After exploring “Christianity, Racism, and White Privilege” at last year’s colloquium, the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary (JCTS) is gearing up for another exciting forum. This year, the world of religion and politics will collide as we tackle, “The Politics of Jesus: What Does the Bible Say?” The Seminary’s Provost, the Reverend Dr. Anna Price, was able to shed some light on what we could expect next month.
UFBL: What inspired the theme for this year’s colloquium?
Dr. Price: The 2016 Colloquium was titled: “Christianity, Racism and White Privilege: What does the Bible say?” In their evaluations attendees wrote that they wanted to see more colloquia address modern day issues. Then, Jerry Braun shared that he was reading The Politics of Jesus by Obery Hendricks and thought that the topic would be timely. I remembered the book when Rev. Tumpkin taught a lesson series based on it. The book is well written and lends itself to scholarly and spiritual review. Given the current political climate, I believe it offers us an opportunity to really explore the question “What would Jesus do?”
UFBL: What can attendees expect this year?
Dr. Price: Attendees can expect to be challenged to deal with this topic from different perspectives – some of which are in opposition to their own.
UFBL: Most would argue that the UFBL has views and positions that lean closer towards liberalism. Will this forum be open to perspectives and individuals of different denominations and/or political views?
Dr. Price: First, UFBL does not have a political viewpoint per se. However, it comes out of the divine idea of love, which promotes unity. Absolutely. All traditions are welcome. The Rev. Dr. Mary Tumpkin’s vision for this seminary to be inclusive: a place where seekers, Religious professionals, and anyone interested in exploring deeper truths can come to expand their consciousness of knowing about life.
UFBL: Why do you think there are so many different interpretations of Jesus’ politics?
Dr. Price: In my experience, we all have a tendency to proof-text from the Bible and choose words/statements that we believe support our own personal vested interest (ie. The position that we hold). As humankind, it seems that we are more comfortable with a “we vs. they” mindset, where ours is better than yours and ours is right.
UFBL: How can the UFBL/New Thought, as a spiritual movement, participate in or influence our current politics (local or national)?
Dr. Price: As UFBL is a Bible-based organization for thinkers, I look for the principle in scripture. In Mark 12:17, it says: “Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”
I believe that this means that we are to fulfill our civic duties as individuals, but that spiritual movements (churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.) are where God’s work goes on. Again, we have the responsibility to use spiritual principles in alliances.
UFBL: What do you hope attendees take away from this colloquium?
Dr. Price: I am hoping that attendees will come to a place where we understand that we do not have to agree with a position to respect others right to have the position. I also hope that people will get a better understanding of how others came to a position (not like their own). In other words, to walk in the shoes of those with whom they disagree. We may find that we can find areas of agreement in our disagreements.
Ultimately, we are all together in this thing that we call “Life”. When we learn to listen to one another, I believe that we will come to accept that we all want the same thing: Peace of mind that comes from health, happiness, prosperity, loving relationships and opportunities to fulfill our purpose.
Check out the Speakers:
The 2017 JCTS Colloquium will take place at 21310 NW 37th Avenue Miami Gardens, Florida 33056. You may attend in-person or online. You can register HERE. For more information, feel free to reach out to Dr. Price at (305) 624-4991 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.