Three great challenges in the next decade

On September 21 and 22, five distinguished alumni of the Boston University School of Theology were honored during several events held on the university campus. The closing event took the form of a panel discussion during which these alumni were invited to share with students, faculty, the media, and the public in general, their thoughts on “The three greatest challenges facing us in the next decade.”

The first speaker, Philip J. Wogaman (Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary), expressed his concern about poverty and unemployment in the United States, and then addressed aspects of the world’s “spiritual vacuum,” especially in “this era of deep uncertainty.” He said there needs to be a movement toward dialogue and understanding, recognizing what we can learn from other religions to enhance our own faith: “You don’t have to club people over the head if you disagree with them.” He suggested that “what is there to believe?” is one of the deep questions of our age. What is really true? “God is bigger than any of us,” he said. “But whatever we see as a priority, we must engage with our actions.”

Bishop Sally J. Dyck was not able to be present at the symposium, but shared her remarks in the printed program. She said that the greatest challenge facing Americans is that they live in a culture where the fastest growing religious group is the “nones”—those who when asked what their religious affiliation is mark “none.” “Mostly they’re not hostile toward the church,” she said. “They just find it irrelevant in their lives. How do we reach out to them?—even the ‘nones’ in our own families.”

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To master the challenge
November 14, 2011

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