Living into a New Story Retreat

Living into a New Story Retreat

JANUARY 23 – 26, 2025

Living into a New Story

A Spirited Assessment of the Christian Story in the Light of Earth-based Wisdom and Today’s Sciences

Questions Explored

  • Might recent breakthroughs in Nature’s natural sciences (especially astronomy, ecology, evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology) be rewriting foundational Christian worldviews?
  • Does God’s “voice” dwell mightily in two “scriptures”—Nature & Bible? Does such an understanding degrade or enrich Sola scriptura?
  • What about the historic Creeds? Could a more scientific and Earth-wisdom interpretation of the 1st article (Creator) enhance our grasp of the 2nd (Jesus) and 3rd (Holy Spirit)?
  • When did historic Christianity regress into anthropocentrism? Did God gift Earth’s biosphere to Homo sapiens, or is the gifting actually that we too have been invited into God’s diverse and interdependent household?
  • What images of God contribute to humanity’s often injurious behavior toward Earth’s biosphere? What does it mean for our faith that we are part of a communicating and alive ecosystem? How can we change our images of the Divine to bring about a more beneficial relationship of humans to Earth?
  • How do certain images in the church’s hymnody keep us stuck in destructive worldviews? Can we sing our way into a more beneficial relationship with Earth? 
  • With fresh eyes, what new understandings are emerging regarding creation and fall, original sin, Noah, Israel’s wilderness sojourn, “promised land” theology, the role of prophets, atonement theories, eschatology, and what it means to follow Jesus today?

Benefits and Takeaways

  • Experience a jump in need-to-know scientific knowledge
  • Discover new eyes and a new worldview
  • A booklet of current and rewritten hymns/songs grounded in ecology-theology themes
  • A Worship/preaching/teaching resource for the Season of Lent
  • Insights into the central role of worship and preaching
  • A non-Pollyanna capacity to boldly embrace both hope and lament
  • Wisdom for sustainable living and effective advocacy

Retreat Highlights

  • An accessible and deeper appreciation for what the natural sciences can teach us about Christian theology
  • Time for journaling, worship, prayer, music, experiences
  • Good food, serene surroundings, stimulating discussions, healing relaxation
  • Time outdoors on the land

Retreat Goals and Hopes

  • to provide meaningful experiences together that will affirm our being cheered on by the whole Universe and by God
  • to discover new realizations that our modest lives are part of a much larger story
  • to inspire continued deep questioning and learning
  • to stimulate a renewed sense of vocation

Schedule of Events

Day 1: Thursday January 23, 2025

  • 3:00pm ~ Check-in
  • 5:15pm ~ Welcome and community building (Ron and Sharon)
  • 6:00pm ~ Dinner
  • 7:15pm ~ Session 1—Stunning Universe, Wondrous Wilderness: Part 1 (Ron)
  • 8:30pm ~ Devotion and Song/Hymn (Sharon)

Day 2: Friday January 24, 2025            

  • 8:00am ~ Breakfast
  • 9:00am ~ Session 2—Stunning Universe, Wondrous Wilderness: Part 2 (Ron)
    • Meditative Song: I Thank You God For Most This Amazing
      (music by Nomali Brennet, words by e.e. cummings)
  • 10:00am ~ Break
  • 10:20am ~ Session 3—Is the Universe Alive? Ideas of sacredness (Sharon)
  • 11:00am ~ Starter questions: discussion partner (find a quiet nook, or take a walk)
  • 11:30am ~ Journaling
  • 12:15pm ~ Lunch
  • 1:30pm ~ Worship: Song, Scripture, Eucharist
  • 2:00pm ~ Session 4—Everything Communicates (Sharon)
  • 3:30pm ~ Interpretive hike (or free time and journaling)
  • 5:00pm ~ Showing of the film “Journey of the Universe” (optional)
  • 6:00pm ~ Dinner
  • 7:15pm ~ Session 5—Amiss and Awry: The Power of a Flawed Narrative (Ron) 
  • 8:30pm ~ Devotion & Song/Hymn (Sharon)

