Civil Rights Leader Ruby Sales to Speak in Charlottesville

In Conversation with Charles Marsh on Race, Spirituality, and Public Life

On Wednesday, November 29, civil rights and spiritual leader Ruby Sales will visit Charlottesville to participate in “Every One of Us,” a public conversation on social justice and spirituality hosted by Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH). This dialogue between Sales and Charles Marsh will engage Charlottesville community members on critical issues of race, spirituality, and public life. Justin Reid, director of African American Programs at VFH, will serve as moderator. The event will take place from 6 – 7:30pm at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Admission is free, and seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Every One of Us": A Conversation with Ruby Sales on Race, Spirituality, and Public Life, Charles Marsh

Ruby Sales is a nationally-recognized civil rights leader working at the intersection of race, religion, language, and politics since she was a student freedom fighter in the 1960s. She brings the wealth of African-American traditions to this generative conversation on the most pressing social and political questions in the 21st century. How do we make sense of a domestic and global narrative that reinforces a social hierarchy based on race, gender, class, and sexuality? How can we create a more complete and honest narrative that reflects a world that is majority youth, people of color, and women? What movements or countercultures are needed to accomplish this in modern society? What resources do we have to redress historic oppression, confront white supremacy, and imagine a world where every one of us is embraced in our human community?

As a leading thinker on the relationship between politics and religious life, PLT Director Charles Marsh will speak from direct experience as a Christian raised in the heart of the segregated South. Moderator Justin Reiddirects African American Programs at VFH, where he advances a complex and nuanced telling of African American history through the development of educational resources, including a database of historic sites.

This free, community event has been made possible by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost at the University of Virginia. Additional support has been provided by the Black Student Alliance at UVA, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at UVA, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, the Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at UVA, and the Project on Lived Theology at UVA.

If you are unfamiliar with Ms. Sales’ powerful perspectives on racial and gender equity, among other topics, listen to her recent interview on On Being. Registration for this free event is encouraged but not required and is available here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

PLT event updates can be found online using #PLTevents. To browse our PLT resource collection, click here. Updates on our resources can be found online using #PLTresources. To get these updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology.

Diversifying the Digital Historical Record: Kelly Figueroa-Ray Presents PLT Archive at New York Conference

On Community Archives Integration in a National Digital Platform

This past October PLT Contributor Kelly Figueroa-Ray represented the Project on Lived Theology at Forum Four of the Diversifying The Digital Historical Record initiative in New York City to speak about PLT’s Civil Rights as Theological Drama digital and paper archive. This conference brought together community and academic archivists, librarians, and other professionals who archive. The overwhelming majority of the presenters were women and more than half of the presenters and attendees were people of color. This is notable in that many academic conferences continue to struggle with diversity in their panels and presentations, even when discussing the topic of diversity.

Diversifying the Digital Historical Record, Kelly Figueroa-Ray, Civil Rights as Theological Drama

The Digital Historical Record initiative hosted a total of four forums that were held in different cities around the country. The topic of each form focused “on community archives integration in a National Digital Platform and the potential impact for representation of diverse communities in our digital cultural heritage.” The four forums were:

The Civil Rights as Theological Drama was featured in the first panel of Forum Four, entitled “Lest We Forget”: Community Archives, Civil Rights and Social Justice.” Other community archives featured in this panel included the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, and the Interference Archive. Each presenter shared the content and purpose of their project along with the struggles faced with sustainability and the challenges of moving into digital formats. One of the main issues brought up in Figueroa-Ray’s presentation was the difficulty posed by copyright issues when posting digital content and the challenges of reaching audiences who are interested in the digital content that is offered. This last issue promoted discussion with other conference participants from the library community and other national digital collection projects about how to connect community archives to wider audiences through their systems. This possibility offers some hope for reaching wider audiences, but also brought up fears on the part of community archivists of giving up aspects of control over the archives themselves. Other issues of sustainability of community archives include lack of funding and resources need to gather documents, preserve them, and digitize them.

Other topics at the forum dealt with the relationship of the Academy with Community Archives and whether or not adding a digital component to community archives was a good investment or not. Overall, the forum brought together a number of people passionate about ensuring that the information available in the digital age is representative of the wider, diverse community that makes up our society. In tension with this desire was a caution from members of the community who were present that were against having their local knowledge exploited by outside organizations with little or no local relationships.

The website for Diversifying The Digital Historical Record includes resources from Forums 1-3, here. The videos from Forum Four along with a white paper “summarizing the conversations and proposing future directions for community archives continued development and collaboration with national digital initiatives” should be available soon.

Kelly Figueroa-Ray is a doctoral candidate in the program of comparative scripture, interpretation and practice in the department of religious studies at the University of Virginia. Her focus is the relationship between scripture and theology as it is lived out in particular communities with a particular interest in multicultural Christian ministries.

