Ministers’ Health Summit Program

The next Ministers’ Health Summit event will be held during Summer of 2020. Please continue to check our website for updates. If you have questions about the event, please call the Divinity School Office at (910) 893-1830.

Keynote Address 2018

A Cancer in the Heart of Soul: The Transmutations of Capitalism and the Dismemberment of the Image of God

Presenter: Bruce Rogers-Vaughn

Whenever we talk about health, we usually emphasize achieving wellness through individual decisions and behaviors. The most potent malignant forces impacting health, however, are those hidden from individuals. Like cancerous growths, they spread in concealed ways, and are often not revealed until the patient is very ill or near death. Similarly, the powers undermining our health often operate over our heads or behind our backs, and thus individual decisions and behaviors have little control over them. These forces circulate in the physical, economic, social, political, and cultural environments that surround us all. They are currents in the waters in which we swim, and thus are hidden right in front of our eyes. Sometimes these powers are coordinated by an encompassing system, one that shapes how we think, feel, act, desire, value, relate to others, and even what it means to be a person. Such a system exists today, embedded in the contemporary form of global capitalism.

In his keynote address, Bruce Rogers-Vaughn will identify the key features of this system, and how it is constantly working in the background to fragment the human soul. The result is a proliferation of personal, interpersonal, and social maladies, from depression, addiction, and loneliness to consumerism, racism, sexism, nationalism, terrorism, and even the erosion of religious faith and practice. While there will not be enough time to cover all these forms of suffering, he will offer a few notable examples. In conclusion, he will suggest that, while isolated individuals have little power to resist, religious congregations and movements are among the few remaining human collectives that have the potential to struggle “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12, NRSV).