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Belmont University to Host Fourth Annual Symposium on Faith and Culture Feb. 6-10

Lectures and discussions will center on the theme ‘Contemplative Activism’  

The fourth annual Faith and Culture Symposium, sponsored by Belmont University’s College of Theology and Christian Ministry, will be held on campus Feb. 6-10 in the Janet Ayers Academic Center. This year’s theme, Contemplative Activism, highlights the university’s dual emphases on spiritual formation and social justice. The theme suggests that the contemplative and active dimensions of spirituality need one another and must be integrated for the renewal and transformation of persons and communities.

This year’s events span the topics of embracing hopelessness, activism, inter-faith dialogue and how to have conversations surrounding issues like race and political polarization. Guest speakers will include Dr. Miguel De La Torre, professor of social ethics and Latino/a studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver; Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, who is a pastor, author and consultant on religious and political differences; Nathan Schneider, a scholar and journalist who writes about technology, economy and religion; and Micky Scott Bey Jones, a womanist contemplative activist and non-violent direct action organizer.

Additionally, a panel discussion will occur on February 7 at 6:15 p.m. titled, “Faith in Dialogue: Sharing Stories of Nashville.” Panelists will represent various religious backgrounds including Episcopalian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Roman Catholic:

  • Moderator Gordon Peerman, an Episcopal priest who has taught seminars in Buddhist-Christian dialogue
  • Radha Babu, on the founding board of the Sri Ganesha where she has been giving tours for the past thirty years
  • Hasina Mohyuddin, a PhD student at Vanderbilt in Community Research and Action who also serves on the board of the Islamic Center of Nashville
  • Bruce Morrill, a member of the Jesuits and a Roman Catholic priest who teachestheology and Catholicism at Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Tallu Schuyler Quinn, who brings her educational background in the fine arts and theology to her creative and pastoral work as founder and director of the Nashville Food Project, a ministry of Woodmont Christian Church
  • Pat Halper, a visual artist and long-time member of The Temple who has made a vocation of organizing, managing and being hands on with various volunteer based work, including The Boulevard Bolt, the Jewish Community Center and NOAH

“Our annual symposium works to sustain an ongoing conversation relating to faith and culture,” said Drs. Judy Skeen and Cynthia Curtis, professors of religion and co-chairs of the symposium’s faculty committee. “By inviting speakers who shape and participate in the national conversation on religion and public life, the university-wide conversation is carried forward and informed by academic and congregational dynamics. Symposium speakers represent this integration as their own devotional and worship practices have shaped them to see more clearly things about ourselves and our world in need of healing. Their work holds up to us a kind of mirror to help us see as well. This theme also raises questions about what a contemplative presence in the world looks like and how we can bring such a posture into spaces of brokenness to make a difference with compassionate and just action, bearing witness to Christ and God’s loving presence around and within us.”

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


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