PLT event updates can be found online using #PLTevents. To browse our PLT resource collection, click here. Updates on our resources can be found online using #PLTresources. To get these updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Hospitality and Islam

Hospitality and Islam: Welcoming in God's NameWelcoming in God’s Name

In Hospitality and Islam, author Mona Siddiqui makes the first major contribution to the understanding of hospitality both within Islam and beyond. She explores and compares teachings within the various Muslim traditions over the centuries, while also drawing on materials as diverse as Islamic belles lettres, Christian reflections on almsgiving and charity, and Islamic and Western feminist writings on gender issues. Applying a more theological approach to the idea of mercy as a fundamental basis for human relationships, this book will appeal to a wide audience, particularly readers interested in Islam, ethics, and religious studies.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This study pioneers a critical conversation between religious traditions on a fundamental human concept – hospitality – in an age where the world community is confronting so many problems, from displaced peoples and refugees to victims of human trafficking and dispossession. In this important book, Siddiqui rightfully recognises the significant contributions of the Islamic tradition and Muslim cultures to this field. This is an important book, not just for students of comparative religions but for anyone interested in human rights and the future of humanity.” —Khaled Abou El Fadl, author of Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari Ah in the Modern Age

“A lucidly written work that straddles academic analysis and normative activism, and offers an excellent overview of the how the idea of hospitality nourishes and inspires different facets of Islamic thought and Muslim practice.”—Tehseen Thaver, THES

“Siddiqui’s work on hospitality will remain a central and definitive starting point on the subject for years to come.”—Martin Nguyen, Reading Religion

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Final Presentations Conclude Summer Internships in Lived Theology

Reflections on Summers of Service

On Tuesday, September 26, the 2017 summer interns in Lived Theology gave final presentations on their partnerships with the community, wrapping up this year’s summer internships in lived theology. This year’s cohort included Megan Helbling (Col ’18), Sarah Katherine Doyle (Col ’18), and Joseph Kreiter (Col ’17).

Megan HelblingMegan Helbling

“Intentionally incorporating others’ stories into our lives is the best way to make our theologies as comprehensive as possible of the entire Kingdom of God.”

Megan is a University of Virginia student majoring in English and religious studies. As a summer intern, she worked at The Haven, a multi-service day shelter for people experiencing homelessness in downtown Charlottesville. Read her final project here.

Sarah Katherine DoyleSarah Katherine Doyle

“Community living can be messy. But using our senses and our breath to re-engage in the present, particularly at Magdalene, means re-engaging with a community of survivors at a vast range of phases in their recovery processes. It means re-engaging with glory.” 

Sarah Katherine is a University of Virginia student majoring in English and religious studies. As a PLT summer intern, SK served women who are survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution at Magdalene, a residential program connected with Thistle Farms Social Enterprises in Nashville, Tennessee. Read her final project here.

Joseph KreiterJoe Kreiter

“It is my hope that I can help to improve the material stakes of underprivileged residents of the Bay Area, if even only in a small way, to lighten their load a little bit so that they, too, can find some time for rest.”

A recent University of Virginia graduate, Joe double majored in East Asian studies and English. For his PLT summer internship, he worked with Urban Adamah, a Jewish community farm in downtown Berkeley, California, which seeks to integrate Judaism, organic farming, mindfulness and social action to foster love, justice and sustainability. Read his final project here.

To read the intern blog comprised of each student’s reflections over the summer, click here.

The Summer Internship in Lived Theology is an immersion program designed to complement the numerous existing urban and rural service immersion programs flourishing nationally and globally by offering a unique opportunity to think and write theologically about service.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Kierkegaard and the Academy: Stanley Hauerwas Delivers the 2017 Capps Lecture

Securing Kierkegaard’s Witness for Us Today

On Thursday, October 12, Stanley Hauerwas visited the University of Virginia to deliver the 2017 Capps Lecture in Christian Theology, entitled “Christianity is Madness: Kierkegaard and the Academy.”

Attending to Kierkegaard’s attack on Christendom, Hauerwas aimed to recover why his theology should continue to challenge us today. However, since we are no longer in the robust Christendom that was Kierkegaard’s Denmark, he argues that we may have to rethink what it means to do theology grounded in true discipleship.

Discussing Kierkegaard’s disapproval of the Christendom of his day, Hauerwas says:

“What must be acknowledged, Kierkegaard argues, is from any human point of view, Christianity is and must be a form of madness. It is so because only through a consciousness of sin can one come to the one who can save. Accordingly, Christianity must display itself as madness in order that the qualitative infinite emphasis may fall upon the fact that only consciousness of sin is the way of entrance. Indeed, this is the kind of consciousness that is the exact opposite of the kind of awareness that Christendom sponsors, namely the attitude which expresses admiration for Jesus. Such a form of consciousness is a fraud and self-defeats, but is one common to Christendom. It is so because in Christendom Christ is exalted to confirm our self deceptions, the deepest deception being that we do not have to lose our lives to be a disciple of Jesus.”

