News

Reclaiming Authentic Lutheranism: Michael P. DeJonge Delivers Guest Lecture on Bonhoeffer’s Ethical Framework

Michael DeJongeOn Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Lutheran Theology and Political Life

On September 20, Michael P. DeJonge delivered a guest lecture entitled “Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther.” Drawing from his most recent publication of the same title, DeJonge centered the lecture on the argument that Bonhoeffer’s approach to political and ethical issues rests on a complex and balanced account of the relationship between theology and political life inherited through the Lutheran tradition.

He begins by discussing how the structure or logic of Bonhoeffer’s thought is informed by two extremes of ethical framework, the compromise approach and the radical approach. As Bonhoeffer seeks out the middle position of the two, he reclaims the authentic Lutheran position, DeJonge argues, using two tools from the Lutheran tradition of social ethics: the ideas of the two kingdoms and the orders. DeJonge concludes with a practical account of how this abstract conceptual frameworks should approach political projects.

In his discussion of the two kingdoms, DeJonge says:

“Bonhoeffer is a two kingdoms thinker, and it is really crucial to see that if you want to understand the way he works with political and ethical issues… A key theological notion that is secured by the two kingdoms is the idea of preservation. So in the Lutheran tradition, there is a relatively clear distinction between preservation and redemption. Once creation falls into sin, God’s action towards the world isn’t straightaway redemption, but rather preservation and redemption. Preservation is God’s activity by which God prevents the world from falling into the total chaos that should follow from sin. Before God redeems the world, God needs to preserve the world in its fallenness, keep it out of nothingness. So God is doing that with one hand, and redeeming the world with the other.”

Listen to the entire lecture through its resource page here.

Michael P. DeJonge is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, and teaches in the areas of the history of Christian thought, theories and methods in religious studies, and modern religious thought. His research has focused on the twentieth-century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and he sits on the board of the International Bonhoeffer Society and is a co-editor of the journal, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Yearbook.

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.

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.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther

Bonhoeffer's Reception of LutherOn Bonhoeffer’s Two-Kingdoms Thinking

In Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther, author Michael P. DeJonge presents Bonhoeffer’s Lutheran theology of justification focused on the interpersonal presence of Christ in word, sacrament, and church.  DeJonge argues that the widespread failure to connect Bonhoeffer with the Lutheran two-kingdoms tradition has presented a serious obstacle in interpretation, and shows how this tradition informs Bonhoeffer’s reflections on war and peace, as well as his understanding of resistance to political authority. In all of this, DeJonge also argues that an appreciation of Luther’s ubiquity in Bonhoeffer’s corpus sheds light on his thinking, lends it coherence, and makes sense of otherwise difficult interpretive problems.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther is an excellent work, worthy of close reading and engagement. It promises to open up new vistas for better and more responsible understandings of Bonhoeffer s life, work, and ongoing significance. DeJonge shows convincingly how deeply Bonhoeffer was steeped in and in critical dialogue with Luther s thought and legacy, and likewise how recognition of this reality presents great opportunity for improved engagement with Bonhoeffer himself.”—Reading Religion

“This work will be essential for anyone interested in the development of Bonhoeffer’s theology. Michael DeJonge writes with remarkable clarity about some of the more complex and contested aspects of Bonhoeffer’s thought, offering provocative new insights into Bonhoeffer’s approach to the two kingdoms, Christian pacifism, and the challenges of resistance. Without ignoring the other theological influences on Bonhoeffer’s thought, this book makes a convincing case that to understand Bonhoeffer we must examine his reading and interpretation of Luther.”—Victoria J. Barnett, General Editor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition

“In this new work, rising star Michael DeJonge executes a lucid, patient and in the end devastating critique of North American readings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theological legacy. That alone is worth the price of admission. Even better is the extraordinary retrieval he makes of Bonhoeffer’s core Lutheranism. DeJonge understands Luther better than many a Lutheran and Bonhoeffer better than any other North American interpreter. Tolle lege.”—Paul R. Hinlicky, Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies, Univerzita Komenskeho, Slovakia

For more information on the publication, click here.

Michael P. DeJonge is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, and teaches in the areas of the history of Christian thought, theories and methods in religious studies, and modern religious thought. His research has focused on the twentieth-century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and he sits on the board of the International Bonhoeffer Society and is a co-editor of the journal, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Yearbook.

