About the Underground Institute

The The Congregation and Public Witness - panel discussionpeople of God are called to live as “salt of the earth,” embodying and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in the midst of powers and principalities. Christian disciples throughout history have read the signs of the times, discerned what it means to live faithfully in their location, and then moved forward collectively as a prophetic witness for justice, life and peace. What we see today is an American populace that has become largely disillusioned, apathetic, and disengaged, even as our economic system becomes increasingly destructive to local communities and the environment.

One challenge is to liberate our reading of the Bible from 1,700 years of imperial interpretation. Another is that the excessive specialization of knowledge makes it difficult to understand how oppressive systems actually work, and work together. How does the global capitalist economy function? How is it connected to our federal, state and municipal politics? And what power can people of faith deploy in the public sphere?

The Underground Institute is a series of forums designed to help Christians learn (1) to read the world that they live in by learning how the intersection of politics, economics and religion works; (2) to read the biblical narrative anew as a counter-imperial witness through the lens of a socio-political hermeneutic; and (3) to read our own lives and social location amidst these realities, discerning together next practical steps. Experts and leaders, from community organizers to academics to pastors, will address the topic. The overall forum will be moderated by the instructors and students of Underground Seminary.