Beyond Bilingualism: Gustaf Wingren and the Public Voice of Diaconia

Article by Tron Fagermoen in Diaconia.

The political and public dimensions of diaconia are increasingly being acknowledged. This in turn necessitates a discussion of the language agents of diaconia should use when expressing their views in the public sphere. Should they articulate their concerns in a so-called secular language, accessible also to those who do not share the Christian faith? Or should they use the distinctive language of their specific religious tradition? The article proposes that the political ethics of the Swedish theologian Gustaf Wingren (1910–2000) provides a rewarding starting point for addressing this issue. With his dialectical approach to the distinction between law and Gospel, universality and particularity, Wingren contributes to an understanding of the public voice of diaconia, which not only moves beyond the alternatives of distinctiveness and accessibility but which also challenges the concept of bilingualism, a concept that has become central to contemporary public theology. Thus, it is argued, Wingren paves the way for conceptualizing the public voice of diaconia and provide it with the rhetorical flexibility, dialogical reciprocity, and polyphonic diversity needed to constructively engage a postsecular public sphere characterized by religious complexity.

Being, belonging, and borders: Scandinavian creation theology as political theology

Article by Elisabeth Gerle in Dialog.

Desire for life and protecting lives has come to the fore during the pandemic. Borders have been closed to stop the spread of Covid‐19. The virus does not respect borders, yet physical distance is crucial. Three things have become clear. One is the level of uncertainty about which measures are most efficient. The other is that the neo‐liberal philosophy with “just in time” deliveries on a global market has made everyone vulnerable and invited national protectionism rather than collaboration. A third insight is that the lack of borders between wild and tame animals and human beings is connected to the emergence of the virus itself, where rain forests are exploited for short sighted profit. In the midst of this, a cry for Being, for Life, and Human Flourishing, can be heard as an underlying drumbeat. In relation to this I ponder Being in relation to Belonging and to Borders. I first describe a political landscape where neo‐nationalist, and neo‐atheist, claims for belonging, have emerged all over the world, and hence emphasized strong borders between different people, but not for capital. Secondly, I draw on resources from Scandinavian Creation Theology, especially Grundtvig, Aulén, and Wingren to paint a planetary vision with porous borders, beyond patriarchy, populism, and protectionism. In the long run there is no opting out of the planetary vulnerability. I launch the term eschatological creation theology for a creation theology that allows creation to be inspired by the Kin‐dom to come with righteousness and life in abundance.

Populismens existentiella dimensioner: Sverigedemokrater och kyrkor i den flytande moderniteten

Article by Joel Halldorf in Theofilos.

Rightwing populism is characterized by critique of immigration, but populist parties also address existential anxieties of late or liquid modernity. I argue that regular churchgoers reject the Sweden Democrats not only because they hold different opinions on immigration, but also due to their strong social capital. The latter helps them cope with modern anxieties, and this makes them less inclined to accept the message of the populists.

Church, migration and populism in Norway: four discursive strategies

Article by Kjetil Fretheim in Practical theology.

When migration is high on the political agenda, religious communities are challenged in terms of their identity, formation and public witness. In this article I draw on official documents and public statements from the Church of Norway as well as examples of preaching practices in the context of increased numbers of refugees and asylum seekers and populist/far-right politics. The aim is to discuss the implicit and explicit ecclesiological and political positioning of the church in its various responses. I identify four discursive strategies: Political participation, Religious identification, Biblical witness and Self-critical assessment.

Christian ethics, natural law, and Lutheran tradition

Article by Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen in Studia Theologica.

The Lutheran tradition places a pronounced emphasis on the universal aspects of theological ethics. The present article draws attention to particular aspects of the theological ethics of Martin Luther, which support the existence of a Christian ethics in several meanings of this concept. It argues that a Christian ethics exists in the sense that it presupposes Christian faith, is only for Christians, is realized as a consequence of receiving the Christian faith, is shaped by the Christian faith, and leads to a distinct way of life. Moreover, it concludes that there exists a remarkable convergence between natural law and what is identified as a Christian ethics in the theology of Luther. But it is still possible to argue that, according to Luther, something special is demanded of Christians: They must be willing to endure suffering and persecution because of their Christian faith.

European Academy of Religion – Annual Conference & Call for Papers

It is with great pleasure that the European Academy of Religion announces its fourth Annual Conference, which will take place in Münster (Germany) between Monday, August 30th and Thursday, September 2nd2021. Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster will be the organizing institution. As in previous years, the scientific program will be composed of working sessions (panels and book presentations) and keynote lectures that will focus on the overarching topic Religion and Change. (click link for details)

The call for proposals is open: proponents will be able to submit their panels and AMC sessions until Monday, March 1st, 2021 (23:59, GMT+1). (click link for details)

Due to the COVID-19 related emergency, the conference will be moved online in case the sanitary measures should not allow to host it in presence. Conference cancellation will be announced in due time, with further information on how to run the sessions online.


