PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Open and Relational Theologies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

The Open and Relational Theologies Unit promotes academic research and discourse on open, relational, and process methods and perspectives (including those of open theism, process philosophy, and other relational and personalists traditions). These explorations tend to be constructive in nature--regularly involving theological and philosophical speculation about the nature of God, freedom, power, relationality, love, and more--as well as studying the implications of open-relational methods and perspectives on a wide range of social and scientific topics.

Call for Papers: 

For 2019, the Open and Relational Theologies Unit invites proposals for the following three sessions:

What Kind of “God” is Most Worthy of Worship?
What kind of “God” is most worthy of worship? Personal, impersonal, or none at all? Unilaterally omnipotent or persuasively powerful? Unmoved mover or most moved mover? Mutable or immutable? Necessarily loving or freely loving? We welcome proposals that make a strong case for a clear position.

Non-Violent Theology: Power, Persuasion, and Peace
Are some theologies - some models of God - better suited for promoting peace and justice through non-violent means? We welcome proposals that explore this question, especially in connection with open-relational, liberal, and/or personalist theologies. We're especially interested in proposals that explore the impact of personalism on the theology and activism of Martin Luther King Jr.

Can Religion Save the World? Beyond Capitalism, Consumerism, and Systems of Exploitation Toward Ecological Civilization
Theology is always contextual. In every major religion, central figures have crafted unique messages to address the specific needs of their time and place. Can religion help address the most urgent needs of our contemporary global situation? In his 1971 publication, Is It Too Late?: A Theology of Ecology, philosopher and theologian John B. Cobb, Jr. asked whether or not we can avert global environmental catastrophe. After almost 50 years, it has become increasingly clear, as Pope Francis states, that "We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature." What role can religious and theological studies play in responding to the most important issues of our times? Can religions help cultivate the consciousness needed to avert catastrophe? How might theology contribute to the development of integrated approaches to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, contesting the exploitation of workers, and at the same time protecting nature? In light of the 2019 AAR theme, “Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces: A Necessary Long Term Focus in the Study of Religions,” this session will be an intersectional, interdisciplinary, interreligious exploration on religious responses to our world’s most pressing issues.

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee