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Orr Forum 2010 Essay Contest Winners Explore "Modern Theology"

Byline: Debbie Griffin & Brooke Ketron

Posted: April 20, 2011

Ariel Carver, Davidson Mayer, and Krista Markstrom win the first, second, and third place Orr Forum 2010 Essay contest. The announcement came during the Academic Awards Banquet at the end of April.

Even though the Wilson campus is distracted by looming final exams, this year's Orr Forum essay contest winners are still likely to be thinking about how to spend their prize money.

The 2010 winners

First prize went to Ariel Carver, for her essay, "Toward a Theology of the Twenty-First Century: The Challenge of the Colonial Legacy." The second prize winner was Davidson Mayer, for his essay: "Secular vs. Religious Unity." Krista Markstrom was the third prize winner for her essay, "Win $5,000 a Week for Life! Or, Be an Apostle?"

This year’s topic was“Toward a Theology for the 21st Century.” Dr. Douglas F. Ottati, professor of religion and ethics from Davidson College, spoke Mon, Apr. 12, on "Cosmic Ecology: Toward a Theology of Creation;" "Cosmic Passage: Toward a Theology of Providence;" and on "Eating and Drinking with All the Wrong People: Toward a Christology."

The Orr Fund

“The Orr Fund is dedicated to advancing understanding of religion. It continues to develop and adapt. The Orr Seminar, Orr Retreat, Orr Prizes, and Orr Poster are relatively recent additions to the Orr Forum,” says Prof. of Religious Studies David True. This semester’s topic, “Modern Theology,’ is taught by True and Prof. of Philosophy, John Elia. Their students will also be visiting the Holocaust Museum Fri, Mar 9, and will personally meet this year’s Orr Scholar.

Orr Forum, the Prequel

The 2010 Orr Forum began with a prequel seminar from emeritus Wilson College Professor, Dr. Ray Anderson on Tues., Mar. 23. Anderson was a Religious Studies professor at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa for over 40 years. His recent lecture was based on the theology of renowned Christian-thinker, Karl Barth.

The Trajectory between Dr. Ray Anderson and Karl Barth

Anderson spent six years studying under Karl Barth during his post-graduate studies. Pope Pious II considered Barth as “…the most important theologian since Aquinas,” (an Italian priest). His theology on “all ends well” has caught the interest of many theologians and Christian thinkers. Barth spent many years on numerous writings, most of which have been published in German and later translated in English. Students interested in his published works can locate them at The Digital Karl Barth Library.

Orr Forum Essay Contest

Students seeking to enter the essay contest used Anderson’s seminar on Barth’s theology or Ottati’s presentations as springboards for their argument. The suggested topics for essays were:

  • Modern challenges to theology
  • Theological responses to these changes
  • Critiques to these responses.

Essays on the subject of modern theology were due to Prof. True by Mon, Apr. 19. Any students may win the essay contest, regardless of faith, or discipline of religion.

Prof. True explains the judging process, “The essays are judged by faculty members who agree to serve as judges. The criteria are stated on the Call for Papers. Faculty compares the papers as to substance and skill in presenting an argument.” The top three winners will receive $50.00, $100.00, and $250.00.

Orr Forum 2011

According to True, he is already hard at work thinking about next year's Orr Forum and says he has tentative plans to conduct the event around the theme of "Buddhism, Buddhist ethics, and a life of integrity in the midst of cultural and religious pluralism."

Last Updated: September 21, 2011

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