Scholar-Activist Encounter: Weldon Nisly and Tom Boomershine

Scholar-Activist Encounters

December 17, 2020, 7:30pm Eastern Time

How do activism and scholarship contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today?

In this session, lifelong peace activist Weldon Nisly and biblical scholar Tom Boomershine will discuss their commitment to understand and respond to the Gospel’s call to peacemaking — within the academy, within Christian community, and in conflict zones around the world. They will focus on the struggle of the Kurds in Northern Iraq targeted by Turkey’s military in the context of the Iraq war, as well as the Palestinian struggle in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This event is co-sponsored by the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who have teams in Iraqi Kurdistan and Palestine, and the Network of Biblical Storytellers International.

Advance registration is required.

About the participants

Weldon Nisly served four decades in Mennonite pastoral and peace ministry in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Seattle until retiring in late 2013. He now engages in prayerful listening active nonviolent presence for peace locally and globally. He participated on peace delegations in Nicaragua (1984, 1990) and Russia (1988). He served with Christian Peacemaker Teams delegations in Iraq (2003, 2010, 2014) and half-time on the Iraqi Kurdistan and Palestine teams from 2017 to the present. Prior to ministry, he was a political organizer in Iowa (1968-73) where he grew up on a farm. Weldon earned a BBA in economics and political science at the University of Iowa (1966-72) and an MA in Peace Studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (1995-97), writing his master’s thesis on Liberation Theology after studying in Colombia (1977). He is a lifelong Mennonite and a Benedictine Oblate since 2001, affiliated with Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, where he was a Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute (2001, 2007, 2010, 2015). Weldon writes and speaks on war and peace calling for a paradigm shift from Just War to Just Peace. His published articles include: “Victims of War are Not Our Enemies” (Seattle Times, The Mennonite, and CommonDreams (2003), “To Guide Our Feet: Pastoral Action in Impossible Times” (in Stumbling Toward a Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality, edited by Michael King, 2007); “From Silence to Salaam: A Reflection on Contemplative Peacebuilding” (The Oblate, June 2015), and “Pandemic and Peace: Healthcare Not Warfare” (Hospitality, July and September 2020).

Thomas E. Boomershine (PhD, Union Theological Seminary) is an emeritus professor of New Testament and a United Methodist elder. He has been an activist as a biblical storyteller, educator (New York and United Theological Seminaries), author, and community organizer of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, International, and the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media research group in SBL. His detailed studies of the Gospels as ancient storytelling across the boundaries of the cultures of Israel and the Gentile Greco-Roman world are a foundation for peacemaking in the modern world. His research and advocacy have also helped to initiate the development of performance criticism as a methodology for biblical study. His books, Story Journey: An Introduction to the Gospel as Storytelling (1988) and The Messiah of Peace (2015), are resources for the reconception of the Gospels as stories of peacemaking and of biblical storytelling as a strategy for non-violent resistance to violence and warfare. He has published numerous books and articles, including The Messiah of Peace: A Performance-Criticism Commentary on Mark’s Passion-Resurrection Narrative (2015) and Story Journey: An Invitation to the Gospel as Storytelling (1988).

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice invites you to join us for an interactive dialogue exploring the interfaces between scholarship and activism. How do these ways of being contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today? Let’s come together to learn from each other. Most events take place on the third Thursday of the month at 4:30pm Pacific Time / 7:30pm Eastern Time. We do not meet every month, and occasionally meet on a different night.

See the full schedule of the Scholar-Activist Encounter series. For questions, email

This series is co-sponsored by the Community of Living Traditions.