Session III: “Alternatives to Empire” – Paulette Moore, Bethany Tobin, JR Rozko

& #Occupy Empire mini-conference, Faculty/Staff Speakers.

#Occupy Empire: Anabaptism in God’s Mission

Session II is a series of three Lectures:

Paulette Moore and friends from the local “Occupy” movement present on “Occupy Harrisonburg and the Local Church.”  Paulette is a filmmaker, educator, journalist, and activist.  Through her work with established and emerging media she explores how art, power, conflict, and justice inspire, inform, and transform.  Moore is Associate Professor of the Practice of Media Arts and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.  She holds an MA in trauma healing from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and is pursuing a PHD in Media and Communication through European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.  Moore is a founding member of Occupy Harrisonburg and runs the group’s social media.

Bethany Tobin presents on, “Art in a Trinitarian World: Kenosis and Generativity.” Bethany is a visual artist who grew up in Thailand where her family helped plant a church.  She received a BFA in painting and drawing from James Madison University in 2006 and an MTS in theology and art from Duke Divinity School in 2009.  Her work revels in text and Asian patterns as it seeks to explore Christian symbols that are Asian.  Pervading her work is the sense that the universe is charged with the generous pleasure of God.  Bethany and her husband Stephen Horst and daughter Anjali live in Harrisonburg, where they are still learning how to live missionally.

JR Rozko presents on “The Role of Seminaries in Subverting Empire: Toward a Missional Vision of Theological Formation.” JR and his family are part of Life on teh Vine, a (covertly Anabaptist!) church community in the NW suburbs of Chicago.  JR is part of a DMiss cohort focused on Anabaptist Perspectives in Missional Ecclesiology through Fuller Theological Seminary, and serves as the Director of Operations and Advancement for the Missio Alliance, a new initiative of and for theological practitioners.  JR blogs at lifeasmission.com and contributes to resources and initiatives relevant to theological education through thefutureoftheologicaleducation.com

Conference planners Brian Gumm and Aaron Kauffman describe the conference in this way:

“Anabaptism at its best has been a series of attempts both to live into God’s in-breaking occupation and to faithfully occupy the empires of this fallen age, signaling the shalom to come. Anabaptists have gone about this work by imaginatively patterning their worship and witness after the New Testament communities of Jesus. Come explore ways in which the Anabaptist tradition can help inspire faithful occupation in today’s world. Interdisciplinary academic presentations will be infused with worship and testimonies to open our minds and spirits to where God is calling us into mission in the midst of empire.”