Donna Freitas is Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University. The "On Faith" panelist's literary and academic focus is the struggle of belonging and alienation with regard to faith, particularly among young adults, and especially young women. Freitas asks the 'Big Questions' (Why are
we here anyway?) and delights in discovering the many forums in which to dabble with faith, religion, spirituality, and gender. A Catholic, she also is an ardent feminist. Her books include Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality for the Bridget Jones in All of Us
, (2005) and Save the Date: A Spirituality of Dating, Love, Dinner & the Divine
. Freitas' most recent book project is Sex and the Soul,
set for publication in
2007. It is based on a national study about the influence of sexuality and romantic relationships on the spiritual identities of America 's college students. Freitas' first novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood,
which is about 15-year Antonia Lucia Labella, who aspires to become the first official living saint in Catholic history, is due for publication in 2008. Freitas can be reached through her website at www.donnafreitas.com
I hope I am an example to my students—a “parent” of sorts—who has gone from believer to atheist and back again
Daniel C. Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, at Tufts University. His most recent book was Breaking the Spell (2006). The “On Faith” panelist also is Co-founder of the Curricular Software Studio at Tufts, and has helped design museum exhibits on computers for the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Science in Boston, and the Computer Museum in Boston. Dennett has written over 300 scholarly articles on various aspects of the mind in scientific journals. His first book, Content and Consciousness, appeared in 1969. It was followed by Brainstorms (1978), Elbow Room (1984), The Intentional Stance (1987), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds (1996), and Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996 (1998). He co-edited The Mind's I with Douglas Hofstadter in 1981. Dennett completed his D.Phil degree work under Gilbert Ryle at Oxford in 1965, and has lectured at Harvard University, Pittsburgh and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. In 1987 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He spends most of his summers on his farm in Maine, where he harvests blueberries, hay and timber, and makes Normandy cider wine, when he is not sailing. He is also a sculptor.
The Reverend William McD. Tully has been rector of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City since September 1994. The first professional calling of the “On Faith” panelist was to journalism, and he worked as a copy boy and local reporter at the Los Angeles Times. As a community worker for the Model Cities program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Tully discerned an "underlying call" that turned him toward ordained ministry and study at the General Theological Seminary. After ordination in 1974, he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany, Manhattan; associate rector at St. Francis Church, Potomac, Maryland; and then as rector of St. Columba's Church, Washington, D.C. The people and mission of St. Columba's taught Tully about church growth, Christian hospitality and hope for the future of the church. Working with a dedicated group of leaders, an enlarged clergy and professional staff at St. Bart’s, Tully has led the church in its growth and renewal. He loves his ministry and is always eager to meet and work with others who have found a home and a ministry at St. Bart's.
"On Faith" panelist Starhawk is a prominent voice in modern Wiccan spirituality and cofounder of Reclaiming (www.reclaiming.org), an activist branch of modern Pagan religion. She is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (1979) --considered an essential text for the Neo-Pagan movement--and the novel The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993) . Her works have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Greek, Japanese, and Burmese. Many of Starhawk's political essays were collected into her book Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising . Her newest book is The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature . Starhawk has also recorded several tapes and CDs; most recently Wicca for Beginners (2002), Wiccan Rituals and Blessings (2003), and a four-CD set Earth Magic (2006), all produced by Sounds True. She consulted on and contributed to three films known as the Women's Spirituality series, directed by Donna Read for the National Film Board of Canada: Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle . Committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism, Starhawk travels internationally teaching magic, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism.