Typically, Wake Forest University School of Divinity hosts The Wake Divinity Dialogue Series (WDDS) in the spring. This year, following the lead of the University, we will host a sustained Call to Conversation. Our sustained dialogue (or conversations) engages the community in critical conversations regarding intersections of identity, as well as, other pressing issues. The weekly conversations are designed to offer individuals an opportunity to engage with other individuals who have a different and distinct perspective. Specifically, we will gather theologically diverse people connected to the School of Divinity, and engage deeply with those who identify as being theologically conservative or traditional.
A trained moderator will guide a group of 10-12 people through a meaningful conversation on a topic selected in advance. The same group will meet each week on Mondays February 4, February 11, and February 18, 2019. These conversations will often take place over lunch, but this is not your typical lunch party with the requisite small talk. Participants will quickly get to know each other and form community as they share stories of personal experiences and ideas related to the selected topic.
It’s a conversation, not a debate. They require no expertise or unique knowledge, just a willingness to share, listen and respond. This is not an exercise in problem-solving, but an opportunity to explore ideas and enjoy a sense of connection.
While you’ll be a part of this experience because Wake Div values face-to-face engagement, this conversation is not meant to be a discussion about our School of Divinity. Rather, the conversations will privilege conservative theology in a way that flips the script on the typical progressive leaning of the divinity school and strengthens our ecumenical stance. Our mission is to educate agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion, and our belief is that the stories, values and ideas that emerge from this sustained Call to Conversation will influence how we prepare our students for the future.
We acknowledge that theological labelling is limited and challenging, and doesn’t not always help in describing the diversity of Christian traditions. In an attempt to capture language (not type-cast) terms often used by students in the School of Divinity, we would note that some might describe theological differences in this way:
1. Increase opportunities for Wake Div community members to interact interculturally
2. Provide opportunities for Wake Div students to more fully engage the WFUSD mission through active interaction in conversation across difference
3. Cultivate our students by introducing the skills and awareness that are integral to their abilities to become effective religious leaders
4. Encourage students to find consistent ways to think deeply, communicate graciously, and engage the intellectual and social challenges of the times
5. Assist faculty, staff, and students by providing more opportunities for them to connect through sustained intellectual and social interaction