Friday, 4 May 2012

From Commemoration to Strategy

This past February ICS and Citizens for Public Justice together sponsored a two day event to both commemorate the Christian activism of Gerald Vandezande and speak about the future of faith-based advocacy work in light of his example.  The move from commemoration to strategizing for the future was made via a panel of three Vandezande collaborators who had worked with Gerald in three different dimensions of his career.  Linda Tripp spoke of Gerald's long collaboration with evangelical activists pushing for an authentic evangelical concern for social justice.  John Hiemstra spoke as a Reformed Christian social theorist about Gerald's long efforts to entice such theorists to theorize in service of the struggle for economic and social justice.  Javed Akbar spoke of Gerald's enthusiasm for interreligious dialogue and solidarity around a shared religious concern for concrete action on behalf of society's vulnerable and weak in the name of justice.  Together these talks bore witness to the remarkable vocation of Gerald Vandezande, to be sure.  But they did more; they also made a statement about the intersection of theory, religion and social ethics/action.  In so doing they express something important about that intersection that reminds us at ICS of what we are trying to think through in our teaching and scholarship, and especially in our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.  That is why we felt it only fitting to make the texts of these talks available to our readers at