Catherwood Lecture in Public Theology on Thursday: Jenny Taylor on Religious Literacy & Post-Multicultural Possibilities

JTaylorContemporary Christianity’s annual Catherwood Lecture in Public Theology will take place Thursday 16 April at 8 pm (7.30 for tea and coffee) at the Agape Centre, 238 Lisburn Road in Belfast.

Dr Jenny Taylor,  a cultural analyst, journalist, author and founder of Lapido Media, a consultancy specialising in religious literacy in world affairs, will speak on ‘When Words Fail: Religious Literacy and Post-Multicultural Possibilities.’ 

Dr Taylor has reported from areas of conflict and poverty all over Asia and Africa, deciding to specialize in Islam and secularization. She speaks and writes on the connection between faith and culture, on which she has addressed parliamentary, Commonwealth and media gatherings. From 1988 to 1994 she was the editor of GO, the magazine for Interserve. She co- authored the book Faith and Power (1998), along with Professor Lamin Sanneh of Yale, and Lesslie Newbigin. She is a member of the Evangelical Alliance’s Theological Advisory Group.

I will be responding to Dr Taylor’s lecture, picking up on how the themes she raises are particularly relevant on the island of Ireland. 

Contemporary Christianity’s promotional material describes the event this way:

When Words Fail – Dr Jenny Taylor

Response – Dr Gladys Ganiel

In Northern Ireland, with its own political issues and our relatively homogenous society, the need for engagement with wider world issues has often been obscured. Yet these issues are in our news every day. We all rely on journalists for local and world news. How can we know that we are getting a fair reflection on increasingly complex issues? As our own political situation changes and Northern Irish society becomes more diverse, we need an understanding of how to better engage with people of different cultural and faith backgrounds. This is an issue we shouldn’t avoid. Religious literacy means, essentially, catching up with the significant shifts in British and Irish secular culture that are already upon us. How can we do this constructively? Increasingly, the journalists Jenny talks to share her view that religion is too serious to have only a passing acquaintance with it. Truth is out there, and it’s our duty to find and tell it. This lecture will help us on this journey. To get the discussions and conversation going, we will have a response by Dr Gladys Ganiel, Research Fellow in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast and author or co-author of four books on evangelicalism and conflict, and the emerging church movement. There will then be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

The Catherwood Lecture series began in 1998. This is the first to be held since his death in November 2014. Catherwood was a politician and author of many books and articles, including The Christian Citizen (1969), God’s Time God’s Money (1987), Jobs & Justice, Homes & Hope (1997) The Creation of Wealth: Recovering a Christian Understanding of Money, Work, and Ethics (2002).


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