Belonging to a Beloved City: Spirituality and Theology for Our Urban World
by Mark VanderShaaf, Member, Adult Education Council
Martin Luther King’s vision of “beloved community” was informed by both Christian theology and secular spirituality. Although his vision encompasses all aspects of society, it is particularly relevant in the cities where most people now live.
This winter, I will teach a short course exploring potential spiritual and theological contributions to a “beloved city,” beginning with two sessions considering how two recent transformations in the Twin Cities Area – riverfront redevelopment and light rail line neighborhood changes – can be regarded as well-aligned with a Christian ethos. The remaining four sessions of the course will provide a closer look at the relationship between theology and urban issues. They will include an overview of the major urban issues of our time and will consider the work of the English theologian Timothy Gorringe, an Anglican priest and Exeter University professor who has produced the 21st century’s most comprehensive theological interpretation of our urban world – a component of his wide-ranging theology of culture that is both sophisticated and accessible. His interpretation includes a powerful articulation of social ethics appropriate for a “beloved city.”
The course will be held at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays, beginning on January 19 and continuing through February 23. The course requires registration, with a maximum of 25 participants and in-person attendance encouraged, but with remote learning also provided. Register to attend through Realm.