Theology Without Walls Sessions



Theology, Community, and Disaffiliation
Saturday, November 18
1:00pm – 3:30 pm

Marriott Riverwalk, Alamo Ballroom, Salon C

Traditionally, theology is in service to a religious community. Theology Without Walls has an audience, but does it have a community? The SBNRs, Mark Heim noted at our first planning meeting, may be an audience, but are they a community?  Can Theology Without Walls be done successfully if it does not have a community? Is there still a purpose for it to serve? Linda Mercadante is conducting a follow-up study to her classic on SBNRs that will shed light on that question. Might Theology Without Walls become at least a theological community? Francis Clooney once remarked that engaging in comparative theology can cause friction with one’s home community, but it also creates something of a new community. This panel will explore these and other related questions.
Chair:  Catherine Cornille, Boston College
Linda Mercadante, Methodist Theological School of Ohio
“Clergy turned SBNR: A Potential Audience for TWW?”
Kurt Anders Richardson, University of Toronto                                          
“Theology for the Unaffiliated: When Religious Distance is Spiritual Nearness”

Phil Towne, Hope International University
“Theological Reflection in Non-Ecclesial Spiritual Communities”
Geoffrey Wilfong-Pritchard, St. Stephens College, University of Alberta
“An Atheist, a Charismatic, and a Pentecostal Walk into TWW Class”
Perry Schmidt-Leukel, University of Muenster
“Watch Out!  That Lure Is a Trap”
Christopher Denny, St. John’s University
“When the Walls Aren’t Chosen: Religious Disaffiliation or Religious Exclusion?”



Theology Without Walls
Theme: Rising Scholars Discussion
Sunday, November 19
4:00pm – 5:30pm
Marriott Riverwalk, Bowie

Chair:  Jeffery Long, Elizabethtown College

Shandon Klein, Southern Methodist University
“Systematic Theology Without Walls as an Open System”

Mathias Schneider, University of Muenster
“Towards an Eschatology Without Walls”

Greylyn Hydinger, Boston University
“Two Types of Systematic Theology without Walls”

Theology Without Walls
Theme: Planning Meeting
Sunday, November 19
5:30 – 6:30pm

Marriott Riverwalk, Bowie

Chair:  Jerry L. Martin, University of Colorado, Boulder, Presiding

Co-Chairs:  John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary
                   Jeffery Long, Elizabethtown College

Global Trends:  Kurt Anders Richardson

European Theology Without Walls:  Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Pim Valkenberg, Hans LeGrand

Publications:  Rory McEntee, Bin Song, Mark Heim

Studies:  Linda Mercadante

Great Stories of the World’s Religions:  Jeanine Diller

Cooperation with Other Groups:  Catherine Cornille, Jon Paul Sydnor, Pim Valkenberg

Rapporteurs:  Christopher Denny, Abigail Rosenthal


What Would a Systematic Theology Without Walls Look Like?
Monday, November 20
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Marriott Riverwalk, Alamo Ballroom, Salon B 

Chair:  John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary

The aim of Theology Without Walls is theological inquiry that does not restrict itself to one’s own religion, or indeed to religion as the only source of insight. This multi-year topic will explore ways of developing a comprehensive or systematic Theology Without Walls. The topic for the first year is: What does “theology” mean “beyond” confessional boundaries? Is there a persuasive conception that points our inquiry in a fruitful direction? It is important not to limit the work to Western monotheistic categories.  What questions or topics might be useful in developing a viable theology outside religious walls?  What concepts or methods might be useful?

Jeanine Diller, University of Toledo (in absentia)
“What Is a Good Category for Ultimacy across Religions? (That’s Not Quite It!)”

Catherine Keller, Drew University
“Freedom and Fragility: The Irony of Theology’s Present”

Jeffrey Kripal, Rice University
“How to Think Impossibly: Toward a Phenomenology of the Experiencer”

Rita Sherma, Graduate Theological Union
“The New Theological Anthropology: Ecosystemic Identity”

Joyce Ann Konigsburg, DePaul University
“Wonder and Awe: Essential Concepts for a Theology Without Walls”

Bin Song, Washington College
“Non-Confessional Inclusivism Embracing Relational Pluralism”

Hans le Grand, Free University of Amsterdam
“Toward a Theology Without Walls for Seekers”