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John Bowlin, Moving Beyond the Culture Wars

University Lecture Series

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The Showers Lecture Series Presents:


John Bowlin


​Professor of Philosophy and
Christian Ethics at Princeton
Theological Seminary​


“Christianity and Toleration”

​ (4:30 on 9/21)​

 What should Christians think about toleration?  Can we tolerate commitments we despise, activities we deem unjust, persons and lives we consider harmful or vile?  We are told that tolerance is a virtue, that a liberal democracy requires a tolerant citizenry, a people who can live among differences they cannot endorse, that they might even consider abhorrent.  But we worship a God of justice and truth.  Can we be faithful to this God while tolerating injustice and enduring falsehood?  Can this response to difference bear witness to this God’s love?  


“Love’s Endurance—Pauline and Democratic”

(7:30 on 9/21)​

Jesus commands us to love our neighbors—friends, family, and fellow citizens, yes, but also strangers, sinners, and enemies.  Paul tells us that this love endures all things.  The endurance he has in mind regards the differences in life and disagreements in judgment that divided the early church.  In our own day, the church in America confronts its own disagreements and divisions; so does our political community.  Can love’s endurance, similar to and yet different from toleration’s own, bear witness to God’s love across these disagreements and divisions?  Can it be an aspect of eternal love’s temporal life?” 


​The Showers Lectures in the Christian Religion is an endowed series at the University of Indianapolis established in memory of the Evangelical United Brethren Bishop J. Balmer Showers.​

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University of Indianapolis
1400 East Hanna Avenue
UIndy Hall A
Indianapolis, IN 46227


University Lecture Series

Each year, for its University Series of lectures and performances, UIndy focuses on one of its four learning goals: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Performance, and Social Responsibility. In 2016–17, we will explore how two of those goals, critical thinking and social responsibility, relate to each other. From day to day, we locate our personal identity in relation to the social scripts that narrate expectations for ourselves and for those around us. We find stability in these scripts—in thinking of ourselves as faculty, students, citizens, activists, family, friends. "Flipping the script" involves thinking about our roles and behaviors in different ways. Critical thinking enables us to discover new ways, for example, to understand freedom from—discrimination or poverty, say—as well as freedom for the exercise of responsibility.

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John Bowlin, Moving Beyond the Culture Wars
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