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‘A Love Supreme:’ Second lecture in series exploring Christianity

February 26, 2013

On Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Pearsons, Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell will give a lecture titled, "A Love Supreme: The Historical Roots of Christian Exclusivism." In it, she will explore the historical antecedents of Christian exclusivism in relationship to ecumenical, interfaith, and postmodern contexts.

Terrell is the associate professor of ethics and theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

“My role as a teacher of ethics and theology is a way of honoring the activist spirit that characterizes my own, and my seminary’s, commitments,” she says. “I strive to maintain a connection between the Academy and the Church, primarily by bringing to bear critical reflection on my experiences in both places, questioning the relevance of each enterprise for people and their complicity in maintaining systems of oppression.”

She received both her M.Div. and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (where her years of study overlapped with those of Bill Conover, director of the Spiritual Life Program here at Beloit). She is the author of Power in the Blood? The Cross in the African-American Experience and is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

As an African-American, Christian, and womanist rooted in the church, Terrell says she enjoys exploring the antecedents of her own faith claims. Her research interests include a focus on Christian origins and their potential for enhancing future developments in black, feminist, and womanist theologies on questions of doctrine. In addition, she enjoys studying the ancient testimonies and sacred texts of other cultures.

“My scholarly and ‘preacherly’ vocation is to bring insight from many, many sources to bear on the way I ‘do’ theology,” she explains. “Thus, I appreciate other peoples’ apprehensions of God as they, too, struggle to live in just societies and in spiritual communion.”