A key emphasis in Interreligious Dialogue is not, as might be commonly assumed, religion but relationship. The relationship between individuals with different religious commitments. It was precisely this emphasis on relationship that made the dialogue of the Snowmass Interreligious Conference a unique and inspiring phenomenon in the world of religion for over twenty years.
The Snowmass Conference was birthed in 1984 by Fr. Thomas Keating and began as an experiment. Fr. Thomas knew from the beginning that if it was to be successful, it would have to be based on intimacy. The members of the Conference were being invited into a friendship that would enable them to feel comfortable and safe enough to share, to disclose to each other, what their spiritual journey was like. The experiment resulted in one of the oldest and longest-running interreligious dialogues in the world, and certainly one of the most unique. The “Conference” eventually morphed into a “Dialogue” group, resulting in gatherings which extended over the course of thirty-three years. These Snowmass Gatherings have been described as an intimate dialogue among friends. The members learned to appreciate one another as individuals and how different religions inform and enrich the experience of an individual. This long-standing intimate exchange dramatically demonstrated how very much we can learn from one another.
Roger LaBorde is a Shaman who lives in Longmont, Colorado and participated in the Snowmass Conference for many years. He was the beneficiary of an intimate relationship with Fr. Thomas Keating. Roger has graciously offered to share with us some of his memories of this relationship.
We extend an invitation to this offering in Honor of the 5th Year Anniversary of Father Thomas’s passing. Please consider joining us for this very unique and personal experience.
About Roger LaBorde
Roger LaBorde was born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1945. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in psychology and worked from 1967 to 1979 for Humble Oil, Exxon Research, Pullman Kellogg, Fluor, and Tenneco Oil Company in Houston, Texas. In 1976, Roger went through a life-changing experience that eventually led him to abandon his career and move to an island near Seattle, Washington, in 1979. In 1982, Roger and his family were formally adopted by the Red Elk family on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The adoption made Gerald Red Elk, a Yanktonai Sioux shaman, Roger’s uncle, and a teacher who continued to help Roger “open the door” to the shaman’s path.
Today, Roger is a healer recognized by Grandfather Gerald Red Elk, Rolling Thunder, Don Eduardo Calderon Palomino, and a number of other Native American medicine people. Roger has been featured on the television shows, Sightings, The Other Side and That’s Incredible, as well as featured in an article in the 1994 issue of The New Age Journal for his successful work with “no hope” coma cases. His healing work in all areas of illness has taken him to Taiwan, France, Israel, Canada, Brazil and extensively throughout the United States. Roger and his family moved to Colorado in 1982 where he currently resides. He is married and has a son, two daughters and four grandchildren.