"Welcoming The Stranger" & "Christian Privilege": A Jewish Transplant’s Take on Making Minnesota Home

A Performance by Dylan Fresco

Date & Time:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 12:00 noon - 1:15 p.m.


free and open to the public


Iversen Hearth Room (room 340), Anderson Student Center
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN

Of interest:

UST Students: Please consider registering for Sacred Journeys: A Storytelling Workshop at St. Thomas on April 11 produced by Dylan Fresco. Click here for details.

Dylan Fresco

Dylan Fresco

This session is part six of a six part series running through the 2018-2019 academic year titled Encountering Religious and Cultural Traditions: A Series Fostering Religious Literacy and Interreligious Understanding. In this special concluding session, theater artist Dylan Fresco will perform two solo pieces and facilitate a group reflection process.

Welcoming The Stranger weaves together true stories of refugees, family, and identity. In it, Fresco addresses the loss of culture and language that so often occurs in families as part of the generational process of “Becoming American.” And he explores how his understanding of his family, his faith tradition, and himself has been deepened through connections with people of different ethnicities and religions here in Minnesota. 

In Christian Privilege, Fresco shares personal stories about living here as someone who doesn’t benefit from being part of the religious majority in Minnesota, and who has to deal each day with the negative effects of Christian hegemony in our country.  He picks at the myth of “The Average Minnesotan”, and at the problematic pairing of systemic privilege with individual guilt.

Renowned scholar of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith argued that in order to “understand Buddhists, we must not look at something called Buddhism but at the world so far as possible through Buddhist eyes.” Likewise, in order to understand Judaism, Hinduism, and so on, we must not look at Judaism, Hinduism and so on, but at the worldviews of Jews, Hindus, and so. In his New York Times Bestseller, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero writes “I am convinced that one needs to know something about the world’s religions in order to be truly educated,” and argues that “you need religious literacy in order to be an effective citizen.” This year-long series aims to foster religious literacy and interreligious understanding by examining the world through the eyes of religious scholars and practitioners from various traditions, especially our locally lived traditions in Minnesota. The presenters will share their own lived experiences of the traditions and address any common stereotypes and misconceptions.

Dylan Fresco is a theater artist, poet and musician who works as a writer, performer, producer, and educator with a diverse array of arts and community partners. In his work, Dylan invites connections between people and communities through story, music, poetry and movement. Dylan has worked locally with the Guthrie, Penumbra, Pillsbury House Theatre, the Children’s Theatre Company, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  He’s presented his solo plays at colleges and fringe festivals across the country. In addition, Dylan is an experienced facilitator, skilled at creating the space for people to share of themselves and connect with each other.

Refreshments and cookies will be provided. Please bring your own lunch.

This session is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the Sacred Arts Festival, the Diversity Activities Board, and is in collaboration with the Center for the Common Good at the University of St. Thomas.‌

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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