Schedule for CTS Annual Meeting

2018 schedule full 

Canadian Theological Society Annual Meeting

Congress 2018

University of Regina

May 27 – May 28, 2018


Sunday, May 27
First Nations FN 1011 First Nations FN 1012
11:50 a.m. Welcome! Timothy Harvie, CTS President 
12:00 – 12:40 p.m. Jane BarterToward an Ethics Without Dignity:
The Muselmann Beyond Anthropology
Graham McDonough

Interculturalism, Pope Francis, and Catholic Education:
The Remarkable Reform of Past and Present Church Teaching on Religious Pluralism


12:40  – 2:00 p.m. Panel: Interfaith Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples


2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 – 2:55 p.m. Gordon Rixon

Appreciating Cultural Diversity: Beyond Binaries to Embedded Narrative, Vulnerable Agency and Transforming Gift Exchange


Stephen MartinRowan Williams: Public Theology as Theology of Public Life 
2:55 – 3:35 p.m. Nicholas OlkovichSolidarity and the Possibility of Global Human Rights Bill Millar

Equipping the Church for Intercultural Ministry


3:35 – 3:50 p.m. Break
3:50 – 4:30 p.m. Timothy NyhofThe Secession of 1834 as a Dramatic Sequel to the Reformation Kevin Guenther Trautwein

Magic, Mutual Submission, and Influence in the Church


4:30 – 5:10 p.m. Don SchweitzerJustification by Grace as a Spiritual Resource Kris Hiuser

A Community of Creatures: Theologically Understanding the Human/Nonhuman Animal Relationship


5:00 – 7:00 p.m. President’s Reception: Centre for Kinesiology – CK 122



Monday, May 28
Time CL 130 (Classroom 130) CL 125 (Classroom 125)


9:00 – 9:40 a.m. Robert WalkerWhat Hath San Francisco to do with Azusa Street? A Yongian Call for Queer and Pentecostal Discernment Jean-Pierre Fortin

Finding Joy and Forming Community in Pain: Moltmann and Balthasar on Christian Freedom and Discipleship


9:40 – 10:20 a.m. Maria PowerUnderstanding Diversities of Experience and Need: Unearthing a Catholic Public Theology for the UK. Darren Dahl

Matter and Meaning—Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and Language about God in Rowan Williams’ Gifford Lectures”


10:20 -10:35 a.m. Break
10:30 – 12:00 p.m. Panel: Respecting Indigenous Spirituality in its Own Right
12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Networking Lunch
1:15 – 1:55 p.m Chris HrynkowAn Emerging Incarnation of Inter-Faith Encounter as Reconciliation  Kerry KrobergKenosis as a Spirituality and an Ethic: The Church and Secularity
1:55 –3:25 p.m Jay Newman Lecture: Shadia B. Drury, “A Clash of Fundamentalist Fantasies”


3:25 – 3:40 p.m Break
3:40 – 4:40 p.m. Presidential Address: Tim Harvie


4:40 – 6:00 p.m. AGM


7:00 p.m. CTS Banquet
Place: TBA.



1. Robert Walker, Trinity College

What Hath San Francisco to do with Azusa Street?
A Yongian Call for Queer and Pentecostal Discernment

Amos Yong is an Asian-American Pentecostal scholar who teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has written extensively on the science-religion conversation, disability, and interfaith relations and discernment, particularly between Christianity and Buddhism. In Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological Theology of Religions, he suggests a framework for Christian discernment of interfaith realities that can, with only minor adaptations, extend fruitfully to intrafaith conversations with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, and two-spirit peoples (shorthanded as ‘queer’) about our lives, sexual relationships, and ongoing social realities, and about how they do (or don’t) reflect ‘the Gospel of the Kingdom’ and robust Christian formation.

Wise Pentecostal ‘discernment of spirits,’ for Yong, is not only a charismatic gift but a life-long practice of wisdom, which is only possible in a formational community. Yong suggests, in conversation with philosophers Charles Pierce and Phillip Clayton, that Pentecostals must connect discernment not only to the Holy Spirit and the Bible, but also to assumptions about reality that will allow the natural and social sciences to be key discourses in any discernment process—perhaps especially if we are to conclude that a given ‘thing’ is demonic (which is often the go-to assumption about queerness for many Pentecostals). In discerning a given ‘thing’ such as queerness or equal marriage, Pentecostals must discern the Spirit/spirits well by attending to a ‘thing’ in its materiality and ‘inner life’—including deep, and methodologically pluralistic, description. In substantial agreement with Yong, I propose that such wise ‘thick description’ must also consider the Christian testimonies of queer Pentecostals.


