The 2018 January Adventure Speakers


Barbara Brown Taylor


Barbara Brow Taylor( is a New York Times best-selling author, college professor, and Episcopal priest. Her first memoir, Leaving Church, won a 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Her last book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. She has served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology, and Piedmont College, where she has taught world religions since 1998. A frequent guest preacher at churches and schools across the country, she is happiest on her front porch at home.

Barbara Brown Taylor (born September 21, 1951) performed her undergraduate studies at Emory University where she graduated in 1973. Afterwards, she studied at Yale Divinity School, graduating in 1976. She was ordained as an Episcopal Priest in 1984, and became the rector of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta) in 1992.  In 1996, she was named one of the twelve "most effective" preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University, and was awarded 1998 Emory Medal by the Emory Alumni Association of Emory University for her distinguished achievement in education.

She spent fifteen years in parish ministry before becoming the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, Demorest, Georgia, where she has taught Religions of the World since 1998.  She also serves as an adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

Ms. Taylor’s first memoir, Leaving Church (2006), received the Author of the Year Award from the Georgia Writers Association and won the Theologos Award from the Association of Theological Booksellers for best general-interest book of 2006.  An Altar in the World (2009), a New York Times’ bestseller, received the Silver Nautilus Award in 2012.  And most recently, Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014) was featured on the cover of TIME magazine.

Upcoming for 2017 is her newest book: Holy Envy.  Says Ms. Taylor: “I'm calling it Holy Envy after Krister Stendhal, who proposed holy envy as one of his three rules for interfaith understanding.”  The book will be a classroom memoir, focusing on the teaching of Religion 1101 (Religions of the World) at Piedmont College over the past twenty years.  (A release date has not been announced.)

In addition to teaching full time and writing 14 books, serving on boards and receiving numerous honors, Ms. Taylor has been a guest speaker at numerous venues, including Emory, Duke, Princeton, and Yale, as well as guest on SuperSoul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey.  January Adventure is indeed fortunate to be welcoming her back for a second time, January 12, 2018.

Barbara Brown Taylor and her husband Ed live on a farm in the foothills of the Appalachians, sharing space with wild turkeys, red foxes, white-tailed deer, and chickens.


SAVE THE DATE:  January 12-15, 2018:  January Adventure 2018 featuring Barbara Brown Taylor and Rabbi Rami Shapiro.  THE OPENING OF REGISTRATION WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN EARLY JUNE. (For more information visit


References:  Barbara Brown Taylor’s Website (; wikipedia, (; and Amazon (

Rabbi Rami Shapiro


Rabbi Rami Shapiro "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or say as well in another; and the more languages you learn, the more nuanced your understanding of life becomes. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence. - Rabbi Rami Shapiro

We are proud to introduce Rabbi Rami Shapiro, co-speaker with Barbara Brown Taylor at January Adventure 2018….

Rabbi Rami Shapiro was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, April 26, 1951, and was raised in a modern Orthodox Jewish household. Introduced to the study of world religion in high school, he began a serious study of and practice in Zen Buddhism at the age of sixteen which has continued throughout his life.

Perennial Wisdom Book CoverShapiro studied at the University of Massachusetts, receiving a degree in philosophy in 1973. Upon his graduation, he married Deborah Flanigan and the two moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  There he earned his M.A. in Religious Studies at McMaster University with a concentration in contemporary Jewish philosophy.  Concurrently, he continued to focus attention on Buddhism under the tutelage of Teresina Havens, then a retired professor of world religion from Smith College.  He later enrolled full-time at Smith College (one of only eight men allowed to do so at the time) where he majored in Buddhist Studies with Professor Taitetsu Unno.

Rabbi Rami continued his studies at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, spending his first year in Jerusalem.  He sought out eminent professors seeking to blend his love of Judaism with his passion for Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Advaita Vendanta (non dual Hinduism). 

In 1979, he enlisted in the United States Air Force.  He served as the full–time rabbi at Wright–Patterson AFB while completing his rabbinic studies in 1981.  Returning to Hebrew Union, he completed a Ph.D. in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Union Graduate School in 1985.

Miami was his home after his graduation.  There he created Temple Beth Or, a synagogue and think tank, where he experimented with new forms of Jewish liturgy, practice.  At this point, he was able to combine his experiences with Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism in a more concrete form.  He served at Temple Beth Or for twenty years, never ceasing his studies with learned Rabbis and scholars.

