J. Denny Weaver is coming to town! Some of you might remember Denny as a boy, a peer or perhaps some remember his parents since they lived in KC and attended Argentine Mennonite Church. Mervin Hershberger, current pastor at Argentine Mennonite Church, said that Denny was his piano teacher for a short time but he was always distracted by the giant trains in the Weaver household. “A little bit of piano was played,” he said.
J. Denny is known as a teacher, scholar, author, doctor, and professor emeritus of religion Bluffton University. And what’s this about a Beaver? The Bluffton University mascot was named in his honor: J. Denny Beaver.
I remember first learning about J. Denny while at Bethel College. He was there talking about the strange-sounding word and concept of atonement. I had never heard that word before and so I asked my dad later that night and he said something like, “welcome to the world of theology Ruth.” He then said that some people like to talk about “at-one-ment”-the study of how we are reconciled to God through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. I would come across J. Denny’s writings on atonement later in seminary and it all sounded less strange and more intriguing. He’s one of many theologians and scholars asking important questions about the meaning of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection: How does Jesus save? What does Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection have to say about the character of God? Or as Serene Jones asks in her recent book, Trauma and Grace, “How do we make theological sense of what happened on the cross in a way that speaks to the experience of traumatized victims without glorifying violence?”
We aren’t going to cut our KC hometown scholar any slack while he is here. He’ll be quite busy! Click on the following link for more details about his time with us March 30-31: Dr. Weaver-final
I will end by sharing three more links which give more insight into J. Denny’s work. Two are by church members Leroy Seat and Clif Hostetler and one is by popular theologian Greg Boyd.