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About the conference

Eighth Annual Lutheran Studies Conference at PLU – Thursday, September 27, 2017

The Eighth Annual Lutheran Studies Conference will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., concluding with a keynote lecture in the evening at 7 p.m. in the Scandinavian Cultural Center of the Anderson University Center.

This conference focuses on “Black Bodies and the Justice of God” in the Lutheran tradition, in art, theology, ethics and literature. The conference also draws connection to the book Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates, a book that all first-year PLU students have read for the incoming classes of 2017 and 2018.

The conference features an incredible line up of leading theologians and we encourage you and your congregations or colleagues to read their works prior to the conference (Check out the suggested reading list).

Our speakers include:

  • Lutheran womanist theologian and ethicist Rev. Dr. Beverly Wallace (Shaw University Divinity School).  As a scholar, Rev. Dr. Wallace has published African American Grief (2005) and the experience of widowhood for black women.  As an ELCA Lutheran pastor, she has led in many capacities in the church nationally and internationally. She will be presenting a lecture entitled “Hush No More: Constructing an African American Lutheran Womanist Ethic.”
  • Dr. Reggie Williams (McCormick Theological Seminary) is a nationally respected theologian and Bonhoeffer scholar who will speak on the topic of his book Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Baylor University Press, 2014). In this book, he examines how Bonhoeffer’s Lutheran ethics were profoundly shaped by his experience in the black churches in New York. This oriented Bonhoeffer permanently toward “Christ the Center” and Jesus’ call to serve in all contexts. Dr. Williams has published on the topics of Christology, race, and ethics.

History of the conference

The annual Lutheran Studies Conference provides an opportunity for the university, the larger community, and persons from diverse religious and humanistic viewpoints to explore particular and pressing issues within the thoughtful and generous milieu of Lutheran higher education. Each conference welcomes scholars, artists, and religious leaders whose expertise is offered in an engaging and thought-provoking manner. Past conferences have been devoted to the limited gift of water (2011), political commitments (2012), the figure of Jesus of Nazareth (2013), justice in society (2014), the legacy and future of Jewish-Christian relations (2015), and perspective on racial justice (2016) 500 years of faith, reform and liberation (2017).

As a university of the church, PLU promotes the 500 year Lutheran tradition of asking difficult questions, welcoming opposing viewpoints in civil conversation, nurturing a community of intellectual charity, and challenging students, alumni, and friends to promote a just, peaceful, and sustainable way of life for all, not just the privileged few.