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Forgiveness, Justice, and Reconciliation — A Lunch Conversation with Miroslav Volf

February 7 @ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CST

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Why would we consider forgiving someone who has deeply harmed us? How do we even go about forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it? And where might forgiveness eventually lead us—individually and even corporately—if we pursue it? 

Forgiveness is beyond challenging. Some injuries are so acute, the very idea of forgiveness seems out of bounds. And when atrocities are perpetrated against an entire people group, how is forgiveness even an option? Is real justice attainable? Or peace? No-one, after all, is entitled to a “get out of jail free” card. 

During this lunch conversation, theologian and public intellectual Miroslav Volf will share his own story of forgiving a crime against a family member. He will also address the nuances and implications of forgiveness and justice for reconciliation at the national level, especially in reference to South Africa and its long history of apartheid. Facilitating our conversation will be Christine Jeske, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wheaton College who has studied the human and economic impacts of systemic injustice in the global south and is currently researching how Christians envision and seek racial justice.


When you register, you can elect to pay for lunch alone, or choose both lunch and Volf’s book, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (Zondervan, 2006). Some of Volf’s other books will also be available for sale at a book table during the event.

Lunch — $10

Lunch + Book — $25

Student discount available upon request (with student ID). Email Dan Johnson at


Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. His books include Allah: A Christian Response (2011); Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), which was the Archbishop of Canterbury Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; and After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award. A member of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Professor Volf has been involved in international ecumenical dialogues (for instance, with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) and interfaith dialogues (Common Word), and was an active participant in the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum. A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and across North America. Professor Volf is a fellow of Berkeley College. His degrees include a B.A. from Evangelical-Theological Faculty (Zagreb, Croatia), an M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Dr. of Theology from the University of Tubingen (Tubingen, Germany).


Christine Jeske pursues moral and cultural questions around economic development, and writes about what North Americans have to learn from the global South regarding finance and wellbeing. Her current research considers how Christians envision and seek racial justice; she has also studied how people imagine achieving a “good life,” especially when unemployed or working in low-wage jobs. Prior to joining the Wheaton faculty, Dr. Jeske worked in microfinance, refugee resettlement, community development, and teaching in Nicaragua, Northwest China, and South Africa. The author of three books and many articles for popular and academic audiences, Jeske’s most recent book, The Laziness Myth, considers what makes work desirable, how racism shapes work, and how people find hope in undesirable working conditions. She holds a B.A. in English and Piano from UW-Madison, an M.B.A. in Economic Development from Eastern University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from UW-Madison.



*Statue Image is Hands Across the Divide – a sculpture on the western side of the Craigavon Bridge in Derry ~ Londonderry, Northern Ireland, symbolising reconciliation after the Troubles.




February 7
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CST
Event Category:


Rebecca Cooks


Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
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