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Faith and Culture 2019


Faith and Culture Symposium 2019

The Sixth Annual Faith and Culture Symposium, sponsored by the College of Theology and Christian Ministry will be held at Belmont University, Feb. 4-8, 2019.

Our annual symposium works to sustain an ongoing conversation relating to faith and culture. By inviting speakers who shape and participate in the national conversation on religion and public life, the university-wide conversation is carried forward and informed by academic and congregational dynamics.

Symposium speakers represent this integration as their own devotional and worship practices have shaped them to see more clearly things about ourselves and our world in need of healing. Their work holds up to us a kind of mirror to help us see as well. This theme also raises questions about what a contemplative presence in the world looks like and how we can bring such a posture into spaces of brokenness to make a difference with compassionate and just action, bearing witness to Christ and God’s loving presence around and within us.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “The Kin-dom of God According to Women.”  “Kin-dom” is a metaphor used by Latina (mujerista) theologian Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz to provide a new understanding of the Kingdom of God described in the Gospels.  The Kin-dom of God, she says, is useful in resisting hierarchy and elitism, and for anticipating when the fullness of God becomes a day-to-day reality in the world at large, we will all be sisters and brothers—God’s family to each other in mutual love and support. 

“The Kin-dom of God According to Women” is a broadly inclusive theme that timely recognizes the vitality and necessity of women’s leadership in spurring the church to become a significantly positive force in the unfolding of the Kin-dom of God.  Speakers for the week will include pastors, scholars, artists and students who will give substance to the Kin-dom of God.



“Students Engaging God’s Kin-dom” Poster session, 2thfloorAtrium, Janet Ayers Academic Center (Presentation displays the entire week)


Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, “Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the

Apostles” Belmont Chapel, 10 a.m. (A Christian Faith Development Convocation) 

Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles is Professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. She is the author of numerous books and essays. Her essay on “Disability and the Johannine Literature” appears in the book Disability and the Bible: A Commentary(Baylor University Press, 2017).  She is the New Testament editor of the CEB Women’s Bibleand currently she is completing a book entitled Women in the Bible for the Interpretation commentary series.  As an ordained American Baptist minister, she has served in both parish and hospice settings.

Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, “Reading the New Testament Scriptures,”Johnson Center 131, 2:00 p.m. (A Christian Faith Development Convocation) 


“Common Creator, Common Grounds: Three Faiths Sharing Coffee and Community,” Student-led Interfaith Panel, Conference Center, 4thfloor Janet Ayers Academic Center, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Coffee and Tea served (A Personal/Professional Growth Convocation)


Dr. Nyasha Junior, “Sibboleth, Shibboleth, and Sisterhood,” Belmont Chapel, 10 am, (A Christian Faith Development Convocation)  

Dr. Junior is an Associate Professor in the department of religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox Press, 2015). She is working on two new projects, Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible(Oxford University Press, 2019) and Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon(co-authored; Oxford University Press, 2019).

Dr. Junior writes, teaches, speaks, and frequently tweets on race, gender, religion, and their intersections. Her public scholarship has appeared in The Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, Buzzfeed, and other media outlets. 

Dr. Nyasha Junior, “Research and Mesearch in Biblical Studies,” Johnson Center 131, 2:00 p.m. (A Christian Faith Development Convocation)



Courtney Ariel, “Harmony in the Tension: Thoughts on Women, Stories and Home,” 4thFloor Conference Center (4098), Janet Ayers Academic Center, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Coffee and Tea served (A Culture and Arts Convocation)

Nashville-based (Folk) singer-songwriter Courtney Ariel combines her heartfelt lyrics, melodic voice, and gift for storytelling to create songs that are vulnerable and engaging.  She is committed to building bridges of deeper empathy and understanding through stories.  Courtney has published on racism and whiteness in Sojourners, How not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People, and For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies.  In addition to singing and writing songs, Courtney loves kind people, being Black and a woman, (a myriad of things not listed here), and 90's alternative rock music.


Rev. Kay Ressel, “Living into the Kin-dom of God,” Belmont Chapel, 10 a.m. (A Christian Faith Development Convocation)

Director of the Pine Ridge Retreat Center on Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Reservation, and Director of Native American Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, South Dakota Synod,

Lena Peters with Dr. Robbie Pinter Quilting, “Sacred Stories: Quilting as Art and Life,”Johnson Center 131, 2:00 p.m. (An Academic Lecture Convocation)

Lena Peters is an Oglala Lakota tribe member on the Pine Ridge reservation, a master quilter, a voice for ReMember Community Development Organization, and a partner with the Belmont in Native American Lands Maymester program.  Robbie Pinter is a 3-year co-leader for the Belmont in Native American Lands trip, quilter, and artifact researcher.