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Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will hold its 2023 Presler Virtual Lecture on Sept. 13

Dr. Joy Ladin will speak on ‘Miracles and Strangers: Responding to the Spread of Anti-Trans Theology’

by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Joy Ladin

LOUISVILLE — “Miracles and Strangers: Responding to the Spread of Anti-Trans Theology” is the title of the 2023 Presler Lecture presented by Dr. Joy Ladin beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time Sept. 13 for both an on-campus watch party at the Winn Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary or via Zoom. Registration for either event is required and can be made here.

“How can we respond theologically to the spread of anti-trans theologies in religious communities — theologies that not only exclude people who don’t fit binary gender categories of male and female but demonize them and all who love and support them?” asks a seminary news release. “Because the communities embracing anti-trans theologies see themselves as defending ways of doing gender that are not only traditional but sacred, reflecting God’s design for humanity and thus both divine order and the basis for the human-divine relationship, they are unlikely to respond to inclusive theologies that demand they change their gender beliefs or practices.”

Ladin’s talk “will propose more modest theological responses aimed not at creating inclusion but at addressing and alleviating the anxieties fueling the spread of anti-trans theologies by showing how traditional beliefs and texts offer better ways to respond to those whose gender we find incomprehensible, ways that strengthen our sense of God’s presence and enable us to practice sacred forms of binary gender without fearing, demonizing or lashing out at those who do not fit them.”

Ladin has long worked at the tangled intersection of literature, Judaism and transgender identity, publishing a book of gender transition, “Through the Door of Life,” and “The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective,” as well as 10 books of poetry.

She became a nationally recognized speaker on trans and Jewish identity after her transition at Yeshiva University made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. She has appeared on Krista Tippett’s “On Being” program on National Public Radio. Two new books, “Once Out of Nature,” essays on how gender is changing, and “Family,” her 11th collection of poems, are forthcoming in 2024.

Her writing is available here.

About the Presler Lecture

The Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship was established to honor the couple’s missionary service and to inspire the Louisville Seminary community and its wider community about issues of global mission and the role of American denominations in their historical and present witness to mission. The topics of the lectures vary, but the overall theme is Jesus Christ’s commission to the church in Matthew 28:19–20, to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Dr. Henry Presler studied for two years at Louisville Seminary and then transferred to Boston University School of Theology. In his later years he remembered his formative time at Louisville Seminary and left a bequest for this lectureship. View prior lectures here.

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