While registrations to the conference will open in early 2021, important dates for proposal submissions are
as follows:


~ Opening of the resubmission of 2020 panels Friday, December 4th, 2020
~ Opening of the call for panels and AMC proposals Friday, December 4th, 2020
~ Deadline for the resubmission of 2020 panels Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020
~ Opening of the call for papers (within accepted panels) Monday, February 1st, 2021
~ Deadline for panel and AMC submissions Monday, March 1st, 2021
~ Deadline for paper proposal submissions Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
~ Deadline for sending the final details of all accepted sessions Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
~ Deadline for requesting changes regarding the scheduling of all sessions included in the conference program Wednesday, June 6th, 2021

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Pentekostal spiritualitet, økoteologi og miljøengasjement

Article by Karl Inge Tangen in SJLT.

This article identifies resources and problems in the Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition concerning environmental action and engagement. The purpose is to motivate Pentecostal and Charismatic churches to reflect on how they should respond as the world faces the prospect of an ecological crisis. The study begins by identifying a core narrative in the Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition. This core narrative is used as a hermeneutical key to interpret eco-theological elements in the biblical story of creation, fall, redemption, and final consummation. The study also discusses common objections towards eco-theology among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians. These objections include the fear of an alternative or eco-centric spirituality, the implications of different forms of eschatology, and how Pentecostal and charismatic Christians understand their being in the world with regard to both evangelism and politics. The article argues that Pentecostal and Charismatic churches have spiritual resources that may empower them to transcend an anthropocentric worldview and develop a visionary virtue-ethic that may guide and enable a sustainable lifestyle and constructive environmental engagement. The article concludes by identifying seven themes that may encourage constructive action-reflection and stimulate further research.

Symposium: Historical and Political perspectives on Human Rights

On May 25-26th 2021, a symposium will be arranged at the University of Gothenburg on the history and future of human rights.

Against the background of rampant economic inequality, increased social polarization and the rise of authoritarian populism, it is motivated to revisit the role and status of human rights. To discuss how we can understand human rights as a historical and political problem, we have invited some of the foremost authorities in the world to discuss the subject in Gothenburg between the 25th and 26th of May 2021.

Speakers are: 

  • Professor Samuel Moyn, Yale University
  • Associate Professor Jessica Whyte, University of New South Wales
  • Professor John Milbank, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Professor Hans Joas, Humbold-Universität zu Berlin
  • Professor Lena Halldenius, Lunds universitet
  • Professor Elena Namli, Uppsala Universitet

Practicalities:

Dates: May 25-26, 2021. 

Venue: Conference Centre Wallenberg, Medicinaregatan 20, Gothenburg. Changes can be made due to the development of the corona virus during the spring.

Organizers: Tomas Wedin (Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion), Johan Söderberg (Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science) and Carl Wilén (The Department of Sociology and Work Science).

Free admission, but registration needs to be done in advance.

Registration and more: 

For further information, contact the organizer at: manskligarattighetergbg2021@gmail.com

The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond,  and three departments at the University of Gothenburg: Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion, The Department of Sociology and Work Science, and Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science.

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Christianity and Nationalism seminar series in Lund, spring 2021

Time: Tuesdays at 16.15-18.00 (unless otherwise indicated).
Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/69542595209

16 February: Sentimental Orthodoxy in Ukraine

Tornike Metreveli will present his forthcoming research project within the platform and talk about his recent book Orthodox Christianity and the Politics of Transition: Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia (Routledge, 2021).

Tornike Metreveli is a sociologist of religion focusing on Orthodox Christianity. Before joining Lund, he had research fellowships at the University of St. Gallen, Harvard, and London School of Economics.

23 March: Church and Nation: Historical Perspectives

This seminar will address the entangled relationship between nationalism, the churches and Christian theology in Europe from various historical perspectives (18th and 19th centuries). As a more recent example, it will also discuss how the Swedish primary school functioned as a ‘church’ for a modern national Christianity until the 1960s.

Urban Claesson is professor of Church history, Uppsala University, focusing on a wide range of topics such as Lutheran education and Lutheran identity, Pietism, National Churches in Nordic Nation-building and the use of history.

Erik Sidenvall is adjunct professor in Church history, Lund University, focusing on European Christianity during the modern era with an emphasis on social history, gender and micro history.

27 April: Religious Literacy and Education: Non-confessional Religious Education in Pluralistic Swedish Schools

This seminar focuses on the complexity of Swedish schools as arenas for implementing the dual task of embracing both traditional knowledge mandate and the democratic “citizenship” mandate, serving challenges to teachers when it comes to religious non-confessional education in the global classroom /pluralistic classroom.

Sinikka Neuhaus is Head of Teacher Education and Assistant Head of Department and Programmes Director at the CEP, Lund University.

Johanna Gustafsson Lundberg is Associate Professor (Docent) of Ethics at the CTR, Lund University.

18 May: Imbrications of Gender and Religion in Nordic Radical Right Populism

Ov Cristian Norocel will present a recent study on the ways in which issues of gender and religion are employed for ideological purposes in the discourses of radical right populist parties which have made significant inroads in parliamentary politics in these countries during the past decade. More specifically, the study departs from the complexity of Swedish and Finnish societies as paragons of social welfare and gender equality, whereby Lutheran Christianity underpins discreetly their largely secularized character.

Ov Cristian Norocel holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Helsinki and is currently Associate Senior Lecturer at Lund University’s Department of Gender Studies.

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