Rice Family Chair of Spirituality, San Francisco Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, University of Redlands
“Embracing the Bright-Dark Abyss: Divine Ineffability as a Call to Radical Compassion and Social Justice”
Ideas about the divine are often drawn from human fathers, kings, and empires. Both suffering and apophatic theology reveal the inadequacy of these ideas. In dialogue with Christian contemplatives we will consider how the hiddenness of the divine qualifies our ideas about God and opens our hearts to the tragedy and beauty of the world. We will explore how this emphasis on divine ineffability can conspire with the wisdom of civil rights mothers and Jewish theologians to evoke radical compassion and with it, a call to social justice.
Wendy Farley is the Rice Family Chair of Spirituality at the Graduate School of Theology at the University of Redlands. She is emerita from Emory University. Originally trained in philosophical theology and phenomenology, she has studied comparative and contemplative theologies. She also brings feminist and queer-studies perspectives to her work. She is the author of six books and an edited volume as well as over 65 peer-reviewed articles and invited or named lectures. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and on the Board of Directors of Courage of Care. She also leads contemplative retreats on the west coast and in the southeast. She is interested in ways contemplative practices can contribute to resilience and compassion as we face current crises, including the deadly effects of climate change.
About the Series
For centuries, philosophers and theologians debated the question of why God, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, is hidden, absent or silent in the face of human suffering. In our lecture series, we are inviting prominent scholars from a range of disciplines and from different parts of the world to address and help us understand an array of topics pertaining to the problem of Divine Hiddenness.