Here’s a video of the lecture I gave on March 22, 2019 at the University of Pennsylvania, hosted by the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture. I spoke on how the generation of interest and the generation of children have been conflated and compared at different points in history in various theological and philosophical systems. Maybe one way to resist the onslaught and power of debt in society today is to tease out and separate these interconnections, and undercut the associations between debt and reproduction.
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This video is an edited down version of my participation on a panel at Harvard Divinity School on Christianity, Race, and Mass Incarceration, showing my contribution to the discussion. October 20th, 2017.
Dec 4, 2018
In this public lecture, for “Radboud Reflects,” a program hosted by Radboud University, Nijmegen, I explain some of the main themes from my book, Divine Currency, and ask how God and greed may be more closely related than we assume.
I recently spent a few days on the campus of Saint Paul's School in Concord, NH, as part of their Chapel Program review committee, where they gathered a team of external reviewers to assess their fulfillment of their mission on campus.
As part of this visit, I was invited to address their community in their morning chapel. This gathering of their entire student body and faculty took place in their impressive and imposing Chapel of St Peter and St Paul. I took the opportunity to speak about a topic that has remained near and dear to my heart for most of my life: anger.
Our attitude toward anger is ambivalent, at best. Usually, it is an emotion and affective state that is feared, resisted, and repressed... until it explodes. In these brief reflections, I suggest a slightly different attitude toward anger, one that recognizes it as a major resource in our lives for change.
I recently participated on a panel as part of a broader conference on Christianity, Race, and Mass Incarceration at Harvard Divinity School:
"Christianity, Race, and Mass Incarceration will gather scholars of various disciplines in conversation alongside activists, organizers, and formerly incarcerated persons. We hope to advance through this workshop a critical study of carceral punishment, especially as it relates to questions of Christian thought and practice, and to provoke awareness and activism around incarceration in America."
After a first, brilliant panel on "Religion and the Historical Roots of US Incarceration" followed by a second, equally brilliant and hard-hitting panel on "Race and Religion in Modern Mass Incarceration," the third panel was a "Theology and Humanities Roundtable" where scholars shared their perspectives on how their work relates to this pressing social and conceptual problem.
On the panel, I was accompanied by Michelle Sanchez, Todne Thomas, Cornel West, and Andre Willis:
My brief remarks, titled "Guilty Debt? The Economy of Carcerality" emphasized the role of debt in supporting imaginaries that deem pain and punishment an appropriate "repayment" for crimes committed and that construe indebtedness as moral culpability and guilt.
I also asked whether Christian theories of salvation that make repayment of the "debt" of sin a central piece might not be reinforcing this broader social imaginary that sacralizes and centers on debt. Can we rethink salvation outside of the terms of redemption, recompense or repayment?
Watch the full video of this particular panel: