Summoned Toward Wholeness at Duke Divinity School

Summoned Toward Wholeness at Duke Divinity School

We rarely travel but my wife and I are really looking forward to ‘Summoned Toward Wholeness: A Conference on Food, Farming, and the Life of Faith‘ coming September at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. As the emergence of a renewed Christian agrarianism continues to swell nationwide, gatherings like these serve to strengthen and network a largely unacknowledged movement. More and more followers of Jesus are sinking their roots back into the Land and the communal table as a means to reinvigorate their life and faith. If that is you, you are not alone.

From the Duke Divinity School website:

Summoned Toward Wholeness: A Conference on Food, Farming, and the Life of Faith – Duke Divinity School
(September 27, 2013 to September 28, 2013)

“Scripture portrays God as a gardener, farmer, and shepherd. It describes Jesus as “the bread of life” who invites people to the Lord’s table so they can learn to feed his sheep. It is hard to read the Bible and not see that God cares deeply about food and agriculture.

Join plenary speakers Ellen F. Davis, Joel Salatin, Scott Cairns, and Norman Wirzba, and 12 workshop leaders, as we explore multiple connections between food, farming, and the life of faith. Discover how a  concern for food and agriculture can deepen faith and heal our lands and communities.

This event is hosted by Duke Divinity School, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Blessed Earth, and Anathoth Community Garden.”

Plenary Speakers:

Ellen F. Davis: is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. The author of eight books and many articles, she focuses her research on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their responses to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. A lay Episcopalian, she is active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion and since 2004 has worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture.

Joel Salatin: is a third-generation organic farmer and author whose family owns and operates Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, forage-based rabbits and direct markets everything to 4,000 families, 40 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets. A prolific author, Salatin’s seven books to date include both how-to and big-picture themes. Polyface Farm features prominently in Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and the award-winning documentary Food, Inc.

Scott Cairns: is a professor of English at the University of Missouri. He is also director of MU Writing Workshops in Greece, a program that brings graduate and undergraduate students to Thessaloniki and Thasos every June for intensive engagement with literary life in modern Greece. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, etc., and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. His most recent poetry collection is Compass of Affection. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and is completing work on a new poetry collection, Idiot Psalms, and a translation of selections from The Philokalia under the title Descent to the Heart. His memoir will be released in a new edition called Slow Pilgrim in 2014.

Norman Wirzba: is Professor Theology and Ecology at Duke Divinity School. He teaches courses on theology as they relate to environmental and agricultural issues. His current research focuses on developing an account of the doctrine of creation that speaks to humanity’s faithful presence in the world. He is the author of several books, including Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating and (with Fred Bahnson) Making Peace with the Land. He edited The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

Dr. Matthew Sleeth: A former emergency room physician, Matthew Sleeth resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach, and write about faith and the environment. Since founding Blessed Earth, he has spoken at 1,000 churches and schools throughout the country. Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine and has two postdoctoral fellowships. He is the author of Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action, the introduction to The Green Bible, and 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.

Workshops:

  • Fred BahnsonSoil & Sacrament: Stories from the Food & Faith Movement
  • Chris BurtnerUnplug and Dig In: Inviting Children into the Garden
  • Mike CallicrateThe Morality of Raising and Eating Meat
  • Kyle ChildressA Church’s Role in Food and Farming
  • Preston CorrellDeveloping a Local Food System
  • Stan DoerrThe Brown Revolution: The Global Food Crisis and Viable Options for the Small Scale Farmer
  • Chas EdensDown to Earth Teaching: The Garden as a Classroom for Christian Educators
  • Melanie HarrisAn EcoWomanist Looks at Farming and Food
  • Aaron JonesFire and Sacrament: Baking Bread as a Sign and Foretaste of the Kingdom
  • Steve MooreGrowing Sustainably: BioIntensive Farming for Yourself, Family and Community
  • Melinda WigginsFarmworkers’ Lives, Labor & Advocacy

For more information on workshop speakers and overall event details, go to: http://divinity.duke.edu/summoned

If you are interested in issues arising from the cross-section of food, agriculture and Christian faith than I hope we will see you there!

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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