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2023 Luther Lecture
"The Precarious Power of a Strongly Worded Letter: Political Correspondence, Lutheran Theology, and Civic Participation"

In the face of social challenges and mounting injustices, we are sometimes encouraged to write a letter. Whether this is an opinion piece for a local newspaper or a policy recommendation for our local representative, the assumption is that putting words on a page will contribute to making the world a better place. In this talk Dr. Bateza will examine some of the presumptions behind this advice and our practices, connecting contemporary challenges we face with Martin Luther's own use of political correspondence. Questions about our competence and commitments, the reasons behind our writing and our standing to offer our options, will be central as we evaluate our motives and those of others. Ultimately, Dr. Bateza will argue that a Lutheran approach to complexities of good works and the sacraments provide valuable lessons and cautionary warnings as we take our stands and post our ideas for the world.

Dr. Anthony Bateza is an Associate Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College. He is also the Department Chair of the Race, Ethnic, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Dr. Bateza is a specialist in Martin Luther, moral theology and Christian ethics. Luther’s political theology is his primary area of resarch, focusing on the reformer's understanding of human agency and his relationship with the virtue tradition and Augustinian thought. He is also personally and professionally invested in questions of race, identity, and social justice. He has written on Black liberation theology and connections between Lutheran teaching and confronting racism in the United States.

Mar 22, 2023 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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