A quick note about our programs.
Ring Lake is open from June - August.

Ring Lake Ranch seminars consist of four evening sessions during the week, usually 90 minutes in length. The style and content of the seminars change with each leader. Seminar leaders are usually happy to talk with guests outside of the seminars, but the topics are presented entirely within the evening sessions, to ensure that all guests have a chance to participate.

Like all activities at Ring Lake Ranch, save cabin cleaning and helping with meal clean-up, the Ranch seminars are optional for guests.

Click here for more information on our weekly schedule.


Jul 1st – Jul 7th, 2018: | David Wilcox

Musical Medicine: Songs That Tell a Better Story

Songs can be good medicine when the right song is sung for the right person at the right time. Our retreat with David will combine his songs with time for conversation, where anyone who wishes can speak to the state of their heart and soul and mind. David will then select and/or spontaneously craft songs that will be in service to the conversation and the people gathered. Sometimes the songs are funny, but there can also be heart-opening clarity and powerful healing when you hear a song that speaks directly to your situation while also showing it in a surprising and different light.

Singer/songwriter David Wilcox has released 18 albums over his thirty-year career. Rolling Stone said that his “ongoing musical journey is compelling and richly deserving of a listen” and Performing Songwriter commented that his “music is a personal compass for finding his way home. Lining it up with something deep inside, his words become image-filled poetry that dance to an internal rhythm.”

Website: https://davidwilcox.com/


David Wilcox - photo credit Stuart Dahne

Jul 15th – Jul 21st, 2018: | Marianne Borg

Days of Awe and Wonder

Days of Awe and Wonder: How to be a Christian in the 21st Century is a new collection of writings by the late Marcus Borg. Using Marcus’ book we will review some of the foundational affirmations and understandings that enabled him – and so many of us -- to see the person of Jesus anew and discern what is the heart of Christianity. Marcus insisted that we all apprehend and experience the Sacred, The More, God, that within which we live and move and have our being. Too often, however, “we do not see it.” In addition to reviewing Marcus’ work, we will reflect on our understandings of Christianity and its place in this complex, questioning and religiously pluralistic world. We will also use the work of a variety of poets and attend to their “eloquent listening” in hopes of helping us see again and hear afresh the hope that calls to us through days of fear and trembling to days of awe and wonder.

Marianne Borg is the widow of Marcus Borg. She is a retired Episcopal priest and Founding Chair of the Marcus J. Borg Foundation. She and Marcus have been part of the Ring Lake Ranch experience for many years, which was a transformative environment and community for them both.

This session is full, but please consider contacting us to be placed on the waitlist.

Website: https://marcusjborg.org/team/marianne-borg/


Marianne Borg

Jul 22nd – Jul 28th, 2018: | Craig Bromley, Gina Clingerman, Jordan Dresser & Jason Baldes

The Wind River Reservation: Contemporary Perspectives on Archaeology and Reservation Life

We will explore a variety of topics related to the history and current cultural life on the Wind River Reservation, the home of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes that lies to the east of Ring Lake Ranch. Career BLM archaeologist and Wyoming native

Craig Bromley will present how archaeological understandings of the last three decades have changed about the people who inhabited this region over the last 12,000 years, and how prehistoric use changed (or didn’t change) over that span of time.

Gina Clingerman, BLM Abandoned Mine Lands Archaeologist in Lander, will explore the rich history of a Fur Trade-era spear point that she discovered in 2015, tracing it from its manufacture in Sheffield, England to its arrival in the University of Wyoming's Archaeological Repository.

Jordan Dresser will discuss his role in the film "What Was Ours," a PBS's Independent Lens documentary that tells the story of Arapaho and Shoshone tribal members who travel to the Field Museum in Chicago and begin questioning who owns the material culture of the people of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Jordan will reflect on how the film empowered him to create the Northern Arapaho Experience Cultural Room and how indigenous communities can use tools such as museums to reclaim their tribal narrative. Finally,

Jason Baldes, a member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe, will present the efforts to restore buffalo to the Wind River Indian Reservation.  We hope to have an opportunity to visit the buffalo restoration site on the reservation. Jason is the buffalo representative to the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and serves on the advisory board for the Tribal Lands Program of the National Wildlife Federation. 

This session is full, but please consider contacting us to be placed on the wait list.



Jul 29th – Aug 11th, 2018: | Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren

Habits of the Heart: Gratitude and Love

Our sacred texts make clear that gratitude and love are at the core of a well-lived life. But while we teach nearly everyone reading, writing, and arithmetic, we assume people will learn these two primary spiritual practices on their own, by accident. Drawing from their most recent writing projects and extensive work with faith communities around the country, Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren will guide you in the how-to's of making gratitude and love as natural as breathing and walking. Each evening's presentation will include practices you can incorporate during the next day's activities at the Ranch, so you can return home with new habits of the heart.

