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Drs. Gary Dorrien, Steve Simmons & Craig Atwood

Dr. Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and an ordained Episcopal priest. He is the author of 16 books and approximately 250 articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. A recent past president of the American Theological Society, Professor Dorrien has been described by Princeton University philosopher Cornel West as “the preeminent social ethicist in North America today.”

Dr. Dorrien was the Couillard Memorial Lecturer at Moravian Theological Seminary on November 9, 2012.  The lecture title was “Economic Democracy Then and Now“.

He covered a wide spectrum of the Social Gospel movement and its implications for us today.  He talked about the work and life of Walter Rauschenbusch, President Obama, Mitt Romney, the Tea Party Movement, Wall Street, Big Banks, etc.,

Here are some Moravian Theological seminary students thoughts about the lecture…..

Scott Kuykendall says, I came for the day, it was an excellent lecture, very enlightening and agree he is an important thinker in our time. He said many insightful things about  President Obama’s status as a” lightening rod” for national conversation regarding social justice and ethics. A key point for me was that as Christians we need to deliver the “heart message” of Jesus’s theology applying this to our politics.  I immediately came home and watched a Bill Moyers Journal interview a few years ago where Gary participated with Cornel West and Serence Jones in a discussion panel on Ethics and Social Justice. That was a room full of great minds for our day.

Scott is a MATS/Spiritual Direction Certificate ’14 student.

Robbie Graves said, I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of the origins of the Social Gospel through the life and works of Walter Rauschenbusch.  I thought it very helpful to gain the historical context and I honestly can’t think of a topic that is more relevant in the world today, especially given how economic and social status are becoming such prominent issues (as seen in the recent election).  These issues are not going away, so I believe that the exploration of the Social Gospel and ethics in general must be looked at with great interest.

Robbie Davies is a MATS/Spiritual Direction Certificate ’15 student.

Jewel Davis said, I appreciated Gary Dorrien’s candid and insightful perspectives on Social Ethics and the Social Gospel, particularly that of the Black Social Gospel, as well as the commodification of global capitalism, “politically engineered inequality,” and the current economic and sociopolitical crises. Coming out of his lectures, my affinity toward socioeconomic injustice, inequality and progressive transformation has strengthened.

Jewel Davis is an M.Div ’13 student.

Dr. Gary Dorrien’s lecture ended on a note of encouragement to get involved and work for God.  We need to love God and our neighbor.  We need to work for the Kin-dom of God.  Work for the commonwealth of God which is always grace filled.  The lecture was stirring, provocative, informative and encouraging.

Here is a link to his amazon book page for those who wish to read his books.

[Read also:  Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network]


blog1Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the MATS program at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press).