Two important issues among African American people of faith are the relations between men and women and between those in the academy and the pulpit. "Black Theology and Womanist Theology in Dialogue: Which Way Forward for the Church and Academy?" is the first time church leaders and scholars from across the United States will be brought together to debate topics that are part of past and ongoing discussions among black religious communities. The conference begins October 31 and concludes on November 4 with sessions featuring Jeremiah A.Wright, Jr.; Jamie T. Phelps; Iva E. Carruthers; and James H. Cone.
Afternoon and evening sessions are designed to encourage congregation members of black churches to attend and participate. The conference is free and open to the public.
"This is an incredible opportunity to witness both academics who are committed to the church as well as pastors and lay people discussing issues crucial to the new millennium," said Linda E. Thomas, one of the coordinators of the conference. "It can make a difference in peoples' lives because of the way the conversation is being arranged -- for serious, deep, discussion. People really have to engage the subject matter of Womanist Theology and Black Theology. Pastors and lay people are critical to the discussion. It is not to be missed."
Participants in the conference will be half men and half women, with each presenting on topics traditionally associated with the opposite gender, followed by a response from his or her counterpart. Representatives of both perspectives will critically engage issues key to the life and success of everyday people in communities, churches, and in the academy. Ample time for questions and answers with the audience is part of each session.
Topics include "Survival and Quality of Life," "Black Male as an Endangered Species," "Jesus the Man," "Human Sexuality," and "How Long Oh Lord? The Future of BT-WT Dialogue in Church and Academy." A full list of topics and participants is available at www.lstc.edu.
"Black Theology and Womanist Theology in Dialogue" is funded by the Louisville Institute (a program of the Lilly Endowment) and sponsored by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and cosponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, both at the University of Chicago, this conference is being coordinated by Linda E. Thomas (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) and Dwight N. Hopkins (University of Chicago). For further information and for directions to the conference visit www.lstc.edu.
Linda E. Thomas is professor of theology and anthropology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Her doctorate is in cultural and social anthropology from the American University, Washington, D.C. She has taught in the areas of anthropology and religion, world cultures and spiritual formation at Iliff School of Theology, Denver University, Wesley Theological Seminary and Garrett Theological Seminary.
At Garrett Thomas directed the Center of the Church and the Black Experience. She has done extensive research in the area of theology and community in South Africa, Peru, Cuba and Russia. Thomas is the author of Under the Canopy: Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa , and the editor of Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology.