As DARE Global Forum concludes, theologians bring ideas and actions back to the grassroots

by Cheon Young Cheol

As the Discernment and Radical Engagement (DARE) Global Forum concluded on 16 September in Bangkok, Thailand, 120 participants from 30 different countries began to return home, bringing new ideas, actions, and inspirations with them.

The forum—convening under the theme “Liberation quest(ion)s”—was a platform for scholars and activists from different parts of the world to address critical concerns radically, creatively, and justly, and to create resources that can shape the future of biblical and theological education.

The gathering was divided into six streams: Ecology and Anthropocene, Economy and Peacebuilding, Development and Coloniality, Rituals and Ceremonies, Slaveries and Discipleships, and Doing Theology in the Age of Crises.

The 2023 DARE welcomed a record number of participants from the Global South, as well as a record number of young participants, all of whom creatively challenged mainline theological and biblical scholarships.

The forum was led by a Steering Group, all of whom made a 15-month commitment to plan, moderate, and follow up the forum with publications, webinars, and other means of communicating the fruits of DARE to CWM’s wider global audience.

CWM General Secretary Dr Jooeseup Keum thanked DARE’s “progressive and subversive theologians” for their work towards collective discernment and radical engagement” on various critical issues that are pertinent to our contemporary world.

The struggle for liberation is infinitely complex, Keum said. “CWM, as a community of transforming disciples, dare to let God’s justice and peace shine brightly in the world,” he said. “As the DARE brings progressive theologians, church leaders and social activists into a discerning and creative space, it plays a prominent role in interacting with faith and life, offering vital critique to the socio-economic and political issues of the day, and translating academic work into intellectual activism.”

The 2023 DARE forum also marked a return to Bangkok, where the first DARE forum was held in 2017.

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