2021 Theologian in Residence

In just a few weeks we will welcome our 2021 Theologian in Residence Jonathan L. Walton to be with us, virtually, for a weekend of conversations on the ways that scripture – when read through a Lens of Love - empowers and informs the work of the church in the world.

In his book A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World, he walks through each part of scripture, helping us navigate the stumbling blocks we encounter there, but also highlighting the strong foundation the Bible gives us for the work of justice. For example, in helping us unpack the writings of the Apostle Paul, who seems to advocate for the continuation of slavery in the first century, he writes:

“Though Paul taught about freedom, his moral imagination would not allow him to conceive of a world that was truly free of the master-slave system. Paul preached about eradicating social distinctions. He painted theological visions of Christ embracing bondage to sin in order to delivery us. Yet when given the chance, Paul conceded to convention….

In more ways than one, then, Paul’s letters teach us important though contrasting lessons about spiritual life and ethical living. On the one hand, they teach us the importance of envisioning a new social order where we affirm the humanity and equality of all of God’s children. On the other, they show us the importance of seeking to live out and enact the social worlds we envision. It is not enough to preach and pray. We must also work to protect the vulnerable and protest injustice.”

While we won’t be able to host Dr. Walton in person, I am confident we will still have a impactful and memorable weekend together with him.

You are invited to a Saturday morning event on May 1, where you will have the chance to not only hear a lecture on how we read the Old Testament in context, but also to engage in a dialogue with Dr. Walton. On Sunday we will host a more formal webinar the afternoon of May 2 that features local faith leaders and scholars who will respond to his lecture on the transformative ethics of the Gospels. Information about these events can be found below or on our website.

For those interested in reading A Lens of Love, we are offering two opportunities to discuss his book together. You can participate in an online conversation on Sunday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom before the Theologian-in Residence weekend OR afterward on Sunday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m. on the BMPC Campus. You can sign up here to reserve a copy of the book and to choose which book discussion session you want to attend.

We are honored and excited for Dr. Walton to be among us, even if it’s virtually. I hope you will take advantage of the time he will be with us.

Saturday, May 1, 10:00 a.m., via Zoom
The Sun Do Move! Interpreting the Bible in Cultural Context

Register here:

Sunday, May 2, 2:00 p.m., via Zoom Webinar
The Narcissism of Minor Differences: A Gospel Challenge to Purity, Rank and Hierarchy
Including a Q&A with a distinguished panel of local leaders and scholars: the Rev. Dr. Charles L. Howard, University Chaplain and University Vice President for Social Equity and Community, University of Pennsylvania; the Rev. Eustacia Moffett Marshall, Pastor, New River Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; and Dr. Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qwVoOQiDQ1avs9OF98_Drw

Space will not be limited, but registration is required for both events.