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Chi Rho Lectures


Christ Centered Faith Renewal

The Chi Rho Lecture Series is an ecumenical annual academic lecture series hosted by Central Lutheran Church with participation and support from Bushnell University and many community donors and churches.  Each year a well-known scholar of Christianity is brought to Eugene to lead a weekend of study, dialogue, and theological reflection.

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2023 Lecture Information

Martin Luther King's Letter of Paul to American Christians: Rediscovering a Neglected Classic

Nov 10-12, 2023, Presented by Dr. Margaret Mitchell and Rev. Dr. Shively Smith



Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first crafted and delivered “The Letter of Paul to American Christians” in a sermon in 1956. Our speakers reintroduce this letter, which Dr. King says he translated from Greek into English, and examine it as an extraordinary moment in the legacy of both King and Paul. Come listen, learn, and engage as they analyze the dynamics and contents of the letter that King fashioned for his moment in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and explore what it can say to Americans today.


Martin Luther King’s Sermon: A Newly Discovered Letter of Paul

Friday, Nov. 10, 7:00 pm, Central Lutheran Church, 1857 Potter St., Eugene, OR


Close Readings of King’s Old/New Paul

Saturday, Nov. 11, 10:00 am, Bushnell University, Library, Rm. 203, 1188 Kincaid, Eugene, OR


Paul, King, and a Moral Vision for America Then

Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:00 pm, Central Lutheran Church


King and Paul for America Now: Is Love Enough?

Sunday, Nov. 12, 9:45 am, Central Lutheran Church

About the Speakers

Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology. She completed her PhD in New Testament Studies at Emory University. She is a scholar, preacher, and writer whose primary research and writing focuses on the Pauline letters, diaspora studies, interpretative approaches, and African American history and the bible.


Dr. Margaret M. Mitchell is the Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her PhD is from the University of Chicago. She specializes in the Pauline letters, the development of early Christian literary and religious culture, the poetics and politics of ancient biblical interpretation, and the intersection of text, image, and artifact in early Christian culture.

Dr. Mitchell and Rev. Dr. Shively are working together on a book about Dr. King and his Letter of Paul to American Christians.

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