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.

Living in Community: Perkins House Established in Charlottesville

UVA Students Bridge the Gap Between Academia and Area Residents

The Perkins House residentsCurrent events in American social spaces, including the recent white supremacy rallies of August 11 and 12, have made loving your neighbor a difficult undertaking. Named in honor of civil rights activist John M. Perkins, The Perkins House has been established in Charlottesville’s 10th and Page neighborhood to commit to this endeavor. Its mission is to give undergraduate students the opportunity to live in a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, and inter-generational neighborhood to prepare them for a lifetime of incarnational ministry and community partnership.

This year’s residents, pictured above, include third-year students Ameenah Elam, Sarah Bland, Sade Akinbayo, Isabella Hall and Dominique DeBose. Throughout the year, they will work to build relationships with their neighbors in big and small ways, whether by opening up their home for dinners or simply helping carry groceries. Some will also partner with different nonprofit organizations working in the community.

The John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation is supporting the new initiative, which director Garrett Trent said exemplifies the civil rights leader’s Christian faith and commitment to community development, racial reconciliation and nonviolent activism. These ideals are core to The Perkins House and its goal to mobilize the next generation in Christian Community Development practices in alignment with John and Vera Mae Perkins and CCDA.

John M. Perkins racial reconciliation, Discussion on the Lived Theology of John M Perkins, American Evangelicalism and the Practices of Peace, life of john m perkins, Let Justice Roll Down“This house will be a group of young people trying to live out an authentic faith, following the great commandment of loving God and loving each other,” Perkins said. “In this world today, there is so much division and violence, and it has been my life’s effort – and that of my wife and many others – to live a life of love.”

Visit The Perkins House’s website here. To read the feature story in UVA Today, click here.

John M. Perkins is a leader and major figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s who founded Voice of Calvary Ministries, a Christian community development ministry, with his wife, Vera Mae. In 1983, the Perkinses established the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation, Justice and Christian Community Development.

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 resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

On the Lived Theology Reading List: The Year of Small Things

The Year of Small Things:Radical Faith for the rest of UsRadical Faith for the Rest of Us

In The Year of Small Things, authors Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger recount the story of Arthur’s time in a new church located in the suburbs, and the unique challenge they faced: how to translate the practices of “radical” faith into their new context. Together with their friends and fellow church members Erin and Dave Wasinger, the Arthurs embarked on a yearlong experiment to implement twelve small practices of radical faith into their life. The Year of Small Things is told with humor, theological reflection, and practical insight, and explores such practices as simplicity, hospitality, accountability, sustainability, and social justice–but, most of all, discernment.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“This is the most provocative and profound book I’ve read in a long time. I plan to buy a box and give it to my friends so they can laugh, cry, repent, and soul-search as much as I did. Deeply moving–and necessary–for the faith community.”—Joel Salatin, renegade farmer (featured on Food, Inc.) and author of The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation 

The Year of Small Things is the best kind of spiritual formation book: serious and funny, smart and vulnerable—and, most useful of all—practical. If you want to live the way of Jesus and struggle to know how in the midst of family busyness, financial struggle, even depression, Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger can be trusted to help you and your community re-imagine and engage practices of spiritual wholeness and social justice. Honestly, this is one of my favorite books this year.”—Jen Pollock Michel, author of Teach Us to Want and Keeping Place (2017)

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.

Reports from the Field: Lived Theology Summer Interns to Give Final Presentations

SeedlingsThe 2017 Summer Interns in Lived Theology will give their final presentations on Tuesday, September 26 at the Bonhoeffer House, located at 1841 University Circle in Charlottesville. A reception will begin at 7 p.m., and the presentations will begin by 7:30. The public is invited, and admission is free.

Megan HelblingMegan Helbling

Megan (Col ’18) is majoring in English and religious studies. As a summer intern, Megan worked at The Haven, a multi-service day shelter for people experiencing homelessness in downtown Charlottesville. Megan is interested in studying the practical ethics of interactions with those on the margins of society, a biblical and moral approach to poverty, and the influences and failures of the Christian social gospel in American cities.

Sarah Katherine DoyleSarah Katherine Doyle

Sarah (Col ’18) is majoring in English and religious studies. This summer, 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.