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. Her books include the bestselling Grounded, Christianity After Religion, and A People’s History of Christianity. Diana regularly consults with religious organizations, leads conferences for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues.  View the website.

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and networker among innovative Christian leaders. His dozen-plus books include Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?, We Make the Road by Walking, and The Great Spiritual Migration. View the website.

This session is full, but please consider contacting us to be placed on the wait list.



Diana Butler Bass

Brian McLaren

Aug 12th – Aug 18th, 2018: | Ruby Lal

What Choice Do I Have? Muslim Women in Beleaguered Worlds

Images of oppressed Muslim women are common in the media: Malala Yusufzai nearly killed by the Taliban for wanting to read and write, Parda-clad women from Saudi Arabia suffering under a patriarchal regime, and others subjected to the brutal violence of honor killings. While the question of violence against women and its discussion in the media is vital, perhaps something has gone missing altogether in the pictures we get. Muslim women, like other women and men, negotiate their lives and live them creatively and powerfully.

Even under oppressive regimes, they employ magical forms of creativity that lie at the heart of being able to live. What does the life of someone like Malala Ysusfzai tell us? What about Prophet Muhammad’s favorite wife Aisha? And Nur Jahan, the only woman to rule in the long dynasty of the great Mughals of India, a master shot who hunted tigers and gave the model for the exquisite Taj Mahal? Through pictorial and textual evidence, as well as films and art, we will examine the life stories of Muslim women, their own notions of gender, sexuality, desire, family,  and honor, of education, desire, leadership, and being in the modern world.

Ruby Lal is Professor of South Asian Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Her fields of study include feminist history and theory, and the question of archive as it relates to writing about Islamic societies in pre-colonial and colonial world. She is the author of several books. Her most recent work is a creative non-fiction book, a narrative history of the Mughal Empress Nur Jahan entitled Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (Forthcoming: W. W. NORTON, NY, Spring 2018).



Rubi Lal

Aug 19th – Aug 25th, 2018: | Ellen Davis and Abdullah Antepli

The Things that Make for Peace: The Bible and The Qur’an in Conversation

The increase of religiously motivated violence is a compelling reason for Christians and Muslims to develop a deeper theological understanding of neighboring religious communities and “the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). This seminar will explore core values of Islam and Christianity, highlighting points of similarity and difference between the two faiths. We will give special attention to scriptural bases in both texts for interfaith cooperation and respect, as well as to contemporary writings and theological statements. We will consider own faith practices and “theologies on the ground” in relation to the challenges and opportunities of living in a pluralistic culture. We will also look at the practical question of how to begin interfaith conversation in local communities.  

Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University Divinity School. Her research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their responses to urgent public issues. Her books include Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship and Ministry.

Abdullah Antepli is Chief Representative for Muslim Affairs at Duke University. A native of Turkey, Imam Antelpi worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia from 1996 to 2004. He served as Duke University’s first Muslim chaplain from 2008 to 2014. In his current work at Duke, he engages students, faculty, and staff across and beyond campus through seminars, panels, and other avenues to provide a Muslim voice and perspective to the discussions of faith, spirituality, social justice, and more.

This session is full, but please consider contacting us to be placed on the waitlist.



Ellen Davis

Abdullah Antelpi

Aug 26th – Sep 1st, 2018: | Barbara Rossing

The Tree of Life: Radical Hope, Ecology and Spirituality

The tree of life is a central image in many religions: the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden in Hebrew scriptures, the Bodhi Tree at the axis of the world in Buddhist cosmology, the Iroquois tree whose roots hold together the whole world. The Tree of Life also appears in science as a model for understanding biological connection and diversity. We will explore how the biological and religious trees of life can serve us theologically, how they can help envision our future, and strengthen our hope for lasting, faithful life on earth, illuminated by insights from the natural sciences, environmental studies, social sciences, literature, and art.

Barbara R. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology. She served as director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center, Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School. Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation  She has appeared on “CBS Sixty Minutes” as well as The History Channel, National Geographic, and the Living the Question series.



Sep 2nd – Sep 8th, 2018: | Luther Smith

Conflict Transformation: Being Fully Present, Authentic, and Creatively Engaged

Our dreams for nurturing relationships, creative work, and experiencing beloved community are often shattered by situations of conflict. Although “conflict” is blamed for such broken outcomes, more fundamental matters are the real culprits. Avoiding conflict, rushing to resolution, political maneuvering, character assassination, and remaining anxious and silent are just some of the dysfunctional behaviors in disputes. With skills to befriend conflict, even at times to initiate it, we can create transformational opportunities that enact our dreams. Through presentations, discussions, video, and role-play, we will engage concepts and processes that enable us to live faithfully in conflict.

Luther Smith is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He speaks and writes extensively on Howard Thurman’s legacy, spirituality, church practices, and social transformation. Throughout his career Luther has been active with issues of reconciliation, interfaith collaboration, child advocacy, poverty, and people with intellectual disabilities.



Luther Smith
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