PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, MA
November 18-21, 2017

2017 Annual Meeting Program (PDF)

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Preliminary 2017 Annual Meeting Program (MS Word)

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Open and Relational Theologies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This unit explores theological ideas generally related to the following:
• Theology involves speculation about who God truly is and what God really does
• God’s primary characteristic is love
• Creatures — at least humans — are genuinely free to make choices
• God experiences others in some way analogous to how creatures experience others
• Both creatures and God are relational beings, which means that both God and creatures are affected by others in give-and-take relationships
• God experience changes, yet God’s nature or essence remains the same
• Creatures are called to act in ways that please God and make the world a better place
• The future is open — it is not predetermined by God
• God’s expectations about the future are often partly dependent upon creaturely actions

Call for Papers: 

The Open and Relational Theologies Unit explores theological ideas and their implications as related to the traditions of Open Theism, Process Theology, and other Relational Theologies. These explorations tend to be constructive in nature, and involve theological and philosophical speculation about the nature of God, freedom, power, relationality, love, and more.

For 2017, we invite paper proposals for the following sessions:

Open-Relational Theologies Beyond Christianity
No doubt, traditional Open Theism has emerged as a form of Christian theology. However, the core principles of Open-Relational Theologies are not restricted to Christian thought. We welcome paper submissions that explore ways in which Open-Relational notions of power, knowledge, freedom, ultimacy, love, etc. are being expressed in non-Christian traditions.

Open Theology, Open Borders? Religion and the Most Vulnerable
In light of the 2017 AAR theme, “Religion and the Most Vulnerable,” the Open and Relational Theologies unit is holding a session that focuses on theologies of action and the implications for engaging the most vulnerable populations. This session will explore fundamental questions, like:

• What are the theological implications of an open-relational theology in an era of globalization and increased migration?

• What does the vulnerability of God mean for the vulnerability of the poor?

• What does a theology of embodiment mean for vulnerable populations as related to relational theology?
How do we turn relational theology into activism?

• What does the notion of God as essentially loving, entail for methods of social activism?

• Papers proposals addressing these, and related, questions are welcome.

Does God Need the World? Whitehead and Tillich in Conversation (Joint Session)
In this time of looming climate catastrophe a major impediment to action has been the theological conviction of many that God will not let us destroy our world. Embedded in this idea is that we are indispensable to God. What if that is not the case? This joint session between the Tillich: Issues in Theology and Culture and the Open and Relational Theologies Units will explore the fundamental question: "Does God need the world?” We are seeking papers for a panel which explore topics such as: 1) The metaphysics of the divine, 2) cosmology, 3) the place humanity in the life of the Divine, and 4) related issues. Paper proposals addressing this question by engagement with the work of Paul Tillich and/or Alfred North Whitehead are welcome.

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee