OCT 19-20, 2012
CHARLES AMJAD-ALI, DORAN SCHRANTZ, JIN S. KIM, MARK VAN STEENWYK, MARQUE JENSEN
Opportunity, prosperity, freedom are the virtues that define the American way of life in the popular imagination. But these virtues have become empty rhetoric for the vast majority, a false religion designed to entrench the power of corporations in collusion with government. The electorate becomes disenfranchised and our communities more fragmented. American neo-liberalism has been pushed here at home and across the globe as not only the most practically workable political and economic framework, but an ideology that rivals religion in its claim to lead people to earthly salvation.
Individuals are desperate for a way out of the systems that reduce them to commodified bodies, yet insufficient understanding of these systems among Christian leaders makes it difficult to distinguish the kingdom of God from the ways of empire. We believe that the congregation has a compelling role as counterwitness to this American salvation.
What we’ll talk about:
- How did we get here?: Surveying the development of neo-liberalism, including the sense of historical inevitability and civilizational supremacy undergirding it since the end of the Cold War.
- What’s going on?: The decline of social capital and community building, and the consequences of a distracted and depoliticized public.
- What’s at stake?: The psychological and relational consequences of neo-liberalism, which emphasizes radical individualism, freedom of choice, consumerism, and competition to climb the social ladder.
- What can we share?: Stories of local congregations and communities that have dared to imagine alternative forms of social and economic organization, along with their learnings on the journey.
- What can we take with us?: Biblical, historical, and theological resources for an alternative social and political vision, which restores the crucial role of the local congregation in human flourishing.
- Charles Amjad-Ali, MLK Jr. Professor for Justice and Christian Community at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN; ordained as a presbyter of the Church of Pakistan and former director of the Christian Study Center in Rawalpindi, Pakistan; former chair of the Urban Rural Mission of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches; author of numerous publications on Christianity and politics.
- Doran Schrantz, Executive Director of ISAIAH, a faith-based community organization, working toward racial and economic justice issues in the state of Minnesota by engaging in extensive leadership development and training, innovative campaigns (including the recently launched “Prophetic Voices” campaign) on a local, regional and state-wide level, and congregational development.
- Jin S. Kim, Founding Pastor & Head of Staff of Church of All Nations, Minneapolis, MN; PCUSA Field Staff for English Ministry, coaching and advising pastors/seminarians; adjunct professor at Dubuque Seminary; serves on MN Council of Churches board, and formerly served as PCUSA delegate to the National Council of Churches; preaches and speaks widely on the ministry of reconciliation.
- Mark Van Steenwyk, Co-founder of the Mennonite Worker (a Mennonite intentional community in Minneapolis, MN); a facilitator/editor of JesusRadicals.com and producer/co-host of the Iconocast (podcast); experimenter in grassroots radical education (the Rootworks); nurtures and networks with emerging radical communities in North America; author of That Holy Anarchist and the forthcoming The unKingdom of God.
- Marque Jensen, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Immigrant Freedom Network; previously Program Director of the Sanctuary Community Development Corporation; he and his family have lived for over 20 years in North Minneapolis, where he has served as a pastor, worked in public schools and various non-profits, and as a community organizer building strategic networks among various constituents in the neighborhood.
- Welcome and Introduction by Pastor Jin S. Kim & John Nelson
- Betrayed by a Kiss: The American Church & Empire by Charles Amjad-Ali
- Morning Worship: Sermon by Hikari Nakane
- Morning Worship: Testimony by Laura Newby
- The unKingdom of God: Nurturing Radical Communities by Mark Van Steenwyk
- Organizing Local Communities to Rebuild Social Capital by Doran Schrantz
- Panel Discussion with Charles Amjad-Ali, Doran Schrantz & Mark Van Steenwyk (moderated by Jin S. Kim)