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4 Days 4 Justice to Examine Justice and Evangelism

4 Days 4 Justice

CHICAGO, IL (April 12, 2010) – Thought leaders from across the country will deliver lectures, guide discussions, and lead workshops during 4 Days 4 Justice, which will be held Wednesday, April 14 through Saturday, April 17 at North Park University.

The theme for the first-ever event is “Gather. Think. Engage. Act.”

North Park Theological Seminary Professor Soong-Chan Rah, one of the organizers, says developing a richer sense of social justice is key for spreading a holistic faith. “Some people may see social justice as unimportant, as something that distracts from the work of evangelism, rather than see evangelism and justice as two sides of the same coin,” he explains. “A false dichotomy developed in the twentieth century that separated the two.”

“Our purpose for 4 Days 4 Justice is to engage in a dialogue to discern a biblical, theological, social ethic of justice for twenty-first century evangelicalism,” Rah adds. “Justice never replaces evangelism, in the same way that evangelism cannot replace justice.”

All events are free, except for the Saturday workshops. Online pre-registration is $20 for the general public, and $10 for non-North Park students. Cost at the door is $25. The event is free to North Park students.

In the event’s opening lecture, Andrea Smith will address the issue of “The Non-profit Industrial Complex.” Her presentation is the latest installment of the Campus Justice Series lectures and will be held 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday in Hamming Hall.

Smith teaches media and cultural studies at the University of California-Riverside and is the author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances, and editor of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex.

North Park professor Wes Lindahl, the director of the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, will give a response.

Peter Heltzel and Mimi Haddad will deliver the Nyvall Lectures in Isaacson Chapel at North Park Theological Seminary Thursday morning. Heltzel, associate professor of theology at New York Theological Seminary and author of Jesus and Justice, will speak at 9:00 a.m. and address the issues of race and justice. Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality, will speak at 10:45 a.m. about gender and justice. Her presentation is entitled “Half the Sky: Women’s Creational DNA.”

Previewing her talk, Haddad points out that relief organizations have discovered that investing in a woman’s health, education, and business reaps clear social benefits for all of society. “Likewise, the history of Christian missions suggests that providing women with education and opportunities for service led to one of the largest advances of faith in history—the Golden Era of Missions.”

The David Nyvall Lectureship was inaugurated in 1951 in memory of the pioneer educator who served the school both as teacher and president. The purpose of this lecture series, held each spring, is to stimulate interest in the interpretation of the Christian message for the contemporary world.

All events during 4 Days 4 Justice will offer opportunity for interaction. Viewpoints from across the spectrum of evangelicalism will provide lively discussion.

A fishbowl discussion addressing “An Evangelical Social Ethic for the 21st Century” will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday in Olsson Lounge in Nyvall Hall.

“The approximately 20 participants will be seated at a center table surrounded by observers,” Rah says. The discussion will be between the 20 participants “in the fishbowl,” while others will be able to observe. Questions and comments from the audience will occur via texts and a running Twitter and Facebook page.

Voices that are only beginning to be heard will get an opportunity to have their perspectives shared. “One of the more exciting elements will be the presence of Native American theologians and activists,” Rah says. “Richard Twiss, Terry LeBlanc, Randy Woodley, and Andrea Smith are leaders in the Native American Christian community that have faithfully advocated for contextualized evangelism and theology in ministering to the Native American community.”

Student training workshops will be held in the afternoon. LeBlanc will cap Thursday evening with a lecture on “Environmental Justice,” offering his perspective as a Native American Christian theologian. The lecture will be presented from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Hamming Hall.

Lisa Sharon Harper, the African-American, Cherokee, and Chickasaw co-founder and executive director of NY Faith & Justice, will give the response. She is co-chair of the Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice initiative.

“Justice Experience Workshops” will be offered Saturday. The day opens with a plenary discussion of the question “What does an evangelical social ethic of justice in the 21st century look like?” Workshops will be offered at 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. Topics will include “Christians and Just War,” “Immigration and Justice,” and “From Compassion to Justice.”

Visit the 4 Days 4 Justice website for more information.