PRESS RELEASE for envision ’09
Evangelical, Mainline Theologians Gather in DC to Rethink Freedom and Faith
(Washington, DC) – As unrest in Iran continues to highlight the role of religion in public life overseas and U.S. faith leaders of diverse stripes gauge their role in public life at a time of political change, evangelical and mainline theologians are reaching across party lines to rethink the intersection of freedom and faith in the United States. Leading evangelical and mainline scholars, activists, and policy professionals will gather at the 2009 Envision Scholars Seminar in Washington, DC June 25-27 to critically examine the concept of freedom in American democracy and Christian theology.
Though some claim the Obama Presidency means a new era in American politics, questions raised by the civil rights movement remain important for churches whose services continue to be the most segregated hour in America. The Seminar will begin with a discussion of conceptions of freedom in the black freedom movement in light of the Obama presidency, followed by discussions of the changing role of faith communities in light of the current economic crisis, climate change, debates concerning marriage and human sexuality, American foreign policy, and religious fundamentalism.
The Seminar grew out of the Envision ’08 Conference – a national conference at Princeton University that brought together multi-generational leaders, scholars, artists and activists from across the theological spectrum, including prominent Christians such as Richard Cizik, Shane Claiborne, Rita Nakashima Brock, Lisa Sharon Harper, Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., and Jim Wallis. “Evangelicals are not just a people of vision,” said Richard Cizik “but are also implementing a public strategy that is transforming culture beyond politics.” The energy and enthusiasm of the Envision movement is part of a growing trend best described by Jim Wallis: “What we’re witnessing is the beginning of what could be another Great Awakening in which the hunger for spirituality and social justice are fueling a revival and inspiring a movement that will significantly impact American Politics.”