News from North America's evolutionary evangelists

Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd

report of events from January through April 2007

   LEFT: Connie and Michael meet with one of their mentors, Thomas Berry, at his home in North Carolina in the spring of 2007

Hello Friends! This is Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd, beginning our sixth year of living entirely on the road, carrying the message of a 14 billion year sacred story of the Universe — The Great Story — to churches, colleges, schools, and other groups throughout North America. Our first four months of 2007 included programs in:
Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

May through June 2007 will find us in:
Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan.


Additions to our WEBSITE:

  • "MENAGERIE OF THE MIND": a new evolutionary parable

    This new evolutionary parable by Connie Barlow is a playful introduction for adults and teens to the facets of our evolved "Quadrune Brain", which we like to call our LIZARD LEGACY, our FURRY L'IL MAMMAL, our MONKEY MIND, and our HIGHER PORPOISE. Scripts for 6 actors. This brings our total number of evolutionary parables to 16. Half of these are scripted for dramatic readings/acting.

    We find that this playful introduction to "Your Brain's Creation Story" is a fabulous way to introduce newcomers to the practical significance of The Great Story. (posted April 2007)

  • "Of Black Holes and Hol-i-ness

    Paula Hirshboeck, author of "The Buddha Bowl parable", has written a second Great Story Parable. This one explores the science of black holes in the context of psychological understanding of darkness and the divine feminine. (posted February 2007)

  • PLUTO PARABLE is revised!

    In August 2006, the world's astronomers collectively decided to demote Pluto from the status of being a planet to that of a "dwarf planet". Thanks to a suggestion by Bella Downey, the parable is now revised to have the up-to-date science. Its new title: "Pluto's Identity Crisis". (posted March 2007)

  • Sheet Music for 2 EVOLUTION SONGS

    Palm Sunday 2007, Connie presented the guest sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC. Their minister of music, Dan Smith, had selected for the choir to sing two evolution songs from our website. He created lovely arrangements for them, and now the sheet music is available in pdf for anyone to use. One song is "I Love to Tell the Story", lyrics by Evelyn Pease Tyner, traditional melody. The other is "Praise Birth and Death Amid the Stars", lyrics by Connie Barlow, traditional melody. (posted April 2007)

    Other Accomplishments:

  • "PETER MAYER SINGS The Great Story": CD

    Singer-songwriter Peter Mayer collaborated with us to produce a retrospective of 13 of his songs that celebrate the Epic of Evolution. His two most famous songs in this collection are "Blue Boat Home" and "Holy Now". You can listen to samples and also purchase the CD online by clicking on the title above.

    "I was in tears when I first heard "Blue Boat Home." A year later, I wept again, on Earth Day Sunday, as I walked up the aisle of a church while 500 congregants sang Peter's words of praise to our beloved planet." — Connie Barlow

    (posted March 2007)

    Thanks to long-time Universe Story enthusiast and graphic designer DOUG VAN HOUTEN for creating the artwork for the CD jacket and booklet.

  • THANK GOD FOR EVOLUTION - a new book by Michael Dowd

    In the summer of 2006, Michael Dowd signed a contract with Council Oak Books to write a book of what had, up till then, been entirely oral presentations of his work and ideas. Connie Barlow contributed material for anecdotal boxes of stories gleaned from five years as itinerant evolutionary evangelists. The result: a 384 page book, with writing completed in April 2006 and scheduled for publication in October 2007. We are both thrilled with the result! The book's jacket is already designed (far left), and we couldn't be more pleased.

    Click on the blue title above to access the companion website and view the table of contents and much more.

  • Fun Ways to Teach Evolution to Kids - a new program by Connie Barlow
  •     Imagine every species alive on Earth today designating a single ambassador to journey back through time to the very origin of life 3.8 billion years ago. Group by group, the ambassadors meet up with one another — first those most closely related, and then the more distantly related. Amazingly, we humans encounter such groups of ambassadors only 40 times during the whole 3.8 billion years of time travel. That's because all the species of birds and reptiles have already merged together before their stream of travellers meets with ours, and so forth. If we picture this journey back through time as drops of water flowing down a watershed, becoming rivulets, then streams, then bigger and bigger tributaries, we begin to feel that we are all travelling on this "River of Life", heading back to our shared "Ocean of Origin."

    Connie Barlow created this program initially in 2006, based on data and insights presented in the 2004 book by Richard Dawkins: Ancestor's Tale. The original version is a 40-part script for use by adults or mixed age groups. Connie has used this script several times outdoors: adults love it, but kids need something more visual. So she created a digital slide program that she tested on kids in different venues 4 times this spring (two Unitarian Universalist kids groups and two homeschool groups). Because it is a mix of audio, dialogic teaching, along with word games, dramatic script-reading by the kids themselves, lots of visuals projected on the screen, song, and movement/dance, it more successfully spans all learning styles and keeps even the most hyperactive kids engaged throughout. Kids report it is "awesome" and parents are stunned by how excited their own shy children are about volunteering to read scripts — even kids who cannot yet read, yet who so desperately want to perform that they happily repeat the phrases Connie whispers into their ear.

    Connie has not yet figured out how to make this digital slide program available to other teachers on a CD (she uses MacIntosh "Keynote", rather than PC "powerpoint). The only items yet available on this website are the 40-part script and the 24-verse song. Nevertheless, even these can be used creatively by parents and teachers. Religious educators might choose to begin or end a Sunday school class each week by having the script from the previous week read, followed by a new script. A timeline could be constructed as a work in progress, added to each week. And when it is time to add a new verse to the song, this would be another fun component. At the end of the 40 weeks, the long journey might be remembered, and the entire 24-verse song sung, perhaps in an intergenerational worship service.

    Click to return to our Reports of Past Events and Accomplishments.

    Click to view our Itinerary of Upcoming Events.

    To invite us to present in your community, visit our PROGRAMS page.