Oct. 13-15, PLNU hosted the H. Orton Wiley Lectures, an annual academic lecture series sponsored by the School of Theology and Christian Ministry. Approximately 100-120 students and faculty attended each of the four public talks along with several other events, including a Brewed Awakening discussion sponsored by the Center for Justice and Reconciliation.
Guest lecturer, Dr. M. Thomas Thangaraj, professor emeritus of world Christianity at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, led this year’s series entitled “Crossing Boundaries as a Spiritual Practice.”
Dr. Brad Kelle, director of the master of arts program in religion and professor of old testament at PLNU, shared, “Dr. Thangaraj’s diverse and rich personal experience—as a native Christian in south India to a seminary professor in the U.S. and now back to his native India in retirement—gave him a unique perspective to reflect on the spiritual significance of all kinds of boundary-crossings for our lives.”
The series covered not only theological interests, but also the impact of crossing boundaries culturally, linguistically, and even musically. The lectures took a look at how crossing boundaries can be spiritual practices and means of grace that lead to spiritual formation and deeper experiences with God.
“The talks were especially relevant in a setting like PLNU, where so many of our students participate in boundary-crossing experiences as part of their college careers (through LoveWorks, study abroad programs, community classrooms, etc.),” said Kelle.
The lecture series was first given in 1951 by H. Orton Wiley, professor of theology and distinguished former president of the university. It has continued annually in his honor and focuses on areas of relevance to the Christian ministry from a Wesleyan perspective in areas of philosophy, theology, church history or biblical studies.