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Johnson Symposium


2017 Johnson Symposium on Faith & Society

Dr. Don E. Saliers and Emily Saliers

November 10 & 11, 2017

“A Song to Sing, A Life to Live:
Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice”

Click here for the Johnson Symposium brochure
Click here to register.

Note: No refunds will be given for unused tickets.

Friday Evening

5:45 — Doors open
6:15-7:00 — Opening Music by The Poetic Diaspora
7:00-9:00 — Evening Performance with Don Saliers and Emily Saliers

Saturday Morning

8:00 — Doors open
8:30-10:15 — “Faith, Activism, and Justice: Reflections on Music as the Heart of Social Movements,” Part One,
with Don Saliers and Emily Saliers
10:15-10:45 — Break
10:45-12:00 — “Faith, Activism, and Justice: Reflections on Music as the Heart of Social Movements,” Part Two,
with Don Saliers and Emily Saliers

About Dr. Don E. Saliers and Emily Saliers:

Dr. Don E. Saliers is currently the Theologian-in-Residence after retiring in 2007 as the William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In addition to publishing widely in the fields of theology, liturgy, and music, don is a composer of liturgical music and is an accomplished keyboard player with both a classical and jazz background.
Emily Saliers is best known as part of the Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls, celebrated for their tireless work for social justice.

Don Saliers and Emily Saliers, father and daughter, spoke to Rolling Stone about why it’s important for the church to evolve in its teachings, why music activism is essential, and the reason it’s imperative that we don’t get used to the hateful words being spoken in the public square.

Can you tell me why you think music is important in this context, as a form of activism?
 Any significant social movement in the history of human kind…relies on music, it relies on song. The civil-rights movement: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, We Shall Overcome. South Africa and the anti-apartheid movement. Any deep social movement has music at its heart because music is a unifier and a motivator.

Emily: I think music stir[s] our spirits and makes us feel good. For Indigo Girls concerts, I know there’s a lot of singing going on. And I know when people get together in a public forum and sing, it’s cathartic. It’s mysterious, really, but there’s no doubt about it. In the history, when there are human trials, the presence of music has to be there to galvanize people.

Don: One subset of that point is that people have to sing about their suffering. If you think about slave songs and how it influenced the civil-rights movement, wherever it happened, hearing and being honest about the suffering and that’s what we’re talking about here, a form of social suffering. I’m interested in recovering that inside the church.

–Rolling Stone magazine, May 2016

Directions and parking information for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church are available here.

Previous Symposia

2016: Dr. Wil Gafney: “Sex, Gender, and Identity in the Scriptures”

2015: Dr. John Arthur Nunes: “Re-Imagining the Reformation from the Edges”

2014: The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber: “Deeply Faithful; Deeply Flawed: Telling the Truth about Ourselves, the World, and God”

2013: Dr. Larry Rasmussen: “The Reformation and the Fate of the Earth”

2012: Bishop Mark S. Hanson: “Living the Gospel in Turbulent Times”

2011: Rev. Heidi Neumark: “Building the Beloved Community”

2010: Dr. Marcus J. Borg: “An Emerging Form of Christianity Today”


 About the Johnson Symposium

Johnson Symposium

Holy Trinity has long sought to provide opportunities for conversations about faith and life.  Designed to celebrate and honor the exemplary ministries of Pastors Ronald K. Johnson and Stacy K. Johnson during a creative and exciting period in the life of the congregation, the Johnson Symposium on Faith and Society is envisioned as an annual event in which a leading theologian, scholar, and/or practitioner will be present to lead conversations over a two day period on important issues facing the church and society today.