Wednesday Lunch archive


January 15: David Barr, one of our Divinity School Teaching Fellows, on historical narratives –– telling a story from history to  discover the solution to a problem -- and why that doesn't work. Dr.  Barr is a scholar of social and political ethics, with specific interests in environmental ethics, Christian realism, political discourse, and racial justice. His work draws on Christian theological symbols, such as its descriptions of human nature, to help make sense of complex historical phenomena (such as climate change and structural racism) with the aim of clarifying the character, structure, and limits of contemporary moral contexts.

January 22: "How to Teach with a Hammer." What can we learn about course design from the art of throwing a metal ball attached to a wire? More than you might think! Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in Philosophy of Religion and Marty Center Junior Fellow, will discuss how the unique training approach of Anatoliy Bondarchuk - gold medalist, former coach of the Soviet hammer throwing team, and arguably the most successful coach in the history of sports - can be translated for the classroom.

January 29: Dr. Kelly Bulkeley (Ph.D. 1992) will discuss the undergraduate class he is teaching ("Dreaming, Religion, Psychology") and the surprising role that University of Chicago scholars have played in the history of sleep and dream research.

Bulkeley is a psychologist of religion specializing in dream research, and director of the Sleep and Dream Database.  He earned his doctorate in Religion and Psychological Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School. A former President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and Senior Editor of the APA journal Dreaming, he has written and edited several books.

February 5: Mati Engel is a recent alum of our MDiv program. She completed her training in hospital chaplaincy at Northwestern Medicine, specializing in psychiatry and mental health, and currently splits her time between Chicago and New York City as a practicing performance artist. Her Masters Thesis, Performing Authenticity: The Last Redemptive Act, appeared in the Smart Museum's Fall 2019 exhibition: Down Time, in dialogue with The Nap Ministry. 

Mati is interested in “theology as praxis” - an art that can be used in the real world - and will share and model some live performance/chaplaincy practices and discuss written and spoken word chaplaincy as a practice in prayer and ritual. 

February 12: Kraig Beyerlein,  "Social Justice in the Desert: Faith-Based Mobilizing to Save Lives Along the Arizona-Sonora Border"

Prof. Beyerlein of the University of Notre Dame is one of the key collaborators on a new project to assess public opinion on religious matters. This project, which serves to provide new and timely insights into attitudes of the public at large around religion and its place in the public conversation, is a partnership with the Marty Center, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Associated Press.

His talk at lunch will help illustrate the value of public engagement with religious concerns; he will be discussing his work on activists  along the border developing faith-based responses to mass migration.

Beyerlein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. His research and teaching focus on collective action, civic engagement, social movements, and religion. He is especially interested congregation-based mobilization. Published articles on these topics appear in the American Sociological ReviewJournal for the Scientific Study of ReligionMobilizationPoeticsPolitics and ReligionSocial Forces, and Social Problems. Kraig’s current projects include analyzing data from the National Study of Protest Events (NSPE), which uses hypernetwork sampling to generate the first-ever nationally representative sample of protest events, and finishing his book manuscript, “Flooding the Desert: Faith-Based Mobilizing to Save Lives along Sonora-Arizona Border.” 

February 19: Kelly James Clark, co-author of Strangers, Neighbors, Friends: Muslim-Christian-Jewish Reflections on Compassion and Peace. The book is "an informed and robust Abrahamic defense of compassion toward neighbors, strangers and even enemies. It aims to show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have the resources to motivate respect and love for those of very different faith traditions. Clark is Senior Research Fellow at Grand Valley State University's Kaufman Interfaith Institute, and author and editor of more than 25 books, including Abraham’s Children: Diversity and Dialogue in an Age of Religious Conflict (Yale University Press)