Dr. Gregory Lee who is associate professor of theology and urban studies at Wheaton College and a core faculty member for Wheaton in Chicago will present “An Augustinian Theology of Mass Incarceration” on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Western Theological Seminary in Mulder Chapel.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The presentation’s overview explains that the United States incarcerates far more individuals than any nation in the world, at radically disparate rates for different racial groups. Lee will draw on the thought of Augustine to encourage new approaches toward criminal justice. Augustine’s understanding of personal sin stresses the possibility of redemption for individual wrongdoers, and his account of collective evil exposes systemic injustice as a pervasive feature of humanity’s fallen condition. These insights commend Christians’ solidarity with oppressed communities, and the exercise of mercy and restorative practices in response to criminal offenses.

Lee is a core faculty member for Wheaton in Chicago, a residential program in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. His scholarship draws on Augustine’s theology to analyze contemporary social issues, focusing especially on race, class, and justice. He lives with his family in the inner city of Chicago, where he is theologian in residence at Lawndale Christian Community Church.

The lecture is hosted by the Girod Chair of Western Theological Seminary and co-sponsored by the St. Benedict Institute and the Hope-Western Prison Education Program.

The Girod Chair of Western Theological Seminary exists to cultivate pastor-theologians in the Reformed tradition, providing opportunities for ministry leaders to engage in deep theological conversation for the sake of the church and the world.

The Saint Benedict Institute is a ministry of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Holland. It seeks to promote and nurture intellectual work done from the heart of the Catholic Church, to foster an ecumenical community of Catholic Christians and friends committed to the renewal of culture, and to aid in the formation of intellectually and spiritually mature Christians by making available the riches of the Catholic tradition to Hope College and the wider community. More information can be found at saintbenedictinstitute.org.

Mulder Chapel is located on the campus of Western Theological Seminary at 101 E. 13th St., east of College Avenue.