What’s happening in Lived Theology?

Spring 2016 Project-sponsored events

This spring the Project is co-sponsoring several events, and will be hosting the first of two Spring Institute on Lived Theology (SILT) conferences in June on the theme “Can I Get a Witness?” Check out the spring line up and find out more about our upcoming SILT gatherings below.



Book Talk: The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance
Thursday March 17The Justice Calling book cover
7:00pm-8:00pm, University Baptist Church
Click here for book event page.

Authors Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson will discuss their new book, The Justice Calling. A panel of local community activists including: Moderator: Barb Armacost (UVa law professor) and Panelists: Stephen Hitchcock (The Haven), Seth Wispelwey (The Arbor), Joshua Scott (Impact), Laura Brown (Casa Alma), and Rydell Payne (Abundant Life Ministries), will respond to the book and its relevance to local issues.

Book sales and signing will follow the discussion, and refreshments will be served.

Location: University Baptist Church, 1223 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Hosted by: The Project on Lived Theology, New City Commons, and Theological Horizons

An Evening with Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy book cover
Saturday March 19
8:00pm-9:00pm, Paramount Theater
Click here for book event page.

Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption) will speak about his experiences as a social justice lawyer and how these continue to influence his life-long work to support criminal justice system reform as well as anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts. An outspoken advocate and thoughtful leader, Stevenson challenges the legacy of racial inequality in the United States, asking Americans to reconsider issues of justice and compassion. John Grisham will join Stevenson on stage for discussion of these issues.

Location: Paramount Theater, 215 E Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Sponsored by: LexisNexis, The Project on Lived Theology, Paul and Susan Yesawich, Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, U.Va. Department of Politics, and an anonymous donor


Virginia Graduate Colloquium on Theology, Ethics, & Culture:Virginia Colloquium poster Religion & Media
Keynote Speaker: Talal Asad
May 6-8, University of Virginia
Click here for the conference website.

The 2016 Virginia Graduate Colloquium’s conference theme is “Religion and Media.” The keynote speaker is renowned anthropologist Professor Talal Asad, whose transformative work on the genealogical mediations of religious and “secular” traditions has deeply influenced the study and practice of religion today.

Religion is often described as a “mediated” phenomenon, whether ritually, doctrinally, aesthetically, communally, politically, narratively, and/or violently. The conference will initiate a dialogue about “media,” construed not only as a “mode of transmission” but also as a process of (re-)/mediation and repair, to open new lines of investigation for theological and religious studies.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Project on Lived Theology.


SILT 16/17: Can I Get a Witness?
2016 – University of Virginia
2017 – Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus
Click here for the Can I Get A Witness? webpage.

The two-part SILT beginning in June 2016 and concluding in June 2017 will celebrate scholars, activists, laypeople, and religious leaders whose lived theologies produced and inspired social justice in the United States. SILT 16/17 will produce a single volume entitled Can I Get a Witness? Stories of Radical Christians in the U.S., 1900-2014.

The first meeting, in June 2016, will gather the biographers at the University of Virginia. The writers will attend seminars on theology and biography, discuss writing style and process, and meet in workshop groups that will support each other throughout the writing process.

The 2017 meeting will be held at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus May 31-June 2. During this meeting, which will include additional invited guests, Can I Get a Witness? authors will present their historical figures by sharing the completed theological biographies in keynotes and panel discussions open to the public.

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.

New in the PLT Resource Collection: Lived Theology on Death Row

Kelly Gissendaner and Jennifer M. McBride

“Kelly’s story was impacting Christians across the political divide, pushing the logic of Christian faith to its outermost limits, pressing Christians to reexamine and reaffirm the truths we proclaim about repentance, forgiveness, redemption, and hope.” Professor Jennifer M. McBride Pictured: Kelly Gissendaner and Jenny M. McBride at Kelly’s 2011 graduation from the theological program at the women’s prison.

Jennifer McBride speaks out on death row and tells the story of Kelly Gissendaner

On December 3, 2015, Jennifer McBride visited Charlottesville to tell the story of how she met and befriended Kelly Gissendaner, an inmate on death row who found hope and redemption through her theological engagement with God. Along with a community of supporters, McBride fought with Kelly to appeal her death sentence, so that she could continue to be an active and encouraging force to others in the prison system. Kelly was executed by the state of Georgia on September 30, 2015, but her message of hope lives on.

To listen to the lecture, click here.
To read a transcript of the lecture, click here.

Jennifer M. McBride is the Board of Regents Chair of Ethics, assistant professor of religion, and director of peace and justice studies at Wartburg College. She is a member of the second class of the Virginia Seminar, working on a project entitled Reducing Distance: Radical Discipleship through an Open Door. Her publications include The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness(2014).

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: A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed

A Body Broken, A Body BetrayedAddressing the wounds of race and privilege that continue to diminish the life of the church

In their new book, A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed: Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White-Dominant Churches, theologians and Presbyterian ministers Mary McClintock Fulkerson and Marcia Mount Shoop emphasize the need to surface the dynamics of whiteness especially in contexts where whites have had the most power in America, such as mainline Protestant churches. Using Eucharist as a template for both the church’s blindness and for Christ’s redemptive capacity, this book invites faith communities, especially white-dominant churches, into new ways of remembering what it means to be the body of Christ.

In his review of A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed, PLT Contributor Kristopher Norris writes:

For McClintock Fulkerson and Mount Shoop, the Eucharist often becomes a practice disconnected from the everyday realities of the lives of practitioners, and in this abstract and ritualized form could actually foster racial solidarity among whites. Instead of opening congregations up to the ‘other,’ the Eucharist often “creates sacrament out of sameness” and insulates churches from the unacknowledged wounds of our colorblind memories. It runs the risk of functioning as an appreciate remembrance of a past act rather than a transformative practice with consequences for how we live in the present.

The authors propose viewing the Eucharist with a “flexible memory” that listens to dissonant stories. This requires the telling of contemporary stories of brokenness and betrayal as part of the liturgy, which may open us up to new ways of seeing our own past and present. In this way the church community can cultivate the skills to notice and name habits and systems that often go unacknowledged and inflict racialized harm. Eucharist, practiced in this way, can disrupt our own self-protective assumptions and attend to God’s presence with those who suffer in the world. It may even change the way we read our own history and understand the abuses we have perpetuated while calling ourselves the Body of Christ.

For more information on McClintock Fulkerson and Mount Shoop’s book, click here. To read Norris’s full review, click here.

For more of “On the Lived Theology Reading List,” click here. To engage in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, @LivedTheology, please use #LivedTheologyReads.

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Check out PLT Fellow Traveler, The Online Journal of Public Theology!

Online Journal of Public TheologyA website that seeks to promote a more responsible form of public faith

In the politically skewed context of our time, Christians have allowed partisan politics to distort evangelicalism in the public sphere. PLT Fellow Traveler The Online Journal of Public Theology believes that Christians should refrain from associating Christian values with one political angle in order to preserve the historic witness of the orthodox church and communicate the proper role for faith and church in public life.

From pubtheo.com:

We promote the concept of “critical engagement”, the church needs to be critically engaged with the issues and powers of the day but ultimately captured by no one party or perspective. To believe in God incarnated in Jesus Christ is to transcend and stand apart from any of the powers of this world. At each moment in history Christians must carefully assess how to be critically engaged in their political context. Christians who are Republican will be able to critique their own party, as should Christians who are Democrats. Neither party, or any political party, is the source of salvation.

For more information about this recommended resource, click here, or visit pubtheo.com.

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.