CHICAGO, IL (September 29, 2015) — Videos of all sessions from North Park Theological Seminary’s three-day Symposium on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture are available online.
The theme for this year’s symposium, which was held September 24-26, was Race and Racism. Scholars and pastors presented papers and gave responses to presentations on the topic.
Themes on identity, the nature of race—whether it is a biological or social construct—community, and viewing the Bible contextually were among the topics discussed.
In his presentation on “An Indigenous Reinterpretation of Repentance,” Raymond Aldred, asssistant professor of theology at Ambrose Seminary/Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta, discussed past actions against aboriginal people in Canada, and said repentance would include his people turning from the self-shame they experience as a result of atrocities against them and turning to the God-given identity. He cautioned that he did not mean his argument to be one of blaming the victim.
Aldred added that the privileged group that inflicted the pain must repent and move beyond apology because repentance also includes entering into dialogue and hearing the results of the actions, even if committed by previous generations.
“By remembering past actions and owning them on an individual level, a nation may keep from making the same mistakes again. If the focus is on right relationships, this rules out the idea of a new national strategy or policy that is going to fix all of the problems inherited from the past,” Aldred said.
Lewis Brogdon, assistant professor of religion and biblical studies at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, spoke on reimagining koinonia, which he said is often weakly translated as “fellowship” and viewed as “just being members of the same denomination, attending church dinners or other ‘get togethers’ or that we meet in the same building every Sunday and Wednesday for worship and prayer.”
Yet the word has a much richer meaning, Brogdon said, explaining that it is “a spiritual bond that Christians share with God through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, fellow believers and is extended to those not in Christ. It is a spiritual reality, activated and made effectual by faith and knowledge that can transform how Christians see and treat people. This reality manifests itself in concrete acts of kindness, generosity, hospitality, and love.”
Nestor Medina, a visiting scholar at Emmanuel college, University of Toronto, Center for Research in Religion, said Christians must “scrutinize the circumstances and conditions that provoked specific and even radical changes in the perception of the people of Israel that eventually lead to the inclusion of others.”
Videos of the 2015 Nils W. Lund Lectures held at the seminary September 23 and 24 also are available at the site.