I’m Sorry, Christian, But You Don’t Get to Make That Move

“Even if all of this is (unimaginably) true, as Christians—as followers of Jesus—we live by a different script when it comes to what we’re supposed to do with the threat of bad people doing bad things. Jesus said a lot of weird things that are sometimes hard to make heads or tails of. But one thing Jesus wasn’t at all ambiguous about was how those who followed him were supposed to think about and treat their enemies. On this matter, he was painfully, uncomfortably, crystal clear.”


I have a bone to pick with Christians this morning. Not all Christians.  Not even the majority of Christians in my (limited) circles.  Not by a long shot.  No, my concern is with a smaller subset of Christians that tend to make a disproportionate amount of noise.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Christian people about the Syrian refugee crisis. I’ve observed a lot of reaction and response from Christian people online. And I’ve noticed some of these Christian brothers and sisters buying into the fear and the hysteria that attempts to convince us that we need to keep our nation’s doors resolutely closed to refugees from this part of the world.

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DT Podcast Episode 16 – Natalia Imperatori-Lee

This is a fun podcast. Take a listen.

Daily Theology

Natalia Imperatori-Lee (photo courtesy of Manhattan College) Natalia Imperatori-Lee (photo courtesy of Manhattan College) Welcome to the finale of season 1 of the podcast! As we go into hiatus until the new year, feast your ears on this insightful and funny conversation between Steve Okey and Natalia Imperatori-Lee! In this episode, they talk about the necessity of friendship in theology, how she became interested in Ecclesiology (the study of the Church), and her efforts to help Hispanic and first-generation college students cultivate a wider imagination about the professional opportunities they can have in life.

Dr. Natalia Imperatori-Lee is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. She earned her BA from Fordham University, her MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and her PhD from the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests focus on Ecclesiology, with a particular interest in feminist theology, Mariology, and the Church. Her current book project (which…

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TONIGHT! The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In Between by Kaya Oakes

As part of our #ExploreABSW week for prospective students, Cal scholar Kaya Oakes is joining us to discuss her recent work on the religious “Nones.” See you at 7:00pm on campus or on Periscope.

cover_nonesThe ascent of the “Nones”, those with no religious affiliation, has puzzled religious leaders from every denomination. But the increasing number of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have walked away from, or have never belonged to any religion, means that up to 40% of not one but two entire generations of Americans have chosen to live life without a traditional religious practice.

And yet, some members of Gen X and Gen Y have chosen to embrace religion, but they’ve done so in a DIY fashion, recreating religion for a new generation of skeptics, in a time when past ideas of career, home ownership, and the nuclear family model are all changing. Through profiles of dozens of individuals, this book investigates how and why the exodus from organized religion is occurring, and contrasts the stories of Nones, atheists and agnostics with the stories of those who took different tracks: those who defied the trend and found religion as adults, or experienced a conversion from the religion of their childhood to a completely new set of beliefs, and those who’ve remained in the religion of their childhood, but have reimagined and redefined what religion means.

Reading Week!

As I was leaving my office around 6 pm on Tuesday I discovered this crew in the conference room preparing to dissect one of Allan Boesak’s recent books entitled, Kairos, Crisis, and Global Apartheid: The Challenge to Prophetic Resistance (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice). I hope everyone is having a glorious reading week!

See you soon!
LeAnn Snow Flesher, PhD
Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testament


ABSW Prospective Student Days!

Explore ABSW Poster

Events begin Sunday with the GTU Grad Fair. We continue Monday evening at 6pm for chapel and a dinner to follow. The week will be open for daytime interviews with Director of Admissions, Rev. Tripp Hudgins or a faculty person. Evening courses will also be open for prospective students to attend. Friday evening Dr. Kaya Oakes of Cal Berkeley will speak about the religious “Nones.” Lastly, on Saturday, we will host a breakfast where you will meet with representative faculty and staff who will share their vision of life at ABSW. RSVP today!

Professor Emeritus, Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., Responds to Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher

Dean Flesher’s blog on the recent mass shootings in Oregon is logically lucid with cogent arguments for a widely diverse readership. In this blog Dr. Flesher appeals not to political correctness or to a theological partisan view but her appeal is to common sense and wise judgement. Therefore, every one would do well to read to carefully read her words and share them with others.

What a wonderful blog Dean Flesher has written causing us to reflect deeply on our faith in ways that address the out of control violence in our homes, schools, workplaces, churches and communities. Violence is toxic evil not only in the neighboring countries of the world but in our very social locations. This blog  carefully written  with clarity is most insightful for implementation.

The difficulty the patriotic citizens will have in being open to the reasoning  process of Dr. Flesher is due to the way the American narratives of manifest destiny and American exceptionalism have legitimized the use of violence  to remove the indigenous peoples, and build an economic system on black bodies that mattered only for profit and the militaristic westward expansion of the West  into Asia. This narrative is taught to children and youth, and they grow up seeing movies which celebrate violence.

Stokely Carmichal said violence is as American as apple pie. Americans suffer from the pride of power and the pride of virtue. Both expressions of pride contribute to the arrogance of power .The strength of this blog is the clear use of ethical arguments to appeal to the highest and the best in the idealized  core values of the American social contract.

The Utilitarian ethic of the greatest good for the greatest number espoused by John Stuart Mill  supports the ethical method of Dr. Flesher when we apply consequential ethical theory to confront the  the harmful effects of rejecting a  Frankena ethic of duty or obligation. Violence respects neither race, religion ,class, gender,  nationality, or age.  It is more pervasive in deprived  communities whose infrastructures have been dismantled by velvet glove exploiters who bow to invisible power brokers who shape public policy and politicize ethical issues with mindless aphorisms swallowed by a gullible public. For survival reasons , the have nots prey on each with drugs placed in their community by outsiders whose greed preys on the needy.

Violence puts at risk the four freedoms of America. They are:  freedom of speech , freedom of religion. Freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Students are afraid to attend school, afraid of others who differ in color, class, or gender sexual orientation, or  religion.

Flesher,in this blog,has shown no fear  in speaking up and out  against the absurdities of injustices and violence. Challenging those who  argue we are most safe when we are most armed is a holy calling  that she has accepted and she now calls each of us  in the faith community  to  be faithful to the ethics of Jesus. Let us join her in  correcting this myopic  vision of a nation trapped in its own contradictions.

Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.
Professor Emeritus,  A.B.S.W. 

A Liturgical Imagination #ABSWLiturgy

Follow our Missional Liturgy class on their page. Here are the instructor’s remarks on the Oregon shooting.

Missional Liturgy

Here we go again. Here is our national liturgy.

A young man walks into a building armed to the teeth. Students die. The police arrive. The young man dies in a shootout with the police. It is a complex and devastating suicide. So many lives are marked. A community is marked. And the media storm begins.

Our liturgy moves from the local to the international at the speed of the internet.

The National Rifle Association contra mundum, Liberals and Conservatives are squaring off, and Pundits are shouting. The beleaguered President Obama predicts that he will have to address the nation again before his term is over when there is another mass shooting. The media is on fire. For now.

The liturgy gradually comes to a close as our shared attentions are drawn elsewhere by the always updating Twitter feed.

Somewhere someone is making plans to kill or injure another…

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