Prof. Dr. Manuela Kalsky

Flexible Believers and the Search for a New We

Manuela Kalsky, born 1961 in Salzgitter (Germany), is the Director of the Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society and of the inter-religious website www.Nieuwwij.nl. Since 2012, she has held the Edward Schillebeeckx chair for Theology and Society at the Free University Amsterdam.

Prof. Kalsky studied theology at the Universities of Marburg and Amsterdam. From 1989-1993 she worked as a research assistant in the field of feminist and systematic theology at the University of Amsterdam. She wrote her PhD thesis on christology from the perspective of women in different cultures. She was a visiting lecturer in Vienna, Fribourg and Hamburg.

In all of western Europe, cultural and religious diversity is leading more and more to forms of hybridreligiosity. Individualism and technological development play a major role. They have also led to changes in religious identity constructions. Keywords include hybrid religiosity, new spirituality and multiple religious belonging. People have moved away from religious institutions and are looking for contemporary forms of their faith.

Prof. Kalsky will speak in German; English translation will be provided.

Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz

The Limits of Dignity: Is Democracy Incompatible with Human Nature?

If Unitarians believe in anything, we believe in democracy and the worth and dignity of every person. But both beliefs are under profound threat today from political extremism, mass migration, racism and economic inequality. Human rights are based upon that assumption of dignity, but some suggest that the whole notion of human rights isobsolete. Might it be that human beings, clannish and easily frightened of strangers as we can be, are just incapable of sustaining democracy? And if not, what do Unitarians need to do to defend our core values?

Bill Schulz has served as President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1985-1993); Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (1994-2006); and President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (2007-2016). He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Affiliated Professor of Preaching and Public Ethics at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

Rev. Schulz will speak in English. German translation will be provided.