Conference examines theology
in everyday life
by Peggy Harrison
crowds attended the Lived Theology Conference, held at U.Va.
June 12-14 and organized by religious studies professor Charles
Marsh, bottom left. Other speakers included Virginia Gray
Adams, Bob Moses (bottom right) and Ed King.
By Charlotte Crystal
200 people from around the country gathered in Charlottesville
in mid-June for a three-day conference on faith and social action
sponsored by the U.Va. Project on Lived Theology.
at bringing together social activists and academic theologians,
the conference also attracted a number of local clergy whose work
bridges both issues.
a time when religion has been used to legitimize war and terror,
the conference led to a kind of clarifying in our minds of the
potency of religion to forge a deeper sense of human connectedness,
said Charles Marsh, associate professor of religious studies and
director of U.Vas Project on Lived Theology. People
left here feeling that they had been caught up in an extraordinary
experience. We hope they can go back into their communities and
continue to build bridges of reconciliation and plant the seeds
of renewal in their communities.
conference was built around reports delivered by the projects
four Lived Theology work groupsLived Theology and Community
Building, Lived Theology and Race, Lived Theology and Power, and
Congregation and Citywhich have been exploring related issues
for the past three years.
program also included nationally prominent speakers, such as Stanley
Hauerwas, the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics
at the Duke University Divinity School and Time Magazines
2001 Best American Theologian; the Rev. Eugene Rivers III, pastor
of the Azusa Christian Community and a community development activist
for the past three decades; and Robert P. Moses, a major figure
in the Civil Rights Movement, who was named a MacArthur Fellow
and founded the Algebra Project, which encourages at-risk students
in secondary school to take college preparatory mathematics.
Project on Lived Theology is a Lilly Endowment initiative that
seeks to understand how theological convictions shape the everyday
practices of communities and influence public conversation about
religion and social responsibility. The Project on Lived Theology
recently received add-on funding of $1 million over three years,
which will be used to support an annual summer institute and related