2. Graham McDonough, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria

Interculturalism, Pope Francis, and Catholic Education:
The Remarkable Reform of Past and Present Church Teaching on Religious Pluralism

This presentation demonstrates how Pope Francis’s (2013) exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) represents a major change in Catholic teaching on religious Others because it departs from John Paul II’s (1990) and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s (2000) post-Vatican II reassertions of Catholic Christian primacy. This is the reform of “past” teaching. It then shows how EG also contrasts with the Congregation for Catholic Education’s (2013) document Educating to Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools (EIDCS ). That document is problematic not only because it upholds Catholic primacy – which makes it conceptually incompatible with philosophically adequate interculturalism – but because it is inconsistent with EG, even though they were published almost concurrently. The penultimate section therefore shows how EG immediately reforms this “present” teaching in EIDCS by moving the topic of dialogue with religious Others away from talk of salvation and religious primacy, and instead toward a concern for peace and social justice in a religiously plural world. The final section suggests that, since Catholic schools emphasize respect for students’ religious freedom and hence have all along seemed unconcerned with talk of religious primacy, that with EG Francis moves papal teaching into alignment with current practice, rather than the reverse.


3. Gordon Rixon, Regis College

Appreciating Cultural Diversity: Beyond Binaries to Embedded Narrative, Vulnerable Agency and Transforming Gift Exchange

My presentation appreciates the theological significance of cultural diversity in the context of a larger project that explores the proportionality of the outer word of social discourse with the inner word of spiritual converse.

I relate cultural diversity to the word of discourse by discussing the work of Paul Ricoeur and Judith Butler. Drawing on Ricoeur’s The Course of Recognition (2004), I relieve the binary between self and the other—associated by Ricoeur with Husserl’s phenomenological analysis of the perceiving self and Levinas’ ethical analysis of duty to the other—by exploring the emergence of responsible, autonomous agency through the construction of narratives of perpetration, resistance and liberation, and self- (and-species-) transcending participation in non-instrumentalized gift exchange. The reconciliation of agency shaped by particular cultural affordances and engagement in a cosmic project focused beyond human self-interest, at least, begins to replace enervating, competitive struggles for social recognition with energizing, collaborative efforts for social (and ecological) well-being.

Turning to Butler’s “Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance” (2016), I parse the contention between investing in particular, embedded narratives and engaging a project of cosmic scale. Butler’s analysis of language and social infrastructure brings the relation of receptivity and resistance—vulnerability and agency—into relief and suggests norming criteria for evaluating diverse cultural spaces. Observing that resistance may promote violent, entropic mastery over biological and social vulnerability or mobilize vulnerability itself as the locus of liberating social cooperation, Butler presents the resonance among human embodiment, social solidarity and political agency as a normative guide for liberating action.

Anticipating the fuller treatment of my larger project, I refine this evaluative criterion by addressing the further proportionalities among particular social discourses, an open aesthetic and a kenotic spiritual disposition. Here I reflect on the notion of representation developed in Rowan Williams’ The Edge of Words (2014) in a preliminary effort to retrieve/transpose the meaning of Augustinian and Thomist notions of a finite created participation in an uncreated divine light and the relation of the outer word of social discourse with the inner word of spiritual converse.


4. Stephen Martin, The King’s University
Rowan Williams: Public Theology as Theology of Public Life

Charles Mathewes has criticized “public theology” as it currently is done as theologically thin and “self-destructively accommodationist.” It seeks to accommodate theology and the church to a conversation already taking place and presupposes given understandings both of the human and the political. Taking his cues from St. Augustine Mathewes argues for a “theology of public life.” Such a theology attends to the fundamental theo-anthropological idea that humans are constituted as creatures of desire, a desire only satisfied eschatologically in the City of God. The political is therefore propelled beyond the immediate needs of the present. At the same time, such “common objects of desire” shape common life in the present by transforming diversities (the problem of politics) into gifts (the possibility of politics) to benefit the good of the whole. But Mathewes’ examples are focused on the political in the United States, and focus on conversation rather than action. After exegeting Mathewes’ theology of public life, the paper extends it through the work of Rowan Williams during his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. The contextual differences of Williams’ ministry (the established Church of England) open up new possibilities for thinking and applying such a theology. The paper concludes with a brief reflection on a theology of public life as gathering and transforming diversities in the Canadian context.


