October 15, 2019
Students and Faculty of the BTI Consortium –

The BTI Consortium has a long history of supporting student and faculty conferences. We’re here to assist you with planning, advertising, and money for out-of-pocket expenses (speaker stipend, food, programs, etc).

What’s your academic interest? Network with peers at your home school and at least one other BTI school, apply on our website, and we will help you create a memorable, and CV-worthy, event.

Ann and Alix
Featured BTI Consortium Events
Keynote Speaker:
Rachel J. Smith , Associate Professor of Spirituality at Villanova University.

Panelists: Dr. Brian Robinette , Dr. Angela Harkins , and Dr. Filipe Maia

The second-century theologian Justin Martyr reminds his readers, “The title ‘God’ is not a name, but the opinion, innate in human nature, of an inexpressible reality.” Despite the excess of divinity’s essence over humanity’s capacity for articulation, the various monotheistic traditions do attempt to name the inexpressible reality that invites our worship and contemplation. This attempt at both cataphatic and apophatic theological utterance is aided by the revelation (in Christian, Judaic, and Islamic traditions) of the imago Dei, that humanity is made in God’s image. This revelation enables humanity to employ various analogies, metaphors, and symbols in their attempts to speak faithfully about God. In this conference, we hope to foster a hospitable and critical dialogue concerning the language that is employed to describe the ineffable mystery of God and those who mirror Her in the world.

All participants and attendees are invited to a complimentary catered luncheon as part of the event.
Thursday, October 24th, 4:00 PM, Documentary Screening, Harvard Divinity School. HDS is hosting a screening of the film. Q&A and panel discussion with Professor David Carrasco, director Timothy Greenfield, and film editor Johanna Giebelhaus after the screening. Tickets required. Details + Tickets.
2019-2020 Graduate Symposium on Religion and Politics
Deep Stories: Narrative’s Role in American Religion and Politics
In her recent book, Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Russell Hochschild writes, “A deep story is a feelsas-if story—it’s the story feelings tell, in the language of symbols. It removes judgment. It removes fact. It tells us how things feel. . . . And I don’t believe we understand anyone’s politics, right or left, without it. For we all have a deep story.” Assuming this is true, our own deep stories are a blend of elements from the many narratives we hear and internalize—familial, religious, social, historical,political. And these narratives play significant and decisive roles in our lived experience and our interpretation of the world around us.

This year’s Graduate Symposium will gather students from a variety of disciplines to explore the role
narratives play in the lives of Americans. The seminar will begin by reviewing perspectives on the
power of narrative or story and the influence of different narratives upon one another as they shape
our “deep stories.” With a particular focus on the interplay of religious and political narratives,
participants will then discern the ways our narratives have been formed, how they have evolved, and
how some seek to manipulate them. Then we will turn to the way stories influence American
perspectives on important topics, such as race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.
The Symposium, an informal and student-led graduate seminar, will meet approximately once a
month from November through April for a free meal and discussion at the Boisi Center (24
Quincy Road, Chestnut Hill, MA). Designed to be interdisciplinary and limited to a small number of
engaged participants, students will be invited to lead a session and to suggest short readings, as
modeled below. All participants will be asked to commit to at least four of the six total sessions
through the academic year. Meeting dates and times will be determined to best accommodate the
participants’ various schedules.

