Worship Services

Flagship Workshops


HOSTS & ORGANIZERS: More information just for you.


We say “services” because it’s not just a sermon; JD provides in-depth guidance for service elements so that the entire service is a rich and coherent experience. 



Worship Services

Where science and spirituality conspire together

to shift the world towards

beloved community

For each of these, the sermon is also available as a short presentation/talk of the stated length, OR as an expanded workshops of one to three hours. Workshops allow participants to go deeper into the material, to digest and personalize it as well as create community together.


Multimedia” means the sermon/talk includes extensive use of images and video.

Defiant Love: Interrogating Our Inheritance

Multimedia. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

What are we, crazy?! Some aspects of our inherited cultural system are clearly harmful to our planet, our descendants, and our own humanity. How did this happen? In the context of our damaged and dysfunctional culture, acting with honor for our ancestors, respect for ourselves, and love for future generations often looks like rudeness or radical defiance. Sometimes, Love requires us to defy our own heritage.

Active Love and Anthropocene Angst

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

That humans are having major impacts on the planet is now quite clear, and some of those impacts may be evident millions of years from now. Are we a cancer on the biosphere, a plague? Would it be better if we had remained blissfully in the stone age? Our angst about such matters may be no more helpful to building sustainable systems than is white guilt in forging racial justice. JD somehow relates all of this to romantic relationships, parenting teenagers, and Joni Mitchell.

This is Not My Beautiful House

Spoken. 20 min.

One of our culture’s foundational myths is about ownership, security, and permanence. None of these occurs in nature! JD offers some science, some personal experiences, and a Talking Heads song as puzzle pieces toward a new, more vulnerable humility.

Befriending the Thief (3 versions)

Death is a thief that steals our loved ones, breaks our hearts, and ravages our lives. One of life’s few guarantees, death will come for each of us in time. What good is it? Does the natural world offer hints at deeper purposes that might help us befriend Death?


Befriending the Thief: Remembering Mary Oliver

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Mary Oliver’s poetry often touched on death as integral to life, and when enriched by understandings from science, her beautiful words inspire a new, friendlier relationship with it.


Befriending the Thief: Science and the Meaning of Death

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

From Cosmology to Evolution, science reveals the essential role death has played in making our existence possible. Death is no enemy; death is a gift from the past that we will pay forward. (more science, no poetry)


Befriending the Thief: Homily

Spoken. 10 min.

A homily originally crafted to honor and remember a science-oriented friend and colleague taken by A.L.S. (A.L.S. is NOT my friend… I miss you, Aaron.)

Building A New Way: DIY

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

JD describes lessons learned from his do-it-yourselfer father and grandfathers, and how those lessons might be applied to building a new way for our increasingly precarious global society. What kind of world do we want for our grandchildren, and for their grandchildren? Are we behaving accordingly? Building is not easy or comfortable—are we willing to do what it takes? [Especially good around Father’s Day]

Combustion Addiction: 12 Steps to Climate Recovery

Multimedia. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Our dependence on fossil fuels looks an awful lot like addiction. Could the 12 steps of AA offer any helpful guidance as we seek a way out? If climate change is a moral/spiritual crisis, maybe a 12-step-style “spiritual awakening” can help.

Complementarity: Quantum Physics and the End of Dogma

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Do you despise the question “What do you believe?” JD Stillwater gets real about his own personal beliefs, and discovers an evidence-based approach towards a New Agnosticism, one that fully embraces the mysteries and ambiguities inherent in natural reality. Along the way we meet a cryptic cat, a famous psychic, a woman with a question, and a religious organization for atheists. The exclamation “Poppycock!” also makes a cameo appearance.

Defining Enough

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Failure to define “enough” means never being satisfied. It makes us vulnerable to slick advertising, and fills our lives with tedium and chaos. It deflects our focus from sources of true happiness, like play, family, relationships, community. Ultimately, it also leads to the desecration of Earth’s living systems. Defining “enough” is a spiritual practice. 

