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Mercyhurst lecture focuses on spirituality and gender

Friday, September 22, 2017

Have you ever been told “Be a man!” or “That was not very ladylike!”? Then you have at least some experience of how cultures define and limit people’s lives based on gender.

Gender is not just a theoretical category. Gender has consequences. It dictates many of the markers of identity and possibility that frame people’s lives. It impacts everyday relationships, and always involves negotiations of freedom, power and equality. It informs the basic human longing for intimacy. The unexamined assumptions that people make about gender pose significant challenges for a whole and just life, causing some people to suffer tremendously.

Greg Baker will tackle these implications of gender in “Spirituality and Gender: Catholic Perspectives on a Whole and Just Life” on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. in Walker Recital Hall at Mercyhurst University. His talk is the annual fall lecture sponsored by Mercyhurst’s William C. Sennett Institute for Mercy & Catholic Studies.

Greg Baker lives in Erie and serves as director of campus ministry and adjunct instructor at Mercyhurst University. He has been engaged in youth and young adult ministry for the past 20 years and has been heavily involved in local ecumenical work. He earned a B.A. from Gannon University and an M.A. in theology from St. Bonaventure University, and is completing his doctor of ministry degree through Fordham University. He is husband to Jen and father to four young children.

This fall he will defend his doctoral thesis project, “Men For and With Others: Engaging the Stories of College Men and Exploring Pastoral Postures.” The research was prompted by a nagging question: Why do so few young men attend ministry-related programs? He set out to better understand the complexities of gender and how these impact men’s daily habits, relationships and spiritual lives. 

Baker will examine where the Catholic tradition weighs in regarding the complexities of gender. He’ll challenge listeners to inventory their own habits, attitudes and postures toward others and offer Christian wisdom for a whole and just life—a spirituality marked by openness, intimacy and freedom.

Institute Director Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder said, “Since its inception in 2010, the Sennett Institute for Mercy & Catholic Studies has tried to make visible the beauty, breadth and depth of the Catholic Intellectual tradition. Greg’s topic is a timely and exemplary reflection of the richness of this tradition. We’re very happy to feature ‘one of our own,’ given Greg’s uncommon and important research in the fields of spirituality and gender.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder,