“Theologies of Resistance and Reconciliation” UVA Seminar Videos and Resources

The semester may have just ended, but you can still watch and listen to many of the lectures from Project on Lived Theology director Charles Marsh’s Fall 2021 seminar, “Theologies of Resistance and Reconciliation: Bonhoeffer, Niebuhr, King.” Speakers include Marsh (who is also a religious studies professor at UVA) and PLT research fellow Guy Aiken, as well as special guests.

Wisdom to Know the Difference: Why Reinhold Niebuhr Isn’t the Theologian We Need Today (September 15, 2021)
Eugene McCarraher, associate professor of humanities and history at Villanova, asks, “Why do ‘very serious people’ like Reinhold Niebuhr so much?” and ultimately argues that Niebuhr’s philosophy of political realism cannot provide what we need for our time. According to McCarraher, public theologians and intellectuals must reclaim the language of political realism because Niebuhrian realism is not realistic or visionary enough. 
Watch the video.
Read more about McCarraher’s talk.

Evangelical Theology in the 19th Century: Thinking after Karl Barth on the Story of Modern Protestant Thought (September 22, 2021)
Charles Marsh uses theologian Karl Barth’s essay “Evangelical Theology of the 19th Century” from the book The Humanity of God as a narrative framework for the seminar. Barth reads the Protestant liberal tradition’s emphasis on human experience and “ecstatic joy” as a theological mistake that had political and historical implications when Christianity then became an ingredient in the development of the Third Reich.
Watch the video.

“A Theological Miracle”: The Awkward Brilliance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Sanctorum Communio (September 29, 2021)
Charles Marsh discusses the first of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s two dissertations, Sanctorum Communio, which Karl Barth called “a theological miracle.” Marsh argues that Bonhoeffer, as the theologian of the concrete, shows how the doctrine of God comes to expression in lived social experience and only by this concept of revelation can the Christian concept of the church be uncovered. 
Watch the video.
Listen to the audio.

Letters and Papers from Montgomery, Alabama: The Formation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Theological Imagination (November 3, 2021)
Charles Marsh demonstrates the tensions between trying to understand Martin Luther King, Jr. as theologian and how the documentary evidence illuminates that for King, the political was always understood primarily through the lens of the theological. Marsh then uses the Montgomery bus boycott as a case study in lived theology as well as a historical moment that represents an awakening of the Civil Rights Movement in the American South. 
Watch the video.

Kingdom Come: King and the Third Way of Nonviolence (November 10, 2021)
PLT research fellow Guy Aiken presents a comprehensive overview of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence by drawing out some of the oppositions that were always at work in the civil rights leader’s mind. Aiken then demonstrates how King saw nonviolent resistance as a third way between fight or flight. Ultimately, King thought of nonviolence as morally, strategically, and tactically superior to both violence and passive resistance. 
Watch the video.
Listen to the audio.

Writing Blackness: A Conversation with Danté Stewart on Theology and Memoir (November 17, 2021)
Writer and speaker Danté Stewart reads from and discusses his book Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle (Convergent, 2021). He describes his experiences as a Black man in predominantly white evangelical spaces and his study of Black texts, which led him to not only confront Black death but to also embrace Black life outside the white gaze.
Watch the video.
Listen to the audio.
Explore Danté Stewart’s recommended reading list.

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.