Christian Responses to the Problem of Insularity
When: June 7, 2023, 1:00 pm - Wednesday
One major challenge to our future is the inability of various communities and groups to communicate. Lack of shared sources of knowledge and norms of adjudication, among other things, serve to buttress this problem. Some examples of this problem include: The polarized responses to COVID-19, Climate Change, and the demand for Criminal Justice Reform. Such catalysts show there is significant disagreement on legitimate epistemic authorities, sources of knowledge, and norms of adjudication. The Christian tradition has a wealth of resources to address the problem of insularity. How might the Christian tradition cut across silos and echo chambers for future generations?
Papers by the young scholars in this session receive engagement and critique from senior scholars for their development and advancement.
Travis Myers, Saint Louis University, “Bishop Ding’s Cosmic Christology as Interreligious Dialogue”
Bishop Ding Guangxun helped rehabilitate the mainland Chinese church in the post-Cultural Revolution era. Much of this effort involved creating public space for the church in relation to non-Christians. This paper argues that Ding’s theological emphasis on the cosmic Christ, highlighting Christ’s universal reign over all creation, allowed him to recognize the work of God’s kingdom embodied in the lives of atheist fellow Chinese citizens. Ding’s case raises important questions for those in multi-cultural, religiously pluralistic contexts. What are best practices for Christian engagement with non-Christians? How might Christians learn to learn from non-Christians in order to be better Christians?
Aaron Ducksworth, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, “Reconceptualizing Racism: A Kelseyian Retrieval”
Some Christians theologically contend that racism is a sin that is overcome through repentance and commitment to Jesus Christ, while others locate it in the realm of the socio-political. But, what if racism and its discontents were more than political and more than sin? Rather than only viewing racism as a sin to be repented of, what if Christians re-imagined it as a faith to be de-converted from? In this paper, I argue that ethicist George Kelsey’s theological anthropology of race begins to answer these questions by conceptualizing racism as more than sin and locating a solution in ‘renewed humanity.’
Nick Fagnant, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, “‘For the Fire had had No Power over the Bodies of These Men’ – Transgressive Spirituality in The Book of Daniel”
In this presentation, I argue that “The Book of Daniel” can serve as a constructive spiritual resource to navigate and resist social systems in ways that deepen hope and trust in God’s justice and coming reign. I explore Daniel’s transgressive text, ambiguous main character, and unifying theme in order to reveal an embodied spirituality of resistance and faith that has implications for current discussions within Queer communities.
Isaac Borbon, Vanderbilt University, Convener
- Travis Myers, Saint Louis University, “Bishop Ding’s Cosmic Christology as Interreligious Dialogue”
- Aaron Ducksworth, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, “Reconceptualizing Racism: A Kelseyian Retrieval”
- Nick Fagnant, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, “‘For the Fire had had No Power over the Bodies of These Men’ - Transgressive Spirituality in The Book of Daniel”
- Arthur Sutherland, Loyola University, MD, Senior Scholar, Respondent