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The Forum with John Philip Newell: John Muir as Celtic Prophet

Sunday, February 3 @ 9:30 am

The celebrated author and teacher on the inspiration and challenge of naturalist John Muir. The Rev. Dr. Newell also preached at the 11 am service.






About the conversation

John Muir – naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, co-founder of the Sierra Club and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States – exemplifies, according to author William Anderson, “the archetype of our oneness with the earth.”

In this conversation with Malcolm Clemens Young, John Philip Newell, the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, and one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world, re-examines Muir through Celtic Christianity, in which everything is essentially spirit, clothed upon with flesh, with leaves, with water, or that harder substance called rock.


About the guest

John Philip Newell, the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he now divides his time between Edinburgh, where he does most of his writing, and teaching on both sides of the Atlantic as well as leading international pilgrimage weeks on Iona.

He is the co-founder of Heartbeat: A Journey Towards Earth’s Wellbeing (www.heartbeatjourney.org), established to expand sacred vision, deepen spiritual practice, nurture reflective community and enable action for change. In 2016 John Philip founded the School of Celtic Consciousness (SCC) in the belief that we need the Celtic Christian inheritance for this moment in time, urgently. The threefold vision of the School is to deepen awareness of the Sacred in all things, to nurture spiritual practice in relation to this wisdom, and to translate this study and practice into compassionate action.

Newell is an ordained Church of Scotland minister with a passion for peace among the great wisdom traditions of humanity. In 2011 he received the first-ever Contemplative Voices Award from the Shalem Institute in Washington DC in recognition of his work in spirituality and peacemaking. His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh and he has authored over 15 books, including Christ of the Celts, Praying with the Earth, A New Harmony, and his most recent visionary title The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.

“Listening to the Heartbeat of Life” John Philip Newell, Heart Labyrinth, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico


About the host

The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young is the dean of Grace Cathedral. He is the author of The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau and The Invisible Hand in Wilderness: Economics, Ecology, and God, and is a regular contributor on religion to the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner.


About The Forum

The Forum is a series of stimulating conversations about faith and ethics in relation to the important issues of our day. We invite inspiring and illustrious people to sit down for a real conversation with the Forum’s host, Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and with you. Our guests range from artists, inventors and philosophers to pop culturists and elected officials, but the point of The Forum is singular: civil, sophisticated discourse that engages minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.


Sunday, February 3
9:30 am
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