Friday, February 21, 2014

Theology and Immigration

On Monday, March 17, 2014, theologian Justin Ashworth of Duke University will be visiting Ashland and giving a public lecture, "The Location of Peoplehood: A Theological Contribution to Immigration Debates" at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room, Dauch College of Business and Economics.
Ashland Religion News sent some questions to Justin asking him more about his work on theology and immigration. 
Your work is in theology and immigration. What do these have to do with each other?

Theology and immigration are connected in a number of ways. At the most basic level, most migrants from Latin America (my primary focus) have some religious convictions, most often Christian; theologians ought to care about these convictions and their influence on migrants and those with whom they have contact. Moreover, many theologians understand their task as the attempt to speak coherently (or “logically,” from logos in Greek) about God (theos in Greek) and all things in relation to God. Theologians should not neglect this important aspect of human and Christian life. From another perspective, some argue that theologians should focus especially on how to understand individual and social wounds in relation to God. Immigration debates in America are so lively, I think, in part because so many wounds (and the possibility of further wounds) are exposed: questions of race, gender and class, obedience to the law, the deaths of migrants attempting to cross the border, cultural identity, national security and a number of others. Theologians do well to ask what type of healing God is bringing to these wounds and how churches and others of good will can respond to, and be part of, that healing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Laughing with Muslims

Jamal Rahman 
 Dr. David C Aune, AU Religion Department

        Why should I take the time to listen to a Muslim guest speaker on the topics of religious differences and sacred laughter?  Can I really learn anything new from someone who directly challenges some of my core beliefs?  And why should I care about religious issues anyway: what differences do they make?  These are the questions that many of us may be asking ourselves when we hear that a Muslim interfaith speaker Jamal Rahman will be giving two presentations on Tuesday March 11 and Wednesday March 12 (both at 7PM on the AU campus).   
       As associate professor and chair of the Religion department here at Ashland, I am in a good position to answer these questions.  Years of teaching and scholarly activities have convinced me of the value of learning about other religions and engaging in inter-religious dialogue.