Day 3: Saturday January 25, 2025

  • 8:00am ~ Breakfast
  • 9:00am ~ Session 6—Re-framing the OT story, re-framing the NT story (Ron)
  • 10:15am ~ Break
  • 10:35am ~ Starter questions: discussion partner (find a quiet nook, or take a walk)
  • 11:30am ~ Journaling
  • 12:15pm ~ Lunch
  • 1:30pm ~ Session 7—The Power of Hymnody (Sharon)
  • 2:00pm ~ Session 8—Re-imagining humanity’s place, discarding old beliefs (Sharon)
  • 3:30pm ~ Free time (walks & journaling)
  • 6:00pm ~ Dinner
  • 7:15pm ~ Session 9—Problematic Christian teachings (Ron)
  • 8:30pm ~ Devotion and Song/Hymn (Sharon)

Day 4: Sunday January 26, 2025

  • 8:00am ~ Breakfast
  • 9:00am ~ Session 10—Cultivating a network of continuing education and influence (Ron and Sharon)
  • 10:30am ~ Check-out and travel home


Thursday – Sunday, January 23-26, 2025

Check In time is 3:00 pm Thursday, Check Out time is 10:00 am Sunday. Retreat ends before lunch at 12:00 pm on Sunday.


4-Day Retreat, Price per person:

  • One person, private room : $650 per person
  • Two people, two in a room : $550 per person
  • Three people, three in a room : $475 per person
  • Commuter, program and meals w/o room : $325 per person
  • Non-participating spouse/friend : $215 per person

Price includes: Four days of programming and all materials, three nights lodging and 8 meals (3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners).

Guests may arrange with Spirit in the Desert to arrive early and depart late for an extra fee.

NOTE! Two (2) scholarships are available for reduced rates for those with a demonstrated need. In addition, a retreat supporter has made available five (5) airfare travel scholarships in the amount of $200 each for travelers coming from outside the Arizona-Las Vegas area. Inquire about these opportunities, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.


Click red button below, call 480.488.5218 or email to register.

All are welcome to this Living into a New Story Retreat exploring the natural sciences’ connection with Christian theology at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona!

About your Retreat Leaders

Ron Rude

Pastor Ron Rude (M.Div) lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Nancy. He has taught courses on the life-giving interplay between science and theology at Holden Village, Chicago Theological Seminary, Glacier National Park, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Diakonia, and various conferences and congregations. He is an avid hiker exploring God’s teaching wilderness, and an amateur church musician (piano, drums). After 17 years as Lutheran campus pastor (ELCA) at the University of Arizona-Tucson, his ministry passion for an ecology-theology-grounded-Christian faith continues to ripen through interactive retreat experiences, and through teaching, writing, and service.

Ron’s most recent book is Amending the Christian Story: The Natural Sciences as a Window into Grounded Faith and Sustainable Living (Wipf and Stock Publishers, October 2021).

Read more about Ron Rude and his books.

Living Into a New Story Retreat: photo of retreat leader Sharon Reinbott

Sharon Reinbott

Sharon Reinbott (M.A) is a hymnist and lay theologian. At retirement from a successful career, she headed to Death Valley to perform a Vision Fast, daring to name her soul gifts and offer them to the world. She received her M.A. in Culture and Spirituality from the Sophia Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, where her work concentrated on the rewriting of Christian hymns to help bring about what Fr. Thomas Berry, CP described as a more beneficial relationship of the human to the earth.

She brings to her work a mixture of deep wisdom, creative thinking, and a wild, untamed, and fierce spirit, along with the thinking of Thomas Berry, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Bill Plotkin, and Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Years of practice of archetypal dream work have taught her to feel into the dream images, deepening her own spiritual work. Her practice of Biodanza since 2005 has deepened her ability to be truly present with another. She fervently believes that, with images that provide an increased understanding of human relationship to the evolution of the Universe, we can sing our way into its story.

Read more about Sharon Reinbott.


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