Tuesday, October 29th, 11:30-12:30 PM, Panel Discussion, Boston University School of Theology, Sponsored by the Tom Porter Religion and Conflict Transformation Program. All of us who minister (ordained or lay) have traveled pathways -sometimes many- to arrive at our present location, and we are still walking. We all have stories to tell: the roads taken and left behind, the wildernesses wandered, the thirst-quenching streams and the times we felt the temptations of the Evil One or the cradling arms of God along the way. In this session, the RCT Visiting Researchers will speak of the life-journeys that formed them as agents of transformation and reconciliation, how they continue to shape their views and actions, and share their stories and others, through reflective writing and research. Students will be invited to consider and share their own pilgrimages: roads taken and those currently being walked. Lunch provided, please RSVP by Oct. 22.
Monday, October 28th, 7:00 PM, Panel Discussion, Hartford Seminary. For two millennia Jesus has been invented and reinvented by believers. The complex process of reinventing Jesus by the adherents of different religious communities has had both positive and negative outcomes. Dr. Anthony Le Donne explores the consequences of excluding the voices of non-white scholarship and Dr. Hossein Kamaly will examine Jesus within the Islamic traditions. Come and participate in this dialogue, moderated by Dr. Lucinda Mosher. Details + Panelists.
Additional Events around the Consortium
Wednesday, October 16th, 5:00 PM, Institute for Philosophy and Religion, Boston University. Lecture with L.A. Paul, Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Yale University. Details.
Thursday, October 17th, 7:00 PM, Center for World Religions at Harvard University. Our presenter will be Fr. John Behr of St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. For readings and information, please contact Andrew Jacobs.
October 16th-18th, Gordon-Conwell, South Hamilton. This symposium will offer interactive instruction and collegial dialogue around the process of enfolding and infusing spiritual formation into the life of your church and community. A creative mini soul care retreat and optional spiritual direction will also be offered. An optional Enneagram workshop is also available the morning of Oct 16. Coffee and snacks will be provided each morning, as well as lunch and dinner provided on days one and two. We will conclude prior to lunchtime on Oct 18. Invite your team to join you for this unique spiritual formation and leadership development experience! Contact info@leadershiptransformations.org or visit here for more information.
Monday, October 21st, 12:00-1:00 PM, Harvard Divinity School. Women’s mass incarceration has grown exponentially in the last 40 years yet the lasting impact that the carceral system has on women and the array of subsequent challenges remain largely unaddressed and under-discussed. As women are more likely to face charges related to illegal substances, the negative impact of policy in conjunction with the "War on Drugs" continues to affect women and their families post-incarceration. This event will explore this negative impact particularly through the lens of food security and will pose the question of the role of faith-communities and faith-based institutions in addressing these negative outcomes. Please join us for food and conversation! Details.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 12:00-1:15 PM, Gordon-Conwell, South Hamilton. Details + RSVP.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 5:30-7:00 PM, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College. Co-Sponsored by the Institute of Liberal Arts and Department of Theology. Scholars will discuss contemporary theological and scientific understandings of "nature" in light of the recent Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith statement denouncing how the concept of nature is used when discussing the rights of transgender persons. Details + Registration.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 12:30-2:00 PM, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University. This lecture consists of an exposition into Rabindranath Tagore’s rarely known Śāntiniketan (Abode of Peace) essays which Dr. Medha Bhattacharyya has translated from Bengali into English. Apart from exploring various relevant aspects about Tagore’s Śāntiniketan essays, she will discuss certain predominant themes in these essays such as love, harmonious coexistence of opposites, the finite as a means to reach the Infinite. She will also examine her pioneering analysis connecting Tagore’s thought with Sri Ramakrishna’s concepts of vijñāna and bhāvamukha. The essays are filled with a resonant universal message of humanity and psalms of life which enable humankind to tread the path of life with courage and conviction and ultimately strive to attain the abode of peace. Details.
Thursday, October 24th, 12:30-2:00 PM, Women's Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School. Alicia Izharuddin (University of Malaya), Visiting Senior Lecturer on Women’s Studies and Islam, will give a lecture entitled “'Misery Loves Company?’ Radical Failure as the Basis for Transnational Muslim Feminist Solidarity.” Details.
Sunday, October 27th, 12:30-2:00 PM, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Sponsored by C21. Parents, grandparents, and their little ones are invited to enjoy refreshments, a book reading and a fun drawing workshop. Join us to learn more about the inspiration behind this new children’s book and the World Drawing God Day movement. Everyone will go home with a special give-away! Details + Registration.
Monday, October 28th, 5:30-7:00 PM, Panel Discussion, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College. The press and many politicians portray the contemporary Republican Party as the political standard bearer for persons of faith, while the Democratic Party -- long the party of Catholics and working class Southern Protestants -- is seen as the party of the non- (or even anti-) religious voter. There is much evidence to question that understanding. This lively panel will discuss, critique, and question that evidence. Details + Registration.
Friday, November 1st, 8:30 AM-4:00 PM, Harvard Divinity School. This colloquium is part of a series of discussions convened to analyze theoretical concepts in the study of religion from the vantage point of coloniality and race, in an effort to engage critically and to expand the frameworks of the discipline. In this year’s colloquium, we focus on catastrophe. The idea is prompted by the cultural resurgence of allusions to the “end of the world” in response to a sense of imminent ecological threat. To illuminate the current allusions to catastrophe, we propose to analyze them in relation to the legacies of colonialism and race—resurfacing histories of previous catastrophes, tracing the colonial/racial dimensions of current or impending disasters, or seeking alternative imaginaries for “ends” and “worlds.” What can be learned if we set out to rethink “catastrophe” from the “other” side of the colonial/racial divide? Registration required by October 21st.
Wednesday, November 6th, 6:00-8:00 PM, First Church in Boston. The classic defining commitment of liberal theology to intellectual freedom and intellectual credibility cannot be wrong, but liberal theology today must be liberationist in confronting structures of injustice and its own history as a discourse of racial, gender, sexual, and class privilege. STH Visiting Professor Gary Dorrien, eminent ethicist and historian, will deliver a public lecture on liberal theology organized by the STH Unitarian Universalist Student Association. First Church in Boston will partner with the UUSA to host the evening lecture in its building in downtown Boston. The event is free and open the public. Registration requested.
Submission Deadlines for the BTI Newsletter for FALL 2019: 10/10, 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5 . Please send submissions (including graphics) to: btinews@bostontheological.org for inclusion in the newsletter. The BTI Newsletter is sent biweekly on Tuesdays.
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