5. Nicholas Olkovich, St. Mark’s College
Solidarity and the Possibility of Global Human Rights

Communitarian and post-colonial opponents of classical liberalism often deny the possibility of providing universally compelling or tradition-independent foundations for human rights. Post-modern critiques of Enlightenment individualism and rationalism characterize the global promotion of Western-style human rights as a form of economic and cultural imperialism that inculcates a partisan conception of the human person as homo economicus. Some regard the deconstruction of liberal neutrality as a justification for rejecting cosmopolitan ideals tout court. Resentment against neoliberal globalization has contributed to a particular form of resentment that finds expression in the contemporary proliferation of cultural and religious exclusivisms. Others argue that the communitarian critique makes possible a more inclusive discussion about the nature and future of global interdependence and human rights. Forced to rethink the meaning of solidarity, authors such as Richard Rorty have developed post-metaphysical forms of cosmopolitanism that combine a commitment to human rights and the common good with a deeper respect for cultural and religious diversity. Rorty’s ‘postmodernist bourgeois liberalism’ or ‘liberal ironism’ conceives democratic norms such as human rights as ‘social constructions,’ culture-specific ‘we-intentions’ that combine respect for private self-perfection with a commitment to and hope for a ‘classless society.’ Solidarity is not a ‘fact’ that is ‘discovered’ by human reason but rather a ‘goal to be achieved’ via sentimental education, an enlargement of biologically-grounded sensitivity that allows humans to see ‘strange people as fellow sufferers.’

Although Rorty’s post-modern account of human rights and solidarity successfully sidesteps many of classical liberalism’s deficiencies, it is not without its own limitations. On the one hand, I contend that Rorty seeks and fails to avoid metaphysical controversy, a conclusion that stands in tension with his stated commitment to freedom and diversity. On the other hand, I argue that his own implicit particular conception of the human person stands in tension with his commitment to the common good. Drawing on the work of Catholic authors David Hollenbach and Bernard Lonergan in this paper’s final section, I will articulate an alternative ethic of ‘intellectual’ and ‘social solidarity’ that aims to integrate many of Rorty’s strongest insights. Hollenbach’s account of human nature and the common good take seriously Rorty’s critique of rationalism and essentialism as well as his emphasis on sentimental education. Lonergan’s work may highlight the limitations associated with Rorty’s exclusive humanism but it also highlights the role that God’s love plays in the lives of all who are committed to solidarity.


6. Bill Millar, Knox United Church, Winnipeg

This presentation will highlight current research in the pragmatics of creating intercultural communities of faith, drawing on the lived experience of one congregation that, over the period of twelve years, made this transformation. Many denominations, motivated by changing societal demographics, declining attendance, and a renewed sense of the Christ’s call to “the nations” have identified goals/visions of opening to cultural diversity.

Material presented will draw from existing research in cross-cultural interaction, intercultural pragmatics, international marketing, etc. as backdrop, but the heart of the material will grow out of qualitative research at Knox United in Winnipeg. For over twelve years, this congregation reinvented itself as a global community, an intentionally intercultural church. Once the embodiment of the colonial church, Knox emerged as the most intercultural church in Canada – from 80% white/Euro/dominant culture to 20%. About 75% are newcomer (refugee/immigrant), from 25+ countries. Age demographics also reversed. As did the percent of people with denominational roots—from over 90% to less than 15%. This is creating a new form of UC, with different cultural bases. With no instruction manual, not even guidelines, how did they do this? What created commonality? How did they reshape worship? Plan? Share power? Make decisions? More than a tweak of current practice, authentic intercultural ministry requires a radical reconceptualization of every dimension of congregational life.
7. Timothy Nyhof, Independent Scholar
The Secession of 1834 as a Dramatic Sequel to the Reformation:
A Historical Case Study of Vanhoozer’s Theo-dramatic Triangulation

The secession (afscheiding) of 1834 was a watershed moment within Dutch Protestantism that resulted in the establishment of a number of conservative denominations which had seceded from the protestant state church. The primary motivation in seceding was to remain faithful to the principles of the 16th century reformation. The centenary celebrations in 1934 in the Netherlands provided an opportunity for the leaders to set out their understanding of the significance of the secession and their claims of being true to the principles of the reformation. The published texts of the leaders of the various seceded Churches in the Netherlands, its sister churches in the United States and South Africa as well as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands provides a cohesive body of works composed at a single moment in time from a variety of important perspectives for our historical case study.

