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J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series – The Silence of Abraham, The Passion of Job: Explorations in the Theology of Lament with Dr. J. Richard Middleton (video)

Dr. J. Richard MiddletonThe 2016 J.J. Thiessen lectures with Dr. J. Richard Middleton explored what sort of prayer is appropriate in situations of difficulty and suffering. In contrast to simply bearing suffering in silence (which is the default spirituality of many), the Bible suggests that God desires vigorous dialogue partners, who will wrestle with God, baring their heart and soul, as they seek redress. The lectures begin with lament prayer in the Psalms, then addresses the counter-example of Abraham’s silence in Genesis 22, and concludes with the book of Job as a possible response to Abraham’s silence.

Lecture 1: “Voices from the Ragged Edge” (October 25, 2016 | 11:00 AM)
In the face of violence, pain, and suffering, the lament or protest psalms offer us theologically significant models of prayer. They open space for a rich and meaningful relationship with God that isn’t resigned simply to ascribing the suffering to God’s will.

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Lecture 2: “Abraham’s Ominous Silence in Genesis 22: How the Patriarch of Israel Lost Both His Voice and His Son” (October 25, 2016 | 7:30 PM)

Arguing for the justice of God’s actions, Abraham protested vigorously over the fate of Sodom (Genesis 18). Yet a few chapters later (Genesis 22), in response to God’s instructions to sacrifice his son, he is reduced to silence. What are we to make of that transformation?

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Lecture 3: “How Job Found His Voice: Learning the Wisdom of Lament from a Gentile Patriarch” (October 26, 2016 | 11:00 AM)

Job’s passionate lament in response to the death of his family and his own suffering offers a possible alternative to Abraham’s silence. Indeed, while God’s first speech from the whirlwind corrects Job’s understanding of God’s justice, the second speech nevertheless affirms Job’s lament as right and proper.

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About Dr. J. Richard Middleton

Dr. J. Richard Middleton (PhD Free University of Amsterdam) is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary (Rochester, NY). He is adjunct professor of Old Testament at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology (Kingston, Jamaica) and is past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (2011-2014). He holds a BTh from Jamaica Theological Seminary and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Guelph (Canada).

Middleton is the author of A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014) and The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos, 2005). He co-authored (with Brian Walsh) The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View (IVP, 1984) and Truth is Stranger than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (IVP, 1995), and has co-edited (with Garnett Roper) A Kairos Moment for Caribbean Theology: Ecumenical Voices in Dialogue (Pickwick, 2013).

Middleton has published articles on creation theology in the Old Testament, the problem of suffering, and the dynamics of human and divine power in biblical narratives. His books have been published in Korean, French, Indonesian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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‘The theology of lament’ topic of 2016 J.J. Thiessen Lectures at CMU

Award-winning scholar Dr. J. Richard Middleton scheduled to speak on campus

If you have ever been angry with God, wondered if it’s OK to ask “Why?” or had nothing left to pray, this year’s J.J. Thiessen Lectures at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) are for you.

J. Richard Middleton

J. Richard Middleton, will appear at CMU on October 25-26 as the 2016 J.J. Thiessen Lecture presenter

Renowned scholar Dr. J. Richard Middleton will present the three-part series, titled “The Silence of Abraham, The Passion of Job: Explorations in the Theology of Lament.” The lectures will take place in the CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.) on Tuesday, October 25 at 11:00 AM and 7:30 PM, and Wednesday, October 26 at 11:00 AM.

Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY, will explore what sort of prayer is appropriate in situations of difficulty and suffering.

“Richard thinks deeply, and yet communicates straightforwardly and is extremely approachable,” says Dr. Gordon Matties, Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, who is on the organizing committee for the J.J. Thiessen Lectures. “I’m so pleased that he’s coming.

The lecture topics are as follows:

Lecture #1: “Voices from the Ragged Edge” – In the face of violence, pain, and suffering, the lament or protest psalms offer us theologically significant models of prayer. They open space for a rich and meaningful relationship with God that isn’t resigned simply to ascribing the suffering to God’s will.

2016 J.J. Thiessen PosterLecture #2: “Abraham’s Ominous Silence in Genesis 22: How the Patriarch of Israel Lost Both His Voice and His Son” – Arguing for the justice of God’s actions, Abraham protested vigorously over the fate of Sodom (Genesis 18). Yet a few chapters later (Genesis 22), in response to God’s instructions to sacrifice his son, he is reduced to silence. What are we to make of that transformation?

Lecture #3: “How Job Found His Voice: Learning the Wisdom of Lament from a Gentile Patriarch” – Job’s passionate lament in response to the death of his family and his own suffering offers a possible alternative to Abraham’s silence. Indeed, while God’s first speech from the whirlwind corrects Job’s understanding of God’s justice, the second speech nevertheless affirms Job’s lament as right and proper.

“Richard’s topic for these lectures is really important in our time, when people are experiencing so much fear in our world and life becomes confusing and difficult,” Matties says.

Middleton holds a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam and is the past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association.

His books, which include A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014) and The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos, 2005), have been published in Korean, French, Indonesian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Founded in 1978 by one of CMU predecessor institutions, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC), the J.J. Thiessen Lectures are named in honour of a founder and long-time chairperson of the CMBC Board. The lectures seek to bring to the CMU community something of Thiessen’s breadth of vision for the church. Visit cmu.ca/jjt for details.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2