Mountain Top Lectures


Over the last several years a number of independent book clubs in North Georgia have been reading books that explore various aspects of our religious heritage and spirituality.  Many of us have attended theological lectures and felt there would be an interest in offering lectures in North Georgia to learn more about the origin and evolution of our religious heritage.

To this end, we have created The Mountain Top Lectures to host scholars on a wide range of issues of religion and spirituality in a north Georgia setting. We host three lectures per year, one in the spring, one in the summer and one in the fall at the Lodge at Amicalola Falls state park in Dawsonville, Georgia.  

Since we began in 2010, we have been very fortunate to host some of the most prominent authors and speakers on religion: Dr. Amy Jill Levine, Dr. Marcus Borg, Dr. Robin Meyers, Dr. Bart Ehrman, and the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bouregault,     Dr. Brian McLaren . Bishop John Shelby Spong, Dr. John Dominic Crossan and Rabbi Rami Shapiro.

If you have an interest or curiosity about how Christianity and other religions developed and the challenges they face in the 21st century, you will want to join us at Mountain Top Lectures.

We try to limit the number attending our lectures to around 120 to provide an intimate setting for questions and discussion.

2015 Lecture Series speakers -

  • April 14-16 - Spirituality Retreat with Rami Shapiro
  • May 15-16 - Dr. Owen Flanagan
  • August 8 - Dr. Kirby Godsey
  • November 13-14 - Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor
2016 Lecture Series speakers -

  • Spring - Rev. Dr. Michael Dowd
  • Summer - Dr. Imad Enchassi
  • Fall - Rev. Dr. John Phillip Newell

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Click below to register for this event. Invoice will be sent to your email address.

14 Apr 2015 10:00 AM • Forest Hill Conference Center
15 May 2015 8:00 AM • Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge, Dawsonville, GA
Spring Retreat by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Registration opens March 1st

Rabbi Rami Shapiro will be conducting a residential retreat on spirituality (no commuting) at the Forrest Hills Conference Center Tuesday April 14th to Thursday April 16th.  

Check Forrest Hills website for directions

Rabbi Shapiro will be using a program developed for the One River Wisdom School. Click One River Practice Retreat tri-fold .pdffor more information on the content.

This retreat is limited to 32 attendees.  We have 16 rooms in one building.  Two people will share a room consisting of one king size bed and one queen size bed with a private bath. Cost per person for this retreat is $200, which includes room and meals. Lunch will be served on Tuesday and Wednesday, dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday and breakfast on Wednesday and Thursday.

Registration will be on a first come basis beginning at midnight on March 1st.   Each person will need to register individually as guest registration will not be available for this event.

To keep the registration fee affordable, Mountain Top Lectures is covering the cost of the speaker.

If this retreat is sold out we have the option to offer the same retreat next October. Mountain Top Lectures is obligated to cover the 32 reservations so it is important that we have 32 people attend.

If you would like to attend this retreat, please register at as soon as possible starting at midnight on March 1st.

The Genesis Library -
A great resource to enhance your book club, start a small discussion group or support your Sunday School class.

Mountain Top Lectures is offering free access to a resource library of DVD 's and CD's to registered groups to help facilitate local discussion on topics of religion and spirituality.

This program will be available only to registered groups under the Genesis Project guidelines. The only cost to the group will be the cost of return postage to material back to the Genesis Project. The Genesis Project will pay for the outbound postage.

To participate in this program you must register your group. Please click on this link to download the Registration Form. You need to complete and sign the form and mail to us.

Genesis Project Group Registration Form.docx

Review the current list of resource materials available through the Genesis Project
Inventory by Author - March 2015.pdf
After your group has registered and you may order materials from our resource library.

To order material, please submit a Genesis Project Material Request Form.

