Deconstructing racism with a vision for living as neighbors is topic of free lecture
“The racism that has plagued this country from its inception was shaped in part by distortions in the interpretation of scripture and practices of Christian faith that were oppressive,” says Nancy J. Ramsay, Harrison Ray Anderson Professor of Pastoral Theology at Louisville Seminary. This historical scar is an issue that Ramsay will address in her presentation, Created as Neighbors: A Vision for Honoring Racial and Cultural Difference, at the Seminary’s Edwards Lecture on February 15 at 7 p.m.
The annual event, held free of charge, is endowed to honor local activist and former Seminary professor George Edwards and his wife, Jean Edwards. Each year, experts in the field are invited to address issues of social justice and peacemaking.
Ramsay, who has studied the effects of racism and exclusiveness in the theological classroom, provides insight and lessons that are applicable in many situations – in our cities, churches, businesses, and homes.
“Racism is sin,” Ramsay says, “and it affects those who accept racism’s privileges and those who experience racism’s barriers. Fortunately, scripture holds images for life together that offer correctives for the destructive consequences of the sin of racism in the lives of those who oppress and those who know the burden of oppression.”
Ramsay’s aim is to “deconstruct” racism by leading participants to reflect personally on the issue racism and guiding them toward ways of practicing “being neighbors” in the midst of racial and cultural difference.
Ramsay has served as a professor of pastoral theology at Louisville Seminary since 1983. A grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion has enabled her to begin the development of anti-racism resources for practical theological education. Her work seeks to deconstruct racist assumptions in the classroom and generate teaching practices and strategies that will foster a proactive commitment to an anti-racist, inclusive vision for community. A second Wabash grant in 2003, involving the entire Seminary faculty, will assist in developing actual projects, courses, and resources that will alter teaching and learning in the classroom, creating a more inclusive environment on this campus and at other theological schools.
Prior to coming to Louisville Seminary, Ramsay was an associate pastor and served on committees in the former Presbyterian Church of the U.S., the General Assembly Council, and the Special Committee to write a brief contemporary statement of the Reformed faith, now included in the Book of Confessions, Presbyterian Church (USA).
She is a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology and is active in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) with clinical membership in both and supervisory status in AAMFT.
Ramsay is the author of Pastoral Diagnosis: A Resource for Ministries of Care and Counseling (1998), Telling the Truth: Preaching about Sexual and Domestic Violence, co-written with John S. McClure (1998), and the forthcoming Redefining the Paradigms: Pastoral Care and Counseling (June 2004), which she has edited.
There is no fee to attend the Edwards Lecture, which will be held in Hundley Hall at Gardencourt on the Seminary campus. For more information contact the Office of Communications, ext. 460 or e-mail email@example.com.