FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2009
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA--The day before the application deadline, Paul Brink of Ipswich, Mass., learned about a trip to South Africa that explored democracy and Christianity in Africa. The seminar, Public Theology: The South African Experience, invited scholars and thinkers from across disciplines to apply. “I had to go,” said Brink, associate professor of political studies at Gordon College in Wenham, MA.
The scramble proved successful for Brink, who was selected as one of only eight North American scholars from within the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), an international association with over 130 member institutions. The interdisciplinary seminar--sponsored by the CCCU and the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity--will take place June 2-16, 2009, in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa. Brink will also join twelve scholars from around sub-Saharan Africa (some of whom serve in universities or in NGOs) at the seminar.
“I’m excited about the possibilities to make a contribution,” said Brink. “To help communities and churches in the South and North imagine how Christian faith and politics can relate is a great opportunity.”
As a native of Canada, Brink’s extensive research is in liberalism and pluralism. “I’ve come to see religion as part of the solution, not something we need to overcome,” he said.
But more personally for Brink is his Dutch heritage and its role in providing the support for Apartheid in South Africa. Brink admits that the trip--which is his first there--could be difficult in sorting through the personal from the academic. “It (Apartheid) is an ugly warping of Christianity,” Brink said. “If the work that I’m involved in this summer can somehow help to pay back that debt, that’s good too.”