 

Joseph KreiterJoseph Kreiter

Joseph (Col ’17) was a double major in East Asian studies and English–program in literary prose. For his PLT summer internship, Joe 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. While working toward these goals with Urban Adamah, Joe also explored the relationship between individual spirituality and broader religious tradition.

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 more information on this initiative, please click here.

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.

“Walk Together”: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Addresses Charlottesville

Bishop Michael Curry at St. Paul's Memorial Church, CharlottesvilleEncouraging Believers in the Wake of White Supremacy Rally

On Thursday, September 7, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, preached at a special service of Holy Eucharist at St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville. The service was held on a day when Bishop Curry made a pastoral visit to Episcopal clergy in the Charlottesville area and met with the governance bodies of the Diocese, representing the prayerful concern of the whole Church in his role as chief priest and pastor following the traumatic weekend of August 11 and 12.

In spite of the suffering past events has brought to our town and nation as a whole, Bishop Curry encouraged believers to remain steadfast and embrace the way of love:

“Imagine if love was the cardinal principle by which we lived and by which our legislatures vote. Imagine Congress. Imagine the White House. Imagine the United Nations. Imagine our churches. Imagine our communities, our homes. This way of Jesus, which is the way of the cross, which is the way of unselfish, sacrificial love is the way that changes lives and can change the world.

Our brother Charles Marsh at the University of Virginia, said this: ‘Jesus had founded the most revolutionary movement in human history, a movement built on the unconditional love of God and for the sake of the world, and a mandate to a community of people who lived that love, and in so doing, it changed the world.’

Don’t be ashamed to treat people with love. And don’t be ashamed to bear witness to the way of love. And don’t be ashamed to share the word of love, in word and deed, because this way of crucified love has changed lives and the world before and it can change it again. So Charlottesville, Virginia, lift up your head, straighten your back, walk together. Walk together, children! Black, white, red, yellow, and brown: walk together, children! Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, atheists: walk together, people of good will! Walk together, and work together! And live the way of love until the love of God transforms this world.”

To watch the entire service, click here. Bishop Curry’s biography can be found here.

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church on November 1, 2015.  He was elected and confirmed at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, UT, on June 27, 2015. He is the Chief Pastor and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

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 resources from our Fellow Travelers, click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #PLTfellowtravelers. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.

Next week: Michael P. DeJonge Delivers Guest Lecture at UVA

Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther, Michael DeJongeOn Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther

On Wednesday, September 20, Michael P. DeJonge will deliver a guest lecture at UVA. With a focus on his recent book, Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther, the discussion will show how Bonhoeffer’s positions on a range of ethical-political issues – from race, to war and peace, to resisting state injustice – rest on a complex and balanced account of the relationship between theology and political life inherited through the Lutheran tradition. The talk will begin at 3:30 pm in Gibson Hall 142. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

For more background information on the topic, read one of DeJonge’s papers, “Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Political Theologies,” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia here.

Michael DeJonge is the Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida. He teaches in the areas of the history of Christian thought, theories and methods in religious studies, and modern religious thought. His research has focused on the twentieth-century, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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: Growing Pains

Growing Pains: How Racial Struggles Changed a Church and a School, by Christopher H. MeehanHow Racial Struggles Changed a Church and School

In Growing Pains, author Christopher Meehan tells the painful story of integrating Timothy Christian School in suburban Chicago during the turbulent 1960s and the subsequent creation of Chicago West Side Christian School, a “beacon of reconciliation.”

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“If we are to ever build Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the ‘beloved community,’ people interested in reconciliation must be willing to truthfully confront past epochs of racial injustice. Growing Pains represents a compelling step in that direction.” —Mark Mulder, author of Shades of White Flight: Evangelical Congregations and Urban Departure

“Chris Meehan has done the dirty work of getting us into the heated church meetings, introducing unsung heroes and she-roes, and beautifully writing the Timothy-Lawndale story with grace and tact. Your crash course on urban race relations in the Christian Reformed Church begins with this book.” —Reggie Smith, director of Christian Reformed Office of Race Relations

“Issues of race always test the church’s commitment to the gospel. Often the result is marred by sin that continues to persist, with progress measured shamefully over far too many years. Meehan tells this story in a forthright, engaging manner, including the faithful efforts of parents of black children and the pastors and teachers who were their prophetic allies. The facts and the drama are real; this painful story is told with clarity, empathy, and truth.” —Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary emeritus of Reformed Church in America

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.