Union Trustee book subject of “Conversations that Matter” campus forum

Published on
February 16, 2016

Killing Book“A Short Book About Killing,” a book by Union Trustee Dr. Sonya Jones, will be the basis for the first in a series of public forums at Union College – Conversations that Matter – to be held February 22. The event will also serve as a book launch for the college community.

Conversations that Matter will be an ongoing dialogue series sponsored by the National Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities of the United Methodist Church, says Rev. David Miller, Union’s Campus Minister. Miller says the series will focus on topics relative to justice and dignity, with the public and campus community invited to engage in discussions during each forum. Dr. Jones’ book launch, and the subject matter detailed within the book, well suits the Conversations that Matter initiative, Miller said.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to share with our campus community the Conversations that Matter dialogue series and even more excited to feature Dr. Jones’ work during this first event,” Rev. Miller said. “This series will be informative, thought provoking and allow those around our campus to discuss these issues, share their opinions and reflect on how justice and dignity affects each of us.”

Rev. Miller says the forum will begin at 7 p.m. on February 22 in the Patridge Conference Room. Dr. Jones will open the forum and discuss her recently published work, “A Short Book About Killing.” The campus community will then be invited to an open dialogue on the subject. The event will end with a question and answer session.

Miller says Dr. Jones will also offer her book for sale and hold a signing at the conclusion of the Conversations that Matter event. She will donate $3 from the sale of each book to Union College to host a symposium on ethical issues – inspired by former Union professor, Dr. Sarah Hendrix, who died last year in a family tragedy.  

“The symposium will focus on similar issues covered throughout the Conversations that Matter forums and will be dedicated to the memory of Dr. Hendrix,” Rev. Miller said.

"A Short Book about Killing" is a mediation on a subject that has been an element of most cultures throughout human history, the author points out. Like Judeo-Christianity, the religions of India - including the various Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain philosophical traditions - have acknowledged killing as a reality and in some cases helped to perpetuate its brutality despite constructing sanctions against it. As Dr. Jones notes, the religious injunctions against killing seem to have lost their grip on the human psyche - if, indeed, they were ever firmly established.

The Conversations that Matter forum series is being held at Methodist institutions across the country. Each institution is sponsoring a series of conversations on “concerns of justice and dignity within its distinctive context – concerns that are subject to diverse and strongly held perspectives.” The purpose of these conversations is to learn to communicate with dignity across human differences – a process that includes genuine sharing, listening, and considering what others say. You can learn more at www.justiceanddignity.org.