Meet the Theology Slam Finalists: Augustine Tanner-Ihm
Take theology, mix it up with some of the most pressing questions of the day, and serve it up in the form of challenging, provocative, TED-style talks. That's the challenge we’ve given our three Theology Slam finalists, and we thought we'd introduce you to each of them, ahead of the Live Final on 26th March. First up, Augustine Tanner-Ihm, whose chosen to speak on Theology and Race.
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I'm Augustine Tanner-Ihm and I'm originally from Chicago, Illinois. I grew up on Council estates and homeless shelters with my mother and two siblings. I was raised in a strict Jehovah's Witness faith until I attended an Assemblies of God summer camp. In summer 2014 I became a Christian everything else changed. I've worked in Education, Human and Family Services, missions and Churches. I'm currently a postgraduate Theology student at Cranmer Hall, St. John's College, University of Durham and God willing and Bishop willing up your day in the summer as a deacon in the Church of England. When I'm not engaging in Church life I enjoy, traveling, writing stand-up, playing sport and watching documentaries.
Why have you chosen your topic?
I'm particularly interested in this topic of Theology and Race in a Post-Brexit Donald J Trump Western world we reside in we must be engaging with the 'other' because this is extremely important to our faith, spirituality, and identity. People often ask people of colour, "Why are you so engaged with the questions of the race all the time ?" Our response always has to be because it's the first thing that defines us from others. And How the other defines itself. Global Christianity is drastically changing and we have to be aware of our privileges and nuances of unconscious bias so we can bring the Kingdom of God to earth. The kingdom of God truly must look like the people of God and I desire in my ministry and in my life to cultivate an environment that seeks to understand each other in the idiosyncrasies of our ever being be formed in the relationship to the highest King, Jesus Christ. I desire the growth of the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit continues to work through us in our uncomfortable state of sinfulness and repentance.
If I could have anybody (past or present) round for dinner, I’d invite…Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Because then I can figure out what he was on about.
I think every Christian should read... The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice, written by Tony Campolo. This book sets out a clear understanding of the Kingdom of God in action. Or the Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone.
If there’s one film, play, piece of music or book that has changed how I see the world, it is... Mrs Doubtfire. When I was a teenager I watched Miss Doubtfire, and it set me up for understanding the Gospel of Jesus. If you don’t see the connection please ask.
I think theology matters because... God matters and Humans matter. When we engage in the Kingdom of God we open our eyes to see the full color of life. We stop Merely existing in mundane and begin truly living.
An interesting fact about me is... that in High School I placed in Nationals for the 3k racewalk.