Genesis Project Request Form .docx

New DVD's just added to lending library
The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
2 - DVD's with four lectures
  • Seeing the foundations again - Bible and traditions
  • Seeing faith again - Not belief but relationships
  • Transformation - Born again & dying and rising
  • Social transformation - Kingdom of God and Jesus as Lord
Connections Live! 2012 by Robin Meyers
2 - DVD's with four lectures
  • Galilean sage or Supernatural Savor?
  • The underground church: Reclaiming the subversive way of Jesus
  • Being subversive for the cause of love: What would it look like?
  • Presentation by lay panalists

2015 Spring Lecture
May 15 - 16 

Sponsor registration begins March 15th 

Dr. Owen Flanagan
Professor of Neurobiology
Duke University

Dr. Owen Flanagan, one of the world's most important and under-recognized philosophers addresses what is arguably the major cultural question of our times: Can the humanistic and even religious view of human nature be reconciled with science?

Title of lecture series:

Three Images of Persons: The Spiritual, The Scientific, and The Secular

Overview:  Questions about the meaning and purpose of human life turn in part on what a person is. Some think that humans have souls and that our good depends on how our souls fare. Others think that humans are 100% animal and that our fate is the fate of every other animal. Still others are agnostic on whether humans are ensouled or just a fancy animal, but believe that meaning can be found in living a good life, a life of freedom and friendship if certain economic, social and political conditions are achieved.

Friday evening lecture:  An Introduction: The Three Images

Saturday morning 9am - The Clash Over Free Will.
The Spiritual Image and (usually) The Secular Image say we possess Free Will. The Scientific Image denies Free Will. I discuss why and how this philosophical debate matters to ethics and politics.

Saturday morning 10:30am - Human Flourishing.

"I will make some suggestions about how we might -- to a point -- reconcile the three images. Whether we are literally children of God and made in his image or a finite animal there is some fairly substantial agreement in spiritual traditions, in comparative ethics, and in the human sciences about what a good human life consists in."

Flanagan is a witty, entertaining writer, who eschews the jargon and abstractions that deaden the prose of the vast majority of academic philosophers. And unlike philosophers such as Daniel Dennett, Flanagan is less intent on demonstrating his cleverness than on presenting his thoughts as clearly as possible. Although he is steeped in knowledge-from Aristotle to the latest findings of cognitive science-Flanagan wears his learning lightly. His writings are rigorous enough for professionals-philosophers and scientists paid to ponder the mind-body problem and other enigmas-while remaining accessible for lay readers. And shouldn't philosophy be for everyone?

Owen Flanagan is basically a scientific materialist, who believes that the mind is a function of the brain and cannot exist independently of it. In The Problem of the Soul, he dismisses such supernatural concepts as God, the immortal soul, life after death, and even free will, defined as freedom from physical causality. But he argues convincingly that if we jettison a supernatural outlook, we are left not with an anything-goes nihilism but with an even more secure foundation for morality.

He deftly draws upon his personal experience to explore certain questions-for example, what concept of a self makes sense, given all the changes we pass through in life? He reveals his family's history of alcoholism, his decision to stop drinking, his recent interest in Buddhism. In the hands of a lesser writer, this approach would seem self-indulgent, but Flanagan makes it poignant and compelling. There is a warmth suffusing his prose that counteracts the chill of his ideas, and even lends them a kind of tacit support: ultimately, it is simple human decency that will save us (if we can be saved) and not faith in some supernatural metaphysics.

Owen Flanagan books available on Amazon

Owen Flanagan on U-Tube

Summer Lecture - August 8th

Dr. Kirby Godsey
Author and former President of Mercer University, Macon, Georgia

“Most Christians assume that Christianity is the one and only religion that is God-inspired and that carries the imprimatur of God’s blessing,” laments R. Kirby Godsey. In his new book, Is God a Christian?, Godsey sets out to oppose that assumption, and to argue that “the stakes for mankind have grown too high for any of us to engage our faith as if our understanding of God represents the only way God’s presence may be known in the world.”

The great question of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is necessarily bound up with the most central teachings of the Christian faith, which is why an argument like this must be considered so carefully. A closer look reveals that Godsey is not merely calling upon Christians to reconsider how we define and defend the Gospel - he is calling for a total reconstruction of everything that Christianity represents.

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