The Complex Vision for Justice in the Bible and Our Contemporary Biblical Moment: Dr. Samuel Adams, Professor of Old Testament at Union Presbyterian Seminary, will discuss the understanding of justice in Scripture, with particular attention to what the biblical texts say about the poor. We will also consider the relevance of this witness for our contemporary context, with all of its volatility and uncertainty. Both challenges and constructive possibilities will receive attention (Library).
You are Loved: Respecting Identity in the 21st Century: How can we be faithful to Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, when our neighbor’s self belongs to categories unfamiliar to us? Social change, technological advances, and research on human nature have rapidly expanded definitions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity – as well as the language with which we describe them. This class will explore, through discussion and personal reflection, some of the new questions for the faithful Christian working for justice in a complex world (led by Winston Barham and Lynne Clements, Lounge).
For Further Reading:
Identity Now — Mark Edmundson (UVA English professor) explores — and applauds — current students’ quest for identity but says that achieving it is only half the game.
Longform article (Washington Post, Oct. 2017) about the intersex rights movement
“Not just a boy and a girl” — Associated Press report on a 2016 survey of almost 81,000 Minnesota teens in two grades
Transgender Youth: A Safe Space at UVA — blogpost from 2015 about the Teen and Young Adult Health Center
Glossary and style guide for media coverage of gender (from GLAAD)
An invitation for this week (3/25)
- Read (or find) a story from Scripture in which someone receives, or takes on, a new identity. Write down how to find it, something about its context, and any thoughts you have on it. Many of Scripture’s transformational stories result in persons taking on new identities. What are some that come to mind? Scripture’s more/less famous weirdos?
- Read one or more of the attached articles that piques your interest.
- Think about an “aha” moment in your life that you would be willing to share.
Contemporary Theology Class will not meet this week, but invite class members to attend Dr. Sam Adams’ presentation in the Library. Next week, the class will resume its lively discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. This discussion moves the study and class discussion from traditional academic theology and well-known theologians into a more practical theological approach to the toughest and most persistent current issues in our lives. Coates’ book is not traditional theology but, we expect, will offer a different setting for us to consider our theology. Our new effort is to bring theological understanding to current social and cultural issues. We continue to ask that class participants read the referenced material in advance of the class and thus be prepared to join in discussion in a shared leadership model.