Yale Professor Emilie Townes Speaks at McCormick During Annual Allen Lectures

03-12-2012 by

Dr. Emilie M. Townes, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School, presented the 2012 Allen Lectures here at McCormick on February 20th. The theme of her lectures was “Does Your House Have Lions?”

by Lora Burge, Third-year MDiv Student 

Her first lecture, “A Womanist Spirituality of Health and Redemption” focused on how to care for one’s self in the midst of an overworked world.  She also noted that “health is more than the absence of disease.” Everyone, especially clergy who are in the business of caring for others, must learn how to live a liberating and reconciled life as a means to being healthy and living more fully into their ministries.  Individuals must reclaim their identity as a child of God and honor that nature by being good stewards of both body and soul.

Her second lecture, “Justice Notes,” outlined a framework of notes for living as faithful Christian witnesses in today’s world. The four notes are:
* Take citizenship seriously.
* Ask, “Where is the voice of our religious communities?”
* Take action. Don’t become the fodder for a state wanting to claim its holiness.
* Live into imagination sparked by justice and peace.

Dr. Townes framed the conversation by saying that Christians must shift their focus from one of winning and losing to an orientation for justice and peace in all contexts and communities.  It is imperative that Christians find and form a “faith that can breathe.”  She closed the lecture by inviting people to join her in the work.

The Allen Lectures are an annual lecture series at McCormick Theological Seminary made possible by an endowed fund from Winnetka Congregational Church focusing on stimulating intellectual discussion of strategies for and applications of effective pastoral care.