I am honored to be delivering the 2017 Faith and Life Lectures at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, OH next week (February 15 & 16). This annual endowed lecture series brings a scholar of religion to campus each year to deliver three talks on a particular theme. Past lecturers include such notable scholars as Martin E. Marty, Walter Brueggemann, James M. Gustafson, Sandra M. Schneiders, Kathleen Norris, Paul Knitter, Elaine Pagels, and Wendy M. Wright, among others. I certainly do not consider myself worthy to be counted among such company, but I am grateful for the invitation and opportunity to speak at the university no less.
The overarching theme of my lectures is “The Foolishness of Christianity.” The lectures are open to the public and more information can be found at the university website. Here is a brief general description of the theme:
In our contemporary age, Christianity seems like a sensible and straightforward religious option among others. It is often viewed as compatible with the values and priorities of our society, politics, cultures and even military interests. And yet, the Gospel itself offers a very different set of insights, challenges and inspiration.
This series of lectures explores the radical foolishness of Christianity as a positive force for change and conversion in the face of division, discrimination and violence. Drawing on the examples of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis and Thomas Merton, we will reflect on ways to overcome our tendency to domesticate the Gospel and respond to a call to be foolish according to the logic of the world.
If you happen to live around the greater Cleveland area, I hope that you will be able to join us for one or all of the events.