Contemporary American Theologian, Kevin J. Vanhoozer’s work on the drama of doctrine and his notion of theodramatic triangulation between “words, God’s word and the world” provides the framework and hermeneutic for this historical case study. Vanhoozer, while having actively engaged postmodernist thought and interpretations, provides an approach to theology which ultimately seeks truth through participation and performance in a covenantal theo-drama. The ‘post-conservative’ approach that Vanhoozer has developed will be applied to the main ‘actors’ of the secession to assess the subject matter of their theology and their doctrinal stance in relation to the reformation. This case study will also allow for some insights to other religions that are navigating the waters of post-modernity.


8. Kevin Guenter Trautwein, Conrad Grebel University College
Magic, Mutual Submission, and Influence in the Church

The label “magic” carries pejorative connotations of a “primitive” picture of reality, of an insufficiently scientific understanding of causes and effects, a superstitious religiosity, or even the worship of evil spirits. In their paper, “The Importance of Magic to Social Relationships,”(Zygon 45: 317-337), Craig T. Palmer, Lyle B. Steadman, Chris Cassidy, and Kathryn Coe suggest an understanding of magic as communication rather than belief (false or otherwise). Theaims of practitioners of magic are not the same as those of the anthropologists who observe.

Magic communicates the acceptance of influence, and it accomplishes the social functions of enhancing group solidarity and communicating group values. Participation in magic “communicates a willingness to accept nonskeptically the influence of the person making [a supernatural] claim.”

Within churches with a “flat” authority structure, and the Mennonite Church in particular, power dynamics are (in principle if not in fact) governed by an ethic of mutual submission. As a result, power dynamics and flows exist, but they are often hidden. A unique potential for abuses of authority arise from the “unspeakable” nature of power in these communities.
This paper argues that the theological value of mutual submission should be understood as having the same purpose as magic, specifically, to produce group cohesiveness through the non-skeptical acceptance of another’s influence. The concept of magic, as understood by Palmer, et al., helps to expose both the possibilities and the risks of mutual submission in a worshiping community.


9. Don Schweitzer, St. Andrew’s College
Justification by grace as a spiritual resource for non-Indigenous Christians adopting UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada.

On May 30, 2016, eight Canadian churches adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada. The Declaration sets high moral standards for most non-indigenous Canadians, as living up to it will involve far reaching changes in their worldviews and a far greater sharing of resources and identity space with indigenous peoples. People need strong moral sources to live up to high moral standards. This presentation will argue that justification by grace can be this kind of moral source for churches that have adopted the Declaration as a framework for reconciliation. It will first briefly examine some of the apologies offered by these churches, and how the Declaration requires greater autonomy for and sharing of resources and cultural space with indigenous peoples in Canada. This will show that these churches need spiritual resources that address living with spoiled identities, provide hope for a different future despite past failures, and that will sustain non-indigenous Christians in a much greater sharing of identity space with indigenous peoples. It will then show how justification by grace addresses these issues. It can empower Christians to undertake the risks of moral action despite their spoiled identities. It conveys a sense of ultimate hope for a different future that can sustain non-indigenous Christians in working towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples. As it facilitates living with cultural, ethnic and religious differences, it can help non-indigenous Canadians enter into a greater sharing of identity space with indigenous peoples in Canada.


10. Kris Hiuser, Independent Scholar
A Community of Creatures: Theologically Understanding the Human/Nonhuman – Animal Relationship

This paper will examine a range of proposals which have been put forward with respect to a theological understanding how humans ought to relate to nonhuman animals. The rise in animal theology in general has brought with it a range of ways of articulating and understanding this relationship. In line with the 2018 theme, understanding how we ought to relate to nonhuman animals has direct implications for how we then (if we then!) attempt to build community with other creatures. The following paper seeks to examine a range of proposals in terms of their biblical roots and theological strengths, as well as proposing a new model.

