Dr. Gregory Cuéllar
Dr. Javier Alanis
One of the many gifts of Austin Seminary is the opportunity to collaborate with other institutions to broadly reach communities beyond our walls. This Saturday, March 24, Education Beyond the Walls, in partnership with Seminary of the Southwest and the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, will be present a bilingual workshop Crossing the Border with the Bible and Theology. We asked Dr. Gregory Cuéllar, assistant professor of Old Testament and co-presenter of the workshop, to share how this workshop came about and what they hope to impact through the learning:
This workshop came about through the collaborative efforts of, Melissa Wiginton, Dr. Javier R. Alanis, Dr. Paul Barton, and me. In the fall, we met formally to discuss the possibilities of an inter-seminary event that was focused on the issues surrounding the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region. With Melissa’s years of service at the Fund for Theological Education and the deep ties Dr. Alanis, Dr. Barton, and I have to the Hispanic Theological Initiative, it became immediately apparent that each of us shared a passion for minoritized communities.
In our inter-seminary planning session, there was an underlining conviction that the socio-religious situations of our shared borderlands location require theological leadership, especially from established institutions of higher theological education. In a region where border violence, increased anti-immigrant sentiment, and an upsurge in deportations of immigrants from the United States are at the fore, it is critical that Latina/o church leaders and non-Hispanic church leaders have a place to engage these issues theologically from a mutual posture of humility, trust, and respect. Moreover, the call to offer the workshop, Crossing the Border, also comes from our respective religious communities wherein there is little consensus on matters relating to church ministry in the borderlands.
It is my hope that participants leave the workshop with an assurance that our institutions are committed to the issues and concerns relevant to minoritized communities in this region. Through this workshop, I also hope that participants leave empowered to provide members of their congregations with a well-informed theological response to difficult border issues.
Indeed, our current globalized world, multiple religions and cultures have been brought into proximity with each other. This obscuring of cultural and religious boundaries has provoked new tensions, which require a new response across the disciplines. As a seminary professor, I am excited that our seminary can contribute to a theological/biblical response to the challenges posed by cross-border human flows.