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Belmont University to Host Fifth Annual Symposium on Faith and Culture, Feb. 5-9

Authors Brian McLaren, Carol Howard Merritt lead week focused on ‘Prophetic Consciousness’

The Fifth Annual Faith and Culture Symposium, sponsored by the College of Theology and Christian Ministry, will be held at Belmont University, Feb. 5-9, 2018. This year’s theme, Prophetic Consciousness, will work to sustain an ongoing conversation relating to faith and culture. It also raises questions about what a contemplative presence in the world looks like and how individuals can make a difference with compassion in places of need.

This year’s events will discuss topics such as Jesus and ethics, music’s role in religion, faith and race, religion’s place in the world and overcoming faith obstacles. Speakers will include Brian McLaren, author and activist advocating for a “new kind of Christianity;” Reverend Carol Howard Merritt, Presbyterian minister and award-winning author; Dr. James Carse, professor emeritus of religious studies at New York University’ and Dr. Larycia Hawkins from the University of Virginia Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

The week will also feature a songwriter’s round Monday , Feb. 5, with McLaren leading an evening of conversation and song exploring the power of song in human experience. Guests include Sarah Masen, Liza Anne, Sam Ashworth and Belmont alumni Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn.

Additionally, the program will include a panel titled “One God, Different Paths.” The panelists represent a variety of faiths, including:

  • Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon, Senior Pastor at the West End United Methodist Church
  • Zulfat Suara, Tennessee women’s advocate and past chair of the American Muslim Advisory Council
  • Daniella Pressner, Principal of the Akiva School and past president of Jewish Family Service of Nashville
  • Moderator Dr. Marty Bell, professor in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry

“Our Committee chose ‘Prophetic Consciousness’ as our theme because we believe people in our country who identify with Jesus – or claim to follow him – are experience something of a Bonhoeffer Moment, a time of decision concerning the marginalized in our midst,” said Dr. David Dark, professor of religion and chair of the symposium’s faculty committee. “In an era of high anxiety and weaponized despair, we’re each going to do something brave (in word and deed) or we’re not. Each of our events is undertaken in the hope that it will aid in the work of contemplative activism, the possibility of the prophetic awareness.

A full list of events including speakers, dates, times, locations and topics can be found here.

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