The Bartimaeus Institute

2018 Kinsler Bartimaeus Institute

Save the dates: 19th to 23rd February, 2018


2017-18 BIO Study Cohort

The third study cohort combining Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO), an in-person gathering in Oak View, CA and the next Bartimaeus Institute - REGISTRATION CLOSED  - click here for details.


MLK quote

2017 Kinsler Bartimaeus Institute

Working at the Intersections: Recontextualizing MLK’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ Sermon on its 50th Anniversary.

February 20 to 24, 2017 

At Forest Home, in the Ventura River Watershed, Oak View, California

Exactly one month after Donald Trump’s inauguration BCM will convene our annual Kinsler Institute in Oak View.  We will draw on the historic wisdom of Martin Luther King's "A Time to Break the Silence" sermon, 50 years old next year. And we will deliberate about how to recontextualize that wisdom in this cold new political moment.

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The 2017 Kinsler Bartimaeus Institute is now complete -the program book is available here (4.7MB PDF) and a photo essay from the Institute, here (500KB PDF) . Thanks to Clancy Dunnigan for most of the photos!


BI logoBartimaeus Institutes are study opportunities in the beautiful coastal hills of the Ventura River watershed in southern California.  Ranging from 3-5 days and held in the  Ojai Valley, they are intensive explorations of scripture and social justice, facilitated by Ched Myers, Elaine Enns and friends.   CEU and academic credit can be available by request.

Learn about Institutes through this short video.  For more information on pricing and registration, email

Past Institutes:

Betwood Box from TRC gatheringsOct 14-16, 2016.  The TRC Calls Churches to Action: Building Capacity for Restorative Solidarity in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. Over 100 church and native leaders wrestled with the “Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to Churches.”  You can see the program booklet here.

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We explored how the Canadian TRC Report impacts Indigenous/Settler relations, and how Christian communities can build right relations. Participants looked at how to educate, advocate and organize around the Calls to Action to churches, including the challenges to

“formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation” (48);

and to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius” (49).

Indigenous and nonindigenous leaders mapped the new geography for the work of fostering justice and reconciliation, and reflected on how a theology and practice of “restorative solidarity” can help churches rethink discipleship, service, spiritual formation, worship and activism.

Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries co-convened this gathering with:

  • Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Saskatchewan;
  • KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives;
  • Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop of Canada;
  • Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan;
  • Mennonite Church Saskatchewan;
  • Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous Relations;
  • Office of Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice, United Church of Canada;
  • St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon.

Feb 15-19, 2016.  Kinsler Institute:  "Landscapes of Trauma, Stories of Healing: Women in Luke’s Gospel."  We returned to Forest Home, where over 50 participants met together for five days. A photo essay is available here.

Oct 9-11, 2015.  Institute-on-the-Road:  "Identity, Theology and Place: Reinhabiting the MIssissippi Watershed."  This Institute was held in Minneapolis, MN, co-hosted by the Church of All Nations and the Underground SeminaryRecordings of talks are available here.

Feb 16-20, 2015.  Kinsler Institute: "A Festival of Radical Discipleship."  Our largest event ever saw 175 participants; the amazing Festival schedule can be viewed here (2.1Mb PDF), the list of workshops here (4.9Mb PDF).  A photo essay can be viewed here (1.9Mb PDF).  A transcript of Jennifer Henry's beautiful Ash Wednesday homily can be viewed here.

Apr 25-May 11, 2014.  Permaculture Design Certification Course: "The Peace of Wild Things."  The first ever Gospel-based PDC (to our knowledge) saw a dozen participants complete the internationally recognized permaculture design certification course, explored  through the lens of radical theology and praxis.  In this residential course, students graduated as certified Permaculturalists and were introduced to a diversity of embodied practices and critical analysis that helped empower and sustain faith-based work for justice and reconciliation.  A photo essay of the course can be viewed here. (960kb PDF)

Feb 17-21, 2014.  Kinsler Institute:  "Discipleship in the Wilderness: The Three Archetypal ‘Temptations’ Then and Now (Mt 4:1-12).”  As a preparation for Lent, we carefully read the story of Jesus’ “Vision Quest” and testing in Mt 4:1-12.  We saw how each of the three temptations represent archetypal expressions of the economic, political and theological seductions through which empire seeks to shape our hearts, minds and practices.  We explored how each of Jesus’ responses represent narrative cues to the “big story” of liberation in the Bible.  And through this process we looked at the challenges facing us today, reflecting on some of the themes articulated in Ched’s book Who Will Roll Away the Stone?  Discipleship Queries for First World Christians (Orbis), in celebration of its 20 anniversary.  A photo essay can be viewed here. (863kb PDF)

Oct 11-14, 2013:  "Coming into the Watershed: Permaculture, Ecoliteracy, & Bioregional Discipleship" was  led by Chris Grataski, Ched Myers and Elaine Enns.  It offered an introduction to the theory and practices of following Jesus in the way of ecojustice and permaculture. Exploring both meanings of “watershed discipleship” in this crucial historical moment of social and environmental crisis, we reflected on how scripture and theopolitics can animate and nurture personal and political sustainability. A photo essay can be viewed here. (863kb PDF)

Feb 18-22, 2013:  “There was a rich man who...” The Occupy Critique, Sabbath Economics and Luke 12-19.  This scripture intensive offered a theological response to the Occupy Movement, and a conversation with Cornell West and Tavis Smiley's recent manifesto on wealth and poverty, The Rich and the Rest of Us (2012).  Led by Ched Myers, over 30 people explored selected texts from Luke's "special section" that appear in the Year C gospel lectionary.  We looked at how the third gospel uniquely articulates the problem of social and economic disparity, how Jesus envisions the church as a new society in the shell of the old, and how these texts challenge First World Christians to practice Sabbath Economics.  You can see the basic syllabus here.

July 2012 Report:  "Rooting Faith: Theology and Practices of Bioregional Discipleship"

 Feb 2012 Report:  "Reading Mark's Gospel Politically"

Feb 2011 Report:  "Watershed Seminary II: Rivers"

Jan 2011 Report:  "The Sermon on the Mount from Anarchist, Anabaptist and Antiracist Perspectives" 

Feb 2010 Report: Ecojustice, Sabbath Economics and Luke’s Gospel

Jan 2010 Report:  “Ambassadors of Reconciliation: A Theology and Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking"

Feb 2009 Report:  "Transgressing Boundaries of Race, Class & Gender (Mark 4-8)"

Jan 2009 Report:  "Jesus as a Practitioner of Nonviolent Action (Mark 1-3)"

Feb 2008:  "Jesus as a Teacher of Restorative Justice in Matthew"

Jan 2008:  "Matthew’s Gospel between Seminary, Sanctuary & Streets"

Jan 2007:  "Luke’s Gospel and Sabbath Economics"