Mothers, children and theology focus of Antoinette Brown Lecture

Bonnie Miller-McLemore (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

Bonnie Miller McLemore will discuss “Mothers, Children and Theological Knowledge” when she delivers the 41st Antoinette Brown Lecture March 26.

Miller-McLemore, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Religion, Psychology and Culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School, will speak at 7 p.m. in Benton Chapel. Her talk is free and open to the public.

“Certainly those in theological education and the Christian tradition at large have benefited immensely from all we have learned from what is considered classical or official theology,” Miller-McLemore said. “However, I hope to spark imagination about what we have missed by constructing theology so narrowly as an elite academic exercise restricted to technical scholarship. With mothering and children as ground for our imagination, we will look at how knowledge is rooted in and shaped by human bodies that change over time.”

Miller-McLemore is the author, co-author and editor of more than 13 books and numerous articles, including Children and Childhood in American Religions (Rutgers 2009), Christian Theology in Practice: Discovering a Discipline (Eerdmans, 2012), and In the Midst of Chaos: Care of Children as Spiritual Practice (Jossey-Bass 2006). She is a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology.

A significant portion of her research focuses on understanding the person and lived theology in the midst of everyday struggles, such as illness, dying, working and parenting. She teaches courses on personality theory, self-psychology, women and religion, families and children, spirituality and pastoral care, pastoral and practical theology, and methods in theology and science.

Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she served as an associate pastor, chaplain and pastoral counselor while completing her master of arts and doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1986.

Miller-McLemore will deliver the 41st Antoinette Brown Lecture at Vanderbilt. The lecture series was established in 1974 with a gift from Sylvia Sanders Kelley of Atlanta, who majored in history and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1954.

Brown was a writer and speaker for women’s rights, temperance and the abolition of slavery. She was among the pioneers of the women’s rights movement and lived long enough to cast a ballot for president.

Previous Antoinette Brown lecturers have included Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sallie McFague, Rita Nakashima Brock, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Elizabeth Schüessler Fiorenza, Sharon Welch, Katie Cannon, Letty Russell, Diana Eck, Renita Weems, Kwok Pui-lan, Susan Thistlethwaite, Mary C. Churchill, Emilie M. Townes, Stephanie Paulsell, Laurel Schneider, Karen Baker-Fletcher, Amina Wadud, Judith Plaskow, Catherine Keller, Amy Hollywood, Monica Coleman and Ellen Armour.

Free parking for those attending the lecture and reception will be available in the Wesley Parking Garage, located on 21st Ave. South, in spaces 1-170. The lecture will be recorded and posted to the Web in the days following the event. For more information, email Sha’Tika Brown or call (615) 936-8453.