American Religions Section
"Major Book Review: Richard T. Hughes, The Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning, 2d ed. (University of Illinois Press, 2018)"
Todd M. Brenneman, Faulkner University, Convener
- Raymond C. Carr, Pepperdine University, Reviewer
- Doug Foster, Abilene Christian University, Reviewer
- Angela Sims, St. Paul School of Theology, Reviewer
- Richard T. Hughes, Lipscomb University, Respondent
Recent events in American culture have evidenced the enduring power of myth of white supremacy. In his new book, Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning, Richard T. Hughes explores how this myth shapes the other myths that define the United States. Not only does the myth of white supremacy bolster the others; they in turn help obscure the continuing power of whiteness in the country. This session will explore the argument of the book from theological and historical perspectives, from white and black scholars, and from the author as well.
"Apprenticeship In Art – Two Writers"
David Fleer, Lipscomb University, Convener
- John R. Erickson, Mentor, Author of the Hank the Cowdog series
- Nathan (S.J.) Dahlstrom, Mentee, Author of the Wilder Good series
The career of beloved Texas writer John R. Erickson began in the turbulent 60s at the University of Texas and then onto Harvard Divinity School. Despite the early academic pedigree, he left academia to become a working cowboy back home and the internationally-known children’s author of the Hank the Cowdog series, selling over 9 million copies and having been courted by Disney. In his later years he shared his wisdom and experience of the craft of writing with Nathan (S.J.) Dahlstrom who has gone on to publish his own award-winning children’s series. The slow but deliberate apprenticeship in craft and art is a process too often left outside the academy but which began for Erickson and Dahlstrom in the pasture, horseback, with a shared love of animals and physical labor. They will discuss their experience and how the process can be mutually beneficial and why it must continue.
“Current Trends in Homiletics: Conversations in Theory and Practice”
Tim Sensing, Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology, Co-Convener and Mason Lee, Princeton Theological Seminary, Co-Convener
- Ronald Allen, Christian Theological Seminary, “Invitation: Preaching from the Perspective of Process Theology”
- Mason Lee, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Prophets and Sour Grapes: Wrestling with Tradition in Homiletical Theology”
- Amy McLaughin-Sheasby, Boston University School of Theology, “Preaching as Midwifery in the Midst of Radical Suffering”
- Bryan Nash, King Street Church of Christ, Beaufort, SC, Respondent
- Ian Nickerson, Minda Street Church of Christ, Abilene, TX, Respondent
- Jarrod Robinson, Southern Hills Church of Christ, Abilene, TX, Respondent
The field of homiletics is witnessing an eruption of new approaches, foci, and methods. Claiming its position as a practical theological discipline with renewed interest, the field of homiletics now engages a multitude of interdisciplinary partners. The result is a myriad of renewed and novel topics, foci, approaches, and resources for the study, teaching, and faithful practice of preaching. This session explores these emerging directions by bringing together academic homileticians and local practitioners to discuss these trends, their influence, and their potential for the practice of preaching.
"Media, Art, and Liturgy: Exploring the Influence of Visual Art and Media Technology on Worship in Stone-Campbell Churches"
Trey Shirley, Abilene Christian University, Convener
- Carisse Berryhill, Abilene Christian University, “Here is Water: Allegory and Acceptance of Baptistery Murals in Mid-20th Century Churches of Christ”
- Shawn Hughes, Lubbock Christian University, “Worship Media in a Changing Environment: An Examination of the Use of Media in the Church of Christ”
- Matt Pinson, Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, TX, “Envisioning a Pathway to Discipleship at Highland Church of Christ”
- Trey Shirley, Abilene Christian University, “Projecting a Vision: A Case Study on the Relationship Between Environmental Projection and Liturgy at Oak Hills Church”
Use of art and media in worship is on the rise in churches with a heritage in the Stone-Campbell Movement; consequently, worship looks differently today than it did even two decades ago. This panel will explore some of the ways visual art and new media technologies have historically influenced and continue to transform the ways churches are approaching worship.
“Perspective Criticism for Biblical Interpretation and Preaching”
Jesse Long, Lubbock Christian University, Convener
- Gary Yamasaki, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, “Perspective Criticism”
- Rachel Gould, Vanderbilt University, “Perspective Criticism: A Literary Response”
- Jesse Long, Lubbock Christian University, “Perspective Criticism in Biblical Interpretation
- Bryan Nash, Eastview Church of Christ, Salem, IN, Perspective Criticism in Homiletics
This interdisciplinary session will explore the value of Perspective Criticism (PC) for biblical interpretation and preaching. As laid out by Gary Yamasaki, following especially Boris Uspensky, PC is a literary approach from a formalist perspective that highlights point-of-view analysis in interpretation. Following a presentation by Yamasaki, respondents will analyze the approach from a literary perspective and demonstrate its application in biblical interpretation and in homiletics.
“The Radical Kingdom Vision of Barton Stone, James A. Harding, and David Lipscomb Still Lives Today”
Richard T. Hughes, Lipscomb University, Convener?
- Lee Camp, Lipscomb University
- Leonard Allen, Lipscomb University
- Catherine Meeks, Executive Director, Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, Atlanta
- John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University
- Robin Meyers, Senior Minister, Mayflower United Church of Christ, Oklahoma City
- Raymond Carr, Pepperdine University, Respondent
In the nineteenth century, Barton Stone, James A. Harding, and David Lipscomb embraced a radical theology that rejected nationalism of any kind, pledged allegiance only to the Kingdom of God, rejected war, embraced non-violence, and stood shoulder to shoulder with marginalized people, regardless of race or creed. The books of a number of scholars with roots in Churches of Christ reflect that vision still today. Those books, and their authors, include Lee Camp, Mere Discipleship; Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church; Catherine Meeks, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America; John Mark Hicks, Kingdom Come; Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding; and Robin Meyers, The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus. This session will feature each of those scholars reflecting on the radical theological vision that informs their work.
"Spiritual Formation in Higher Education"
John Boyles, Suzie Macaluso, Amanda Pittman, Abilene Christian University, Conveners
- John Boyles, Suzie Macaluso, Amanda Pittman, Abilene Christian University, “Results from a Two Year Study of the Spiritual Lives of First Year College Students”
- Eric Wilson, Pepperdine University, “Research Results on Spiritual Formation and Social Action Among Pepperdine Students”
- Gary Selby, Emmanuel Seminary at Milligan College
- Heather Gorman, Johnson University, Respondent
Institutions of Christian higher education, including schools affiliated with Churches of Christ, pledge to support the spiritual growth of students. This session presents different institutional perspectives on the means and measures of that work, with particular attention to the intersection of the efforts of higher education institutions with students’ ecclesial commitments, personal motivations, and social locations.