"Killing Mexican Jesus" - February 2, 2020
Dr. Joyce Del Rosario, Assistant Professor, Practice of Ministry, Pacific School of Religion
Description: While serving marginalized communities is a good, if not necessary endeavor, we often do so without deep enough thought into our theological motivations and methodological practices. This presentation will describe part of Dr. del Rosario's research on ministries to teen moms and their mentors. We will discuss how issues of culture between black and brown teen moms have been missed by their white mentors. How have the methods of ministry reified white superiority rather than centering the marginalized teen moms?
Bio: Joyce earned her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary School of Intercultural Studies. Her research interests include youth ministry with a special focus on teen moms and urban and multiethnic youth ministry, social justice and racial reconciliation, theological anthropology, marginalized women, and postcolonial Filipino-American theology. Her own journey has been deeply shaped by her and her family’s active participation in her Filipino-American United Methodist community in Seattle where she grew up, as well as in a network of communities of color and progressive networks among Evangelical communities.
Sacred Crossings, Shaped Identities, and Cosmopolitan Hopes - February 9, 2020
Dr. Randall Miller, Faculty Associate in United Methodist Studies, Ethics, and Leadership, Pacific School of Religion
Description: Religious spaces are often contested and ‘crossed’ realities in which conflicting understandings of the Bible, theology, and morality stand side by side. Many Jewish and Christian theologians, for example, emphasize the importance of biblical admonitions to welcome and protect the ‘stranger’ or ‘alien’ (e.g. Lev. 19:34) without paying much attention to conflicting biblical texts that use religious and cultural purity laws to maintain strict social and political differences. This week’s lecture draws on Julia Kristeva’s famous essay, “The Powers Horror,” to unmask the ways individual and communal identities are defined and shaped by creating imagined ‘walls’ and rigid boundaries between one group of human beings and another. Similarly, Toni Morrison’s Sites of Memory: Proceedings too Terrible to Relate” will provide significant clues for drawing collective, salvific memories to break down walls, resist dehumanization and shape us into beloved community.
Bio: Dr. Randall Miller completed his doctoral degree in ethics and social theory at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. His dissertation entitled, “Colored Justice: Situating Martin Luther King’s Justice Ethic in Normative Theoretical Discourse,” compared King’s more contextualized approach to the perspectives of liberal theorists such as John Rawls. Miller’s academic specialties are theories of justice, political and economic ethics, and contextual theologies. Randall served on the PSR faculty between 2010 and 2015, and has also served as Interim Dean and as Academic Director of Ignite Institute.
A longtime lay member and advocate for the full inclusion of LGBTI+ people in the United Methodist Church, Randall has held leadership positions at all levels of the denomination, including his service as co-director of the National Youth Ministry Organization and on the executive committees of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the General Board of Global Ministries. He currently serves as Vice President of the General Board of Church and Society and Chair of the Social Principles Task Force, charged with revising the global denomination’s formal stances on social justice issues.
"Art at the Border: Delineating an Aesthetic of Combat and Communal Resistance" - February 16, 2020
Dr. Yohana Agra Junker, Faculty Associate in Theology, Spirituality, and Arts, Pacific School of Religion
Description: Visual arts in the Americas, from the latter half of the twentieth century to the present, have been powerful tools in revealing to us the wounds of history. Art created at the US-Mexico border has engaged with these wounds while delineating an aesthetic of combat and communal resistance. Although multi-vocal and extraordinarily diverse, these artists have continued to denounce the configurations of asymmetrical power relations, the abrasions of colonial histories, the (i)logic of neoliberalism, and the systemic ways in which people on the move have been excluded and “de-realized” of their humanity. While commodities are free to cross borders, certain bodies are not. In this week’s conversation, we will examine JR’s picnic table, Rael’s Teeter Totter, Fernandez’sBorrando la Frontera, Jaar’s The Cloud, and Post-Commodity’s Valla Repelente. These works of art reach bi-directionally across the border functioning as locus theologicus—a place for doing theology artistically and prophetically. Taken together, they become genuine sources of human expression at the intersections while also unmasking the struggles of disenfranchised peoples. They also provide models for loving nos/otros radically.
Bio: Dr. Junker is an educator, visual artist, and recently earned her Ph.D. in art and religion from the Graduate Theological Union. In her dissertation, “Unsettling the Landscape: Appropriation, Representation, and Indigenous Aesthetics in the Land Art of the American Southwest,” she probes how Land Arts of the American Southwest are implicated in colonial histories and contentious claims to the land. A life-long Methodist, Yohana was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and received her BA from Universidade Metodista de São Paulo. She migrated to the United States in 2010, and completed an MTS from Christian Theological Seminary in which she examined aspects of spirituality, tragedy, and transcendence in the works of contemporary secular visual artists.
"Reading from an Interstitial Space: An Asian American Transnational Feminist Reading of Matthew 20:10-16" - February 23, 2020
Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee, Professor of Practical Theology, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, Iliff School of Theology
Description: As an Asian immigrant woman speaking with strong accents who has crossed various physical and metaphorical borders, and yet having a “successful” professional career with power and privilege, I reside in multiple centers and margins of the American society at the same time. Inspired by Rita Nakashima Brock’s notion of Interstitial Integrity, I call my social and reading location interstitial spaces - worlds between Asia and America, centers and margins, home and foreign land, and floating in and out of them while creating more spaces along the way. Living in interstitial spaces means that I refuse to disconnect from any of my multiple and in-between locations and borders, while not pledging allegiance to a singular one. It is also a space that challenges me to engage in solidarity with others who also live in various interstices for the wholeness of ALL. Utilizing this location as a reading lens, I read the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard as God's invitation to solidarity for justice across various borders.
Bio: Rev. Dr. Lee joined Iliff as Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty in 2017. Her theological and scholarly pursuit is fueled by a commitment to social justice and works hard to embody her commitment in her leadership and pedagogical practices. She also considers herself as a feminist communitarian educator as she values transparent communications and processes, consensus building, ongoing assessments of individual and communal needs, creating space for the least visible, delegating and stepping back for others, and setting boundaries with care.
Prior to Iliff, Rev. Dr. Lee served as Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Education, and Spiritual Formation at Pacific School of Religion, and a Core Doctoral Faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She started at PSR in 2002 and was the first woman of color tenured faculty. Rev. Dr. Lee is also an ordained United Methodist elder. She earned her B.A. and Th.M. degrees from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. In the United States, she went on to earn her M.Div. from Claremont School of Theology and her Ph.D. from Boston College.