Previous Ashley Lecturers

MeyersRobin Meyers is the pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church, an “unapologetically Christian, unapologetically liberal” church in Oklahoma City. He is a professor in the philosophy department at Oklahoma City University, a syndicated columnist, an award winning commentator for National Public Radio. A prolific writer, Meyers has most recently authored Saving Jesus From The Church and The Underground Church.

NewellReverend Dr. John Philip Newell, a Church of Scotland minister, is the former Warden of Iona Abbey, a scholar of Celtic spirituality, a renowned retreat leader, and author of 15 books, including The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings. Rev. Newell has a reputation as a charismatic and inspirational speaker who appeals to the heart as well as the head.

DBB thumbnailAn author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture, Diana Butler Bass calls herself ...a person of faith, a Christian, who attempts to live the generative, inviting, inclusive and transforming practices at the heart of Christianity that can heal the world. Marcus Borg called her book, Christianity for the Rest of Us, “...the most important book of the decade about emerging Christianity and the renewal of mainline congregations.”


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Pastor of the West Hills United Church of Canada in Scarborough, Ontario and founder of the Canadian Centre of Progressive Christianity, Gretta Vosper is the author of the bestselling book, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe. Bishop John Shelby Spong describes her as “a brilliant, insightful and courageous young woman.”

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Michael Dowd is an evolutionary theologian, bestselling author, and evangelist for Big History and an honorable relationship to the future. His bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. His work has been featured favorably in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Wired, Discover, and on CNN, ABC News, and Fox News.


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Brian McLaren has been named one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America by Time Magazine. He is the leader of “the emerging church,” an inclusive network of churches and Christian leaders who worship, interpret theology, engage the popular culture, move beyond denominational and political labels and live in the Gospel.

thumb BorgThe late Marcus Borg (1942-2015) was an American New Testament scholar, theologian and author. A fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he was formerly Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, a position from which he retired in 2007. Borg continues to be among the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity and is a major figure in scholarship related to the Historical Jesus.

thumb imagesJohn Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. His admirers acclaim him as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson — he’s considered by many the champion of an inclusive faith, both inside and outside the Christian church.

A visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches worldwide, Bishop Spong delivers more than 200 public lectures each year to standing-room-only crowds. His bestselling books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand.

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