Dear Friends and Family,
October has not been a dull month! The cognitive science of religion dominated the first two weeks, as we received a wonderful visit from Dr. Justin Barrett
, thanks to a generous grant from the Ian Ramsey Center in Oxford (The Templeton Visiting Fellowship to Latin America). Dr. Barrett gave a public lecture and a workshop at FUSBC, and then we travelled to Bogota to give a similar series of talks. As the grant leader and translating monkey (you can check out one of the talks here
), I had a wonderful time learning from Dr. Barrett and strengthening my network in Bogota. And last week, here in Medellín, I also gave a presentation of my own on science and religion at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.
In the meantime, I graded final papers for my class on the Acts of the Apostles and prepared for the BIG event of the month: the investive collaboration session for the theology and displacement project.
This weekend, a group of 25 scholars and professionals from four continents have gathered at FUSBC to work on the mobilizing the church to respond to the humantarian crisis of forced displacement in Colombia. We have been working together long-distance since July, in six interdisciplinary teams focused on economics, psychology, politics, pedagogy, sociology and missiology. So after months of conducting independent research, we are meeting together for an intensive weekend of collaboration. We have been working in small teams to share our subject-specific research and to prepare for the field research we will undertake in December and January. But we also have set aside time to worship together, develop friendships, and learn about research and pedagogical techniques that will be vital for the second and third years of our project.
High points of this weekend have included: 1) a fascinating workshop from our pedagogy team, focusing on how to implement programs in non-literate populations; 2) taking communion with research colleagues from South Africa, Germany, the UK, the US, and Brasil; 3) a homily/testimony on forgiveness from one of my students who has been repeatedly affected by the violence in Colombia.
This event (which concludes today) is the second that FUSBC has held to address the displacement crisis. Our first was in 2014, and I am pleased to report that this month the book produced by that conference--Conversaciones teológicas del sur global americano: violencia, desplazamiento y fe
--has finally made it to print.
I feel distinctly grateful to have the chance to lead a project of this scope. It continues to be an enormous amount of work, and I am being stretched far beyond the limits of my previous expertise. But we are committed to giving the very best of our efforts to benefit the church and the displaced community of Colombia. Thank you for supporting us throughout this process.
Peace be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays