Prominent Theologian To Discuss the Iraq War
A prolific author and prominent scholar and theologian will discuss
the American war in Iraq during a public talk at Alma College.
Gary Dorrien will present “Ending the War: Politics, Strategic Options, Ethics” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 in the Dow Science Center Room L1 at Alma College. Admission is free and open to the public.
A 1974 Alma College alumnus, Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and Professor of Religion at Columbia University.
“Though most Americans couldn’t necessarily name the country’s most prominent Christian theologians, I can say with assurance that Gary Dorrien is among them,” says Kate Blanchard, chair of the religious studies department at Alma College. “The fact that he holds the Reinhold Niebuhr chair at Union Seminary is a sign of his importance in the tradition of Christian liberalism.
“It also signals his commitment to public theology—that is, he is eager to translate Christian thought into widely-accessible terms for the sake of inviting a broader set of partners into conversation. The combination of this commitment and his rhetorical style ensures that audience members will find themselves riveted to his discussion of the American war in Iraq,” she says.
Alma College Professor Emeritus Ron Massanari remembers Dorrien as one of the brightest and most hard-working students of his teaching career, says Blanchard.
“It is inspiring to me as a teacher that Dorrien’s distinguished career in religious studies got started in the classes he took right here at Alma College,” she says. “Alma students, too, should be inspired at living proof that they can achieve excellence when they are willing to work for it.”
Dorrien is the author of 12 books and approximately 150 articles on topics that cross the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics and history. They include three books on economic democracy and social ethics, two widely acclaimed books on political neo-conservatism and a trilogy titled The Making of American Liberal Theology.
Reviewers have stated that Dorrien’s three volumes on American theological liberalism are the definitive works in the field. Boston University philosophical theologian Robert Neville wrote: “Dorrien is the most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analyses of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues.”
A frequent lecturer at universities, divinity schools, conferences, civic groups and religious gatherings, Dorrien speaks for the Distinguished Lecturers Program of the Organization of American Historians and is a recent past president of the American Theological Society.
In addition to his long involvement in the American Academy of Religion, Society of Christian Ethics and other professional organizations, Dorrien has a long record of involvement in social justice, human rights, environmental and anti-war organizations. His recent book, “Imperial Designs,” grew out of his extensive lecturing against the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.
An Episcopal priest, Dorrien was previously the Parfet Distinguished Professor at Kalamazoo College, where he taught for 18 years and also served as dean of Stetson Chapel.
“We also are fortunate to have another of America’s best-known Christian theologians, Stanley Hauerwas, coming to Alma College in early February,” says Blanchard. “While Dorrien and Hauerwas respect one another’s scholarship, in many ways they represent competing approaches to questions of ethics, or how Christians should live in a pluralistic world. Audience members who are lucky enough to hear both of these thinkers will find themselves partaking in a rich theological and political debate.”
Dorrien’s speech at Alma College is sponsored by the Religious Studies Department, Office of the Chaplain and Co-Curricular Committee.
Posted: Mon, October 22nd, 2007 at 12:49AM