While the way in which humans relate to nonhuman animals has rarely been a topic of significant debate through the Christian tradition, with the rise of animal theology, such a topic is one which is growing in interest. Not only are there ethical inquiries into how we ought to relate to animals (a major part of animal theology), but there are even some who suggest our relationship with animals makes up a core part of who we are, and how we are called to live as. So if animal theologians are correct in suggesting that this relationship is indeed an important one, the question still remains as to just how we understand and articulate it. In the past 20 years there have been a number of suggestions put forward, each of which expresses the ideal understanding somewhat differently. Hobgood-Oster suggests a hospitality model, with nonhuman animals almost as ‘friends’, an idea she shares with Deane-Drummond. Daniel Weiss, based on Genesis 1-2, suggests a model of nonhuman animals as political subjects, with humans as their rulers, and Daniel Miller, making use of the parable of the Good Samaritan, suggests a model based around the idea of nonhuman animals as neighbours. Each of these has some strengths as well as some weaknesses. I propose another model which entails understanding animals as part of the family unit of the humans, and will engage with a number of biblical texts to make this case. Ultimately I will suggest that these varied approaches all have something to contribute to our understanding of the ideal relationship between humans and other animals (albeit, some approaches more than others), and that this is a topic worthy of further consideration.
11. Jane Barter, The University of Winnipeg
Toward an Ethics without Dignity: The Muselmann beyond Anthropology

In his unforgettable Remnants of Auschwitz, Giorgio Agamben reflects upon the figures of the so-called Muselmänner, the name given to those prisoners so ill and malnourished that they hovered between life and death. The figure of the Muselmann compels us, according to Agamben, to rethink the human fundamentally. And therefore we must also re-think any ethics based upon human capacities or attributes. Specifically, moral philosophy must abandon notions of human dignity as a category after Auschwitz. This paper seeks to go beyond dignity as a foundational principle for thinking the human. In its stead, it seeks to follow Agamben to those boundaries between life and death, between human and non-human, so that a new ethic of the human may emerge. This paper is indirectly theological. In so far as theological anthropology and ethics ground themselves in concepts such dignity, life, human exceptionalism and Imago Dei, theology is also haunted by the specter of the Muselmann. In the final portion of this paper, I will suggest the precisely theological implications of Agamben’s a-anthropology for Christian ethics.


12. Jean-Pierre Fortin, Loyola University
Finding Joy and Forming Community in Pain: Moltmann and Balthasar on Christian Freedom and Discipleship

Living in a globalized world marred with social-political tension and conflict, twenty-first century westerners are eager to learn how to perceive and reflect on a joy taking hold of the human heart amidst relentless suffering. One of the best ways to create and foster community therefore seems to lie in exploring the conditions under which the experience and reality of suffering become the medium/element within which true and lasting joy can be accessed and experienced. Building on the work of Jürgen Moltmann and Hans Urs von Balthasar, in this communication I will demonstrate that it is both possible and essential for Christians to find joy in the context of suffering. Christian joy is a joy taking hold of the human heart despite and amidst relentless physical suffering and spiritual desolation. This joy is the joy of being intimate with Christ, of experiencing Christ’s redeeming power at work effectively transforming one’s whole person; the joy of being loved despite human sinfulness and empowered to heal the world’s woundedness.

In Theology and Joy, Jürgen Moltmann argues that true joy can only be experienced by the person who responsibly assumes her own vulnerability and need. Human freedom and agency exist as awareness of and response to suffering (pathein) the action of the other and reality upon oneself. Such acts of self-transcendence are not the product of human nature and agency, for no creature can transcend itself (and/or anything else) by itself, but rather received from God as a gift. The feelings of pain and suffering thus constitute concrete manifestations of the liberating power of God at work within the human person. In “Joy and the Cross,” Hans Urs von Balthasar takes this basic idea further, arguing that in the person of Jesus God actually frees human beings by suffering the human condition to the end and invites them to have a share in Jesus’ experience. The gracious assimilation of the suffering of the human person into the suffering of Jesus Christ so transforms the human person and her experience of suffering that the latter becomes a source of joy. Human endurance is made to bespeak of and enable the tasting of the eschatological joy in the present life. God’s joy finds expression and translates into the effective liberation of bonded human beings and the progressive transformation of the world. Hence, joy experienced in God is the fount of true communion.


