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Faith, Secularism, and Humanitarian Response

by Alastair Ager

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On November 13-14, 2013 the Center for Missiological Research hosted Dr. Alastair Ager, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University as the speaker for their annual Missiology lectures. Dr. Ager, in collaboration with his son, Joey Ager, will be presenting a series of talks on the theme, "Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Response." In recent years, development work has seen a shift in the perceived legitimacy of faith and spirituality, to the point where some scholars are now discussing the emergence of a post-secular era. Otherwise secular humanitarian initiatives are now taking up concern for the faith of the people they serve in new ways, and are increasingly recognizing spirituality as an essential element of restored personhood. As a result, the Church (along with other faith communities) has a set of new challenges and opportunities. What is the best way to engage with these new opportunities? How can we prevent secular humanitarian work from instrumentalizing faith-based organizations and churches? Where does evangelization fit as a component of partnerships with non-Christian organizations? SCHEDULE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13 10:00-10:50AM: Chapel Title: Reasoning in the Marketplace: Pauline Principles for a Post-secular Age Location: Payton 101, Fuller Theological Seminary 6:30-8:30PM: Lecture One Title: Why humanitarianism doesn't 'get' religion...and why it needs to Panelists: Dr. Bryant Myers, Dr. Cecelia M. Lynch Location: Travis Auditorium, Fuller Theological Seminary THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 12:30-2:30PM: Seminar Title: Exploring the theological imaginary: bringing the language of faith into the public sphere Presenters: Dr. Alastair Ager, Dr. Joey Ager Location: Travis Auditorium, Fuller Theological Seminary 3:00-5:00PM: Lecture Two Title: Resilience, faith and psychosocial support: competing or complementary visions? Panelists: Dr. Cynthia Eriksson, Dr. Al Dueck Location: Travis Auditorium, Fuller Theological Seminary

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