This lecture was co-sponsored by Theological Horizons and the Project on Lived Theology. For more information, visit the Theological Horizons website here. Browse and listen to previous CAPPS Lectures in our resource collection here. Watch Hauerwas’s lecture here.

Stanley Hauerwas is a longtime professor at Duke University, serving as the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School with a joint appointment at the Duke University School of Law. Involved in the areas of systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics, his work and research interests intersect across many disciplinary lines. His recent publications include The Work of Theology (Eerdmans, 2015) and Hannah’s Child: A Theological Memoir, 2nd Ed. (Eerdmans, 2012).

Bearing the Cross in the Age of Donald J. Trump: Larycia Hawkins to Deliver Guest Lecture

On the Prophetic Guidance of Civil Rights Witnesses

On Wednesday, November 1, Larycia Hawkins will deliver a guest lecture, entitled “Bearing the Cross in the Age of Donald J. Trump: The Example of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement.” The lecture will begin at 3:30pm in UVA’s Gibson Hall 142. Admission to the event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Larycia A. Hawkins is the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. At the Institute, she is working on the Race, Faith, and Culture Project, which examines how multiracial communities of faith could impact American race relations; and the Pluralism Project, which studies changing majorities and minorities. Her recent publications include “Prophetic and Priestly: The Politics of a Black Catholic Parish” (2015) and “Jesus and Justice: The Moral Framing of the Black Agenda” (2015). Her writing, speaking, teaching, and scholarship are squarely animated by a conviction that political science should be relevant to the real world.

For more event details and up-to-date event listings please click here to visit the PLT Events page. We also post updates online using #PLTevents. To get these and other news updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Migrants and Citizens

Migrants and Citizens: Justice and Responsibility in the Ethics of Immigration, Tisha M RajendraJustice and Responsibility in the Ethics of Immigration

In Migrants and Citizens, author Tisha Rajendra focuses on a question that is rarely asked: What ethical responsibilities do immigrants and citizens have to each other? In an attempt to answer it, Tisha Rajendra reframes the confused and often heated debate over immigration around the world, proposes a new definition of justice based on responsibility to relationships, and develops a Christian ethic to address this vexing social problem.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“A creative contribution to the urgent ethical challenges raised by migration today. Drawing on social analysis and Christian thought, Rajendra shows that treating migrants justly will require rethinking and reshaping the social, political, and economic relationships that set the context for the movement of people today. Essential reading for all concerned with ethics and migration.”—David Hollenbach, SJ, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

“What a joy to find wisdom and reason brought to bear on this contentious issue! Using case studies to illustrate the complexities of immigration, Rajendra exposes flaws in common narratives about immigrants. In clear and compelling prose, she then presents a stellar explication and critique of dominant theories of international justice and a carefully crafted argument for what justice requires in the arena of immigration. This is a must-read book not only for those who are interested in immigration policy but also for anyone searching for an adequate theory of justice in our complex world.”—Karen Lebacqz, author of Six Theories of Justice

For more information on the publication, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Ethics in a Christian Context

Ethics in a Christian Context, Paul L. Lehmann, Fellow TravelersFrom the Library of Theological Ethics

In Ethics in a Christian Context, author Paul Lehmann answers the central question posed time and again to Christians throughout the ages: what am I as a believer in Jesus Christ and a member of his church to do? Lehmann argues that while principles for moral action can be rules of thumb, there are no absolute moral norms beyond the general norm of love. Lehmann contends that Christians are to act in every situation in ways that are consistent with God’s humanizing purposes, but what that means changes from context to context and requires strong, faith-shaped discernment.

A 2006 essay by Associate Professor John Drury of Wesley Seminary explains why Lehmann’s view on ethics is unique:

“The uniqueness of Lehmann’s ethical thought is not that he is a contextualist who happens to be Christian, but rather that he moves from his Christian commitments to a contextual ethic. As Lehmann puts it, “It cannot be too strongly stressed that the contextual character of Christian ethics … is derived from the ethical reality and significance of the Christian koinonia. The contextual character of Christian ethics is not derived from an application to the Christian koinonia of a general theory of contextualism.”[i] In this light, one can see that Lehmann is thoroughly contextual: he takes his own context as a member of the community of Christ as his starting point.”

“He moves from theological content to methodological reflection on ethics, not the other way around. His theological reflection does not merely serve his preconceived notion of ethics; rather, he sees the ethical reality through the lens of material theological claims.”

For more information on the publication, click here. To read the complete essay by Drury, click here.

