Mark your calendar today to join us for Karam Forum 2021 on Tuesday, January 5! Our theme is “Rising to the Challenge with Hope, Vision and Wisdom.” We’re looking forward to hearing from Mark Labberton, John Nunes, Darrell Bock and many more on how our schools can not only survive but thrive in the coming century. But we’ll also be breaking out into groups to discuss scholarly papers – see below on how to get those in advance – and we have plans to continue the conversation in a Global Session.
Karam Forum 2021 is free and there’s no pre-registration. Just surf on over to the Karam Forum website on January 5 at 10am central/11am eastern/8am Pacific to join us for this half-day event!
Here’s a breakdown of what we’re offering. See the schedule for times broken out by time zone.
- Vision: School presidents on how we can thrive in the new reality
- Wisdom: Rethinking the way we steward theological knowledge
- Scholarly R&D Lab: Let us know which paper from the list (see below!) you’re interested in discussing, and we’ll send it to you in advance
- Kairos Project & APDP: We’ll have special breakout sessions for these communities
- Karam Forum Global Session: A follow-up event to connect globally
For a big vision of how theological education can thrive in the new reality, we turn to two school presidents who have taken the lead in reinventing Christian higher education. Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, and John Nunes, president of Concordia College-New York, will help us learn to view this moment as an opportunity to take theological education in a new and life-giving direction. For some time, we’ve all been moving from the old model of education as “information” to a new model of education as “formation,” and grappling with the challenges of a fragmented culture. Now is the moment to rethink our model of education from the ground up!
To cultivate wisdom for the task ahead, we will convene an interdisciplinary discussion of how we can better connect theological knowledge to the way people live in the world. Kicking off this catalytic conversation will be Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary. Drawing on many years of attention to this problem as a scholar and educator, he’ll outline some of the challenges we face in the way we think about and organize theological knowledge. Then, modeling the interdisciplinary cooperation our schools will need to rise to the challenge, we’ll ask a panel of leaders drawn from across the disciplines to consider the practical challenge in rethinking how we steward the theological knowledge tradition. Peter Cha of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Lynn Cohick of Denver Seminary, Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary and Charlie Self of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary will be among our panelists.
Scholarly R&D Lab
We’re rolling out something new at Karam Forum this year, as a first step toward a big new ambition. Alongside the provocative presentations and catalytic conversations you’ve come to expect from our gathering, at Karam Forum 2021 you will be able to attend a breakout discussion group focused on your choice of the scholarly papers below. Contact us today and we will send you a copy of your selected paper, so you can read it in advance and be ready for the stimulating discussion at Karam Forum.
- Systematic Theology: What does it mean to flourish as material beings, and how does the Incarnation shed light on real flourishing? Brent Waters challenges us to rethink our assumptions about flourishing in his paper, “Animated Soil: Flourishing as Creatures.” Discussion facilitated by Brent Waters.
- Theological Ethics: Is our anthropology missing a core element that’s needed for robust application of theology to real-life ethics in the home and the workplace? Darrell Bock makes the case in his paper, “Stewardship Is Fundamental: Creation, Marriage and Money.” Discussion facilitated by Darrell Bock.
- Biblical Studies: How do we make sense of God’s surprising choice to put the word “subdue” at the center of the cultural mandate? J. Michael Thigpen shows us the big implications of a little word in his paper, “Flourishing, Justice and the Gospel as ‘Subduing’ the Earth.” Discussion facilitated by David Baker.
- Biblical Theology: How can we see “the gospel going out to the nations” as a new lens for debates about the church and culture? Greg Forster explores a neglected biblical theme in his paper, “Nations in the Metanarrative of Redemption: A Gospel for Public Life.” Discussion facilitated by Greg Forster.
- History: How can Christians transcend the seemingly binary choice between reductive capitalist rhetoric and reductive socialist rhetoric? Kimlyn Bender looks to Karl Barth for inspiration in his paper, “Capitalism, Socialism and Karl Barth’s Pragmatism: Lessons from a Disillusioned Socialist for Christian Economic Engagement.” Discussion facilitated by Nathan Hitchcock.
These cutting-edge scholarly papers have come out of the Oikonomia Network’s recent work. We hope the conversation at Karam Forum 2021 will generate ideas for new articles to carry this mission of innovative scholarship forward in the form of a new academic journal. Read more about that publishing opportunity here.
Kairos Network and APDP Special Breakouts
Alongside our five Scholarly R&D Lab breakout sessions, in the same time slot we will also have special breakout sessions available for two communities. There is no need to contact us in advance if you plan to attend one of these sessions.
Another breakout session will be for program directors, faculty and administrators working in Accelerated Pastoral Degree Programs. Contact Chris Armstrong of the Kern Family Foundation at email@example.com for more information about this breakout session.
Karam Forum Global Session
Karam Forum has always been specially blessed by our international participants, especially our partners in Australia who have joined us annually since we began meeting in 2017. Because time zone differences hinder this important aspect of our event, we will be holding a special Karam Forum Global Session. The event will be on different dates depending on where you are. In Australia, the global session will take place on Thursday, January 21 from 12:00 noon to 2:00pm Sydney time. If you’re in the U.S., it will be on Wednesday, January 20, from 7:00-9:00pm central time (8-10pm eastern, 5-7pm Pacific).
We’ve invited our upside-down partners – Or are we the ones who are upside-down? Never mind! – to prepare a special presentation on their experience of faith-work integration in theological education. We’re looking forward to a fascinating glimpse at how these issues have played out in a very different context:
Faith-Work Integration: Past, Present and Yet to Come
Past: Research on faith-work initiatives in Australian theological colleges
Dave Benson, London Institute for Contemporary Christianity
Present: Transforming Vocation conference and book: theological education/church/workplace with a uniquely Australian “flavour”
Andrew Sloane, Morling College, Sydney
Future: A prophetic vision for the future of faith-work integration in theological education
Kara Martin, Alphacrucis College, Sydney
Watch the January edition of the newsletter for more announcements on the Global Session. For now, mark those calendars for both January 5 and January 20/21! Once again, participation is free and all you have to do is point your browser to http://karamforum.org/ when the events start. We look forward to seeing you at Karam Forum!