The 2011 Bernhard M. Christensen Symposium, which will be held Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 26-27, will feature Walter Brueggeman, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and United Church of Christ minister. Brueggemann’s work focuses on the relationship between the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian faith. His 58 books, hundreds of sermons, and worldwide lecture events have deeply influenced contemporary theology and biblical exegesis. Brueggemann’s books include The Prophetic Imagination, Praying the Psalms, Theology of the Old Testament, and numerous commentaries on the Hebrew canon.
The annual Christensen Symposium is made possible through the Christensen Endowment, which was established by alumni and friends of Augsburg to honor Bernhard M. Christensen. As the president of Augsburg College and Seminary from 1938 to 1962, Christensen was a central figure in drawing Augsburg fully into the study of the liberal arts.
The Symposium is designed to reflect and reinforce the principles to which Christensen showed such deep commitment: academic integrity, the Christian Gospel, and a mutually supportive relationship with the church. In addition, it serves as a vehicle for the Augsburg community to explore and apply the five lessons that are Christensen’s legacy:
— Christian faith liberates minds and lives.
— Diversity strengthens vital communities.
— Interfaith friendships enrich learning.
— The love of Christ draws us to God.
— We are called to service in the world.
The Food Fight: Dispute in Biblical Testimony, Sept. 26-27
Monday, Sept. 26 lecture, 5 p.m., Hoversten Chapel
Accumulation: The Lust for Domination and Monopoly
This presentation will consider biblical models, beginning with Pharaoh in the book of Exodus, of the drive for acquisitiveness that destroys community and turns neighbors into threats or pawns. Brueggemann will connect those ancient witnesses to the contemporary force of acquisitiveness among us and the ideology of domination that skews neighborhoods and distorts policy initiatives in our society.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 convocation, 11 a.m., Hoversten Chapel
Community: Food Practiced as Astonished Gratitude
This presentation will consider an alternative trajectory of food in the Bible beginning with the manna narrative and culminating in the Eucharist. This trajectory is grounded in God’s gift of abundance that makes generous community possible. Brueggemann will probe the ways in which this ancient counter-narrative provides a ground for contemporary neighborly practice and for contemporary policy formation that eschews the scarcity enacted from anxiety.