13. Maria Power, University of Liverpool
Understanding Diversities of Experience and Need: Unearthing a Catholic Public Theology for the UK.
The Roman Catholic Church is often described as fortunate to have the pre-packaged and unified body of social and political ethics which is commonly known as Catholic Social Teaching (CST). As Malcolm Brown argues ‘Catholics, it is implied know why they do what they do and can locate their actions within a developed tradition that both guides engagement and justifies it to others.’ According to this reasoning then, there should be a flourishing body of Catholic public theology in the UK. However, despite popular conceptions, CST and Catholic public theology are not the same thing. Whilst it is true that CST should feed into the development of a Catholic public theology, it cannot and should not be its only source. Merely falling back on CST as an uncontextualised body of teaching is not enough and it could be argued that it is such attitudes mean that a Catholic public theology in any meaningful sense of the term does not exist within UK Catholicism.

So what should a Catholic public theology look like and what role should it take in these increasingly uncertain times? In this paper, by introducing some of the ideas taken from my current research project entitled Justice, Not Politics: A Catholic Public Theology for Uncertain Times, I will argue that it should be drawn from the following sources: the Gospels and tradition, empirical research, and crucially dialogue. It will suggest that the combination of such factors can provide faith-based actors with an understanding of what they are working towards and the nourishment needed for the journey, in essence a public theology that takes into account the diversity of experiences and needs present in a multi-cultural society. By combining the trinity of the Gospels and tradition, empirical research, and dialogue, Catholic public theology can provide a vision of a society which is grounded in both theory and lived experience. In doing so, it has the potential to create a dialectical model and pathway not built upon middle axioms, but on trust and mutual respect.

In order to illustrate this argument, I will use my work on peace-building to demonstrate the power and purpose of a Catholic public theology. This it is hoped will start the process of systematically creating a Catholic public theology which will lead to a renewed confidence in the Church’s resources for addressing the issues facing contemporary society.


14. Darren Dahl, St. Thomas More College
Matter and Meaning—Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and Language about God in Rowan Williams’ Gifford Lectures”

Abstract: This paper examines Rowan Williams’ innovative proposal for a new natural theology in his recent Gifford Lectures (published as The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language [Bloomsbury, 2014]) with particular attention to how the contemporary dialogue between phenomenology and neuroscience can place theological discourse in the midst of dynamic and diverse fields of investigation that express ‘the new context in which we find ourselves’. This paper focuses specifically on Williams’ use of the work of Iain McGilchrist and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in order to explore the connection between theological language and its corporeal conditions. It asks: what difference does it make that our language about God is irreducibly embodied? What sort of model can we use to best understand this fundamental corporeal dimension? How might such a new model reinvigorate theological investigations open to dialogue with philosophy and the natural sciences? What role, in particular, can phenomenology play in this dialogue?

Contribution to Scholarship: In recent years a body of scholarship has emerged that focuses on the dialogue between theology and the neurosciences. Within this new work, Rowan Williams’ Gifford Lectures provide a rigorous and yet highly accessible example of the fruitfulness of this dialogue and its potential to generate new models of theological inquiry. However, the brevity and suggestive power of the lectures open space for further exploration, particularly in reference to two figures important to the dialogue: Iain McGilchrist and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This paper will contribute to scholarship by explicating the importance of Williams new proposals
and exploring them beyond his own analysis in reference to (1) establishing a deeper connection between neuroscience and a phenomenology of the body in order (2) to suggest how this connection can revitalize an older theological ‘metaphysics’ in which ‘matter and meaning do not necessarily belong in different universes’ (Williams, x).
15. Chris Hrynkow, St. Thomas More College
An Emerging Incarnation of Inter-Faith Encounter as Reconciliation:
A Critical Reading of Catholic Settler Efforts to Foster More Positive Indigenous-Christian Relationships in Treaty Six Territory

Treaty Six Territory encompasses the homelands of several First Nations and Métis communities on the Prairies. This land is now the site of two major cities, Saskatoon and Edmonton, along with prime agricultural sites, oil wells, and potash mines. These and other pull factors have attracted a now dominant and multicultural settler population, who have displaced Indigenous people to what are too often the social and geographic margins. The recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) addressed the legacy and continuing manifestations of settler colonialism. The TRC concluded that, as a result of governmental policy enacted with the assitance of Christians and their churches, Indigenous people have suffered cultural genocide. This is a telling conclusion in light of the often inextricable conjoining of Indigenous cultures and religiosity. In response, the TRC further articulates calls to action, including some addressed specifically to Christians, whom the commissioners call upon to actively work for reconciliation.

