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Chris Highland

  • Located in Asheville, NC
  • Non-theistic freethinker
  • Humanist Chaplain 
  • Instructor at the College of Marin; non-profit housing Manager
  • Nine published books including Life After Faith
  • Presbyterian Minister for 14 years (1987-2001; Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary; parish associate for 10 years; left ordination for reasons of conscience)
  • Interfaith Chaplain in county jails serving 10,000 inmates per year, and with unhoused, homeless poor in one of the nation's wealthiest counties for 20 years (directed county emergency shelter for 2 winters)
  • Taught courses in congregations on World Religions and Sacred Scriptures
  • Philosophy major, Seattle Pacific University
  • Former Evangelical (high school through college attended Baptist, Pentecostal,
    Protestant, Campus Crusade and House Church congregations; youth group leader;
    wide biblical and ecumenical knowledge)\
  • Teaches classes on naturalistic freethinking through colleges

Chris often speaks and writes about the critical need to move beyond the supernatural to"celebrate the secular" in the present world of Nature (as both classroom and inclusive sanctuary). In significant ways this has been the path he has chosen out of religion, while still keeping a living network of relationships with the good people still "inside."

For instance, he coordinated and collaborated with Evangelicals, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and others to operate a homeless shelter based on principles of human compassion as well as managing two cooperative houses for seniors owned by an ecumenical non-profit.

His published books include collections of wisdom from naturalistic philosophers such as Muir, Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman, Fuller and Burroughs. his ninth book is a short novel on John Muir and Jesus, with the young Palestinian appearing as an atheist who learns from his new Scottish friend to seek fulfillment in his home on earth. For three years he lived a simple lifestyle in a one-room cabin on an island in the Pacific Northwest, cutting trails, harvesting on an organic farm and writing.

He is married to a Presbyterian Minister who directs a large and influential Interfaith Council of which he, as a freethinker, am a member (he recently led a retreat on Natural Spirituality and quoted from Walt Whitman for a "benediction" at an annual dinner).

For more information on Chris, you can check out his website.

Chris would like to speak on the following topics:

  • Life After Faith: the Genesis of Faith to the Exodus from Religion (to the Revelation of Reason)
  • The Need for "Natural Chaplains": Compassionate Leadership without God (Walt Whitman as a Model for the Presence of Loving kindness)
  • Beyond God: Reading the Wild Natural Bible with John Muir and His Camp
  • Nature is Enough: Why Add a Super?/Biomimicry Beyond Belief
  • The End of Spirituality: A Down to Earth "Sacred Secularity"
  • Interfaith/intersecular Relationships (building bridges over the mudflats)
  • Collaborating with the "Enemy": Sacred and Secular Side By Side for the Greater Good 
  • John Burroughs: Radical Rebel at the Roots of Religion and Reason
  • What About Jesus?/Can Jesus be Saved (for our Secular World)?

Chris is negotiable with his honorarium on a case-by-case basis.

If you're interested in having this speaker come to your school and give a presentation, click here to fill out our online Speaker Request form.

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