studying at st barnabas

Joint Research Seminar II – Adelaide College of Divinity

Joint Research Seminar II

Monday, May 24th, 12:45pm – 3:30pm, hosted on Zoom

Zoom Link.

12:45 – 1:00pm: Conversation, introduction

1:00 – 1.40pm: Rev Dr Vicky Balabanski, “Learning to be Church: Virtues and Practices Leading Towards Koinonia in Colossians”

Rev Dr Vicky Balabanski is a New Testament scholar at Flinders University of South Australia and the Adelaide College of Divinity, and is a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church. She is a founding member, editor and writer in the internationally acclaimed Earth Bible series, which develops a critical and nuanced approach to interpreting Scripture in solidarity with the Earth community (the interconnected web of life). She has recently published an Earth Bible commentary – Colossians: An Eco-Stoic reading – with Bloomsbury T & T Clark (2020). This develops an approach drawing on Stoic philosophy, the most influential philosophical school in the first century, and a framework for deepening ecological ways of reading.

Vicky was a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University, and has worked as a visiting scholar in Heidelberg, Germany (2000). She has taught in Thailand and India, including an intensive at McGilvary College of Divinity in Chang Mai (2009) and as visiting scholar in the Diocese of Madras (2012). She  was elected into membership of the international Society of Biblical Studies (SNTS) in 2017.

Vicky has long-term connections with a remote Aboriginal community, and works together with Indigenous writers who are developing their own hermeneutical approaches to reading the Bible.

Abstract. Practices and commitments which lie at the heart of what has come to be referred to in ecumenical circles as Receptive Ecumenism can also be seen to lie at the foundations of the communities of Jesus followers in the first century CE. The desire for communion (koinonia) amongst Jesus followers finds its practical expression throughout the New Testament. This paper examines the Letter to the Colossians, addressed to divided gatherings of Jesus households in Colossae and Laodicea, and explores a particular avenue of ‘reception’ by which communion between these two communities is enhanced and division overcome, by highlighting essential qualities or virtues which Jesus followers are invited to emulate. This example from these first-century communities of Jesus followers reveals concrete engagement, practical hospitality and ecclesial growth. The discernment that emerges from this study can speak into our own journey in Receptive Ecumenism. It encourages us to focus on friendship brought about through a renewed appreciation of God’s word revealed through God’s presence.

1:45 – 2:30pm: Rev Dr Steven Ogden, “Violence, Entitlement, and Politics: A Theology on Transforming the Subject”

Rev Dr Steven Ogden is adjunct lecturer at St Barnabas College, and Research Fellow at the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University. He is a contributor on local radio, and an experienced public speaker. His research interests include political theology, gender and sexuality, and issues on power and violence. Steven is formerly Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral Adelaide, and Principal of St Francis Theological College Brisbane.

Steven’s publications include the following refereed books:

  • Violence, Entitlement, and Politics: A Theology on Transforming the Subject (forthcoming, Routledge, 2021)
  • The Church, Authority and Foucault: Imagining the Church as an Open Space of Freedom (Routledge, 2017)
  • The Presence of God in the World: A Contribution to Postmodern Christology based on the Theologies of Paul Tillich and Karl Rahner (Peter Lang, 2007).

Abstract. This book addresses the problem of gender-based violence by focusing on violent male subjects and the problem of entitlement. The term entitlement is widely employed in family violence literature, as well as the media, and public discourse, but what does it mean? The book theorizes entitlement, interpreting entitlement as a gender pattern, predisposing subjects toward controlling behaviour and/or violent actions. This helps to explain the nature of violence at personal (micro) and cultural (macro) levels

Using sources ranging from Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Étienne Balibar to Rowan Williams and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, the book is an exercise in political theology, focused on gender-based violence. To that end, it develops a theology of transformation. It is an immanent theology, focused on the here and now. It examines entitled subjects, predisposed to violence, where transformation requires a limit-experience that wrenches the subject from itself. However, violent subjects are resistant to change. Clearly, there is a need for a broader, long-term view. This leads to setting the problem within the political context, and theorizing today’s pervasive strongman politics, where political rationalities foster entitlement gender patterns. So, theology is called to develop counter-discourses and counter-practices challenging strongman politics. This is theology as resistance.

2:35 – 3.15pm: Rev Dr Sean Gilbert, “Calling and Vocation: The Grace of Unfolding Identity and Purpose in Christ”

Before joining the faculty at Uniting College in 2012, Rev Dr Sean Gilbert spent over twenty years as a Minister of the Word in congregational ministry within the Uniting Church. He enjoys bringing the richness of that experience to leadership formation through teaching in theological areas related to ministry practice. He believes that the received love of God and imaginative application is core to all fruitful expressions of ministry and mission. His recently awarded PhD thesis is entitled, Spiritual Affections and the Pastoral Disposition. 

Abstract. Semi-autobiographical, Sean’s input will posit that ‘Christian ministry is constituted and sustained by the gracious action of the Holy Trinity.’ This affirmation being argued and held in tension with contemporary educational and resourcing stresses (and demonstrable fatigue) on skill-development, social networking and technological innovation.

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