benedictine Bridge, a publication of the St. Benedict Center in Madison, WI

  • A 2-page list of talking points on the same topic "Giving God Glory", written by Michael in 2003.

  • WORDS OF PRAISE for Michael's work, from Christian churches throughout North America.

  • An evolutionary interpretation of a traditional Christian creed: "A Great Story Perspective on the UCC Statement of Faith", written as Michael's ordination paper in 1990.

  • A personal letter to UCC clergy.


    Return to HOME PAGE

    What Is EC?    God    The Gospel    Heaven    Sin    Salvation   

    Essential EC    7 Revelations    Programs/Clips    Faith    Jesus   

    View Above    Resources    Who Is Michael Dowd?    God's Will