South Points Association for Exploring Religion

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The South Points Association for Exploring Religion is a Birmingham-based non-profit forum for religious and spiritual exploration. The group was founded in 2000 by Ken Forbes Jr, Burdett Wantland and others in order to establish a group for free and respectful discussion of progressive or unorthodox religious ideas.

The group meets regularly for discussion in a variety of locations around the mid-South. It also conducts retreats and provides educational materials and resources for self-directed religious exploration. The Oasis is a bi-monthly journal published by SPAFER.

Lecture series

Since 2001 the group has sponsored periodic lectures by national religious figures:

  • June 2, 2001: "Faith in the Real World", delivered by Stephen Patterson
  • December 7-8, 2001: "The Search for Authentic Spirituality: Opening Hearts and Minds", delivered by Hal Taussig
  • March 6-7, 2002: "The Courage to Move into the Future" and "Rethinking Human Sexuality", delivered by Bishop John Shelby Spong
  • November 7-8, 2003: "The Heart of Christianity: Seeing the Christian Life Again", delivered by Marcus Borg
  • March 10-11, 2004: "Using the Bible as a Doorway to God, Not as a Weapon to Undergird Prejudice", delivered by Bishop John Shelby Spong
  • May 6-7, 2005: "Paul Then and Now", delivered by John Dominic Crossan
  • October 28-29, 2005: "Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Early Christianity", delivered by Bart Erhrman
  • May 5-6, 2006: lecture delivered by Amy-Jill Levine
  • November 3-4, 2006: "Progressive Christianity: A Direction for the Future?" three lectures delivered by Delwin Brown