Refuge in Crestone: A Sanctuary for Interreligious Dialogue

By Aaron Thomas Raverty

In the late 1980s a married couple of reputation, intelligence, and wealth bought a large piece of land outside of Crestone Colorado, then a struggling community, and offered to grant portions of that land to religious or spiritual groups willing to build places that would keep the flame of their individual wisdom burning, and willing to invite others to come and learn from them. Many from the various sectors of the world’s religions took them up on it. Over that section of desert, in the shadows of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, are loosely scattered the refuges of multiple sacrecommunities.

Shortly after their beginning a young Benedictine Monk in the process of pursuing a Doctorate in Anthropology, Brother Aaron Raverty came to the only Christian center, Nada, to live for a while, document what he saw in the entire enterprise, and return to use the information for his doctoral thesis.

A quarter century later he returns to see what has happened. He documents that, but not only documents what he sees, but also the lenses through which he sees it.

Among things you will discover in these pages are discussions of the role of anthropology in informing theology; the value of doing rather than discussing; the nature, need and formation of sacred space; details on each of the present land grant heritage sites; the overall possibility for dialogue among these entities and the extent to which such dialogue occurred. I am overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of information.

I see no intermediate level between this level of sketch, and rewriting the book. You will need to read it and if this suits your interests you will be pleased that you did. It can become for you or anyone a guidebook to the magnificent event planted in the Colorado desert a quarter century ago, and still blooming now.