Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Spiritual Life

Willson Lectures

The late J.M. Willson and Mrs. Willson of Floydada, Texas, alumni of Southwestern University established in 1948 an annual lectureship to be known as the Willson Lectureship. The lectures are directed at the student body and seek significantly to relate religious questions to social life and experience.

Chronological Listing

This year's Willson Lecturer is Dr. Allan Boesak, hero of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle.

Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak
Liberation Theologian and hero of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle
“Quietly Bringing Justice”
October 4, 2012

Rev. John Jenkins
President, University of Notre Dame
“Conviction and Dialogue in Contentious Times”
February 9, 2011

2010 - 2011
Robert Chlala

Campus Engagement Associate
Interfaith Youth Core
“Better Together: Interfaith Cooperation and Social Action for the 21st Century”
September 30, 2010

Dr. Cain Hope Felder
Chair, Howard University School of Divinity
January 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
“Rediscovering the Book: Biblical Justice in a Secular Society”
Arun Gandhi, keynote speaker
October 11, 2006
“Lessons from Grandfather in Peace and Social Justice “
Multi-Faith Panel on October 12, 2006 included: Mohamed-Umer Esmail, Mare Ellis, Nelin Hudani, Clayton Childers

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas ‘62
Duke Divinity School
September 29, 2005
“The End of Religious Pluralism”
“Why No One Wants to Die in America”

Dr. Harold J. Recinos
SMU Perkins School of Theology
January 20, 2005
“He Walks With Us”
“God in a Dim Mirror: The Politics of Race in a Changing Society”

Dr. John Cook
Yale University
April 15, 2004
“Locating Sacred Space: Illustrated Lectures on Art and Architecture in the Christian Tradition”

Dr. Zan Holmes
St. Luke United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas
January 23, 2003
“Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos”

Dr. Leonard Sweet
Drew Theological School
November 8, 2001
“How Tightly Wound Are You?”
“Postmodernism, Christianity and Spirituality”

Dr. Toni Craven
Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
October 2, 2000
“Women and Scripture”

Dr. William B. May
Southern Methodist University
October 28, 1999
“Leadership in a Democracy: What it Takes Morally”

Wade Clark Roof
University of California at Santa Barbara
January 28, 1999
“Remaking Religion: Americans and Their Spiritual Quests”

Williams, Cecil
Glide Church, San Francisco
April 11, 1996
“Everyone Belongs”

Cronon, William
University of Wisconsin-Madison
February 9, 1995
“Issues in Environmental History”
“The Trouble with Wilderness, Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”
“Kennecott Journey: An Introduction to Environmental History”

Welch, Claude
Graduate Theological Union
March 17-18, 1994
“An Unwanted Legancy? The Outcome of the Nineteenth Century”
“A Conflict Between Theology and Science? The Nineteenth Century Story”
“The Perils of Trying to Tell the Whole Story”

Pelikan, Jaroslav
Yale University
March 30-31, 1993
“‘And Alas, Theology Too’: Goethe’s Faust and the Christian Tradition”
“The Pantheistic Scientist”
“The Polytheistic Artist”
“The Monotheistic Moralist”

Gager, John G.
Princeton, University
March 19-20, 1992
“The Problem of Religion and Magic, or, What We Do Is Religion,  but What They Do Is Magic”
 “Was Jesus a Magician?”
“Curse Tablets and Binding Spells: Ancient Theophanies for Anxiety Control and Conflict Resolution”

Little, David
United States Institute of Peace
March 14-15, 1991
“Religion and Human Rights in a Changing World”
“Religion and the Foundation of Human Rights”
“Human Rights and Foreign Policy”

Marty, Martin E.
The Divinity School, The University of Chicago
February 22-23, 1990
“Accounting for Fundamentalism at the End of Millennium Two”
“What Do Fundamentalists Fear? Who’s Afraid of Fundamentalists?”
“Can Fundamentalists and Their Foes Say a Good Word about Each Other?”

Kennedy, William Bean
Union Theological Seminary, New York City
January 26-27, 1989
“Society, Religion and Education: An Ideological Interplay”
“United States”

O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger
University of Chicago
March 17-18, 1988
“Other Peoples’ Myths”
“Animals as Non-Others”
“How to Lose a Ritual and Find a Myth”
“The Cave of Echoes: The Problem of Archetypes”

Kaufman, Gordon D.
Harvard Divinity School
January 29-30, 1988
“How to Think about What It Is to Be Human”
“Theology as a Human Imaginative Task”
“The Concept of the Human”
“Humanity in Context”

Brown, Robert McAfee
Pacific School of Religion
March 19-20, 1986
“On Rendering to God and Caesar: A History of Conflicts”
“Nicaragua: What is the Church’s Responsibility?”
“The Sanctuary Movement: Are Churches Entitled to Break the Law?”

Good, Edwin M.
Stanford University
March 21-22, 1985
“Religion and the Comic Vision”

Hauerwas, Stanley Martin
University of Notre Dame
February 23-24, 1984
“Happiness, the Life of Virtue, and Friendship”

May, William F.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
March 17-18, 1983
“Slaying the Dragon: The American Nature Myth”
“Moral Leadership in the Corporate Setting”
“Adversarialism in America”

Brown, Robert McAfee
Pacific School of Religion
March 18-19, 1982
“The Christian Story: Theology as Narrative”

Cobb, John B., Jr.
School of Theology at Claremont
March 12-13, 1981
“Is Faith Political?”
“Is There a Christian Alternative to Capitalism and Socialism?
“Can a Christian be a Buddhist, Too?”

Brown, Robert McAfee
Pacific School of Religion
March 13-14, 1980
“Elie Wiesel: Messenger to Jews and Christians”
“A Human Journey: From Nihilism toward Affirmation”
“A Jewish Journey: From Auschwitz to Mt. Moriah”
“Challenges to a Christian Journey: Birkenau and Golgotha”

Adams, Robert Merrihew
University of California, Los Angeles
March 28-29, 1979
“The Ethics of Love”

Fauntroy, Walter E.
U.S. House of Representatives
March 15-16, 1978
“Human Rights and the Carter Foreign Policy”
“The Role of the Church in Civil Rights Today”

Schweitzer, George K.
University of Tennessee
March 16-17, 1977
“The Cosmic Drama”
“Scientific Faith and Religious Knowledge”
“Life on Other Planets”

May, William F.
Indiana University
March 9-10, 1976
“Terrorism: Strategy, Ecstasy, and Symbol”
“The Pursuit of Happiness: The Split Between the Private and Public”

Driver, Tom F.
Union Theological Seminary, New York City
March 11-12, 1975
“Histrionics: Putting on the Act of Humanity”

Silber, John R.
Boston University
March 12-13, 1974
“The Problem of Rootlessness”
“The Tremble Factor”
“Kant’s Ethics: A Secular Statement of Christian Ethics”
“The Religious Foundation of Secular Ethics”

Maddox, George L.
Duke University Medical Center
March 20-21, 1973
“No Deposit, No Return: Adolescence and Beyond”
“No Deposit, No Return: The Future of Growing Old”
“Much Darkness, A Little Light”