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Welcome Home: A Priests Spiritual Journey through Burning Man

Last summer my 22 year-old, free-spirited, “I’m more of a Buddhist” daughter came into two tickets for Burning Man and decided to invite her 53 year-old, Episcopal Priest father to accompany her.  We stayed with her friends at camp Perky Parts. I went not knowing quite what to expect at the 9 day art and music festival. Half way through the week I realized I was being transformed by the experience. Burning Man was an opportunity to gain lasting spiritual insight. In this talk, accompanied with my photos, I will share my experience at Burning Man and the lessons I learned about how to live a more generous, open and loving life.

Brian Baker is an Episcopal priest who began meditating long before he ever entered a church. He has practiced yoga and studied with Tibetan Buddhists for fifteen years.  He is a popular speaker and preacher, focusing on Jesus’ teachings of compassion and oneness with God and one another.  In addition to speaking in churches, Brian teaches in yoga studios and festivals. Most recently, he partnered with a Buddhist Lama in a joint teaching and meditation experience at Wanderlust in Tahoe.  Brian was the only Christian representative at the International Buddhist Conclave in India in 2012 and he is included with Buddhist scholars in the documentary Journey of the Heart that explores the origin and importance of the Heart Sutra.

In the past few years, Brian has partnered with Zuda Yoga Studio in Sacramento, CA.  Brian speaks with each of their teacher training classes and wider community about the connection between Christian spirituality and yoga.  Brian has also combined yoga with Christian teachings, meditations and chanting to offer an experience of yoga which includes the heart-opening teachings of Jesus.

Brian has also been very active in social justice advocacy, focusing on the issues of LGBT equality and homelessness. In 2008, Brian was awarded the Stonewall Democrat’s 4 Freedoms Award for his work on marriage equality in California. Under his leadership, his congregation began housing and feeding homeless people in their parish hall, accommodating up to 150 people on nights that are rainy or cold.

Brian is currently the Dean (senior priest) of Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, CA.  From 1998 to 2006 Brian was the Rector of St. Thomas Church in Sun Valley, ID.  It was while in Sun Valley that Brian began studying yoga and Buddhism, initially under the instruction of Pilar Tumolo.  In 2005 Brian was invited to organize and facilitate a conversation between The Dalai Lama and local religious leaders.  This will be Brian’s first time teaching in Sun Valley since he left in 2006.