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Thursday, February 27, 7:00 p.m., Mulder Chapel

Lecture with Dr. Greg Lee, Wheaton College

The United States incarcerates far more individuals than any nation in the world at radically disparate rates for different racial groups. In this lecture, Dr. Lee will draw on the thought of Augustine to encourage new approaches toward criminal justice. Augustine’s understanding of personal sin stresses the possibility of redemption for individual wrongdoers, and his account of collective evil exposes systemic injustice as a pervasive feature of humanity’s fallen condition. These insights commend Christians’ solidarity with oppressed communities and the exercise of mercy and restorative practices in response to criminal offenses.
This lecture is sponsored by the Girod Chair of Western Theological Seminary in partnership with the Saint Benedict Institute.
WATCH HERE:

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. For updates, please visit this page.

March 16-17, 2020

Is the “Good Samaritan” Good? Listening to the Parable’s Later Witnesses

The “Good Samaritan” is one of the most popular parables in Christian history and has significant relevance for every age.

As recorded in Luke 10, Jesus imagines an “enemy” as the central hero of the story. Sometimes we can only hear the truth when a storyteller overdramatizes the point.

Of particular interest is the hermeneutical nature of Jesus’ initial response. To the lawyer’s opening query, Jesus replies, “How do you read?” We will hear how others— Augustine, Howard Thurman, Harriet Jacobs, the Solentiname Community of Nicaragua—interpreted the parable in order to hear it afresh for our age.

Indeed, the way one reads the Bible defines and determines the way one thinks about life. Hermeneutics and ethics are inseparable. Jesus reveals how he reads Torah when he places a person most unlike his listeners at the center of the story and asks his immediate audience—and generations to follow—to “go and do likewise.”

MONDAY, March 16:
9:55am in Mulder Chapel: WTS Chapel service (Public Welcome)

10:45am LECTURE in Maas Hall: “Augustine and Howard Thurman”(Public Welcome)

7:00pm LECTURE in Mulder Chapel: “Harriet Jacobs and the Solentiname Community of Nicaragua” (Public Welcome)

TUESDAY, March 17
8:30am in Maas Hall (room 159): Breakfast Conversation – Breakfast Conversation – “Preaching the Parables.” This breakfast is for people interested in reading, interpreting, teaching, and preaching the parables to come and interact with the speaker about this dynamic, delightful, and difficult task! (Public Welcome)

12:00pm LUNCH in Maas Hall (room 159): Community Conversation w/ students, staff and faculty

Dr. Emerson Powery is Professor of Biblical Studies & (former) Coordinator of Ethnic and Area Studies at Messiah College.

He is an alum of Princeton Theological Seminary (1992) and—under the guidance of Dr. D. Moody Smith—Duke University (1999).  

He is the author of Jesus Reads Scripture: The Function of Jesus’ Use of Scripture in the Synoptic Gospels (Brill, 2002), “Philemon” for The New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary (Abingdon, 2010), and co-author of The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellum Narratives of the Enslaved (2016), which wrestles with the function of the Bible in the 19th-century African American ‘slave narrative’ tradition. Peter Paris describes The Genesis of Liberation as “a long sought-after treasure.” Mark Noll claims that the book “is now the gold standard for one of the most important developments in American religion.” With interest in how Scripture functions—in ancient and present-day underrepresented communities—he was one of the editors of True to Our Native Land: An African American NT Commentary (Fortress/Augsburg, 2007).  

In the wider academy, Powery has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biblical Literature (2005-2013) and the Common English Bible (2009-2011). He was co-chair (with Bernadette Brooten) for the “Slavery, Resistance, and Freedom” section within the Society of Biblical Literature (2014-2019). He was the 2006–2007 (regional) President of the Society of Biblical Literature (SE Region). Presently, he serves on the editorial board of Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship and the steering committee for “The Bible in the United States” consultation of SBL. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Monday September 30 at 1:30 P.M. in Mulder Chapel

Faith Following Ferguson: Five Years Later

Five years have passed since the killing of 18 year old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO police officer.  Brown’s killing sparked a protest movement for racial justice that has not been seen since the Civil Rights movement.  In her book, Ferguson and Faith, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis explored the role of local clergy in this movement and the various ways their faith commitments compelled them to join in.  She has since reconnected with many of these clergy to learn about what’s been happening these past five years.  What have been some of the effects of this movement on the St. Louis region?  How have clergy continued to live out their public faith now that the cameras have gone?  In this lecture, Dr. Gunning Francis will reflect on these learnings and their implications for our nation for such a time as this.

 

Bio:

Dr. Leah Gunning Francis is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Gunning Francis is also the author of the book Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community (Chalice Press, 2015). She interviewed more than two dozen clergy and young activists who were actively involved in the movement for racial justice in Ferguson and beyond. Dr. Gunning Francis researched and wrote Ferguson and Faith while serving as the Associate Dean for Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Ferguson and Faith is a collection of stories of courage and hope. Dr. Gunning Francis gleaned from these stories seeds of possibilities that, if nurtured, could serve us well into the future. These are the stories that were rarely imaged on television, yet they are integral to the fight for justice in Ferguson and resonate with the struggle for human dignity around the country.

In 2012, Dr. Gunning Francis was awarded the prestigious Engaged Scholars Fellowship to study issues of risk among middle-class African American young men. She argues that the meta-narrative about young black men puts all of them “at risk,” regardless of socioeconomic class, and utilizes the narrated experiences of black mothers to construct a new narrative about young black men that honors their humanity and is concerned for their well-being.

Dr. Gunning Francis’ additional research interests focus on transformative education as reflected in her doctoral dissertation, Beyond “Band-Aids” and Bootstraps: Toward a Womanist Vision of Christian Education as Social Transformation. Her writing reflects her commitment to the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of women, men and children; and highlights her particular interest in underserved and minority communities.

Dr. Gunning Francis has provided pastoral leadership for congregations in Georgia, Illinois and Ohio. She has received numerous awards to include the Candler School of Theology’s G. Ray Jordan award for excellence in integrating academic study with constructive leadership and service, and the Fund for Theological Education’s Doctoral Fellow Award. In 2015, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Fontbonne University.

Dr. Gunning Francis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Hampton University; a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

A native of Willingboro, New Jersey, Dr. Gunning Francis is married to Rev. Rodney Francis. They live in Indianapolis with their tween-aged children. To learn more about Dr. Gunning Francis visit www.leahgunningfrancis.com.

 

“A Necessary Step Toward Reforming Disability Theology: Listening to the Soft-Spoken Amongst Us”

When: Wednesday, March 14, 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: Mulder Chapel at WTS

Join Western Theological Seminary as we continue the conversation about disability and ministry. In November, Lennard Davis helped us to think through how disability is an aspect of diversity while at the same time questioning the usefulness of the concept of diversity. This month, L.S. Carlos Thompson, Ph.D. candidate University of Aberdeen, King’s College and finalist for the Nouwen Fellow position at WTS, will be joining us to help us consider what is missing from our theology and praxis when we view physical impairment as primarily a social or civil rather than a theological concern. He asks; What is gained by allowing the lived experience of physical disability to be at home within theology.  ASL services and hearing loop technology will be available.

With the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, WTS has established a Nouwen Fellow program that brings scholars whose research focuses on some aspect of disability studies to join our faculty for a one or two year appointment.

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