Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thrilled about violence?

I am not thrilled about violence.

But I am thrilled to take note of an exciting opportunity for me, personally, and for future options for the Eupan Global Initiative.

I have been selected to be among other scholars in considering issues of violence and the church. The Seminar I am now making plans to attend (based on the announcement of my selection today!) is part of the Calvin College series of Seminars in Christian Scholarship.

The seminar focus includes:

“Deliver Us From Evil: Genocide and the Christian World”
will explore the role of the church as a social institution, with institutional actors, and how it shapes a culture in which genocidal violence may occur and how it responds to such a culture both during and after the genocidal violence. Over a three week period, participants will critically examine the role of the Christian churches in 20th century genocide and the subsequent consequences for Christian thought and practice in the contemporary world. Embedded throughout these analyses are questions of the moral responsibilities of the institutional church; the churches’ standing as manipulated or independent actors; how and why churches become linked with power holders in genocidal regimes; how institutional church leaders use rhetorical and theological devices to develop religious justifications for genocidal belief systems; the variability of institutional churches’ responses; the motivations behind churches’ interventionist role in reconciliation after the genocidal violence, etc. Such questions remain keenly relevant for church-state relations in contemporary international affairs – for instance, the ongoing genocide in Darfur; the escalating violence in Zimbabwe (about which church leaders are warning could reach genocidal levels); and the recent move in Russia to coronate the Russian Orthodox Church as the de facto official state religion, reinforcing a nationalistic ideology while promoting state-sponsored religious intolerance.

Towards eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

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