YDS Conference to address "Money and Morals after the Crash"

ContributedNEW HAVEN — Yale Divinity School will host a conference entitled “Money and Morals after the Crash,” addressing some of the critical questions facing people of faith as the recession brings issues of the economy front-and-center. The conference coincides with release of the Spring 2010 issue of Reflections, YDS’s biannual magazine of theological and ethical inquiry, which focuses on economic topics and features articles by several conference participants.

Among the Reflections writers attending the conference is the keynote speaker, renowned economist Benjamin Friedman, the William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University and author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth (Vintage, 2006).  Friedman’s talk will explore economy and the role of religious thinking.

Also featured at the conference will be Scott Black Johnson, senior minister at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City; Daniel Finn, a moral theologian at St. John’s University in Minnesota; and Frederick Simmons, an ethicist at Yale Divinity School.
Besides Friedman, contributors to the Spring 2010 issue of Reflections who will speak at the conference include Laura Berry, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Nicholas Hood, pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit; and Sondra Wheeler, professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

This unusual group of scholars and practitioners includes economists who think about religion, and religious leaders who ponder the economy.  Out of a convergence of these thinkers comes the hope that new insights can be shared across a seldom-trod frontier.
Among the kinds of questions expected to be addressed at the conference are:

*     Have we learned anything from the crisis?
*     How are churches responding to economic uncertainty?  How should they?
*     What advice do Protestant Reformers and papal encyclicals have for modern economies?
*     Can the culture of high finance become more service-oriented and public-spirited?

The Spring 2010 Reflections also includes articles by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; church historian Martin Marty; economists Robert Shiller, George Akerlof, and Teresa Ghilarducci; and theologians Sallie McFague, Hans Küng and Kathryn Tanner.

The conference, free and open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. May 6 with the lecture by Friedman, followed by a reception.  At 8:30 a.m. May 7, there will be a worship service followed by panels on Christian Resources for Thinking about Economics (9:15 a.m.) and Christian Response to the Economic Crisis (10:45 a.m.).  All sessions will be held in the Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel. Yale Divinity School is located at 409 Prospect St in New Haven.

Sessions of the conference will also be webcast live at: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/video/index.shtml.

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