Acton University is just two months away and we’ve just confirmed our featured lecturers for the big event. Check out their bios below.
The four featured speakers are:
Rev. Robert Sirico
He is president and co-founder of the Acton Institute. Fr. Sirico serves on the staff of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, and more. (more…)
The Acton Institute presents Acton University every June in Grand Rapids, Mich. The course offerings are rich and diverse, but there is often the idea that Acton University is all about economics. It is, but keep in mind that economics is truly about human interaction, and thus the depth of the courses. Who should come to Acton University, and what can they expect to get out of it?
David Clayton, artist, teacher, writer and broadcaster who holds a permanent post as Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer in Liberal Arts at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, has written a blog post about his experience at Acton University:
The last time I attended was my first and in the introductory lectures the speakers described how economics is a reflection of network of social interractions. And the nature of these interractions derives from our understanding of the human person, which in turn comes from Catholic social teaching.
Each person attending must sign up for a an integrated series of lectures so that each builds on the last. It is cleverly worked out so that the first lecture you choose restricts your choice for the second and so on. As this is my second year there, I will be doing a different set of classes, that build on what I learnt last time.
As a Catholic I tended to pick courses that focus on Catholic social teaching or are consistent with it. They seem to touch on a whole range of subjects that cover topics as varied as economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment. What impressed me is that far from being the detached libertarians unconcerned with morality that some had portrayed them as, they were all profoundly interested in the poor and the foundations of a good and moral society. Furthermore, and again this goes against the way they were characterised, they were extremely interested in promoting a culture of beauty and seeing how this was connected to a free economy.
Are you interested in this type of experience? Learn more from our video, and then check out the registration process.
The main difficulty we seem to have in discussing Christian cultural activity is the strain between two anxieties. These anxieties create unnecessary divisions between brothers, because those who are more worried about making sure the gospel is leaven view those who are more worried about making sure the gospel is pearl as people who are leading the church astray, and vice versa. We treat people as opponents when we could be treating them as allies, if we could just get over our fears.
The question of what it means to be a Christian line worker on a factory floor gets precisely at many of the thorny issues that have led to so many debates, disputes, and controversies over cultural engagement (or transformation), the “two kingdoms,” natural law, and faith and work.
Dave Doty, author of Eden’s Bridge, will be speaking on four key issues related to his book and experience. Doty spoke to PovertyCure about the book and the issues it raises.
My aim is to let marketplace Christians know that their vocational calling in the marketplace is ordained of God and that they have a vital role in His mission in the world, the missio Dei.
The natural extension of that, at least to me and given our calling to minister to the world, is to ask ourselves pointed questions: How does my vocation participate in Kingdom building? How do I clarify and enhance my role? How can I, even in my limited spheres, creatively address economic instabilities in the world by the use of my calling, skill sets, and knowledge?
Registration is now open for Acton University, planned for June 18-21, 2013. Courses for this year’s conference (subject to change) include Theology of Work, Social Entrepreneurship, Rise and Fall of the European Social Market, Fertility’s Impact on the World Economy, and Islam, Markets and the Free Society. (A full course listing can be seen here.)
In case you haven’t already heard the rumor, allow me to fill you in: AU Online has an awesome, newly revamped website and digital learning platform. AU Online is designed to make the resources and tools of a typical Acton conference available through a university-level, online environment. The AU Online team hopes the new features and functions will make this program your go-to destination for the integration of faithful intentions and sound economic reason.
If you haven’t done so, we encourage you to visit the AU Online website to see for yourself what all of the hype is about! If you have any questions, please contact the AU Online team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On an unrelated note, registration for the 2013 Acton University conference opens November 15! Be sure not to miss out on your chance to apply.
Gorra:The role of faith in building social capital is fascinating. Social scientists increasingly agree that social capital is fundamental to business success, economic development and wellbeing and that Christianity is one of its key contributors.
Heslam: Through innovative research and instruction we aim to channel the rising concern about global poverty in fresh directions that will deliver tangible improvement and genuine opportunities for people in poverty, based on biblical, holistic approach to what it means to be human.
We use robust, creative and multidisciplinary thinking, along with practical models and case studies, to discover and disseminate the most effective means by which Christians integrate faith with enterprise to provide sustainable routes out of poverty.
Matthew Tuininga, at Christian in America, attended Acton University last week, and came away with a number of insights regarding government, religion and economics. Chief among his insights is this:
Christians should not argue for a free market or capitalist society because Scripture or the Church has given us such a system. Rather, the moral case for a free market and for capitalism depends to a significant degree on the fact that it works. Principle, in that sense, is inseparable from pragmatism. If you want to help the poor, why would you support any system other than that which has done more to create economic growth and has lifted more people out of poverty than any other institution or force in the history of the world? If you value freedom, why not maximize it as much as is possible consistent with general prosperity, peace, and order?
As Tuininga points out, we can easily make our case for free market economics from a moral standpoint, using logic and sound scholarship to persuade people who may believe that only religion (especially Christianity) makes the case for free market economics.