Aging Well – Or Not – In Fiction and Faith

Date/Time
Date(s) - 04/25/2020
9:00 am - 1:45 pm

Location
Northway Christian Church

Categories


Aging Well – Or Not – In Fiction and Faith
Fourteenth Fay and Alfred Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
Saturday, April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Northway Christian Church, Dallas
Lee Ramsey, Marlon and Sheila Foster Professor of Pastoral Theology and Homiletics, Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN

This seminar explores aging and faith through the window of contemporary fiction. Novels and short stories open vistas for us upon the many ways that aging impacts faith and belief, and the literary artist helps us consider the challenging questions: What does it mean to “age well” or not? Is aging a fertile ground for maturation in faith, or is it a threat to spiritual meaning and purpose? The biblical tradition extols the wisdom and virtue of “the elders.” In the North American culture obsessed with aging, or rather the cult of youth, are the aging in contemporary fiction mentors of spiritual wisdom, courageous voyagers into the unknown territory of death, faithless victims of senility, plucky activists who inspire the young for common cause, recalcitrant traditionalists, or worn-out believers whose hope flickers dimly while awaiting whatever comes next? What are the stories that fiction tells about religious faith, in general, and Christian faithfulness, in particular, as we advance in chronological years?

Lee Ramsey is the Marlon and Sheila Foster Professor of Pastoral Theology and Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary, where he has been teaching since 1998. He holds an MDiv from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a PhD in Religion from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Ramsey is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and serves as the pastor of Elm Grove United Methodist Church in Covington, TN. His teaching and research interests include the relationship between pastoral care and preaching, pastoral care in times of grief and loss, and the use of fiction and film to explore Christian faith and the practices of Christian ministry. Dr. Ramsey is the author of Preachers and Misfits, Prophets and Thieves: The Minister in Southern Fiction and Care-full Preaching: From Sermon to Caring Community. Dr. Ramsey is married with two adult children, and in his free time he enjoys gardening, birdwatching, fly fishing, and sitting on the porch and reading a good novel while accompanied by his yellow Labrador, Annie.