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Festival of Theology features leaders in local and global justice

by Louisville Seminary | Mar 04, 2005
Global security, domestic justice, a mission for world peace, and Christian discipleship: these are some of the topics that will be woven together in provocative lectures and sermons over three days at the 2005 Festival of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, March 14-16. Focusing on the theme, “Justice from a Local and Global Perspective,” this year’s Festival will address how one’s religious values, sense of mission, and personal faith are expressed in action, politically and socially, at home and around the world.

The annual Festival of Theology is open to the public, and the endowed Greenhoe and Caldwell Lectureships enable Louisville Seminary to offer these outstanding learning experiences free of charge and to bring to Louisville, Ky., nationally recognized theologians, authors, teachers, and preachers.

This year, author, preacher, and activist Jim Wallis will address issues of justice and global security as they are found in his New York Times bestseller, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It (Harper Collins, 2005). Wallis is editor of Sojourners magazine and convener of "A Call to Renewal," a new federation of organizations working to overcome poverty and revitalize American politics. In recent months his book has received national attention for his “new conversation about faith and politics in America,” that has reached a wide spectrum of faith communities and both sides of the political fence.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Tapia, a professor of missions study at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Switzerland, brings an international perspective to peace and justice through her experience as a teacher, United Methodist pastor, and community organizer in the Philippines. Tapia is a staff member of the World Council of Churches and a founding member of the Association of Women in Theology (Philippines) and the Congress of Asian Theologians. Her professional concerns include ecofeminism and missiology in a globalized world.

A dynamic component of each Festival is the inspiring sermons of renowned preachers from across the country. The Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., was a pastor for 55 years before his retirement in 1999 from Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Throughout his pastoral ministry he has spoken out against racial injustices, particularly as a pastor in Nashville and Memphis during the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Lawson “the leading nonviolence theorist in the world,” and Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta has labeled Lawson "an architect of the nonviolent, direct action strategy of the civil rights movement in the 1960s."

Dr. J. Bradley Wigger, who teaches Christian education at Louisville Seminary, is also the director of the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries there. An alum (MDiv ’84) of the Seminary Wigger will present the concluding sermon, "The Face of Love" (Psalm 31:9-16), as part of the Alum Association Reunion events held in conjunction with the Festival. Through Psalm 31, a text read every year on Passion Sunday, he will explore the face of justice and the face of love in the light of suffering locally and globally. In addition to serving on the faculty, Wigger has written extensively on faith development among children and in families, including The Power of God at Home: Nurturing our Children in Love and Grace (Jossey Bass, 2003), part of the Faith & Family Book Series for which he is an editor. He is also coeditor of the Center’s journal, Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith, the only resource of its kind for scholars and practitioners in the church, who are concerned about ministry to families.

Schedule for Lectures and Sermons

Festival of Theology 2005, March 14-16
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Monday, March 14
    10 a.m. - James M. Lawson Jr., “Following Jesus Today”
    2:30 p.m. - Elizabeth S. Tapia, “How Can Theology Contribute to World Peace?”
Tuesday, March 15
    9 a.m. - Jim Wallis, “Isaiah’s Platform for Domestic Justice”
    10 a.m. - James M. Lawson Jr., “A Faith that Truly Heals”
    3 p.m. - Elizabeth S. Tapia, “Shibashi Tai Chi” (An Asian meditation)
    8 p.m. - Jim Wallis, “Micah’s Vision for Global Security”
Wednesday, March 16
    9 a.m. - Elizabeth S. Tapia, “Pursuing Peace and Justice for the Oikoumene: Implications for Mission and Theology”
    11 a.m. - J. Bradley Wigger, “The Face of Love”
In addition to the scheduled addresses, time for conversation and reflection around the speakers’ topics will be provided. The Seminary bookstore will be open throughout the event. Wallis will sign his new book on Tuesday, following his lectures, and at a scheduled appearance at Carmichaels Bookstore, 2720 Frankfort Ave., 6-7:30 p.m.

Questions about the lecture and preaching schedule may be directed to the Office of Continuing and Lay Education, 502.895.3411, ext. 429, or by email: cwebb@lpts.edu. The full schedule is available on the Louisville Seminary website, and tickets for the additional gatherings and meals listed there, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) Moderator’s Dinner, may be purchased online.
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