Fiddling While Rome Burns

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

When the entire planet is engulfed in flames (climate change, nuclear arms, fascism, extinction, mass migration), isn’t full-time activism the only reasonable activity? Isn’t everything else a kind of indulgence? What if activism just isn’t your thing? What if your talents and passions lie in something like fiddling, or poetry? JD shares his own wrestlings with this quandary, and where they have led him.

Mystery: Koans of Science

Multimedia. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Today’s culture war pushes us to perceive spirituality and science as enemies, and holds up a false dichotomy between reason and mystery. The universe, as science reveals it, speaks only of transcendent unity, and holds up Mystery as both muse and ground of reason. 

One Song: the Science of Unity

Multimedia. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

For millennia mystics and prophets have told us that “All is one” and yet we feel ourselves surrounded by separation, antagonism, and isolation! There are plenty of reasons to conclude instead that “All is horribly splintered.” Were all the mystics naive, or just wrong? Recent advances from mainstream science reveal an underlying integrity, connectedness, and wholism in everything from human bodies to ecosystems to the very fabric of space-time. Even in the noble humble dung beetle, star of our service today. In short, science agrees: “All is one.”

Earth’s Easter: Resurrecting the Future

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Even as we crucify the air and water upon which we depend, a glimmer of possible resurrection shines here in Golgotha, inside each dismayed but faithful heart. To what will we direct our attention and our energy– the crucifixion of species and ecosystems, the tomb-like darkness we fear will follow, or the fairer, simpler world calling us from the far side? Two kinds of optimism, two more of pessimism, some outrageously tenuous metaphors, a story or two, and a bit of unpolished poetry will carry us from despair to commitment, without a lick of rosy-eyed feel-good naïveté.

Resurrection: Science, Death, and the Profound Meaning of Spring

Spoken. 20 min talk, or longer workshop 1-3 hrs.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. Easter, whose name comes from the pagan celebration of Ostara, celebrates Spring within the Christian theology of resurrection and the defeat of death. Science offers a springtime way of thinking about death and resurrection, one infused with hope, renewal, legacy, and rebirth.

Flagship Workshops

– from JD’s “Seven Candles” Project –

These workshops form the basis for a new paradigm, a worldview richly informed by what we know about natural reality. This is science, in service of awe, wonder, and a big-picture orientation. Whether you are…


… religious in a traditional way (science helps us understand creation and therefore the mind of God); or


… spiritual in a non-religious way (natural reality is part of a divine Whole); or


… Atheist/Humanist/Religious Naturalist (natural reality is all there is—and it’s enough);


In these workshops we take nature to heart, letting ourselves be profoundly moved by what is known, and going deeply into the implications for how we orient ourselves in the cosmos.

Seven Candles: Science for a Deeper Spirituality

Multimedia. 1.5 hour and 2.5-hr versions. Seven Candles is a multimedia exploration of the spirituality inherent in modern mainstream science. We live at a time when discoveries by the scientific community are challenging our perceptions of reality. As in Galileo’s time, we can choose to experience these new-found truths as problems, or we can embrace them, striding towards a deeper, more connected life.


Seven Candles is neither “proof of God,” nor “proof there’s no God,” although both have been said by participants! Seven Candles is just science, described in a way that deliberately uncovers, emphasizes, and embraces the profound implications of scientific revelations.

Seven Candles: Repairing Ourselves and the World

Multimedia. 2.5 hours.

This interactivemultimedia experience applies Seven Candles insights to what the world needs in this time of crumbling systems. We watch in dismay as ecosystems, political systems, economic expectations, civil society and the climate fall apart all around us. How can we each contribute to a world better aligned with how reality actually works? How can our thinking and behavior be more life-affirming, more sustainable, more satisfying?

This flagship workshop applies science insights from the original Seven Candles presentation to a world in crisis, asking and answering the question “What does the world need now?”

The Great Turning: Stories and Music to Inspire Cultural Shift

Multimedia + live music performance. 2.5 hours.

Science educator JD Stillwater teams up with award-winning songwriter Darryl Purpose for an evening of live music, science, revolutionary love, and inspiration to re-imagine and repair our world. Bring your joy, your exhaustion, your love for this world, your laughter, your hope, your dismay, your voice, and your friends.