Saturday, December 17, 2011

At the Crossroads, Again: Mormon & Methodist Encounters in the 19th and 21st Centuries

The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy is very pleased to announce the second conference hosted by the Mormon Chapter on February 24-5 in Washington DC. The event will be hosted by Wesley Theological Seminary and will be entitled "At the Crossroads, Again: Mormon & Methodist Encounters in the 19th and 21st Centuries." The conference is designed to bring practitioners and scholars from both traditions into a conversation to build understanding, trust, and friendship. Attached you will find the conference announcement with further details. Wehope your schedule allows you to attend.

Scheduled Participants include:

Frances Adeney, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Senator Robert Bennett
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University
Terryl Givens, University of Richmond
Eileen Guenther, Wesley Theological Seminary
Elaine Heath, Southern Methodist University
Matthew Holland, Utah Valley University (President)
David McAllister-Wilson, Wesley Theological Seminary (President)
Warner Woodworth, Brigham Young University
others to be announced

The conference website can be found here.

Links to the 2010 Mormon Engagement with the World Religions Conference

Video Footage

Conference Schedule & Information

We are also pleased to note that February 2012 will be a banner month for outstanding conferences on Mormonism on the East Coast as more than a few of our FRD Mormon chapter colleagues will be participating in a Columbia University event on Mormonism and politics in early February ( Jana Riess is among the organizers and will be sending more information soon.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse

Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse
Edited by: Joseph Gelfer

December 21 2012 is believed to mark the end of the thirteenth B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the Mayan calendar. A growing number of people believe this date to mark the end of the world or, at the very least, the end of the world as we know it: a shift to a new form of global consciousness. 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse brings together for the first time a range of scholarly analyses on the 2012 phenomena grounded in various disciplines including religious studies, anthropology, Mayan studies, cultural studies and the social sciences.

2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse will show readers how much of the 2012 phenomenon is based on the historical record, and how much is contemporary fiction. It will reveal to readers the landscape of the modern apocalyptic imagination, the economics of the spiritual marketplace, the commodification of countercultural values, and the cult of celebrity. This collection brings much-needed academic rigour and documentation to a subject of rapidly increasing interest to diverse religious and other communities in these crucial closing years before we experience what will be either a profound leap in the human story or, less dramatically, just another mark in time.

Michael D. Coe, Yale University
1. Introduction
Joseph Gelfer
2. The 2012 Phenomenon: New Uses for an Ancient Mayan Calendar
Robert K. Sitler, Stetson University
3. Maya Prophesies, 2012 and the Problematic Nature of Truth
Mark Van Stone, Southwestern College
4. Mayanism Comes of (New) Age
John W. Hoopes, Kansas University
5. The 2012 Milieu: Hybridity, Diversity and Stigmatised Knowledge
Peter Lentini, Monash University
6. Chichén Itzá and Chicken Little: How Pseudosciences Embraced 2012
Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University
7. Roland Emmerich’s 2012: A Simple Truth
Andrea Austin, Wilfrid Laurier University
8. The 2012 Movement, Visionary Arts and Psytrance Culture
Graham St John, University of Regina
9. In a Prophetic Voice: Australasia 2012
Joseph Gelfer
10. Approaching 2012: Modern Misconceptions vs. Reconstructing Ancient Maya Perspectives
John Major Jenkins, independent scholar

Monday, December 05, 2011

Reconfiguring Ecclesiology in Participatory Culture

The more I participate in and study various aspects of contemporary American and Western culture the more I recognize that the church is ill prepared to participate in relevant ways. We need to be asking ourselves why the church is still largely a passive culture, whereas the rest of the society in which we find ourselves is now a participatory culture.

This has dawned on me the more I study things like Burning Man Festival, science fiction festivals, and even with the recent viewing of a documentary on George Lucas which referenced thousands of fan films that wanted to make their contribution to the universe and mythology of Star Wars. Think of YouTube pages, blogging, Twitter, personally created playlists on iTunes, and any number of other technologies we draw upon every day. People want to be active participants in the creation of what matters most to them. Yet church worship services involve coming to a building at a time designated by others, standing when you are told to stand, sitting when you are told to sit, singing songs (and in the styles and forms) chosen by others, and hearing a message crafted by others and then being told what to think about it and how to act on it in your own life.

The church in the 21st century American and Western contexts must be thinking about what it means to reconfigure ecclesiology in participatory culture. Where is this on the agenda of the emerging and missional church movements?