Into the Wilderness — A Contemplative Retreat

March 02, 2024, 10:00am – 1:30pm Eastern Time

In the past few months we’ve seen in unprecedented scale the destructive impact that violent misuse of the Bible can wreak on vulnerable populations. Facing the shadow side of our scriptural traditions is no longer just a personally fulfilling thing to do. It is an absolute necessity if we are to be able to act with integrity in “the fierce urgency of now.” CLBSJ invites all who are struggling to find traction in this moment to join us for a half-day Bible Detox retreat. Following in Jesus’ footsteps and drawing from the tradition of contemplative Christianity, we will mark a path into the wilderness to face down the demons that are coopting and confusing our scriptural traditions today.

This will be a participatory retreat! The scriptures we will work with are Joshua 6 (the story of the siege of Jericho) and John 14 (in which Jesus states, “No one comes to the Father except through me”). We encourage you to read these scriptures in advance. You are welcome to bring your preferred translations, as well as any other resources that have been helpful to you in understanding these passages. We also encourage you to watch the archive of our January 27 session in which Mitri Raheb spoke about the use of Joshua 6 in the settler colonialist takeover of Palestine.

Session Host:

Sister Sharifa Vernice Meytung is an African-American artist, haijin (a writer of haiku poetry), teacher and lay religious practitioner in the Catholic and Buddhist traditions. Her practice is also steeped in and informed by West African, Native and HipHop traditions. She has published and recorded many books and CDs, including Oil For The Lamp: 7 Virtues of Human Character Development, Hiphop H.A.I.K.U. Vol 1 and 2, and Rough Ground. She currently hosts a monthly reading of the 37 Practices of A Bodhisattva which can be accessed through her facebook page. She has also produced readings of the Jataka Tales, and hosts a radio show called “Our Changing Times” on WPEB 88.1 FM. Sr. Sharifa serves on the Board of the Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice and the Philadelphia Buddhist Association.

Planning Committee:

Sr. Sharifa Vernice Meytung, Rev. Betsy Simpson, Rev. Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong, Amy Dalton. For bios of the planning committee, visit

Register today to receive the login information:

Please register by Saturday at 8am Eastern Time.


“The Mind of Christ (temptation story)” by Frank Wesley (1923-2002) from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.