This Saturday, priest, theologian, and author James Alison will speak at St. Alban’s parish in Washington on Choosing Judgment or Joy: Helping people of faith move from anger to love. Alison’s appearance is supported by the St. Alban’s Endowed Memorial Lecture Fund, which provides for lectures or other presentations that allow the parish and the wider community to examine the pressing issues of our time through the lens of contemporary theology. *
I came to know the work of James Alison when my third stage men’s book group began reading his introduction into the Christian faith for adults — Jesus the Forgiving Victim — which follows on from the insight into desire associated with the great French historian and philosopher René Girard. It is a fascinating book, unlike almost any other I’ve come across on faith, which focuses on the non-moralistic nature of Christianity. Grace, not laws or morals, is the theme that he explores through twelve insightful essays.
It was that focus that led the parish to invite Alison to speak to the nature of our polarized times, and how to move beyond judgment of those who hold different opinions, who belong to different tribes, who look different from us, and who may be trying to do us harm. Alison is well situated to discuss this topic, as he is also known for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity in the Catholic church and beyond, and for his pastoral outreach in that sphere.
I hope you’ll join us — either in person or via the live stream on St. Alban’s You Tube channel — on March 26th.
More to come…
*Full disclosure: I am a member of the Memorial Lecture Fund committee at St. Alban’s.
NOTE: I am on a writing break and have been taking the time to share some of my favorites from the More to Come archives. However, this new post is built around the deadline of an upcoming event, and the book that led us to invite James Alison to speak.