Upcoming Events
  • Jim Kenney
7:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Common Ground Deerfield
This discussion will begin with Jim's outline of ten global developments that describe an evolutionary present moment and a promising future. He'll provide an intriguing handout and we'll see where the conversation takes us. Let's hope.
  • John Wasik
7:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Common Ground Chicago
This lecture will show how Illinois seeded (and continues to contribute to) major innovation—from efficient agriculture to tech start-ups—ideas that changed the world.
  • Ahmad Sadri
7:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Common Ground Crystal Lake
Everything was going according to the plan of modernity up until the last quarter of the 20th century. Religion was gradually getting used to the its disestablishment, liberal theology was on the ascendant and the processes of “secularization” and “privatization” of religion were making gradual progress. But the world looks different today, doesn’t it? This lecture will explore the roots of the return of strong religion with a particular focus on the prospects of Islamic reform in the remainder of our century. 
  • Jim Kenney
7:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Common Ground Deerfield
 We’ll explore the major motifs of some of the most influential Native American spiritual cultures and also examine the seven major rituals described by the great Sioux spiritual seeker Black Elk.
Common Ground Blog
Click here to download a pdf copy of the Winter 2018 Bulletin.
Common Ground prides itself on its faculty. Most of our resource persons hold academic positions, but all have considerable experience and expertise in one or more fields. And, most important, they're all good teachers!

Get to know them. You won't be disappointed.
(Click "Read More" to view the list of teachers for the current Bulletin period.)
Due to very unforseen technical complications (mostly involving online participants not muting their microphones), the Online Tutorial session on Thursday, November 16, was not successful. We're cancelling the remaining sessions. 

But take heart, all four Tutorials are now immediately available on YouTube.
Continue reading more on Common Ground Blog

Sea Change Blog
Our time seems to have forgotten civility. Perhaps it's not so surprising – when it seems that our democracy might fail – that mutual respect is an indulgence that the righteous can no longer afford and that the unrighteous no longer bother with. Anger has become the defining emotion of our time.
But anger can be well-placed and outrage is perhaps the most moral emotion. When we recognize the outrageous, we are empowered to act. And the times in which we live are outrageous.

Does culture evolve? Or does it merely change? Culture is the organic matrix within which we make our choices and are in turn shaped by them. The culture of a particular society comprises the beliefs, knowledge, practices, and institutions that structure its life and are transmitted to its next generation. As important as values are, they are only part of the cultural whole.
Changing values drive cultural change; but just think about the relationship between these two dynamics. The benchmarks of a progressive values shift are increasing creative complexity, greater awareness of interdependence, and the further integration of ways of knowing. As these values evolve, what happens to the way people in a culture think and behave? 

As you may have noticed, I’m returning these days to the theme of cultural evolution, the subject of my 2010 book, Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change. Cultural evolution is the slow, steady advance of humanity’s most essential cultural values (e.g, peace, justice, and ecological sustainability) toward a closer fit with reality. Thus, for example, “the arc of human history” bends toward peace, justice, and ecological sustainability and away from racism, sexism, hateful nationalism, and violent response to personal and societal identity crisis.
Hold it! (I can almost hear the chorus.) How can we hold out any hope for values-evolution, in the face of so much apparent evidence (these days) to the contrary? Well, the answer is to be found in the eddies of resistance to the cultural-evolutionary dynamic.

Continue reading more on Sea Change Blog
Latest Bulletin
The Common Ground Bulletin is sent three times each year and highlights various items of Common Ground.

(Click here.)

About Common Ground

Founded by Ron Miller and Jim Kenney in 1975, Common Ground is a center for inquiry, study, and dialogue. Our primary concern is the human quest for understanding and the human pursuit of significance. While our endeavor began with the study of world religions and the commitment to inter-faith dialogue, our range of program offerings has been greatly expanded over the past several years.

Today, our primary focus is on the world's great cultural, philosophical, religious, and spiritual traditions and their implications for every dimension of human experience. Our course offerings include a tremendous variety of topics, including, but not limited to: history, literature, art, science, psychology, business, relationship, health, and personal growth. Our programs are shaped to meet the needs of all who are excited by ideas and serious about the quest.

Common Ground is for those who are already deeply grounded in their own traditions and for those who are still searching. It is a place for all who are fascinated by the convergence of the ancient with the modern, of East with West, and of spirituality with planetary reality. Common Ground brings together a knowledge of the past and a vision of the future for a better understanding of the present.

Common Ground is a fully registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.