Keynote Cynthia Rigby: Bone of bone, flesh of flesh: belongingness and the good life

5 April 2022 16:30

Dr. Cynthia Rigby will provide the third keynote at the international PThU conference on the good life in crisis. Dr. Rigby is the W. C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the United States. You can watch the keynote live on YouTube.


Recently, Yale psychologist Laurie Santos commented that people in the US are likely to be happier if they belong to a church, not because of the beliefs the church espouses, but because it provides active social connections. Meanwhile, Willie Jennings argues that the goal of theological education must be ‘to form in us the art of cultivating belonging’. But how might we do this, and what might be the hazards? When does ‘belonging’ help us live good lives and when does it risk subordinating one to another, at the expense of freedom and creativity? I will use as scaffolding for my constructive effort the creation myth of Genesis and themes of re-creation in 1 Corinthians 15, arguing that a sense of belongingness funds the good life when it: 1. is founded in wonder at the glory of others with whom we are in relationship, so different from us and yet of the same stuff, and when it 2. listens to the unfamiliar stories of others with no sympathetic murmur of “I can’t imagine”. Instead, it dares bodaciously and empathetically to say: “I will listen until I can imagine”, what particular lives and experiences are like, striving to create possibilities for everyone.

Watch keynote

You can watch the keynote here from 4.30 PM CET. Please click the play button to start the video.

Keynote Cynthia Rigby: Bone of bone, flesh of flesh: belongingness and the good life


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