SSCS at the AAR Annual Meeting

Friday 21 November - Saturday 22 November
San Diego, California 

SSCS at AAR 2014: At-a-Glance (Word document)
SSCS at AAR 2014: Detailed (Word document)

[Christian Spirituality Group Sessions]

All are welcome at our SSCS events on Friday and Saturday; please invite your colleagues to join us. This year, our Friday sessions will be held at the University of San Diego. On Saturday, we’ll meet at the San Diego Convention Center. All events except dinner on Friday are free, but reservations are due by Saturday 1 November for dinner and shuttles; please see details below.

Overview of SSCS Events. Please see below for fuller descriptions.
Friday 22 November, University of San Diego
1:30-7:15 p.m.    Shuttle transportation from convention area and/or Old Town trolley stop to the University of San Diego (USD)
3:00-4:00 p.m.        A Contemplative View of Ecology:
            Canyon Tour with Michael Mayer, USD Department of Biology
Alternative program on native plants
4:00-5:00 p.m.        A Contemplative View of Ecology:
Conversation and Reflection on The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes for a Contemplative Ecology with Douglas E. Christie
5:30-6:45 p.m.        Society Dinner at USD (or meal on your own)
7:00-9:00 p.m.        Contemplation in the World: The Socially Transformative Effects of Practice
Panel discussion moderated by Janet Ruffing
9:00-10:00 p.m.    Reception
9:00-10:00 p.m.    Shuttles to convention area and/or Old Town trolley stop

Saturday 23 November, San Diego Convention Center
9:00-10:15 a.m.     “The Future of Past Spiritual Traditions,” Presidential Address by Bernard McGinn
10:30-11:30 a.m.    Annual Members’ Meeting, Lisa Dahill, President-elect, presiding

Society Dinner
The SSCS will host a catered dinner from 5:30-6:45 p.m. Friday at Mother Rosalie Hill Hall on the USD campus. The cost, including taxes, tip, wine, and other beverages, is $42 per person for members, $47 for non-members. We are happy to provide scholarships for SSCS members with limited income; suggested contribution is $20. The menu includes
    Watercress, Endive, and Arugula Salad with Walnuts, Apples, and Sweet Cider Vinaigrette
    Truffle Chicken with Truffle Cream
    Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon
    Baby Beets
    Chocolate Mousse Cup
     Vegetarian Option: Wild Mushroom Tart with Celery Root Puree, Roasted Tomatoes, and a Cabernet Reduction (Other food needs can be discussed with the chef; please email
    Iced tea, hot tea, coffee, and house wine
To reserve a place, please send a check by Saturday 1 November to Dr. Elisabeth Koenig, 17546 Drayton Hall Way, San Diego, CA, 92128-2033. (Checks will not be deposited until early December.) Those outside the United States may reserve a place by emailing and may pay at the door by check (payable to the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality) or cash (exact change, please).

If you would like to sponsor a scholarship for dinner, please write to Anita Houck at Donations to the SSCS are tax-deductible.

Transportation to and from the University of San Diego (USD)
The SSCS will be arranging USD vans for pick-ups at scheduled times and places. So that we can reserve enough vans, please reserve your space by 1 November by writing to with your preferred pick-up and departure times (see schedules below). If you aren’t able to RSVP, you’re welcome to come to the pick-up locations to see if space is available. Shuttles are free, but donations are warmly welcomed. Public transportation is also available throughout the afternoon and evening.

Transportation to USD
Members will have the option of traveling to USD directly by van from the Convention Center at 1:30 p.m. or, later in the afternoon, of taking the San Diego Trolley to the Old Town trolley station and meeting a USD van there. Please reserve your space by emailing Elisabeth and letting her know your preferred time for pick-up (1:30 at the Convention Center; 2:15, 2:45, 3:15, etc., at Old Town Station) and return (departures at approximately 9:10, 9:30, or 10:00; approximately half-hour trip downtown).

1. From the Convention Center to USD:
1:30 pick-up at Convention Center (specific location to be determined)
The van will arrive at USD around 2:00, about an hour before our program begins. Suggestions for what to do on campus are below.

2. Pick-ups from the Old Town Trolley Station
After the 1:30 pick-up from the Convention Center, all vans will pick up from Old Town Station, which is easy to reach by taking the trolley from the Convention Center (approximately 13 minutes, $2.50 one way). Vans will depart from Old Town Station every half hour, starting at 2:15 p.m. and continuing until 7:15 p.m. (For the trolley schedule, see this page..

3. Public Transportation
Take the trolley from the Convention Center to Old Town Station (approximately 13 minutes, $2.50 one way). From Old Town Station, take city bus #44 for a fifteen-minute ride to the USD gates.
Transportation from USD
Vans will be available to take members from the USD campus directly downtown to major convention hotels or, in some cases, to the Old Town Trolley Station. The exact schedule will be determined based on reservations. Please reserve your space by writing to with your preferred departure time (approximately 9:10, 9:30, or 10:00).

On the USD Campus
The campus, known for its Spanish Renaissance architecture, is a beautiful place for an afternoon walk. The outdoor Garden of the Sea, with its reflective pool, offers a spectacular view of the ocean to the west. It is located on the grounds of the Institute for Peace and Justice, which also houses La Paloma café. Guests may also want to visit Founders Chapel, The Immaculata Catholic Church, and the campus’s galleries and coffee shops. An interactive map is available at The campus dining hall and pub are open to the public and available for those preferring a more casual dinner. Some off-campus restaurants are within walking distance.