This paper enters the matrix of complex and multi-layered Christian-Indigenous relationships on the Canadian prairies through reading Catholic efforts for reconciliation in light of inter-faith encounter centred on a deep respect for diversity. The principle focus will be the interaction between (1) traditional Indigenous religious systems, frequently marginalised as a result of violent evangelisation and other continuing manifestation of settler colonialism, and (2) Catholic belief and practice in Treaty Six Territory. In light of that interaction, three overlapping responses will be critically surveyed that predate the TRC but have been given new resonances and momentum as result of the commission’s work: (1) approaches that respectfully see Catholicism and Indigenous traditions each as distinct dialogue partners, (2) inculturated religious praxis that actively seeks to fruitfully couple what is often framed as Indigenous spirituality with mainline Catholicism, and (3) ecumenical and inter-religious efforts, where Catholics work jointly with members of other faith traditions with a goal of healing the legacy of settler colonialist institutions, such as the Church-State partnerships manifest in the Indian Residential School system, which sought, as part of their programming, to eradicate traditional Indigenous religion. The confluence of these three approaches represent a noteworthy example of an emergent expression of inter-faith encounter focused upon reconciliation. Acknowledging key points of resistance emanating from both settlers and Indigenous communities, this paper will critically assess this emergent, Catholic incarnation of inter-faith encounter for its efficacy in fostering mutually-enhancing relationships between Christian settlers and Indigenous people in Treaty Six Territory.


16. Kerry Kronberg, St. Paul’s University
Kenosis as a Spirituality and an Ethic: The Church and Secularity

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the kenotic conversation made a
pronounced shift from ontological speculation about the Incarnation of Christ to using kenosis as a metaphor for God’s existence. God is kenotic – self-emptying, self-giving, self-limiting – as revealed through creation and, most authentically, through the crucified Christ. From a Christian perspective, who God is has implications for genuine human identity.

In Western secular culture where a primary question centres on what it means to be the
most genuine version of oneself, contemporary people, religious and otherwise, have come up with some answers. As Charles Taylor argues in A Secular Age, the contemporary Western church is grounded in the same philosophical and historical milieu as secular culture, therefore the church and culture are likely to view the situation and solutions in similar categories providing common ground for conversation. The attribute of kenosis as manifest in the God of Jesus Christ offers a way for the church to articulate and embody a faithful and relevant response to questions about authentic humanity.

1. Panel: Interfaith Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples
Chair: Benjamin Lujan, University of St. Michael’s College

In light of CTS’ theme, Gathering Diversity, and its special focus on Indigenous issues, this panel will explore possibilities of carrying out the TRC’s Calls to Action 48 and 60. The panel will invite a conversation about the need to expand ecumenical and interfaith relations in the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It will also address the need to explore creative ways in which theological schools and faith communities can be key contributors toward a spiritually grounded solidarity with our marginalized Indigenous brothers and sisters.

In addition, the panel will invite the audience to reflect about the importance of their role in reconciliation and what we could all do together to encourage Christian churches and faith communities to build bridges with each other and with Indigenous peoples to foster a broad, all-inclusive solidarity with Native communities. This focus on a type of broad, all-inclusive perspective to practice solidarity with Indigenous peoples is itself part of traditional Indigenous spiritualties, which seek to establish “relations with all our relations,” perhaps especially those most at risk of being overlooked. This is part of a spirituality of sacred interrelatedness, which roots the effort to live in balance, harmony and reciprocity, in all areas of our lives. In this way, we can learn from Call to action 60 to respect Indigenous Spirituality in its own right, while seeking together to fulfill Call to action 48 to engage in ongoing public dialogue and action in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In today’s context, such spirituality will include, in line with the TRC’s Calls to Action 48 and 60, the collaborative participation of the various Christian churches and faith communities. In this way, the call for justice outlined by the TRC is at the same time a call or an invitation to embrace a radical diversity that is rooted in a spiritual basis and whose purpose is actions of solidarity with the excluded. The panel will be composed of Indigenous persons and persons from other faiths and minority groups.


2. “Respecting Indigenous Spirituality in its Own Right”
Chair: Allen Jorgenson, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

In this panel we address steps being taken by our theological school in response to the 60th Call to Action from the TRC. This call to action specifically summons theological schools et al “in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders” to develop and implement theological curricula that respects “Indigenous spirituality in its own right.” Each panelist will address this challenge from their own discipline. The panel will include two systematic theologians, one New Testament scholar and one practical theologian. Panelists will each speak to the narrative of their theological/spiritual journey in relationship to this call to action, and the manner in which responding to the call has challenged and shaped their scholarship, pedagogy and engagement with various publics.