On Wednesday, November 14th TMTC Visiting Fellow Jason Reimer Greig successfully defended his PhD dissertation at the VU Free University of Amsterdam. His dissertation is entitled "The Disarmed Community: Reflecting on the Possibility of a Peace Ecclesiology in the Light of L'Arche." While many people see L’Arche – global communities where the nondisabled and those with cognitive impairments share faith and life together – as either good “service provision” or as models of “inclusion,” Jason's dissertation seeks to uncover L’Arche as a movement sent by God to witness to peace in the world. He argues that as local communities made up of a riotous difference of persons, L’Arche demonstrates (even in its failures) the reconciled body redeemed by Jesus and fashioned by the Holy Spirit. Through the cultivation of peaceable habits performed via communal practices, L’Arche offers the church a way of living time with the other which liberates persons and shows the world how violence is not inevitable or necessary. By receiving and practicing these habits of peace through its worship and para-liturgical life, the church potentially becomes a similar “parable” or “sign” for the world that communion and peace are truly possible. Reflecting on the last part of his doctoral journey, Jason says that
TMTC has been a great gift to me as I have laboured on my dissertation. Being in the company of supportive and curious fellow scholars has not only improved my work, but also uplifted my spirit. My great thanks to Kyle and everyone at the Centre for accompanying me in this work not only for the academy but also for the church.
Jason's successful defence is the first time that a TMTC Visiting Fellow has received a PhD and so while we were not able to host a reception immediately after the defence as is our custom we were happy to be able to do so in conjunction with our scholars forum in December. Many congratulations, Jason, and we look forward to finding ways to engage with the important work that you are doing!