Spring semester continues. My schedule these days is lighter than Alex’s (whew!), but it will fill up soon enough. In a few weeks, I’ll begin a one-week intensive class with the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE). The course will be tied to the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry, whose theme this year is “Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence.”
Over the last few days I’ve been reading up to prepare for the course: first, Ched Myers’ interpretation of Jesus as a practitioner of nonviolent direct action (in Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Vol. 1); then, Elaine Enns’ theological narration of six contemporary practitioners of restorative justice and peacemaking (in Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Vol. 2); and, finally, by filling up my iPod with the Rev. Dr. King’s speeches on nonviolence and social change (as compiled in A Call to Conscience, edited by Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard).
I’m looking forward to the class and congress for a number of reasons. For one thing, the lineup of speakers reads like an all-star of scholars and preachers: James Forbes, Walter Brueggemann, Renita Weems, Otis Moss III, and Shane Claiborne, to name but a few. Dr. Perry preached about heroes in the faith during LSTC’s worship today; a few of mine are certainly in that list of speakers!
But on a more personal level, I’m looking forward to learning how God is at work even and especially in the midst of the violence so deeply embedded in the world we’ve made. There was a time when I could only lament this violence. Now, after four years in seminary, I’ve learned to come together with colleagues and communities, to listen, to pray, to preach, to act.
I’ll return with a full report for you all during and after the Congress, which you can learn more about here.