Fellow travelers are scholars, activists, and practitioners that embody the ideals and commitments of the Project on Lived Theology. We admire their work and are grateful to be walking alongside them in the development and dissemination of Lived Theology.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads. For more recommended resources from our fellow travelers, click here, #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Charles Marsh Delivers Keynote Address at Amsterdam Conference

Charles Marsh, Charles Marsh to Deliver 25th Annual Harry Vaughan Smith LecturesOn Common Values, Shared Visions Between Faith Communities

On July 13, Charles Marsh delivered the keynote address at the “Virtuous Character: Common Values, Shared Visions” conference in Amsterdam. Entitled “Are We Still of Any Use?”, the presentation revisited Bonhoeffer’s exploration of this question he raises in his essay, “After Ten Years.”

Engaging the themes of exemplification, righteous action, good people and aristocratic virtue, Bonhoeffer finally responds to the inquiry with a chastened “Yes”. Marsh focused on these themes and examined how they create space for generative and even inspiring interactions with the civil rights narrative– an enactment, embodiment, and exemplification of virtuous character– to inspire the interfaith dialogue and partnership so urgent in the crusade for peace and understanding between faith communities today.

“Virtuous Character: Common Values, Shared Visions” brought together 26 guests from Muslim and Christian communities to learn from one another about the practice of character virtues in Islam and Christianity. Recognizing a unique opportunity to engage both traditions in a series of conversations that builds upon identified strengths and convictions internal to each faith, the conference aimed to facilitate discourse on topics of interest to both Christians and Muslims and to support cooperative activities between the faith communities that work for the common good in our societies.

Marsh describes Bonhoeffer’s development of thought in the ruins of the Christian church and in the face of Nazism:

“This puzzling divergence— the spinelessness of the dissident church people, on the one hand, and the civil courage of the humanist conspirators on the other— inspired Bonhoeffer to ponder what he called the beautification of those who are persecuted for the sake of a just cause. Portraying a world full of depravity and menace as he had done in Discipleship or The Cost of Discipleship might seem a more accurate reflection of the Zeitgeist, but beginning in his Ethics writings a few years before his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer would move well beyond such depictions and their implied divisions between God and humankind. 

Camaraderie, generosity, humility, justice, righteous action, resistance: these illuminated a universal aspiration that in Bonhoeffer’s mind was still enabled by the intensification of the Christological particular. But as the Christological particular intensified, the universal aspiration to build bridges, to create partnerships, to see the light of God and the other and to learn the light of God, the will of God, and truth of God from the other became more expansive and alive.”

To watch the address in full, click here. Find more information on the conference on the Isaachar Fund’s website here.

Charles Marsh is the Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and the director of the Project on Lived Theology. His research interests include modern Christian thought, religion and civil rights, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and lived theology.

For more event details and up-to-date event listings please click here to visit the PLT Events page. We also post updates online using #PLTevents. To get these and other news updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Stanley Hauerwas to Deliver 2017 CAPPS Lecture and Seminar Discussion

2017 CAPPS Lecture, Christianity is Madness, Stanley Hauerwas2017 CAPPS Lecture

On Thursday, October 12, Stanley Hauerwas will deliver the 2017 CAPPS Lecture in Christian Theology, entitled “Christianity is Madness: Kierkegaard and the Academy.” Beginning at 6:00 pm in 101 Nau Hall, the event is free and open to the public, with seating available on a first come, first served basis. For those unable to attend, the event will be livestreamed on Theological Horizons’s Facebook page here.

This annual series brings eminent Christian thinkers to the heart of the University of Virginia with public lectures that explore the relationship between faith and responsibility. These events are hosted by Theological Horizons and co-sponsored by the Project on Lived Theology. For more information, visit the Theological Horizons website here. Browse and listen to previous CAPPS Lectures in our resource collection here.

Bonhoeffer and Niebuhr event, Stanley Hauerwas, Eugene McCarraherSeminar Discussion with Eugene McCarraher

On Wednesday, October 11, Stanley Hauerwas and Eugene McCarraher will lead a seminar discussion on Bonhoeffer and Niebuhr, affirming their witness for today’s world. The free event will begin at 3:30 pm in 142 Gibson Hall, and the public is invited to attend.

Stanley Hauerwas is a longtime professor at Duke University, serving as the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School with a joint appointment at the Duke University School of Law. Involved in the areas of systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics, his work and research interests intersect across many disciplinary lines. His recent publications include The Work of Theology (Eerdmans, 2015) and Hannah’s Child: A Theological Memoir, 2nd Ed. (Eerdmans, 2012).

Eugene McCarraher is an associate professor of humanities and history and the associate director of the honors program at Villanova University. A former Charles Ryskamp Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (2005-2006), he has written for Books and CultureCommonweal, Dissent, In These TimesThe Nation, the Chicago TribuneThe Hedgehog Review and Raritan.

For more event details and up-to-date event listings please click here to visit the PLT Events page. We also post updates online using #PLTevents. To get these and other news updates, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.