Loving Kindness Book CoverHis efforts began to receive recognition.  In 1984 Rabbi Rami was invited to become a founding member of the Snowmass Group, an annual gathering of contemplatives from various religions, held at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.  Under the auspices of Father Thomas Keating, Rami Shapiro met Dr. Ed Bastian, the founder of the Spiritual Paths Institute and became part of the institute's faculty.  In addition, after a decade of study, Rami received initiation in the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta Hinduism under Swami Swahananda.  Rabbi Rami lectures on the parallels between Judaism and Hinduism at various Vedanta centers in India and the United States.

Beginning in 1996, Rabbi Rami served as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Middle Tennessee State University.  In 2012, Rabbi Rami teamed with Reverend Tim Miner and the Order of Universal Interfaith to co-found the annual Big 1 Conference for Inclusive Theology, Spirituality and Consciousness.

After leaving the university in 2016, Rabbi Rami Shapiro joined with Rev. Claire Goodman and Frank Levy to create the One River Foundation.  One River promotes the study of Perennial Wisdom, the mystic heart found at the core of all religions (  Rabbi Rami is currently its co–director.  In addition, he blogs at, writes a regular column for Spirituality and Health magazine called Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler, and hosts the weekly jnternet radio show, “How to be a Holy Rascal” on Unity On-line Radio (

Circle of TraditionsDuring and amongst all of the above, Rabbi Rami has written over two dozen books on religion and spirituality.  His most recent work, The World Wisdom Bible, published in February, 2017, draws on ancient and timeless texts from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism to create a spiritual collage of wisdom that crosses religious boundaries.  Coming out in December 2017 is Holy Rascals (Advice for Spiritual Revolutionaries), based on his radio show and described as a spiritual collection of wisdom that crosses religious boundaries.

If you’re still curious about Rabbi Rami Shapiro, there’s lots more to learn on his website  Or better yet, come to January Adventure 2018 and experience this gifted thinker, doer, speaker for yourself!


References:  Rabbi Rami Shapiro Website, Rabbi Rami Shapiro Wikipedia (, Rabbi Rami Shapiro Amazon (

Owen & Moley o Súilleabháin plus Mum, Noirin Ni Riain!


Owen and Moley Singing in the AisleJanuary Adventure is proud to welcome back Owen and Moley o Súilleabháin for our 2018 conference. An instant hit at JA 2017, some of the comments on our questionnaire speak as one voice of the joy and spirit their music brought to our program:

”The addition of music (to JA 2017) was GREAT!” ”Owen and Moley were wonderful!” "We are in a holy place. Group singing like we had with Owen and Moley brings this out in a beautiful way.” "Owen and Moley's music was a wonderful addition! Eight Stars for the concert!”

Owen singingOwen and Moley o Súilleabháin, brothers from Ireland, are singers, speakers, composers, and poets. They write their own songs as well as sing sacred chants from the Celtic traditions. Their only goal is to write and sing songs that lift and inspire the human heart to generosity and gratitude. And the songs must also be “Groovy!” Owen is a world class guitar player and Moley is one of Ireland’s greatest rappers and human beatboxers.

Moley SingingMoving from Ireland to America in 2012, they have performed a cross-section of musical styles for beguiled audiences across the country. With simplicity, they sing and tell their story of Celtic inheritance with a humor and authenticity that is captivating. Their latest CD is “Fields of Grace” produced by Sounds True.

They have performed with Russell Crowe, The Chieftains, Bobby McFerrin, renowned poet David Whyte, Canadian rocker Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea) and violinist Nigel Kennedy. OM MotherDirector Steven Spielberg cast them to sing in his 2012 movie “WAR HORSE,” and they appeared in the 2014 fantasy-mystery film “THE WINTER’S TALE.”  Pictured: (R) Moley (Michael)

Just when it seemed the team o Súilleabháin couldn’t get any better, Buzzy invited their mother, Ireland’s Celtic “jewel of song and soul,” to fly over from Ireland to join her sons on stage and off.  Noirin Ni Riain, (Ph.D.) is, herself, an acclaimed singer and historian of Celtic tradition, and we are delighted to welcome her to January Adventure 2018.


For more information on Owen and Moley:

The JA 2018 Theme:

This Too is the Path:
Reimagining the Traditional and Reclaiming the Perennial

As the world grows smaller and inter–religious encounters become more frequent (and often heated), more and more people are searching for new ways of being with one another and with the One we call by many names. Some of us are reimagining the religious traditions to which we remain committed, others are reclaiming the perennial wisdom of every religion, and some are doing both. At next year's January Adventure, Barbara Taylor and Rabbi Rami will help us explore the riches of all three paths, speaking from their respective traditions about how we can honor the uniqueness of each faith and reveal the mystic heart of all faiths without demonizing believers or homogenizing beliefs.