Program Details
A Contemplative View of Ecology
Friday, November 22
3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
The University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
Maher Hall, Salomon Conference Room

Barbara Quinn, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Moderator

3:00 p.m.                Meet in Salomon Conference Room
3:00-4:00 p.m.        Canyon Tour
Dr. Michael Mayer, Chair, Department of Biology, University of San Diego
Alternate program on California plants

4:00-5:00 p.m.        Conversation and Reflection on The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes for a Contemplative Ecology
    Douglas E. Christie, Loyola Marymount University

The University of San Diego is surrounded by the beauty of land and sea, lush flora and stark desert-like terrain. We will begin our session with a walking tour of the canyon that lies behind the campus, where Dr. Mayer will help us reflect on the changing conditions of the land and the impact and challenge these changes have for us. Comfortable attire is recommended. For those who may find walking a challenge, there will be an alternate reflection on California native plants in a very accessible location. Both programs will begin in the Salomon Conference Room.
We will then move to a conversational reflection on The Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes For a Contemplative Ecology led by author Douglas Christie, editor of Spiritus.
Our sincere thanks to Mary Doak of the University of San Diego’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies for co-sponsoring this event.

Contemplation in the World: The Socially Transformative Effects of Practice
Friday, November 22
7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
The University of San Diego, 5998 Alcalá Park
Warren Auditorium, Mother Rosalie Hill Hall

7:00-8:20 pm.         Panel
    Janet Ruffing, Yale University Divinity School, Moderator
        Bahar Davary, University of San Diego
        Mary Frohlich, Catholic Theological Union
        Aaron Gross, University of San Diego
        Ruben Habito, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
        Louis Komjathy, University of San Diego
8:20-8:40 p.m.        Small-group discussion
8:40-9:00 p.m.        Large-group discussion
9:00-10:00 p.m.      Reception

What are the links between contemplation and social transformation across religious traditions? How can exploring those links enrich Christian spirituality? Please join us for conversation and a light reception following.
Our sincere thanks to Louis Komjathy of the University of San Diego’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies for co-sponsoring this event and for collaborating with us throughout our planning.

Presidential Address and Annual Members’ Meeting
Saturday, November 23
9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
San Diego Convention Center, Room 33A

9:00-10:15    “The Future of Past Spiritual Traditions”
 The 2014 Presidential Address by Bernard McGinn (University of Chicago Divinity School)
10:30-11:30     Annual Members’ Meeting
Lisa Dahill (Trinity Lutheran Seminary), President-elect, presiding
All are welcome.

Tax-deductible contributions to help cover the costs of our events are most welcome, either through your membership renewal form; in person during our AAR events; or by sending a check to Professor Anita Houck, 11 Spes Unica Hall, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana 60546.

Sessions of the Christian Spirituality Group of the AAR

The Bible and Climate Change: The Twentieth Anniversary of Bill McKibben’s The Comforting Whirlwind of God: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation (1994)  (A22-220)
Saturday 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Convention Center-20D
Presider: Barbara Rossing (Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago)
Panelists: Ched Myers (Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries); Kathryn Schifferdecker (Luther Seminary); Theodore Hiebert (McCormick Seminary)
Respondent: Bill McKibben

Christian Spirituality and the Cognitive Sciences: An Emerging Conversation (A23-118)
Sunday 9:00-11:30 a.m.
Convention Center-2
Presider: Claire Wolfteich (Boston University)

  • Community of the Downwardly Mobile: Scientific Study of Kenotic Habitus in L'Arche: Remya Nair (California Institute of Technology), Andrea Beckum (Fuller Theological Seminary), Michael Spezio (Scripps College), Mark Graves (Fuller Theological Seminary), Warren Brown (Fuller Theological Seminary), Kevin Reimer (Azusa Pacific University)
  • Heartfulness as Mindfulness: Imitatio of Affectivity and Perspective in Christian Contemplative Practice: Mark Graves (Fuller Theological Seminary), Andrew Dreitcer (Claremont School of Theology), Remya Nair (California Institute of Technology), Kevin Reimer (Azusa Pacific University), Brent Field (Princeton University), Michael Spezio (Scripps College)
  • The Significance of John of the Cross’s Account of Contemplative Ascent for a Theory of the Loving Transformation of the Emotions: Sam Hole (University of Cambridge)
  • The Architecture of Apophasis: Exploring Options for a Cognitive Scientific Interpretation of the Via Negativa: Andrea Hollingsworth (Berry College)
  • Business Meeting: Glenn Young (Rockhurst University), presiding

Perspectives on Spiritual Direction: Historical and Contemporary (A23-263)
Sunday 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Hilton Bayfront-Aqua E
Presider: Janet Ruffing (Yale Divinity School)

  • The Role of Spiritual Direction in Mediating a Contemplative Classic: Fr. Nikon Strandtman, Gerald Palmer, and the English Philokalia: Christopher Johnson (University of North Dakota)
  • Co-authoring Stories of Faith and Hope: Narrative Approaches to Spiritual Direction: David Crawley (Laidlaw College)
  • Julian of Norwich as Spiritual Director: Julian’s Theodicy of Soul Growth: Janna Gosselin (University of Southern California)  

Meetings: 20132015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019